People have been asking us a lot of questions about the trip, so consider this our FAQ blog, now that we have 92 days of cycling under our belt to talk about. We’ve even divided it into handy easy-to-read sections for simple navigation, because let’s be honest here – you’re probably not going to read the whole thing. It’s long.
Here’s the breakdown:
Section 1 : The NUMBERS
Section 2 : The hogs
Section 3: The On-the-Road experience
Section 4: Observations from the Road
Section 5: The top 10 Scariest things to Encounter on a Bicycle.
Section 6: “Lodging”
Section 7: The camping experience (warning, contains rant content)
Section 8: Gear we actually used
Section 9: What’s next?
Section 1 : The NUMBERS
Started: September 9, 2008
Finished: December 9, 2008
Days actually cycled: 77
Distance: 4479.38km (2783.357691082573mi)
Furthest day: 123.83 km
Top speed: 63.89 km/hr
Longest time spent in the saddle: 7 hr, 29 min (doesn’t include stops)
Most calories burned in a day: 1482.2 (totally bogus as it is based on speed. Cruising down a hill at top speeds = what a workout! Hauling the 200 pound bike up an 8% grade for four miles = lazy bugger.)
Average daily expenditure (each): ~$20/day, including all food, accomodation, bicycle repairs, time spent in cities (vegan restaurants, bus passes, tickets to things), etc. Basically, we spent approximately as much on this trip for everything as we did on rent alone when we lived in our apartment.
Section 2 : The hogs
Snapped cables: 5
Replaced cables: 4
Destroyed (and recycled!) tires: 5 for Mike, 1 for Sharon
New rims: 2
Massive tire-blowouts: 5
Rear axles split in half: 1
Sprocket sets fallen off: 1
Flat tires: Who Knows? 30? 40?
When we were preparing for our journey, we received more than a few comments about how our bikes are ‘too old,’ ‘too big,’ or just ‘too ugly,’ and won’t be able to make it to Vancouver, let alone Mexico. And believe me, I had my doubts as well. Our bikes were definitely the most elderly we encountered on the road, and most other touring cyclists had either brank-spanking-new hogs, designed specifically for touring, or strong, hardcore mountain bikes. From reading this blog, you may think that we should have went the other route and all of the flats and other bike malfunctions would have been avoided with a ‘better’ mount, but I really don’t think that’s the case. Most of the flats we received were early in the journey, and in retrospect could be attributed to cheaply-made tubes, self-adhesive patches (complete garbage), and sharp tire levers. If you subtract all of these flats from our grand total, the number would be much more reasonable, and expected when travelling nearly 4500km. Also, we knew from day one that we would most likely have to replace our rear rims before we reached Mexico, due to their age and the weight we subjected them to, but we were both pleasantly surprised by how far they made it, especially after the jerk mechanic from Seattle forsaw that they were ‘doomed’. In fact, he forsaw that our whole bikes were ‘doomed’. I found that quite funny coming from a bike mechanic – most suscribed to the ‘it’s not the bike, it’s the bicyclist’ etho, but a few thought we were just being naive, cheap, or stubborn. Our motivation for using the ‘Free Spirits’ may have been a bit of this, but mainly it was to prove that you don’t need to purchase the shiniest, fanciest, newest model available, even though marketing would have you think otherwise (and this point is NOT limited to bicycles…).
So, the Free Spirits, Rattles and Squeaks, are still rolling, and they made the experience that much more interesting – anyone (yes, anyone!) can bicycle the Pacific Coast, but we’ll always be able to say we did it on old 10-speeds!
Section 3: The On-the-Road experience
Injuries sustained: ~5 (Mike: blood blister from an encounter with a multi-tool, Sharon: bad knee from riding in too hard of a gear, bug in the eye, Both of us: occasional saddles sores, scraped ankles from pedals)
Days with the promised and much-hyped tailwind: 1 (but it was 1 great day!)
Days with brutal headwinds: the rest….
Bugs hit: Sharon: 3 (one in the eye, one in the nose, one in the mouth – believe it or not on three consecutive days), Mike: doesn’t remember (“they were tasty!”)
So we rode for approximately 4-7 hours each day, not including stopping for breaks, food, rests, or naps in the ditch. This is an awful lot of time spent in the saddle every day. Generally we spent all of these hours within approximately 5 metres of each other, me in front, Mike in the rear. We spent a lot of time talking/ranting/chatting/singing, unless we were on a particularly busy, fast, dangerous, or challenging stretch of road, at which point our only form of communication involved one of the the following words: “Debriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis,” “Treeeeeeeee,” Graaaaaaaaaaaate,” “Hooooooooole,” or “Buuuuuuump.” We talked a lot and sang a lot (I wa-wa-wa-wonder is particularly entertaining to sing as a travelling duet) and stopped a lot. It’s hard not to when you’re either really exhausted or when riding in such spectacular areas.
Our longest climb was, believe it or not, not in the Rockies, but a 4 mile, 8% grade near Leggett. The Rockies involved about four days of slow gradual climbing, following by several days of what felt like flying downhill the entire time. There were a few high passes, but none so challenging that they’re worth mentioning. It was riding to Hinton with the headwind coming down off the mountains that made for some more tiring days. We had some amazing descents too, including finally entering Jasper National Park and being rewarded with a magnicent descent, flying downhill to Mount Robson for miles and miles and miles (though Mike’s tire was problematic at this time so we had to take it easy), and a beautiful tour through the California redwoods, where we climbed for what seemed like forever and were treated to a magical descent for miles through deep and mystical ancient forests. I can say now that the ride was generally pretty good – but if you had asked me at the beginning of one of our 3 mile “moderate” climbs, I probably would have had a few different choice words to describe the situation.
The real challenge this trip didn’t really have anything to do with the climbs, the wind, or the flats though. It’s all about the shoulder and the traffic. We rode on the interstate: crazy traffic at top speeds, jostling for position, but marvelous riding in a four metre shoulder, far enough removed from the madness (as long as you don’t mind the noise). We also rode on side roads: very little traffic, but when a car does come around a tight corner with no visibility and your shoulder is next to nothing, it’s cause for concern. The shoulders varied from a four metre extra lane big enough to park a bus in (complete with rumble strips, but I’ll talk about them later) to the crumbling remnants of a white line falling off into the ditch. As far as the cyclist in concerned, rumble strips along the shoulder are a fantastic idea. They a) remind sleeping drivers that there is an edge to the road and b) reassure weary cyclists that said tired drivers are not about to run them over, as we’d be able to hear them crossing into the shoulder. However, centre line rumble strips are a terrible idea for cyclists!!! Everytime a courteous driver moves over to make a wider margin between bicycle and passing vehicle, the unsuspecting cyclist (used to the sound of a vehicle crossing rumble strips to mean get into the ditch and fast) has a heart attack.
Section 4: Observation from the Road
RV names are very, very, very bizarre.
They frequently fall into one of the following categories:
1) Elitist references (Prestige, Regal)
2) Predatory animals (Cougar, Grizzly, The Mountain Lion)
3) Natural Disasters (Hurricane, Tornado, Tsunami)
4) Criminals (Fugitive, Intruder)
Why yes, I agree that RVs are often exhorbitant displays of wealth that contribute to many small animal fatalities and that wreak havoc on previously serene natural areas – and running your generator all hours of the night is as malicious as many crimes, but you don’t need to be so blunt about it!
Horns are really freaking loud. People should have to pass a test before being allowed to operate one. We appreciate the occasional well-planned ‘toot-toot’ of encouragement, but
we don’t appreciate the following:
- Attempting to play an entire song on your horn because you are so excited to see a bicycle on the road.
- Honking at that exact second when we first hear an engine, but don’t yet see a vehicle.
- Honking because you are angry with us. You piss us off too, but you don’t see us sticking a foghorn in your driver-side window, do you? (I also take offense to people at being angry with us in the first place. Sorry for not riding off that cliff to get out of your way, jackass.)
- Honking to ‘warn us’ that there is a vehicle coming up behind us. As if we haven’t encountered a vehicle on the road before. Imagine if everyone did this!?!? Exception for wide loads.
- Honks that sound like this: “HOOOOOOOOONK.” What does this mean? When we have done nothing that could conceivably make you angry? Is this supposed to be NICE?
Perhaps are most surprising finding this trip – it’s a small world after all! We haven’t crossed the continent so we don’t want to speak for everyone, but personally, we always thought that Mexico was really, really far away. Turns out there’s only a bike ride seperating us.
Section 5: The top 10 Scariest things to Encounter on a Bicycle.
10. Mike’s beard. It’s BUSHY.
9. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, we should watch out for SLIDES, TRUCKS, TSUNAMIS, and ROCKS. You never know when they’re going to strike, but the massive and frequent signs bearing these titles is enough to make you worry.
8. Hunters. probably not that dangerous in reality, but waking up to the sound of gunshots just isn’t that reassuring (they wouldn’t shoot towards the highway….right?)
7. Maniacs. Not that we’ve met any, but today’s media is enough to make anyone think that there are millions of blood-thirsty, weapon-bearing, frothing at the mouth monsters on the prowl in any forested area in North America. (wait, I guess I just described #8….)
6. Racoons – not that they’re a danger in themselves, more of a nuisance. However, if Mike were to come across one getting into his precious instant mashed potatoes, a vicious brawl is likely to follow.
5. “Debriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis”. This might look silly, but this is probably the most common form of communication between us. Sharon calls it out from in front, Mike tries to avoid it. This includes: tires, nails, cell phones, rocks, trees, roadkill, underwear, calculators, plastic body armour, glass bottles, and basically any other random item you can think of.
4. Mike not paying attention. A huge liability for both of us. Either he slides into the ditch, runs over stuff, or runs into my rear wheel. I’m really not sure what he’s doing back there most of the time.
4. Equal opportunity hunting. This wasn’t really of any immediate danger to us, but it’s so scary that it’s worth mentioning. There are large populations of elk in the Mount St. Helens area. To keep the populations under control, officials have decided to allow regulated hunting in the area. But to keep it fair, officials have introduced ‘equal opportunity’ hunting. This means that one Saturday a month, the elk prairies are open only to children, senior citizens, and the disabled……. Picture this. I don’t want to offend anyone, but blind people, those in wheelchairs, and little Billy all go hunting together?!?!?!
3. Grates. Also known as “bicycle traps”. Great for catching cyclists of all varieties, this handy invention conveniently captures the tire of the unsuspecting bicycle rider in between two bars running parallel to the direction of travel, disguised as a water drainage system and is designed to take up the entire highway shoulder.
2. Jackasses. “Hahahaha, you know what would be soooo funny? If we drove by those cyclists and leaned on our horn!!!” ….
1. THE RV FOR RENT!!!
Think about it. The keys to a 30-foot boat of a vehicle with limited visibility have just been handed over to a British tourist/18 year old driver/vision imparied senior citizen, who is then expected to navigate the blind curves and sharp corners that make up the Pacific Coast, having never visted the area before…. So you’ve got: an inexperienced blind driver on the wrong side of the road, completely lost, shouting at a GPS system with a map in one hand and petting the cat with the other, driving a kitchen on wheels around hairpin curves. That’s a cyclist’s worst nightmare right there.
Section 6: “Lodging”
Our accomodations this trip ran the gamut from roadside spots for pitching the tent to the cabin of a boat in a “Big Rig RV Park” to hiker/biker sites in state parks, to the homes of generous people accross the country, to seedy motels. We’d have to say, that all things considered, random camping (we’ve also heard it referred to as “free camping,” “guerilla camping,” “gypsy camping,” and “trespassing”) is our favourite way to rest our weary heads at night. The authentic nomad experience, it gives us the chance to set up just as we like, go to bed at our ridiculously lame hour, eat our beans, and be awoken in a panic at least once nightly by what ‘must be a bear’ (see fears). Our least favourite way to spend an evening is debatable. Motels come with a steeper price tag ($40-$50) and a feeling of defeat (what? we can’t handle a little rain?), but bring with them the chance for a shower and at least two episodes of Home Improvement, as well as the opportunity to catch up on the latest gossip on CNN (some call this “news”). RV Parks, on the other hand, are cheaper than motels, but are generally a total rip-off, boasting no perks over a campground where people actually camp. Included in the price are cable TV and a “dump station” (not really what you’d call cyclist must-haves)- and even after I bat my eyelashes and ask for the “teeny-tiny tent discount,” they’re still charging an awful lot for our 7′ by 4′ patch of ground. Also, it’s just depressing to watch everyone setting up “camp” aka, setting up the satellite dish and turning on the generator.
By far the most delightfully surprising aspect of our trip was being welcomed into the homes and yards of total strangers who we happened upon throughout the course of our day. This is the sort of thing I thought happened in the 60s, but I was sure no one actually invited random people into their houses for dinner anymore. This was an amazing refreshing revelation for me, and has definitely increased my faith in humanity. We tried to be good guests – it’s always tricky balancing being polite and not overstepping your welcome with not being exceedingly annoying. There’s a difference between “Would you mind if I use your washing machine” and “Would it be alright if I possibly sat in this chair – it’s ok if you don’t want me to, Thank you so much, Thank you.” We tried to find the balance! Also, it’s hard to tell when to stop talking when you’re a stranger in someone else’s home. Sometimes you feel as though you need to be “on” all the time, full of witty jokes, charming anecdotes, and fondly re-told memories, as though your only way to repay this person for their hospitality is by bringing (and being) the entertainment.
Authenticity is our goal, but one can’t help feel that you need to impress the people that have been so incredibly kind to you – you don’t want them ‘regretting bringing these creeps over’ !!
Hiker/biker sites are a novelty that we didn’t encounter until the great US of A. Generally costing anywhere from $3 to $6 per person per night, these are small areas set aside in regular campsites (usually state parks and beaches) where cyclists can pitch a tent in a communal camp. The hikers these sites cater to are rather elusive. Pray-tell, where are they hiking? Down the highway 101?? A great H/B has a picnic table and a food locker for everyone, enough grassy patches to go around (no gravel parking pads, thanks), and a water source, all within easy walking distance of the ocean and, preferably, washroom and shower facilities. A less than ideal site has one picnic table for everyone to share, a kindly sign warning of racoons in the area: “Remember to store all of your food locked within your vehicle,” and is located next to the drive-thru check-in kiosk (think: idling diesel engines all day and night) or the freeway.
Hiker/bikers are strange types. The bicycle is a mode of transportation that appeals to an extremely diverse group of people, leading to some interesting nights spent around the campfire. Our camping companions ranged from great and interesting people to flat out weird-os. Some of the noteworthy characters include: Bradley, the chronic liar that spouted stories conjured in la-la land all night, Buckeye, the homeless man with no teeth that even smoked while riding his bicycle, Fred, the gear man with an answer to everything, Dan who we just kept crossing paths with, the Aussies, traveling from Alaska to Argentina, and many, many more.
The H/B was particularly crucial for our trip, not because we’re big softies looking for luxuries like showers and … well that’s about it really… but because there is literally no where else to camp in a lot of areas along the coast. Sandwhiched between high tides, cliffs, or mansions with more security than the White House, there were not a lot of options for random camping once we left northern Oregon behind. Also, hunting season was begin to fray our nerves and one can assume there are no hunters in state parks.
Some related statistics:
Motels (In Canada): 2
Motels (In USA): 5
Cabins stayed in: 1
Hostels stayed in: 2
Boats stayed in: 1
Nights spent with fabulous Warmshowers hosts: 8
Nights spent with fabulous ‘strangers’: 5
Nights spent with Sharon’s fabulous relatives: 10
Hiker/biker camping: 30
Random camping: lots
ex/ ditches, recreation areas, riverbanks, logging roads, active fault lines, hunting woods, abandoned access roads, etc.
Section 7: The camping experience
Longest stretch without showering: 10 days (ewwwww)
Cans of beans consumed: ~150… good thing we recycled the cans!
This really lends itself to a whole conversation about what camping really means, as I really take issue to the whole notion of it in the first place. Travelling hundreds of miles to get to the most beautiful natural area your travel agent could think of and setting up a second home, only to sit inside it and watch TV all night… it just confuses me. There are a lot of RVers we met this trip that I liked and respected, don’t get me wrong. It’s just the trend from harmless camping to exorbitant luxury seeking that gets me going. Also, don’t think you’re excluded from my rant if you’re a ‘tent-er.’ You may be less common (and therefore less likely to be the object of my scorn), but the tenter is often as ridiculous as the rest of the lot. I can’t believe the tents we saw this trip. They seriously had double beds, chests of drawers, and nightstands in them and were bigger than our apartment. It may seem that I am beating up on RVs, but what I’m really getting at is consumerism and they often seem to go hand in hand (plus I’ve been nearly run over by enough that I think I’m allowed to be a little bitter).
It seems that somewhere along the line in camping evolution, camping became a synonym for ‘sleeping in anything that is not a permanent structure’ and the only requirement for proving that you are, indeed, partaking in this activity is that you are a) away from your first home and b) having a bonfire. The rest is just another way to spend a lot of money. Not ALL, but many (and an alarmingly large number, from my observation) of ‘campers’ seem to have simply taken a trip to their nearest outdoor recreation equipment store and outfitted themselves with enough gadgets to fill a second home, which they conveniently have purchased (on wheels) for the steal of a deal of only $75 000. From hard plastic egg cartons to portable satellite dishes, they are now ready to get back to nature (but only if it includes full hook-up). This evolution makes sense. People were travelling around the country by personal vehicle. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could sleep in their vehicle rather than cough up for a hotel? Why, yes, it would. And then you have the hippie van. But wouldn’t it also be nice if you could heat up some water for a pot of coffee in the morning? Why, yes, it would. Along came the Westfalia. Now we could really do with a place to sit and drink our coffee, as well as a place to store a few dishes… along came the modest RV/camper/trailer. All logical. But then what happened? Well, we also need a big screen TV – it’s hard to read the words on this little one, and the kids will be bored without their video games, and shouldn’t we still be able to get some privacy so we need a seperate bedroom, and what would life be like without the George Foreman grill, and we have to make sure to bring the dog – he gets lonely you know, and a couple DVDs in case it rains and I just don’t feel right if I don’t bring my InnerSpace Luxury Impressions Deluxe MattressAND OH MY GOD take a step back and look at yourselves!!!! This is insane!!!! We might be wealthy now, but is this overload of consumer goods really the best way to spend our money? Really, you NEED all this? Really, you think just because you can afford it, that you are ENTITLED to it? The only reason we have the option of living this way is because we are exploiting people who don’t have any other options. Those DVD players would cost a lot more if the people that made them got paid more than 30 cents a day. Not to mention if, included in the price came an indication of the cost of your environmental footprint the size of New York. And it goes further than that. Say you only care about yourself – do you really see an end to this buying, consuming madness? If all these things are supposed to make you happy, why do you always want more? Do you just keep spending and spending and spending, looking for something to fill that empty void where contentment should be, but instead lust for new ‘stuff’ has taken up residence?
Enough of that. Long story short. Please stop buying crap and then loading it up in a massive vehicle and calling it camping. Actually, please stop buying crap. (Note – the InnerSpace Luxury Impressions Deluxe Mattress is real, and apparently features 3 comfort zones for unsurpassed comfort). My secret dream is that conumerist, luxury and comfort obsessed people will see us on the old ten speeds in our two person tent and think, just for a second, that maybe, all this junk isn’t quite necessary, and maybe, there’s something else to living. And maybe it doesn’t come from swiping the ol’ credit card. This is a dream. And, yes, I know not everyone can jump on a bike and sleep on the ground, but anyone can embrace the principle, even just partly. Not that I think that cycling and tenting is the solution to all the world’s problems, nor are we putting ourselves on a pedastal -this trip has also embraced many aspects of consumerist culture, as much as we tried to avoid it. We still shop at Safeway, we still bought a new tent before we left, and we still spend money. What this trip has done for us is teach us which things in our everyday life that we can really work on. We’ve made a list of all the little things we need to learn to do when we get back to ‘regular life’ and we plan to really work at it. Just a side note, the most exciting thing about out trip is that not only did our trip involve a minimal environmental footprint, but the whole darn thing was carbon offset, thanks to our attendance at the San Francisco Green Festival. Negative carbon footprint, baby!!
Now I will talk about our camping experience. Our cozy two person tent makes me so happy. I have only extremely fond memories of us cuddling up on the ground (the mattresses went marching back to where they came from a long time ago) with a can of beans and a book. We got setting up and packing up the tent down to an art, we both have our own jobs that we somehow earned throughout the trip. I can zip two mummy-style sleeping bags together in the dark like a pro, while Mike can peg out a fly like nobody’s business. We usually rolled into camp before sunset, unloaded the bikes, and set up. We ate dinner (another story) outside of the tent, and crawled into bed by about 7 at the latest. Hey, it gets dark at 4:30, we can only make it so long! The bikes were locked up using our discretion. The trade-off usually involves the following: Is it more likely that someone will steal our bikes without us noticing (they get locked up) or that something will happen that we need our bikes to get away very fast (they are left unlocked, poised and ready for get-away)?
Food. Our culinary experience underwent a major shock when we arrived in the US to find no Heinz beans on the grocery store shelf. Worse yet, the American equivalent “BUSH’S,” only offers one flavour not made with lard, pork, bacon, or other varieties of animal flesh. Imagine our disappointment, going from the colourful assortment that included maple, BBQ, tomato, chili, and others, to only one soupy vegetarian flavour. In Canada, beans were the foundation of every meal and we had become quite the connaisseurs. Maple was more of a breakfast bean, while we reserved heartier flavour like BBQ for lunch and dinner. It was all perfect. Futher altering our food routine was our decision to follow a vegan diet as closely as possible (this decision was directly related to Mike’s reading of “Animal Liberation”), though we make exceptions when we are guests at other people’s houses. Being vegan has been easy, but it meant no more macaroni salad or cheese buns. A third catalyst of change was our discovery of the “Rocket Stove,” courtesty of our first warmshowers host. Made out of the bottom of two soda cans and a penny and running on gas line antifreeze, this opened our eyes to a whole new culinary world, including: rice, mashed potatoes, couscous, and WARM beans and corn.
Before: Can of maple beans, maybe a granola bar
Now: Fresh sliced bananas and apples on granola (prepared lovingly by Mike each morning and enjoyed as breakfast in bed)
Before: Can of beans, maybe a fruit-to-go or macaroni salad, cheese buns, and some carrots
Now: Amy’s vegan, organic chili – spicy variety- and a bread product of some kind, followed by a can of pineapples or peaches
Now: Bean burritos, beans and mashed potatoes, beans and couscous, beans and rice, beans and instant stuffing, or beans and veggies
Section 8: Gear we actually used
What we did need and acquired:
- A good reading light (Thanks, Grandpa!)
- A patch kit with more than just self adhesive stickers
- Tire levers that were not sharp and not breakable
- A new portable radio – found in the ditch, complete with batteries
- An extra tire with us at all times
- Mike’s bell (broken)
- Sharon’s cycling gloves (lost)
- Mattresses (pieces of junk! Thanks Dimphy for getting our money back!!)
- 1 water bottle holder (Sharon accidentally pulled off)
- Hand-crank radio (dropped and broken -by Sharon, see a trend?)
- 1 hand towel (lost)
- The 10 speeds. We now have a 5-speed (Sharon) and a 2-speed (Mike)
- Chopsticks (rotten)
- My bathing suit – what was I thinking?
- Sling, chest compression bandages, surgical scissors, and travel health insurance – thank goodness!
- Bearspray – again, thank goodness! (though it did make us feel safe at night despite having no idea how to operate it)
- Sharon’s crossword book (just not going to happen in the dark after a long day)
- Water purification system
- Camping stove
- Tent footprint (emergency blanket worked just fine)
So here we are. Two 21 year old kids, just out of university, just turned down medicine and law school in search of something out of the ordinary, something outside of the ladder of life that there is so much pressure to “climb.” Call it mid-life crisis prevention if you like, but we want to find a balance in our lives so that we don’t end up as people that work insanely hard at a job they get little to no personal happiness out of, only to have enough money to pay someon eelse to do all the things they’re too busy to do themselves. This trip has (so far) taught us to be a little less cynical, but always to be skeptical, and has provided us with enough memories to last a life time. But, alas, we’re not done yet. The memories of saddle sores and long climbs are obviously not so fresh in our memory to scare us off the bikes, because off we go to Arizona tomorrow, cycling another 400 odd miles (that’s 640 kms) to Mike’s Oma & Opa’s winter-house where we will spend the holidays and also meet up with Sharon’s mum. After that, we’ll see! We’ve got our whole lives ahead of us – it’s amazing.
In preparation of this blog and any ranting within it, every effort has been made to offer the most unprejudiced, least pointed and offensive opionions possible. Nevertheless, inadvertent feelings of personal attack may occur. In particular but without limiting anything here, I declare that this blog was in no part intended to offend, single out, or otherwise attack any certain individual or group of individuals. The information and data included on the blog has been compiled merely for the purpose of entertaining, ranting and perhaps provoking thought. I make no warranties or representations whatsoever regarding the content, and its compatibility with your opinons.