Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Nobody Calls the Top Like Idaho's PERSI

My number one indicator that the bull market is finally over.

Many years ago, probably just before the dot.com bust, I was playing poker with a table full of people who were all talking about how much money they were making in the NASDAQ. These were farmers, small business owners, and even the poker dealer. The NASDAQ had just eclipsed 5k for the very first time. All of that talk from virtually everyone scared me.

That's when I knew the top was in. There is an old adage that when your bartender is telling you to get in the market- it's time to get out. The bartender might be a savvy trader- the point is- is that by the time the lower paying jobs are buying stock, there is simply nobody left to buy equities and drive the market higher.

Back then I traded a lot. Stocks had ridiculous valuations and no earnings. I was almost out anyway- the only thing I had which is always locked in- was our state retirement system. They don't practice any sort of market timing. They ride it up and they ride it down.

Idaho's public employees retirement system or PERSI even gave a 13th check to retirees back then. That was the confirmation for me. The top was in. 

Within months, the NASDAQ collapsed. It would take 4 trillion dollars worth of QE and 15 years for the NASDAQ to retake that high.

During those intervening years, PERSI was the stingiest retirement system on the planet. Cost of living increases are never actually tied to any sort of inflation index although the fund occasionally uses the BLS' Consumer Price Index as a frame of reference if the number is low enough. Anyone that remembers gas at 1.80 and ground beef at 1.50 in 2008- knows the BLS is full of shit. If the BLS actually counted rising health care costs, college tuition, taxes, and insurance rates- true inflation would be around 8%.  Truth be told, the BLS simply excludes all of the inconvenient numbers- some like food and energy- they call them too "volatile." That's how they keep the numbers low.

If you don't like the output, simply change the input. People will buy whatever forged number you come up with. That's the magic of the BLS.

So year after year, while the QE juiced markets marched straight up, PERSI handed out the minimum 1% cost of living adjustment.This surprised nobody.

After years and years of lost buying power, and on the heels of double digit investment gains, PERSI saw fit to finally give retirees a 4% cost of living increase earlier this year. After an entire decade or so of 1% cost of living adjustments- this uncharacteristic act of generosity can only mean one thing.

It's time to get out of the markets or short them. I guarantee it. Nobody can call the top like PERSI can. 

Two very important trend lines have also been broken. Dr Copper has broken multi year support and is headed down. The S&P 500 has also broken support. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-27/most-important-market-trendline-2009-was-just-broken

QE is over (maybe) and the Chinese market is tanking badly. Commodities have all dropped. With the FED calling for interest rate hikes in less than two months- it's time to head for the sidelines or get short.

Trust me on this. Even Calpers is "recalibrating" their portfolio (insert market timing) to adjust for the downdraft that is just ahead. The last time I tried to short this market, I took a beating....but maybe it's time to put a toe back in the water. 






Sunday, July 19, 2015

The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Bankers- The Sunday Collage

All:
God save your majesty!

Cade:
I thank you, good people—there shall be no money; all shall eat
and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery,
that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

Dick:
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

Cade:
Nay, that I mean to do.

Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2, 71–78

Shakespeare wrote those lines as he tried to convey the thoughts and feelings of the oppressed. I have always thought Shakespeare chose the wrong profession to lash out at. It's a fine piece of trickery that after all these centuries- the people of America or any where else for that matter- still haven't figured out who the bad guys are. I don't think it's the lawyers.

Thirty years ago, I lost my first job in policing due in large part- to the fraudulent practices of the banking sector. It is an amazing thing- that moment when you become enlightened for the first time in your life and you discover the truth- and the truth doesn't set you free.

In the mid-80's, I had a very dear friend sit me down and ask me what I knew about money. The truth was- I didn't know anything about money. I knew somebody printed it and that I had some in the bank. That was probably the extent of my knowledge about money. The vast majority of Americans don't know anything about the "Federal Reserve" or the "gold standard." They don't know anything about money because the oligarchy that runs this country- and when I say oligarchy I really mean the bankers- don't want you to know anything. Because what you don't know, buys the bankers very nice real estate in the Hamptons without having to turn one greasy wrench or produce one basket of fruit. Bankers don't produce anything. They simply rip stupid people off, churn and skim their investment and retirement accounts, charge compound interest for loans with money that either doesn't exist or isn't theirs anyway. Geezus what a scam. The only time Christ was ever angry was at the "moneychangers."

I think nearly 95% of the people in this country are completely ignorant about our "money" system and how it works. That is not an oversight or coincidence. That education was skipped on purpose. Instead we hear bullshit about "manifest destiny" or "American exceptionalism." How many of you have heard of Jekyll Island and the bankers who carved out the Federal Reserve Bank back in 1910 or so? Can you remember what class in high school or college that you first learned of it?

In the mid- 80's I read a book entitled, "Money." That book is no longer available. What that book described to me was a privately owned "Federal Reserve Bank" with undisclosed stock holders. It described how banks exchange credits on ledgers and how each new loan creates more "money" and more debt. It explained leverage and loan to reserve requirements. It described the bankruptcy of the United States in 1933 when FDR seized gold by executive order and once gold was in the custody of the U.S. government- it was repriced from 20 bucks an ounce to 35 dollars an ounce. The private ownership of gold, with a few exceptions, became illegal. I want you to stop and think just for a second, how insane it is that possessing any innocuous and harmless item and in this case- a small piece of metal- could be deemed illegal. This is the same President who eight years later would issue an executive order which allowed the seizure of the bodies of lawful Japanese American citizens and put them in relocation camps. They were denied any and all human rights, stripped of their possessions and any type of due process, and carted away. Think about that.

The point being, is that the vast majority of Americans are stupid and cowardly. They are sheep. FDR proved this. Americans will believe any fucking thing irrespective of the real facts- just so long as they think the source of that information is credible. Once they buy in- they will then argue and often vehemently- that they are apprised of the "facts" and you are not. They practice cognitive dissonance based on deceptive beliefs brought about by the lies of politicians and echoed then by media sources.

If you don't believe people will blindly obey idiots in authority, read this fascinating link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

In 1971 while still on the gold standard, France was demanding debt payments in gold. Rather than give them all of our gold- President Nixon closed the gold window and told France they would be getting payments in Federal Reserve notes. No gold for you. Nixon also established the petro dollar. This was probably the greatest coup of his entire Presidency. It propped up our sagging dollar, created demand for it, and extended the life of the world's reserve currency. Nixon swapped the gold standard for the oil standard. A status that is quickly dissolving. http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2014/05/29/the-colder-war-and-the-end-of-the-petrodollar/

After reading the book "Money" I realized that despite my superior government education including state university and a few economics courses, that I had been duped. How could any decent education not include the history and ownership of the Federal Reserve? It was almost as though (with the utmost sarcasm) that whoever was writing the textbooks forgot the chapter regarding the history of the Federal Reserve and our "money" system. We have an unbacked fiat currency masquerading as "money" which is nothing but worthless Federal Reserve debt notes. The only thing that gives Federal Reserve notes any value at all- is that the sheep are still accepting them in exchange for goods and services and still think they have some value.

It begs the question. If everyone believes a lie, does it not in fact, become truth?

The answer is yes, of course. We have all kinds of grand delusions in this country that people believe in and defend. Currently my favorite delusion is that people actually think we are financially solvent- that somehow we are going to magically pay off that 18.2 trillion dollar debt we owe. We are never going to pay that back. Just like Greece, just like Japan, just like Spain and Italy. Never gonna happen.

We have become just another debtor nation. Our debts far exceed our capacity to pay them. We are nothing but a giant Greece on steroids. The only thing we have going for us is that the dollar still retains it's status as reserve currency and other countries are forced to use it. We can't even print our way out of this mess. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone owning bonds and equities suddenly sold and demanded the proceeds in cash? Trillions upon trillions of dollars? Our fiat currency system would simply collapse. We don't have trillions of dollars laying around and we sure as shit don't have trillions of dollars worth of gold laying around either. The demand for "money" or "gold" would simply out strip our country's capacity to meet those demands. We would default.

That in fact is why countries and banks around the world are beginning to talk about eliminating currency entirely. They are so vastly over leveraged with unbacked monopoly money and debt- that they can't possibly meet huge demands from the public for cash or precious metals. So the future is starting to emerge. Bankers will bribe politicians with loans, future jobs, and re-election funds into issuing card or chip like instruments. Politicians will then sell this idea to the vast majority of useful idiots by telling them how much it will save everyone, like they did with Obamacare. They will no longer have to waste time and revenue printing "money." The liberals and their media mouthpieces will begin by trumpeting all of the benefits of this newly thought out idea unto the unwashed masses.

Mark my words. This will happen. And your idiot countrymen will make it so.

Collectively, people are stupid. Politicians know that. That's why they lie to get elected. It works. Because there is never a shortage of idiots willing to believe what politicians say. P.T. Barnum said there's a sucker born every minute. I believe Barnum grossly understated that. There are hundreds of suckers born every minute.

Can you imagine being a 70 year old Greek citizen right now? Is that how you want to wind up? Your money seized and reliant on someone else's goodwill?

In 16 years or so, I am going to be a 70 year old citizen of the greatest debtor nation to ever evolve on the face of planet Earth. I've got a couple of decisions to make.

Do I stay and take my chances that in 16 years I won't wind up like some old Greek begging for my money? Do I try to protect what little wealth I have and prepare for the distinct possibility of a US default or a dollar collapse? Do I get the hell out of here?

The Big Finish

In 1987, I found myself in a world of trouble because my best friend and his family had discovered how corrupt the banking system had become. They opened their very own bank, off shore, and began to trade credits on books just as real banks do when paying off loans while entering debits and credits on electronic ledgers. No "money" ever changes hands. The banks didn't take too kindly to these "fraudulent" acts- the same acts they were committing by the way- and my friend and his family were prosecuted for bank fraud. I got in trouble for distributing 3 copies of the book "Money" to area judges.

I learned a couple things from that mess. No matter how idealistic or morally right you think you are- it is the people with power that run things. Money makes the wrong things- right. That's why in America right now, bankers own and run everything. They finance our wars and kill our children, they bribe our politicians with re-election money, they have people removed from appointed offices, they have destroyed the gold standard and mired our nation in trillions upon trillions in debt which we will never pay. Of course this will end badly- it's just a matter of when.

Our forefathers hated banking- and central banking in particular. They knew how dangerous it was.

“The central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the Principles and form of our Constitution. I am an Enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but Coin. If the American People allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the People of all their Property until their Children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered. ”
― Thomas Jefferson

Here's a great link from Doug Ross this morning on our banking overlords. http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2015/07/all-hail-our-banking-overlords.html

Now that the bankers have all the money, power, and are demonstrably above the reach of  the law- how are we going to get our country back?

With all due respect to Mr. Shakespeare, I know where I would start.












Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What Is Happening in Precious Metals?

Every one of us who own precious metals have been subjected to one of most manipulated bear markets of all time. If you are somewhat emotionally normal, the damage has been intense. Like many of you- I have lost credibility with friends and family.

While a share of that sexy, growth stock Whirlpool fiddles around at nearly 200 bucks- the price of silver has been cut nearly 70% since the April '11 highs.

On message boards everywhere- PM owners are disgusted, frustrated, and angry. Never have they seen so much worthless fiat currency masquerading as "money."  Debt levels are obscene. The PM bear has entered it's 5th year. It's almost over. We have one last, blood in the streets phase to endure- it's playing out right now and I expect it to get worse and wash out the last, weak hands in the early fall.

A little over a month ago, I bookmarked the page of a guy who makes a lot of sense to me. In fact, I actually sold a little gold around 1220 based on what he said and I am expecting to buy it back around 950-1050 level and add more. I believe silver will sink to 12 and present the best buying opportunity of my life.

We only have about 7 more weeks worth of carnage. Here's that bookmarked page from Gary Savage. So far he's been dead on. http://blog.smartmoneytrackerpremium.com/2015/06/gold-surviving-the-last-few-months-of-the-bear-market-part-ii.html

Saturday, July 11, 2015

We Make Time For Those Things Which Are Important To Us- The Sunday Collage

The year 2007 was a magical year for me. It was the year I repaired my life.

One of the many emotional gifts I was given that year was the simple phrase, "We make time for the people and things which are important to us." I hadn't ever really stopped to consider that in a positive way. Since that time, I have used that simple logic- which I believe is nearly always accurate- to invest in some relationships and de-invest in others. It is how I go about the task of sorting out who I am going to spend time with. Equally important is that I allow other people in my life to distance themselves from me and I don't worry about why that happens or why they chose to do that. I don't feel an overwhelming sense of guilt- not like I used to- when I can't rekindle an old friendship or spend hours dwelling on what it was exactly, that I did wrong and how I can try to make it right. That is emotionally taxing.

Last night, I had a 30 minute conversation with a complete stranger in a grocery store parking lot. I am sorry that I had to cut it short. Crazy, huh?

We had been in the store together, waiting in line. He was about my age, a little older perhaps- excellent physique and well dressed. He had a kind, soft voice. As he spoke with the cashier and bagged his things- I assumed that he was gay. Let me say for the record that very often I am full of shit and I certainly was last night. He wasn't gay at all- he was just a very well kept, well groomed man who is very active. This I found out later as we talked in the parking lot.

I had followed him out of the store. His Lexus SUV was parked right next to the best looking Roadking in all of Boise. That's how it started. He told me that he had just sold an anniversary Heritage (with 2000 miles on it!) he had received from a client as payment. That statement alone caused my brain to explode. I asked him if it was a 2003 and indeed it was. He had gotten 9 grand for it which was a pretty good deal. It still had the original tires. I have known lawyers who accept bartered goods for services rendered and as it turns out- that is exactly what had happened.

He told me that the bike was really only worth half what the guy actually owed him. Being a closet lawyer hater and Harley lover- I quickly surmised that the bike was probably worth twice what the lawyer had spent in actual, billable hours.

At any rate, I do have lawyer friends that I like- in as much as I detest the legal profession in general. I liked this guy immediately. We talked about a wide range of things- it was just one of those random conversations where everything flows and makes sense. We talked about a lot of things, including the recent death of his daughter. There is not enough guilt in the world it seems for parents who lose children. That horrible event has always broken my heart. It is tragic and I'm not sure parents ever, really, get over it. The truth is, I'm sure some do- I just haven't met any of them yet.

Of all the things we talked about, we discovered that we had several mutual friends in the Twin Falls area. One of them was a local cop who I used to work with. He got in trouble with drugs and for some time- that event ruined his marriage, his kids, and his life. I don't know if he served time over it. I do know that this officer was one of the funniest and most fearless cops I had ever met. I always loved working with him because he was so hilarious. As I spoke with my new found friend, he said that he and his wife used to be very close friends with that couple and that they had made several attempts to re-connect with them. Even though they seemed excited about the prospect- the re-union never materialized. In many ways, I think that's a shame.

I was immediately reminded that there are a couple of friends like that in my life and I think in some sense- that they really would like to get together again but for reasons undisclosed- they simply do not. It's not because I haven't tried. The truth is, I may have emotionally damaged them. Both of them are significant grudge holders. When they perceive that others have "damaged" them- they simply ignore them. Oh they pretend to be nice, but the truth is- they simply lack the capacity for forgiveness. When they screw other people over which both of them have done- they are very adept at rationalizing their own decisions as necessary and justified.

Going through life and holding "grudges" is no way to live your life. I can't carry around that bag of angst, animosity, and guilt anymore. Holding grudges or being ashamed of what you have said or done, is really a shitty way to live your life. It's wasteful and not useful. Understanding that, and not taking things personally was certainly a part of the list of emotional repairs that I made way back in 2007... which brings me back to our big finish.

People make mistakes and people fail us. That's what people do. We all do it. Very often I think, relationships must simply run their course. Sometimes, people enter our lives for mysterious reasons and then they exit. Perhaps they are there to teach us something about ourselves. Sometimes they are just convenient. Rarely, if ever, do friendships stand the test of time. I have one friend, who I talk to monthly, which has gone on now for 40 years. I have a few more frienships in the 20 year range. The rest of them just seem to come and go. I am ok with that- actually I am very thankful for the one friendship that has lasted 40 years. Thank you Doug.

In my life, I make time for the things that are important to me. If someone is not making time for you- then you will probably have to accept the fact that for whatever reason- you are simply no longer important to them. What ever type of relationship you once had with them- has been damaged or has probably run it's course. That's how I sort out the people in my life. I will make an effort or two, an invitation to do something with them- and if they want to- I know they'll make time for me. If they don't want to spend time with me- I accept that also- despite the spin or little lies they might use to escape my invitation. I no longer waste my own time trying to figure out what I did wrong. The only wrong thing I think, is not extending an invitation in the first place. Beyond that, I let people make their choices and just be who they are.

If any given person wants you in their life- they'll find the time. If not, they won't. I pay attention to what people actually do and dismiss virtually everything they say in those situations. It works well.

I think had I opened this conversation up last night in that grocery store parking lot we might have talked all night. It was fun talking to a complete stranger. There is something very authentic and truthful when you can discuss life with a total stranger free of the baggage and untruthfulness of a shared history. I thought about that conversation a lot last night.

People can't even make eye contact or say "hi" in the big city- can you imagine this conversation ever happening in Manhattan? Never. Ever. I love living in small town America. In a way, making time for a stranger in a parking lot says- I will make time for you, you matter to me. A complete stranger. Kind of interesting isn't it?








Saturday, July 4, 2015

What A Patriot Is...

and what it is not, from Robert Reich. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/on-patriotism_b_7727196.html

You should read this link closely. This is the kind of garbage posted routinely on Huffington Post. It is printed not because it is true or authentic- but because it is written by someone with all the proper liberal credentials.

I don't like Robert Reich. I consider him a statist and a socialist who votes all things liberal. He's enjoyed a silver spooned Ivy League education and he teaches at places like Harvard and UC Berkeley, home of Mr. Yellen. In short, Robert Reich is a socialist who has spent the vast majority of his life writing books on theory and feeding at the government trough.

Oddly enough, Reich's education does not qualify him as an expert on patriotism. The odd thing about ego maniacs and over achievers is that once they have been conferred with all kinds of academic honors- somehow they think they become experts on everything. Reich is no exception.

Which leads me back to Reich's definition of what a patriot is. Patriots, according to Reich's definition, are nice obedient workers who pay their taxes. You should also according to Reich's definition, support your government no matter how deceptive, dishonest, or criminal it has become. You should work from within, accomplishing nothing, while unrepresentative government shines the boots of corporate America and the oligarchy and steals as much as they can from you.

You see, we should support a government which passes bills without reading them, a government which encourages employees (Holder) to look the other way on the vast amounts of fraud committed by the criminal banking cabal. A government which authorizes gun sales to criminal, foreign murderers and covers up the deaths of patriots like Brian Terry. We should support the Federal Reserve which has manipulated and destroyed our money system, we should support a Secretary of State who allowed Benghazi employees to be murdered and then lied about the origins of that. A Secretary of State who has accepted countless foreign bribes and pocketed them. A Secretary of State who has obstructed justice while obliterating tens of thousands of emails bought and paid for, alas owned by, the citizens of this country.

Reich dated Hillary once. In the end, all things always tend to make sense.

With all due respect Robert Reich, you talk about patriotism like you know what that is. My definition of patriotism comes from patriots- those people with credible experience. People who were killed and wounded. People putting it on the line. Not people like you postulating about the theory of patriotism.

A patriot loves his country and realizes that it is his responsibility to hold government accountable. A patriot is honest and authentic. He does not condone immoral or illegal conduct from his government. In fact he knows the greatest single threat to freedom comes from his own government. A patriot believes in the Republic not the democracy. A patriot understands that the rights of the minority should be protected from the whims of the majority. He believes in the rule of law, not the rule of men. A patriot will die to protect his fellows. He marches into battle because he does not fear his death- believing instead that the next life will be better. In short and noticeably exclusive, I have never known a great patriot who was an atheist. It is an odd observation- one which surely must have it's exceptions- that most of the great patriots throughout history were Christians. Faith has always been the great enemy of fear.

Patriotism doesn't have a fucking thing to do with paying taxes or supporting criminals. I am so sick of "credentialed" people telling the rest of us "less thans" where that bear shits in the woods- as though kissing some Ivy League ass for a few years entitles you to become an expert on the subject of patriotism and tell the rest of us how to be good citizens. The statist version of patriotism always requires some blind obedience to leadership which has gone off the rails. You can bet the masses who once worshipped Hitler were once thought of as great patriots.

In short, it takes an actual, authentic patriot to define what a patriot is. With all due respect Robert Reich, you don't have the proper credentials.

Not so long ago. http://thecivillibertarian.blogspot.com/2015/06/when-honor-and-courage-mattered-sunday.html


Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Last, Hard Ride- The Montana Tour With Pictures, Part 2

Yesterday, I very nearly killed myself. It is one of the reasons why when you ride a motorcycle you must remain ever vigilant- but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Click to embiggen the pictures I have posted on this piece- they are far better that way. If your subscription has run out, this feature will work anyway. It's hard work writing and editing a world class blog like this and I don't concern myself with a dwindling readership which is mostly my mother and Troy.

After blasting through the center of Montana via Columbus and White Sulpher Springs, Troy and I arrived at the Great Falls Harley Davidson dealership. Troy bought a shirt for his gal and I stared at the bike inventory. I loved one bike, priced at a paltry 38,000. The salesman said it was a steal. I told him that indeed it was- for the dealership. While I chatted him up, he convinced me to switch hotels which I did. Some advice here. If you use a booking site like Hotels.com- you have to cancel through Hotels.com. This was a major pain in the ass which took me 20 minutes. They even tried to tell me it was non refundable wherein I said "bullshit, it was the cancellation policy which caused me to book it in the first place. Eventually, I managed to get it done- no thanks to the Indian call center and a call taker with a heavy Indian accent.

Troy at some geyser spot near Mammoth


The new hotel was very nice. Indoor pool, jacuzzi, breakfast. There were at least 20 bikers there. I found a biker, about my age, that Troy had talked to earlier. I walked up to him and said I hadn't found a man from New Orleans that I couldn't whip. He laughed and we spent nearly 20 minutes bullshitting. While packing later that morning, I couldn't find my favorite shirt- a black polyester over shirt that I use on chilly mornings. I searched high and low for that shirt but oddly, I forgot to just ask the front desk. (I called later, they are sending it to me)

Our route from Great Falls to Choteau was a pleasant ride. I have never eaten so many bugs. Bugs everywhere. Another reason to wear sunglasses and a doo rag. From Choteau we traveled up to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation at Browning. I had a friend from the Blackfeet tribe when I lived in Missoula and he was a great guy. The Blackfeet Indians are very friendly unlike a couple of other tribes I won't mention here. At any rate, we stopped for gas. We left and we hadn't gone a mile when I noticed my phone was missing. In a panic, I turned and went back to the gas station thinking it had been stolen. The clerk told me a woman had found it outside where we were standing in the shade. What a relief. I think I would rather lose my wallet. I am forever losing shit. I think my memory was better when I was drinking.

Yours truly, (I am hyper extending my gut) at Beartooth Lake

This is the part where I am gonna plaster a few pictures and try to catch up.

Top of Beartooth Pass, cold in the 40's and windy
Mirror inside the cafe, that's me on the right in 20 years

Cool neon, abused our waitress Barb unmercifully
E. Glacier entrance at St Mary, had lunch here


Ok, so I am pretty much caught up. Thought I'd tell you an interesting story. We were having lunch at this joint and I was of course teasing the waitress, which I have learned to do during my 25 years as a cop. There were 5 people eating in the bar. All of us were bikers, the other group were Canadians. In the middle of lunch, some kid sits down and starts to play classical music on the piano. It was pretty good. The Canadian bikers, seated next to us, kind of smiled smugly at this kid who was playing. When the kid left, one of the bikers explained to me that he was a concert pianist in a Canadian orchestra. He told me if I really wanted to hear that song- I should listen to him play it. The dude looked like a construction worker, go figure.

Ok so I am gonna put up a few pictures from the park. Downloading pictures on this Commodore 64 is taking forever.








Troy harassing some nice woman

You gotta check this out. I watched as at least 20 people were snapping photos and nudging each other, acting excited at a turnout in the park. When I finally saw what they were all all clamoring about, I find Methuzaluh, the mountain goat. This mountain goat is like a dumb shit decoy for park visitors, around 100 years old was my best guess. The park probably just tethers him there at night so he doesn't walk off or fall over and visitors feel like they get their money's worth. At any rate, Methuzaluh the mountain goat hobbled ever so slowly onto the ice and just plunked himself down.

Methuzalah, center ice, preparing for the afterlife

That night we found a hotel in Kalispell. Troy got in trouble over a video clip he took in Glacier that he posted on Facebook wherein he uttered "Show me your ****! to some random woman. Oddly his non random girlfriend did not approve so Troy stayed in to make nice and sweet talk his way out of that mess. I went out and found the tightest no limit poker game in the history of mankind. Those guys play for lunch money. I've played in home games with more action and money available. I managed to lose 40 bucks which I considered a huge victory given the circumstances.

That night and the next morning, we decided to deviate from our plan and try to make it home on Saturday. Butte hotels were full and Sunday was supposed to be the hottest day this year. (It was 111 in Boise today) So we hauled ass for Missoula and some breakfast.

I try to give every waitress as much shit as possible. It's just part of my DNA. Our server in Missoula was no different. Although she was only 21, smart, attractive, classy, and a college student with a real major- I think I convinced her that the rest of her life would be miserable, mundane drudgery dotted with periods of depression and divorce. Maybe she will have a couple of no account kids. That's what she has to look forward to. Her best years I said, were probably behind her. I think she realizes I was right. She was a sweetheart and because of that, we added a dollar to her tip for a total of two dollars. That's how we roll. She was kind enough to pose for my last picture. Thanks Taylor, I gotta feeling you will buck the odds.

Puts up with smelly, obnoxious, old men

I was not looking forward to the trip home. From Hamilton south to Boise is 300 miles of non stop curves, switchbacks, and suicidal deer. I actually donned my helmet. The other problem was that I was tired, sunburnt, and the heat was killer hot- over 100 degrees.

I run pretty hard. About 20 miles outside of Challis I was running along side the Salmon River. I was inside a left handed curve going away from the river. I entered the curve too fast. It turns out as I looked at it later, that this curve is a reverse superimposed curve meaning that it banks left but it is sloped down and away (opposite) toward the river. I have only seen a few reverse supers in my life. Road engineers are well aware of the dangers and hazards of these poorly engineered curves. I noted that all of the asphalt was torn off the road edge because so many drivers had done the same thing as I had. It was that torn up asphalt which slowed me down and allowed me to keep the bike upright. I hit a roadside hole so hard that it popped out the flush mount gas cap that I have and sprayed me with gas.

On a bike, there are no second chances. When you make a high speed mistake on a motorcycle, you usually pay for it. I lucked out plus- I didn't panic and try to turn my wheel which would have put me down. That's my experience helping me out of this jam. I would have been better off vaulting off the road at 40 or so and into the river upright. In Challis, I used a spray wand to clean off  all of the tar and dirt from my downward facing oil cooler and gathered my senses a little bit while looking for leaks or broken tire beads. The bike was unharmed. The rider however, had a serious wake up call and did the rest of the trip at or below the speed limit. From Kalispell to Boise the mileage is right at 500. It was a hard ride for an old man.

I can't wait for the next one.








Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Great Montana Tour- Part 1

On Tuesday, I left for Idaho Falls and Troy's house. It was an easy, 4 hour ride.

On Wednesday, we traveled through West Yellowstone and through the west park entrance. There were four or five lines of cars about an 1/8th of a mile deep. It took us 20 minutes or so just to navigate up to where we would pay our additional government tithing of 25 dollars per motorcycle or 30 dollars per car. I have always been annoyed by the fact that at least 15% of my salary gets hijacked annually by the Federal Government and somehow you'd think that would entitle you to one free park visit of this real estate which you allegedly own. Not so.

At the very least, the fucking mob in Vegas used to buy our drinks and give us free rooms when we gambled. Maybe the mob should run Yellowstone instead of these criminals. We need some crooks with a sense of fair play.

I had forgotten what a zoo the park is. Imagine thousands of shitty drivers, many from foreign lands, driving on the wrong side of the road and slow, brandishing cameras and phones outside the windows of the car, and abruptly slamming on the brakes every time they see a chipmunk. This is Yellowstone.

Holy shit. I think Troy was ready to turn around and go home. He doesn't have the patience for this. Coming in a close second is- yours truly.

The park is still awesome. We skipped Old Faithful and went through the northern part of the park and Mammoth. We pulled into a parking lot on the way there to look at some roadside attraction and while we were walking through the parking lot- a crow had jumped into the bed of a pickup and snatched a sandwich out of someone's cooler. The sandwich was still in the baggie. I was shocked to actually see a sandwich in a baggie- although I have heard of people who use baggies for sandwiches. The crow dropped the goods on the roof of the truck and began pecking at it and trying to tear open the baggie. Some oriental types, with camera phones ever ready, were taking photos of the burglary and seemed very amused.

So we took some pictures there and headed up to the Mammoth area. The town of Mammoth is beautiful and sits just north of the giant Mammoth Hot Springs. There are elk wandering all over town, munching grass in various yards and doing elk things. We saw lots of buffalo and one good sized brown bear. Someone had run over a giant rock chuck in the middle of the road and squashed it- I remember this because I thought it would be pretty hilarious to put a picture of that in the Yellowstone wildlife section of this blog. However, had I attempted to stop and get that picture- there might very well have been two giant squashed bodies laying in the middle of the road.

I am having a difficult time trying to transfer pictures from my phone to this blog so I thought I'd wait to try it when I get home and the tech boss can help me out. (I need to download the app) I will just squash a bunch of photos with captions in here.

I have heard people say Beartooth Pass is awesome and beautiful. Let me say this. Words cannot capture Beartooth Pass. It is without a doubt- the most rugged, savage, hellacious place I have ever been to in the lower 48. It is windswept, rocky, snow drifts and mini glaciers everywhere, and I don't know how many bodies of water dot the mountain sides. The switchbacks have switchbacks on this pass and quite honestly- I got tired of stopping and taking pictures and doing so- is kind of dangerous. Troy said it reminded him of some of the terrain in the movie "Jeremiah Johnson." The pass is right at 11,000 feet. I have been on higher terrain in Colorado but not like this. Temperatures on Beartooth Pass mid-day yesterday had to be in the 40's with windchill. On the low ground near Red Lodge it was 85 degrees.

We spent the night in a campground near Red Lodge, Mt. It rained a little on us because this has become a part of our trips. We teased the shit out of our waitress Barb, at the Red Lodge Cafe. Almost everywhere we go there are "help wanted" signs. Every time I enter a business with that sign posted out front I walk in and announce, "I'm here for the job, when do I start and how much does it pay?"

Tonight we are spending the evening in Great Falls. We had a largely uneventful day blasting through the midsection of Montana. We didn't take any pictures. Tomorrow we are going to attack Glacier National Park and see what happens. We'll get some pictures and hopefully post them on the blog when I get back home on Sunday or Monday.