First Road Trips Solo in the X-WAV!

Maybe it’s the steamy summer air getting to me even though I’m in my air conditioned home 99% of the time, but I have to confess I’ve been feeling mighty low for weeks.

I continued my adventures in driving in mid and late June to get up and back twice to meet with my new gunsmith Jeff Walle at the Guns And Leather store in Greenbrier TN, but only tonight did I finish putting the few hours of effort in needed to edit the 30 video clips I recorded during them with my GoPro camera into a coherent YouTube video.

Well, better late than never, eh? I’m pleased to present my latest KripKam video #9 for your perusal. This was the real stress test for me, not only driving myself on two short road trips in various types of traffic, but accomplishing several transfers between my power wheelchair and Athena’s driver’s seat plus toting my gear to and from Guns And Leather’s indoor range when the opportunity was presented to give both my repaired Ruger and my SP101 a workout, the latter with my friend Jason LeBlanc’s light range ammunition he handloaded for me.

These excursions wiped me out for a couple of days following each one, but were more than worth it. It was beyond gratifying to actually, finally, do the things I’ve wanted to for years, not to mention incredibly liberating, I must say!

Yes, I CAN Still Drive-The Adventure Continues

I’m sure everyone who helped make Get Glenn Mobile! a success has been wondering “okay, you’ve got the wheelchair accessible vehicle you were after, but when are you gonna actually drive the thing?”

Well, if you’ve kept abreast of my progress, you know that after I took delivery of the Honda, I found out fast that it was harder than anticipated just transferring from my power chair to its driver’s seat, so I’ve been putting in the effort needed to build up the muscles required for the maneuver over the past 2-3 months. Also, since I have no intention of driving while impaired, I’ve had to taper off the amount of my daily intake of pain drugs to its current low level. I still need them when sitting around the house or getting comfortable enough to get to sleep, but I’ve been pleased to find that when I’m occupied with an activity I don’t notice the neuropathic pain nearly as much, so I can go for hours before it begins to eat at me, the window I need for driving safely.

I confess, I got to the physical level I needed to be a few weeks ago, but worry over just how much my overall condition and especially my right foot that’s used for the accelerator and brake might affect my driving kept me from taking the next step. The mind can be an odd thing, daunting your resolve by throwing unpleasant fantasies about what could go wrong at you…as mine was.

I got sick of allowing myself to stagnate when I knew that most of my concerns were just vapors. I’d already gone over every necessary task of driving and knew I could deal with any limitations safely. If I had any real doubts about my safe operation on the road I’d have resigned myself to permanent passenger status by now, being neither dumb nor reckless enough to risk any innocent lives, my fancy vehicle, or my own skin, in order of importance.

So, on Friday, May 23, 2014 I told the chattering doom-monkey in my brain to shut up, got a good sleep, ate and got down to business. Here are the results, recorded in my new Krip Kam video #8 for your consideration. It’s not terribly exciting, but that was kinda the goal: to show my old habits were sound and I could drive just as competently as ever. I hope you like Krip Kam #8, Driving!

Gone Shootin!’

Well, as usual my annoying low energy level has been slowing me down of late, but I finally got the video assembled, edited and published that I’ve been talking about for the past couple of weeks of the trip to the nearby Stones River shooting range. I’ve been pining to burn some ammo for ages, especially since I’d never gotten to try my first centerfire revolver, the Ruger SP101 that I acquired a couple of years back. I’ve cleaned it, dry fired it thousands of times to seat the internal springs and components and gloated over this excellent little wheelgun…but this was my first chance to actually shoot it.

And shoot it I did! Along with my well loved Ruger Mk.II single action autoloader that I’ve owned since the mid-90s, I shot that SP101 till I was almost out of the .38+P and .357 Magnum ammo I brought, a good couple of hundred rounds. The Mark II was a pleasure to shoot as always, with the only problem an occasional failure to fire. I suspect a big part of this was the fact that I haven’t cleaned and lubed the weapon in a long time, and while a gun should never have any fresh oil visibly showing, a recent oil application means enough oil will be in the pores of the metal to assure smoothest operation. Mine was bone-dry, and I’m betting that next time I’ll have far fewer failures. This model also has an aftermarket firing pin I’d like to install, one with a bit larger area on its face to impart energy to the rimfire cartridge’s primer. It has seen ammo before that it just didn’t like, but rimfire guns are notoriously picky about their diet.

The SP101 on the other hand was an absolute joy to shoot. I hadn’t anticipated any real problems, but I am limited to one-handed shooting with my non-dominant hand thanks to MS ruining most of my left hand and arm’s function, and a revolver lacks the slide and springs to soak up the recoil impulse of a selfloader. How pleased I was to find the gun entirely comfortable and controllable to shoot, even with full power .357 Magnum loads! The engineers at Ruger really did a good job here, and my only improvement was the addition of a rubber Hogue Monogrip to replace the factory grips. The rubber soaks up some extra recoil energy by covering the gun’s backstrap, and has added finger grooves for a more comfortable and secure hold. At no point did my hand get sore or tired…I could shoot this little tank all day!

My friend Dan Hagen volunteered to drive us out there, and again it was great to see how low-maintenance I am for anyone acting as my helper. Other than attaching one of the tie-down internal straps in the X-WAV and detaching it at the destination, all he had to do was show up and drive. He’d been wanting some practice himself, so it was a useful bit of car pooling for both of us. I appreciate his effort a lot, he’s been busy with his music and I know his time is valuable, but this was a fine way for both of us to benefit. I’ve plugged him before, but for those who haven’t yet listened to Dan’s musical artistry, if you enjoy jazz please do yourself a kindness and check out his web site and YouTube channel, both listed here in my ‘links’ section…a splendid time is guaranteed to all!

So without further ado, I invite you to have a look at my latest Krip Kam video, Gone Shootin.’ I hope it pleases…see you soon!

Maiden Voyage To Kroger…With a Candid Camera Moment!

I’m still doing my seat transferring exercises to make them routine, and I installed a couple of 4″ wide non-slip strips on the driver’s seat floor plate to keep my foot located on the gas and brake pedals. The foot’s working fine, but my weak right leg was annoying me and letting my foot shift. A rather minor annoyance that’s easily compensated for- the aggressive grit of the strips assures that my foot stays in place.

I’ve been out twice now, first this past Thursday with my caregiver Gail to the local Kroger and again Sunday with Dan Hagen to the nearby Stones River shooting range for some long overdue marksmanship practice. It went really well, I thought, and even shooting full power .357 Magnum loads one handed with my Ruger SP101 I was able to keep the holes in the black at about 7 yards. I just uploaded Thursday’s trip to YouTube, and the clips I took out at the range will be made into another vid shortly.

I was reminded that there’s no shortage of thoughtless yutzes in the world, incidentally, on the Thursday expedition. Returning to the Honda after cruising around the store for a bit, I couldn’t miss the sight of some thoughtless person who’d parked her car smack between the front disabled spots at Kroger, blocking me from opening its doors or deploying the ramp. No disabled plates, no disabled hang tag, she just boldly plunked her car on the non-parking space painted with white chevrons that’s supposed to allow room for folks like me to maneuver.

Now, rude as that behavior was, it didn’t justify calling the cops on the hapless driver, I’ve written enough about the potential for armed agents of the State initiating violence in even minor situations, and annoyed though I was I didn’t want to chance her being ransomed, kidnapped, or possibly assaulted or even killed. Nope, I just waited her out, and sure enough after 45 minutes or so she strolled back to her car. I did get a rather surprised look when I asked her to move the heck out of my way so I could finally get going…maybe she’ll think twice before acting so selfishly the next time. The fun confrontation’s recorded for posterity on this new Krip Kam video…hope it’s watchable, I’m certainly having fun!

(Pre) Spring Training…With Video!

Whew…just finished composing, burning and uploading my first video using the awesome GoPro camera my good friend Jason sent me this week. Appropriately, I recorded my practice transferring between seats in my recently acquired X-WAV converted Honda Element as I’ve talked about on my Facebook posts and broadcasting. The GoPro, Frame mount and Flex Jaws were the perfect combo to do this easily, with the camera attached both to my power chair as well as places on the vehicle to give different points of view and provide a more effective demonstration of the activity…it’s gratifying to see for myself how richly this action photography method deserves the praise that’s been heaped on it!

This whole process is going to take some time, no doubt about it. Along with rebuilding the muscles needed to perform the task of boarding my X-WAV, I’m continuing to taper off the pain drugs I’ve developed a dependence on over the past several years. Being neither stupid nor reckless, when I get to driving, I will not compromise my own or anyone else’s safety, so I need to take the time to reduce that dependence. Sure, I’m impatient, but this isn’t the time to rush things…too much is at stake.

One factor concerns me a bit: once in the driver’s seat I couldn’t miss that my right foot has a bit less sensitivity than the last time I drove. That means I really need to practice more critical maneuvers in a nice big open space like an empty lot to develop new skills and muscle memory before I venture out on the road, so as you can imagine, I’m itching to get to it!

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy Krip Kam #5…there’ll be more to come soon. I’m already imagining the fun of strapping the GoPro into a model aircraft (please don’t call it a drone, fergodsake) to get some high quality aerial/FPV videos!

Here’s a sample of the GoPro taking aerial footage as I described- I’m so looking forward to doing this myself:

Ain’t that just beyond cool? That’s why I’m aching to do it myself.

First Principles

I encountered this short video on Lew Rockwell’s site today and had to make some noise about it. In just 12 minutes, this manages to bridge the gap between personal and political morality, a leap most don’t make even though the concepts are simple enough. I think it’s a great way to shake off the blinders most wear thanks to the near-constant indoctrination we all have inflicted upon us from earliest childhood, along with a sensible and cogent challenge to the normalcy bias that helps lock so many into ‘unseeing’ the schism between the values we adhere to and the immoral actions of so-called ‘leaders’ who’ve convinced the mainstream that these are actually moral and beneficial. My compliments to the Foundation for Harmony and Prosperity YouTube channel that provided this superb tool that shows a lot of promise for spreading the values of freedom so  effectively.

Welcome to the grand opening of Liberty On Wheels!

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About time, I say, too…after the couple of months since my previous blog Get Glenn Mobile! fulfilled its mission of, well, getting me mobile, I’ve closed it and finally begun this one, as promised!

I have a lot to do, getting back out in the world after a near 5 year housebound hiatus being the priority. Dayummm…almost 5 years since I’ve been anywhere near a restaurant…you can bet I plan to fix that fast. I have target shooting to do, model aircraft to fly, and many more things I’ve been missing for years than I could count to catch up on. More significantly, I’ll finally be able to expand my efforts in New Media journalism away from my desk, without having to rely on others’ experiences to gauge the situation. Just in the time I’ve been sidelined, America has become an even darker and more forbidding place than it was when I got stuck here, and it wasn’t looking terribly cheerful even then. It is not the country I grew up in thanks to the efforts of the power mad, venal and hubris filled creeps who at the very least took advantage of the criminal attacks of September 11, 2001 to morph the country into the full blown police state it is today. I don’t claim to have exceptional skill as a writer or interviewer, but at last I can talk to regular people, officials and politicians to get my own take on their roles in the dynamic world that has up until now been derivative of other journalists’ data…and perhaps contribute something of value of my own to try to reverse this awful trend.

It’s not going to be easy. Half a decade has subtly but significantly taken its toll on me and my abilities. Just transferring to the driver’s seat of my X-WAV Honda once I’ve gotten my wheelchair in place will require rebuilding muscles long disused to somewhere near their old level of function so I can do it routinely.

EDIT- It occurs to me that I should add that I have done this already, in case anyone wonders. It felt great to be in the driver’s seat, it’s just that getting in and out wasn’t the funnest thing I’ve tried, hence my comment about needing a lot of practice. It looked easier two springs ago, another example of the insidious nature of disability.

Also, while my general disability-induced loss of walking, standing and balance have been addressed by the vehicle to allow me to board it and of course take it with me, I have to break my dependence on the opiate pain relief drugs I’ve developed over the years, since I’m not stupid or reckless enough to drive while impaired in the least by them. I honestly hadn’t considered these factors over the time I was fundraising through the other blog, but they’re a reality that can’t be ignored now that that part’s done. Mind you, these are minor issues when compared to the daunting task I was looking at in 2011 when I inaugurated the fundraising campaign. Then, I was just another voice online trying to reach a goal that seemed all but unreachable…yet thanks to all of the terrific people who pitched in, it succeeded. That’s a huge confidence- and morale-booster, and the exhilaration I feel as a result is wonderful. No, the remaining obstacles seem fairly trivial by contrast, but I wanted to give an accurate account for the benefit of anyone who might (understandably) think I should be motoring around by now. Have patience with me, please- it took years to get in the place I find myself, and it won’t be resolved as quickly as you or I would like.

I have to say, it feels great to get back to the keyboard. I’ve been falling into a complacent rut recently, and this is the best way to break that cycle I know of. I really want to get back to writing essays for my opinion column at the American Daily Herald too, writing I found mighty rewarding in its ability to reach more people in an effort to promote liberty. I feel ashamed not to have submitted a thing in months to my editors Dennis and Denise Behreandt but have been so distracted by sewing up the acquisition of my needed vehicle that all else fell by the wayside. Mea culpa- if they remember me over at the Herald I mean to get back in the writing saddle again pronto!

Well, the great debacle is over, and I’m back. I think it’s safe to say I’ll be blogging a lot more soon…stay tuned!