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March 4, 2019 - Covid-19 fears; Are we a sitting duck waiting for it to happen in a global Canadian resort?

Lots of hands on the condiments might not be the best way to give them out amid the Covid-19 global outbreak at a global resort.Whistler Blackcomb, BC Canada - I love working in Whistler Canada and have now for 4 years. In the face of Covid-19 while feeling very vulnerable I wanted to note what an average worker and community member is worried about. I feel like a sitting duck working for a huge global destination resort where staff housing consists of 6 to 10 staff in units with 1 to 2 bathrooms, expensive laundromats which are rarely cleaned, lack a hot water use to launder and these young adults from around the world don't use disinfectant or bleach on ski gear, they can't, it would ruin the gear. The cafeteria style restaurants have everything in the open. Employees come in to work coughing, sneezing and sputtering on public transit. They are here from all over the world and don't have the Canadian universal health coverage and can't afford to be off work. With the global spread of Covid-19 and in particular spreading in Seattle, Washington, a large market for skiers here at Whistler, the virus is definitely more on people's minds. On every gondola we ride up the global diversity is apparent in languages spoken, so just yesterday on my first Gondola of the day I asked, "Where are you all visiting from?" The answer was 2 from the UK, 1 from Germany, 1 from Hong Kong, and 1 from New York. This is typical of any Gondola ride up the Whistler slope; people come from all over the world. The family I taught yesterday flew in from Hong Kong the day before and were surprised they had no medical questions or checks to get their visa and asked me if there was any problems here with the virus yet. I was honest and let them know there was local spreading of the virus in one of our larger market areas, being Seattle, Washington, but none reported in Whistler yet. Even a supervisor when questioned about the virus at a meeting yesterday morning laughed stating she felt it was being way over blown in the media and was not a real danger. Such varying oppinioins and this after our parent company had sent out an email detailing a plan was being made to deal with sick employees and where to report if any employees are diagnosed with covid-19. Love of my work is keeping me from heading home and letting down my clients that have prebooked to come ski with me but I admit to being worried,especially after a bout of pneumonia from Mycoplasma bacteria likely contracted on a cruise in October nearly knocked me out for the winter. I'm now aware and probably more vulnerable to how quickly a simple flu or bacterial infection can escalate. At this point staying makes me feel like a sitting duck waiting for when the virus hits here (and I believe it's when not if being we are so globally exposed) and explodes through the staff of the resort.

Coffee waiting to be poured by patrons in caffeteria style setting who are hopefully not ill and spreading any virus.Today the WHO announced they expect the death rate of the virus to be 3.4% as their best estimate as reported by the New York Times and many other trusted sources with the ability to change again as it spreads and more numbers come in. 3.4% sounds low but it is 34 times the .1 % percent death rate from the annual flu in the USA.Open trays of forks, knives and spoons to be gone through by public in caffeteria with no protection from virus spreading, stacks of water glasses for all to touch, open counters to reach for condiments and utensils.The silver lining was to be that it doesn't transfer as readily as the flu but in an environment like the one here at Whistler, typical of many ski resorts, where lunch is eaten in a cafeteria where forks knives and spoons are kept in open gray bins that every man, woman and child digs through for utensils, glasses are stacked at a water fountain to be fondled and pulled apart by the same people and mugs of coffee are poured by guests canteen style, with creamer and milk and condiments out for all to touch the transfer, and food is self serve from open bins making transfer possibilities endless. Open bins of oranges and apples for customers to reach in and grab one they like, where they pick one up and return it to find a nicer one.This is a ski resort, people walk in sit for lunch and place their helmet, gloves, facemasks on the table while they hold it till they come back with their food from the main purchase area. Tables are cleared with napkins in the busy cafeteria as the next people wait to get seats as soon as group is leaving. This is not an everyday Canadian restaurant or cafeteria; people fly in from Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, Mexico or Italy to ski and are not even asked if they are sick. They are my clients and friends that come to ski with me each year. One client who went from Shanghai to Hong Kong and then flew in to Vancouver has put his family in a voluntary (of his own accord, no one required it) quarantine for 14 days and is only going out for food and wearing a mask until the 14 days is up. After this he will come for ski lessons. My guests yesterday who were not former clients flew in from Hong Kong the day before I took them skiing. They appeared to have no symptoms and strict measures are keeping the virus spread in check in Hong Kong, but I did have to help the little girl over come fears, give her hugs and help her adjust and tighten her face mask as needed in the cold. These things put me in direct exposure to the global economy of travelers from higher risk areas. Each day I travel with 100's of others on the Whistler transit (workers and guests) as cars are very inconvenient here with a lack of available parking so most travelers come up on shuttles from the airport. There is no special disinfecting or cleaning on this transit, it is lucky if it gets swept once a week. People in ski and snow board gear cough unperturbed all over no tissues in sight and can't reach their sleeve from the skis they are carrying. I move away from them and hope the next area I stand or sit there is no one coughing. I am trying to avoid, colds, coughs and flues this season as 2 months ago I was in hospital with that pneumonia I mentioned being previously warned by my doctors not to get sick this season as my lungs would be months recovering. I feel great and know that somewhere around the end of December to beginning of January I felt fully healed and my chest quit hurting when I carried my skis and I could ski full runs unhampered but I really don't want to go through that again. The expense of my hospital stay in the USA was 1000's of dollars even though I am covered by a plan through my husband's employer, Honeywell, but the plans in the USA offered by employers are often weak and mine covers nothing until I have spent 6500 dollars out of pocket. I reached that deductible on the second day in the hospital. I would not typically go in for anything and was quite ill when I broke down and paid to go find out what was going on. I don't want to be another statistic in the Corona virus out break!

Should I go home to South Carolina where I now live? People there really don't travel a lot likely making it one of the safest places available to me, but I keep holding on knowing in a month my season is done. I'm just one person grappling with the possibilities, fears and questions being brought up by a new threat in my environment. Good luck everyone, stay calm, think rationally, but do what you can to stay safe. Wash your hands, disinfect, get hand sanitizer, give sick people 6 feet of space, oh, did I say wash your hands? Oh yes and today there was hand sanitizer at our work hut, good to see, a scheduler picked it up and made sure it was available to all. So begins precautions.

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September 25, 2019 - Cycling at Anne Springs Close Greenway - Review
(09/25/2019 Dry river bed..1760 Gristmill Replica on Anne Springs hiking trail)
Dry river bed of 1780's working Gristmill replica at Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC.

(click below to read the sign)
Gristmill sign at Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC.This year I switched my main cycling trail from Riverwalk in Rock Hill, SC, to the Anne Close Springs Greenway. Rock Hill has been developing the Riverwalk community and the trails are shrinking. Anne Close Springs Greenway is a very inexpensive, well kept system of horse, cycling and hiking trails. Beautiful spot with well kept flowy bike trails and some good hikes too. I've gone often over the years but two years ago the Greenway was separated from the recreation center by the town of Fort Mill, SC, and now actively charges a separate membership used to better the trails and programs offered. The goal is to keep it green space untouched so the area construction boom doesn't take it over for yet more housing.

The gristmill hike brings you to the 1780 replica working mill which sits some distance up from the pond. During wet times maybe water reaches here but I haven't seen that. You can cycle along on the Mill Pond trail and then cross the bridge to access the short path way to the Grist Mill or just do the full Grist Mill hike. The dry creek bed where the wheel sits is said to be the original placement. I would love to see photos from the 1780's with the wheel working and water passing over it but I haven't been able to source any. It is nice to find a little piece of history in the middle of the trail system. There is a video available on youtube from PBS Charlotte Public Television with more info on the Greenway and Fort Mill, SC.

The one sided bridge on the Paradise Loop at Anne Springs Close Greenway trail system.The Prairie trail was built in the past couple years by the new Greenway management. It is flowy and fun with pump tracks built in, gradual but still challenging climbs and long fast downs with some natural steeps for obstacles, bridges and berms built in to add fun and challenge. The roots are pretty big in some of the older trail sections along the Mill Pond Trail and Paradise Trail that join up to the new trail section. There is a few rock gardens that take real skill with large boulders, nothing you can't pop off your bike for 10 feet and get past if you aren't quite up to the challenge. I don't mind the occasional steep drop, I love the nice flowing pump track, roller coaster style, but there is one bridge on the old section (Paradise trail) that has always freaked me out as I approach. The one sided bridge, shown here, is a bit narrow to take centered with my wide handle bars so approaching the downhill turn I have to be prepared to be right or left of bridge center and/or slightly leaned. I've never missed it but it always plays with my head as I approach. The trails change direction every 6 months, both directions are fun but I do have my favorite direction. I'm not saying which direction though, you can pick your own.

Fitbit photo of two trail loops joined by the Mill Pond Trail at Anne Springs Close Greenway.Two of the old trail loops, the School Loop and Sugar Loop were closed as some of the property was private and replaced with the Paradise Loop and Avery Loop, which when joined in a figure 8 type ride with the Prairie Loop and Mill Pond Trail gives about a 10 mile ride. It is well signed and kept up. Hikers travel the opposite direction to cyclist on the cycling trails so they can see them coming. I haven't had the chance to attend the cycling courses they offer but I plan to in future to better my skills and hopefully feel more comfortable with some of the more challenging areas. The trail is not really difficult; you do want to be in decent shape and in a couple of areas newer riders might have to pop off their bike and walk a little past a gnarly rock or root garden. If you are really new and miss some gear changes on a climb you can pop off for that too, no problem walking a piece when needed. The trails can be accessed from the Fort Mill Recreation Complex as in past or from the new entrance at Adventure Road off of South Carolina Hwy 460 (also called Springfield Pkwy here). There is tons of parking available at both areas. Check it out on a day pass if you are visiting and consider a membership if you're local. Fun accessible greenspace that isn't going to go away.Beautiful fall ride in late November along the Mill Pond trail at Anne Springs Close Greenway

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August 21, 2017 - Eclipse Day
( Pinhole projector time lapse of the Eclipse at 99.2% max. magnitude in South Carolina, click for larger view)
Eclipse time lapse taken of a time lapse in an pin hole projector made with a Lucky Charms cereal box.

The eclipse at maximum magnitude in York, SC.Well today was the big day everyone was waiting for and the news was warning about driving, or going to work if you were in a major center near the line of totality. Well I sat very close to the line of totality and thought I'd be happy with seeing the eclipse at 99.2% without going anywhere but I do now wish I had driven 30 miles to see it get fully dark. Even that sliver of a percent meant it never got dark here. For a very short instant it looked a little like dusk, but not dark dusk, just the start of it and then it was day light again in a flash. I did not invest in the expensive lens for my DSLR to take a direct shot of the eclipse so instead I made a pin hole projector with a cereal box, last minute, and took photos of what was being projected on it. Basically what was seen in the projector was a black and white version of the orange and black version I could see in my glasses. I did grab a couple shots with my poor quality cell phone but the projector photos were actually a little clearer. Nothing of great quality but it does show the coverage at times as the eclipse passed over head. An interesting diversion in the middle of a Monday. I do have to say, if I had not known the eclipse was above from all the hoopla I could easily have gone about my day and missed it entirely. Below is the neighbors all having just caught the moment of maximum magnitude and though it was a tiny bit darker than my camera shows it was not dark.

(2:42 pm, max magnitude was 2:41 pm EST) The neighbours all out viewing the point of maximum magnitude.


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November 13, 2016 - Festival of Lights 2016 starts 11/19/2016
Festival of Lights gone past (the box on the right opens the photos full screen, esc to come back)
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Niagara Falls, Ontario - This year I will miss my favorite Christmas destination, the Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It's a good time to remind others they can go an enjoy it. It has been an annual tradition for years to go and take in the winter sights of Niagara Falls and in recent years it has become a great New Years Eve destination. This year I'll be west and not able to make it. Maybe I can make it after Christmas. This is my own little reminder for others to go take it all in. Opening Ceremonies is November 19, 2016. Photos from my Digital Journal article in 2013 and a few extras from other years.

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October 22, 2016 - Waterfront Trail in Windsor, Ontario
(Photo from October 22, 2015 of McKee Park looking at the Ambassador Bridge)
The Ambassador Bridge from the Waterfront Trail at McKee Park  Windsor

Windsor, Ontario - Most who know of Windsor, Ontario, relate it to being that small Canadian city across the border from Detroit or know it for the large and well appointed Caesar's/Harrah's Casino downtown. When you drive through you might want to stop for more than a Casino tour next time. Take a ride or walk along the Windsor Waterfront Trail through parks, along the Detroit River waterfront, past Windsor downtown and the Casino, back on to the road for a bit then back off to follow the St Clair River some. Above is the McKee Park with its unobstructed view of the Ambassador Bridge heading over to Detroit. This is as far as my bike ride took me to the west where the trail veers on to the roads. I took a beautiful fall October day to relax when I was near with my bicycle and was pleasantly surprised with the waterfront upgrades from last I had looked around at more than the inside of the Casino in Windsor.

Traveling east from McKee Park above on the trail you go through the Odette Sculpture Park on the other side of the Ambassador Bridge; it's not too far a walk from the Windsor Casino if you are staying there. Check out all the beautiful and fun sculptures, great spot for family selfies. My Waterfront Trail photo album will have scenery and a few of the fun sculptures in it. Continue along while watching lakers, military boats, coast guard, and other commercial vehicles going up and down the Detroit River never leaving you bored for something to see. The fall colours were stunning while riding on October 22, 2016. If there had been a newspaper vendor near I'd have picked up one just to sit on a bench and read while the boats passed by on the river.Riverside in Windsor, Ontario on October 22, 2016 trees in full colour on a beautiful autumn day.

Most entertaining was meeting a few BMX'ers out practicing their craft on this beautiful afternoon. As a cyclist, Ski Instructor, all around athletic enthusiast, I stopped to see what they were up to. They were okay with me snapping photos while I watched their fun wishing maybe if I was younger... nah I wouldn't have tried it, but I admired those doing it. They have skillz. Parker Tremblay introduced himself quickly and gave me his email to send the photos before continuing on with their work readying a stair rail for Parker to make a first attempt ride. Several times he walked up, lifted his bike, checked it. His buddy waxed the rail, prepped it and then Parker was ready to give it a shot. Well done, here's the outcome of that sweet little ride. If you want to see more of Parker and his friends I found at least one crazy video on line here at Ride BMX. I have a BMX Rail Ride photo album up showing the sequenced rail ride if you want to see it in large format one at a time.Parker Tremblay riding a rail, Windsor, Ontario, Waterfront Trail.

Click the photos for a larger photo to see the determination on Parker's face to make it. He lands no problem the first time. One more reason to ride the trail, you don't know what fun you'll have, just get on your bike and ride! Or take a walk. Lots more photos of the trail scenery in my Windsor Waterfront Trail album. I'll follow up with a link when it's posted tomorrow. Check out the Photo's Page for more of everything.Odette Sculpture park on the Waterfront Trail with Detroit Skyline across the river.

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November 8, 2017 - The Henry Ford - A must visit, for more than a day.

(Photo from October 25, 2015 of Thomas Edison Menlo lab at Greenfield village)
The bikes seem to go on forever this year in the Thin Blue Line Ride

Dearborn, Michigan - I had no idea what an interesting man Henry Ford must have been or all he tried to do for society in his lifetime. Honestly when it was suggested I go see "The Henry Ford" I could only think, Why? I have my answer now and more. If you can swing it, this is an incredible exhibit and experience well worth the price of admission and time to go see it. I went last October and this October, when it is beautiful in the village full of autumn colour. I would not be surprised if Henry Ford had planned to fill the village streets with trees of vibrant colour. I purchased the membership for $60.00 as I was in town for a few days and the girl at the desk felt I would need more than the afternoon to see the village and museum. It was also strongly recommended to take the rouge factory tour which I still haven't done. Imagine, I thought I would only need the afternoon; a year later when I returned I visited two more times and still have hardly seen anything in the museum and not managed to get time for the rouge factory tour. Renewing my membership to see more is top of my to do list.

(1916 Port Huron Steam Engine- Oct. 25, 2015)

Port Huron traction engine, ran from farm to farm to assist with farm harvest equipement prior to tractors being built.

So what's there? Seems Henry Ford wanted to preserve the true history of technology of the past before it was the past so he started Greenfield Village in 1929. He believed history taught in school was "bunk" as noted on the The Henry Ford Blog, but real history about real people mattered. Bet you didn't know Thomas Edison's Menlo lab was preserved so you could view it? It was reproduced in detail by Henry Ford in collaboration with workers and those who knew it well to get every detail as exact as possible. I'm keeping it a secret, you need to go see what's behind the door. Thomas Edison Menlo Lab, recreated at Greenfield Village in The Henry Ford, outside view.Had someone brought me here when I was in grade school, I'm sure I'd have been inspired to do my best in math and science.

The stories, displays and hands on activities every time I visited kept me engaged for hours. I never get through seeing it all. One of the first displays inside the village gates, the 1916 Port Huron Steam engine above, begins your trip back in time. It was used to haul farm equipment and run belts going from farm to farm prior to tractors being used. A Steam powered train will whistle and run through town (you can take a ride on it for $5.00 or purchase a pass including rides), Model T's will honk and drive past you (you can ride them too), and every house will invite you in to show you how they lived, complete with very good actors who never break character while running the homes, businesses, and machines as used by the residents in their lifetime. I want a job at Firestone Farm so I can enjoy some of the fresh baked goods from the old wood stove oven that smell so wonderful when you enter. The ladies who run the farm inside as it would have been run in the late 1800's do seem to love their job though it is a lot of hard work.

Pottery hand painted a set to dry before firing at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI in the pottery shop.Be sure not to miss the downtown where they have a glass blowing factory, a pottery studio, Tin Smith and more. You can purchase wares made in the village from the gift shop or on line. They are all made in patterns and techniques used at the turn of the century. Watching the artisans at work make it hard to not want to go make a purchase. The pottery bowl/plate I show here is actually being painted with cobalt blue and yellow glazes. They go on in one colour, hand painted bit by bit while I watched. The colours will not show until the item is fired when it will come out of the kiln in full colour. Wish I could afford a huge collection of the glass and pottery. All of the studios are recreated or typical of the era, the farm houses were moved to the village or authentic recreations, and the workers are really working each display, house, field, etc and functioning in the village as they would have in the late 1800's or early 1900's. I've never seen anything quite like this village in other representations, the village was done right and makes you feel like you stepped back in time.


Glass shop in Greenfield Village town center, built in 1950.

Now while you are in the area, it might be tempting to spend all your time at the Village checking out the displays, riding around on the train or in a Model T, but really you have to get to the Museum! Below is one of the first things you'll see in the main room, Presidential cars from all eras. Below is Bubbletop. Originally the convertible was delivered to President Truman. When President Eisenhower took over he had plexi-glass put in so he was visible in the car and could see out in all weather. The car JFK was shot in is on display, and the truly regal looking older presidential cars also. This is just a start.

The Bubble top presidential convertible, orginally delivered to President Truman and given a plexi glass top by President Eisenhower.

The museum is way more than cars. Henry Ford must have been a train buff, it's full of old trains and one of the largest model train tracks I've seen. There is airplanes through the ages, indy cars from many manufacturers, American power generation history, motors, engines, furniture, the list goes on. Check out the Henry Ford Museum web site for special events and exhibits they bring in. There's fun for the kids with a hands on craft or science station. Even if cars aren't your thing, you'll find something of interest here. The pop culture neon signs (McDonald's 15 million served), the Wright Brothers, did I mention they have a replica of the Wright Brothers home in the village? There's part of the power plant that supplied Henry Ford's first factory which he had built just for the factory power. The stories and memorabilia just don't end. I haven't been able to see all the exhibits yet, there has just not been enough time. Between the stunt planes, early steam engines, agriculture developments through the years, pop culture signs, Rosa Parks bus, the fun and learning was never ending. Stereos and computers, history of American furniture. So much I didn't get to see. Make sure you give yourself a few days or buy a membership and try to get back a few times in a year.

Steam engine from the Power America section of the Henry Ford Museum.Oh and just incase you thought all you do is walk past standing exhibits..Nope, they actually maintain the engines and motors and run them. On the day I was there one of the mechanics was doing weekly maintenance on a big stationary steam engine in the Power America display. He was carefully greasing and checking every moving part of it. He's been doing this Steam engine being maintained at the Henry Ford Museum job for several years now, maintaining the running equipment in the museum and village. When maintenance is done the machine is turned on to run at a slow speed off an electric motor showing how it works. Check it in my little video clip below. 1900's technology you can see in action and ask all the questions you can think of. The staff were all happy to answer questions and tell me about anything I wanted to know. A fun spot to visit, I can't wait to go back and see more.

Don't miss many more photos in my photo albums to show more of these wonderful places. There is so much going on at both Greenfield Village and the Museum I can't cover it in a short article so you will have to go see it. If you need any more convincing check out my Greenfield Village photo album and The Henry Ford Museum Album for a small sampling of what you'll see.

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October 2017 Two Years Ago - City Chevy - Unveiling Rick Hendrick's Second Charity Corvette C7 2014 Vin # 2

(October 25, 2013 Rewrite from Digital Journal)
The bikes seem to go on forever this year in the Thin Blue Line Ride

Charlotte - Since Chevy first introduced the concept car for the 2014 Corvette Stingray, the car keeps making news. Yesterday Yahoo Auto announced the 2014 Corvette Stingray is its pick for Car of the Year.

The unveiling of Vin 0002 C7 Corvette.

Yes, that's correct, yesterday Yahoo Autos published its announcement that the 2014 Corvette Stingray is its Car of the Year. Out of all the possibilities this year, from the first Tesla to Jaguar's F-Type, in the end, Yahoo felt the Corvette Stingray, with all you get for the MSRP of $51,000, topped the competition.

As corvette enthusiasts are aware, Rick Hendrick of Hendrick's Motor sports purchased the first Corvette Vin ending in 0001 at the Barrett-Jackson automotive auction as reported back in April by the New York Daily News with the funds raised going to the College for Creative Studies.

Later Rick Hendrick also purchased the convertible model for $1 million, which will roll off the assembly line sometime before the year end, as reported earlier this year by Motor Authority. The funds raised will go to Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. As Motor Authority quoted, Rick Hendricks says “I love those cars so much, and to have the first Corvettes from the new generation means so much to me.”

Amanda Cater, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, motorcycle squad officer getting ready to assist on the escorted Thin Blue Line Ride.

Not mentioned often is Rick Hendrick also purchased the second car off the line and has received both car 1 and 2. Car number 2 was unveiled last night at his first and flagship dealership, City Chevrolet in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was lucky enough to get an invite from Tim Dobbins in sales to take some photos, enjoy some appetizers, and get a first public view of the Corvette with the vin ending in 0002. Is it possible this one was purchased to display publicly while he keeps the first one protected in his private collection?

City Chevrolet and Hendricks Motor sports sure know how to put on a show. The catered event had great food, great door prize giveaways including laptops and tablets (awe, no car?), a car from every generation of the Corvette lineup supplied by Rick Hendrick from his personal collection and of course the star of the night, the red 2014 Stingray vin ending in 0002.

From the C1 to the C6, Rick brought one of each over for the big unveilng of the C7.

Car of the year to an an American sports car, not too shabby a title. Photos of the seven generations of Corvettes from Rick Hendrick's collection and scenes from the event are in the slide show on my photos page. Click the box on the top right of the show for a full screen view.

Over all it's a great fun day, a safe and scenic ride, with entertainment for a great price, going to a super cause. Only $50.00 for a rider and passenger when registering late and $35.00 if you register early gets you the escorted ride, breakfast, lunch and entertainment; great value for your dollars. For the VIP treatment, special breakfast and to ride up front, you can pay a little more, remembering it's all for charity.

See all the photos from the evening here C7 Vin#2 Unveiled

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April 14, 2013 - The Thin Blue Line Ride

(April 13, 2013 Thin Blue Line Ride article re-posted from Digital Journal, different photos)
The bikes seem to go on forever this year in the Thin Blue Line RideCMPD officers heading out to lead the Thin Blue Line ride.The Thin Blue Ride Line ride, running from from Cox Harley-Davidson in Rock Hill, SC to Harley-Davidson of Charlotte, NC, starts off my season of great rides and stands out as my favorite for many good reasons.

What ever your charity is, a great way to combine giving with something you love, if you're a motorcycle enthusiast, is to sign up for a charity ride and have fun. What a great cause The Forever Blue Foundation is.

The organization was started by John Rainier and his wife when a close friend and fellow officer was shot in the line of duty. Jeffery Shelton and Sean Clark were both shot and killed in 2007 in Charlotte, NC while responding to a call leaving young families to find a way to look after themselves. John tells me when he lost his good friend Jeff he just wanted to be able to help and so he and his wife Melanie started up Forever Blue to assist the families of fallen officers. The Thin Blue Line Ride is a major and growing event, with all funds raised going to the charity to support families of fallen officers. John says there is over 500 riders attending this year.

Locally the ride gets quite a bit of press, with the local television news running bits on the ride and here John tells the Charlotte Observer, “It's very overwhelming and you feel like you have to do something, you know, paying it forward and so, we really feel the loss especially when it's one of our own," said founder John Rainier.

Amanda Cater, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, motorcycle squad officer getting ready to assist on the escorted Thin Blue Line Ride.Cheryl Barrineau, first female officer on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, motorcycle squad.The ride has become my favorite of the season. The Thin Blue Line Ride brings together a diverse collection of riders to support a great cause. I couldn't help but notice the increase of women riding their own bikes and the addition of a second female officer, Amanda Cater, above, to the CMPD motorcycle squad which already had Officer Cheryl Barrineau, highlighting the diversity of people now enjoying motorcycling as a hobby.

The route skirts along the scenic paved country roads and secondary highways of the border towns of North and South Carolina between Rock Hill, SC and Charlotte, NC. The perfect early spring weather, with trees and flowers in bloom, temperatures typically in the 70's, are perfect for riding.

CMPD officer keeping the Thin Blue Line safe, riding past on the outside.The coordinated efforts of 5 different county and town police forces come together and two states, to keep riders safe and together for the entire ride. Intersections are patrolled and traffic stops as we ride all together through traffic lights and corners all along the route.

The police cars and motorcyclists that escort the ride keep lights on and traffic stops, pulling to the right of their lanes where they sit, wave and watch in awe as a line of apx. 500 motorcycles ride through. When the route was advertised in past (it wasn't advertised this year), John tells me that spectators would line the route waving flags and taking photos. There was many getting their phone cameras out this year for photos and waving from their homes as we passed.

The breakfast and lunch supplied by the Harley Dealers and live entertainment supplied by Harley-Davidson of Charlotte, shouldn't go unmentioned. Sandy Pullin, the event coordinator for Charlotte Harley-Davidson gave me a little tour of the site and is thankful to be able to assist with hosting the charity ride, supplying a band Stella Rising this year (last year one donated their time), the space for all the bikes and lunch. Sandy mentions that lunch was fully donated for 500 by Finz's of Matthews this year and that Adam's Beverages donated the free (donations only) Budweiser for the bar.

Sandy Pullin, event coordinator for Harley-Davidson Charlotte says,
"Anything we can do to assist the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Sheriff office is welcomed by the dealership",
who have supplied Harley's to the Mecklenburg police forces since 1922. Sandy pointed to the blow up of an early news paper clipping hanging in their service depot showing the police motorcycle squad from 1922.

The Thin Blue Line ride, long line of riders behind.Over all it's a great fun day, a safe and scenic ride, with entertainment for a great price, going to a super cause. Only $50.00 for a rider and passenger when registering late and $35.00 if you register early gets you the escorted ride, breakfast, lunch and entertainment; great value for your dollars. For the VIP treatment, special breakfast and to ride up front, you can pay a little more, remembering it's all for charity.

See all the photos here and more from the ride in the Thin Blue Line 2013 slide show.

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Archived News Stories Here: 2012 2011 2010 2009 2004 to 2008

Update: August 2020 - Crazy covid world. I think I mostly guessed right back in March.

Features and Headlines:

August 21, 2020- Photos are up but articles and details still to come - Hunting Island, St. Phillips Island and Hilton Head Island photos are up now, articles with details to come, check next week.

August 12, 2020- State Parks a safe diversion from Covid 19. - Wonderful time for quiet hikes in State parks and taking photos.

March 4, 2020 - Covid-19 fears; Are we a sitting duck waiting for it to happen in a global Canadian resort? - Dealing with possibilities.

Recent Photos:

Hilton Head and St. Phillips Island - Another Coastal Expeditions tour from Hunting Island to St. Phillips, purchased by Hunting Island State Park and be preserved along with a few Hilton Head Island photos. Check for details in the News.

Hungting Island Dolphin Tour - Wonderful tour with Coastal Expeditions and walk about the state park.

Windsor Waterfront Trail - Pictures from the parks along the trail.


Movie Reviews - Three Stooges, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Book Reviews - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire

Past Headlines

September 25, 2019 - Cycling at Anne Springs Close Greenway - Review of the trail system in the news.

2017 Eclipse at 99% - My take on the eclipse at 99.2% magnitude. Under whelming but photos and story in the news.

Festival of Lights - Niagara Falls is waiting, November 19, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

Windsor Waterfront Trail ride - See what fun you can find in Windsor, Ontario, right outside the Casino.

The Henry Ford Review - The Henry Ford - A must visit, for more than a day.

The 2014 C7 reveal - October 2017 Two Years Ago - City Chevy - Unveiling Rick Hendrick's Second Charity Corvette C7 2014 Vin # 2

Sugar Mountain put in the Chondola 2015- My last article on Digital Journal

Charlotte Motor Speedway - Fall auto fair 2015 on Digital Journal

Thin Blue Line 2013 - Re-posted from my article at Digital Journal.

Carnival Cruise Western Caribbean 2012 - Full detailed write up of this cruise on the Legend out of Tampa, FL.

December 2012 - A visit to the Georgia Aquarium - Amazing what you can see and do at the aquarium.

Vancouver Island Favorites - Check out Vancouver Island parks and trails in the News, then go find the ones I haven't.

Aviation News- Museums and Air show, August must be Aviation month!

Summer Vacation 2012- Lets all go to the races!

Summer Vacation 2012 Photos - The kids, grand kids, races, and Lion Safari (what I could fit in 50 photos).

Cruising with Mom and Dad- Port Canaveral to Bahamas, a nice diversion.

Photos Cruise 2012 - Bahamas Cruise, 2012 with mom and dad

Vail and Denver, March 2012- Nothing like Colorado, Vail and Denver.

Whistler, Victoria, Blaine, 2011 - Don't miss this write up and the beautiful photos! Everyone should do this for Thanksgiving.

Miami and Bahamas, December 2011 - A fun 4 day cruise and a night in Miami, what fun.

October 2011 - A recap of October in photos, no big news update until next month, then look for Victoria, BC information and a mini Bahamas cruise.

Fall Fun - A Fall Hike and Fall Fairs

Winthrop Lakeview Disc Golf Course- An overview of the course.

Winthrop Lakeview Disc Golf Course - An album of the course, may add more photos later.

Summer 2011- Weddings, Disney, parks etc. All the fun in the news.

Midland First Annual Ace Race- Who won, how did it play, when's the next? Come read the details.

Midland Ace Race- Link for next years updates.

Mississippi - Tupelo, Memphis, Elvis Presley, Beale Street, Tunica, - Just fun, check it out.

Mississippi Photos- Beale St., Memphis, Graceland, Elvis Presley Park, Tupelo.

Tunica Photos- Tunica Riverpark airboat ride, and the evil Sam's Town employee.

Chattanooga -- Great Food, Waterfront Festivals and Fun - A fun place to visit.

Chattanooga, TN- A few water front photos in Chattanooga.

New Orleans and Biloxi Bound. - First Long weekend of the season, getaway. News and photos.

New Orleans and Biloxi Photos- Sites around New Orleans and Biloxi.

Fun at Maxton, NC - Land Speed Trials - ECTA - Details from the May 2011 meet.

Maxton Photos on Flicker - Find yourself or car from Maxton, NC, May ECTA meet up. Email for prints or high quality digitals.

Pink Slips Women's Car Club Photo Shoots - Car buffs check this story and VOTE for Sally...

Pink Slips LMC Photo Album- Photos from the day at Legendary Motorcar Company

Riverbanks Zoo Photos - An afternoon at the zoo.

Summit County, CO. - Quick update, on the Summit county Bears gathering..

Castle Mountain Photo Album - Lots of ski, scenery and friend shots. Find yourself.

Castle Mountain Winter - Friends, fun and work. - All the details, slide show and photo album.

Warning, HHGregg Return? - Read and be wary; features update.

Houston and Area - Houston, Galveston and the Gulf coast, what to do with 4 days in the area.

October in the Carolinas - Myrtle Beach new, Fort Fisher Ferry fun, York Fall Festival.-------Slide Show here too.

Fall Colours- Blue Ridge Parkway fall colours on Flicker

Victoria, Whistler, Whale Watching, - Finally added the details on a terrific spring vacation to go with the photo album I uploaded in the spring.

Port Dover, Friday 13th Ride In - Photos of the Port Dover Ride in.

Victoria, Whale Watching, Whistler - Complete pictures from my whale watching excursion in Victoria, BC, and the rest.

7 Days 4 Resorts, Utah, Big Mountain Fun - Salt Lake city Utah, a great place for skiers. Check it out.

It's Better in the Bahamas - 4 day, 3 night mini cruise to the Bahamas; get all the details.

A Wedding! November 7, 2009, Leonard and Jenny Parker - The big day.

What about the Norfolk Area-Favorite places to eat in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake area and what to see.

Atlantic City, Long Weekend -Why we keep going back. Where to eat, sleep and play

Washington with Grant and Donna -Great time. So awesome to meet up with old friends, and Shelby, you're not 2 any more!

4 Days in New Orleans - What a great get away. We escaped for 4 days and 3 nights to New Orleans.

Atlantic City Weekend -Caesar's invited me for the weekend, free flight for two, free rooms and most meals free. Well it's never really free, but it was nice.

March Break, 2009 - Katrina and the family come to Myrtle Beach.

Wintergreen, VA , Closing Day, 2009 - A day at Wintergreen Ski hill, and we thought ski season was over.

Summer 2007, wow - Catch all the up to date news on who did what, and the latest pics.

New York City New Year - Happy New Year 2007!

Wow Vegas, A Modern Wonder -What a birthday.

Richmond & Portsmouth, VA - What a weekend it turned out to be.

Len and Jo-anne Graduate- Definitely the highlight of my year was these two making it to graduation!

S.N.A.R.T. Group of Racers -Fun weekend, details in the news.

Natalie and Jay at Disney - A surprise visit to Florida for my niece and nephew, details here.

Holiday July 2005 - Rockford and Chicago highlights from 2005,click to go right to the story.

Skiing In North Carolina - Yes, there really is skiing here! See pictures, links to hill sites and more. Click to read.

Cruising the Caribbean - Nice cruise pictures and details.

Fit and Forty - How I did it!

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