Two Wheeled Vehicles and Firearms

I’ve recently been looking at purchasing a two-wheeled vehicle, like a scooter or motorcycle. I’ve been looking at scooters in particular, as they tend to be smaller, less expensive, and more fuel efficient. The fact that I could tinker with a small engine and save on maintenance costs is also a plus, as is the cost for insurance (about $100/year rather than $1,200/year for my car).
Obviously, I wouldn’t give up my car (an ’06 Toyota Camry), as there are many situations where having a car is useful. But there are many situations where it’s not terribly efficient to lug around a few extra thousand pounds of metal. As a physicist, I need to do my part to minimize my contribution to increasing universal entropy, and thus help stave off the heat death of the universe.
This brings me to the following two questions:

  • Are there any readers in the Tucson or Phoenix (Chandler/Scottsdale, specifically) metro areas who are looking to sell a scooter like the Honda “Elite 80” or something similar? I’d prefer widely-known brands like Honda, rather than essentially no-name Chinese scooters. I also like the styling of the Elite 80 over the more curvy Vespa-style scooters.
  • Any recommendations on transporting firearms, particularly long guns, on such a vehicle? I know that rifle cases exist for ATVs, but I have no idea if any solutions exist for scooters/motorcycles. Obviously one could carry a slung rifle or shotgun on one’s back, but I’d imagine that’d be potentially hazardous if one were involved in an accident.

Theft Information

Mike, my friend and Class III dealer, had his house burglarized earlier today (well, technically yesterday as I’m posting really early in the morning).
Some stuff (laptop computer, USB flash drive, other small valuables) were stolen. Fortunately, his safe was not attacked and his firearms remain unmolested.
The laptop was a big loss, as it contained a whole bunch of sentimental photographs. Not cool.
In addition to hardening your dwelling from criminal actions, one must also have a recovery plan. Continue reading “Theft Information”

On Returning to California

I grew up in California. The suburbs of San Francisco, to be precise.
My parents live there. Many of my friends from both child- and adulthood live there. I have lots of memories of growing up there — it’s a wonderful area with wonderful people. Lots of history in San Francisco.
Rarely does a week go by when I’m asked “Hey, Pete…when are you moving back?”
And every time, my answer is “Never, if I can avoid it.”
Don’t get me wrong — I’ll come back and visit frequently. After all, I have friends and family there. It’s only a 2 hour flight or about a 12 hour drive. Not bad at all. If I had the money, I’d come back to visit all the time. I miss my family and friends dearly, and I miss the salt air of the Bay Area (Arizona has very little moisture in the air). I miss the diverse restaurants, the people, and sitting on a pier watching the ships go by. There’s a lot I miss about California, particularly San Francisco.
But unless something big changes, I won’t move back there.
I see no reason why I should live in (and by means of taxes, support) a state that restricts, regulates, and taxes every conceivable aspect of my life. Whether it’s small issues or big ones, California and I disagree on just about everything. For example:

  • I cannot register my car for more than one year in California. In Arizona, I can register it for several years and can do this simply and easily from my home.
  • California requires a special California-only blend of gasoline to be sold in the state. This, combined with high taxes on gasoline, makes gasoline extremely expensive. (The state, which doesn’t contribute anything to the production of gasoline, makes more money from the sale of a gallon of gasoline than the oil companies who actually do all the work.)
  • Outrageous gun laws (registration, licensing, no private transfers, restrictions on guns with certain cosmetic features, no .50 BMG, right-to-carry is highly restricted and “may issue” [read: “won’t issue”, no NFA [I’d have to sell my silencer and abandon my plans to buy a machine gun. Not gonna happen., etc.]).
  • Outrageous cost of living. A 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo in a nice Phoenix suburb costs about $165,000 (my girlfriend bought one about two years ago). That same condo in the SF Bay Area costs about $800,000 last time I checked. No f***ing way is it worth that much.
  • Outrageously high taxes. I don’t have a problem with reasonable taxes (maintaining roads, police, fire, etc.), but California takes it way too far. I could find far better and more productive uses for the 20%-30% of my income that California would otherwise take.
  • California is filled with people that believe government is the solution to, rather than the source of, most problems.
  • The state government doesn’t know how to budget their own money, and is billions of dollars in debt. Why should I trust them with my own money?
  • Not-insignificant risk of major earthquake. Arizona is one of the safest states to live in terms of disasters…all that happens here is that it gets really hot during the summer, and there’s a few months of heavy rain. No hurricanes, no earthquakes, no tornadoes…just heat and rain. No big deal.

In short, California doesn’t trust me to be a responsible individual, and thinks that it knows how to run my life better than I do.
Until that changes, I’m not even going to consider moving back.
I’d much rather live in a state where it’s affordable to live, doesn’t place nonsensical restrictions on the types of guns I own, how I store them, or where I carry them, doesn’t care what kind of vehicle I drive (so long as it’s not a grossly polluting vehicle), and generally keeps its nose out of my business.