Danger Will Robinson

June 11, 2014

All Posts, News

If you are going to ride the freeways it does you no good to think of that thing between your thighs as a motorcycle. Whether it is a bike or not is beside the point. If you want to be an old biker someday you have to understand that you’re riding a cloak of invisibility.

Automobile drivers run over motorcycles and abruptly pull in front of them all the time. The results are often catastrophic for the biker. When there is a collision motorists always say, “I never saw the bike.” Police are inclined to believe the drivers who are rarely charged because there is some body of evidence that motorists who say that are telling the truth. In general drivers don’t see motorcycles because they don’t expect to see motorcycles.

Expose, Confront, Change

So the advent of “autonomous cars” may or may not be a good thing for motorcyclists. Not that anybody has any choice about whether there will be driverless cars on the San Diego Freeway and the New Jersey Turnpike within the next five years. To quote the immortal turn of phrase coined by California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome, driverless cars are coming “whether you like it or not.”

It is probably only a matter of time until “Whether you like it or not” replaces E Pluribus Unum as the national motto. But there are some rational people who would like to slow down the ever accelerating transformation of the United States and the rest of the First World into a science fiction dystopia. Yesterday one of them was a guy named John M. Simpson who is the “Privacy Project Director” for a non-profit group called Consumer Watchdog –  whose official motto, by the way, is “Expose, Confront, Change.”

Simpson is alarmed by the alacrity with which the new “Google Car” is likely to appear on public roads in California. Anybody who remembers the days when auto GPS devices instructed motorists to drive over cliffs or who has seen this week’s Forbes headline, “After GM’s Apology: More Than 2 Million Dangerous Cars Still On The Road,” understands that consumer technology is not foolproof. Google, which some people still think of as merely a search engine, is itself aware of the shortcomings inherent in the global positioning infrastructure integral to its autonomous car. That’s why Google announced yesterday that it is spending a half billion dollars to buy a satellite company called Skybox Imaging.

Google Car

In case you missed it, Google announced on May 27 that it is building a fleet of 100 experimental electric-powered vehicles that have no driver controls whatsoever. You control these things with a smart phone. You use your phone to tell the autonomous vehicle where you want to go and the Google car, theoretically, takes you there instead of over a cliff into the Pacific. Also, in an ideal world, these Jetsons’ gizmos will notice when you are splitting lanes on any of El Lay’s lovely byways without going into kill mode.

Google probably doesn’t intend to start manufacturing cars. What Google wants to do is develop and sell technology that existing manufacturers like Volkswagen, Ford, Nissan, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz can use in the driverless cars they are already developing.

And what Consumer Watchdog objects to about all this is Google’s intention to start testing these things on California highways at the end of the summer, on September 16. The group wants a driver with control over things like starting, stopping and steering in these “cars” for another two years – until July 2016.

Dear DMV

Yesterday Simpson wrote Jean Shiomoto, Director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles:

“I am writing on behalf of Consumer Watchdog to express our concern that Google and others with a vested interest in developing autonomous vehicle technology, also known as ‘driverless cars,’ may push the Department of Motor Vehicles into promulgating rules regulating the public use of these vehicles on California’s highways that are inadequate to protect our safety.

“There can be no doubt that Google is pushing to deploy autonomous vehicles as fast as it can. The Department of Motor Vehicles must not succumb to the Internet giant’s pressure. One of the key safety provisions of the testing regulations is the requirement that there must be a test driver in the driver’s seat who is capable of assuming control of the car if there is a problem.
Little more than a week after the DMV adopted the testing regulations, Google announced plans for a fleet of driverless cars that have no steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator. There would be no way for an occupant to take control in an emergency; occupants would be captives of Google’s technology, completely at the Internet giant’s mercy.

“We call on the DMV to ensure the safety of the public is put well ahead of the self-serving agendas of the manufacturers. The autonomous vehicle regulations for public use should require a full year’s results of testing under DMV regulations with at least six months to publicly scrutinize and analyze the results before a vehicle can be certified.”

If you want to know more you can read the Consumer Watchdog press release here.


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47 Responses to “Danger Will Robinson”

  1. Phonebooth Says:

    I don’t know Rebel. It may be safer with no one trying to run motorcyclists down.

    Enjoy all your articles.

  2. RVN69 Says:

    Well at least the driver won’t be texting!

  3. Done Says:

    Had a conversation the other night about whether or not a kicker would turn over after an EMP event or if it’s no different than an electric start. Talk turned to whether or not we weren’t better off with kickers, then the debate turned on cold weather & old knees & which while it isn’t impossible to get a kicker to turn over, makes it a much longer process. That turned to how far we’d each been thrown by a mule kicker. Funny thing was, most of the riders these days have never kicked over a bike and don’t know how cool it felt when the cold hearted bitch finally roared to life. Once in a while you’d get a sidewalk crowd before she made contact. This has absolutely zero to do with Google Cars, sorry.

    At the 64′ World’s Fair in NYC as a kid I recall monorail cars and how they’d be attached and somehow get set to drive to California to avoid traffic jams, that never happened. Jetzen flying rocket cars never happened. To make Google cars happen you’d need a fail safe, fool proof, 100% uninterupted connectivity to a GPS system in place. How’s that gonna’ work when they divert I-20 both East & West to all West during an Hurricane Evacuation?

    Lastly, my Wife drives a 2014 Ford Escape with rear view radar (or whatever) that’s supposed to alarm if you almost hit something in reverse. I backed it into the driveway where my bike sat yesterday and it never noticed the bike (not a peep). See the thing we talk about the most at the card table isn’t the demise of the MC’s and us grey beards, we talk about the demise of the motorcycle altogether. Don’t think they’ll outlaw scoots before I cash in but truly think they will before my grandkids do. It’s not just our culture, it’s everything about Bikes & Bikers. So, Google driven cars, sounds like just another control device. You ain’t getting no speeding tickets but you sure as shit will be under a much more focused all seeing eye. Putin says, “Motorcycle is freedom”, which is exactly why they don’t like them or us.

  4. jj solari Says:

    this will become a reality the day after i get around all four bases on the same night with paris hilton and jaime presley.

  5. dirtyfxd Says:

    Can it really be any worse than these cagers updating there twitter with the cruise set at 75 smashing down the 405? There is one thing i have noticed driving truck at 175k miles a year, and my dyna every opportunity i get. Those in a big rig or on a motorcycle are better drivers, there is always a exception to the rules but they have way more to loose. In one aspect you could crush lots of people like a bug and flush your career down the drain, in the other you could find the last moments of your life under the bumper of a spoiled 16 year old girls Honda. The funny thing is, is that you could ask any truck driver and the first thing they tell the cops when the whack a Big truck is i didn’t see him (that’s 70ft fucking long with 8 turn signals and polished chrome!)…… That’s why when in mashing down the road on my dyna i simply don’t count on vance and hines to get the dummys attention. I’ve seen a disturbing trend lately, people just don’t give a shit! They can hurt people, screw up there car and still have a licence. State farm will buy them a new car, and they will be rite back to setting the cruise at 75 sipping on a $4 cup of trendy coffee updating there twitter. They don’t have shit to loose. Really how much worse could google do on our freeway systems???? Hell maybe Google will know how to merge, and understand the purpose of the left lane.

  6. Hated and Proud Says:

    wonder how these cars will be able to navigate the drive through when someone is craving a monster thickburger…

  7. Glenn S. Says:

    Rebel, I think you might be happier living in South Carolina. I have come to really appreciate living behind the times.

  8. Magoo Says:

    @Glenn S…

    Yeah.. and while we may not have the PCH, Yosemite, a short haul to Nevada or Born Free.. we DO have Myrtle Beach.. for the moment. :-)

  9. OC VAGO 1%er Says:

    In the area I live it would be better if most of the drivers DID NOT have controls in their vehicles because most of the drivers CANNOT control their vehicles.

  10. Cap'n Bill Says:

    @ Done
    You’re right. These new guys don’t understand why some of the old guys have a limp and a crooked leg…
    @ Dirtyfxd
    I’ve seen a number of these ‘exceptions’ recently while riding on I-40. It was about dusk and I started noticing the pale blue light from cars AND big rigs.
    I keep telling the Munchkin, it’s you against the elements (and everything else) out there, so ya gotta watch yer ass ALL the time! She just started riding a year ago, by the by.
    These cars, and other stuff, are certainly a disturbing trend.


  11. Grumbler Says:

    @Glenn S. – South Carolina, at least from my perspective, is too fuckin’ hawt and humid compared to Rebel’s beloved El Lay. I suppose one does get acclimated to that hot, sticky weather while sitting out on the screened front porch sipping mint juleps. ;)

    @Magoo – FWIW, the acclaimed Redwood Run is being held in Piercy, CA this weekend. Eyeball their page at http://www.kiwanisrwr.com/ … have always enjoyed my sojourns in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.

  12. skinny denny Says:

    If anyone out there needs a good laugh, there’s a “Motorcycle Group” called Rockstar Chrome on Facebook. Chapters in Illinois, Minnesota, and Tennessee. Their “patch” is hilarious. At least one of the “members” in Tn. used to be in Iron Odor. The Laffing Devils look real compared to this “crew”.

  13. Metal Dave Says:

    Glenn, I’m hearin’ ya. I’m in Arkansas since ’98, lived in San Diego for fifteen years before that and while I miss the year-round badass weather in CA, I’ve come to appreciate the behind-the-times vibe in the South quite a bit (mostly, haha)

  14. Freeman Says:

    Gotta wonder how the google car would have handled this one, would it have been as stupid as that bitch?


  15. Magoo Says:

    @Grumbler.. looks like it would be a great time. Unfortunately, I’m on the wrong coast. But I do appreciate the info. Looks like I can add another one to my “places to go” list.

  16. Celunni Says:

    Wait till malware infests cars as much as it does computers. Give control of your ride to a computer? Oh whoops you’re heading to a different place than you wanted. A hacker gets paid to send you to McDonalds when you didn’t want to go? or perhaps you can’t start it unless you pay a ransom? All loaded to you in your handy dandy update.


    Possibilities like someone taking over a driverless car to make it hit someone’s vehicle with a license plate match. Imagine a virus set up like that. or if all cars have cameras in them so they can go driverless and are networked. Wonderful surveillance system to tap into.

    Yeah yeah, sci-fi crap, but look at it this way. That phone in your pocket was sci-fi to people only 20 years ago.

  17. Tooj Says:

    Rebel, there’s interesting stuff going on in Austin, TX regarding “smart roadways” that would allow the road controls to communicate with your vehicle. Seems to be a couple favors of “we know what’s best for you” stuff going on at once.

    I work for a pretty major player in infrastructure design and build. I can verify that those roadway engineers are NOT considering motorcycles in their designs.

  18. Tooj Says:


    Or the NSA directs your vehicle right to the FEMA camp of their choosing. As an engineer, I can hardly wait to have some additional controls over my environment. Including clearing the highway of vehicles when I wish to blast down the road.

    Would it be too much to hope that this tech is going to also be installed into police cruisers?

  19. RtC Says:

    Here in Kansas is kinda like ya’ll in the south. Behind times. Used to
    be a bar in my hometown with a sign that read “Turn back your clocks 100
    years. You’re in KANSAS NOW.” All this technology just gives me a fuckin’
    head-ache! IT doesn’t work, for me. I won’t even answer the OL’s f’n cell
    phone, let alone own 1! NEVER gonna get me in a car that is computer
    controlled. I’m in the process of getting a 50cc motor put on a Schwinn
    adult Trike for my transportation & it’s fuckin’ COUNTRY ROADS YEEHAW!
    Truly glad I live where I do. Fuck Humanity in droves! Just a bunch of
    RESPECTS to the REAL

  20. Dave Says:

    OC VAGO 1%er Says: “In the area I live it would be better if most of the drivers DID NOT have controls in their vehicles because most of the drivers CANNOT control their vehicles.”

    Truth. I live in Texas and my list of accidents has been characterized by the level of stupidity of the drivers here.

    In the 90’s I was driven to the curb by a woman who ran a stop sign, turned almost into me, and turned wide enough to drive into the far lane of a two lane road, and kept going never caring about the damage she caused.

    Then, also in the 90’s, I had an idiot in a pickup back into my bike – from two parking lanes over!

    Then I had the little old lady pull into the parking space my bike was in, hit it on the rear tire and push it onto its side, all the while watching traffic behind her for some reason.

    Getting into the 2000’s I had several people talking on cell phones not even notice me and nearly run me over on the freeway, highway, and streets. One lady was texting when she, for whatever reason, stopped ASAP in front of me during rush hour. This caused the jackass tailgating me to hit my bike, toss my off to the side, and drive my bike into the rear of her now parked car. They tried to blame me, but another rider saw the whole thing and waited for the cops to show up and tell them what happened. Turns out the asshole that rear-ended me was legally drunk.

    In 07 came the big one… New Yorker runs a stop sign, talking on her iphone or something, listening to her iTunes, while jaw-jacking with the women in her car. Sent me catapulting a good bit and twisted my bike’s frame. That one got me some down time. lol

    My wife rides and she will only get on once we’re out a ways from town. I don’t even know how much longer that will be viable with all this tech shit taking over.

    The funny thing is; once you ride, you tend to see other riders all the time. You look for them all the time. So why not have a rider’s course for everyone to teach awareness? Something… Anything to make them aware that we are out there. Should be required like the eye exam, IMHO.

  21. Meh Says:

    A car without manual controls would need to be built to military aircraft specs and MAINTAINED to those specs because autonomous systems are as critical as flight controls.

    They would legitimately need frequent inspections by competent techs to stay operating properly, and in coastal or Rust Belt areas corrosion would be a serious threat. Owners won’t be doing clear-water rinses like the Navy and USAF do on aircraft.

    I cope fine with modern tech, but so far no machine can beat sloth, ignorance, and stupidity.

  22. RtC Says:

    @ Dave, I have contended for YEARS that they need to teach RIDER education
    as well as DRIVER education in Drivers Ed courses. THEN I saw how little
    they were teaching the DRIVERS, as compared to what I was taught & learned in 1972 class. They’re taught to start the car, put it in drive & fuckin’
    GO! NOTHING of common sense or courtesy is taught. Just “get them out.”
    RESPECTS to the REAL

  23. BrianF Says:

    I had to take a test at the RMV to get an endorsement on my ticket, so I studied what I assumed would be on the test. Was I surprised when most of the questions dealt with penalties for new drivers, and had nothing to do with rules of the road or common courtesy. Drivers aren’t taught anything now.

  24. Latigo Morgan Says:

    I wonder if those Google cars will know what “Yield” means?

  25. Road Whore Says:

    “Smart” cars will only be as smart as the people who program them. That right there causes me a great deal of concern: I doubt that they will put as much effort into smart cars and roadways as they did the space shuttle, and damn hell two of those blew up for all of their engineering.

    Plus Celunni has it exactly right…just think of all of the hacking, malware, viruses, etc., that smart cars will be subject to. Any electronice device now is subject to same, so to think that the smart cars would be immune is deluded thinking.

    I don’t want any damn vehicle driving for me. I have enjoyed riding and driving since I was 15 years old…roaming free across the countryside, seeing the sights, making spur of the moment decisions about where I wanted to go next…still my favorite thing to do today. People see me at the start of a ride and ask where I’m going. “Whichever way the wind is blowing,” is always my answer.

    Ride Free

  26. Tooj Says:

    The head of Google grew up with the Jetsons and has the money. Doesn’t necessarily make it right.

    The real problems not whether machines think…but whether people do. Road Whore has got that right.

  27. Done Says:

    Yeah, now there’s a grand notion, y’all move here to South Carolina. You’ll just adore the drivers here where 1 out of 4 has neither a license nor insurance and when they total your new scoot, the cops tell ya’ they’ll put the ethnically challenged pint drinkin’ non-licensed/insured “driver” in the klink ( good luck recovering anything because even uninsured driver coverage won’t cover somebody locked up, “Sorry, we can’t contact the “driver”). There’s “gator ponds” for such problems but it won’t get Flo to pay off your Eagle Bank loan. I ride old bikes, got nothing against the newer models just don’t need one and wouldn’t go looking for one if I needed a scoot. Moved here in ’99 from the frozen north for the year round riding season and don’t regret that a bit and as bad as the “ethnically challenged” are, they beat the crap out of “drivers” in Massachusetts especially on those fucking round abouts (ever tried to ride blocker for your pack on one of those suicide deals?). So yeah, most of where I’m at hasn’t been updated since the TVA installed electricity & a good thunderstorm knocks out the power for a few hours but all things considered it sure beats the Google mentality which could also be solved in a gator pond near by. I kinda’ doubt the tech savy elite ever being interested in this low income market where we mind our own business and “he needed killin'” is still a viable defense.

  28. Va.Bob Says:

    [email protected]’m pissed off at myself for not thinking”ethnically challenged”.I respect the Palmetto State for its ability to flip off the feds from time to time.

  29. fayettenamhoe Says:

    when you ride a bke, your invisible, fradgile, allmost dead, they can’t see, a bug or a tree

  30. fayettenamhoe Says:

    its not scary enough, that bullshit been haunting me every time i kick start that motor, I see those fools even when i walk down the street, got run over again, i-fuck– iphone– ipad–isuck–smartbone–eat my rust–idont trust–ieatpussey-melikefatbitches-ibone-find me a real woman that likes to run,—– hahahahahahahaha— i’ allready have one, hahaha, fuck me i’ be fucking her, get used, no ego envolved, my panhead can wait, hahaha, i can eat you too butch

  31. Tomo Says:

    From what I’ve seen of the boys n girls behind Google, and I could be very wrong of course: they’re a bunch of tech-geeks who weren’t particularly fond of childhood, and have worked hard to reach a point that they wield more power than their own government. They’ve learned that money talks and they have learned how to ‘mine’ lots of money. Enough so that if they ask the government to do something for them, it does (within reason, the NSA is still refusing to shut down Disneyland). If the government makes a show of ‘demanding stuff’ from Google, they roll their eyes like you do when dealing with a retard, and let them have said ‘stuff’; just so’s they get left alone to do what they really want to do.
    I remember a few years ago, watching a press conference for something Google had just created/done, the PR people were flashing lovely smiles etc, and in the background, standing with bored looks on their faces were the founders. One of the founders was wearing(I think) a pink cardigan, glasses, hair tied back. She had a fiercely intelligent look about her, but the look in her eyes was scarey. It was a look that said “Yeah, I thought about being a serial killer, but then I found something even better.”
    Maybe this driver-less car is a bit of that ‘something’ she had in mind.

  32. Woodstock Says:

    Robert Heinlein was writing about driver-less flying cars 70+ years ago. More often than not the heroes of his stories ended up locked inside the fuckers waiting for the government cops to show up. Wait for it.

  33. Docb Says:

    I live in Kentucky …………. What’s a technology

  34. RVN69 Says:

    @docb, stainless steel stills that’s a technology!

  35. Glenn S. Says:

    I’m not as worried about the poor loser with no drivers licence. He’s trying not to get pulled over so he’s paying some attention to his driving, at least as long as he’s not on a four day drunk. The ones that concern me are the stay-at-home moms in high dollar SUVs or minivans, applying makeup, supervising five or six children, talking on the cell phone, and changing lanes every twenty five yards until she swerves across busy lanes to catch that sale at Chicos.

    At any rate, all indicators look to me like the powers that run the USA are trying to push bicycles for the masses and automatic cars for the wealthy. I can envision people controlled vehicles (i.e. motorcycles) becoming extinct for all but the rich or people with the balls to ignore the laws and the luck/skill to get away with it since the cost of liability insurance is sure to go through the roof once self-driving cars are available.

  36. Rusty Says:

    @Glenn and Done,,,,maybe we should fire the first shot,,,,,,,again!

    Respect to the deserving

  37. Bill Says:

    Glenn: I think there might be another liability insurance angle. Those costs might well go Down, for those who wish to be controlled by their cars, and no doubt the insurance companies could write a kickback into the new laws to cover their “losses”, and then some. We’ll thus be “forced” by economic pressures to buy them. And, we will similarly be chipped, in order to save time, money, and likely even our jobs, someday soon.

  38. Glenn S. Says:

    Y’all, I’m just amazed that anyone would give up their own steering wheel, literally or figuratively, on the road and otherwise. What kind of people have they created? What do they think life is supposed to be about? Has all sense of wonder and adventure disappeared from the American collective consciousness? It’s like the worst dystopian sci-fi movie is coming true.

    Rusty, I like the idea but, as has been said here, it’s not gotten bad enough yet for the sheep to grow teeth. The citizens would a whole lot rather feel safe than be free.

  39. Paul Says:


    I saw it written somewhere (maybe this website) why people fear freedom so much. It was something along the lines of they would then be forced to acknowledge all their success and failure is now their responsibility; they have no one else to blame.

    I’m glad you said ‘feel safe’ too. Because that is all it is; a false sense of security. I have only been riding 2 years, but I realized one of the things I loved about it was trading that security (a car) for freedom (a bike).

    Sure, I have so many more ways to die now on the road, but I can go places a car can’t, see things I wouldn’t see, smell things I wouldn’t catch in a car, even feel temperature changes.

  40. Rashomon Says:

    My guess is that we’ll never see driver-less cars on the road (in my lifetime at least) but Google will secure many patents on the concept and will rake in money for years to come as different bits of the technology make it into the mainstream – that’s where the money is these days.

  41. Dave Says:

    I think what a lot of people don’t understand (and if you’re over 40 you find it nearly impossible to) is that there is the desire in the new generations to do nothing for themselves.

    Their sole existence is to acquire “stuff” and have the latest tech. They live in a world of social anti-socialism where the communities are built upon the common collective of their car, their cellphone, their “stuff”.

    These younger people typically don’t care about freedom. To them “freedom” means the ability to buy things. The more you can buy, the higher your status amongst the other text-crazed drones.

    Of course there are exceptions to this, but if you just take a moment you will see that these younger people will gladly, happily, give up their freedom of choice for the ability to buy something that shows the world how elite they believe they are.

    So you’re going to see driver-less cars. It’s being pushed by a generation of idiots who know nothing about anything, but yearn to be “cool”. They’re going to have those cars to fit in with their much needed texting while NOT driving. They need them so they can talk on their cellphones or wi-fi tablets while enjoying the commute to their tiny cube…

    … assigned by the State, for a job assigned by the State, for an electronic wage given by the State, which gives them their daily allowances for spending on State-approved “stuff”.

    The evidence is staggering, and it’s all around us. Just take a look. Even other cultures that were not familiar with this tech have become so dependent upon it now that they will kill you for it.

  42. chromedome Says:

    When I read shit like this it makes me appreciate tennessee all the more. Just the other day I got stuck behind a tractor on one side and a herd of livestock on the other lol. I can imagin the convo around the trash fire in the front yard tonight. “Drivrless cars!!???” (Spits tabacco) “how the hell you gonna tell it to chase deer in the field at night”, or “what isit gonna do when stuck ina mudpit?”
    I always wanted to move to cali but nothin beats bangin the ol lady in a pasture lookin up at a sky fulla stars and the sounds of frogcrickets.


  43. Phuquehed Says:

    Fuck high-tech…in most situations.

    For example – We haven’t had a teevee in the house in 4 years now I think, and lovin’ it.

    No heating except for the wood stove. It’s a bitch for me, being a gimp with a severely fucked up back in pain 24/7/365, but I’m living with it and it’s one less headache and thing to mess up and if the power goes out, as it does often here, in the winter we’d be fucked if we had electric heat. (Been there, done that back in ’95 or ’96 IIRR…10 days in the middle of winter, worst ice-storm in our history left much of W TN without power. We barely got by because we happened to have a generator, but it was still a motherfucker of a time and I don’t ever want to go through that ever again if I can help it, and this was *before* I was disabled and I was in good shape).

    One truck, an ’87 Dodge with a fucking useless slant 6 that gets us 15 mpg…but it *IS* relatively simple to work on compared to, say, my ’90 Chevy with the V6 that’s been sitting in the carport for 3 or 4 years because I can’t figure out why it won’t start even if I pour gas down the carb (throttle body thing), and couldn’t afford to get it fixed as just something like a fuel pump for it is $100+. A fucking fuel pump! And…it’s on the gas tank where there’s no way in hell I, in my present condition, can ever even dream of getting to it.

    I have no land line (for 6 months now, I believe +/-) and only have a Tracfone that I use for emergencies only, and it’s an old as dirt model phone too, heh.

    The only ‘high-tech’ I own or that’s on this property at all, is the bike, being an ’09 it’s computer controlled. I’ve weighed the decision for the past 6 years to get an older, carberated model, but with my back as it is, it’s a PITA (PITB) to break down and have to try and work on something as it is, much less fiddling with jets (I know, pretty easy *IF* there’s nothing wrong with your back!), plus, having to survive on disability would put me right back where I was when all I had was the truck and got only 20 mpg…I couldn’t afford the gas to get out and do *anything*, much less visit friends and actually have a buck or two for beer. With this bike, I get the 47 mpg and it’s allowed me to be able to get out of the house two or three times a month for local riding around shit, and once every other month to go see my buddy in Erin, 80 miles away *and* afford to buy my own case or two of beer. Yeah, some problems with an older bike would be just as simple or hard to work on – like the electrical thing I have going on now with the battery draining – but it all bouiled down to the bank at the time wouldn’t lend me even a dime, and I had to go to fucking Louisiana to get what I have, so I’m happy. (By the way, thanks BrianF for the pdf on Harley alternators thing!)

    Like chromedome says…it’s good being stuck out here in the woods (pretty literally). We got us a good-sized pond with a few catfish in it and a big snapping turtle, lots of squirrels, lots of rqabbits, lots of deer, a well so we don’t have to depend on county water (or pay for it!), a garden plot I’ve been getting ready (if one is going to grow food to can and/or store, it’s best to have a plot with good soil prepped for the long-haul of growing, as just dropping a seed in some dirt doesn’t mean it’ll grow as well as it possibly could or produce as well as it could). It’s quiet, we rarely hear any jets (really!), very little traffic on our road (hell, we only have 9 houses on a mile long road, heh heh), got the chickens for eggs and meat, the fields that I’ll starts growing buckwheat or oats to supplement the chicken feed and eventually a few more rows of dent corn and I won’t have to depend much, if at all, on store-bought feed for the chickens. The one thing I regret is my back just can’t handle having a few goats for milk and meat, but that’s why one remains good friends with a decent neighbor who *does* raise them and I can trade garden foods for goat meat or milk and I can grow things like giant mangels and beets and such to help him feed his goats.

    One thing I’m working on is being able to get honey in enough amounts to make myself mead. Problem is, the bees have got some kind of disease or something killing them off in horrendous numbers here in the USA and it could be disastrous for the country and the planet.

    So, after writing a book and boring the fuck out of anyone who reads Rebel’s site, I too say fuck the driverless cars. They’ll be too expensive anyway for Joe regular citizen won’t get shit for gas mileage (just like electric vehicles…they’re useless once any weight is actually put in them and even empty can’t go far), and after the first few accidents where they cause the deaths of too many people, the uproar will kepp the useless things in big cities, where as far as I’m concerened they can keep ’em and have ’em. I’ll stick to being a country bumpkin out here in the woods.

  44. John Deaux Says:

    Yep, Fucking Louisiana, but it’s home. Lol.

  45. Kman Says:

    You can bet your ass that when these remote controlled cars become common that the folks in charge will be dictating where the passengers can and cannot go. The on board gps systems and black box event recorders of the current autos are already configured to track your movements and it’s a short step until the government (via the insurance companies) will be storing and using that data.

  46. Phuquehed Says:

    @John Deaux – No offense meant about Luoisiana, I meant that I had to go so far to find a dealer that would give me a chance and a break.

  47. John Deaux Says:

    None taken my friend. I say it often myself.

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