Now that the weather here in Southeastern, PA is frigid I am looking forward to next summer. One of my summer rituals has been making a pilgrimage to the Smoky Mountains. Last summer I witnessed an unusual group of motorcycle enthusiast in the wild. The Quad Cam Bastards are Sportster aficionados, and their approach to their rides is minimalist in nature. Their disdain for the corporate culture of present day Harley Davidson is evident in the postings on their blog. I do agree with them that the motor-company has lost its way, but it is what it is, a public traded company.
At first glance most people would take these bastards to be elitists hipster bikers, but there is more to it than that. These guys actually wrench and fabricate their own rides.
Unlike hipsters (and most bikers) who buy their their image at Goodwill or the Harley boutique, the Quad Cam Bastards are a grass roots collective of Harley riders who are dedicated to Sportsters because of the model's simplicity, power, and longevity. Sportsters have been in the Harley lineup since the early 1950s. One could say, and I often do, that Sportsters are the only true Harley.
Their last bash was at the Tail of the Dragon (US 129) in Deals Gap, NC. I rode to the Tail of the Dragon to take advantage of the 11 miles of 318 curves and the Cherohala Skyway, but I also wanted to see what the QCB were like. However, after riding 50 miles in driving rain I arrived soaked and in a sour mood. My introverted tendencies were heightened by being waterlogged, so I observed the bastards from afar. Hey, medication can only do so much for this curmudgeon. But I did get some good pics and some vid.
This summer, the QCB gang will once again migrate to Deals Gap and the Tail of the Dragon. I will be there as well to enjoy the tremendous riding the Smoky Mountain area has to offer. Hopefully this time the rain will stay away.
So, once again I ventured down to Ocean City, MD, for the annual Delmarva Bike Week. To be honest it's more like a weekend with trailer queens. However, this year the scene was mobbed due to the excellent weather. Me and my friend, Jim Donnelly, agreed that one day is all that was needed. Here are some pics and videos.
Of course the best part was the Wall of Death. I think it's the main reason I go to this thing. This year they had a 1928 Indian Scout riding the wall! Most excellent my friends!
Run on the 1928 Indian Scout
Here are some bikes I found interesting...
Not really practical but the color was awesome
Using the frame for an oil tank from Redneck Engineering
Adam would have really torn up the neighborhood on one of these (XR750)
All in all it was a good time, but really, how many doo-rag vendors can you endure?
I spend a lot of time and mental effort grappling with my spiritual life. The ongoing war in my head consumes me. I am torn. Raised a Jew and now a Christian, I have not been able to shake or cement my faith. Perhaps it is not meant to be, and I will always question everything pertaining to a belief in “G-D.” So, am I losing my faith altogether, or am I shedding the supernatural aspects? If the supernatural is removed what’s left to believe in.
Where does this stance of un-supernatural faith fall in regards to my belief in Christ? Belief in something does not necessarily mean an association with the supernatural. Can one follow Christ’s example alone and be a Christian? Love, charity, and service to others should be enough, right? Must I be a “literal” believer of the bible? I don’t think so. I am not delusional. Skeptical, yes as should anyone who hears the fantastic stories of the bible. But are there logical explanations to all those fantastic stories? Does it really matter? Can I be faithful without the trappings of religion?
What matters is how we treat each other. Our connection to each other will lead us to understanding why we are here and our place in the universe. One thing that continues to elude us is the ability to coexist. If race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status didn’t already push us apart, “religion” drives the wedge between us even further. Even those who don’t hold any spiritual beliefs are guilty of the same derision. So, is there any possibility of unity with such diversity in this world? Historically it hasn’t happened with any long term success which leads me to believe it is impossible.
My dilemma is when religious fanatics rear their ugly heads and do ugly things in the name of G-D. News-feeds from around the globe never fail to show some medieval display of religion going on somewhere. This Saturday a church in Florida will burn copies of the Koran in the name of Christ. Yup, I’m embarrassed. Not for them, but for me. I am embarrassed because of the beliefs that I do have. I don’t want to be associated with the zealots and charlatans proclaiming their twisted views of G-D, but we all get lumped together and it’s not fair. But still I participate in some way because my faith keeps me hooked into a community that feels foreign.
I feel like I’m in a no win situation. Is this how it’s supposed to be?
By now we should all know something about the “Tea Baggers” and their spoke-persons Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. So, what has these people’s knickers in a twist?
Out of control government spending?
Perhaps, but I doubt it, I mean where have they been for the past decade(s)? All of a sudden an African American becomes President of the United States and in one year the country has plunged into hell. Really?
Take note! Tea Baggers are having an effect on the political spectrum.
So, let us look at this movement on the local level. Here in Avondale, Pennsylvania, lawn signs have been popping up calling everyone’s attention to an out-of-control government. I guess they just figured it out. Well, the signs have a web address at the bottom AdvanceFreedom.org. Nice ring to it, who doesn’t want to advance freedom and the .org domain extension adds a grass roots earthy kind of feel. However, these baggers intent is not warm and fuzzy. Sinister? Okay, sinister might be over reaching, but their ideology is a throw back to the 1800s.
Issues these tea-baggers are complaining about were created by them for the most part. Deregulation of the banking sector has produced the financial crisis this country is in now. When George W. Bush first bailed out the failing investment houses on Wall Street the Tea Party Patriots were nowhere to be found. Why? Well, he’s was a Republican. Let’s not forget that this is a Conservative Republican movement even though they claim a non-partisan atmosphere. Republicans had been in control of the house and senate for over a decade, so the sleeping giant had no reason to wake up, because it was too busy raping the county’s coffers.
Now it’s all the Obama Administration’s fault? Granted I’m not overly impressed with Obama’s work so far, but look what he inherited, and I’m not impressed with politicians on either side of the aisle anyway. I would whole heartedly join with these so called patriots if their intensions were true, however, from what I can see… So, what can be gleaned from AdvanceFreedom.org is a lot of empty rhetoric based on the decades old 5000 Year Leap by Cleon Skousen. Not exactly a fair and balanced look at the Constitution or American History. Well, if you are white and wealthy you probably subscribe to this take on U.S. history.
At a recent gathering Tea Bagger gathering in Washington, D.C., Mr. Beck called for a return to GOD. I wonder whose GOD he would be referring. The rhetoric of coming back to GOD and traditional values of our founding fathers is perplexing to me. Should we bring back slavery, take away women’s right to vote? What values are they harping about?? In a nutshell I observe these so called “patriots” to be over indulged baby-boomers who are upset that they are not getting their way anymore. They’ve blown their inheritance and have to pay the piper, and don’t like it.
We have been sold out to the corporations under the guise of free speech. Earlier this week a Supreme Court decision to not allow the limiting of corporate donations to political campaigns has weakend this country far worse than any other action against the American people. Now the circle is complete. The picture below sums it up.