Monday, May 29, 2006

All Gave Some. Some Gave All.

In the previous post, you read that our Memorial Day weekend excursion included Washington, DC. That visit to our nation's capitol was the real reason for our trip --to join a half-million of our closest friends in honoring those who put their lives on the line for the freedom we sometimes take for granted. Rolling Thunder is a demonstration organized by vets to draw attention to the thousands left behind in Vietnam, remaining in POW or MIA status to this day. Over 20 years, it has evolved into a gathering of riders whose numbers total, depending on who you listen to, between 350 and 750 thousand. In the group photo, you can see a pedestrian bridge to the right behind all the bikes, rising to treetop level. We are parked 2 lots beyond that bridge, and only because we were able to sneak forward one lot during the day. We finally moved out from the Pentagon staging area about 2-1/2 hours after the noon parade start.

If I remember my frame of mind in 7th grade correctly, I'd say that a large part of it may have been lost on Katrina. Still, I think the spirit of the day and the staggering number of names etched into that granite wall will leave a lasting impression on her, as it does to me. While I'm neither a veteran, nor an activist, I am an American and I respect what that means.

Freedom isn't free.

Dora the Explorer

OK, we wouldn't have named the kid Dora even if we had known, but Katrina is turning out to be quite the explorer. We love road trips; she's been as far as Florida in the car, and is racking up some serious miles behind Dad on the bike now that she's getting older. On Saturday, we added Virginia and West Virginia to the list of states she's ridden to, and also DC on Sunday, although we didn't get a "welcome" photo. This was far enough to be an overnighter, and our stop was Frederick, MD.

In PA Dutch country, we waved to the horse and buggy drivers, then had our lunch delivered to us by a girl on roller skates. We had never seen a Sonic before, and Katrina picks the stops when we ride. Pretty cool, except Dad was EXTREMELY disappointed to learn that nobody goes inside the store, and there are no restrooms! We then rode past the H-D factory in York, and past a dozen thoroughbred farms on the backroads of western Maryland. After checking in and taking a little break, we decided to shoot for West Virginia. Funny thing about these pictures; you never know what conditions you'll find when you take them. Our picture from Maryland last summer is on a peaceful road with an apron that was wide enough to have a picnic. Here, we're sandwiched between a busy US highway and the banks of the Potomac River, camera staring into the sun. The photo at the bottom is framed to exclude the NO PARKING sign just to the right of the shot :-) Interestingly, we learned that Memorial Day weekend must be National Yard Sale Week. We saw, without exaggeration, at least 20 of them. Katrina's inner shopper must have died a thousand deaths knowing we couldn't fit anything else on the bike with us even if we wanted to. Poor kid...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Who'd Have Thunk It?

Previously in this spot was a post celebrating my 16th wedding anniversary. In it were some thoughts about how a couple gets that far, and how by that point it's sort of a given that it's a forever kind of thing.

I guess nothing is forever.

Lisa and I made it another 2+ years since that post, but then seem to have come to a fork in the road. As I write this, events are fresh in my mind and I have to be careful what I say. Lisa will always have a special place in my heart. If I live to be 75, she will have been my girl for 1/3 of my life. That's pretty serious stuff. Yet, when you think about it, we each could still end up with a mate who could at that age account for nearly half our lives. Always stay positive, right?

Here's hoping we both end up happy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What's this "Speedy" crap all about?

When I first got hooked up with this interweb thing, I had to come up with an e-mail address for the account to which my blazing fast 33.6k modem would connect. Not wanting to delay the process, I put a solid 9 seconds worth of thought into it, and thus was born TF499 at aol dot com. Naturally, it didn't take me long to tire of hearing "WTF is TF?" So, having had some time to think about it, I replaced TF (which is the designation for Top Fuel dragsters, by the way) with Nitro when creating a Yahoo! account. That account still exists, along with a shoddy homepage that explains the 499 and 689.

Fortunately, it didn't take me long to tire of AOL, either, so that was soon nixed in favor of The nitro thing, while an improvement, just wasn't quite doing it either. So, I evolved into speedemn at fast dot net, which I just thought was the coolest thing ever. I also created a speeddemon account with Yahoo! because they hadn't come up with their spam filter yet and my box was just getting killed. is now history as well, but from then on, my online identity has been some form or other of speeddemon, and I think that pretty well sums it up.

When they ask you in kindergarten what you want to be when you grow up, all the boys say "astronaut," "police officer," or "race car driver." For most boys, that changes over the years, but for me, unfortunately, I'm still a firesuit monkey trapped in slacks and a cotton dress shirt. Six numbers plus the powerball would fix that, but until then my weekend wear is a black t-shirt with some Harley dealer's logo on it. And ya know, that ain't so bad...