Monday, March 31, 2008

Turning Fifty

If you live long enough it will happen to you.

I was born in 1958 and 50 is close, real close.

US GDP (1998 dollars): $467.3 billion

Federal spending: $82.41 billion

Federal debt: $279.7 billion

Consumer Price Index: 28.9

Unemployment: 4.3%

Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.03 ($0.04 as of 8/1/58)

New Pontiac Bonneville: $3,586

Gasoline: 15 cents a gallon

imageIt seems like yesterday I was shooting marbles at Eleanor Marshall School with my third grade buddies. I started school when I was five, no kindergarten in those days, and it was 1963. Color TV was a novelty, President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas and a British band composed of John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, take Britain by storm.
moz-screenshot-1I got my first motorcycle in 1974. President Richard Nixon resigns, the recession deepens following the rise in oil prices in 1973 (remember the long gas lines?), the CAT scanner is introduced by EMI in England.

1958: Chester Carlson invents the photocopier or Xerox machine.

1960: The Flintstones first show airs.

1962: The Philips Company of the Netherlands invented and released the first compact audio cassette.

1963: Zip codes invented in the United States.

1965: Ford Motors offered 8-track players as an option in their complete line of 1966 model cars.

The VCR was invented along with the dot-matrix printer, food processor and the liquid-crystal display

1983: Compact Disc Technology is introduced in the United States in the spring.

1994: American government releases control of internet and WWW is born.

imageI remember when Thirty was kind of old and anyone approaching fifty was grandpa material. Boy was I wrong!

clip_image001Here I am at forty nine with fifty ready to present itself on October seventh. Am I going to be depressed? Nope. Is it going to cause me any concern? Nope. What will I do?

How about surrounding myself with my closest friends, turn it into a motorcycle ride and end up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina at Ocracoke?

image It just so happens that Howard's Pub is a stumble away from the Beach House Bed and Breakfast.

So as I turn fifty what's the big deal? I'm not sure but it must be a big deal since searching for "turning 50" with Google returns some 7,000,000 hits.
I guess it's a milestone of sorts since I'm more than half as old as I'll ever be. Statistically speaking I will be almost two thirds of the way down my life experience. Using the HCFA Medicaid Life Expectancy Tables, at fifty I can expect 26.32 more years. The table also shows that at birth you can expect 71.8 years so my numbers are looking pretty good.
image Of course I don't like this graph, with me being from North Carolina.

Does this bother me? Not a bit. I actually enjoy my age. I'm having more fun now than when I was much younger. The responsibilities are there but you learn how to deal with things easier as you age. My priorities have changed, and I have learned that I can not alter the world a great deal at the time. I have learned that I'm not bulletproof and there are people that are stronger, faster, smarter and better looking than I am. I have learned to be comfortable with what I have become.

Even though I'm older than Zip Codes or the Flinstones, I haven't done too bad but there is a lot left to do. Ocracoke in October is one of them.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Third Annual Oriental Dog Parade

Cloudy, cool, windy and possible rain so we went but left the Harley home.
The event was sponsored by the Pamlico Animal Welfare Society and started at the waterfront park in Oriental, NC.
Even with the weather conditions the park was quite inviting.
This judge keeps track of the bribes. All bribes went to the PAWS cause!
This young lady did not seem too excited.
This little guy was six months old and his human said "We like Harleys."

So do we little guy, so do we..
When you're cool it's obvious to everyone.
I think this guy came in on an older Harley. He's way to tough to be seen on a Honda.
I'm surprised they won with their head cheer leader in Oriental.

Live entertainment? Why certainly!
Come on guys, there's room for one more!
If there was a favorite float category this may be the winner.

Debbie and I arrived a bit early and had a good time. The dogs were surprisingly well behaved, more so than many groups of people I have been around. The dogs were able to make their humans behave properly as well.

Some parting shots

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ride For Rachel

Here's a clipping from the New Bern Sun Journal:

image Palace City Wings, a New Bern biker group, organized the "Ride for Rachel Poker Run" as the final fund-raising event for Rachel Lynn Smith of Farmville.

Rachel, whose family mostly lives near New Bern, has been sick since she was 4 months old. Over the last several months, her friends and family have organized bake sales, barbecue dinners and chili sales to raise money for her parents' medical bills.

The health of a 3-year-old Farmville girl with anemia is getting better, her mother said today.

Rachel Lynn Smith's body is making red blood cells again, her mother, Rebecca, said. Rachel has had blacksfan diamond anemia since she was 4 months old. The disease does not allow a person's body to make red blood cells.

Dscf7799So Saturday morning some of us meet at Bojangles to grab a quick bite to eat so we can arrive at the Fire Department just prior to 9:00AM.
The event had minimal coverage but word of mouth had sufficed to make a good show and sign up was quick and efficient. Somewhere between 150 and 200 bikes where on hand.
Image2The route consisted of about 70 miles with stops in Trenton, Kinston and Fort Barnwell. Some of the best back roads riding in the area.
100_1056 It started out at 53 degrees and partly cloudy but it quickly warmed to 75. The winds were gusting to the mid twenties and there was quite a bit of crosswind as we rode by the numerous open fields.
100_1045 We were in a group of about 30 bikes on the way to stop one in Trenton.
Dscf7815 Our regular group, being mostly Harley riders, was somewhat curious as to why some of the Goldwing riders were pulling trailers for a short ride such as this.
Dscf7807At the Trenton stop things were moving right along.

100_1046On to Kinston.

Dscf7817 With a brief stop we collected yet another card.
Dscf7819As we left Kinston it worked out that our group was mainly the Harley riders.
Dscf7827It's almost a Milwaukee family portrait in Fort Barnwell.
Dscf7828One more card to go and we head back to the Fire Department.
100_1064There were quite a few bikes already back from the route.
Dscf7839 And quite a few hungry people lined up for lunch!!
Dscf7846 Some of the biker guys (this one's an outlaw Harley rider AKA Mr. Z) were just out to pick up chicks.


Dscf7848 Rachel's grandparents, Dallas and Cathy Cahoon, being interviewed by WCTI TV12.


A great time was had by all. Good friends, good food, good weather, a worthy cause and motorcycles, what more can be said. Rachel will be in our hearts and thoughts.

I have included the comments to the article in the Sun Journal.

great story. great group of folks and i enjoyed the ride.

Hector Gomez - Mar 24, 2008 09:10:27 AM

Hats off to the organizers and participants. Hopefully the monetary goal was exceeded and Rachael can get the medical treatment she needs. This little girl needs to have a chance to experience and enjoy life. Thanks NBSJ for the wonderful article highlighting an event for such a great cause. Cheers!

Dale Jones Sr - Mar 23, 2008 10:04:57 PM

I think in today's society people are well aware that most bikers are wonderful, caring people. I don't believe they are seen as scary, but rather as people who love to ride and help others while they do it. God bless those who helped in this cause. You are wonderful individuals who raised money for a wonderful cause.

Wonderful Event - Mar 23, 2008 09:44:59 AM

It is nice to hear that there are still morally decent people in this world, especially when they come together to help a child. My father rides in poker runs and my heart swells when I think of the amount of time and money that is put into these runs. I am amazed that it seems that the people that most others would be afraid of because of past stigma are usually the first ones to show how truly big there hearts are. Take a moment and thank a biker--you never know when you may be helped by one of the "scariest" people on earth. Live long, ride hard, have fun

Tynk - Mar 23, 2008 01:56:33 AM

Some parting shots......