GETTING OLDER

Did I ever tell you that I am cautious? It comes with the territory.

At my age you have to make allowances and bravery is tempered by a little caution. I have noticed that I don’t heedlessly race around blind corners any more. Nor do I aim for the highest jumps or go up and down the steepest hills. Heck there are some trails I avoid altogether.  It isn’t just a question of losing my rhythm. I have a lot less strength and less stamina, and in addition I am less limber, and have slower reflexes. Let’s not even talk about my failing eyesight. It all adds up to a complete klutz.

OK so I was at Carnegie the other day leading a friend through some familiar singe track trails. Then the unexpected happened: After threading my way along the creek bed, I looked up to where I was going and to my horror saw a deep crevice with huge ruts carved into the hillside.

I didn’t have time to find a better line and I just gave it a handful of throttle in second gear and headed towards the only fragment of trail I could find winding through the ruts.  The only problem was that from the bottom I didn’t see the crevasse like opening I was racing towards. Again I gave it another handful and it floated over the ugly chasm. Then another and I was over top.

I was as proud as if I had won the Erzberg Rodeo on my little Yamaha WR-250F. I had made it and my friend was a little late. I didn’t want to go back and embarrass him so I waited at the top of the trail.

If I had looked at it first, I would have said to myself  “no way” and turned around.  But if I was trying to impress someone and had gotten up the courage to try it, I would have been too tentative with the throttle and I wouldn’t have made it to the top. That is how you are when you are cautious.

Funny thing about getting old….

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The California Off Road Vehicle Program is Still Under Threat Contact Your State Legislators and Tell them to Vote Against SB 249

The California OHV program is still facing a major threat from Senate Bill 249. This critical program, long seen as a model nationwide, is slated for renewal due to a sunset provision that was included in the previous OHV program authorization. Now SB 249 is designed to short change the very people that the ride off road in this state and which the California OHV program is designed to protect. By merging the OHV program into State Parks we loose all the provisions in the California OHV program which protects OHV recreation.

Despite good faith negotiations with the proponents of this bill the discussions have remained focused on defending the language in SB 249 as though it is the existing law (which it isn’t). While the proponents have made some minor concessions the bill remains so extreme that middle ground continues to undermine the discussions.

As written, SB 249 overlooks the important role the OHV program plays within state parks while serving all Californians. The program not only provides quality, sustainable, family oriented recreation for citizens and visitors alike, but also emphasizes environmental sustainability and protection, as well as public safety and partnerships with federal government agencies that provide OHV opportunities.

If adopted in its current form SB 249 would begin to dismantle decades of work and indeed mark the end of this nationally recognized and celebrated program.

AMA members and indeed all OHV recreationists must immediately contact their elected officials and remind them of the benefits the program provides to every citizen and visitor to California. It is important to remind them that the program uses no general fund monies and is in fact based on a user-pay, user-benefit style model. Monies used to pay for the program include those taxes collected on fuel, State Vehicle Recreation Areas (SVRAs) entrance fees and vehicle registrations (green and red stickers).

The public simply deserves better, and it is incumbent on the Legislature to deliver on the promises made during previous re-authorizations, that this and similar “user pay, user benefit” programs remain untouched. One idea that has been discussed among OHV groups is to simply extend the existing program sunset by a year while a formal stakeholder process is created.

The OHV community has long paid their own way and will continue to do so as long as these monies are used for their intended purpose. But now the enemies of Carnegie have sent e-mails and letters supporting SB 249 and unless we act right now we will be defeated and the legislature will vote for this bill which severely cripples the OHV program in California. They do this by merging the OHV program into state parks which has an entirely different agenda. Right now that solution is supported by the majority of letter writers. Please don’t let our enemies win by the sheer number of letters that they are submitting.

Begin by entering your information in the fields below and clicking on the red “Submit” button.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that you and your riding friends become members of the AMA to help protect our riding freedoms. More members mean more clout against the opponents of motorcycling. That support will help fight for your rights – on the road, trail and racetrack and in the halls of government.

Join the AMA at americanmotorcyclist.com.

Please follow the AMA on Twitter @AMA_Rights and like us on Facebook.

Vote no here: https://cqrcengage.com/amacycle/app/write-a-letter?6&engagementId=307053&lp=0

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OP-ED – Rebuttal to CNPS’s Anti-OHV Political Campaign (SB 249) Article by Don Amador

sb 249 restoration pic carnegiess

July 12, 2017

By Don Amador

*Permission is hereby granted to reprint article

Rebuttal to CNPS Vol. 47 (July – Sept. 2017) Pro – SB 249 Political Campaign Article: Environmental Damage from OHV Activity is Outpacing California’s Ability to Repair It

LINK TO CNPS ARTICLE

http://www.cnps.org/cnps/publications/cnpsbulletin/v47.3_jul-sep2017.pdf

This is a response to a recent California Native Plant Society (CNPS) anti-OHV political campaign (SB 249) article that was referenced (page 22) in the official California Department of Parks and Recreation Weekly Digest published on July 7, 2017.

SB 249 was crafted in the dark of night by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) and a small group of extreme environmental groups over the course of the last two years without OHV involvement. At this time, not one OHV organization supports SB 249.

The bill fundamentally redirects this environmentally sound, highly successful and nationally acclaimed OHV program – with a recreation focus – to a non-OHV program with a preservation focus that relies on lawsuits and trail closures as primary “management” tools.

don amadorsb 249 engineered ohv trail

Since the creation of the California OHV program with the passage of the Chappie-Z’Berg OHV Act in 1971, OHV leaders have played an important role as stakeholders each time the program has come up for sunset review and reauthorization.  OHV leadership has a wide variety of expertise in all issues relating to OHV recreation, both technical and environmental, with specific knowledge on the interaction between state and federal land management processes.

don amadorsb 249 rubicon catch basin

Entire sections of SB 249 significantly alter priorities in ways that are obviously unacceptable to active California recreationists. There are also numerous examples of incorrect definitions, calls for unnecessary reports and demands for duplicative agency consultation that portray a lack of understanding of the interplay already required to create best management practices for areas that host OHV recreation.

donamador1sb 249 travel mang. sign.carnegie

It is clear that CNPS and partners crafted this bill with a goal of unduly hampering and purposely setting roadblocks to a program that is world renowned for its existing high standards with regards to both recreation opportunities and environmental conditions. They want the motorized parks to be held to an environmental standard equal to the non-motorized parks – an absurdity at every level.

donamadorsb 249 restoration tahoe nf.ss

Furthermore there is no accountability for either reliably foreseen or unanticipated consequences of the drastic measures called for in the bill. Based on estimates from DPR and OHV experts, the magnitude of the costs to the state for land restoration and mitigation for federal, city and county lands, as called for by SB 249, could range from $11M to $20M per year.  Expected legal liability cost estimates could be in the tens of millions of dollars per year.

SB 249 focuses solely on management of natural and cultural resources while ignoring important recreation-related water quality and soil erosion mitigation measures and trail facility maintenance activities.

SB 249 contains errors in the description of adaptive management as it is used in conjunction with a monitoring program. To those experienced in land policy, adaptive management is an ongoing process of evaluation leading to changes in operations to improve on-the-ground conditions. Many components are part of this process, although the bill stresses solely natural and cultural resources.

donamadorsb 249 multi-use trail Eldorado

OHV stakeholders believe that water quality, erosion and sedimentation evaluations are equally critical, although none of these important issues are mentioned. Furthermore, natural and cultural resources are mentioned many times in the bill without adequate definition which will only lead to confusion in future decisions.

SB 249 seeks to prohibit use of existing roads in state vehicular recreation areas that were created by previous land owners. The bill would require the state to compile reports of accidents, citations and other infractions from all areas of the state, including federal lands, where off-road recreation occurs. This is a burden placed on no other unit of state parks, the information is not currently collected by state parks, nor is it required by any federal agency. Furthermore there is no justification for the need for this report, leading OHV leadership to conclude this is an unwarranted data collection effort that will be used by SB 249 proponents to discredit public land agencies and off-road recreationists.

SB 249 requires the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division to change its purpose from managing for sustainable off-road recreation to primarily managing for non-recreation focused on the protection of natural and cultural resources.

donamadorsb 249 carnegie engineered trail

SB 249 seeks to portray and require restoration work to be done in an absolute fashion and be fully mitigated no matter the cause of the damage. Wildfires, earthquakes, rain and other weather phenomena can cause considerable damage, yet the effect of this damage is not differentiated from ongoing maintenance due to OHV activities. Other state parks are not responsible for acts of Mother Nature and it is inappropriate to place that burden on this program and this division. Minimizing impact to land from all forms of human interaction, whether through motorized or non-motorized activities is a goal already undertaken by all park units to the extent possible.

SB 249 adds numerous agencies for consultation and written reports as requirements to be produced, which does nothing to improve environmental conditions on the ground. The redirected time will make performing environmental activities and restoration difficult, be extremely time consuming and add a considerable cost consideration for all entities concerned when there is no indication that anything is amiss in the current program.

donamadorsb 249 restoration sign.

The OHMVR Division does much more than manage State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs).  Its efforts include everything from law enforcement to supporting the economic viability of rural counties.  The program also supports OHV recreation on lands managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and counties.

Again, I believe the regulatory mandates and related compliance requirements place the entire program (SVRAs and units managed by the USFS/BLM/counties) in both legal and fiscal jeopardy.  The legislation creates a target rich environment for future litigation based on the alleged failure of the OHVMR Division and other units to comply with a host of new and unwarranted regulations and reporting schedules.

OHV organizations are urging legislators and the Governor to support reauthorization of the current program that was substantially improved upon 10 years ago in a bipartisan manner under the leadership of Senator Darrell Steinberg (SB 742).

Don Amador was a member of the 2007 bipartisan legislative team that drafted SB742 upon which the current OHV program is based.  Don works as a consultant to the BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org.  Don is president of Quiet Warrior Racing, a recreation consulting business.  Don is a 2016 inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.  Don was also an OHMVR Commissioner (1994-2000) Don may be reached by email at: damador@cwo.com

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A Grieving Sister’s Eulogy – Chris Tweedy

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I am very disappointed that I couldn’t attend my brother, Chris’, funeral. If my mom was looking down from above she would be very sad until she realized that missing Chris’ funeral was not entirely my fault. I broke my pelvis in a mountain bike accident and it is much more painful than an ordinary broken bone.  Unfortunately that prevents me from flying to Boston and going to Chris’ funeral.

I am sorry to everyone that I missed the funeral and I ask for your forgiveness. I especially apologize to my brother David who arranged for the funeral service down to the very music that Chris listened to while he was alive.

I had long ago promised my mother that I would look after Chris. He was a severely disabled child and she was worried about his future as a disabled adult.

I grew up babysitting (my mom worked evenings). I remember changing diapers and playing the “Put Diana to Bed” game that involved a lot of pushing and shoving. David and Chris liked to rough house (and so did I). I also read to them before bed but that wasn’t until after they had forcibly shoved me into one of their cots and selected their favorite reading material (Paddington Bear). They both knew the words by heart and recited them as I turned over the pages.

Chris was severely dyslectic and had a hard time reading and writing and even graduating from high school. There was a lot of pressure on him to do well in school but no matter how many classes he took or how many tutors he had, he was never able to conquer his dyslexia and learn to read and write. It made it hard for him to get a driver’s license, bank account or apply for a job. His mental disability made him feel inadequate and vulnerable.

After high school Chris met his future wife. He fell in love they married and had two lovely children. Chris also played chess (he was better than I was) played hockey and went to the beach with his family. In the beginning I was good friends with his wife and step daughter and so we hung out together quite a lot when I was on the east coast.

Chris was a natural skier. We skied together while I was home. Those were good times until the drugs took over. I was in Law School when I first started noticing alarming changes. It wasn’t just himself who was adversity affected by drugs. It tore apart his whole family and caused a lot of hardship and misery.

Because of the drugs their house was in total disarray with food all over the walls and dirty cloths and diapers on the floor. Nobody took care of the house except my mother on occasion and there were two very young children living there. Chris’ step daughter had to do most of the work. It was a totally dysfunctional household and you can’t blame it all on Chris’ wife. Chris never lifted a finger either.

Chris’ stepdaughter was taken out of school when she complained that her mother was drunk all the time. Then the social workers got a hold of her. If you look at the documents that our attorney subpoenaed for trial, you can see how she was feeding Chris’ step daughter information and rewarding her when she parroted the right answers.

You have to remember that in the beginning she never complained about Chris and only complained about her mother, her primary caregiver, being drunk. After a while she changed her story and said Chris molested her and that my mom changed the lock the door of her bedroom in our house to keep Chris out. The only locks we had were the locks that were on all the doors when we bought the house. We had no keys to any of them and my mom specifically told her not to lock her door so she didn’t get locked in by mistake. The social worker implanted false memories in the child.

The records showed how the social worker suggested all these things to Chris’ step daughter and rewarded her if she said that she remembered being molested by her step father. This is a common tactic but Chris’ lawyer couldn’t cross examine her about it because it would look like he was taking advantage of a vulnerable little girl.

Of course she didn’t want to go over all that. She had already committed to a new version of events which she totally believed in by that time. Chris’ lawyer couldn’t ask her about it without her becoming upset and crying. The jury took her side and never listened to what the records said. They were too dry and boring.

Against his lawyers instructions Chris insisted that he never did drugs even though there was overwhelming evidence that he did do drugs. This destroyed his credibility because like most drug addicts he never could admit to having a habit.

In his first trial it was a deadlocked jury and the second trial lasted until the last day before Thanksgiving and they came up with a quick verdict – guilty so they could be home with their families for the holidays.

Chris had been dealt a bad hand. (there but for fortune go you or I ). He overdosed on heroin after our dad’s funeral when David and I left to go back home and he was all alone.

I can’t say that I blame him for putting an end to his life. He was a convicted sex offender with serious consequences. He faced the force of a society bent on holding him down to the point of oblivion.

A friend from Lowell said that she had seen a gang of grown men running after him banishing sticks and knives yelling that they were going to kill him.  Chris told me that someone used a knife to cut up the tires on his bicycle. They found his tent and cut it up too. He couldn’t even stay overnight at my dad’s condo.

When he got out of prison he was a parole. It was like Jean Van Jean in Les Miserables. After getting caught stealing some bread for his sister’s starving children, Jean Van Jean was issued a yellow passport that forced him to live under severe restrictions. It identified him as a former convict and immediately branded him an outcast wherever he went. This is done today on the internet and in Chris’ case on Facebook.

Chris got divorced and was separated from his wife and children. His life had its ups and downs but he knew that he could always count on his parents for help.

After the trial it was a nightmare of drugs, prison (he always maintained his innocence) and the mean streets of the city. He was beaten up, conned and the other vagrants tried to steal everything that wasn’t nailed down. He couldn’t find a job and in the end he was homeless and living outdoors. He told me that he avoided shelters because they were where he was being threatened and persecuted.

He finally got a place to live in Lowell with his father paying rent. The apartment building in Lowell was eventually condemned and he ended up sleeping overnight on an acquaintance’s  living room floor in Lowell.

Chris’ father was senile and his mother had died ten years earlier. And then he lost his father.

Before my father passed away, Chris had taken David and me for a walk across a bridge and down an overgrown trail where he had a tent standing in a clearing. This was his home; a canvas tent perched between the river and the railway tracks, invisible to from the streets of Lowell. He said that it was the only place he felt safe. He also liked visiting his old girlfriend Karen whom knew from before the trial. She believed in him and asserted his innocence.

 

 

After our dad’s funeral service he really had no one to talk to. He walked around tidying up and cleaning the leftovers. Then after everybody said their goodbyes and scattered off to their cars, I saw Chris standing by himself looking lost and alone. He looked like he felt left out. He had no place to go.

He loved his family too much. Then he went back to Lowell, went into his tent and overdosed on heroin.

We will never know if he did it on purpose or whether he overdosed accidentally. He knew the risk and took it. The Lowell police found his body a few days later. His life was tragic and he will be missed more than words can ever express. I love him maybe more than almost anyone who knew him because I was his sister.

There is one last thing that I would like to point out; because I am his sister, I believe in his innocence. However, even if he was guilty of a sex crime, the fact that he has never recommitted in fifteen years should count for something. Because, as he says, he won’t admit to something he hadn’t done he was branded as the most dangerous of sexual offenders. He knew he would wear that label for life. He couldn’t deal with a life where he had no place to go, no family and no place where he felt safe. In the end drugs was all that he had and they weren’t enough.

 

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My Brother’s Obituary – The Uncensored Version

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Lexington, MA —Christopher Ralph Paterson Tweedy, died Friday, May 19, 2017 in Lowell, Massachusetts.

He leaves his daughter, Joanne Tweedy, his son, Mark Tweedy, his sister, Diana Oliver from CA, and brothers, Robert from Los Angeles and David from England. He also leaves his ex-wife Margaret and his stepdaughter, Helen (some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent).

Christopher was born in Concord Massachusetts on January 9, 1963. He grew up and went to school in Lexington Massachusetts. His father was an electronics engineer and his mother was a psychologist/social worker and house wife. Christopher graduated from Lexington High School in 1982.

Christopher had a hard time growing up with severe dyslexia that made it difficult for him to read and do well in school.  However, he had a lot of friends, a sunny disposition and a ready smile.

He started his own landscaping business after graduating high school. Then he met his future wife, married her and had a couple of lovely children.  He loved playing with the kids and roughhousing. He also liked to play chess, ski, play hockey and go to the beach with his dog Bandy.

Eventually he got divorced and was separated from his children. His life had its ups and downs but he knew that he could always rely on the support of his parents.

What happened next was a nightmare of drugs, prison (he always maintained his innocence) and the mean streets of the city. He couldn’t get a job and ended up homeless in Boston. He told me that he avoided shelters because, as he said, they were scary.

He finally got a place to live in Lowell with his father paying rent. When the apartment building in Lowell was condemned he ended up on the floor of the living room in an apartment he rented from two friends. His father was senile and his mother had died ten years earlier. And then he lost his father.

After his father’s funeral everybody said their goodbyes and scattered off to their cars. When the last of the guests went out the door, Chris looked lost, alone and left out. He had no place to go. He loved his family too much.

Then he went back to Lowell, went into his tent and overdosed on heroin. The Lowell police found his body a few days later. His life was tragic and he will be missed more than words can ever express.

A funeral service will be held in June at Lane Funeral Home in Winchester MA followed by cremation and a reception?.  Please make donations to the CharityWatch Partnership for Drug Free Kids in lieu of flowers.

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A Close Encounter

OK so I have decided to try to explain what happened to me the other day while I was riding at Carnegie. I don’t know if you can describe a thing like that in words, but I will try. You mountain bike riders won’t understand because you don’t play in the same kind of terrain. We frolic high up in the steepest hills.

I was going up the Water-tower hill climb, and when I started to lose speed at the top, I didn’t feel like shifting down and keeping it pinned. So I slowed down and started to ride off to the side. I must have lost concentration for a split second because I suddenly found my front wheel pointing straight down a deeply eroded gully that had been carved out of the hillside by the recent big storms. I thought I was going to die when I first saw where I was heading. It seemed like a long way down to the bottom.

There were no trails or tracks of any kind and the drop off was inter-spaced with huge ruts and ridges. I was hitting them one wheel at a time and after surviving one I dropped into another at speed and so on down the hill.

I couldn’t use my brakes much for fear of a front flip and a header down to the bottom. I was totally out of control; sometimes with neither boot on the pegs, but mostly squeezing the bike with my legs to keep it from flying out from underneath me. I kept my hands firmly on the bars trying to steer the bike straight down through the ruts. I had to shift my weight back and forth like I was riding a bicycle down the steep, eroded hillside. It was a wild ride and the only thing slowing me down were the ridges that we were hitting one after another, kicking my back end out from side to side.

When I reached the smooth part at the bottom I thanked god for my good fortune and did not even try to look back and see what monstrosity I had gone through. Someone must have been looking out for me that time. Whoopee…

I also have to thank of Joel at Burkett at 707 suspension who re-valved my suspension. He made it so it could absorb motocross type obstacles and still work off road. I would never have gotten through without crashing with the stock suspension. I still hurts in my chest cavity, back and shoulders from the crash that never happened.

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Cooking Shows or Motocross Racing (your choice)

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