‘Out Of Stone’ Rocks!

Out Of Stone by john g rees
Out Of Stone by john g rees

My new book ‘Out of Stone’ continues the saga of the epic ‘anoxic zone’ series. Twenty years have gone by since we last met Karuna and were introduced to the child Sechra. Jake and Johnny have left the scene along with their arch nemesis, Vlad Tepes III. To say they took evil with them would be a lie. You cannot battle against darkness and expect to win.

History will not repeat itself within these pages. You, my dear reader, deserve far better than that. Tepes is just a pawn in evil’s chess game. The game is young, with more disturbing, more powerful pieces yet to move. ‘Out Of Stone’ is one of those moves.

Two supporting characters in ‘Halocline’ have been forced into play. Whether by chance or fate, it is hard to say, but for Sechra and Karuna the game turns exceptionally ugly.

Sechra’s innocence was torn from her at an early age. In a moment of hatred, desperation, and fear she opened her little soul story to the breath of darkness. Unknown to Sechra and those she loved this darkness, this evil directed her, guiding her to become a master sculptor. After a series of frightening and unsettling experiences, Sechra must take a treacherous journey by motorcycle deep into the mountains of the Transylvanian Alps. A dark fate awaits her.

Karuna, in her love for the child she raised, must reach passed the darkness within her own soul if she wishes to save Sechra from a fate worse than death. Sometimes love is not enough.

‘Out of Stone’ is a challenging, disturbing search to discover what will happen when Sechra finishes her final sculpture!


THE WHEEL TURNS: Due Diligence

We ride them and ride them and ride them. Once in a while, when you get around to it, the oil gets changed, or a new set of tires or chain – the stuff that has to be done to keep you on the road. But what about all the rest, you know, the stuff we don’t think about or see. Like a car we jump and go. Unlike a car, however, bikes are a lot more exposed to inclement weather conditions.

Get hit in a downpour that lasts and lasts and all the oils and greases will have been washed away. Ever notice how after riding in the rain your chain is clean? Well the same thing happens to other lubed areas.

Then there are the fluids and juices you don’t see and rarely, if ever, think about. Motor oil is a no-brainer. But what about that brake fluid? Does it look like dark tea through that little window or is it clear. Radiator fluid always looks good, green, blue or purple, yet it does become less effective after a few years. When was the last time you lubed your throttle or clutch cables? No doubt for the above mentioned quite a while probably.

This list goes on. Every owner’s manual has a table to let you know the intervals of fluid changes and areas to be lubed. Example: in my last blog I mentioned the about shortening my kickstand. We wont go into that again, but while I had it off it seemed the perfect opportunity to clean and re-grease the pivot points, spring ends, and retainer bolt. Well one thing led to another. Lubed all the cables, shift linkage, and pretty much everything that moves.

The brake fluid hadn’t been changed in 6 years. The book recommends every two years. That spongy feeling sneaks up on you as the brake fluid breaks down, absorbing moisture and creating tiny air bubbles. Bleed your brakes, or have it done and you will be shocked at the difference.

This blog goes out to all riders and especially riders who, because of winter, have the bike collecting dust in the garage. Now is the perfect time for due diligence to your machine. If you have everything you need lined up all you need are a few hours.

For those of us who plan on keeping our bikes this is important stuff. If my 05’ Suzuki DL 650 V-Strom could smile, it would be now. Plan on riding it until I am old and grey. No, wait a minute, I am old and grey already. At any rate, a few more years.

Take care of your bike and it will take good care of you!

Ride safe, be considerate!

Aloha, john g

Walking the Talk

 Well, I’ve had my chance to rant on a bit about rider safety. Of course any time you open your mouth you’d better back it up by practicing what you preach or the payback is a bitch. I ride a 2005 Suzuki DL 650 V-Strom.

 The week before the holidays began, I was wrapping up a painting job. The project came out great and I was stoked to have it finished in a timely manner. I was packing out the last of the equipment and finishing the punch list. With saddlebags bulging, top box maxed out, toolbox on the passenger seat and tank bag bursting at the seams – well, it was a little much for any bike without a sidecar. As luck would have it, I had to make a

u-turn on a one -lane road with a 20% grade, something I have done before. Due to the extra weight, however, I wound up undercompensating for it, then overcompensating, and went down. It was a slow 10 MPH drop that sent me tumbling away from the bike into the rocks at the roadside.

 Had I dressed for the weather instead of safety, it would have been a holiday in a hospital for me. My Aerostitch one piece took the hit instead of my flesh and my helmet bounced off the roadway and rocks instead of my skull. By looking at the suit, you would hardly know it just took a beating. Now my helmet, though only moderately scratched will be replaced as it took its hit. Gloves kept my hands from looking like they were in a meat grinder and boots did what they do best. I walked away from it.

 If you ride, there is always the chance you will go down. It happens. Not all crashes are from being hit by a car that didn’t see you. My accident was caused by pilot error, all the more embarrassing, I suppose. The trick is being ready every time you get on the bike. I really don’t think there is a time you should ride naked, or close to it. Bikes go down all the time and all too fast. Even a standing drop, where you try and ease her down can get you thumped.

 What did I learn from this? Well, for one, never overload. Take two trips. Hell, that’s twice as much riding, therefore twice as much fun. What do you have to lose? Nothing, from my new point of view. Also, that sharing this bit of embarrassing bike experience may help to give a ‘heads up’ to another rider or two, that will undoubtedly have the chance to make the same mistake I did. We’re just human. We make mistakes. All the better reason to be prepared. At the dinner table we protect ourselves with a napkin. It’s a no brainer. There is not much of a chance that you will get bashed in the head or dragged down the road. Of course, that depends on whom you are eating with. So what kind of protection do you think you need for sitting on a potential meat grinder instead of a dinner chair? Maybe worth putting something on, ya think?

 Experience is great teacher and sometimes the best. Motorcycling, at the very least, is experiential. But there are few things we don’t have to learn the hard way. Here I take a tip from my riding partner, Kale, and professional riders. Personal protection equipment is on before you get on the bike. It is the rule not the exception. Shit happens.

 On the nickel and dime side, let it be said that plastic is expensive, especially those molded fairings and side panels. I had installed engine crash bars a few months ago never expecting to use them. But I knew that the fancy plastic that gives the V-Strom it’s looks, costs a lot more than the pipe work crash bars. They worked excellently by the way and recommend them for any motorcycle. A few bucks saved many. A turn signal, bent but functional brake lever; something is always going to break besides your ego. Small potatoes, considering the dark side.

 Ride protected, ride safely, be considerate.

Happy New Year!

 Aloha, john g