Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hurricanes and Deja vu...

Here I sit with my computer hastily set up at the girlfriends house, hurricane news on the tv (which is constantly playing in the background) and the unknown is less than twelve hours away.

It doesn't seem like that long ago that I wrote another blog entry under exactly the same conditions, but unlike then the words are being published into cyberspace long before flickering power, rebooting computers and ultimately extreme frustration kick in. (One of the many reasons I'm at my girlfriends rather than my own house is that she's seemingly on the same power grid as Fort Lauderdale's municipal buildings, so apart from the flickering, the electricity stays on.)

Unlike before however, this hurricane has been agonizingly teasing Florida for the last week by speeding up and slowing down, changing the timeline of landfall and the degree of intensity more often than a woman's choices in a shoe store. No coincidence that the hurricane's name is Wilma I'm sure.

With helping various friends put up shutters and hurricane-proofing my own place, I haven't had a chance to ride this weekend in weather that is so beautiful it lends to the adage of a lull before the storm. One of the many timelines that was thrown out this week has a twenty-four hour period of cool weather in the upper seventies and clear skies before another stormfront follows Wilma. Hoping of course that everything goes as well as it can with the hurricane, I'm looking forward to getting out during this window of riding opportunity.

In the meantime my motorcycle fix has been through related news stories and stuff to make you smile. I threw on a video clip of someone performing an old, but still-sort-of-funny joke on the previous entry and here's some stuff that will leave you scratching your head.......

I thought he was quiet....
MEXICO CITY Oct 21, 2005
Police discovered on Friday that a passenger on a motorcycle involved in an accident in the rough Mexican border city of Tijuana was in fact a corpse which the driver had been carrying through the city strapped to his back.

The motorcycle driver lost control and skidded in the downtown area and when a policeman approached to investigate the mishap, the driver fled. The police officer checked the passenger, who had been seated behind the driver, and found it was the corpse of a man who had died some time before.

Crashing certainly works up an appetite
October 18 2005, 9:22 AM EDTWAUSAU, Wis.
A man whose car ran into the front entry of a fast-food restaurant backed away, parked and went in for breakfast, officials say. Police Patrol Inspector Bryan Hilts said 78-year-old Rouland Steppert's car struck the glass entry way of the downtown Burger King Friday. After he backed up, parked and went inside, he was served his food, and police called to the scene found him eating at a table. General manager Kathy Fasse declined to say what he ordered. By lunchtime, glass and other debris had been cleared away and customers were able to use the normal entry. Because the accident was on private property, the man was not cited, Hilt said.

I've got what...where?
October 21, 2005, 6:24 AM EDT
A 93-year-old driver apparently suffering from dementia fatally struck a pedestrian, then continued driving through a toll booth with the man's body on his windshield, police said.

Ralph Parker of Pinellas Park drove for 3 miles Wednesday night after striking the 52-year-old pedestrian with his gold 2002 Chevrolet Malibu, severing the man's right leg, police said. A toll taker on the Sunshine Skyway saw the body stuck through Parker's windshield and notified police, Traffic Homicide Investigator Michael Jockers said.

Authorities did not identify the pedestrian. Parker was hospitalized overnight with minor scrapes, and was expected to be taken to an elder care facility, Jockers said. Charges were not likely to be filed, because Parker did not appear to know what had happened, where he was nor the correct date, said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant in the Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney's Office.

Police took Parker's license, which he renewed in 2003. A spokesman for the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said the agency would conduct its own inquiry into whether Parker, who otherwise had a clean driving record, should have had a license. Seniors age 80 or older must pass only a vision test when renewing a Florida driver's license.

And people are worried about helmet laws..........

The sad thing is that there are even more riders on the roads for cage drivers like the elderly gentleman to hit with another recent article highlighting the obvious increase of motorcycles out there.

The AMA reported on October 20th that Motorcycle and scooter sales jumped even higher this summer sales season than during a strong 2004, further demonstrating America's growing passion for two-wheeling.

Among 12 of the leading brands, sales of on-highway models for the third quarter of the year are up 16 percent compared to the same period in 2004. From July through September, scooter sales among these brands climbed 65 percent. Sales are on track to eclipse the one-million mark for the third straight year, again reaching levels last seen three decades ago.

Gas prices are considered one of the reasons that sales have increased since they started to rebound in 1993 after years of being in a slump.

The numbers are just amazing when you follow the trends;
1992 - 278,000
1993 - 293,000
1994 - 306,000
1995 - 309,000
1996 - 330,000
1997 - 356,000
1998 - 432,000
1999 - 546,000
2000 - 710,000
2001 - 850,000
2002 - 936,000
2003 - 1,001,000
2004 - 1,063,000

Bearing in mind that the last available data had the number of registered motorcycles at 5.1 million in 2002, a quick addition of recorded sales over the last two full years and the figures estimated in the article for 2005, the number is up around 8.5 million, not taking into account the bikes that are no longer with us. That last thought is a sad one I know.

So from the Sunny Hurricane State I'll sign off and ask you to be safe...........and have a ride for me:)

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