Thursday, April 9, 2009


There would be nothing quite like this to ruin a good scoot...

...if the officer didn't happen to be one of the kids you taught in your rookie year as a teacher who posed his squad car complete with flashing lights just so you could get the "pulled over" shot for your blog.

I'm really proud of this young man who's now 15 years older than I was when I taught him, and 26 years older than he was then, and I breathe a little easier knowing that he's out there keeping us out of harm's way. He never misses an opportunity to pull over just to say hello to me and I'm honored that he does. Anybody who chooses to teach for the right reasons hopes to make a positive difference in the lives that he touches. This man reminds me often enough that I did to him.

I met up with this rather talkative bird this afternoon while taking a long ride around a mountain that I'd taken only once before, in the dark and in the opposite direction.

I'd meant to retrace that jaunt in the daylight sometime, and today was the day. With tomorrow and Saturday looking dismal with those darned April showers headed our way, today was a good day to get some pleasant miles in.

I'd never been into a Kohl's store before Monday and I had no intention of ever setting foot into one, (because they don't usually have any cool stuff - just clothes mostly) but the Mrs. had a 30% off coupon for everything in the store and I was sorely in need of some new sneakers. She handed me their latest advertising circular in the car and told me to see if anything else looked good. I thumbed through it and my eyes landed on a GPS unit that, with the 30% off, would be a very good deal. Since I have the old Garmin V in my Neon I suggested that she get the one at Kohl's for her car. She did.

After we played with it for a while, we discovered that it was excellent for the price and I have to admit that I was a little envious. Though it can't interface with the computer as interactively as the Garmin, as is typical with the newer budget priced GPS receivers, it's quite capable of navigating effectively and intelligently. The next day, with the coupon still good, we decided to get one for our daughter who's away at school, and when I mentioned that if the store might have two I just might ask for one for Father's Day, I was told to see if the store had two more. It didn't. It didn't even have one. We called the Stroudsburg Kohl's which is about an hour away. They had one, but only one. We asked them to hold it for us.

Off we went to celebrate my mom and dad's 53rd wedding anniversary at the restaurant where we always celebrated it when my sister and I were kids. We told my sister about the GPS and she said that it's about time that she got one too. I Googled the Kohl's store in Easton from my cell phone to get their phone number. They said they had two. I asked them to hold them for us. With dinner in our guts we headed to Stroudsburg and then to Easton with my sister and my dad along for the ride, and a few hours later we were back with three more of the same GPS units that we'd gotten on Monday.

The old Garmin is shaped like a triangular prism and there was no way that I could rig up an easy, practical mount for the scooter that would hold it secure, enough that I wouldn't worry about losing it on a trip. The new one, though... My gears were turning before I even asked for it because mounting it seemed quite likely. That was my other reason for wanting to take a decently long ride today - to test out the mount that I put together while the sun was still warming things up.

The plastic inset that the unit came in, some stiff wire, four rubber bands, and a bungee cord later and I was in business. The whole thing hangs on the mirror mounts and comes off in seconds, but is comfortably secure even over bumps and bounces. It covers the cycle's speedometer, but its own speedometer function is much more accurate and reveals that the BV's meter does the usual scooter thing of reading about five miles per hour higher than the actual speed.

Although I can't manage my waypoints on it with the computer as I can with the Garmin, I can record tracks and then view them in Map Source or Google Earth and I like looking at my tracks more than anything else I can do with a GPS. I like revisiting them and the pictures I take, especially on rainy days, to remember the places I've gone and the things that I've seen.

Every good day of riding comes to its eventual close and today's did with long shadows as the sun was going down. I borrowed the side of this building that I was rolling past to get the shot of my doppelganger and his bike.

Tomorrow, even if the rain doesn't fall, I'll stay close to the house. It's Good Friday and the afternoon church service is a must. I'll miss the way it was when I was growing up, especially hearing St. John's Passion chanted in Slovak with my dad singing the deep bass part of Jesus Himself, but even in simple spoken English the sacrifice on Calvary will hit home. It will be a time for deep introspection - way deeper than the kind that being on the bike usually affords me.

For now... Good night.


Paul said...

Yet another enjoyable read, Joe.

I wish you a most blessed Good Friday.

Lance said...

Joe, I hope you have a nice Easter, and thanks for doing your part in raising good men and women!

irondad said...

The posed picture thing reminds me of earlier days. We had a confiscated drug raid Corvette painted in our department colors. One time while working traffic I pulled over a teenager. He was one of many "cruising the gut".

The young man said he didn't have a problem with the ticket. He just wanted to know if we could stay there a while so all his friends could see him.

For a bit there I thought the gloves were what was holding the GPS in place!