Oct 222019
 

This blog entry contains the personal opinions of watermanatwork.com owner Ron Barbish. Watermanatwork.com content is normally restricted outdoor activities, politics purposely left off of website. If you don’t want to hear what Ron Barbish has to say, go to any other blog entry and check out the fishing, cycling and other outdoor adventures.

Some of you have noticed that the blogging has been a bit slow lately, some of that has to do with some pretty poor fishing, which cuts down on the kayak fishing photos and videos, but a lot of the blogging gap has to do with some personal issues. I’m relating what has happened to me here because I’m sure it happens to people every single day, and it’s just not right under any circumstances.

As you might know, a little over a year ago, I was rear-ended while stopped for an Oregon Dept. of Transportation construction zone flagman. You can see the whole story HERE. One year later, my insurance company and the insurance company of the truck driver that hit have refused to pay for any damages or medical expenses for the accident.

Rear ended by Penske semi truck while stopped for ODOT construction zone flagman. Insurance companies refused to pay for damages or medical expenses

For two months following the accident, I was injured and could barely move. Insurance companies refused to pay for medical expenses, even though I had no fault PIP coverage. Buying a new vehicle on short notice, replacing everything destroyed, medical bills and the cost of a devastating accident like this soon depleted all of my savings. Nearly a year after the accident, I have not received a penny from either insurance company, my life has been devastated, I’ve lost nearly everything. Why am I in this position? Because I obeyed the law. I obeyed the law and suffered 100% of the consequences of this incident, the person who did not obey the law, injured people and destroyed property, suffered nothing.

Insurance is nothing but a protection racket run by criminals just like it was in the 1930’s when corrupt politicians became part of the “system” and the insurance industry was born. The insurance industry has no product or service except those that corrupt politicians mandate that citizens must purchase. While having insurance is mandated by state law, insurance companies are under no legal requirement to honor insurance contracts. In my case, the insurance companies worked together to ensure neither one would have to pay for any expenses from the accident. Against the largest criminal organization in the history of Western civilization, I had no chance. The only way I could get any money for expenses from the accident was to sue in Small Claims Court because no lawyer would take the case(not enough money).

County Courthouse. If you're looking for justice, you've come to the wrong place.

I was surprised to see the company of the driver that hit me had hired a lawyer to represent them in Small Claims court. I was not allowed to have an attorney. The judge threw out the case against the owner of the truck; Penske Truck Leasing. Penske trucks kill and injure thousands of innocent people every year, just like me, with Penske having no responsibility for the devastation their business practices cause. Every lap a Penske race car takes around a NASCAR race track is paid for by the suffering of innocent people. Penske gives the government and US military sweetheart deals and the state fees paid by Penske trucks, mean, like the insurance companies, Penske is above the law, which makes business very profitable. A case against the insurance brokers, who had taken my wrecked truck using falsified documents, was also dismissed. In a courtroom with two lawyers, I was chastised for not knowing the nuances of the law and told the law is “not about personal responsibility, (I) need to follow the system.” The judge was sympathetic to the Defendant’s attorney, speculating how much they had to pay to hire her, while not showing a shred of concern that my life was destroyed because I obeyed the law. A month later, I had to go to court again. This time, I was awarded $5000, the maximum allowed by law, but only a fraction of what the accident cost. They still haven’t paid the $5000 the court awarded, why would they? They are above the law, the system had forced an innocent accident victim to accept responsibility for the person who had caused the injuries and property damage.

Once again, the important thing is that all of this happened to me because I obeyed the law. If I had not obeyed the law, I would not be in this position today.

Gift from WDFW

A few days after this court fiasco, I was out salmon fishing in a pack of boats when a WDFG(WA Dept. of Fish & Game) boat motored through the crowd and came right over to me. The only kayak fisherman, I was used to getting the treatment from Fish & Game of many states, but this time was different. I got the full safety check, license and ID check, the entire shakedown package. With the wet, rainy, weather, I had left my salmon catch card in my truck. Not my fishing license, a form that you record the salmon you catch. That’s the $150 they were looking for. I asked them if I could paddle over to my truck and get the form, no dice. They told me without the card, I could be a poacher. That immediately sent the rage meter to eleven and here’s why;

A couple years ago, I saw guys poaching salmon. They would catch the daily limit, motor across the river, unload the fish and come back across the river for another limit. They did this every day. On a good day, when the fish were biting, they would catch five to ten times the daily limit. I called the WDFG “Poacher Hotline”, where I was told “they weren’t interested.”
So WDFG is not actually interested in stopping poachers(or illegal gill nets, night fishing and trot lines, either) and protecting natural resources, only generating revenue from poor suckers who don’t have proper paperwork. The salmon are on the fast track to extinction and they got my $150, so the “system” is working. Those same guys who were poaching salmon were watching me get worked over by WDFG, they must have had a real laugh.

As a result of what has happened following the semi truck accident and incidents like the salmon card bullshit ticket, my outlook on things, especially the way things are going in the United States, has changed somewhat. The law does not protect innocent people, American citizens should not be legally required to suffer in order to protect criminals, and that includes the corrupt politicians who have sold America’s future. You are punished if you obey the law and punished if you do not. What are you supposed to do? America is a fragmented and failing society, greed has destroyed everything good this nation was founded on. Corrupt politics and corporate policies have turned Americans against each other for nothing other than a point of view. I have seen countries in the midst of civil unrest, America now looks as bad, or worse, than any of them. I believe the United States is on the ragged edge. Greed and politics are destroying the place I live, I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.

In light of all this, it has been difficult to make videos and take photos of fishing and riding bikes. Being creative is tough enough, but when you get overwhelmed by bad things, the power of creativity has to be re-channeled to your survival mode to keep from going berserk. Although what has happened to me has changed me for the rest of my life, I don’t want the government to steal everything, so the creative juices are starting to flow again. Enough of corruption and greed, all Americans will be paying the price for that soon enough, but for now, I am going fishing and riding my bike.

Jul 272019
 

We here at watermanatwork.com travel to some pretty remote places looking for fishing spots and places to ride bikes and we encounter a lot of wildlife. Deer, elk, coyotes, cougars, bears and many smaller mammals, birds and reptiles. We take precautions with food and trash to not attract any of these wild creatures but it seems we are constantly under attack by wild field mice. Mice have gotten into the cab and camper shell of my truck a number of times and caused damage from chewing and made a big mess for such a small animal.

I made a few simple and inexpensive modifications to my vehicle, a 2005 Toyota Tacoma, to keep the mice out of the cab and engine of my truck. Most vehicles will have a similar layout, this article is just to give you the general idea of what to do.

You will need some hardware cloth. It’s the screen material used to keep small animals out of gardens. I used 23 ga. 1/4″ mesh screen. Don’t use window screening because it may get clogged with dirt and block air flow. You will also need wire cutters to cut the screen material and maybe a few zip ties.

We will use the hardware cloth to block openings from the vehicle interior to the outside. The main opening is the vent that supplies air to the vehicle interior. Usually, it is under the hood, perhaps near the windshield wipers like it is on my Tacoma truck.

Cabin air intake vent on a 2005 Toyota Tacoma

Measure the vent and cut the hardware cloth to size. It doesn’t have to be exact because we will bend the screen over the edges of the vent. I like to leave the mesh of the screen intact if possible.

Cut hardware cloth to the size of the cabin air intake vent

Place the screen over the vent and do some creative bending to fit the vent without leaving any gaps or holes. Mice can get through the smallest openings. Bending the screen over the vent was fairly secure, but I used a couple zip ties to be sure the screen stays in place.

Rodent proof screen cover for cabin air intake vent

While I had everything I needed, I made a screen cover for the air intake vent of the truck engine. This is a vent from the outside of the vehicle, behind the grill or over a wheel well, that supplies air to the engine. A mouse crawled in here and made nest next to the air filter, blocking the air and making the truck run poorly. I cut and bent the hardware cloth to fit over this air intake and secured it with zip ties to prevent any further mouse nesting in the truck engine.

Rodent proof screen cover for engine air intake vent

Not only will these modifications keep rodents out, they will also keep leaves, pine needles and debris from clogging the ventilation system. Of course you have to be sure to close your vehicle doors or the mice will simply enter through the open door.

Feb 232019
 

Despite an all day rain event a couple days earlier, about 2:45AM, a wildfire broke out in the lower Colorado River watershed north of Yuma, AZ. We happened to be camping less than a mile away from where the fire broke out.

Wildfire breaks out in the lower Colorado River watershed on the CA/AZ border

By sunrise, the fire was burning strong. It had been windy overnight but the wind calmed for a few hours just as the fire started, allowing it to get burning. The wind was kicking in as the sun came up.

Desert wildfire burns at sunrise in the lower Colorado River basin

The wind increased from southwest to about 10mph, pushing the fire across the Colorado River floodplain. The fire was only about 150 yards wide, but moving across the marshy terrain like a tornado of fire.

Wildfire burns across the desert like a tornado of fire

From far too much experience with wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and southern California, we know that dark smoke is combustible material burning and white smoke is what happens when water is put on the fire. This fire is burning across the backwaters of the Colorado River; mostly reed-like plants floating on top of the water. This fire is inaccessible by vehicle, the white smoke is the burning plants and trees extinguished by river water.

Wildfire burning across the Colorado River flood plain

It seems likely this fire was started by humans. The fire seems to have started at the end of a dirt road. Swamps don’t usually start burning on their own. Fireworks or open fire is most likely the cause.

Information on the fire seemed to be somewhat inaccurate.

The internet has the latest up to date fire information

Fueled by a steady 10mph wind with stronger gusts, by that afternoon, the fire had burned a steady path across the Colorado River backwater. Didn’t stop the bass fishermen from getting a close look at the fire while they fished for the big one.

Fire burns between the Colorado River and Mittry Lake in southwest Arizona

By sunset, the wind continued to blow and the fire continued to burn. The fire had gone from one large fire to a number of smaller fires due to the water dividing the combustible fuel sources.

Wildfire burns just before sunset in the lower Colorado River basin

The fires continued to burn until the early hours of the next morning when the wind changed the direction of the fire and blew it back over the area that had just burned and many of the fires went out. Hot spots still remained and the wind had changed direction yet again and was blowing up to 20mph.

Wind changes direction and blows fires back over recently burned area, putting out many of them

By early afternoon, the wind had picked up and was blowing 15mph with gusts around 20mph or more, igniting several hot spots and the fire was burning again.

Strong afternoon winds ignite several hot spots from the previous day

At sunset, the strong winds continued and the fire was again burning into the second night.

Strong winds continued and the fire was again burning into the second night

The night was overcast, the wind subsided and early the following morning, there was light rain. At sunrise, the fire was reduced to a couple hot spots in an area with more water than burnable plants and trees.

Calm wind and light rain overnight help reduce the fire to a few hot spots

After burning about three days, the fire was nearly burned out and fire crews were mopping up hot spots and assessing damage.

Dec 192018
 

We are doing a bit of remodeling here at the watermanatwork.com World Headquarters. We’ve started off by adding a new category to the watermanatwork.com blog called WatermanAtWork Journal. It will be a running journal of some of our experiences as we travel around the United States and beyond in search of adventure. Not quite sure how it will go, but we seem to run into a lot of things in the course of our travels so stay tuned!