Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The La Crosse River State Trail skirts around the lot the armory sits on, so after work I went on a little bike ride (only 15 miles total...)  It's a beautiful trail from the little I've seen, a classic rails-to-trails project, so nice and gradual slopes, elevated above the surrounding marshes and swamps.  Definitely worthwhile checking out if you're in the driftless area and like bicycling on groomed trails.

However, in that short little ride, I ran into quite possibly the most frightening moment I've experienced to date while rolling along on two wheels.  I have been cut off by numerous cars, layed out my bike and slid along the pavement to avoid bouncing off a 1-ton Dodge pick-up, nearly had a knee sacrificed to appease whatever evil daemon is responsible for Mini-coopers (their mirrors are right at my knee when I'm on a bike.  It missed it by about 2 inches.)  I've had moments on technical single-track where you have a fraction of a second to realize that "keep both wheels under you" is actually some damn good advice, especially when you're looking at both of them above you and the nice big rock is quickly approaching.  I have bombed down hill on a fire road at nearly 30 miles an hour, noticing a fallen log crossing the road with only enough time to bunny-hop and hope.  I have nearly smoked a handful of trophy whitetail bucks, and countless numbers of their womenfolk while speeding through the woods.

I have had quite a few close calls in my time riding.  But nothing has made my heart jump and cause my butt to make as tight of a fist as seeing that skunk right next to the trail with his tail in the air, and his backside pointed right at me.  Nothing to do but pedal faster, hold your breath, and hope.

(Thankfully it was just posturing on his part.  The only bad smells at the end of my ride was my own stink from riding 15 miles in 90+ degree heat.)

Portage County Open Carry Picnic

Happened last Saturday, and I missed it.  I had other obligations across town that the powers that be deemed more pressing.  Slightly miffed about that, but Uncle Sam keeps waving money in my face.
(*disclaimer: I'm not trying to take anything away from my fellow soldiers, but having just gotten back in the Army two months ago, it seemed a bit silly going to a "welcome home" parade for a deployment I wasn't part of.)

The Stevens Point Journal ran a couple articles about it before it happened, one announcing it, and a second announcing the change in venue after the Sheriff threatened to enforce unconstitutional laws if it was held in a county park.  Amazingly, the Mayor of Stevens Point welcomed the group.  I guess I should say "thankfully," but to be honest, the guy never struck me as that sort.  He was listed in MAIG for a brief time...

Unfortunately, due to the other big event going on in town, the Journal hasn't gotten around to running anything about the picnic itself, at least not in their print edition from what I understand (I'm currently out of town, so it'll have to wait till Friday to confirm.)  However somebody did write a blog post on the Journal's website, and I can only imagine noodly appendages guided the writer's fingers.

Go read it.  It is outstandingly friendly to our movement, and I can't believe that it has any connection with the local fish-wrapper.
 There's much more too it, but overall, it's amazingly positive towards our movement, and towards any pro-carry movement, open or concealed.

All those present were fully clothed: there were no jammies, as you would see in Wal-Mart on a daily basis.
It was the most respectful crowd I’d ever witnessed. There was a handshake and a welcome for everyone; even the one woman who stopped by with her son, full of concerns and questions about the group’s intentions.
I think we can certainly chalk this one up as a win.