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Tales from the Log of the Ruptured Duck

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,931
57
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
A CHALLENGED FRIEND

i've had to think a bit, before wtiting this. More thought about myself was required. I'm not yet through with that part, but feel OK in at least starting out now.

The other day, I rode bike along with a challenged friend. It was the first time for me ever doing anything like this. Now, I know that I like to make jokes a lot; but there's nothing light hearted in this post. I wish there was.

"Fred", we'll call him, is in his early 20s. From early childhood, he found it expedient at home to play dumb, shut up, apologize a lot, and stay out of sight as much as possible. It's called avoidance. Hidden behind that facade, is some one who can - with a helluva lot of patience - be taught to think critically and analytically. But, years of habit stand in the way.

We rode on sidewalks to avoid being in the road with traffic. (That, by the way, is legal in Michigan.) Here, it's called "Share the road." Unfortunately, the short sighted lawmakers can not repeal any of the laws of physics, and 200 pound bike-rider combination weaving along at 10-20mph are NOT a safe mix amongst 2,000-3,000 pound vehicles moving at any speed.

As we arrived at an intersection with crossing lights, I had him push the activator button for the crossing light. I had to remind him at every corner to press the button. Not a good indication #1. I told him that he had to get the bike ready to start off instantly when we got the white walk light, I had to remind him of this every time. Bad indicator #2.

Still, when the crossing light did go, he did not look around at all! Instead, he finally finished getting the bike set up to go, centered all of his attention onto the front tire, and continued staring at that front wheel all the way across! Even though I had just told him to be ready, and then then check in all four directions around himself before proceeding - he did the exact opposite. Horrendous indicator #3.

This episode disclosed weaknesses in everyone involved. (1) I was not diplomatic during debriefing when we were through. (2) His parents had done a terrible job of raising him and preparing him to be a self-sufficient adult. And (3) his habit of playing dumb as a defense posture is a group of ingrained habits that will take years to overcome.

Some of you out there, have abilities to handle situations like this much better than I do. I hold high expectations of trainees I am trying to help. They must want to learn and improve, and then show it by lrarning and changing because of that learning. I don't spend time on someone who doesn't show a desire to learn.

If any of you have already, or in the future do, become involved in similar situations, I hope your abilities are fully up to the tasks. It's a tall order.

Good riding, and godspeed.
 

oldbuffpilot

Well-Known Member
May 13, 2014
233
4
75
Central Kansas and Central Texas
A CHALLENGED FRIEND

i've had to think a bit, before wtiting this. More thought about myself was required. I'm not yet through with that part, but feel OK in at least starting out now.

The other day, I rode bike along with a challenged friend. It was the first time for me ever doing anything like this. Now, I know that I like to make jokes a lot; but there's nothing light hearted in this post. I wish there was.

"Fred", we'll call him, is in his early 20s. From early childhood, he found it expedient at home to play dumb, shut up, apologize a lot, and stay out of sight as much as possible. It's called avoidance. Hidden behind that facade, is some one who can - with a helluva lot of patience - be taught to think critically and analytically. But, years of habit stand in the way.

We rode on sidewalks to avoid being in the road with traffic. (That, by the way, is legal in Michigan.) Here, it's called "Share the road." Unfortunately, the short sighted lawmakers can not repeal any of the laws of physics, and 200 pound bike-rider combination weaving along at 10-20mph are NOT a safe mix amongst 2,000-3,000 pound vehicles moving at any speed.

As we arrived at an intersection with crossing lights, I had him push the activator button for the crossing light. I had to remind him at every corner to press the button. Not a good indication #1. I told him that he had to get the bike ready to start off instantly when we got the white walk light, I had to remind him of this every time. Bad indicator #2.

Still, when the crossing light did go, he did not look around at all! Instead, he finally finished getting the bike set up to go, centered all of his attention onto the front tire, and continued staring at that front wheel all the way across! Even though I had just told him to be ready, and then then check in all four directions around himself before proceeding - he did the exact opposite. Horrendous indicator #3.

This episode disclosed weaknesses in everyone involved. (1) I was not diplomatic during debriefing when we were through. (2) His parents had done a terrible job of raising him and preparing him to be a self-sufficient adult. And (3) his habit of playing dumb as a defense posture is a group of ingrained habits that will take years to overcome.

Some of you out there, have abilities to handle situations like this much better than I do. I hold high expectations of trainees I am trying to help. They must want to learn and improve, and then show it by lrarning and changing because of that learning. I don't spend time on someone who doesn't show a desire to learn.

If any of you have already, or in the future do, become involved in similar situations, I hope your abilities are fully up to the tasks. It's a tall order.

Good riding, and godspeed.
 

oldbuffpilot

Well-Known Member
May 13, 2014
233
4
75
Central Kansas and Central Texas
Jack.
I applaud your efforts. When we work with folks who have these kinds of disabilities, it's so very easy to become discouraged and I've found that my discouraged attitude to be my biggest obstacle. I often feel like I'm getting nowhere, then out of nowhere an break through occurs. I'm trying to learn to find a bright spot in every encounter. Not there yet, but working on it! Sometimes loving Parents or Grandparents can be an obstacle to improvement. That's some of what I have learned in the past few years for what it's worth! You didn't ask for it --but empathized with you anyway!
God Bless your efforts---- keep going forward.

Andy
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,817
31
75
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
Jack it's a great thing you are doing and always a blessing when a person can help another.

On the flip side........Considering how the family has maintained that protective shell he likes.
Not sure about your area and it's laws. I only know Florida's.
You might want to check and see what your responsibility is under the civil laws as far as him injuring himself.
Working in Law Enforcement , ( including the Civil Department ) I have seen where the best intentions of a person turned into a real civil litigation headache for them.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,931
57
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
BARBER - LIBRARY - KROGER

Seven miles back, I started out to get some jobs done. Nice weather, so I rode the bike. Even though I don't have the Ruptured Duck nose art on the bike, the bike IS the Duck.
image.jpeg

In a local burg, Haslett, is my barbershop of choice, "Jon's." As in all barbershops, stories are swapped, contacts are made, smiles are exchanged, and hair bristles go down the back of my neck. AARRGGHH!! Oh well, it's all part of going to the barber. Ehh?

Riding from the barbershop over to the library, I cross a railroad. They just completed refinishing the crossing. MUCH better now. They, the railraod line, laid down some nice, smooth asphalt on both sides of the rails, and in between them. Now, you barely notice when driving over it at the 25mph speed limit. Previously, the RR had 3"X8" planks in there. For some reason known only to them, the planks were warped, mismatched, and poorly secured. So, when driving over it, you had to slow way down. The planks would shake, rattle, and roll. They'ed jump up and down in a dance of self destruction. Anyway, it's better now.

Our local library is part of the greater Lansing library system, and it is great. We are dedicated customers. When an author writes a book, let's say it takes them three years. Now, when I'm reading a book or listening to an audio book - I have that three year chunk of their life right here, just for me. That is a special privilege.

Riding from the library ln to the Kroger store, I travel past the Haslett High School where my son graduated. Memories. At Kroger, those saddle bags are again handy. Milk, bread, etc. fit in nicely with a bit of rearranging. ;-)

Back home, it feels good to,sit down on something that holds still. Cheated death again.
 

Wannabe

Well-Known Member
Apr 5, 2007
2,645
1
on the bank of Trinity Bay
BARBER - LIBRARY - KROGER

Seven miles back, I started out to get some jobs done. Nice weather, so I rode the bike. Even though I don't have the Ruptured Duck nose art on the bike, the bike IS the Duck.
View attachment 980

In a local burg, Haslett, is my barbershop of choice, "Jon's." As in all barbershops, stories are swapped, contacts are made, smiles are exchanged, and hair bristles go down the back of my neck. AARRGGHH!! Oh well, it's all part of going to the barber. Ehh?

Riding from the barbershop over to the library, I cross a railroad. They just completed refinishing the crossing. MUCH better now. They, the railraod line, laid down some nice, smooth asphalt on both sides of the rails, and in between them. Now, you barely notice when driving over it at the 25mph speed limit. Previously, the RR had 3"X8" planks in there. For some reason known only to them, the planks were warped, mismatched, and poorly secured. So, when driving over it, you had to slow way down. The planks would shake, rattle, and roll. They'ed jump up and down in a dance of self destruction. Anyway, it's better now.

Our local library is part of the greater Lansing library system, and it is great. We are dedicated customers. When an author writes a book, let's say it takes them three years. Now, when I'm reading a book or listening to an audio book - I have that three year chunk of their life right here, just for me. That is a special privilege.

Riding from the library ln to the Kroger store, I travel past the Haslett High School where my son graduated. Memories. At Kroger, those saddle bags are again handy. Milk, bread, etc. fit in nicely with a bit of rearranging. ;-)

Back home, it feels good to,sit down on something that holds still. Cheated death again.
The way I see it, you are risking your life far more on a bike than an airplane. In the airplane it is all on you for the most part (mid airs do happen). You are in control. On a bike you are not under control that much. Sure, you can follow all the safety rules, try to watch out for traffic (mechanized and pedestrian) and stay out of harms way. Just too many ways to get hurt. And that Sir, is my rationalization for Not exercising on a bicycle. As for you--be safe my Friend.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,931
57
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
The way I see it, you are risking your life far more on a bike than an airplane. In the airplane it is all on you for the most part (mid airs do happen). You are in control. On a bike you are not under control that much. Sure, you can follow all the safety rules, try to watch out for traffic (mechanized and pedestrian) and stay out of harms way. Just too many ways to get hurt. And that Sir, is my rationalization for Not exercising on a bicycle. As for you--be safe my Friend.
Well, you have a good point, Bob. I'm probably at most risk when crossing roads, either at an intersection where enemy bogeys are approaching from all directions, or far away from corners where I have to judge time-distance problems. Rate of closure is of prime importance here.

As I've written earlier, Michigan unwisely has a "Share the Road" program. Unfortunately, many bikers immediately start to think like jetski riders - "THIS ALL BELONGS TO ME!! ANY ONE ELSE OUT HERE JUST BETTER MAKE WAY. I'M GOING TO RIDE IN THE TRAFFIC LANE, S L O W. W W L Y Y Y Y Y. AND SWERVINGLY.

I ride on the sidewalk. I'm a sissy. My bike weighs about 40 pounds and tops out at about 15-18mph. Cars weigh, say, 1,000-2,000 pounds, and top out at, say, about 100mph. Using my super human powers of thinking, I puzzled it out. In a collision, I might scratch their paint, and they're going scratch my body, a lot. Even though my body isn't as pretty as some others, I kinda like it.

So, I'll keep riding like a sissy
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,931
57
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Hi, Andy. You're right about bright colors. The brighter the better. Reflective materials and lights too.

Other side of that coin was, we didn't wear the standard reflective gear at night on the ramp in Nam. It would have made us too good of a target. Our F-1O0s weren't the only thing they'd shoot at.
 
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Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,931
57
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Yeahhhhhh - but it's a necessary risk. A doctor-type friend of mine told me the other day that social isolation produces twice the death rate of either smoking or drinking. I like friends better than cigarettes, and even better than single malt scotch (almost all of the time.)
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,931
57
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
DELAYED CASUALTY


About 2 1/2 months ago, I wrote about having erred, and not getting Julie's handlebars fully secured. As a result, she tumbled off her bike. As it turns out, she sustained an injury; a hairline crack in an arm bone right at the wrist. Now, she has a cast on her right forearm. Oops!

So, I do some extra help around here, and she struggles in the shower to not get the arm wet. The old "plastic bag and rubber bands" trick helps. (I learned it from Secret Agent Smart.)

Some solo rides in my future. sigh
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,931
57
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
A STORY FROM TIME BEFORE THE RUPTURED DUCK



PEOPLE IN THE MIST - INTRO

This story isn't true. But, I'm writing as though I lived it, at least, parts of it. Let me tell you those parts of the story.


Thirty years ago, my son, Eric, and I were kayaking in Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario. We had camped in a nice site. The edge of our site was an old, large bench of granite that sloped down into the lake. Deep scratches were still evident where, thousands of years ago, a glacier had ridden up and over it, gouging out those scratches.

Just a few days before, when Eric was sitting there and dangling his feet into the cool water, a big snapping turtle had silently risen up from below and was edging toward his toes. Shouting, he jumped and crawled back before a toe disappeared. The turtle submerged again.

From our base camp, we took day trips. Some were only an hour or two, others lasted out the day. One afternoon we were returning, and glad to be. A light sprinkle had come along about lunchtime, then a drizzly rain had commenced. By mid-afternoon the drizzle petered out and a thick mist set in. We were paddling back to camp, not talking much. Nearing our campsite, we heard voices up ahead. Too far ahead to make out what was being said, we paused, and then eased forward again. Still, we could not understand anything.

"What language is that?" , my son quietly asked. "It isn't English."
"No, nor French either", I responded. We again eased forward, and the scarred, granite rock began to take form in the mist. But - several canoes had been pulled up onto it. Not canoes made of plywood, fiberglass, or any modern materials - but all of birchbark!

Sudden motion accompanied a shout and fingers were now pointing at us. We had stopped a few feet off shore, and now seven or eight men came forward. Every one of them was dressed in buckskin.

"G'day! Are you fellows part of a reenactment group?", I asked. But whatever was said in reply was in the same language that we still couldn't understand. And the first remark was followed by several more. Now we're surprised, and confused. Who are these people? One reached for a bow; anther reached for a spear. They looked more cautious than angry. But still. . . . We were still in our boats, and in no position for either fight OR flight. Time to think.

I worked up a smile, laid my paddle across the cockpit, and raised my hands.
"Hello. Who are you?" No answer, but nobody else reached for weapons. Motioning, I asked if we could get out of the boats and enter our camp. But, as I looked around, NONE of our gear was here. No tent, no camp seat, no dry bags, no rainfly. Nothing. Where was it?

The fellow holding the bow nodded to the spear bearer. Handing their weapons to others, they motioned us in. Slowly, we edged in, and, as they held our boats for us, we climbed out. The first thing they did was to touch our life jackets. Then our carbon fiber paddles, and our mahogany plywood boats. Our neoprene mukluks brought out a lot of chatter.

By now, the weapons were laid down, and they were intent on looking over our gear and clothing. And, we were as interested in theirs. Everything was from the stone age, both well made and handled with full familiarity. These guys were used to simple bows, points of stone and bone, leather, and hand made birchbark canoes.

There was no metal in their camp at all. None. No steel knives. No metal pots or pans. No metal rods for a spit over the fire. Nothing. Their paddles were hand crafted. Shelters were brush wickiups. Blankets were hides. They had never heard the English language. What - and who - had we stumbled into?

And they were just as puzzled. Steel knives were something they understood right away. Boats made of plywood with epoxy and fiberglass took more time. Slowly, we got acquainted, learned some names, and mispronounced them badly. We had interrupted a meal. And we were hungry too. Pausing, I motioned eating from my hand, with a questioning look on my face.

Smiles broke out all around, followed closely by chuckles. They offered fish, rabbit, and turtle. TURTLE! Turnabout is fair play. We got the three fish from our boats that we had caught, and offered them to the pot. One of the Indians motioned for my steel knife. A bit hesitantly I gave it to him. He cleaned the fish, impaled each on a green stick, and - handing back my knife - propped them up near the fire.
 
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NWDad

Well-Known Member
Oct 4, 2015
51
1
A STORY FROM TIME BEFORE THE RUPTURED DUCK



PEOPLE IN THE MIST - INTRO

This story isn't true. But, I'm writing as though I lived it, at least, parts of it. Let me tell you those parts of the story.


Thirty years ago, my son, Eric, and I were kayaking in Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario. We had camped in a nice site. The edge of our site was an old, large bench of granite that sloped down into the lake. Deep scratches were still evident where, thousands of years ago, a glacier had ridden up and over it, gouging out those scratches.

Just a few days before, when Eric was sitting there and dangling his feet into the cool water, a big snapping turtle had silently risen up from below and was edging toward his toes. Shouting, he jumped and crawled back before a toe disappeared. The turtle submerged again.

From our base camp, we took day trips. Some were only an hour or two, others lasted out the day. One afternoon we were returning, and glad to be. A light sprinkle had come along about lunchtime, then a drizzly rain had commenced. By mid-afternoon the drizzle petered out and a thick mist set in. We were paddling back to camp, not talking much. Nearing our campsite, we heard voices up ahead. Too far ahead to make out what was being said, we paused, and then eased forward again. Still, we could not understand anything.

"What language is that?" , my son quietly asked. "It isn't English."
"No, nor French either", I responded. We again eased forward, and the scarred, granite rock began to take form in the mist. But - several canoes had been pulled up onto it. Not canoes made of plywood, fiberglass, or any modern materials - but all of birchbark!

Sudden motion accompanied a shout and fingers were now pointing at us. We had stopped a few feet off shore, and now seven or eight men came forward. Every one of them was dressed in buckskin.

"G'day! Are you fellows part of a reenactment group?", I asked. But whatever was said in reply was in the same language that we still couldn't understand. And the first remark was followed by several more. Now we're surprised, and confused. Who are these people? One reached for a bow; anther reached for a spear. They looked more cautious than angry. But still. . . . We were still in our boats, and in no position for either fight OR flight. Time to think.

I worked up a smile, laid my paddle across the cockpit, and raised my hands.
"Hello. Who are you?" No answer, but nobody else reached for weapons. Motioning, I asked if we could get out of the boats and enter our camp. But, as I looked around, NONE of our gear was here. No tent, no camp seat, no dry bags, no rainfly. Nothing. Where was it?

The fellow holding the bow nodded to the spear bearer. Handing their weapons to others, they motioned us in. Slowly, we edged in, and, as they held our boats for us, we climbed out. The first thing they did was to touch our life jackets. Then our carbon fiber paddles, and our mahogany plywood boats. Our neoprene mukluks brought out a lot of chatter.

By now, the weapons were laid down, and they were intent on looking over our gear and clothing. And, we were as interested in theirs. Everything was from the stone age, both well made and handled with full familiarity. These guys were used to simple bows, points of stone and bone, leather, and hand made birchbark canoes.

There was no metal in their camp at all. None. No steel knives. No metal pots or pans. No metal rods for a spit over the fire. Nothing. Their paddles were hand crafted. Shelters were brush wickiups. Blankets were hides. They had never heard the English language. What - and who - had we stumbled into?

And they were just as puzzled. Steel knives were something they understood right away. Boats made of plywood with epoxy and fiberglass took more time. Slowly, we got acquainted, learned some names, and mispronounced them badly. We had interrupted a meal. And we were hungry too. Pausing, I motioned eating from my hand, with a questioning look on my face.

Smiles broke out all around, followed closely by chuckles. They offered fish, rabbit, and turtle. TURTLE! Turnabout is fair play. We got the three fish from our boats that we had caught, and offered them to the pot. One of the Indians motioned for my steel knife. A bit hesitantly I gave it to him. He cleaned the fish, impaled each on a green stick, and - handing back my knife - propped them up near the fire.
Love it, keep it coming. You are a great writer Jack.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,931
57
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
PEOPLE IN THE MIST 1.1

Come the next morning, we began to get more acquainted. We had to borrow sleeping robes the night before, as our air mattresses and down sleeping bags were not here. As best as we could understand, they were out on a jaunt, somewhat for fun and somewhat for hunting. Sounds kind of familiar.

I kept looking around to see or find any piece of our gear. No luck. Somewhere mid-morning, I asked Eric if he had seen any aircraft overhead, or any contrails. "No, dad, none. I hadn't thought to look, but no".
"Funny", I said. "We had been seeing them pass overhead every morning as we ate breakfast. And then another group a couple of hours later. Maybe Toronto is having bad weather?"
"That's possible, I guess. But we have blue skies here, only about 150 miles away", he observed.
"I guess", I ended

For several days we hunted. They had made up a couple of makeshift bows and a handful of arrows for Eric and me. In my teens and early twenties I was a passable archer. But, this was not a laminated bow made by Fred Bear. And the arrows weren't top notch either. They were about on a par with arrows that I used to make and fletch. In other words, if a big target was standing still, broadside, I had a chance. My chances would be better if the target were blind and deaf. And, tethered to a stump.

Since Eric and I had been carrying fishing gear when we paddled into this situation, we offered to fish instead of hunt. They laughingly agreed to that offer. Having brought some extra snelled hooks, I set up some twig lines like I'd seen Joey do in Louisiana bayous. As he'd lost a few fish to prowling gators, I expected to lose a few to snappers. Then, Eric and I paddled out into the lake to try our luck with some local grasshoppers as bait. And, a few hours later we brought in 3 large perch and a bass.

I touched up the edge on my knife, and filleted them. With no salt apparent in camp, I peeled some green switches and fashioned four "tennis rackets". I built a small, smokey fire and made a framework of sticks a couple of feet over the fire. Then, I arranged the tennis rackets, with fish attached, on the rack. Every 15-20 minutes, I rearranged them. In the meantime, Eric gathered in 2 more perch and a catfish that the twig lines had yielded. Later, they too went above my smoky, little fire. We'd lost a couple of fish to turtles. The Indians were very interested in our fish hooks. Lord! I wish that I had a couple hundred more.

Six days later we had returned to their main camp. We had not seen a single aircraft or contrail. Was it possible that we were actually in an older time? In that mist, had we somehow slipped over a line, or through a portal? I was skeptical.

Eric and I have been able bring in enough food on the trip to feed ourselves, and a couple more. But we certainly weren't bragging about being big hunters. Also, we'd learned how to build a wickiup for shelter. Here in the home camp, the wickiups were more permanent than those in the hunting camp. These are stronger, and much more weather proof.. Slabs of tree bark are woven into the network of brush that constitutes the structure.

In fact, we improved upon them. Their standard wickiup has a smoke hole in the top. We made ours like that too. And one night a thunderstorm went through. I woke up with rain in my face! I hate that! So, I set out to correct it. First, I spent some time just cogitating about it. And, several ideas leaked in and out. Pairing a couple of them together, and adding in Bernoulli's principle, I figured it out.

I needed two pieces of a semi-rigid, but pliable, material. I found a couple of birch trees. I selected some nice bark, and made a slice all the way around the tree. Then another slice two feet higher. Next, I used a green branch about an inch and a half in diameter and three feet long to beat those pieces of bark all around, and up and down. This helps to loosen the bark so it peels off better. I did that with both pieces. The next day, I made a vertical slice in between the circumferential cuts, and carefully peeled off both chunks. I sunk both pieces in the lake with a stone on each. In three or four days they would have the pliability I needed.

In the meantime, it's time to produce some more food. I wonder if there are some morel mushrooms around here?
 
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