Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The President's wheeler

As we circumnavigated the White House at the Secret Service prescribed distance, we discovered that the President has an ATV, a 'four wheeler', sitting in his yard. You can clearly see the West Wing in the background of the image. As ATV owners, we were a bit surprised and puzzled as to why the President would need a wheeler in Washington DC. Our deer camp is a bit different than some others in Northern Wisconsin in that we mainly use ours for work rather than traveling between bars. Hauling firewood and chain saws, moving stands, and hauling deer back to camp are the main uses of the wheeler up in our neck of the woods. We hadn't seen much deer sign on the National Mall, either tracks or droppings. Most of the ornamental shrubbery did not have a clear browse line and we didn't see a single scrape of rub anywhere in the vicinity. We figured maybe the greatly expanded and fenced in White House security zone functioned as a mini game farm but we couldn't spot any blinds up in any of the trees either. That left only one logical explanation. He was using this ATV for.....gasp.....recreation!

In most of the publications I read, they might as well have the word 'evil' in front of ATV. Keeping them out of national forests, restricting hours of operation, decrying the pollution they create, critiquing their unsafe design, and bemoaning fossil fuels squandered seem to be the main publicity they get. I'll admit I'm more likely to read Tree Hugger Today than ATV World but even mainstream media, if there is such a thing anymore, is a bit down on the wheelers. I've written before about the looks I get as I head north, kayak on the roof and Honda 4 wheeler on the trailer behind me. The granola munchers in Subarus and Priuses nod approvingly as I go by until they are stunned to see the ATV trailer. When the guys in the Expeditions and Toyota Tundras blow by me I usually just get puzzled looks and see animated conversation between driver and passenger as they ponder what type of schizoid personality would take a kayak on his ATV weekend.

My guess is that President Obama wants to keep news of this evil ATV out of the papers. Some of his supporters are a bit disillusioned by him green lighting the SEAL team to end the piracy issue and they don't need to be riled up more. Having this ATV ownership story break now would not do him any good. Still I think its a pretty good thing that there is a 4 wheeler sitting there in the yard. I only hope that when he gives Sasha and Malia rides around the grounds that he follows the rules of safe ATV operation, unlike the safety ignorant lout in the photo below. Not only are there no helmets present and three people on the machine, its also being driven by a child obviously under the age of 16. I have faith in our President however. Helmets, one rider at a time, a safe and prudent speed, and no beers before riding are prudent ATV guidelines that I'm sure he is aware of. All he needs is a milk carton bungeed to the back rack and even Bo can go for a ride. Now if we could just figure out which tree he has his blind in......


Ranger Bob said...

Some of my fondest career memories involve riding 3-wheelers (remember them?) on the beach at Fire Island.

And where the horse patrol ranger maybe made a couple dozen visitor contacts in the two hours she spent each day actually showing her face in public, I made that many every mile... at FAR lower cost to the taxpayer.

gurneygranny said...

I should probably ask you to blur out the faces of those innocent children, who, by the way, discussed this pictured event a few days ago as a very memorable occasion. Younger grandson remembering the precise age of older grandson--and asking when he could? I told him to go find Olson.

DaveO said...

I remember running over the back of my foot, my Achilles, with one. Unsafe but a blast to drive. I believe I'd prefer a bit of two cycle exhaust over horse crap at the beach as well.
Tell Mic.....er, Grandson2 that I'd be happy to introduce him to the world of safe wheeler operation. If I knew how to 'blur', I'd have blurred my face out.