Monthly Archives: March 2013

Day 6 – Coram, MT to Great Falls, MT – 212 Miles – 8.4.2012

Sundance RV did not have coffee so back down the road we went. The first place we saw was a huge rafting center, store, and restaurant. Pulling in we should have noticed there was one car in the lot. Oh, well, coffee was only a minute away.

Inside there was no one in sight. We went through the souvenir store to the restaurant, it looked great but with no one in sight. I hollered; “Hello”. We walked through the restaurant, store, and into a gift shop. We found a guy with a cup of coffee chatting with an elderly lady.

He was the owner; “I don’t open the restaurant until lunch.”

We got back on the bikes and headed to the West Entrance to Glacier Park. We stopped at the West Glacier Restaurant. We enjoyed excellent coffee and food at reasonable prices. Two Russian couples were at the next table. They were riding from Seattle to New Jersey.

We entered the Park using our National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes which are sold to those over 62 for $10. The passes are good for life. I’ve purchased three because I keep forgetting mine.

It is 50 miles from the West Entrance to the East Exit. It was a great ride. Motorcycles are the only way to truly enjoy the Ride to the Sun Road. We had been warned that because of road construction it could take all day. That is probably true on weekdays; after all there are only two seasons in Montana, Winter and Road Repair. We went through on a Saturday. There were no work crews but miles of construction zones complete with warning signs.

Motorcycles Proceed with Extreme Caution.

Our one delay, five minutes at a red light where a landslide was being repaired with only room for one way traffic.

As much as we raved about the Northern Cascades, they don’t hold a candle to Glacier Park.


Glaciers carved these valleys.

2 ½ hours after entering the park, we exited via East Gate.

Despite all the warnings about wildlife the only thing I saw was a grouse jump in front of a jeep. Unbelievably it wasn’t killed. It ran back out between the front and rear tires, sans tail feathers. It left a pile of feathers in the roadway.

JAK says that he saw a young brown bear. His story is that the bear began to cross the roadway about five miles west of East Gate, saw the motorcycle, and jumped back into the woods. JAK hit the brakes and pointed to the road side. I saw his brake lights and him pointing. This wasn’t the only “invisible” critter that JAK saw.

After leaving the park, it wasn’t much more than a half hour before we hit the plains. What a letdown after all the beautiful scenery we had been experiencing.


Our last 90 miles was pretty much like this. Pulling into Great Falls we headed to Motel 6. “Sorry we are booked up.”

I asked; “Do you know of any motels with vacancies?”

“Everywhere is pretty much sold out, but I think there is one room at the Super 8.”

JAK and I experience de j’vue. We head for the Super 8. Across the lot is a Best Western. I look at JAK and say; “What the heck, let’s check.”

JAK waited outside while I went inside. I got in line for the one agent working. Another agent opened, as I move to his position, I hear the first agent tell the couple who had been in front of me; “I’m sorry we don’t have any rooms.” Crap!

My agent said; “Let me check.” He plays with the computer; “One with a king, and one with two queens.”

Life can throw you a bone at times. This was one of those times.

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Day 5 – Coeur d’Alene, ID to Coram, MT – 247 Miles – 8.3.2013

We got up late, what’s new? No food but free coffee while we did our laundry. J&Bs for breakfast where we enjoyed the senior buffet. The server told us, “The price is so good because seniors eat a lot less.”

Boy did we prove her wrong.

While cleaning our windshields, I found that mine was covered with new pit marks. Riding through the Cascades we got stuck behind an empty logging truck for about 20 miles. He was fast and impossible to pass; I was stung and pelted nonstop. That was how I picked up the pits.


This stop needs no explanation. After twenty minutes, all the locals left. We followed. A half mile down the road we found an overcrossing. A mile further we pulled over for a State Liquor Store (Needed to refresh Uncle Jack). The parking lot was up against the tracks and across from where we had been stopped. It was a half hour before the train moved.

3:00 p.m. found us in Troy Montana, JAK wanted to get a room, but his wishes don’t always come to fruition. Besides he had a friend in Libby, the next town. JAK wanted a picture to post to the Oakland Police Blog. We got a picture of JAK with “My” Ultra in front of the Libby Police Station.

We continued on to Kalispell Montana, another 90 miles. It was a good ride, but JAK was going slow. He usually rides faster than I like, not so this day. So after about 20 miles, I kicked it up and took off on my own, another day of excellent roads and nice curves.

In Kalispell I began calling motels. “Sorry we are completely booked.” We were less than 40 miles from Glacier National Park. “There’s nothing available, every motel is sold out because of the Canadians.”

I asked, “Whadda you mean because of the Canadians.”

“They come to shop.”

“Whadda you mean?”

“The Canadian dollar is so much stronger than ours, they come for the bargains.”

The agent at Motel 6 said, “I can help. I’ll get you booked into the nearest Motel 6.” Cool says I. Nope, not cool, the nearest available Motel 6 was in Missoula Montana, 100 miles away.

We continued east, every motel was sold out. The one constant refrain, “There’s nothing available within a hundred miles.” I considered renting a car just so we could sit in it to sleep.

At my suggestion, JAK and I had bought sleeping bags for just such an incident. Oops, I had changed my mind and told him, “We don’t need to bring sleeping bags.”

Within 20 miles of the park, JAK saw a “throw down” RV Park and Campground sign that said “Cabins”. In a heartbeat we pulled up to the office. They had one cabin left and only $45.00. What a deal! Two bedframes with mattresses and NOTHING else, we slept in our clothes. Still, it was better than sleeping in a rental car.

They had a communal bath house so I bought a towel, I could shower in the morning. JAK looked at me like I was crazy and said; “There is no law that says I have to take a shower every day.” The towel turned out to be a good investment.


Our Cabin

After several meetings with Jack and “Hot as Hell” Whiskey (a gift from a neighboring camper) Jim Bob made an appearance. “Jim, I can’t put weight on my titanium knee you need to turn the heater on, I can’t.”

Jim Bob got down to adjust the heater. The controls were about three inches above the floor. Glasses on, flashlight in hand, Jim Bob got down and adjusted the heater. Rising, he said; “Well it’s all set, we won’t get cold tonight.” Not quite accurate.

Pulling on my sweatshirt and covering my torso with the new towel during the very cold night, I directed several curse words at the heater. Wrong, Jim Bob actually turned the heater off.

Oh, Jim Bob, why do you show up and bring chaos?

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When the hiring manager read this statement he immediately hired the candidate. How often is the hiring manager pleased when he or she reads?


Should one accept this notification at face value? No!

The candidate had embezzled more than $250,000 from her previous employer. Upon conviction, the judge sentenced her to prison and ordered restitution.

Who do we fault for negligent hiring? Was it the Background Investigator, the Human Resources Specialist, or the hiring manager? If your answer is “All of them,” you would be right.

What went wrong?

The candidate submitted a resume containing disingenuous and fabricated information. What it did not contain was the employer she had victimized. The Human Resources Specialist, the hiring manager, and the contract Background Investigator had all reviewed the resume.

The background investigator called the telephone numbers listed for former employers and references. In all cases he reached voice messaging. Multiple calls were made with a request for a return call. Of the several “employers and references” not one returned a call. The background investigator did not talk with a single reference.

A criminal records search was made only in the county where the candidate lived even though all three people knew she had recently moved from a different part of the state. No Record Found. The candidate had a criminal conviction in the previous jurisdiction.

Do you see a pattern developing? Not one item on the application or resume was verified.

The background investigator’s report was sent to Human Resources. The H/R Specialist forwarded it without comment to the hiring manager.

The hiring manager had eyes only for “No Derogatory Information Found.”

The H/R Specialist and the hiring manager had read the candidate’s resume. They had personal knowledge that the she had worked for years at XYZ, Inc. in Europe.

XYZ, Inc. was not listed on either the resume or the application. Why, because of the embezzlement conviction. Human Resources and the hiring manager must share in the blame. The hiring manager had even told his H/R Specialist; “I want to hire Jane Doe because of her experience at XYZ, Inc.”

Why did neither challenge the resume? Why didn’t the Background Investigator, H/R Specialist, or hiring manager question the lack of verification?

A frank examination of the background investigator’s report raised numerous red flags. It took less than a day to expose the falsehoods in the resume and employment application. The former employers listed on the application and resume were shell companies created by the applicant to help facilitate the embezzlement.

You may ask, “Wasn’t it challenging to find the European conviction?” It wasn’t difficult at all.

A good question one should ask, “What don’t I know?”

This is an example of process over veracity. Every person involved in the hiring process failed to do their job.

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New Category – Investigations

Category Alert!

I’ve been an investigator for more than forty years. In a recent blog I let you know that I’ll be lecturing at the upcoming San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of ASIS-International Training Seminar. Later this year I will be teaching at events in Chicago and Las Vegas.

In addition to my novel A Tale of Robbers and Cops, it is impossible for me to not write short stories and essays related to criminal and corporate investigations. Later today I will be posting a disturbing piece about negligent hiring practices.

Look for these non-fiction and fictionalized pieces to be mixed in with the blog’s other topics.

Be Safe


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Day 4 – Winthrop, WA to Coeur d’Alene, ID – 265 Miles

We fell into the habit of a taste of Brother Jack Daniels each evening. However this night I brought out the vaunted Makers Mark. We disposed of it along with a cigar. It seemed to aid our sleep. We were up fairly early and had a 9:00 a.m. start. No deer were seen, but we knew they were nearby.

Deer - High Kill Area

Out of the Cascades the scenery was nowhere near as striking, although still eye-catching and the roads excellent. They were twisty with tighter curves but still a pleasure to ride.

In 2011 JAK and I were at Sturgis, South Dakota when we ran into a tour group from Russia. This time we got stuck behind a tour group of German bikers. They kept a steady speed of about 5 mph under the speed limit, we prefer about 10 over. Because of lane restrictions, we could not pass them.

JAK - Behind the Germans HIghway 20

This photograph is of Jim Kennemore, Alias JAK, Alias Jim Bob in the long sleeve white shirt. We were stopped for road construction behind the German Riders.

Later in the day, Jim Bob made another appearance. Once again he took a wrong turn. He led us further north and closer to the Canadian border. Fortunately he realized his error after only a few miles. A U-Turn corrected the navigational error and we headed the right way. JAK owns a large sail boat and sails upon the ocean. You would expect better navigation from him.

JAK’s 2006 Ultra Classic is six years newer than mine. I use about a half quart of oil every 2000 miles. He uses a half quart every 500. Jim Bob did not bring any extra oil, so he used up what I carried in my saddle bags. He was worried so we changed our route and went south. We stopped at Lone Wolf Harley in Spokane. I picked up the obligatory T-Shirt and JAK got us each a quart of 20-50 Oil. I was fine for the rest of the trip; JAK made it to the Little Bighorn Battle Ground before he needed to add more oil to his trusty steed.

We spent the night at the high end hotel chain known as Motel 6. We walked next door for dinner at a Best Western. Believe it or not the food was excellent. I had liver and onions, only this time it was great.

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The almost spur of the moment ride that wasn’t.

Last weekend Jim Kennemore and I decided to ride up Highway 1 to Fort Bragg on Wednesday and spend the night.

Sunday I checked on the ’01 Ultra to make sure she would start. I disconnected the battery tender and gave the key a turn. She started right up, Looking Good!

Monday after making hotel reservations it was time to wash and gas her up. I had forgotten to plug in the battery tender. No sweat, she’s got a full charge. “Click, Click, Click” went the starter. This could be a problem. She had started right up on Sunday so I figured leaving her on the charger overnight would solve the problem.

Tuesday afternoon I tried again. At first the starter sounded strong but couldn’t quite get her going. She’s got some charge; she’ll be fine in the morning. Sometimes hope outweighs reason.

Wednesday morning, “Click, Click, Click”. Forty-eight hours on the battery tender and this is all I get. Something’s wrong. Pulling my SUV up to the Ultra I tried a jump start. Nothing.

It’s 9:00 a.m. and I knew that Jim and another buddy, Peter Meshot, were on their way to Michael’s Harley Davidson in Cotati to meet me at eleven. They won’t hear their cell phones. I can’t be a no show. I hop in the SUV and head for Cotati with just enough time to get there by eleven. My gas gauge is close to empty.

I didn’t run out of gas and got to the dealership with minutes to spare.

Jim has a tendency to be blunt and raunchy. I expected, and received a tirade. Peter, a gentleman, did not skewer me. Almost bleeding from the wounds Jim inflicted, I thought I would perish. But wait, I see a remedy. Outside in front of Michael’s was a popcorn machine with bags of popcorn. Two bags later I was cured.

We decided on the Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol for lunch. Good food, high prices.

Jim said, “I won’t ride to Fort Bragg with you in a cage.” I called the hotel and cancelled our reservation.

After lunch, Peter had to head home.

Jim followed me to my house. We took the battery out of the Ultra. I live thirteen miles from Livermore Harley and seventeen miles from McGuire Harley in Walnut Creek. He asked, “Whose closer Livermore or Walnut Creek?”

“It’s thirteen miles to Livermore, seventeen to Walnut Creek, let’s go to Livermore.

Those of you who follow this blog know who Jim Bob is. For those who don’t, Jim Kennemore, alias JAK, sometimes goes off the rails. When that happens, he says and does strange things. He becomes Jim Bob.

As soon as I said Livermore, Jim Bob appeared. “Let’s go to Walnut Creek. It’s closer.”

“Jim, it’s only thirteen miles to Livermore.” We went back and forth several times before in exasperation I said, “I’m going to Livermore. Get in the car.”

Harley batteries are usually good for two years, sometimes only one. Mine was four years old. For only $190 the Ultra was back in business.

For the almost spur of the moment ride, that wasn’t, we had a good day.


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41st Annual SF Bay Area ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits

The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of ASIS-International will host the Chapter’s 41st Annual Seminar and Exhibits at Juniper Networks, Sunnyvale, California on May 16, 2013. Dynamic speakers will present on current and relevant security topics. Among those speaking, George Cramer will present Interviewing in the 21st Century. Mr. Cramer has lectured on this important issue at several national and international seminars, most recently at the High Technology Crime Investigation Association’s International Conference & Training Exposition held at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

I look forward to seeing you in Sunnyvale!


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Day 3 – Woodland, WA to Winthrop, WA 365 Miles – 7 hours

Our third day, August 1, 2012, found us leaving Woodland, Washington, around 8:00 a.m. But not before we suffered another no-quality, no-value meal at the Oak Tree Restaurant. For the life of me, why we returned to this place after such a terrible dinner the previous night is a mystery. Maybe it’s a biker thing.

The 210 miles to Burlington reminded me why everyone I’ve known who moved to Washington returned to California. It was cold and overcast. Intrepid travelers that we are, we had two levels of clothing. Lightweight, mostly T-Shirts, and heavy gear for the snowstorm and thundershowers we expected to dump on us. We had nothing in between. After 30 minutes, I signaled for JAK to pull over. We brought out the heavy gear and buttoned up tight.

At 9:15 a.m. we saw our first

D – Dangerous
E – Evil
E – Everywhere
R – Rodent

Deer are a rider’s worst nightmare. Except for automobiles, deer have killed more motorcyclists than anything else. We were on I-5 on cruise control (70 mph) with our feet up on pegs, nowhere near the brake or gear shift. There at the edge of the roadway was a doe. We had no idea what she would do. A few years ago just such a doe ran right out in front of JAK up in Idaho.

We were lucky, the I-5 doe just stood there as we rode by.

Breathing again, we returned to our relaxed riding positions. Oops, wrong thing to do. Not five minutes later we were in the fast lane, having just passed a tractor trailer rig. I was prepared to swing casually in to the slow lane when I saw a shape ahead. The shape materialized as a fawn (small D.E.E.R.). The creature was running southbound in the northbound slow lane of I-5. The tractor trailer swerved out across the fast lane that I had just vacated. I HATE DEER.

The cold miserable weather and absence of scenery continued until Burlington, Washington. There we pulled off the interstate and onto State Route 20. We had heard nothing about this route except that it is one of the northern most roads paralleling the Canadian border. We couldn’t go into Canada; it’s a Second Amendment thing.

The moment and I mean the moment that we got onto SR-20 it all changed. The sun came out and it warmed up. For the next 150 miles JAK and I were treated to one of the most exceptional and rewarding rides we had ever experienced. Riding in the Northern Cascades alongside the Skagit River we were surrounded by picturesque mountain tops. We never went more than five minutes without sight of a river or lake. It was August, yet we passed snow piles along the upper part of the ride. Traffic was light and we carved through most of the curves at or above the speed limit. It was an exhilarating experience.

It came to an end when we pulled into Winthrop, Washington, a small tourist trap with a population of about 500. Fifty or so motorcycles were parked along the 1890’s style main street. We got the last room available and spent the night in a nice, overpriced hotel. Here is the view from our balcony.


We shared some might fine whiskey, Maker’s Mark, smoked an excellent cigar, and called it a night.

A Biker’s Life can be mighty nice!

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