Thursday, August 29, 2013

Marijuania is not safe

Marijuania is not safe. There are many lies and myths perpetuated on behalf of the international multi billion dollar marijuana industry. The slick marketting campaign and spheres of influence are seen in words such as "medical marijuania". There is no such thing as smoked 'medical marijuania' and the medical profession has in no way supported the government and business political agenda to promote distribution of marijuana. The claims on behalf of the 'elixir' of marijuana, this 'new age panacea' are as false as the claims the tobacco companies foisted on the public only short decades ago.
Legalization of marijuana means tobacconization of marijuana. The confusion of legal terms is a direct consequence of the marketting strategies of the big business promotion of this poisonous dangerous compound. "De criminalization' of addiction has been long a goal of the medical community who see patients not benefitting from criminal incarceration but needing treatment by all means instead.
Smoked marijuana, inhaled marijuana, is no more good for the lungs than smoking tobacco. It is the same as 'safe injection site' rhetoric. There is no 'safe' injection site. I was trained as a doctor all the dangers of needles and injection and today illicit drug injection remains the principal cause of the continued spread of deadly infectious disease in this community not to mention all the local trauma and disease associated with unclean introduction of foreign objects into bodies never made to have needles stuck into their blood vessels for recreation and escape.
Junkies and potheads don't find cures for cancer or get awards for altruism and creativity in the community. That's because illicit drugs impair mental and emotional function.
The Marijuana industry says that marijuana is no worse than alcohol and tobacco. It simply is worse than alcohol because alcohol isn't smoked and the effects of alcohol taken socially and responsibly are beneficial. If marijuana users were to say that all they wanted was to drink a weak marijuana tea which was what historically was the 'herbal' use of this substance, there might be some honesty in their arguments. However the 'potency' of present day marijuania is equivalent in a toke to the white lightning LSD of 60's and 70's. People become psychotic on marijuana today.
Canada has the highest incidence of adolescent usage of marijuana in the civilized world. This is despite restrictions and directly a consequence of sophisticated marketting to the young and vulnerable with campaigns identical to those used by big tobacco companies years ago before the community saw the devastation that followed 'legalization' of tobacco.
While the majority of individuals in upper classes with strong supports and financial and medical coverage of the likes of the Truedopes and Flakey Fords can 'experiment' with illicit substances for the titillation of their fans, even remarkable women like Lindsay Lohen and Britney Spears can attest to the devastation of chemical drug addictions like marijuana and other substances.
Marijuania dependence is a chemical addiction and today a principal cause for costly treatment simply because it has so impaired function and dramatically altered personality and emotional stability for so many individuals.
Roughly 10% of those who use alcohol or tobacco or marijuana will encounter significant medical and psychiatric problems with these 'drugs'. While the 'drug pushers' will get the 'profits' and the tobacco companies have shown the citizens of the country will reap the costs of health care consequences of legalization of marijuana. Those who will be most hurt by the increased distribution and business entrepreneurs are the young and marginal, the same groups that were most hurt by tobacco.
When asked no marijjuana smokers wanted their neurosurgeons to be smoking marijuana indicating the awareness of the impairment in function that all marijuania users recognise despite their own denial about their own ability ot 'handle' the effects of an truly 'messy' compound with mixed hallucinogen, stimulant, sedative properties. In comparison with other compounds marijuana stays 'active' in the system long after 'subjective' experience of the effects of marijuana. Impairment in function can last up to a month after smoking of a joint, a truly long 'hangover' compared to the next day effect of alcohol or cigarettes.
All 'safety sensitive' jobs have outlawed marijjuana in the workplace for decades as it is well documented to be a principal cause of workplace accidents and injury.
The medical costs of increased marijuana distribution in the community, ie the tobacconization of marijuania, with 'legalization' will overburden an already desperately stretch health care system. It can be likened to crashing a half dozen jumbo jets in the city and expecting already year long waitlists for medical services to just take up the 'epidemic' that legalization of marijuana would unleash.
Just as physicians and so many other good citizens have dramatically affected the other 'smoke' producers with years of steady effort and work , the same corrupt and morally reprehensible sociopathic business men and their poilitical hacks would have us allowing them to sell a different kind of 'smoke' to the children, the brain injured, the mentally ill and those who are out of work and so easily preyed upon.
Not only should marijuana not be legalized, tobacco should be legally restricted further and the age of drinking should be returned to 21 to stop the widespread death of youth under the influence of alcohol and marijuania when their brains are least capable of tolerating the poisonous effects of intoxication.
What we certainly don't need in this country is for the Dowtown Eastside of Vancouver to be extended widespread. America doesn't need the country turned into the Bowry and we don't need youth across Canada staggering about mid day in the middle of traffic like the zombie population of Vancouver downtown eastside.


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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Unit

Alright, I like TV. I like it especially on netflix without the commercials. I like the hour long show as compared to the hour and a half to two hour movie. I can watch a tv show while having dinner then get on to something else.
I like the Unit. This is a military soap opera, with absolutely fantastic cutting edge elite force action, male comraderie and the story of the wives and children going on parallel along side. I like the gender balance. I like the episode on base with the sick child couple with the father soldier fighting his way to safety in a far away land.
I love the American patriotism of the show. It's a group of men and their wives serving their country in an honorable and responsible way. It's not intellectuals living in the safety provided by working men and women and criticizing everything about their present and past.
I love the down to earth quality of the Unit. I like the philosophical and even spiritual moments. The soap opera quality is all the human qualities of relationships and humans being human. It's just at a higher level than afternoon tv. It's written with the working person with a job as opposed to the person at home on welfare. The Unit aired in the evenings at prime time. It's prime time TV and deserves whatever awards it's received. Each character is believable and the acting is superb.
It's Saving Private Ryan and Brothers in Arms. It was based on the Delta Force but I think it's own kind of special.
I've watched dozens of episodes over several years and I still come back to it whenever I can. I like the message that democracy is worth fighting for. I know it's 'politically incorrect' . All that is good and true in the world is politically incorrect.
The Unit is realpolitick. It's action and suspense and real human beings trying to love in a really tough disruptive service. It's about life on the base. It's about all the sacrifices that the military has to make.
It's about Americans and the American empire. These are the legionaires of the present day but the American presidents aren't Nero. They're more like Claudius and Constantine. America is indeed the best choice in my mind of some really bad alternatives.
It's often 'politically correct' to malign the US except the alternatives to date have been empires lead by Russia which simply killed 80 million citizens out of hand and jailed more than American ever hoped to. It's devolved into gangsterism and after years of pogroms against the Jews it's bolstering it's own depravity with attacks on gays and lesbians. Alternatively there's China which killed 120 million of its citizens, though some suggest that number is only half of the true number killed by the Chinese government. It's certainly not a country known for civil liberties, religious freedom, occupational safety standards or health care and old age pensions. Yet there continue to be Westerners who knock the US not realizing that without the US the most likely country to fill the vacuum with an army of single men and the women aborted in the womb is China.
Then there is the Moslem mainstream. True there's a minority of Moslem moderates and many of the highest spiritually developed of individuals but all the Moslem lead countries have tended to maintain almost medieval tyrannies resulting in dessert spring with its mass killings of protesters. America had Kent State in comparison , a few dead. True a few more blacks were killed but American leadership didn't turn chemical weapons on its citizens or kill tens of thousands of dissenters. Even the relatively enlightened Turkey allows police brutality in the streets which makes the beating of blacks by LA police look like love taps. There's no free media in these countries and intellectuals are told what they can think and routinely shot if they step out of line.
So I like the Unit because I believe that America and it's military are presently what stands between barbarian hoards and corrupt communist gangster regimes lead by the likes of the throwbacks in North Korea and the pirates of West Africa.
America, Russia, France and England are all arms dealers. No one is a saint but I choose America over the alternatives. Europe is America's ally and given the difficulties of the European Union it isn't as reliable as America.
And yes I'd love world peace and I could write a speech for Miss America and I could tell any intellectual all sorts of things about what the problem in America is but I don't have or see a better solution. That said, I like the Unit because it brings home the complexity and shows that the men and women doing their jobs aren't the ignoramus hillybilly lame brained killers that the effete protected priviledged intellectual class would paint them.
I like the Unit. I really do.


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Recovery is Contagious

"Change your playmates and you  change your life".

It's well documented that addiction is contagious. People who associate with those who have an addiction are most likely to develop addiction themselves. The presence of a only one abstinent person in one's social network reduces the risk of developing addiction by more than a quarter.

The greatest density of long term abstinent persons are found in 12 step self help groups.  Doctors in recovery had a greater than 80% likelihood of long term abstinence and the vast majority of those return to and continue working in their recovery. There is even evidence that people who recover become 'better than well'.  Followed as a cohort they are indeed healthier.

There is a tendency to provide 'housing' and other 'services' to those who are addicted without realizing that it isn't 'housing' alone that is beneficial but 'safe and clean' housing. Locally the greatest difficulty for those recovery is the constant harrassment and forceful marketting by 'drug pushers'.  'Goddam the Pusherman' written by the Canadian rock bank, Steppenwolf, summed up the 'problem' decades ago. 

The illicit drug industry is no different from the tobacco industry. Promotion and marketting are central to the multi billion dollar profits. Marijuana is such an illicit drug too.  Once a 'near beer' potency, today its potency is the equivalence of the 'white lightning' LSD of the 70's.

Those who attend self help programs are the most likely to sustain long term sobriety.  Research shows that attendance is not as effective as participation in the 12 steps.  Those who actually participate show a high rate of recovery. It's been compared to knowing basketball, those who are playing the game versus those who are sitting in the bleachers. That said, even those who are required to attend self help programs are at higher likelihood of recovery than not as evidenced by the overwhelming success of 'drug courts' compared to jailing drug abusers.

The more 'activity' in a persons life, like work, volunteer work, hobbies, activities, institutions, group involvment , the greater the likelihood of success. "Change your playground' and you're stay clean and sober is a motto well demonstrated by research. However those who have an apartment where they have used and is associated with abuse may in fact have greater risk than those whose addiction causes them to have to find new accomodation that is drug free.  Those who are able to live in drug free environment surrounded by people who do not use are most likely to obtain long lasting recovery.

There is a 'myth" that abstinence and recovery are less likely. The research shows that over time 60% of people achieve lasting recovery and those who have 5 years of abstinence are most likely to remain abstinent for life. The reason for the 'fallacy' that 'few achieve recovery' is that people in the field tend to see the revolving door patients who are least successful. The same observation was true with asylums where the staff thought schizophrenics were mostly in asylums when in fact the vast majority of those with schizophrenia commonly are living in the community and may only be in hospital a few months of their life time.  Those who recover from alcohol and drugs tend to move out of self help groups and return to community pursuits. Because of their success and the tendency to discretion about past difficulties they aren't considered as part of the stigma that can be heightened by the overt drug abuse of prominent politicians or others in the news media.

People remember the overt aberrant drug addict and forget the less dramatic successful person in recovery especially as those in recovery are now usually part of the mainstream of community. 

Recovery is contagious. As one leading addiction doctor is prone to say "you either run with the turkeys or you run with the cheetahs."



Monday, August 26, 2013

Social Recovery and Abstinence

This was truly one of the very best presentations that I have ever heard. It was given as part of the CME  at the IDAA 2013 conference in Denver, Colorado. The presenter was truly inspiring and a great presenter. I apologize for these rough notes and have recommended to friends that I'd encourage anyone who wants some cutting edge research and a terrific presentation to get in touch with Dr. David McCartney……Despite being from Scotland he spoke the English language with great clarity.
I was further impressed to learn of the great work being done by Bill White whose original papers I'll definitely be obtaining.
National Health Service UK LEAP
Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Program
 
Recovery and Social Factors
 
Dr. David McCartney
 
Scottish Context (or whit ye need tae ken)
1.Do People Get Better
2.What is recovery?
3.What is the evidence?
4.How Does Recovery Happen?
5.Social influence, visibility and contageon
 
1. “Scotland - we are a small country with a big problem”
Pop 5.3 million
54,000 problem heroin users
Twice rate of England and 5 x that of US
22,000 on methadone
584 drug related deaths in 20011
Costs 3.5 billion pounds ($5.4 billion)
 
34% of men and 23% of women drinking to excess (self report)
5% of pop dependent on drink
Cirrhosis rates have doubled
 
Vast majority of liver cirrhosis deaths are related to alcohol
 
Enormous increase in alcohol related mortality
 
Alcohol related deaths - high related to neighbours.
 
It’s multifactorial causation
 
Change in perception - unacceptable to be seen drunk in public in my granny’s day where as today any weekend night you’d see lots of people drunk in street
Supermarket spirits
Price of alcohol falls and alcoholism rises
 
  1. Do people get better?
“Saw administrator in Scottish harm reduction facility and told that if you want to succed in this work you have to believe no one will get better.”
“I decided not to work there.”
 
Desistance (crime)
Belief nothing works
-85% of repeat offends desist from criminality by the age of 28 (Blumstein and Cohen 1987)
Recovery rates
-CSAT (2009)  58% of life course dependent users of substance will achieve lasting recovery
-Bill White (2012 50.3%
-Welsh workers estimate 7% (Best)  - asked the addiction workers and this was their idea - this is the “Clinical Fallacy”.  Major gap between reality and belief
 
Outcomes (US) physicicians
80% pluse sustained abstinence
70% return successfully to work
High expectation
Intensive treatment
Monitoring
 
Outcomes (UK) physicians
79% abstinence (at 3 years)
Most return to work
Most avoiding GMC (Boards)
Unlike their patients most opiate addictied physicians don not end up on opiate replacement therapy
 
Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme
  • positive residential treatment program, medical and social, 3 months
  • funded at point of contact through NHS
 
Seven Pillars of LEAP
-medical
-therapeutic
-housing (safe, supported)
-education/employability
-mutual aid/recovery community
-family programs
-aftercare  (2 years)
 
This is fairly new in United Kingdom
 
300 referrals/year
 112 admissions/year
62% completion
52% graduates maintain abstinence (one year)
 
Do people get better?
YES
 
Duration of Recovery
(Bill White 2013)
 
When does recovery today predict recovery for life
Point of durability seems to be reached by 4-5 years of recovery -stay sober and clean for life
 
What is Recovery?
-voluntarily sustained control over substance use which maximises health and wellbeing and participation in the rights, roles and responsibilities of society - UK Drug Police Commission - 2008 p6
 
-Recovery is a process through which an individual is enabled to move on from their problem of drug abuse towards a drug free life and become an active and contributing citizen -
Scotland
 
Betty Ford - sobriety, personal heallth and citizenship.
 
You are in recovery if you say you are - valentine - abtinence alone is not recovery
 
Evidence Review
There is little UK based research and international evidence base on recovery is limitted by 3 factors
  1. dated 
2. much is based on alcohol and not illict drugs
  1. much of it was US
 
But
Sustatined recovery ‘is the norm”
Recovery is related to the 12 step process
-
-
 
Study of workers in the field in recovery from heroin addiction (108)
‘tired of lifestyle, found rock bottom, 
why did they stay stopped
-moved away from using networks
-found treatment not that important
 
Mapping the recovery journeys of former drinkers (Hibbert and Best (2011) Drug and Alcohol Review)
-graphs
  • physical health
  • psychological health
  • environment
  • evidence - in early recovery - first 2 years a little lower than society norms
  • “BETTER THAN WELL RESEARCH” after 5 years appear to do better than the population norm. 
 
Post Traumatic Growth
-from natural disasters like tornadoes, plane crashes murders( McMillan 1997) , sexual assault (Frazier 2004) 
-pain touchstone of spiritual recovery and growth
 
How does recovery happens
Several models
  1. Social control
  2. Social Learning
  3. Stress and Coping
  4. Behavioural economics 
 
Structural equation modelling results
over 2000 patients
Self help movement involvement - active coping, motivation to change, friendship - all contribute to substance reduction.
 
"Getting you plugged in makes you well"
Holt-Lunstad & Colleagues (2010)
Grella and colleagues (2008)
Best and Laudet (2010)
 
*Number and quality of social relationships predicted long and healthy life
 
 
People who relapsed were less likely to use self help movement
 
Community benefit - increased non using relationships
 
Lit et al “changing network support for drinking (2009)
-one abstinent person in network decreased risk of relapse by 27%
 
Recovery studies in Birmingham and Glasgow (n=205)
-more time with other people in recovery
more time in activities.
 
Recovery Capital
-breath and depth of internal and external resources that can be drawn on to resist alcohol and drug abuse
  • can increase ‘recovery capital’ 
  • clean housing, friends, family ,health, volunteering, peer support, work
  • new concept in UK - assertive referral to mutual aid
  • - mostly getting people on to AA/NA
  • -find out what meetings are available
  • hard to get professionals to believe this and do this despite all the evidence that this work
  • less than 5% will respond with just a brochure
  • need to have someone meet them and go with them and ask about the meeting in follow up
  • 1,200 groups weekly
  • various family and servicers groups
 
How are we doing in Edinburgh (The Gap)
Do you or have you ever used AA/Na
AA- .8%
NA - .4%
 Part of it is the misperception about the success  - self help recovery is very successful
Clinical fallacy exists that recovery isn't successful mainly because - we don’t see those who get well
Misperception it’s an religious group
 
Alcoholic Anonymous in UK
  • all the mutual aid groups are growing and some very rapidly
 
Social Influence and Contagion
-"hang around recovery people long enough and you might catch a dose of recovery"
  • same is true with addiction
 
Framingham Heart Study - Christakis and Fowler
-person’s odds of becoming obese increased by 57%
(similar research with smoking -if your partner stops smoking 67% increased chance you will)
-Conclusion ‘your friends can make you fat’
Obesity Epidemic
64.3% Scots obesid
 
“obesity is catching’
 
Social learning and Social Control
 
Social Network and quality of life
-Holt-Lunstad - 2010 - individuls with good social networks 50% greater likelihood of survival
 
12 step affiliation versus involvement
  • **attendance at 12 is not likely to be as helpful as becoming actively involved
  • ***getting a sponsor at 6 months 4 fold likelihood of not relapsing
 
“My recovery gave me a new life”
-recovery from addiction makes Scotland stronger”
-visibility important
 
Recovery communities 
outside mutual help
UK Recovery Walk
 
relationship between treatment and recovery
  • treatment can be a part of recovery ‘initiation’
  • gives the client the tools - managing your own recovery
  • -self efficacy and enduring recovery (recovery maintenance)
  • a journey, not a destination
  • eg diabetes and emphysema - movement to training patient to manage their own 
illness from original management plan of solely seeing speciality
 
Contagion
  • have treatment providers got it the wrong way round?
  • Recovery is contagious
  • Reocvery champions
 
What does it all mean?
  1. Recovery is a reality - evidence - recovery narratives
  2. Recovery is social - takes place in 12 step groups
  3. Recovery is contagious - attraction, power of example
  4. Worldwide evidence base needs to develop a  bit - 12 step evidence is strong and growing
  5. We can actively connect people to recovery resources ( 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Methadone "Carries"

In Methadone Maintenance Programs the true evidence of good recovery comes with the patient being assessed as appropriate for "Carries".
Normally in the Methadone Maintenance Program a patient goes to a pharmacy or clinic where thaey receive their methadone personally, The usual methadone prescription contains the words "DWI" which means "Daily Witnessed Ingestion." The methadone usually comes in tang or some other flavoured liquid. The standard methdone dosage is usually under 100 mg but due to differences in rate of methadone metabolism may be in the range of 300 mg. Methadone Maintenance Programs are providing the right amount of methadone to counteract the withdrawal from opiates. The amount of methadone given is not aimed at causing a 'high' or interfering in a person's capacity to work and have a normal full and social human life.

Methadone is a pain medication that is given as an "unwitnessed" prescription to patients with pain disorders who do not have addiction. The operative word in 'addiction' is 'more' in that the patient wants increasing amounts of medication where by contrast pain patients commonly want the least amount of pain medication as they would rather have some pain and full life than lose the capacity to work and socialize due to the effects of their pain medications.

"Carries" are simply 'unwitnessed' prescriptions. For a doctor to write that an addict can have a 'carry' is for him to take responsibility that the addict will not sell, exchange or misuse the prescription, such as by stockpiling to take a larger dose for a 'high' . The program requires that the person be emotionally and cognitively 'stable' showing good judgement and being trustworthy. They have to be able to have a safe place to store the medication and know that the medication can cause the death of another, especially a child, in the event that it's stolen or misused. Pain patients are required to do the same just as heart patients with potentially lethal heart medications are advised of the cautions associated with 'safe storage' of medication.

In addition to this the British Columbia Methadone Program requires that a person have urine tests on a random basis that are free of 'illicit mood altering drugs' for a minimum of 3 months. Note that this is a minimum requirement but because of the equally important requirements mental and emotional stability and safe storage a person may not 'automatically' receive methadone 'carries' because their 'urine is clean'. Alot of the decision by the individual doctor to grant this 'priviledge' and 'reward' is the 'attitude' of the patient which is good indication of 'emotional stability'.

Some patients are 'rapid metabolizers', a condition which can be assessed by laboratories which measure the peak and trough of the methadone level in the urine and/or blood. Polymorphism of the CYP3A5 gene is one factor in this area. To assess this it is necessary to have the pharmacy give the medication at two separate times and for the lab to draw fluids at two separate times to measure how much is active metabolite is available for it's actual work.

If a person is a 'rapid metabolizer' then the pharmacy for an additional fee with provide the DWI twice daily. The 'second' dose is indeed a 'carry' and as such comes under the classification of 'unwitnessed' medication.

Unfortunately a central feature of the disease of addiction is 'dishonesty'. Denial of disease long after everyone else has recognised the problem simply refers to the 'self - dishonesty' that is part of the hi jacking of the brain circuitry that results in essentially the 'parasite' taking over the 'host' and achieving the parasitic end of essentially 'overdose' . Drugs ,especially, the opiates directly affect the 'pleasure centre' of the brain. Research with monkeys where they were able to press a lever to obtain direct stimulation of the pleasure centre resulted in the monkeys continuing to press the lever to death or until the researcher un hooked them from the direct stimulation device. Freud explained psychiatric process by postulating a 'death wish' or 'thanatos' as opposed to the 'life wish' or 'eros'. A researcher at UBC whose name I forget though often quote postulated that the addict by the chemical trauma to their brain 'dissociated' into two people. This certainly is consistent with observations of clinicians and the research that shows addiction removes the higher brain function with the result that addiction is a 'devolution' or regression to a more primal state .

If a person has progressed in the methadone program to having carries then this is a pretty good indication that they are indeed doing a solid recovery program and are being treated essentially like patients requiring methadone for pain. The only difference is that methadone patients on programs are required to have a random drug test usually monthly while on carries. Indeed given the increasing evidence of substance abuse with prescription medication and diversion of prescription medication no one considers monthly random urine testing an issue. Indeed it's considered that random urine testing might well be beneficial for all patients being established on chronic opiate therapy for any reason. This is significant with the recent finding that deaths on narcotics are commonly associated with benzodiazepine usage. The drug testing for Methadone Maintenance Programs includes assessing benzodiazepine, a pharmaceutical drug commonly sold on the street and because of it's respiratory depression long associated with overdose and suicide.


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Halle Berry and The Call

Halle Berry plays Jordan, a 911 operator in Brad Anderson's Thriller Movie, The Call. She is simply sensational.
I remember her first as the Bond Girl Jinx in Die Another Day where she certainly was beautiful as her Miss World Runner Up status would suggest. I loved her in Swordfish but Swordfish was such a over the top movie that it made all the characters larger than life and John Travolta the most memorable of all.
As Storm in the X-Men series she was truly an action figure character. But it really wasn't until Cloud Atlas that I realized what a deep and talented actress she truly was.
The Call that really shows her extraordinary talent for depth and breadth of acting. With this movie she has certainly stepped into the same room as the likes of Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep and Greta Garbot. She is truly a big screen actor. Of course she already has the Academy Award for Best Actress in Monster Ball but that was the Monster Ball. The Call is a whole other genre. The Call is a first order thriller and Halle Berry's is human to the core.
The Call is a movie that Alfred Hitchcock could have written. The direction by Brad Anderson is perfectly timed and paced. Abigail Breslin plays an exceptionally believable Casey Welson the frightened good girl kidnapped by the twisted and terrifying Michael Foster. Michael Eklund's own superb acting is reminiscent of the genius of Hannibal Lecter.
Halle Berry's multifaceted developing character with it's amazing crescendo lifts all the characters to dazzling heights. Richard D'Ovidio's is the story and screenplay writer. It's Hemmingway in simplicity with the finesse of James Patterson. A must see, if only for Halle Berry's acting.


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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ganges, Saltspring Island, Sunday

Our meeting has concluded. Allan sang the St. Francis Prayer and Amazing Grace. The spiritual speaker was authenitic and moving. We sat at the back of the room, Gilbert well behaved. I didn't attend the dance last night. Country rock music filtered across from the campgrounds. I'd made the mistake of lying down and saying I'd get up later to join in. With Gilbert huddled beside me, I fell asleep reading a novel on my Ipad.

I'm less irritable, more content but still 'restless" despite service, meditation and prayer. What is there for me to do? Quo Vadis? Where am I to turn next? What is there for me to do?

Brian had just returned from a long trip with his Bigfoot camper. Now all he had to do was visit friends on the island. I responded, saying that, hunting season opens in the next weeks. I am defined by the seasons. Work remains central.

I rankled to learn another of the "complicit" has semi retired and is "living off avails of their despicability. I am reminded of the political 'survivors' who participate in the atrocities but in contrast to Nuremberg find themselves after wars or change living out their lives of lie in luxury. It does me no good to think of them. It's like thinking of the survival of sharks and fearing for the decline of the salmon or dolphin.

It's the comparison that's odious. I compare my 'insides' with their 'outsides' and never truly know the trials of my fellow man. Their cowardice and deceit derive from different roots. As Jesus said, pluck the timber out of your own eye before you try to take the sliver out of your neighbours.

I'm disturbed most by all the tens of thousands who have become rich through illegal drug growing and sales. I cannot think of the hundreds or more police and beaurocrats who are a part of the multi billion dollar British Columbia drug industry. I suspect envy fuels my rage. The gulf islands are owned in part by the Marijuana Mob. Meanwhile my government punishes its citizens with more and more punitive taxes while criminals lives lives of luxury

Meanwhile I'm toughing it out here at the Oyxtercatcher, sitting outdoors in fine weather, eating fresh halibut and fries. Gilbert is by my side. I've just been blessed with a weekend of fine weather among friends and will soon drive my sportscar to the ferry terminal to return to Vancouver.

None of the fears I've had in the last week have come true:
1) I did not crash my motorcycle on the way to or from Sturges
2) I did not make a total fool of myself as a speaker at an international medical conference. I need not live in shame
3) I have not been arrested for political incorrectness.
4) I have not caused death or injury to anyone through negligence and obsess constantly and study always to deal with the life and death challenges of daily work.
5) Gilbert has not been hurt.
6) No one really close to me has died.
7) The banks haven't taken our money out of the accounts despite their doing that in Cyprus.
8) The government hasn't arrested and killed all the educated like they did in Cambodia.
9) There is no new plague decimating the population.

I worry about all manner of things and daily hourly block the fears so they don't get a foothood and overwhelm me. The same is true with resentments. As expectations are 'preformed' resentments I'm careful about expectations too.

It's difficulty in the mundane times. Chaos and terror are sometimes easier to deal with because they are by nature a major distraction. In the good times all one really has to worry about doing is messing up themselves.

I'm blessed to be on Salt Spring Island again. I've know the joys of country island town life here. The restaurants and cafes have been places where I've sat with friends and lovers only to dine and laugh and while away the time while we all wait for the Messiah to come. I've ridden the back roads of this island in search of little home businesses that produce cheeses, chocolates, spices and in the past even brought home lamb roasts. This island produces the very best of lamb but it's hard to get on island because of all the regulations.

I loved swimming in St. Mary's. It would only have been better if it was a nudist beach and I was surrounded by the 'fantasy' of nude beaches, that French Riviera dream where the young and body beautiful 'supposedly' cavort. The reality of nude beaches is that they're populated by one's neighbours with all their tendency to age and obesity. It's a bit like working in a street clinic. At St. Mary's Gilbert and I swam alone and it was wonderful in the sunshine and warm water.

A young man is playing guitar outside and singing pleasantly. I could wish that it was Paul McCartney or the Kinks - he's singing I can't sell my yacht - but I've been blessed to hear the greatest rock bands and entertainers of our times as well as the world's finest symphony musicians and often it's the local present entertainment that is so memorable. John Lennon was just an intellectual trouble maker high school student. I remember a doctor I knew who liked to hear Gordon Lightfoot playing at the local pub. I love to tell people I hired the Guess Who for our high school dance for $500. It was their high school too. I was just one of the student council.

I didn't know at the time I'd be listening 45 years later to Bachman's radio station. The entertainer is playing "Slip Sliding Away", Paul Simon. I loved hearing him at at local auditorium with Garfunckel and a few hundred in the audience.


I'm alone and I might feel better like the tables next to me with 4 or 6. There's a collection of friends and so often I've been at such a table. There's a family too and I've enjoyed this with my own family and my brothers. A couple of lovers are present. They're paying more attention to each other than their food. I've been that couple.

It's not like adolescence when one can only hope to be the lovers or the one in the group of friends.
Hell, I've even been Hugh Heffner with the briliant hot young girlfriend or Brad Pitt with the gorgeous wife. I've been blessed in love and my work has allowed me to serve despite the danger and despair.


It's beginning to drizzle. It's British Columbia weather but I've sailed to Salt Spring in winter and enjoyed sitting outside having coffee in the cold and grey. The climate is so inviting here.

The singer is playing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". I've heard Cohen up close in a concert hall. I've been close to genius and greatness. There's been the entertainers for sure but I've shook hands with three prime ministers, several nobel prize winners and countless Olympic Athletes.

My brother remains my hero at the end of the day. And my friends. Now my mom and dad are gone I realize they were saints, normal humans, but saints.

I'm reading a book on the 40 most influential Christians. Very human, saints. Even Jesus cursed.

The politically correct aren't human. They're dead. True evil.

Yet there are those who are well mannered and gentle in their ways, still effective and fearless. I admire them.

So many are cowards. I am noticing more drizzle.

I ordered ice cream. Did this anger God. Does he or she care about my waistline. It's not good for health. Dr. Dave commented on that. I think of losing the waistline for vanitie'sreasons. I'd like to wear one of those form fitting Italian suits. Instead I opt for the old journalist baggy and wrinkled look like it's not a 'choice' but rather that it reflects my being distracted by other more important things. The fact is 'fashion' is important and if one doesn't understand the significance then they must watch "the devil wears prada"

The young waiter brought the Sundae. Reminds me of the BDI in Fort Garry. Kirk would remember that. Our families made expeditions to the Bridge ice cream parlour as kids. All the flavours. The banana splits were incredible.

When he brought the sundae he moved an umbrella over me. What better evidence of the future's success than this young man. I've been enjoying meals and stays in Ganges for more than 20 years. Somebody's working and caring and maintaining.

Looking around I see everyone else is happy and enjoying themselves like I am.

The music and arts scene has always been vibrant on Salt Spring. So many world reknowned artists and writers have made this their permanent or retirement home. I first learned of this when Valdy was here. Then I recently learned Patterson, author and editor of 'Beyond the Wire" had moved here. about. I enjoyed Allan this morning. I've got two of his music albums.

I just asked: the entertainer here is Mike Demmer. He's played here through the summer. I remember the fellow who died up north on Vancouver Island. He had wired his whole house as a musical instrument but never left the little town because his mother was there. His work is studied at universities all over because after he died it was bequeathed to those who could appreciate his genius. Some of the neighbours later said they'd enjoyed the music he made. I liked Bill Cosby reflected on how his little boy loved him as a basketball player. He was 'great' in his son's eyes but acknowledged none of his own friends would think of him as a Globetrotter.

The 'self esteem' movement was declared a failure because it bred incompetent obnoxious children without skill or talent who simply thought their shit didn't smell and they were A-Okay. So love of self is necessary for love of others but it can't be institutionalized or instilled by pop psychology.

The drizzle stopped and I've completed devouring the sunday.

It's sabbath. I am to learn today that life goes on despite my not being in frenzy today. God can carry on without me.

I'll make my way to the ferry. I've books to read. It's been pleasant 'island' sitting outside by the boardwalk enjoying Mike's music and the fine Oystercatcher food.

Thank you Jesus for this wonderful day. Thank you Lord for all your blessings.














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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saltspring Island

I'm sitting at the Saltspring Coffee, one of my favourite spots in Ganges. Just had their delicious potato and pea soup. Gilbert ate most of the bread. He doesn't like the standard 'white bread'. He also had the crust of the rhubarb pie I devoured without sharing any of the rhubarb or whipped cream with him.
He's been having a great time visitting with all the dogs.

I've been to Mowatt's Hardware and the Farmer's Market. Replaced the antler and flower stud earrings I'd lost since I was last at the Market. I love the woman's tiny intricate artisanship. At Blacksheep Books I bought the latest Bernard Cornwell. Thank goodness he's a prolific writer.

I'm camping out at the Farmer's Institute. Came in at 11 pm, the ferries being booked and delayed. I'd started out at 3:30 pm from the office so a long ride just getting here. Lots of waiting and reading books on my Kindle and Iphone. Thank goodness for high tech.

I've enjoyed the speakers. So far only Brian and Murray from the old crowd. Brian's BigFoot camper has done him really well this fall with trips all over and winter in Palm Springs. Murray had just got his Harley Roadster on the road when he was tboned. Fortunately no harm to himself though he said he'd done a 25 foot superman flight. The bike was a right off and with the money he got he was able to buy a new Softtail. This he drove up to Hope on his first run and loved the increased power and improved handling.

I naturally talked about my ride to Sturges last week. I'm wearing a Sturges 2013 sweat shirt and the guys just naturally ask. "Yes, I rode to Sturges on my Harley last week. 5000 km ride, doing 5-600 km a day on the Electraglide, hear Doobies Brothers, Kid Rock and ZZ3, tens of thousands of motorcycles." Wow. It comes out a bit like a soundbite. I take the 'acknowledgement' and move on. No idea what I'll do next. Each of the guys told their story. Wow. We call the achievements 'gifts' and 'promises'.

I try to stay in gratitude.

The tent was a puzzle. Darkness. Setting up in the light of car headlights - have I ever set up a tent in the light? How come they don't clearly mark which direction the fly faces. It's not that big a deal. Soon I've got the mattress inflated, sleeping bag in. Gilbert explores it all and then curls up for the night. I read the ipad story.

I've been thinking of age like race and gangs. I'm pigeonholed in the older crowd. My cohort looks old. I am old. Yet everyone over 20 seems justt an adult to me. I remember how I saw the older. Am greeted by a young person and register that they're 'opinionated' about me as 'older' in the same way I 'filter' or 'profile' at times according to race or religion. Bending over to pick up a dropped flashlight battery I remember my father bending like me. There are aches and there's stiffness and I wonder if all the yoga and tai chi in the world could restore Humpty. I've fallen off so many walls, been beat up and battered round, pushed off, jumped off or just plain tripped .

I think those with children have a greatest chance at aging gracefully. I'm shocked by the disparity and feel the process as ratchet like, not at all smooth. Itt seems just yesterday I was young then a decade flew by. Today seems long as each day does but then surprise I'm another milestone along.

The two woman in the tent next to me have a yorkie, In the night I heard her protecting their tent with her pipsqueak growls. Once Gilbert barked and the baritone of his little voice really did startle her. At the time she was letting him know this was her tent and hopeful her mommies would back her up. Gilbert's not that big a dog but by contrast he's enormous.

I've sailed here so many times in the GIRI. 20 years ago at least and more I was anchored in Ganges. I'd caught salmon earlier that day. The dolphins used to join the boat when I sailed among the gulf islands. Then there was the time I came in the Safari Van. Also the motorcycle times. Tenting, staying in hotels and resorts. Here I am again with a sports car and a tent. The friends I've travelled with come to mind too, and the dogs, and the cats.

Today Gilbert is my inspiration. His interest and enthusiasm rub off on me.

We've just returned from swimming in St. Mary's Lake. I actually convinced him to jump in and he clawed up on top of me then swam the couple of yards back to the shore, very excited by the whole ordeal. He's not a water dog but he's made the plunge again and maybe one day will be more relaxed about the whole matter. I liked nature's own bath and the ease of movement that goes with exercising in water.

The lamb roast is this afternoon. I'll go back to the tent and apologise to the neighbours for cutting them off with my car while they were walking across the cross walk. I'd been circling the town a half dozen times looking for a parking spot in the chaos when I made that gaff.

A nap would be nice now. A nap would really add to the day.


















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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Unauthorized Sexuality

Unauthorized sexuality - I find it amusing to consider that today all manner of sexuality is no longer authorized. A teacher was told in class that Romeo was 'stalking' Juliet.
Asking a woman, or even a man, out on a date can be considered 'sexual harrassment' and whether it is or isn't is decided by the 'subjective sense' of the accuser. "If it feels bad, it is bad" is new subjective perversion of the 'my truth' is 'the truth' generation.
When the Canadian public voted that sex between consensual adults was a private matter the courts of Canada climbed in the vacated bedrooms. "One needs a lawyer" to ask a woman out says a wealthy friend.
"Women have always wanted everything, so they want 'sexual harrassment' and 'rough sex' and always on their terms and in Canada they've got it.
"It was the worst day of my life when I told my two sons that the greatest threat to their futures were the women in college with them," my female professor friend confessed.
"I lost respect for Gloria Steinem when I attended her lecture and she played to the 'pity party' card and claimed herself to be a powerless woman. There have always been rich and poor and she was rich the day she was born. Priviledged with beauty and brains and a serious lack of morality." My female psychiatrist friend told me.
I think this all came to mind when I read an article about gay men becoming so conservative as to accept only 'marriage' as acceptable sexually.
I then read that Obama is giving the President's medal to Gloria Steinem and frankly I thought of Roseanne Barr's comment about "Christian Rock - What's next, Christian Porn."
So hearing Gloria Steinem was getting the President's award , I thought, who's next, Jerry Springer?
I have a delightful book which compares the greatest gender gaffs of the century placing a bozo female remark beside a bozo male remark. I love the enlightenment of true equality. But Animal Farm taught us long before UN Agenda 21 that 'some animals are more equal than others'.
Today all sex must be 'authorized'. We once lived in the land of the proud and free. Maybe Troudeau knew too well that when he said the 'state has no place in the bedrooms of the citizen' that by talking about it as Prime Minister he made public and thereby 'sanctionable' and ultimately controllable and taxable 'all sex'. Troudeau would have liked UN Agenda 21 and his son's promotion of a 'stoned electorate'. The last thing politicians want is for even gay men and women to have 'straight' thinking on the day of the elections.
The sad fact that Starr had to bring to the attention of the American populace was that Clinton didn't even know that a blow job was 'sex'. Technically it might not be adultery with adultery laws so tied to family and procreation but to deny having sexual relations with a person when your cock is in their mouth is the kind of thing that only a Carl Hiiansen satirical novel would do justice to.
Russ Limbaugh, before or after or during drug treatment, said that 'feminism was a means whereby ugly women got the pick of the crop" by outlawing men approaching women leaving only the top choices to the machismo sisters ready to step up and tackle their men'.
Sexual harrassment studies, especially the elegant 'water fountain' research have show these laws as the most bigotted, racist and disgusting of all times. Countless successful men have told me that the 'going rate' for "false sexual harrassment" extortion in the workplace is $1 to $5000. "It happens when we fire them for theft in the workplace or other such matters. " "We just pay", they say, "the courts aren't about truth and certainly they're not about justice.". That may be true in the area of gender wars but certainly not in other areas of the law, thankfully. The fact is no man wins fighting a woman any more than a heavyweight boxer wins fighting a lightweight boxers. Now that women are themselves successfully competing in sports they're quickly beating the snot out of their lesser sisters. Indeed the day may dawn when Mrs. Churchill finally beat Eva Brawn. As it is according to Gloria Steinem only Winnie beat Adolf since the war against Nazism was only a war of men against men.
However, the promise of feminism, has as so many such 'revolutions' of the 'communist era' , in this case 'social communism' with the "Woman as the Nigger of the World" according to dead Lenin, not crucified, by shot by a mad man instead, promised, failed. Divorce is up. Anomie is up. Child abuse is up. All the measures of social success for society are associated with a major decline. All women leaders have taken their countries to war and even though their are women in the military, just like the Israelis, they're rarely in combat zones. Before blacks were integrated into the military generally their 'black units' proved themselves. No "female units" have similiarly 'proved themselves' despite the great success of the female hockey team against the american hockey team or the Canadian female marksmen against the world's snipers. Women as individuals have been long outstanding going back to the Mary's of the Bible and Cleopatras of Egypt and the matriarchal leaders of recent and ancient Scotland. The most powerful person in Australia is female and Canada continues to have a Queen for a monarch. Ignoring the Queeen and the First Ladies' is the great 'lie' of "domestic feminism'. International feminism by contrast has been more what 'women's liberation' was about back in the pre Gloria Steinem sensationalism. Back then it was 'meritocracy' and not 'mediocrity'. The feminist leader of the Ontario liberal party would have half the 'board room's' of Canadian businesses 'womandated' to be 'gender balanced'. When will we have a similiar demand for hair lipped and people over 6 foot tall and perhaps Jamaican ancestry or fat eskimos. This is 'tokenism' and clearly 'inferior' people whatever their background require 'tokenism' whereas the 'best pilot' should fly the space shuttle, not the 'one with the most cafe au lait spots.'
No sex is authorized today. Life is denied. Humanity is 1984. It wasn't that long ago that the church outlawed everything but 'missionary position'. Bishop Spong's treatises on this history of Catholic elder men deciding pre science on what constituted an intact hymen is nearly Monty Python except it's terribly true and resulted in countless women being burned at the stake. The irony is today the State is being encouraged to dictate to gay men what is 'authorized sexuality'.
Yesterday, a friend told me how he'd been beaten near to death by hockey sticks weilding homophobes. Only in Canada.





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Monday, August 12, 2013

Gilbert Reunion

Gilbert is my cockapoo companion. He would have come to Sturges on the Harley Motorcycle but he's only gone to Harrison Hot Springs and back. I figured it would be too much for him in the heat for hours too. When we discussed it at length over many nights he concluded it would  be better if he stayed with Joanne and her girl dog, Kyubi (I never get the spelling right on his exotic girlfriends).  He was really glad to see me as the barking and running about in circles would tend to suggest he recognized "his human" even after a couple of weeks.
Today we had to pick up the truck from Hannah so we rode the motorcycle over to her place to exchange that for the truck  Gilbert was ecstatic to see Hannah and her exotic girl dog.  He was wearing his "Born to Ride" faux leather jacket. Very dapper dog!IMG 3525IMG 3523

Priest River, Idaho to Stevens Mountain Pass, Washington to Vancouver, Canada, Motorcycling.

Coming back from Sturges Motorcycle Rally, I left Priest River in the morning after sleeping on the side of the road in the all night thunder and lightning storm.
My clutch was tight so I headed down to Spokane's Lone Wolf Harley Dealership where they have a really great service department. They'd fixed my bike on the way out.  Sure enough they solved things again, adjusting the clutch and solving my problem of slippage.  Only $140 dollars and job done in an hour an a half.  I had coffee and donuts while I waited.
Then I headed out on the incredible I90 freeway. It was a hot day.  Dry and hot. I realized I wouldn't be having much more of this kind of breathable air after I hit the coast.  Lots of deep breaths.  Still with so little sleep the night before because of the storm and camping on the road, I had to pull off at every rest stop to lie down and try and catch a little zzzz's.  I was drinking red bull and double shots of starbucks but this is only a temporary solution.
At Moses Lake I finally found a Doobie Brothers CD. Having seen and heard them at Sturges I really wanted to listen to them on the ride. Steppenwolf had been entertaining me until then. Now I enjoyed 'Taking it to the Street' travelling along the road at 85 mph.
The beauty of freeways is the roads are great and the speed is great but it's hard to stay awake. I decided to take the backroad through the mountains bypassing the Seattle traffic and coming out at Seattle. I was glad I did. Beautful grape growing country all through these hills and mountains.  Truly spectacular. Quincy is an amazing town.
I stopped at Rock Island for a BLT sandwich and salad. There was a fire on the mountain side and bucket helicopters were trying to put it out.  Must have been from the lightening the night before.  Everyone along the way was talking about that storm.
I was really surprised at the size of Wenatchee. I'd never heard of it so it was just a name on a map before I came into this little city.  Right in the middle of wonderland with lakes and streams and mountains and everything a body could want in a town. I was tempted to stay but all day I'd been thinking of Gilbert my cockapoo companion waiting to see his human at home.  I actually thought I could make it through to Vancouver that day.
Then there was Ellensberg. What a beautiful tourist town with all the Bavarian architecture and painting. I thought I was in Germany. I regular little American alps.  Again I thought of stopping as there were so many fine hotels but instead I pushed on.  In future I should stop when I think of it.
This clip I made of the Stevens Mountain Pass is the ride up to the pass. It was truly beautiful country and great riding. A biker's delight. Lots of slow winding turns and beautiful scenery.
The problem occurred at the top of the mountain as we came over to the West Coast rain forest side. I just had time to zip on my jacket to my the webbing of my HD Switchback gear. That's when the storm hit.  Big big rain and lots of it. Then over the top it was pea soup fog. I couldn't see a bike length in front of me so was down to 20 km.
Another motorcyclist, obviously blind, and a blind car driver wanted to go ahead of me and I was glad to let them pass.  They obviously couldn't see what horrible conditions we were in so let them clear the way.  I just struggled to continue on at 20 km/hr , surprised when I saw lights coming at me at a crawl in the other lane.  Finally the fog cleared a bit so visibility was better. Then I had to keep pulling over to let locals continue at 45 mph.  I was doing maybe 35 mph on the way down.  It was exciting and of course I thought not only about the cars but about the animals that might be lost in this weather and dart across the road.
Without the storm and fog this would be one of the prettiest rides. I was really glad at Gold Bar to take a motel room, get some dinner from the Hacienda and then collapse exhausted from all the concentration and horror of the last hour riding. The whole  area along was resorts and cabins and outdoors sports activities. I imagine it's a kind of Whistler Blackhomb area for Washington. Real outdoor adventure area.
The next days drive back to Vancouver Canada was uneventful.  I was on a route I knew well.  Grey with light rain at times.  Great folk at the border crossing, friendly and welcoming. I was glad to be back home.
I was so thankful to be alive and well and to find my home all clean and tidy. Took a while to find my Mazda Miata keys. I was happy to have parked and unloaded the motorcycle.
Vancouver is the most dangerous city to drive in. Nobody uses their signals for change and street people wander out in the road everywhere. I kept thinking that Justin Troudeau wants to legalize marijuana. Well, let him drive around this city for a few days and see if he wants more stoned people on the road.  There was more drunken stoned behaviour on the streets of Vancouver than at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  Compared to every city I drove through on the trip Vancouver was by far the most dangerous driving. Hence I was glad to get off my motorcycle. After more than 5000 km riding it over the last 2 weeks I remembered why I don't like riding my motorcycle in Vancouver.
So I was glad to get in the Miata once I found the keys.  Driving over to Joannes was just fine.  Top down. The sun out.  Loved Vancouver again.  Joanne's in Burnaby and Gilbert was ecstatic to see me.  Lots of barking and circling and barking and circling and giving me toys and generally dog propelled by wagging tail behaviour. I was sure glad to see him too.  Joanne is great.
Gilbert was back in the co pilot seat and we were reunited.  A walk down Commercial with a lamb kebab (shared) dinner at the Greek restaurant then lots of ball throwing and fetching restored us to old times.
Glad to be home. Hallelujah. Thank you Lord.
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Wildlife I saw motorcycycling Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and South Dakota

Part of the joy of motorcycling is seeing all the game alongside the road. It's easier to stop on a motorcycle and get pictures too. The only concern though is at dusk and dawn, the wildlife may choose to cross the road. This could be a castastrophe for us both so I slowed down and was especially vigilante at those times.

Priest River, Idaho

I started looking for accommodation at Thompson Falls.  There was 'no room at the Inn'.  Even the campgrounds were full or reserved.  No vacancy and it wasn't because I was long haired biker.  It was because of the annual 2 week long music festival. I learned about this finally in Sandpoint.  Thank God for "energy drinks' and Starbucks double shots.
It was 1 or 2 am and I was exhausted. I'd been going at 80 km fearful of the deer jumping out. I'd seen several in the ditches beside the road.  The road work was an additional obstacles.  Signs 'watch out for falling rocks' or 'loose gravel'.  Not at all comforting to a biker at night.
Added to that  lightening filled  the sky. I was headed right into a huge angry storm.  Sheets of lightening and great shafts of molten light split the night .  The storm was just about on me.  I pulled over exhausted and put my my tent on the side of the road in one of those little cul de sac pull outs.  I had the bike between me and the road as protection.  Just when the tent was up the storm hit.  Pounding rain. I was glad to be in the tent and off my bike.
All night long it sounded like the big trucks were going to drive through the tent. I'd had too many Expresso too before going to bed. Not a restful night. Safe, though.  Thank God I was safe.
When light came on in the morning I poked my head out and saw a touch of pink sky to the east.  Within 15 minutes I was loaded up and on the road again, my big Harley Classic revving up in the dawn along with all the other sounds of new day.
10 minutes later I was at Priest River.  There was a motel with a vacancy sign.
Before that was Infinity Cafe. It was open.  Very elegant and well cared for unique coffeeshop.  The girl was beautiful and very pleasant.  She didn't even comment on my unshaven messed hair dirty face look. Just answered my question about food.  And then I was sitting at a table studying my map drinking an Americano and eating the best little egg sausage bagel ever.
Infinity Cafe really is a wonder. It's a slice of big city country cool.  Somebody with a real sense of antiques and fashion has outfitted the place so it's so appealing and  comfortable.
I connected to wifi and let friends know where I was .
I was glad to be on the road again. Now I'm at Lone Wolf Harley in Spokane having my clutch checked because there seemed to be some slippage on the ride here from Priest River. It's another 700 km to Vancouver through the mountains so I'd rather be safe and sure than spending more time on the side of the road. Last nights camping out was sufficient roughing it experience for me for a while.  IMG 1049
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Friday, August 9, 2013

Helena Forest Bear

This big sow was almost at the road when I came along and stopping scared off her cub. It ran back up the trail and  I believe scaled the tree directly behind Mom.  Mom just watched me hoping I'd leave but I enjoyed taking pictures till she got bored and went to her cub.  I love the wildlife I've seen on this trip. It's so easy to pull over with the motorcycle and get pictures as well.


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Hot Springs Spa Motel, White Sulphur Spring, Montana

I had only planned to overnight here.  It was a destination for a motorcyclists with the hope of more than just a bed. I love hot springs.  And this one is amazing. As near composition of the "waters" of Bader Bader Germany, discovered by white men in the mid 1800's, it's incredible.
The staff were welcoming.  I rented a room and was told that the pools opened at 6 am and closed at 11 pm. It was 9 pm.

I'd had a rush of ride up from Livingston. Saw lots of white tail deer, wild turkeys and domestic sheep. Spectacular countryside.  Historic stops told of the Castle Mountains and Big Belt. The Montana gold rush.  Lewis and Clark Trail near by.  The wagon trail in the area. Hostile Indians and cattle ranches.

I unloaded my motorcycle, changed in my room and then took my first dip in the 'waters'.  Back at the front desk I booked another night. I wasn't going to want to leave in the morning.  That night I watched tv and ate deep fried chicken and chips from the saloon down the street.
Next morning I had a fine sausage and egg breakfast at Dori's.  It was a real country home feeling cafe.  I'd already taken my first soak in the pools and really relaxed.
There are 3, all large, one inside with the hottest, scalding temperature, a warm and a hot one outside.  Lying on the chaise long in the afternoon I got sun burnt so swore off the hottest pool after that.
At night I had a chiropractic treatment by Dr. Gudmundsen. His receptionist was as hot as the springs.
I've known chiropractors over the years, a couple as friends.  I've  had some mighty fine manipulations.  This one was great.  What was even better was soaking in the hot springs after.
I already written my chiropractor friend, Dr.  Richard Cho to tell him he's just got to get a natural sulphur hot spring in his waiting room . Maybe Dr. Stan Jung can get one at the university.  Definitely adds to the benefits of the chiropractic treatment.
My backs been okay. It's just wearing a helmut for days on end puts a little strain on the cervical spine. I slept well that night with all the neck stiffness gone.
Merle Haggart played in town at their Red Ants Music Festival last month.  It's a really friendly town.    I'd certainly  come back. They close the streets for dancing during the rodeo season.
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