Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Great Day For A Ride

Several of you know that my daily (it's not raining) commuter is of the 2-wheel type. Last year I decided that with the hybrid being allocated to child duties, I'd hop on the low fuel, low expense option with a Suzuki V-Strom 650 (DL650).

The nice part about this, when it's a nice day out, it also doubles as my errand runner, my grocery wagon (unless the fridge is completely empty) and pretty much anything else I need to run out for.

Today was Morton's BMW open house, so as soon as we could get the child dressed and the family out the house for some other appointments, I hopped on and rode south on US1 to see what all the fuss was about. The weather was great. I wish I had been able to stay the day since Fredericksburg area Habitat for Humanity was organizing a poker run. Instead I took a shorter demo ride on a new BMW F650GS, a fun bike with little weight, and a sporty engine that purred along the whole way. My ears are grateful. Unfortunately by the time I returned, the line for bbq was long and I needed to get back to the house to hang out with our son for the afternoon.

I was amazed at the variety of bikes present. I wasn't even the only V-Strom. As I was leaving another pulled in. I was parked in a row of Hondas. Something for everyone. What I loved seeing was several 'antiques' that were still being ridden around like they were new. A 64 BMW caught my attention for how smoothly it still ran. There were also several side cars there, with spouses or children riding along. Inside the deals were enticing. I wish I had arrived a little earlier so that I could have found a pair of riding pants in my size. The $299 pants were on sale for just $99. I settled for a $10 pair of riding gloves, and a new safety vest. What a difference several years of road grime can make on neon.
We're priviledged to have Morton's here, the next closest BMW dealer is Lynchburg, VA. There are only 3 in the State. Even if you want a Harley Davidson, you have to go all the way to Orange county. I'm pretty luck in that Extreme Powersports is a Suzuki dealership.
So I'll tell everyone here exactly what my friends ask me about riding. Sign up for a safety course. Even if you're experienced, guaranteed this will improve something in your skillset. If you're new, it will give you tons of pointers. Then find something you can enjoy riding for your situation. A sport bike, as much as I may want one, doesn't fit in my insurance budget. My V-Strom insurance is $100 a year (safety discount included). Lastly, think about all the savings. Gas is one thing and any bike after 2006 has added EPA limits, so the air quality will be better (getting more stringent for this year's model). Think about the other savings, 2 wheels instead of 4, much fewer raw materials, reduced parking requirements. And if that doesn't sway you, how about using the HOV lanes without having to stop at the park & ride lots. Some days this would cut off 1/2 an hour or more. Even for me, why drive an almost 2 ton vehicle to the train station when I can take a 450lb bike there instead. OK, I COULD take my 20lb mountain bike there, but I'm not daring enough to bike up RT3 from the Blue & Grey parkway to Burlington in the evenings.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Did the Republicans Not Learn Anything

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
-Benjamin Franklin

Do you sometimes feel like deja vu? Well, I hate to see it happen because a little good healthy competition is beneficial to everyone. Yep, I'm talking politics again. Yeah, yeah, I don't live in the 99th district, but I own real estate there, and I hate to see the GOP go down the same right wing hard nose path again. Of course I'm talking about Catherine Crabill who is taking on Albert Pollard for VA delegate. (If you want to see lots of area blog posts on the 99th race, go to and search 99th.)

I'm definitely a social liberal, and strongly believe in that part of the constitution that add "liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I also believe in the power of the amendments added over time. I'll admit that early on I liked McCain, he had voted middle of the road, and was rather socially liberal for a Republican. Then to get the nomination he sold out those of us in the middle, and we were courted by the Democrats. The Democratic party should be applauded for their efforts to be a more encompassing party, that understands compromises to get things accomplished that move the world along to better times.

My issue is this, I don't see how Crabill can honestly quote the constitution followed by limiting certain categories of people to not do certain things in the same web page. It's upsetting that splattered all over her website for delegate you can find references to why you should vote for her because of her Christian upbringing and beliefs. But where does it say what she stands for on solutions to the economy? Solutions for crumbling infrastructure? Solutions for security? Solutions for teen pregnancy? Shall I go on?

Ugh, I give up - if the Republican party doesn't get it, I'll go get my political candidates from somewhere else! I use to like the Republican party, what happened?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mayfest '09 - Free Ice Cream!

What's better than FREE in this economy? Getting free ice cream while hopefully spending a few $ on spring plants that will go to benefit a very worthy organization. I'm talking about this years MAYFEST, which happens on Sat May 2nd.

From the RACSB website:

Every year on the first Saturday in May, Rappahannock Adult Activities (RAAI) holds an annual fundraiser called Mayfest. Mayfest is a day of celebration for
our participants and their families, as well as members of the community who would like to support our endeavors. Mayfest is a day of family fun with entertainment, bake sale, food, horse rides, raffle prizes, Silent Auction, and plant sales. Participants begin working in early January of each year growing a wide variety of annuals, perennials, and herbs for the sale.

Please mark your calendar for Mayfest XXIII to be held Saturday, May 2, 2009 from 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. The event is held at our 750 Kings Highway location which is located three miles east of the Chatham Bridge.

Turkey Hill Ice Cream to be provided by 93.3 WFLS

Last year I was lucky enough to win a great set of bbq marinades, but also bought plants that resulted in a pepper garden that far exceeded expectations. This year we're going to work on our second attempt at container gardening on our deck.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Facelift For City Website

This weekend a new look is being debuted for the City of Fredericksburg website. You can still find all of the same information, but things have been reorganized slightly. Look for more improvements to come as they receive feedback on this design. Drop downs along the top consolidate topics for local government, residents and people looking for information. At each page, a context menu is available on the right to help guide you to lower level details. This has been a work in progress for a number of months (possibly years), and is finally seeing the light of day.

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