Sunday, February 7, 2016

If You Don't Read Anthing Else Today, Read This

Important stuff today.  Read on....

We are in the midst of a critical time in our country.  This next election could mean either that our country survives and thrives, or that it follows the path of every failed attempt at Socialism* in the history of civilization.  

Here's why. 

But first, the basics. Conservatism is good. 

Click the start arrowhead below to find out briefly why that is:

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on MSNBC Defining Conservatism.  Source

As he says, “What makes America great is not some guy in Washington who says, ‘If I had more power, I could fix it all....'”

A lot of those guys in Washington want more power and they want to take away our freedoms while they do it, mostly through more oppressive government rules, regulations, and bureaucracy. 

The U.S. has fallen from the 6th freest economy in the world, when President Barack Hussein Obama took office, to 11th place in 2016. 

The declining score is closely related to rapidly rising government spending, subsidies, and bailouts.

And higher taxes on us.  Our country was built on conservative values, not on the government taxing us and giving our money away for anything they choose.  Most of the places they choose are not the places we would choose.  

There has also become a dependency on government that cannot be sustained.  Right now, at least 30% of our population gets some kind of payment from the government paid for those of us who work hard for our money.  30 percent!  And that was in 2013, the last year the data is available.  

Look here to see the alarming trend:

Dependence on government has gone up 67% in the time period shown.  

Anyway, even if you just want to have more money in your own pocket, small government and conservative leaders are the way to do it. 

[So, where does this take us, Bucky?] 

I'm glad you asked.

We need to elect the most conservative President we can find, and we need to persuade our Senators and Representatives to reduce the size of government and give our freedoms back to us where they belong.  If they won't be persuaded, then they must be replaced by those who really are conservative. 

So, who is the best presidential candidate? 

On one side, we have a lot to choose from.  The Republicans have sixteen or seventeen candidates that have been running, though a few have dropped out.  The candidates are of many races and are from many backgrounds.  Most of them want us to have as much freedom as the United States Constitution* allows.

On the Democrat side, there are only two old, worn out, white people to choose from, one dishonest -- likely treasonous* -- and the other an avowed Socialist*.  Both of them want to take away most of the freedom we have, tax all of us more heavily, and spend our money they way they want to.  Neither one is in touch with us, and especially not in touch with young people, except to act as Santa Claus to them, giving things away on the backs of the taxpayer. 

That's diversity?  I think not!   

Here's where the candidates stand, both Democrat and Republican.  (Further to the right in the graphic is more conservative):

Source: Daily Signal

This graphic was generated by researchers at Stanford University on a website called Crowdpac.  They analyze each candidate’s voting record and statements, but also their history of political donations to them and by them

That last part is important.  The candidates can say anything, but their donations and the money they receive tell where their real alliances are. 

Some candidates such as Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson have never have held office and thus have no voting record to judge.  That is where the money changing hands helps us understand where they really stand. 

Donald Trump is not shown because he has not held public office, and his campaign is mostly funded by his own money.  Trump is what is called a Populist -- appealing to us with generalities that we like to hear, but without any specific action plans to speak of.  That could be a problem if we don't know what he will actually do if he becomes president.  One thing we do know is that he is not very conservative, ranking nearer the center of the graphic than near the conservative (right) end. 

Here is an updated graphic that includes Trump, and excludes those who have dropped out as of February 4, 2016:

Source: Crowdpac
The best candidate for the country is Ted Cruz.  He is the most consistently conservative, does what he says, holds fast to the Constitution, is a practicing Christian who believes in the Sovereign God, and has stood up to those in leadership, even in his own party, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who is not conservative at all. 

Cruz doesn't govern for his own political advantage or to increase opinion poll numbers.  He governs as a statesman, in the best interest of the country -- for you and for me. 

Cruz being an outsider and his standing up to his own party career politicians appeals to me.  He has the right values and is likely to lead based on his values, not on what it means to his political future or power.  He won't sway with the political winds. 


Here are some major points about Cruz: 

  • Strong, principled conservative
  • Constitutionalist*, especially religious liberty and 2nd Amendment rights (the right of the people to keep and bear arms)
  • Wants smaller government 
  • Wants to again balance the federal budget.  The national debt is now $19,012,827,698,418, $58,000 for each person in the U.S.A.
  • Demonstrates good leadership
  • Clear communicator
  • Is anti-Washington establishment
  • Is in tune with the grassroots* and the current political climate
  • Is pro-life
  • Has Hispanic background, his father legally immigrating to the United States
  • Is strong on the family and marriage
  • Understands that Obamacare is expensive and provides less care than private health plans
  • Stands for Israel, our only ally in the Middle East
  • Advocates a fair, single-rate income tax instead of the present complex income tax system
  • Wants to enforce current immigration laws
  • Is a strong evangelical Christian, Southern Baptist, attends church and realizes there is a Sovereign God

We need conservatism desperately, and we need it right now

You have a chance now to change the course of history. 

Vote conservative to save our great nation from those who would subvert it for their own benefit. 

* Definitions:
  • United States Constitution -- the document that contains the fundamental laws governing the United States of America.  The only powers granted to the federal government in the constitution are as follows:
    • To collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States. 
    • To borrow money.
    • To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states. 
    • To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States. 
    • To coin money.
    • To establish post offices and post roads. 
    • To provide patent protection for inventors. 
    • To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
    • To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas. 
    • To declare war. 
    • To raise and support armies. 
    • To provide and maintain a navy.
    • To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution. 
    • and, importantly, the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.   
  • Constitutionalist -- an adherent or advocate of using the United States Constitution as the basis of all law, as it was designed to be by the founders of our country. 
  • Grassroots -- the common or ordinary people, especially as contrasted with the leadership or elite of a political party, social organization, etc.; the rank and file. In this case, the individual voter.  
  • Socialism -- a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the government.  This system has been tried repeatedly and always results in poorer people, huge inefficiency, and eventual failure.  Commonality with Marxism and Communism -- all systems of government that take freedom away from us.
    leftism, welfarism, radicalism, progressivism
  • Treason -- the high crime of betraying one's country. 
    treachery, disloyalty, betrayal, sedition

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Riding Again After the Snow, but There Was a Suprise Waiting

We had some snow in these parts, and that kept us all in for a while.  We here in the south basically hibernate when it is snowy or icy, but the temperatures have risen enough that the nasty frozen stuff on the roads around home has disappeared.

I check tire pressure, and the oil and coolant levels as I always do before a ride, and adjust the mirrors that had gotten bumped while the bike was in the garage patiently waiting to go out into the world again.

The temperature outside is in the mid-40s -- truly balmy by recent standards -- but I bundle up with fleece underwear under my leather suit, balaclava and neck warmer for my noggin, heated grips on high, and my Hippo Hands securely affixed to the handlebars so my pinkies won't freeze.

I get the feel of the bars again after a mile or two.  It is surprising how a few weeks of not riding erodes your skills.  Not a lot, but enough to notice in the first few miles.  I would hate to live where I couldn't go out on the bike for several months in winter.

I ride through Pickens, SC and on to US-178, along a stretch that has some nice sweepers to the north until you reach SC-11.  I take it easy, because there might still be sand or salt on the road.  Fortunately, I don't see any to speak of.  I could have gone faster, but how would I know it was clear before I went there?   Maybe I should just turn around and make a couple more passes.

I decide against it, as I want to see some other places I have not recently been due to the weather.

I notice little patches of white in a few places as I near SC-11.  Snow.  Not much, but it has stuck around here in the slightly higher elevations. 

I turn right onto SC-11, the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway.  Very soon, I see a surprise.  There is lots of snow along the road.  It is still five or six inches deep in places, but there is none on the road itself.  Wow!  That ice and snow started almost a week ago, and it has hung around. 

Soon, I turn onto Back Park Road in Table Rock State Park...

 ...and find lots of snow still on the road, too.  See for yourself. 

Table Rock visible above road

And there are lots of broken and fallen trees.  The ice that came before the snow caused this. 

I pass the barn with the old truck in it, visible from nearby SC-11. 

The red barn, center right, viewed from SC-11. 
January 6, 2015
The truck in the barn.
April 11, 2009
After I leave Back Park Road, I venture up into the park a bit further.  The road has a few tight twists and turns, but today, there is a huge amount of sand on the road, put there by the park maintenance people to keep people from sliding off it. 

I don't try to find out how much traction there is on the sand. 

The lodge is picturesque in almost any weather. 

The overlook gives an enlarged view. 

Pretty sky today, wouldn't you say? 

I meander around the area for a while, enjoying the skies, then head south toward home on SC-8 and SC-135.  These roads are not very curvy, but they provide a quick way home. 

Just 88 miles today, but it was good to get out once again, charge the batteries (the bike's and mine), enjoy the scenery, and feel the wind pressing against me. 

Maps to orient you:

■   US-178 from Pickens to SC-11
View interactive map.
■   Back Park Road
View interactive map.
■    Table Rock State Park east entrance road.
View interactive map.


Friday, January 22, 2016

ICE...and Now SNOW!


Not long ago I was crowing about how good a place South Carolina and its surrounding states are to ride in -- temperate all year, good roads, interesting places to see, etc., etc.

Well, the weather has taken a turn for the worse.  Much worse. 

Take a look:

And look here:

Those are my front steps.  That's not just snow.  There is ice first, then show mixed with sleet on top of it.  Not much accumulation, but no good for walking or driving or riding on either.

Here is a view of my street:

Slick, frozen-over road.  Nobody is moving.  The milk and bread are sold out in all the super markets.  Businesses are closed.  It is supposed to get down to 26 degrees tonight, so it won't melt until late tomorrow or the next day.  Then the roads will be a mess of sand and salt and such. 

I have not been out riding since New Years Day, and then for only a relatively few miles.  I'm having withdrawal symptoms.

I am yearning for some of this:

Skyuka Mountain Road

NC-80 during the Rally to Ridgecrest, 2013

Top of Mount Mitchell off the Best Road I Know Of, the Blue Ridge Parkway

Dark and cold, but rideable, on the way to Rally to Ridgecrest, 2013

Highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Mmmm, mmm.  Bring on the warm weather.  I can feel it now.  


Update.  The next morning.  

Well, it snowed all night.   We have an accumulation of four or five inches.  The temperature is just under freezing. 

Only the kids are out playing in it.   So, I take a walk.

The little pond in the back yard is frozen over.   I wonder where our resident frog has gone. 

The greenhouse is cozy despite the snow and cold. 

The road is covered with packed snow, so a few people have been out. 

The sky is a pretty color of blue, with some wispy clouds, and the sun is shining.  It feels good. 

A trail nearby is so far untouched, so I take a short detour.

 In an hour, some of the roads have begun to thaw a bit.

The temperature is up to a balmy 36 degrees.

The low is supposed to be 19 tonight, so it will get icy and treacherous.  But the high will be 48 tomorrow, and most of it will be gone.

Hallelujah.   Maybe a ride is in order later in the week.  I can't wait!   

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Years Day Meander

Many of us are fortunate to live in places where we are able to ride almost year around.  South Carolina, where I live, is one such place.

We have had lots of rain over the past two months, so I have not been out riding much.  But today -- New Years Day, 2016 -- I was able to go out for a few hours.  The temperature was in the high 50s, so it was a pleasant ride.

With all the rain we have had, I had to watch for washed mud, and sand, and gravel, however.  Like this:

And this:

So, I didn't ride up into the Blue Ridge Escarpment, but, rather, kept to some flatter roads with some sweeping curves just south of there.

I ran across a sports car rally in one place on highway SC-11: 

The payoff today, though, was that the skies were not overcast everywhere.  They were blue with these pretty clouds: 

Ya' can't beat a beautiful picture like those, can you?   

How about you?  Did you get out on New Years Day?  What sights did you see?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Right Great Ride Routes to Remember in Arkansas

Know where there are some great ride routes?

In the state of Arkansas.

How do I know this, you ask?

I went there on some scenic and twisty roads that rival those around where I live in the upstate of South Carolina, northeastern Georgia, and western North Carolina.

One pretty place:

There are so many routes, that I don't know where to start, so I refer you to a booklet that I picked up to show you.

You can get it from the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

It contains twenty-one road routes and five dualsport routes, spread all over the state.

It gives the route specifics, mileage, and points of interest along the way.

Just so you know, the center of the state, the capitol Little Rock, is about 650 miles from Easley, SC where I live, so it is a bit of a jaunt to get there in the first place. ...but it seems well worth the effort. 

Here is another guide, containing seven routes, that a concentrates on the area around Eureka Springs in the northwest corner of the state.

This one comes from the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce, or here

And, here is still another that centers on Harrison Arkansas, also in the northwest corner.  It covers the Ozarks and a little of Missouri to the north, with seven routes.  

You can get it from the Harrison Convention & Visitors Bureau.

And as long as we have slipped into Missouri, here is their state motorcycle road guide, containing twenty routes.  

Available here

I think these routes are something to remember for that future getaway you have been planning. 

And now I have a confession to make.

I didn't ride to Arkansas.  I didn't even trailer my bike there and ride.  We were in the cage camping again with our old Apache tent trailer.  You remember what it looks like:

Nevertheless, these ride routes are something to keep in mind if you head over there.