Rifle, Colorado

Billed as the safest bar in America. This place is somewhat contrary to the gun abolishing anti-NRA Progressive government in Colorado. Clearly, the residents of the state are not in agreement with their politicians, at least not those who frequent Shooters Grill. Nevertheless, Colorado state elections come out different. The big cities of Denver and Colorado Springs must have a huge effect on the vote.

Burning Gas-Moab-1

In nineteen seventy-one I went to the Schwinn Bicycle shop in Oak Lawn, Illinois to buy a bike for my wife. It was near Mother’s Day, and the kids (9,8,4) wanted mom to have a bike so she could ride with them. The shop owner was a middle age man who presented himself as an obnoxious oaf. How he survived with that attitude in a business dealing with customers made me wonder if attitude was necessary to succeed. I finally did buy a nice blue bike with narrow tires, hand brakes, and a five speed transmission for Barb. Maybe that is how the guy survived, he was the only game around.

In the course of my conversation with the man, I asked if Schwinn ever intended to make a heavy balloon tired bike with hand brakes and multiple speeds. He replied, “why would anyone want something like that?”  That was the day I invented the mountain bike in the flat state of Illinois. It wasn’t until a few years later that a kid from California cobbled together the bike I envisioned and began a craze that has not slowed down.

I finally bought my first mountain bike in nineteen seventy-eight, from Schwinn. I loved it. My town at the time was in Cook County, Illinois famous for crooked politicians and graft. One good thing Cook County has is a fabulous Forest Preserve District with thousands of acres of forested land around Chicago. Evidently the politicians of old owned horses because the Forest Preserve boasts of over one hundred miles of horse trails. Those trails became my private mountain bike experience for the next twenty-five years. Biking on horse trails became my passion. I also notched many week-long bicycle tours on my belt.

During the course of my cycling history Moab, Utah became the goal. Cycling magazines featured tours and photo essays of the fabulous bicycling on the rocks of Moab. I longed to take a tour there, but it has never happened. The lure to visit Moab, however, stayed deep in my psyche. When I began to winter in Arizona, I realized that Moab was really very close to where I stayed. Close is a relative term, Moab is still over four hundred miles from the Valley of the Sun. Nevertheless, I kept longing to visit and tour Arches National Park. Finally, the stars and the moon were in correct alignment with Neptune and it happened.

Moab, Utah has built an economy around mountain biking, rafting, rock climbing, off-road touring, and photography. The town is a mecca for young twenty and thirty something outdoor types fascinated by adventure. I believe Peggy and I were the oldest people in town.

We scheduled a day to tour Arches National Park, and I’m glad we did. The park is just a couple of miles from Moab, and very accessible by major highways. My heart beat fast as we crossed a bridge and I spotted a sign that said, “Colorado River.” Are you kidding me? I drove over the mighty Colorado. I’ve never traced the head waters of the Colorado and was totally unaware that it enters Arizona by crossing Utah as it comes from Colorado. Previously, the only glimpse I ever had of the mighty river is from the edge of the Grand Canyon. I asked Peg if she was up to a raft ride on the Colorado, she promptly put the notion out of my mind with a rather short “NO.”

At the gate, I flashed “The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass” I bought last year at White Sands. The attendant, one of my employees in a Smokey the Bear uniform, handed me a map and waved us through. Thank God there is a seventeen mile road that winds around Arches. We did see some hearty white-haired bicyclists pumping hard up a hill, but motorists out numbered cyclists by about a thousand to one. The scenery is better than Monument Valley of the day before.  There are many arches formed by water erosion of the soft orange-red stone. We saw most of the arches from drive-by view-point. The most popular ones need a vigorous hike to get close too. It made me appreciate all photographs of the arches because the photographer expended enormous energy to take the photos. I did take some point and shoot photos, but  they are not calendar quality. The drive took us four hours to complete before we cried uncle and headed for some food. Just sitting in the car and seeing all the fabulous rock formations that have taken four-hundred thousand years to form burned us out.

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I’m Just a Bit Confused

On the day of the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, I distinctly remember a report stating that all the guns found inside the school were pistols and that an AK type rifle was found in the shooter’s car. Below, I have included a news clip to support my recollection.

Recently, I listened to the president’s speech from Colorado where he specifically states that the shooter used a fully automatic weapon. Here is an excerpt from the transcript of Obama’s speech given on April 3, 2013 in Colorado

Here is the quote from the White House transcript of the event.

“Now, over the next couple of months, we’ve got a couple of issues: gun control. (Applause.) I just came from Denver, where the issue of gun violence is something that has haunted families for way too long, and it is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country and hunters and sportsmen, but also make sure that we don’t have another 20 children in a classroom gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon – by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly.”

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t the president say the shooter used a fully automatic weapon?

Who is right or better yet who is lying? My guess is that Obama lied in his speech to convince us we need another one of his Constitution bashing laws passed. What sense does it make to ban assault weapons when the school shooters have used pistols? What sense does it make to ban weapons from law-abiding citizens when gang shooters use pistols purchased on the street? What sense does it make to require extensive background checks when criminals buy guns from criminals?

I am really confused folks. Does the government want to protect us by passing laws against us, at the same time it ignores laws. For instance, why do we have laws against campaigning in front of polling places if we allow thugs to stand beating a baton into their palms while we try to enter the polling place ? What sense does it make to have laws to control immigration when we totally ignore them for specific people? What sense does it make to have laws to secure the border when we open it up and let people march into our country without question? What sense does it make to create  Department of Homeland Security and then load it up with weapons and ammunition that cannot be used to protect our borders, and to keep people from crossing illegally? What sense is it to sue states that try to uphold the laws the federal government ignores?

Where is all this confusion leading?

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