Tag Archives: OPD

NaNoWriMo

Next month will be my second foray into the world of NaNoWriMo.

What? You’ve never heard of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo hosts, pushes, beats, cheers, and helps tens of thousands write 50,000 words every November.

NaNoWriMo is on the honor system. The prizes are children’s stickers awarded weekly. My only competition is George Cramer.

NaNoWriMo

http://nanowrimo.org

One must write 1,666 words every day for thirty days. Last year I wrote 70,000 words, or 2,333 a day. The purpose of the event is to write a novel. No editing, no critiquing, just writing. All the other stuff one can do later.

In 2012, I decided to write for NaNoWriMo. Writers should “write what you know.” I take that to heart.

For NaNoWriMo, I fudged. I wrote about events from my sixteen years at the San Leandro Police Department. Those years at SLPD were some of the best of my life. I began a list of incidents, most at SLPD. There are a few involving Oakland PD, Alameda PD, Alameda County Sheriff, Hayward PD, and even one in San Francisco where I traded guns for heroin. (Shades of Fast and FuriousWe didn’t let the guns walk.) Some are funny, some sad, some bad. Yes, bad things do occasionally happen in a police department. I created an outline of those I want on paper. Before I knew it, the list had grown to sixty-five, each a story worth telling.

I suffer from CRS. I knew the longer I waited, the less accurate these stories would be. I dug in on November 1, 2012 and started down the list. I didn’t get through all sixty-five, but I did get around forty written. Before you begin to worry, except for a few of my exploits, not all, and some outstanding and courageous officers, I changed the names.

The first novel, A Tale of Robbers and Cops, is at a publisher now. I expect the rejection notice any day. The second, Liberty, is about 50% complete.

As part of NaNoWriMo, I will start a new novel. I’m looking for ideas. Think of an incident, real or imagined and shoot me a note. If I use your suggestion, I’ll name a character after you.

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12th Annual Brown Water Run

Day 3 – 7/7/2013

Where are we? Are we in Egypt? I am the victim of a military style coup.

The evening before, while the brigands ate the KFC that I had so generously provided, Paul Wallace led a conspiracy to oust the legitimate leader of the Brown Water Run.

Before breakfast, I was presented with the fait accompli. My comrade of forty years made this proclamation, “George you’re out!”

Said I, “Like President Morsi in Egypt?”

They tried to clean it up, but I was out. Hip, Hip, Hurray!

The junta’s new route took the group north on US 395 to CA 89. The portion of US 395 from Bishop to CA 89 is probably the best 120 miles of the highway. It goes through Bridgeport. Years ago Bridgeport hosted a great destination ride. Because of an overabundance of nudity, the highway was at times blocked. The California Department of Transportation prohibited the continuation of the event. It was a fun time.

There is one thing about this part of US 395 that often causes consternation, the unstable weather. This was only the second time I’ve ridden this route that I wasn’t drenched in a cloud burst, or banged about by a hail storm. It was a great day with bearable temperatures.

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Jim Kennemore demonstrates the modified OPD Leather God riding style near Mammoth Mountain.

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Jack Young cruising along on his DynaWideGlide. My first Harley was a Dyna. I loved that bike until I had my first ride on an Ultra Classic.

John S. Bridgeport

A fuel stop at Bridgeport was an early rest halt. John Sensiba took this picture. It embodies the essence of the Brown Water Run. We ride through some of the most beautiful country in the United States while celebrating Old Glory and the independence of the greatest nation in the world.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

When we reached CA 89 we headed up into the mountains and over Monitor Pass for a lunch stop in Markleeville.

Larry Eade - Wolf Creek Bar

Lunch was at Wolf Creek Bar and Restaurant. Here we have Larry Eade beside his Road King. In the background Jeff Zolfarelli checks his luggage.

The ride from Markleeville continued on to Lake Tahoe. The traffic was heavy, but Pioneer Trail allowed us to by-pass the worst of it. The ride around the south end of the lake took us through Cave Rock Tunnel and over the Carson Range down to Carson City.

Sunday was the shortest ride of the Brown Water Run, 208 miles. It was a pleasure. The weather was not too hot and no one suffered like we had the day before. I wish I could say everyone had a good time. It wasn’t so. Keith Wallace was still riding in the Train Mobile. Fred Sicard from Los Angeles had a flat tire. Once Lauren dropped Keith off at Carson City Harley-Davidson he had to return and pick up Fred. The service department told Keith they couldn’t work on his Ultra until Tuesday. That was unusual in that most Harley Dealers put travelers at the head of the line.

Lauren got Fred’s bike to the dealership too late for them to work on it. He had to return on Monday along with his L.A. riding buddies. Fred, Ron Ricci, Dan Larson, and Jim Griffith rode up from Southern California. While I was riding south to Las Vegas, they headed home. I don’t know who had it worse Monday night. They stopped in Fresno while I spent the night in Beatty, Nevada. Neither town is a favorite of mine. I’m told they had a great ride over the mountains on CA-4. CA-4 is one of those mountain pass rides that I never tire of making.

Sgt. JAK

Jim Kennemore is delivering an important point about some insignificant subject to anyone within hearing range.

Fire from Carson City 2

This is of the Bison Fire east of Carson City. This was taken from the Carson City Motel 6. Fires are being fought in north and south Nevada. It appears that at least some were started by lightning strikes.

Las Vegas Fire P.C.

Later in the evening, my son Paul sent me this picture of the Carpenter 1 Fire near Las Vegas. He took it from a parking lot at his apartment.

Once again the day was topped off with BW Runners sitting around the swimming pool solving all the problems of the realm.

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The Ride to Illinois That Wasn’t

Last night I rode to Jim Kennemore’s in Roseville so we could get an early start today. The plan was to be on the road by six, no later than six-thirty.

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7:00 a.m., pre-departure picture of Dos Amigos. Jim tells me, “Hey I just checked the weather, there will be thunder showers over the Sierras by this afternoon.

I’m not worried, even though the sky is changing to a darker shade of grey. “Don’t worry we’ll be in Truckee by eight-thirty and Fallon by eleven.” It didn’t work out that way.

We went about five miles before I saw a lightning strike. It turned out to be the only one I saw all day.

We had an unscheduled detour for fuel outside of Auburn. We didn’t get to Truckee until well after nine. We enjoyed a great meal at Coffee And, one of my favorite breakfast places.

Leaving Coffee And 1030 am

Jim snapped this shot as we saddled up, not at the planned hour, but much later, 10:30 a.m.

We couldn’t pass up Cabella’s at Boomtown. The stop resulted in another hour’s delay.

The original plan was to ride to Marseilles, Illinois for a Veteran’s Function. Our timing got skewed and it was obvious we wouldn’t get there until a day or two after the event. The route included the Loneliest Highway in America (US 50) to Ely, Nevada.

Riding US 50 through Fallon requires a stop and lunch at Jerry’s. This tradition cannot be ignored. Jim memorialized the stop in the below picture.

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The storm clouds in the background followed us from Truckee. We caught a few large rain drops but nothing heavy.

Over lunch we decided that since we couldn’t make it to Illinois, we might as well go somewhere new. I’ll remind you that Jim is a retired OPD Sergeant and I’m a retired SLPD Sergeant. Sergeants are used to making decisions and being obeyed. Sergeants are always right. We both held steadfast in our suggested routes, sort of. We argued the value of heading East, South, and North. I might have changed my position more than once. If our riding buddy retired Lieutenant Larry Eade had been handy he could have mediated.

Looking at the map, we saw that less than a mile away we could make a left turn and head north on US 95. We have ridden this road up in Montana so the discussion was on. We finally compromised and agreed to take the left onto US 95 north to I-80.

Normal Riding Attire

Jim snapped this photo of me driving in the oncoming lane in my official riding gear, aloha shirt, and tennis shoes. It was at least fifteen minutes before another vehicle wanted the lane. You can see the storm clouds to the west. We turned east just in time to miss anything worse than a few more large drops. They almost helped with the 100 degree temperature.

At I-80 we turned right and rode to Elko. We saw no D.E.E.R. today. As anyone who has ever been through Nevada knows, they have two seasons, winter and road repair. We experienced maybe one-hundred miles of road repair where for the most part, they closed us down to one lane in each direction while they repaired the other lane.

It was a 440 mile day.

Tomorrow we’ll head north. I think we are going to Boise. But we’ll have to see how the two sergeants handle the decisions.

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Grand & Glorious Motorcycle Ride Day 10 – Second Installment – On to Durango

The scenery on 285 and 160 was spectacular but difficult to enjoy with the traffic. There are little towns and homes all along 285. One of the mysteries of the universe is where all the thousands of “Snow Birds” go when they leave Arizona for the summer. Now I know, they go to US 160 in Colorado. I passed one RV Park where there were literally hundreds upon hundreds of RVs parked ever so close together and with only a narrow lane between rows. I don’t believe it possible to pull one out or put one into the rows without moving dozens. There was not a single shade tree in sight. For a hundred or so miles along 160 there are endless RV parks, fishing camps, rafting companies, and hunting lodges. All seemed full. Even with all the distractions, I was glad I took this route.

I bet you all thought you had heard the last of Jim Bob and his exploits. Well on that eventful ride in 2009, we were Four Amigos, JAK Kennemore, Larry Eade, Burny Matthews and me. All retired cops headed out to D.C. to honor fallen comrades. All except me from OPD. I retired from San Leandro PD. I had lunch at a small place on US 285 at US 50. 23 miles east on US 50 is Monarch Pass, Colorado at 11,312 feet. We crossed the pass in May, 2009; it was 22 degrees and snowing. The coffee shop at the summit was covered in snow, with a tunnel dug to the front door.

As usual, Jim Bob was doing his Alpha Biker thing. As we other three prepared to dismount our steeds for a photo op, Jim Bob rode away. Not a word, he just left. We looked at one another, none of us had a clue, but figured we’d skip the photo op of a lifetime and follow Jim Bob. When we finally got clear of the snow, we had ice on our clothes up to our waists. Finally stopping for fuel, Jim Bob told us; “The snow plow operator told me I should get off the mountain, so I left.”

Asked why he didn’t communicate with his three amigos his typical Jim Bob response was; “You’re big boys.” Not sure what that meant.

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I had lunch near the intersection of 285 and 50.

I was wearing the last of the non-Harley T-Shirts I brought along to wear and discard. I never throw away a Harley T-shirt. I began to wear my new Harley Ts.

About an hour out of Durango, Colorado, I took a hydration break. I called ahead for a room. Yelp gave me a list of a half dozen motels. I called Best Western, $189 for a single. No thanks. Next on the list was an independent motel. A call got me a room, with free WiFi for $54.

Blog 2

From one of the scenic overlooks.

Blog 3

Looking back up from the valley floor.

Until I reached Durango, the only wildlife I saw was a turkey. Whoop Dee Do!

In Durango I saw two deer happily munching away alongside a city street. Pulling into the motel lot, I saw a D.E.E.R. As I maneuvered across the uneven and steeply sloped parking lot, a big D.E.E.R. came running in my direction. It crossed not twenty feet in front of me. Can you imagine the catastrophe had I collided with the D.E.E.R. and wound up in the hospital?

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Grand & Glorious Motorcycle Ride – Day 10 (First Installment) – Fort Collins, CO to Durango

I had a rough night at the Best Western in Fort Collins. Right after I went to bed I started itching, ankles, elbows, and nose. When I got to Durango I picked up some cortisone. The pharmacist said it would stop the itching. Nope it didn’t work.

In 2009 while on a ride to National Police Week in Washington, D.C., I woke up with identical bites. I was covered from the soles of my feet to my waist. It was so bad I wound up in an ER in Asheville, North Carolina. Bugs always get me. If ten people are in a line and one person gets bug bit, that’s me.

These “bites” forced me home early. I called Kaiser, “You need to get in here right away. You probably had an allergic reaction, not bites.”

When I saw the Dermatologist, he said; “It’s probably an allergic reaction, but I really don’t know what it is.”

Blog Shot 2

I got to Thunder Mountain H-D in Loveland, Colorado at 8:15 a.m. for an oil and filter change. They had me back on the road at 10:15 a.m. The largest dealership I’ve ever seen, this picture does not do it justice.

In addition to this building, they have an amphitheater that seats several hundred. And yes, I did buy another T-Shirt. That made three. I didn’t know what to do with my collection of Ts. Somewhere in the vicinity of 150, my wife has this selfish idea that her Hope Chest should not be filled with Harley T-Shirts.

Riding gave me plenty of time to think about all those T-Shirts. I came up with a plan. I had quilts made for my children. I managed to get quilts made for all four in time for Christmas.

Blog Shot

Above is the personalized quilt I had made for my son Paul. It is a combination of Harley Ts and shirts from his life. I especially like the Isla Guadalupe T. It is from a Great White Shark Dive the boys and I went on a few years ago.

Before reaching Denver, I had the bajeebers scared out of me. Trying to keep up with a LOL (little old lady) driving a Prius at about 85 MPH, a tractor with an empty flatbed trailer tried to drive over me. It took me back to the 2009 ride to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. In Arkansas another LOL warned me and my three OPD buddies to be careful on I-40. She said “those darn truckers think they own the road”. She was right. Not quite into Tennessee a tractor with an empty flatbed blew by me. I wonder how fast he’s going. I tried to pace him. At 100 MPH he was still pulling away, I decided it wasn’t important enough.

I got around Denver and headed south west on US 285. It was as attractive as the maps suggested. What I didn’t know was just how popular US 285 and US 160 are. I was in traffic for at least 200 of the next 300 miles.

The day was far from over but time runs short. I’ll finish Day 10 in a few days – See Installment #2.

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Jim Kennemore – OPD Leather God

J.A. Kennemore 1980
Jim Kennemore – 1980

Some have wondered about JAK aka Jim Bob aka James Kennemore. He’s a great friend, albeit much older. We met in the nineties, when I hired him at Frasco Investigations after he was referred by a mutual friend. Jim had been retired from Oakland Police for a number of years by then. When Jim retired, his wife insisted he get a job. He resisted and held her at bay for years. Finally Sue put her foot down, get a job or else.

When Jim came in for an interview, I wanted to talk about Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. Jim said, “I want a job, but I don’t want to work.” His wish was to tell Sue, “I got a job, now get off my back.”

I won’t claim that our relationship was a marriage made in heaven. We both got something out of it. I got a buddy who is a great story teller. Jim told Sue he had a job. He told me, “I don’t want to work more than three hours a week.” I can’t imagine what he told Sue.

Most days I rode my DynaWideGlide to work. It wasn’t long before Jim wanted to get a motorcycle. Once again Sue put her foot down, “No way in hell are you getting another motorcycle.”

In 2001, my wife got me a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic. It was a Peace Officer special at a reduced price. The Ultra was the second motorcycle Cathy gave me. The first was a bored out, customized Honda 750. It could get to 115 mph in a minute.

I had to get rid of the DynaWideGlide. I made Jim a foolish offer he couldn’t refuse. Cathy had a fit, “you gave the bike away to Kennemore”. She still reminds me what a fool I was. Jim on the other hand whined that I was screwing his eyes out. I didn’t pay any attention to either of them. I had a great new bike. I still have it.

The Ultra will probably be my last motorcycle. Whenever I get dreamy at a Harley Dealership, Cathy is ready. “You will be buried on your Ultra.”

What is a man to do?

A few years later, I had to return from Sturgis by air. Jim rode the Ultra back. He was hooked and got an Ultra of his own. I often wonder what he told Sue.

We have a couple of extended rides planned for this summer. I’ll tell you about our plans later.

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