Forest fires and bikers

I’ve been watching the KTLA online feed of the North fire. The fire crossed the 15 near the Cajon Pass and is traveling unhindered on its way. The wind funnels up the pass and drops down onto the flat. I don’t think it will bode well for any homes in its path.

In another life well-lived, I spent 4,000 hours of helicopter flight time on forest fires in northern Canada. A lot of it came back to me in a huge rush while watching the feed. I had to load a mapping program to follow the progress of the news helicopters as they patrolled the perimeter with eyes high in the sky. The resolution of the camera from 8,500 feet is phenomenal.

There were no DC-10 airtankers back in the old days.

But I digress.

I couldn’t resist centering the map over a former favorite watering hole.

The usual suspects were in Fontana at a biker rally. One p.m. (that’s right, one in the afternoon) came and went, and, being the irresponsible, thirsty louts we were, we saddled up and headed for the 10. At the 215 we turned south and pulled off at La Cadena. For the uninitiated, it’s the home of the Club 215, a peeler bar renowned for nothing in particular but for being two stories high, with a balcony.

It was also on the way home, if you took the slight detour I outlined.

We liked the place because we could get out in the fresh air, wander around, and watch the sights – of which there aren’t many in Coulton. The girls liked it, too. Since we were the only ones in the club at that early hour, they wandered in and out to chat. I won’t go into details, but by early evening, it was long past time to herd the lads home.

I knew that, because beer bottles began floating down from the second story balcony to explode in the parking lot. Seeing as I was the only illegal in the club (I checked – there were no Canadian girls performing), and being of sound mind, I made an informed decision.

It was time to roll.

With the able assistance of a couple of the ladies, we managed to get the boys down the stairs without anyone falling down. Out in the parking lot, it was an entirely different story.

Tommy threw a leg over his Sporty, collapsed the kickstand, put both feet on the pegs, and headed on his way, eager to be in the wind. The problem was, he hadn’t bothered to light the fire. He promptly fell over with both feet on the pegs while still gripping the bars.

Much laughter ensued.

Eventually, we managed to get Tommy untangled and out from under his Sporty. We made sure to keep him on the bike as we helped him up. Once we got him straight and level, I started the engine, put it in gear, and slapped him on the back.

Away he wobbled.

It was a simple matter to head south on the 215, hit the 60 at Box Springs, and meander on down the road on the 10 to the 62 turnoff. I got to ride sweep to clean up the debris on the way home.

It was an uneventful ride on a normal California day under sunshine and blue sky.

I miss it sometimes, but not often, now.

Moving to Canada?

Here’s all you need to know:

Toque – A knit cap.

Donair – A meat-heavy, Turkish dish invented in Halifax.

Homo Milk – Come on, it’s homogenized, whole milk.

Parkade – It’s a building where you park.

Robertson Screwdriver – A screwdriver with a square tip.

Mickey – Half of a 26er. Like, a small part of a 40-pounder. Or, go pick up a two-four if you like beer.

Oh, I almost forgot. There’s one more thing. If you’re a jihadi rapper from Alabama and you know your ABCs, you might want to check out a Fodors or its equivalent before you start thinking that moving your lips moving to Toronto will get you to a pure Islamic society.

The WSJ demonizes Cuba for a movie review

the real marvel of the past 50 years in Cuba — the steady stream of heroic nonconformists who have risked all in their aspiration to think, speak and act freely — remains the untold epic of our time. — Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O’Grady

If the relentless bobbing of the Cuban cork within the confines of the Gulf of Mexico remains an untold epic, then I suppose the story of Cuba meets the definition, but I do wonder why the American press has such a preoccupation with countries that throw out murderous and crooked U.S. corporations and the American mob merely because they want to lead their own lives. Perhaps the voting block known as Cuban-Americans residing in Florida and the relentless ass-kissing that politicians feel they must give them has something to do with the silliness of it all. How many of those “freedom-loving Cubans” now ensconced in Florida will return once the great Castro Satan of the western hemisphere has been banished to the dustbin of history?

Not many, I’d say.

The romance of Cuba lies not in that it is Communist, but that during the ’50s it was a haven for the mob and the corporations who, in concert with the Batista government of the time, was milking the country for all of its worth. It lies with the people who threw them lock, stock and barrel out of the country. You won’t read much of that in mainstream American media reporting. After all, it was the all-American mob and corporations doing the damage who got tossed.

Che has been dead at the hands of the CIA since 1967, Cuba is an impoverished island courtesy of the United States and its meaningless embargo, and still the darlings of the American media must go on a rant and declare that to allow this cork to float is a pox upon the world — well, the world as the privileged American media sees it, anyway. Would that they for a minute would get over publishing the government line on anything and go and see for themselves the damage America has done to a country that merely occupies space in the Gulf.

But wait, they can’t! It’s against the law for an American to visit Cuba. Oh well, no matter. They can write all about it from Florida, or D.C., or wherever the money is coming from to pay for the media advertising budgets.

It’s not a wonder to me why the newspapers are bleeding subscribers at an alarming rate. Just read the article and see the government-inspired propaganda line for yourself. And yes, all that for a meaningless movie review.

See what I mean?

Link to article here.

Something rotten

Today’s ride took me south to Del Bonita and the Whiskey Gap region. To the north, it’s gently rolling plains, but the plateau finally arrives and it flattens out substantially. Here wheat is the main crop, but there are plenty of oil wells in the area too and the rotten egg smell permeates.

The Whiskey Gap was an old trade route with America, primarily used to provide alcohol to the natives in exchange for goods. During Prohibition, the Gap provided a route for Canadians to ship illegal alcohol into the United States.