How to Crash a Motorcycle at Low Speed

How to Crash a Motorcycle at Low Speed

When I first began to ride motorcycles, a common expression was “There are old riders and bold riders, but no riders that are old and bold.”  It is curious that you do not hear it much anymore.  Over the years I realized that it’s not that the bold riders die, necessarily (although the careless often do), but that after a few close calls and a crash or two they moved on to some other pastime such as stock market investing or fantasy football leagues – presumably boldly.

Among those that have ridden for decades you will hear this:  “Incidents less than 10mph do not count as accidents.”  If this comforting concept is held to be true, then I have been crash free since June of 1969!  That one was a real crash caused by a loose nut controlling the handlebars – me, and need not be discussed.

Since that unfortunate day over 46 years ago I’ve had a bike bite the ground 5 times.  That may sound like a lot, but having ridden far over 500 motorcycles a total of several hundred thousand miles since then, that number is not all that awful.

I am leaving out crashes on dirt bikes here, for several reasons.  1.) I took an adventure riding class one weekend where crashing was an expected outcome, and everyone did – repeatedly.   2.) It was not my bike.  I learned in that class that I could indeed ride off-road bikes, but did not particularly like it.  Different strokes for different folks.

As to the five incidents, each was educational in its own way, although I appear to have a flat learning curve for one type of incident.  Let’s look at the details.

          First incident: It was somewhere in the late 1980’s, and I was teaching at Kamiakin Junior High.  I was commanded to get a half-day substitute so I could attend a meeting for teachers of Honors classes, held at Redmond Junior High. The meeting was about as useful as most of them were, but when I escaped it was a truly gorgeous day.  I got on my spotless 1977 Yamaha 750 triple, and proceeded to enjoy a jolly ride back to Kamiakin on winding and traffic-free  (back then) roads.  I was not going crazy, but I was “in the zone” and enjoying myself mightily. I swooped into the Kamiakin parking lot and came to an abrupt stop in a parking spot of choice. With the bars still turned. The motorcycle threw itself to the ground and I jumped off.  My first thought was that I must get it back on its wheels again before a bell rang. If some students came outside and saw my plight I would never hear the end of it.  Miraculously, the Yamaha showed no damage at all, and I went inside to resume teaching.

Lesson:  Do not glom onto the brakes at low speed with the handlebars turned.  (“They all do that, sir.” 

          Second Incident:  In 2001 I purchased a lock for the front brake disc of my beloved Kawasaki ZRX 1100 as a theft deterrent. I was warned not to do this by sales manager Scott McMillan, who pointed out that every person he’d ever known that had done this eventually forgot to take it off before departure, and the resultant damage was far more expensive than the deductible on my theft insurance.

Not me!  I’d be careful. And I was… for a while.

I rode to Bellevue to host episode of my call-in radio show – “The Motorsports Show –with Dave Preston!” A guest for this one was a young man selling legal insurance called “Legal Shield.” I was pretty sure this was a pyramid sales scheme, and I intended to expose the scam through persistent but polite questioning. Instead, by the end of the program I was a customer! This program has been a boon at times, and the $16.95 fee per month has not increased in 14 years.

After the show three of us stood in the parking lot chatting on a beautiful evening. The other guest was my friend Frank Kai, at that time a Harley salesman. He’d been on the show to discuss the latest and greatest coming from Harley – which in those days could be summed up as “new colors!”  Eventually the insurance guy drove away and Frank and I continued yakking.  I was so pleased with how the show had gone, and the evening was so gorgeous, that Frank got on his customized Harley  (a bit redundant there – pretty much all Harleys are customized by their owners  sometimes before taking possession), and I clambered aboard the ZRX – and forgot.

When I started the bike and put it in gear it rolled forward a foot and then threw itself on the ground, with me stepping off as it went down.  It felt like some unseen monster had simply clobbered it, and I was confused – until I saw the disc lock jammed against the fork.

We picked up the bike (no damage to the paint – again!) and with some difficulty got the disc lock free of the fork and off the bike. The problem now was that the disc carrier in the wheel (referred to as the ‘spider’) was hitting the caliper and the wheel did not want to turn. A few hammer blows from the heavy chrome disc lock Frank had in his bag (but had not bothered to put on) got the spider straight enough that the wheel could turn freely 

As we rolled away I soon learned I was not out of the woods yet. There was still contact inside the brake caliper, and the pads were being pushed back in their bores. I had no front brakes without pumping brake lever several times. However, we riding back up I-405, and I followed Frank.  My reasoning was that a ZRX with only a rear brake could probably stop more rapidly than a Harley with both front and rear brakes. I think that was correct, although I did not have to prove it.   I rode very carefully to work the next day and had the spider replaces for $260 dollars.  Scott was right.

Lesson Learned:  Do not use a disc brake lock. 

           Third incident:  Working at Cycle Barn, I was asked to bring a used Kawasaki ZX6 from the shop area to the showroom.  This was a lovely used bike in bright orange with neon purple lights hidden in it you could turn on with a switch.  Inexplicably, I thought it was really cool.  I got on the bike in the shop and needed to back it up about thirty yards down two parallel rows of bikes awaiting storage, their front tires making a wall on either side. I backed up very carefully, and thought I had cleared them all. The last one was a Honda Valkyrie, a bike with a very long wheelbase. Its front tire jutted out a little further than the others.  As I finished backing up and turned my attention to the front, the rear tire of the ZX6 rammed into the front tire of the Valkyrie. Caught totally unawares, the ZX6 was on the ground before I could stop it, although I pulled a muscle in my right calf trying. Colleagues rushed to help me, and the bike was back on its wheels in a jiff.  A small inch or two of road rash marred the metal flake orange paint on the left side, and I was crushed.  Everybody said not to worry about it, which was kind but did not help much.

The next day the detailer (Ken Muncey) who was a genius at this sort of thing, waved his talented hands over the bike and all the damage disappeared. The bike was sold to a happy new owner soon after.

I was still moping about this when CFO Gary Harper quizzed me one day when I mentioned my stupidity. “How long have you worked for Cycle Barn?” he asked.  

“Five years.” 

“And how many bikes have you ridden in that time?”  

“About 200. 

“And this is the first Cycle Barn bike you’ve put on the ground?”


“Wow – you need to pick it up.  A lot of employees have done much worse than this.  You’re behind!”

Part of my job status was that I was ever eager to ride any motorcycle.  Many people can be a bit picky and will turn down the opportunity to ride a bike that is not in their comfort zone. I’ve never understood this. I had an impeccable record in terms of caring for company property. In fact, many of the employees were not allowed by the insurance company to ride any bike owned by the dealership due to past indiscretions.

Gary’s kind words helped a lot 

Lesson Learned:  Be VERY careful backing up a bike.  It takes very little to upset the apple cart. 

             Fourth incident:  In 2011 I was leading a group back to Seattle from the WSBMWR Rally in Republic. My steed was a BMW K1300S, the second one I had to ride.  The very best part of my job at Ride West was that I got to order a new BMW each year of my choice, and to option it to my heart’s content. In 2010 I went for a K1300S in “lava orange” and larded it up with all the options I wanted.  Tinted screen, center stand, electric suspension adjustment, expandable bags, rear rack, tank bag, and an Akrapovich exhaust the shop had taken off a previous used bike the new owner did not want. About half way through the year it dawned on me (I can be a bit slow) that this bike was so expensive the store would take a big hit when it was sold in the fall. They may have written it off as a business expense so perhaps this was not true.

I absolutely adored that bike, probably the finest motorcycle in terms of capability I’ve ever experienced.  Very fast, yet very civilized. Easy to ride at any speed from mild to unthinkable. I called it a “Gentleman’s Hyperbike.” Alarmed at the cost, I suggested to the owner that I ride it for two or three years to make it more economically palatable for the store. He refused, stating that I had to be riding a model current for the year.  So in 2011, I ordered another one! This one was red and black, and I left off the center stand and the rear rack, which I regretted for the rest of the year. I also was not that fond of the color, but who is going to complain when works offers a plus $20k motorcycle to ride? I mean, really!

In any case, I loved the orange one, but merely enjoyed the red one. Curious.

We rode back from Republic on Highway 20, which is normally one of the best rides you can have. On this occasion we got stuck behind some bozo in a 40 foot long RV – towing a car, who refused to move over. There was no place for a group of 8 or 10 motorcycles to pass safely, and the highway had just been chip sealed.  We rode for about 50 miles in very high heat inhaling clouds of dust with small pebbles bouncing off every surface and body. It was miserable.

In Marblemount I stopped for fuel and hydration. Totally knackered – tired, overheated, and de-hydrated. Refueled, I pushed the bike forward to make room for others and repaired to the side to inhale two bottles of water.

Wil Wen came up to me and mentioned that I should push my bike forward a few more feet, as he thought he’d seen a nail sticking out of the rear tire. Oh no!   I rushed to the bike to push it forward, and things went from bad to worse in seconds. I heard a clanking sound and realized I’d left my brand new $600 helmet on the seat. It was now bouncing and rolling across the parking lot. I went to put the side stand down, but it had hit a rock and folded itself up. It was not there.  The heavy bike leaned over and, with no side stand, kept going.   Standing there in the heat, my bike on its side and my helmet on the ground. I was so stunned that I just stood immobile in a fog of dismay. My friends rushed to pick up the bike and the helmet, but my entire self was crushed in defeat. As it turned out, there was no nail in my rear tire, and Wil apologized for a false alarm that had ended so badly, but it’s always better for a friend to think there is a nail and check for it than to keep quiet.  Not his fault at all, and in fact I hope he’d do the same thing again.

Back at work you had to look hard to see the damage on the bike – a small bit of road rash on the left side just as the red paint met the black of the lower fairing.  The black was OK. But I saw it every day, and the bad memory was hard to shake.

The bike was sold in the fall, and it came back as a trade-in the following year, and now had similar but more extensive road rash on right side!  The bike was sent to Sick Werks for new red paint and all was well 

Lesson Learned:  Always take a second to look over the bike before moving it. All bags zippered shut?  Helmet secure?  Much better 

          Fifth incident:  This one occurred just the other day while enjoying a ride with a friend on Whidbey Island. We stopped for a bite at a Burger King (good idea), and then for fuel at the 7-11 next door (bad idea). Bike re-fueled with 87 octane, which was all they had, I noticed that the exit went only to the right, and we wanted to turn left. However, a few yards to the right beckoned a left turn space for the shopping center across the street. As I swung right and then left I discovered that the entrance was actually further left. I was now heading straight for an 8 inch high curb that would shatter the front wheel as the start of an accident.  I hit the brakes hard; the handlebars still turned hard left.

Before I could register what was happening the chin bar of my helmet was bouncing off the asphalt and both bike and I were down in the middle of the street.  I scrambled to my feet and the guy in the truck that chose not to run over me helped me lift the Triumph back on its wheels. I was heartsick. Almost ten years and almost 50,000 miles and my bike had always been a truly gorgeous triumph (pun intended) to me.  Once rolled into the parking lot and with thanks to all who helped I began the grim task of assessing the damage.  There was a small mark on the helmet, which I figured would be there. I was surprised the headlights had not taken a hit, or the instruments, or the fuel tank or the… there.  Black smudges on the seat cowling and side panel.  Well, much less than I expected, or deserved, and the only lasting damage would probably be a few scrapes. Still – I hate stuff like this!

I assured Mark that I was OK, probably more in hope than in actual evidence, and I did not take long enough to assess the bike or me.  As we rode up the street the first thing I noticed was that my helmet visor would not close.  We stopped for the first time and I managed to get the visor off and then back on, which can be tricky on an Arai. Mark noticed that my hands were shaking and asked if I was OK, and I replied that I was fine. The shaking hands were probably a result of the adrenaline surge of the crash.

Underway again, it did not take long to discover that the left hand mirror stalk nut had loosened. We stopped again to fix that, and by now I was embarrassed to be taking up so much time 

As we rode toward the south of the island, I could tell that I was not quite right.  The left side of my upper chest was sore, probably a bruised rib cartilage or two. I have done this before – non-motorcycle.  But I was also troubled by my head. It was obvious that I’d been badly shaken up. My reaction times and decision making abilities were suspect. This is not good on a motorcycle, so we decided to ignore the many delightful side roads of Whidbey and head to the ferry.  From the ferry landing in Mukilteo to the exit to my house is almost literally a straight line, and I arrived home with no further drama.

To my elated surprise, the black marks on the rear cowling came off easily with a little Goof Proof, and my bike was spotless again. The small bit of rash on the bar end was touched up with black felt tip pen, and all that remained were micro scratches on the end of the clutch lever and the rider and passenger pegs. I have never seen any motorcycle dropped while rolling at any speed that did not sustain damage, so I retired to bed with aching ribs to ponder my good luck.

Lesson Learned:  This might sound much like Incident One, but there’s more to it than that.  True, I might have chosen to yank the bars straight and stand on the brakes, and I might have stopped before I hit the curb. But I doubt it. The real error(s) began earlier, when I assessed the exit from the 7-11.  It would have taken roughly zero extra time to poodle down the street a bit to a safer U-turn opportunity. I failed to examine the terrain carefully and opted for a path that led to the problem.  I was in no hurry at all – just sloppy.   The lessons are to scan the area in front of you more carefully.  A second lesson would be to take more time for both the bike and the rider.  I should have taken ten minutes to sit on a bench and talk through what happened, and taken more time to assess the damage to the bike and me.

What it all means.

There were several things that worked on my behalf, particularly in the last one.

ATGATT – “All the Gear All the Time.” In all five of these incidents I had on, at the very least, a very high quality helmet, jacket, and boots.

Friends – although I do enjoy riding by myself, it was such an asset to have Mark with me on this occasion. He was patient and eager to help, but not obtrusive. His calm acceptance of the relatively minor results helped calm me down.

Triumph techs.  The techs at Triumph of Seattle set up my bike with the handlebar controls and mirrors tight enough to not move by themselves, but with just enough play that when they hit the ground they merely rotated instead of snapping off or breaking. This not only kept the bike in a rideable state, but saved me several hundred dollars in repairs.

The friend who broke several ribs when he hit the ground with his cell phone in his jacket. I have not carried anything inside the jacket since.

For younger riders, or people getting into motorcycling for the first time at any age, it may be comforting to think that these things do happen.  I remember a young man on his first motorcycle and his first group ride. He was excited for the day, but a bit intimidated by the other riders, who were all friendly and welcoming but also people with decades of experience.

He did just fine until the lunch break, where he turned a bit too soon and clipped a piece of parking lot area separator, sending he and his new bike to the ground. He was not hurt, but so embarrassed.

I was so pleased with the group. They spent the entire lunch taking turns telling stories of stupid things each had done, each person trying to top the other. Laughter was frequent. Eventually the young man felt a lot better, as he realized that everyone who rides deals with these sorts of things.

Perhaps Jeb Bush said it best.  (Never thought I would type those words)

“Stuff happens.”


Copyright 2015                                          David Preston

Posted in Education, Motorcycles | Leave a comment

The Genius of Seattle Seahawk Marketing

The Genius of Seahawk Marketing

NFL football is on a roll. Has been for several years. The amounts  paid to the players and spent by the fans is beyond staggering, and the money river shows no signs of drying up.

I was told that in San Francisco, the waiting line for season tickets is 99 years long.  I was also told that if you are on the waiting list for Seahawks season tickets, you must pay a fee each year to preserve your spot in the line as you move up to the promised land.  I can’t verify either of these, nor do I doubt them.  But recent events put those factoids, if true, in the shade.

Many eons ago home teams blacked out their TV coverage if the game was not a sell-out. There was considerable hue and cry over this from the little people, and I believe it was eventually outlawed, but in any case it was superseded by a new problem.  Many teams could sell out their entire stadium capacity to season ticket holders, and once again the little people  (who in most cases have paid for the stadium the team plays in through taxation) could not see the game in person without the considerable expense of season tickets.

Or scalpers.

For years there was a quasi-illegal but very healthy black market of sorts of people selling tickets outside the stadium or through various media – tickets purchased in advance with the expectation of huge profits through resale. Expectations that were almost always met.  Trying to charge people with scalping was legally untenable, so eventually “secondary marketers” for tickets came into being.

The Seahawks used to set aside 4,000 tickets per game for sale to secondary marketers.  Last year, according to the Seattle Times (not the best source, but whatever…) the team reduced that number to 2,000 to have more tickets available to one-game buyers.

And now – the greatest feat of marketing I’ve ever seen. Those 2,000 tickets are now available through “Dynamic Pricing.”  This phrase means the team sets the prices according to perceived demand, and according to the Times, those prices are in some case higher than tickets to be found in secondary markets.

In plain English, what the Seahawks have done amounts to scalping their own tickets.  This is brilliant!  Since the “dynamic tickets” cost much more than the stated price on the ticket, selling even half of them results in a huge profit.  With the stars of the team earning $10-$20 million a year, (and the Seahawks have a lot of stars) that money has to come from somewhere.  In the case of the NFL, it comes from virtually everywhere.   Hardly anyone attends a Seahawks game in outfits devoid on at least one piece of “official” Seahawk wear. In addition, most fans wear their jerseys with pride on game day, even though thousands of them will not be attending in person. Add in fees for parking, concessions, programs, and on and on and the money comes in a flood.

But scalping your own tickets – you have to bow, jaws agape, at the sheer effrontery of it.

I just noticed on the news that the Disney theme parks have adopted a similar scheme, but they call theirs “surge” marketing.  I suspect the demographic of Disney advocates and NFL fans is eerily similar.

In truth, I’ve attended a Seahawk game or two. OK – two. Both were pre-season games, and in both cases the tickets were given to me.  I was not impressed by either experience. The first time was at the old Kingdome, and our seats were in an end zone.  The opposing team was the hated (I don’t know why) San Francisco 49ers. On one play the 49er quarterback threw to a player in the end zone right in front of us. The Seahawk player, badly beaten, grabbed the player by his facemask and threw him to the ground. It was the most obvious infraction in history, and of course a flag was thrown.  The crowd erupted in a cacophony of hatred at this horrible call, and behind us a man stood in the aisle screaming insults and obscenities at the other team. I turned around and I can still remember his face, red with rage, as he yelled “We’ll get you in the regular season,” followed by a string of obscenities.  My son (who was about 10 at the time) looked alarmed at this nonsense.  For the rest of the game we noticed that the crowd cheered lustily for any referee call in the Seahawks favor, and spewed rage at a call against the home team.  It made no difference what the call was, even though most of them were obvious, especially when replayed on the huge screen.  Yes, he was definitely holding. Make no difference. In addition, whenever the game seemed to get interesting, there would be a pause of several minutes for TV commercials.  I thought back to my own (mediocre) experiences playing football, where I played center linebacker on defense and center on offense. There were no long breaks where we stood around waiting for permission to resume play. This is what pro football is about? 

Later, we attended a game the year the Seahawks played at Husky stadium.  I took my son with me again, and we were both astonished – again.  During a lull the “Sea gals” cheerleaders paraded around the field perimeter in golf carts, waving to the fans in the stands. All around us people stood and cheered, in many cases calling out the names of their favorite bodacious young woman. This seemed deeply weird. You are thrilled to know the name of a gorgeous woman who smiles and waves at you – because she’s paid to do so?

Make no mistake, the Seahawks put on a heck of a show. Even in last night’s game, which you will find summarized in the dictionary under “ugly,” the crowd had a thrilling experience. The social media air will be fogged up today with all sorts of complaints about how badly the Seahawks played, many of them justified. This shows the extent of the success of the Seahawks and their marketing. The fans now fully expect a win, especially at home, and anything other than a drubbing of the other team will not do.  There will be very few words about an incredible effort by a Detroit team that was outgunned in virtually every facet of the game (on paper) but battled throughout the game and came one punched ball and a non-call by the refs away from a Detroit win that would have put the entire Seattle season in peril.

A part of the show Seattle puts on is a magnificent stadium.  Designed for the game to be played in the open air by the teams, most of the fans are shielded from inclement weather, which is virtually a certainty for many of the games.  The stadium has been designed from the outset to channel the noise of the fans down to the field, giving a tremendous (and legal) advantage to the home team, provided the “12th man” crowd does it’s “job.” 

A marketing irony is that the company Century Link paid a whopping sum for the naming rights to the stadium, but most of the fans and TV sports and news and weather and all other commentators refer to it as ‘the clink,” which was surely not the intent.

The entire “12th man” circus is another piece of brilliant marketing by the Seahawks, as it was not invented here. The fans take their role seriously, and can claim with logical support that they are a part of every victory, even the ugly ones.  Perhaps even more so the ugly ones.

I had the chance to stand on the field a few years ago, as I took a break from a motorcycle show in the huge indoor display area used for such events, and I tried to imagine standing there as a player. The noise must be incredible, and intimidating if you’re not used to it. I also experienced one of the large luxury suites reserved for the super wealthy and corporations when I attended (again, I was gifted a ticket) a Supercross motorcycle race. It was impressive for sure.

So at end of the day, you and your partner choose to attend a home game. You get all togged up in various pieces of neon green and dark blue gear, perhaps adding face paint and even a large wig. You then experience an incredible traffic mess on the way there, pay an exorbitant fee to park your car in a high crime area  (higher during games) and slowly make your way to your seats with over 60,000 of your friends. You then watch a game with one hour of playing time that will take over four hours to complete by the time you get back to your car. You will pay big city sports cathedral money for any food and beverages you consume. Then you face another horror of a traffic jam to get home, unless you choose to spend another several hours in one of the many restaurants and bars that are there to welcome you. All of them will be loud. You will already be hoarse from yelling for the team, or merely trying to communicate with your partner.  If you choose to stay you will spend even more big city money for whatever food and beverages you choose to consume, although they will probably be of higher quality.

By the time your car edges away from the event, your ears will have been subjected to several hours of noise at decibel levels that are harmful. You will have spent hundreds to a couple of thousand dollars for this experience, depending on the importance of the game and the desirability of your seat.

That you enjoy this and are eager to repeat the experience – that is the success of marketing.

This is not to say that Seahawk fans are wasting their money or that they are foolish. We all make decisions on how to spend our money, and few people would agree on everything.  That is why money is usually the #1 topic for argument among married couples – different priorities.  I spend more money on motorcycles and related expenses than would make sense to anyone who is not enamored of motorcycles.  I purchase expensive pipe tobacco from a company in Illinois I have never visited, and have been doing so for almost 40 years. How smart is that?   I have lots of good reasons  (to me) for each of my expenditures, and I am sure Seahawks fans can justify the expense, which for some of them is a considerable percentage of their income.

Years ago a married couple I knew decided to quit smoking.  They sat down and added up all the money they spent on cigarettes each year and it was a truly large amount to them.  To enforce their own decision,  they chose to “invest” their cigarette money in something they would both enjoy that would constantly remind them of what their cigarette money was purchasing.  So, they chose to sponsor part of a late model stock car at Evergreen Speedway!  Each week they would sit in the stands and watch “their” car race, with their name splashed across a fender.  Interesting choice. Ironic as well, since a night at the Evergreen races involves inhaling large quantities of oil, tire, and gasoline fumes.

So it is not about whether Seahawks fans should or should not pony up the sums – it is about the skill of the Seahawks marketing team in reinforcing the concept.

As a passionate motorcyclist who has own many motorcycles, the industry has been marketing new bikes to me, unsuccessfully, for the past ten years. I have not been seriously moved by any new bikes as a replacement for my Speed Triple. The owner of Triumph of Seattle did a good job a couple of weeks ago when he showed me “leaked” pictures of the new Speed Triple model for 2016.  He is leading me toward that bike, and his efforts were impressive. He may at some point succeed!

Having said all that, I do like to watch the Seahawks play, although last night it was a challenge.  I love the fact that almost half of the team is comprised of athletes who were either not drafted at all or thrown away by other teams.  I buy into the rah-rah coaching style of Pete Carroll, and I am continually amazed by the athletic ability of the players.  I am always impressed as well by the player interviews. 

This happens a lot, and the Seahawks must have a very sophisticated training school to prepare players for dealing with the media.   Richard Sherman is a genius at this, as you might expect of a man who majored in communications at Stanford, but all of them portray a consistency of positive statements and respect for others on their team and for opponents.  Even the outliers are fun.  Marshawn Lewis has made a career (and a lot of money from commercials and such) out of preferring not to speak.  Russell Wilson balances his brilliant and seemingly off the cuff play at quarterback with quotes that make him a shoo-in for a role in a movie titled “Stepford Husbands.”  It’s all entertainment, and it is both impressive and fun.

 I don’t begrudge them the huge salaries, because there’s no question that they are voluntarily choosing a profession where injuries that will affect their quality of life for the rest of their days are virtually guaranteed.  Careers are short, and the statistics for life afterward make grim reading, but we like to ignore that as much as possible.                                  

For the little people, there’s a better way to enjoy Seahawk football.  Record the games on your home media set-up, and begin watching about an hour or so in. I use a lot of fast forward to skip the interminable commercials and the many sections of the game that are actually boring. I watch the entire game as sort of an extended highlights reel, pausing once in a while to attend to other things.  It takes about an hour to watch this way, including slo-mo replays of significant events.  Other than the taxes I am paying for the stadium, this is virtually free. If the game is intense, I may watch almost all of it, except for the commercials.

For the true fan of the game, as opposed to those who thrill to the spectacle of being part of a big city event, consider supporting your local high school team. You can drive to the game in a few minutes, pay for tickets for you and your entire family, let your kids go off the deep end at the concession stand, and spend less than you would for parking at a Seahawks game. You will be home in less time, door to door, than a Seahawks game, and you will have a great time.

That ain’t marketing- that’s reality.


Copyright 2015                                          David Preston

Posted in Marketing, Motorcycles, Rants and Raves | 1 Comment

Award – Best Video by a Government Agency Anywhere

This is the best video I have ever seen produced by a non-commercial group. It is a must view for anyone interested in motorcycles.   Congrats to all involved, sliding right by the minor fact that I know most of them.  Really well done!

Posted in Education, Motorcycles | Leave a comment

How The Koch Brothers Will Elect a President You’ve Never Heard Of

The Koch Brothers Create a President From An Unknown

Let us agree that the Koch brothers did not become incredibly wealthy by being stupid. I would posit further that they can learn from their mistakes.

So what if…

They now realize that the creation of the Tea Party was both a failure and a mistake.  As was Sarah Palin.

What if, for 2016, they’ve decided to double down and spend even more fathomless sums of money to create a President who can win and that they control.

Here’s how they might do it.

First of all, create a very large field of extremist candidates, almost all of them funded in part or wholly by the Koch brothers and various Tea Party organizations. All of these candidates are dupes, selected for their innate ability to say incredibly stupid and false things that will ensure they cannot be elected or even nominated by a Republican party reeling from the constant damaging gaffes from within their own supposed ranks.

One advantage of this is that the Democrats spend a lot of time and effort and money responding to the ridiculous statements of these bogus candidates, and waste resources planning for several possible campaigns that are never going to happen.

A second advantage is that most of these candidates, by their outrageous stances, create instant super PAC and personal campaign funds from outer-rim whack jobs who get to live the fantasy of a candidate who thinks just like they do.  When the candidates drop out, those funds are available to be passed on to the “real” candidate, who could not attract such sums on his own (male pronoun intentional).  This can be seen in the removal from the race of Scott Walker, who leaves behind a Super PAC with $20 million dollars, most of it unspent.

Because the current candidates have been carefully selected, they can be counted on to make statements that fringe on the insane, such as no Muslim should be allowed to be President. Or we should look at building a wall across Canada. Or –oh heck, there are so many to choose from.

How to remove them? Easy.  Almost all of them cannot proceed without the Koch brothers blessing and funds. A simple call with the message of “You’re done” will do the trick.

In the next three months, almost all of these candidates will disappear, in an order created by the Koch brothers at times of their choosing.

Somewhere in there the big bomb will drop – Donald Trump will drop out, either by command of the Koch’s or because he discovers that running for President is an awful lot of work.

What then?  The surprising surge of a candidate nobody has ever heard of, a candidate currently being hidden and groomed by the Koch’s.  This candidate will be a handsome white male who is an elected official – perhaps of a large city – but with no national exposure and no skeletons hanging in any closet. He will belong to a “safe” religion – Lutheran should do.

He will have had great success at his level.  The books are balanced, there are no great crises in his town, and he is very popular. He will have a reasonably attractive wife and a couple of photogenic children.

His debut may be accompanied by a book with “his” vision of a better America. He will be soft on gays, immigration, and abortion. He may criticize the Tea Party, which will win the support of some liberals. He will not need the Tea Party because they’ve already given their money to the fake candidates. He will offer economic stability for the future by advocating the privatization of many government services, such as the United States Postal Service, National Parks, and many others.

The savings from these changes will be claimed to be in the billions, almost immediately.

At the same time, this candidate will inherit the Koch’s media clout and financial support, as well as the unused war chests of the sham candidates dominating the news today.

As his popularity surges, he will gain the support of all the other candidates, and will be nominated in a landslide by Republicans relieved to find an electable candidate who is not embarrassing.

If the Democrats are able to seize defeat from the jaws of victory, as Democrats tend to do, he will be elected.

The Kochs will smile.


Copyright 2015                      David Preston

Posted in Education, Marketing, Rants and Raves | 4 Comments

The Best Motorcycle Trip Ever?

A Wonderful 6 Day Motorcycle Trip

This past week featured one of the finest motorcycle trips I’ve experienced in 48 years of riding. What made it so special?

The participants, for one thing. We had 7 riders. The age span was over 50 years and the horsepower span over 100.  Those involved were:

Name                    Bike                                          Area(s) of Expertise

Bill Hucks           Honda CBR 250                   Routes/Medical

Bowen Hucks    Kawasaki Ninja 250           Youthful zest / Tinder!

Marv Travis        Kawasaki ZX 14                   Routes/ Experience

Tony Basile        Ducati ST 4S                          Technology/ Mechanical

Pat Cordell          BMW R 1200R                      Technology

Wil Wen               BMW K 1200S                       Technology

Me                         Triumph Speed Triple          Misc. stories?

Even better, Bill Hucks was a student of mine in 1969. Bowen is his son.  Marv was a parent whose children I taught in the early 1980s.

I’ve never experienced a week of anything with this many people where nobody ever said anything I found irritating or objectionable, and each person added expertise in a wide range of areas for our evening discussions and humor of various kinds was a constant.  In short, pretty much the perfect group.  That is very rare.

The intent of the ride was to glue together two group rides of three days each I used to lead from 2000 – 2010. The base for one was Clarkston, Washington. Bend, Oregon for the other. Bill Hucks did a masterful job of creating the Day 3 ride route between the two.

We started our adventure from our usual brekkie group that meets Friday morning, with the intent that five of us would meet Wil Wen and Pat Cordell at the Indian John rest area on I-90.  Of course, nothing ever goes to plan on these rides, which is part of their charm. First we added a backroads route that would bypass that rest area. A flurry of confusion and text messages later, we rode by the Indian John stop anyway, but Will and Pat were already heading for the alternate meet-up spot, the Chevron in Ellensburg. Turns out there are two of Chevron stations, but after more confusion the group was formed. 

We rode the old Ellensburg/Vantage highway, and then crossed the Columbia and rode East on W26 for a lunch stop at “Sonny’s” in Washtucna.

I have a long history with Sonny’s, having been charmed by its simplicity many years ago.  I wore my official Sonny’s t-shirt for the occasion, and we were greeted by an effusive proprietor.  In our chats with him we learned that Sonny dies a few years ago, and that he had originally won the restaurant in a high stakes poker game next door!

After lunch we departed from the original plan again for a meandering route that Bill knew that featured spectacular and lonely scenery.

Our first and second night’s accommodation was the Cedars Inn in Lewiston, Idaho, which was adequate but hardly posh. A minor disappointment was that the pool I had been sweating toward for a few hours had been closed for the season!

Saturday morning began with an early romp up the Spiral Loop Road, and I made a video of it you can find on my You Tube channel – here:

We rode back down to US 12 on 95, and then into Idaho and a date with Idaho 14 and 13, which leads you onto a spectacular 70 miles or so ride to Elk City, where the road dead-ends for those on pavement bikes.

On the way back we swung left to Grangeville, because I wanted to have lunch at “Bishop’s Bistro,” a fine dining establishment that either no longer exists or I simply missed it.  Snacks at a Chevron sufficed.

Next up was a 37 mile ride to Winchester, and I’d told the group to watch for the turn , marked by a gas station with a Cadillac impaled on a 30 foot tall spike in front of it. In the years since I last rode this route, road signs indicating the turn have been added, but the Cadillac and spike were removed years ago.

You ride through the miniscule burg of Winchester to reach “Winchester Grade,” one of the hidden secret great rides of all time.

This features almost no traffic, a bumpy road full of sweeping corners and some tight hairpins, framed with views of forever off to your left. There is a ditch on the right side of the road and measly or no guard rails at all on the left.  It calls for utmost attention, in other words. Pat had a confusing and bothersome scare when a pickup truck swerved over the center line and was apparently trying to hit him. I had no idea, because I was up front making two videos, both posted on my You Tube channel here:

There are two videos because my GoPro, for no known reason, shut itself off and then turned itself back on again.

Back at the Cedar’s Inn, we spent another enjoyable evening in the parking lot, swapping tales and bad jokes and the occasional serious discussion while I smoked my pipe in contentment.  I also learned about “Tinder,” a free phone app that Bowen and many others of the dating class use to arrange hook-ups. It is evidently not designed to meet the love of your life but to meet the love of your next three hours or so. Since the other 6 riders have all been married for decades, Bowen’s failed attempts (on this occasion) to get something going were a source of fascination for us.

The next day started very early, as most of us got up at 5am to sit out in the parking lot again  (the Wi-Fi did not work in our rooms) to watch a live feed of a MotoGP race on Bill’s computer.  The day’s riding treat was a rapid romp down “Rattlesnake Grade” to Boggan’s Oasis, where we enjoyed breakfast while Bowen successfully chatted up the beautiful, charming, and smart young woman who served us, and he later received a call from her. Two more videos of this ride are again on You Tube at:

Up to now the routes were reasonably familiar to me, except for the several alterations provided by Bill, but now we were into roads I had never ridden.  We meandered around and through a lot of scenery on our way to Baker City. Actually, I may have ridden many of these roads about 30 years ago, but I did not know where I was then, either.

Along the way we came across yet another fire in this plague of disasters summer that was in the process of blowing up.  Smoke billowed into the sky in a humongous plume and blew in random directions. It was surreal, as the ambient sunlight changed colors as it was filtered by the smoke, and some of the colors seemed un-natural.  We repeatedly pulled to the right as various large fire-fighting trucks and other equipment came the other way, racing to the rescue. Would have made for great pics, but Bill was afraid to stop, lest we get in the way of the fire fighters or, worse, get swamped by the raging fire. I agreed with his decision.

Baker City really impressed me.  Wide streets, lots of very old big buildings in fine fettle, and the Oregon Trail motel, which had a functioning pool and an attached restaurant. Your breakfast was included with the room.

Monday we rode from Baker City and spent a rather eerie hour riding through forested lands that had been involved in the big fire about a week earlier. Thousands of acres of forest showing minimal to massive damage. 

I have no idea what roads we were on, although I have the route somewhere on my computer for future reference.  We rode through a seemingly endless string of spectacular scenes framed by rolling pavement and corners, corners, corners.

At one point I mentioned to the group that if we came across a scene that included a fence with a horse standing next to it I would stop, as I needed a picture of my bike and a fence and a horse for my next novel. Sure enough, the next time we stopped someone said “Hey look.”  Sure enough, across the road were a fence… and a horse. The horse obligingly walked down to the corner where we were and “posed” for several pictures with my bike in the foreground.

We came across deer with alarming frequency. Bill was leading, and seemed to be able to spot them before anyone else. Often they would take off running down the road ahead of us, sometimes for quite some time, before darting to the left into the underbrush.

Our destination for the next two nights (for 5 of us) was a cabin 15miles outside of Sisters in a cluster of buildings known as Camp Sherman. Pat and Will opted for a motel in Sisters, which was a good idea, as the cabin was a bit tight for 5 and would have been a challenge for 7.

Up to this point we had been enjoying day time temperatures in the high 80’s to lower 90’s, but now things began to get a lot colder. The last half of the day I realized I not worn the right jacket liner for the trip, and I began to get seriously cold. While the others dined in a Mexican restaurant, I went shopping, as I was not hungry. I managed to purchase a zip up fleece to help with the chill, and a bottle of bourbon to replace the one Tony had brought that had emptied itself the night before.

The cabin was hilarious.  The first night we did not really master the heating system, and it was cold.  38 degrees cold in the morning cold. The 2nd night we built a big fire and heated the cabin to 80 degrees before bed, which meant the loft where Tony and I were sleeping was about 95 or so.  Feast or famine…

The 5th day featured a ride up to the lava beds, which I had visited several times but was new to most of the others. The ride up was enlivened by deer. They were all over the place.  First a family of them in a yard as we left Sisters, then one or two dashing across the road in front of me, as I was to lead this day.

When you get close to the lava fields the roads tightens up quite a bit, and I was having such a good time juking left and right that I forgot about the deer. About six of them were standing on the outside of a sharp corner, and their coloring perfectly matched the background. I did not notice them at all until I was tipping into the turn and suddenly the herdlet exploded, with deer leaping in all directions. Fortunately, none of them chose to leap in front of me.

After enjoying the Gothic tower built of lava, you have a fantastic run of 30 miles or so down to the main highway, where you turn left for about 19 miles to reach the “Aufderheide” road, which I have probably spelled incorrectly. This leads you for about 60 miles of scenery, corners, and an occasionally very bumpy ride.  Then it was lunch on Oak Ridge, and another 120 miles or so back to our cabin.

At one point we pulled over for a break and a park ranger pulled up in her truck and said “Can’t you guys ride on a warmer day?”  As we were all close to hypothermic, this struck home.  She mentioned that the weather would be even colder the next day, with snow predicted for 5500 feet. We had been at 5200 feet several times on this day. Hmmmm.

For the final day we decided to let discretion be the better part of valor and simply ride up 97 to Yakima, and then either take 410 to Mt. Rainier or keep going to Ellensburg and freeway slog home on I-90.

This route would be less exciting, but warmer and safer – particularly if the rain began to fall.

Things got interesting at breakfast at “The Gallery” (recommended) in Sisters, when Pat strolled in with a pistol cartridge loaded with 9mm hollow point bullets – that he found lying in the street! We made a short detour on the way out of town to drop it off at the sheriff’s office.

On the way up 97 we took the little side road to Antelope and then up to Shaniko, which we all recommend. Marv has spent a fair amount of time in Shaniko and filled us in on some of the ancient and modern history and town gossip of what is very close to a ghost town.

Five of us chose the 410 route, and the disadvantage of it is that the slog home from Mt. Rainier, when you are cold and tired, can take roughly a decade of your life. On this occasion, there was very little traffic, including none of the hated and snail-like RVs. Even better, we were following a brand new pick up that drove at speeds that were comfy for a motorcycle but pretty amazing for a truck.

Once home, a very long and very hot shower, and so to bed.  I was exhausted, because this was not merely 6 days of riding a motorcycle.  95% of the time it was riding a motorcycle at a fair turn of speed on a challenging road where any momentary lapse in concentration, or a misjudgment of a corner or a section of paving could have disastrous consequences.   Twelve hours a day of this for six days.

Pretty much perfect, in other words.

So for 2016….

Copyright 2015                      David Preston

Posted in Motorcycles | 1 Comment

Spiral Loop and Winchester Grade videos

I think these are my two favorite patches of pavement.  Spiral Loop is just across the river from either Clarkston or Lewiston, and Winchester Grade runs from the teeny tiny town of Winchester down a series of hairpin corners and short straights with bumps, a ditch to the right, and small or non-existent barriers to the vistas to the left.  A challenging ride where you do not want to make even a tiny error.  Both are available on my You Tube channel, and you can copy and paste the link below to watch them.


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Rattlesnake Grade videos

Some people love to watch motorcycle videos. Others would rather watch paint dry.

With that in mind, three of the best riding roads in the world are located in Washington and Idaho.  Spiral Loop Road is just across the river from either Clarkston, WA or Lewiston, Oregon.  Winchester Grade is in Oregon, and Rattlesnake Grade runs south from Clarkston toward the Oregon border.

On a 6 day ride in the past week I had the opportunity to GoPro all three of these in a total of 5 videos. On my You Tube channel today I posted three sections of the Rattlesnake Grade, and tomorrow, or at least soon, I will add Spiral Loop and the Winchester Grade. There is a delay because I was running out of space on the GoPro card, so we downloaded what I had to Bill Huck’s computer and then erased my card so I could start over. When he gets the first two transferred to me I will add them.

We had 7 people on this ride, and I will list them here for future reference.  We had an age span among the 7 of us of over 50 years from youngest to “most mature,” and the bikes had a span of horsepower of well over 100!   The group contained:

David Preston  (chief filmer!)  Triumph Speed Triple

Bill Hucks        Honda CBR 250

Bowen Hucks  Kawasaki Ninja 250

Wil Wen           BMW K1200S

Pat Cordell       BMW R 1200R

Tony Basile      Ducati

We are not going all that fast in any of the videos, (in motorcycle terms) but that can be an advantage if you have heard of these roads and want to see what they are like.

This link should take you to the Rattlesnake Grade videos

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Mechanical Woes and Attitudes

Mechanical Woes and the Attitudes They Can Create

Have you ever noticed that when things break in your personal “fleet,” they do so in multiples?  This summer has seen a seemingly endless string of mechanical woes to steeds and gear that have tried both my patience and wallet.

First came hard starting, and then non-starting, for my Triumph motorcycle.  After a week or two of attempts to source the issue, it finally died completely and suffered the ignominy of a trailer-trip to the dealer.  It turned out to be the ignition switch, which in its death throes also took out the battery.

Next up was a side pod on my Arai which broke off.  Had to order two new side pods (they are sold in pairs) and they were replaced by the “helmet guy” at Ride West BMW.

Next up – a recall for the driver’s air bag on our Honda CR-V.

Three days ago the rear wiper on our Fiat 500 Sport failed in a heavy rain during a short mini-vacation to Vancouver Island.

Today the zipper on my left motorcycle boot got jammed, and I had 30 minutes of comedy blended with concern because I could not get the boot off!

Tomorrow I go back to the Triumph dealer because the overflow tank for the radiator has a leak.  Nothing drastic, but next week’s 6 day ride will be more peaceful without worrying when and if that part will let go. They will also finish re-keying the fuel tank cap and seat release, which we chose to wait on because the last repair came just before a three day ride.

Arghghgh!  How many more hassles am I due?

No way of knowing, of course.

When these things happen you can gnash your teeth and curse the angry gods you have offended…  or – you can step back and consider other factors.

  • The Triumph has 46,000 miles on the odometer, which is a fair bunch in motorcycle terms, and has rarely had any issues in the ten years I have been riding it.  Things wear out.
  • In a summer of one adventure after another, almost all of these things have occurred in my garage or at home, and not in some out of cell phone range hinterland where I’ve spent a lot of my time.
  • Fixing the Arai also had the expert remove both sides and do a thorough cleaning of the entire mounting area, which after about 50,000 miles (I have ridden dozens of other bikes in addition to the Triumph in the five years I’ve worn it) was quite evidently needed, and not an area I would notice.
  • The air bag recall was not the Honda’s fault, and now I can rest assured it will not explode and pepper my handsome visage with plastic shrapnel.
  • The Fiat wiper is not critical, and the repair will be made under warranty.
  • I thought of replacing the boots, which are five years old, but a close examination showed that they have very little wear, despite 50,000 miles of rain and worse.  Instead of spending $300 or so, the local shoe repair store will replace the bad zipper pull for $14.00.
  • At the end of the day, we are both retired, and none of these events have interfered with our other activities.
  • Unlike the many years when we were raising children on the salaries of two teachers plus my various part-time jobs – I can now afford the bills.

I remember years ago when I often reminded my students of a quote by someone that success in any job or endeavor came down to 97% attitude.

I now think that was an understatement.

All in all, I think I win.


Copyright 2015                David Preston

Posted in Cars, Equipment, Motorcycles | 3 Comments

Cool gear and money for Riders for Health

Raising Money for Riders for Health

I have two items that have come to roost in my garage, and I would like to sell them and pass on the proceeds  to Riders for Health.  

If you want to purchase one, or both, you could write a check to Riders for Health and claim a charitable deduction. Contact me at or (206) 484-3000

The first item is a First Gear leather jacket that can be worn on a cruiser or other bike. It belonged to my son and looked spiffy on his Triumph Bonneville, but he has now moved on to marriage, college, and triathlons (!), not necessarily in that order.  It has no wear, and is a size XL.  $50?



The second item is a very heavy leather jacket in a “Marlon Brando” style.  It is a “Willson” and has just enough “patina” to look even better than brand new. It is size XXL.  $70?



Mailing either of the two leather jackets would be expensive, but I can deliver in the greater Seattle area.  Support Riders for Health and improve your looks and safety with any or all of these fine items!

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The Motorcycle “Good to Go” Pass

The Saga of the Motorcycle “Good to Go” Pass

Well, I think it is finally done. I hope. Maybe.

The saga of a month’s duration in my quest to receive one of the new Good to Go passes so my motorcycle can use the new toll HOV lanes is done.

At least I think so.

HOV lanes came into being in the early 1980’s.   A bit after that President Reagan signed a bill making it legal for motorcyclists to use HOV lanes.  This was a rider on another bill, and there is doubt that President Reagan actually knew he was signing it.

At the time I was commuting frequently from Bothell to Pioneer Square for my part-time gig as a guide for Seattle’s Underground Tour.  I read that this had occurred, but I was worried because the signs along the freeway made no mention of motorcycles. As I streamed by the long lines of stalled cages on the way to the Evergreen Bridge I was worried that some harassed driver would either dart into my lane to kill me or take some other act of traffic jam rage. I actually called the Washington DOT to inquire, and was told that yes, motorcycles were free to use the HOV lanes, and signs would go up eventually to make this common knowledge.

Which they did.

All was fine for many years, and then things got complicated.   New toll lanes were installed south from Renton to Kent, and a pass was required for use of the Evergreen Bridge and the Tacoma narrows bridge.  Motorcyclists made complaints about this at the time  (including me) with letters pointing out that motorcycles use less fuel  (partially true) and are more efficient and cause virtually no wear and tear to the road surface  (both completely true) and therefore should not have to pay tolls.

I received the most honest answer from a public official ever. In her letter she agreed with every point I had made and admitted, with bald faced open honesty, that they really did not care. All they cared about was the money needed for the new toll bridge. At least she was clear.

After using the Evergreen Bridge one, in my car, I had to pay for it twice and pay a fine. I paid the bill, and received a notice that payment had not been made. I sent back the # and date of the check, and got a second bill.  With a sigh, I paid that, and then was sent a penalty notice demanding more money!  I resolved never to use that bridge again, nor have I.

Recently came news that new toll lanes would run up I-405, and since I use that road all the time I was very concerned.  After a lot of legal yammering, DOT decided that motorcycles could get a toll pass for the headlight that would allow free passage on the I-405 route and the one south to Kent, but not the Tacoma or Evergreen Bridges.

And then it got confusing. I sent away for the pass and the documentation.  When the pass came, I read the enclosed information several times, and it was not clear at all.  For one thing, the documentation indicated you must open a $30 account, even though you would never be charged. On the DOT web site, it said you could have the pass without opening an account. A posting on Facebook revealed that many of my friends thought they knew what was what, and most of them were incorrect.

Another e-mail to WA DOT brought the news, in a few days, that the $30 was not required. All I had to do was register with the pass #.

Nowhere in the documentation or in the installation instructions does it list where the pass # is located!  How can you do that?

Another e-mail, and the wait of a further week, and finally the secret code was cracked. The account # was on the same clear tear off sheet as was the pass itself, but nowhere in the documents or on the sheet is there any indication that this random assortment of numbers means anything.  

In my younger and less cynical days I would have tossed the rest of the clear sheet, but fortunately age does bring come caution.

Now I have sent them what I believe to be the pass #, and I should be set.


I hope.

And who is to blame for this litany of bureaucratic blunders? 

(I  left out several e-mails and inquiries for the sake of brevity).


Not really.

Many years ago I worked with a sales manager who liked to have weekly lunches for the managers where we would dine and listen to a series of business-centric talks he had purchased on CDs.  All of them were interesting, but one of them really hit home.

I do not remember the speaker or the exact details, but the gist of it dealt with planning.   You were advised to place the tasks ahead into one of four quadrants.  One was for tasks critical in nature and time sensitive. A second was for tasks not critical and not time sensitive. Then there was the quadrant for critical but not time sensitive, and finally, time sensitive and not critical.

By using this system, you wanted to avoid the dreaded Quadrant #4, where you were rushed to deal with tasks that were both critical and time sensitive.  When you are running out of time to accomplish a critical task, errors rise up like worms in the garden after a fresh rain.

I had experienced this myself.  I was often asked to prepare written ad copy, marketing materials, or correspondence with motorcycle OEMs. Some of it was critical in terms of the importance of the message, the power or the recipient, and the negative results of a sloppy statement.  I tried to explain to the sales manager that what I did was not like grinding hamburger. The more advance notice and information I was given, the better would be the final product.  I don’t recall that anything ever got better in that regard, but no matter.  I could use the system to try and ensure that I always had some time in hand for critical and time sensitive tasks, even though I did not know what they would be.

And that is where the problem is with the DOT. Two decades ago the electorate got it into their pretty little heads that it would be a good idea to cut taxes – everywhere. It would also make sense to cripple the administrative system that created the tax rates.   Tim Eyman is only the tip of this iceberg that has ripped the guts out of government fiscal management.  At the same time that this was going on, and continues, the electorate did not reduce their demands on government for services.

The results have been predictable. Caught between the rock of public demands, the restrictions on tax income, and their own spineless nature, politicians have had to get “creative,” with all sorts of new tax plans.  Most of them are not completely thought out and often create legal and operational snafus that would be comic if not for their consequences.

So here you have the DOT – strapped for cash and with crumbling infrastructure all around them.  They have tried to tax everyone everywhere in any possible way. Does it make sense to tie the maintenance of state parks to your license fee, when you go to a state park to get away from all the vehicles?  That one is voluntary, and I pay it every year, even while grinding my teeth at the illogicality of it all. When you get to the state park, you will need to pay an additional fee, no matter how long you got there or the intended duration of your stay.

With the motorcycle passes, the DOT is attempting to raise funds while dealing with the results of court cases, and the result is the tangled mess of a motorcycle good to go pass system that is riddled with functional and administrative errors.  They have not been given the time or the staff to do this in a sensible and carefully planned manner. Also, it seems that virtually none of them have any knowledge of motorcycles.  The result is mass confusion among motorcyclists, and the same for other groups in similar situations.  Confusion added to demands for money creates – rage.

Is the resultant anger by the electorate, entirely self-induced, the reason why people are apparently willing, in very large numbers, to abandon all sanity and support a howling buffoon like Donald Trump?  

None of the experts seem to be able to figure out his appeal, so perhaps I have done so here.


Copyright 2015                                    David Preston





Posted in Cars, Marketing, Motorcycles, Rants and Raves, Travel | Leave a comment