Big Daddy Road

Eastern North Carolina is a great place to ride a bike. Flat, rural, sparsely traveled roads that traverse tobacco and cotton fields, generally friendly people who, while in their cars and trucks give you plenty of room and are happy to strike up a conversation with you when stopped at a crossroads store. Of course, this is “red state” country, poor, sparsely populated, under educated, economically depressed, where “Trump” and “Thank You Jesus” signs vie for space in small town front yards. What they’re thanking Jesus for I’m not quite sure. Most of the towns are dead, downtowns of empty decaying storefronts, civic and economic institutions hollowed out by years of economic stress, remaining residents too poor or too stupid to leave. Close your eyes and you could be in Mississippi.

Sure is beautiful out here in the sticks

What’s interesting to me is how close it is to affluence and education. The Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill metro area where I live is incredibly vibrant, peopled with  graduates of the 3 major research universities there – Duke, UNC Chapel Hill and NC State – and full of educated transplants who work in the tech industry. But go 10 miles east of my home close to downtown Raleigh and you might as well be in another country.

A couple days a week I’ll ride out east – I try to ride between 150 and 200 miles a week, and usually do it in two rides of 75 -100 miles each, rides that take the day back and forth. Often I just go and see where the road takes me, other times I’ll set a destination and ride there and back. This past week I decided to head to Big Daddy Road in Faro, North Carolina, about 60 miles or so from my front door.


Above is the intersection of Rt 222 and N. Church St in Eureka, a rural hamlet a few miles north of Faro. Faro isn’t even a town but simply a crossroads with a church, where Big Daddy Road meets NC Rural Route 1054. I was surprised to see the historical marker commemorating the “Nuclear Mishap” that occurred here in 1961, as almost no one today seems aware of what went on out here back in the day. The marker is dated 2012, which would have been shortly after a Freedom of Information request brought to light government documents about the “mishap.” I had to chuckle when the read the marker – so clinical and matter of fact – something happened here long ago and now its history.

Except that it isn’t history. What the marker doesn’t tell you is that there’s a live, armed Hydrogen Bomb, 250 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, still there, buried somewhere in a swamp on Big Daddy Road 3 miles to the south. Apparently, a B-52 flying out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in nearby Goldsboro broke apart in flight and dropped two armed hydrogen bombs. One was found still strapped to its parachute hanging from a tree at the edge of the farmer’s field, the other was never found but is assumed to be buried “deep underground” in a swamp abutting the field. Both bombs were live; the recovered bomb had blown through all but one of its fail-safe switches. The bomb still there, well, hopefully we’ll never know.

There’s a Live 4 Megaton Hydrogen Bomb Buried in These Guys’ Back Yard. No Shit.

Big Daddy Road is just a road, indistinguishable from a million other eastern North Carolina rural roads. Some farms, some trailers, a few evangelical churches, lots of American flags. Irrespective of its banality, there’s a certain frisson one gets riding down it when you’re aware of what’s out there. About a mile past the swamp where the missing hydrogen bomb is supposedly located I came upon a rocket in a church yard, no signs or plaque giving any explanation. Not often you see a rocket in a churchyard, but hey, this is America, you can worship whatever you want. For all I know it has nothing to do with what happened here in 1961. Who knows?

On a lighter note, here’s a recent John Oliver piece about the “Mishap”:

Hits: 1824

34 thoughts on “Big Daddy Road

  1. Rob Campbell

    Maybe they’re “thanking Jesus” for that swamp?

    I can’t help but wonder how difficult it would be for a small explosive planted in that swamp to trigger Armageddon. Freedom of information ain’t always in the public interest. Curiosity, yes, but interest?

    I really do enjoy your sense of black/white tones.


  2. Shooter

    Love the set of wheels I like you try to get out as often as I can but the landscape I traverse is a lot more up and down. There is nothing finer than pedalling wherever you fancy and I never come off the bike with anything other than a smile. Added to which you get to see cracking places take pics visit coffee stops (obligatory) and generally have a good time.

    I love this post and it’s rather sobering to think they’ve been so cavalier about not recovering that one way ticket to hell. I can’t imagine that ever happening here altho I don’t rate our present government any higher than the buffoon you have running the good old us of a with putins guidance of course.

    Love the pics as well, always enjoyable keep em coming.

  3. Lee Rust

    I wish I had the time to ride around like that. You can see so much more on a bike and it’s easy to stop and take a look at interesting things.

    That’s a Matador guided missile in the churchyard. Deployed in the latter 1950’s and designed to carry a 50 kiloton fission warhead. We used to be so casual about throwing nukes around. Of course, that’s just peanuts compared to the 4 megaton fusion bomb buried out there in the swamp. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition… we’re going to go out in a blaze of Glory.

  4. StephenJ

    I don’t s’pose you will publish this… but here goes…

    Lots of mention and insinuation here that Trump and his supporters are stoopid and uneducated… Which is then associated with those very same people, blithely accepting that they are recklessly put in danger by politicians leaving the results of nuclear accidents, or even nuclear acts hanging around for ever afterwards…

    Which might be true…

    But who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki… ? Trueman a progressive democrat.

    Who left that B52 bomb in that swamp… ? Kennedy (St. John F) a progressive democrat

    Who was responsible for the accident at Three Mile Island… ? Jimmy Carter a progressive democrat

    Who started the US Civil War… ? Lincoln a progressive, what did he do when he was losing…. ? Oh yes, change it from a war over confederation vs federation to a war against slavery a progressive meme. Note that the British enemy had abolished slavery many years before.

    Who ramped up the Viet Nam war… ? LBJ, a progressive democrat who enacted what in America passes for a welfare state.

    Who started the Korean War… ? Oh look !

    Who ended the Viet Nam war…? Nixon

    Who was the US president who was in charge when the US was sold to the banks with the Federal Reserve Act…. at Christmas in 1913? Oh look, the progressive democrat, Woodrow Wilson!

    Who ended the recent war in Syria…? Trump and Putin. Trump doing for the ISIS and Putin doing for the so called Rebels.

    These are just a few top of the head cigarette pack dates, a scholar could go through history and note that the things that stoopid people in the Carolinas might be thankful for, apart from Jesus, might well be all those non-progressive tradition lovin’ anti-corporate, anti-banking, stoopid folks like Reagan, Jackson, Nixon and Trump.

    Look at the accident in Chernobyl… progressive communists

    Look at all the genocides in the far east in China, in Russia, in Germany and in Africa… all begun by progressives. Many of whom are still in charge and no progress made, nobody freed, over 100 million DEAD.

    Socialism, progressivism, nazism, fascism, corporatism, globalism…

    All designed to repress ordinary folk, and all supported by progressive, university types and professionals. In the case of the USA, all democrats… A list of the mayors of New Orleans, which flooded and killed thousands… every one of them a democrat presumably Progressive. All on the basis that every one is equal, but some folk are more equal than others… Now shut up and take your medicine.

    The ones that the progressives always hate, are the ones that make themselves and their families rich, they tend to use less able people by paying them a wage that they profit from, but that gives these people a family life, perhaps less well off than their employer, depending on their ability. But enough to raise some kids and put a roof over their heads, keep the wolf from the door… It’s not perfect.

    Here in England, today, we have the globalists, determined to crush the filthy populist rebellion that wants England to survive, led by the Clintons, the Merkels, the Microns, the one nation so-called progressive Tories (Who are definitely NOT conservative or libertarian), but defended by Trump in the US, and very few traditionalist politicians, plus of course the vast majority of ordinary folk.

    You lot of clever people, just need to wake up and smell the odour… It’s NOT coffee, it’s sh1t progressive sh1t!

    But back to photography, nice snaps Tim… Isn’t it odd, how nearly all photographers claim that they represent progressivism, whilst really photographing the result of their follies?

    Excuse the grammar and syntax here, it is 3am as I write this and having read your piece, and whilst I really like what you write, like traditional rangefinder photography usually with Leica cameras, am interested in the history of the design and culture behind the invention of these devices, find that in some insidious way, that it too has been hijacked by the controllers of the lexicon… The university type progressive.

    It’s a funny old world, and just now I couldn’t care less about such mundanities.

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Interesting take. I’ve tried to keep politics out of the blog as far as possible, but its bound to creep in. In knew the “too stupid to move” remark was probably a little harsh, but I think it’s true to the following extent: they lack education. They’re stuck with limited skill sets not made for today’s economy. They’re the left behind, the flotsam of capitalism. Frankly, it has nothing to do with politics, its about education. And it just so happens that education tends to produce liberal-minded people i.e. people open to ideas, willing to consider other view points, understanding things in a larger picture. I will note this as well: our “conservative” North Carolina state government has systematically attempted to kill a great State University system – one of the best and most affordable in the country, dedicated to educating North Carolinians (UNC-Chapel Hill, a “Public Ivy”, most recently rated the 30th best research university in the World), enrollment for out of state students capped at 20%. They’ve done it by systematically defunding it when its free inquiry doesn’t agree with their ignorant view of the world, jacking up tuition, making it impossible for the smart kid from Faro to get a world class education. I’ve watched it change from a egalitarian system to one of money and privilege in my 30+ years here, the predictable result of ignorant jackasses from the sticks who run our state government and wrongly think education is indoctrination and are afraid of anything new. These are the “stupid” people living their lives in the decaying east, stewing in the results of their willful ignorance. The world is leaving them behind, and no amount of Jesus or the ravings of some sociopathic con-man is going to stop it. Meanwhile, a bike ride away in Raleigh and Durham and Chapel Hill, life is vibrant, all sorts of people live all sorts of ways together, mostly peacefully, the Arts flourish, various religions and spiritual practices abound, knowledge is valued and pursued. Hmm, wonder why that is? Reality is a hard master, facts stubborn things. Spin it anyway you want, Pray to Jesus, shout your lungs out at a Trump rally, but it is what it is.

      As for Brexit, I couldn’t give a shit what the British do. It’s your country, not mine.

  5. Rob Campbell

    Simplistic scribbles always end up filled with fervour and emotion but way off target.

    There are as many exploitative lefties as rights; ignorance and greed are ever the problems, even amongst the formally educated. The thing is that politics are usually picked up at the home hearth, and like religion, changing away to a personal take gets very difficult.

    Brexit, too, is the result of poor overview: the better educated know that they are free to wander anywhere in Europe and start a business or look for employment – as of right! The others mostly couldn’t imagine it, their hatred fuelled by the Europeans accepting work that some natives scorn, feeling better off on benefits.

    I remember when if you wanted to start a business in Spain you were obliged to take on a Spanish partner. With entry to the EEC all of that vanished. I ran a business here for a while, but the level of social security I had to pay was double that I was also paying in the UK so that I could claim an old age pension at 65. So, there I was, paying the equivalent of three UK contributions which, working in photography, was never going to make sense.

    That said, I have a granddaughter who was headhunted by one of the big five London law firms; apart from graduating top of her class in her UK university she also spent a year studying law in Paris, in French. She is very employable, and the access to Europe certainly played a part in her learning and studying path. Now, because of the undereducated in our British equivalent of your rust belt, all of that hangs in the balance.

    The British public was sold a pack of lies and the referendum itself explained nothing; as an expat in Spain, I was not even allowed a vote, and there were millions more like me. Imagine how different the result it those of us here, with first-hand living and working experience, had been allowed our say!

    So yes, both ignorance from the great unwashed as well as jingoistic hubris from some very old money still rooted in ideas of Victorian England combined to lead to this current mess. In Europe, the people generally wonder what on Earth they might have done to annoy those people who, perversely, flock over here on holiday just as often as they can!

    The reply has to be that those people can’t actually reason.

    During the early stages of the “debate” I watched a car worker in the Japanese car plant in northern England smile, and say of course the Japanese won’t ever leave: we have the engineers! What he didn’t seem to realise is that so has almost every other European country including Spain, which has massive car plants already and little to no disruption. When “just in time” engineering supplies become impossible to maintain because of transportation through a series of customs stations, with the added duties that will have to be charged, the economics will become absurd when the UK has about 66 million people compared to the European 500 million or thereabouts. Worse, we drive our cars on the wrong side of the road, so we become even less attractive as customers, never mind as producers.

    But hey, what has reasoning got to do with xenophobia?

    1. StephenJ

      The usual problem here Rob…. As a critique of my objection to assumptions that poor North Carolinians are stoopid because they go to church and support Trump, you assume that I am a thick inbred Englishman, who might have spent some time taking holidays in Spain, but am otherwise ignorant of how the world works. Tim seems to have taken it personally, it is his blog, I suppose and he did start the meme, but other commenters were quick to pick up on it,.

      I see it all the time, and the usual retort is… I don’t talk about politics… Unless of course it is to diss Trump, who is no worse and quite a lot better than many other lying, scheming US presidents. Which brings us back full circle, those dumb North Carolinians who are all paying less tax, and claiming less welfare in a prosperous USA. A lot more than can be said for the poor unemployed under 25’s in southern in the ever shrinking Yerp, which seems to have a currency geared to keeping German economic figures buoyant and not much else.

      No, i have lived and worked in Savannah, Georgia, South Carolina, Catalunya, the Netherlands in Arnhem and Amsterdam… Funnily enough all of them before 1972. Before the EU/EC and before it was possible to work in Yerp without the benefit of a bunch of wax faced drunken soviet types allowing it to happen.

      I didn’t speak Dutch (I spoke IBM), neither did I speak Catalan… I did have a smattering of Merkin… y’all come back now… ya hear! Though, I regard myself as a British classical liberal, rather than a socialist… aka American liberal. (The difference between an Englishman and an American is only a matter of language).

      For Tim’s benefit, a classical liberal is not only not an American liberal (socialist), he is not an American conservative, of the John McCain type either, nor the British globalist/socialist type of CONservative you find in the Westminster cabinet. Rather, a believer in free thought and faith or no faith, free speech, free action, free movement, anti-closed shop, anti-monarchist, supporter of the common man, who come together where it is of mutual benefit… Tom Paine style.

      I worked on building sites in South Carolina, hope those condo’s in Hilton Head are still standing?, and a bar and a record store in Savannah, I worked as a computer programmer in the Netherlands, and I did casual work in the hills of Rasquera amongst the honey bees. Apart from Amsterdam, didn’t bother with permits, didn’t care… Neither did my employers.

      Just had my kitchen rebuilt by Bulgarians, my new central heating installed by weed smoking Gipsies, and my walls plastered by a Jamaican and a Mauritian, my sister in law is Ugandan Iindian, a victim of Idi Amin, don’t care about free movement.

      Just about to buy a little place in Catalunya, I can do this because my wife is Irish and they are not leaving the EU yet, unless, as I hope, the whole thing collapses under the sheer weight of its own contradictions. Which is where my problem is with the so-called left/liberal… that I resent having my country absorbed into a totalitarian hell, by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats… I do not believe that there is anything “progressive” about any of this.

      I also strongly object to the apparent assumption that I am infected with spittle flecked hate of the foreigner, just because I believe that people freely move through the correct channels, now that our Italian friend has closed the border, and the Spanish were never going to accept those Africans anyway since they ARE genuine racists. They even kill the people that pay them to lay around in the sun.

      I applaud the rather bumptious Trump for his attitude over the Mexican border, although he has less of an argument than we do here in southern England, where our home office is doing nothing about the hundreds of Africans that are making their way from France to southern seaside towns via rubber dinghy, and as winter comes in, they are going to start suffering injuries, drownings and other forms of suffering leading to demands on that system, as the gangs get wind that there is money to be made.

      This is because we have a fully paid up communist social welfare and healthcare system here, that is very overloaded, as indeed are all communist arrangements, just like Tim’s college in North Carolina… Give something to the bureaucracy to run and they will break it and superannuate themselves in the process. And by extension leave NOTHING for the people that have spent a lifetime paying for it.

      As an ex-pat, I wonder whether you are one of those that think that though you have left your homeland, still feel entitled to a vote on how it runs? From what you write, it seems so! Luckily enough for you, our government seems to think so too!

      1. Andrew

        How is Trump “quite a lot better than many other lying, scheming US presidents”? Who is Trump better than?

        Is it because he openly bragged about sexual assault rather than lying about it?

  6. Leicaphila Post author

    Tomorrow I’m riding to Seven Bridges Road outside Rocky Mount, NC. It’s a good 100 mile trip there and back. Apparently they’ve got a serial killer dumping bodies there.

  7. StephenJ

    Good job its not a cereal killer, I might have something to say about veganism. 🙂


    Y’all come back now… Y’hear!

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      If I don’t come back, you know where to look. Seven Bridges Rd. Contact the appropriate authorities.

  8. StephenJ

    If you are travelling from the centre of Raleigh, all the way to Leggett, Google says it is nearer 150 miles round trip… You are a better man than I Gunga Din, but then I walk everywhere, my bike is rusting in the shed.

  9. RonHimebaugh

    Apart from act of cycling, the aesthetics of the tools matter. Much like photography. The distinctive ” Bianchi Green” remains my favorite color scheme.

  10. Rob Campbell

    “As an ex-pat, I wonder whether you are one of those that think that though you have left your homeland, still feel entitled to a vote on how it runs? From what you write, it seems so! Luckily enough for you, our government seems to think so too!”

    How so? We were not given a vote.

    Of course I feel I have a right to weigh in about the future of the UK! My money – such as it is – remains there as does my family; my sole pension comes from there and I paid all my working life towards that. And I never felt the slightest pressure or desire to give up my nationality for another.

    As extension, I do not vote within the Spanish elections – we are allowed to vote in the local ones, if we want to – because I don’t feel that as a non-national I have that right, regardless what the paperwork may claim. I am happy enough that they permit me to live here and enjoy their health service without which I would be in one helluva state – if at all. I wonder how many Brexiteers have considered the life-saving potential value to them of their E111 when in Europe?

    Anyway, a huge part of the problem that Britain has created for itself in Europe is this: Europe agrees to everything but just carries on doing what it has always done, whereas Britain thinks it should actually follow the rules. The only rule it should have observed was that of pragmatism: do as Europe does, and agree to everything but just do what suits. That way, life carries on, business continues and people like me can come and go as they like, free as the birds until they run out of money. That’s how life works: as it works, not as it’s planned to work.

    As for the plight of those guys fleeing good ol’ Africa, Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East, It’s never going to stop unless they stay home and, if they don’t like their domestic system, fight back and change it – and they never will as long as they flee. And of course, it always reverts again to the question of education. Only when folks reach the point that they stop following tribal and religious leaders, discover that altruism is an invention and not the deal on the political agenda, that they are just being used as cannon fodder to further said leaders’ ambitions, will things have a chance of becoming sane and stable. And on top of that, are those fleeing really, really very different from those that remain and make the explosive vests? Seems highly likely many are the contemporary version of the invasion force, the undercover army settlng down within the target host. Big wooden horses are a bit too obvious today.

    Why do these guys want to come to the UK when already in France? Because they know the UK is a soft touch filled with bleeding heart organisations and that its benefits system is wide open to abuse. I have every sympathy for Italy and Greece and, soon, southern Spain. Only when you slam that door shut does the draught disappear.

    Sure it’s a bit harsh, but the alternative is yourself ending up in a bigger mess than ever.

    For the two-wheel nuts: in ’48 when I spent that year living as a child in norther Italy, Benotto were much prettier cycles than Bianchi! I used to spend ages lusting in front of the shop windows looking in.

    Years later, back in Britain, I was bought a Raleigh Lenton – in red – and felt like a king. I applied white adhesive plastic tape to the handle bars and that made me an emperor. I supose, today, the extended sports spoiler on the rear of my litle Ford utters the same tiny cry for individuality. As do all the others exactly the same.


    1. Ron Himebaugh

      My first, only really good bike, was similar to your Raleigh. A deep red English Falcon, 5-3-1 frame, sew-ups, all Campy. Perfect geometry and I traded for a Leica M4-2. Painful to recall.

      I think Falcon and Raleigh were more or less the English equivalent to Schwinn, no? Big line-ups across the price range?

      A local shop stocked four dozen or so hand brazed frames, almost every one Italian. Cinelli, Colnago ( striking colors, clover cut outs in the lugs), a dozen other makes, and then my more affordable Falcon.

      Today I have a souless graphite feather of a bike, gets me around, but beautiful it is not. Some day……….

      1. Leicaphila Post author

        Ron: I’ve got a few carbon bikes but prefer riding the bianchi. I found the frame, a 1992 Columbus EL, lugged, top of the line, no fork, for $100 on Craigslist. It had been hanging on the wall of a bike shop for 20 years, never built up. Owner died, son sold off all the goodies. I built it up with Dura Ace and a carbon fork and some light wheels. Weighs about 17 lbs fully loaded. Love it.

  11. Ron Himebaugh

    I have Bianchi envy. I was prospecting for a steel frame on Craigs but not having that kind of luck. I did stumble on a teeth-rattling Cannondale al-you-minium mtn bike for $50, rotted tires, otherwise mint. I thought I had used my lifetime quota of lucky bike finds with that one, but it is time to get back to searching out a road bike, preferably soft-ish angles, ideally Paramount tourer. Dreaming here.

  12. StephenJ

    Rob, I recall that as an ex-pat you lose your vote in UK after fifteen years away, which seems fair enough to me.

    But your point about some folks blithely carrying on and Brits always doing the right thing, is wearing a bit thin for me, since the majority of the people here voted to leave the EU, and that majority would have been much bigger had the relentless “project fear” not scared the bejesus out of many, and I know it did.

    Our government is doing the right thing and ignoring the biggest vote and instruction in history and telling us that “we didn’t know what we were doing”. Apart from the fact that polls have been saying since 1983 that we wanted to leave the EEC, it morphed into the EU, and we never relented, because we were experiencing it.

    It is really insulting, it is a very simple question, it was on the ballot paper… Leave? or Remain?

    The consequences are irrelevant, since nothing is guaranteed under either decision. Which is just like any election.

    We have a totally different legal system in the UK, which is where America got its constitution from. The EU/European system is based on Napoleonic rule and hundreds of wars, conflicts and revolutions, going back into the mists of time. But they are totally opposed to each other, and it doesn’t and never will fit the British mindset.

    So really, the government is only doing the right thing as far as Brussels is concerned, I would suggest that we are even more determined to leave, and the current unwanted leader is in for a shock.

    The problem with ignoring dictate is that one day it comes back to bite you on the bum, it is just a matter of time, as the Poles, the Hungarians, the Slovaks, the Italians with their recent budget, and soon to be a lot more member states are beginning to notice, as Brussels waxworks figures start to feel the chill in the air… We don’t need “harmonisation” it sucks… Vive la difference, I say, that is the charm of Europe… There are only a few wild places left, everywhere has thousands of years of civilisation, and we don’t need a ruling European bureaucracy. They are just a bunch of superannuated, Orwellian thugs.

    … Oh and let’s not talk about the French, where 77% are now aiming their guns at Micron over the green fuel hikes, which are EU inspired, he being a Eurobot, initially imported to screw Front National, but now merely to keep the whole lot of ’em in line. Once the French start to get hysterical, there will be big trouble.

    It begins to look more and more like the 1970’s Soviet Union, which is funny really, because Gorbachev made a comment about that in about 1993.

    The point that I keep making though, is that there is absolutely no reason why we should not all be friends, have freedom of movement for work and pleasure, as long as we just let the authorities know, who we are and why we are… It works pretty well like that in most places. It ensures that the riff-raff don’t go around making false claims on generous systems of welfare and healthcare, not that I am particularly proud of the NHS. I would far rather people thought about their health and made proper thought through decisions rather than just going to the GP for a script.

    There is an interesting video on the net about the problem with the world’s poorest folk, and without being political, the presenter, uses “gumballs” to demonstrate the folly that moving them around the planet amounts to. The case that he makes is unarguable, it is amazing that it is still there for people to see.

    With reference to bikes, my rusting bike is a Trek hybrid, with French handlebars and some fairly exotic Shimano bits and bobs, it was pretty good in its day, I could shift it pretty quickly and not get backache which plagued me following the accident and the insurance payout, which led to that bike.

    That was my beautiful Colnago, with Columbus SL tubing, and Campag Super Nuovo Chainset, Derallier, brakes etc., it was lovely and a great ride, until the day that I made a bad decision and went between a parked car on the left and a stopped bus on the right, this was in Peckham, it should have been all right. However, some lovely gentleman, who I never had the chance to thank, ran me down as he emerged from behind the bus in his dirty brown Hillman Avenger.

    I broke both arms, got a nasty head wound and hurt my back. Strange as it might sound, I got up and dragged the remains of my bike to the kerb and told those concerned that I was OK. It wasn’t until I got to the hospital some hours later that all was revealed, and the arms were plastered, the head stitched and the back ignored.

  13. Peter

    Astonishing to find out they just gave up looking for the second bomb and just left it there. What?But even more shocked to see that bill being passed on the silos. No, wait, the empty hearing, wtf? Good read and some sadly deranged opinions.

  14. Rob Campbell

    I’m not going to turn Leicaphilia into a boxing ring of futile posting.

    Suffice to say that any vote based on a simple, unexplained or qualified Yes or No is a mockery.

    Campaign of fear: every BOE and recent governmental calculation has shown that either leaving with this deal or none at all is a finacially worse decision than the status we enjoy by remaining as we are already. It’s just a matter of the degree of self-harm that exiting is going to inflict. If people doubt the BOE and the government’s figures, then they need only look at the combined views of those running industry, the huge majority of whom depend on frictionless trade and passage of goods in order to keep going and keep people working.

    How sickening, then, that government accepts this, states it with its figures, in fact, yet lacks the balls to tell the nation that it is committing financial suicide, and that on consideration, it can’t lead the country to that conclusion. It should hold an election with both it and the oppositions stating their considered stance regarding European union as the single-issue on which everything is based. We all understand how the parties act when in power, where their interests lie; the only unknown today is their definitive stance on remaining safe or getting into the suicide business.

    This is as far as my correspondence on this matter will go for the reason stated where I came in.


  15. Nic

    Good read, good pictures (as usual) and good posts here (I am on Stephen’s side here). I did a short weekend trip to Durham last spring but I definitely expect to visit NC soon.

  16. Laurence Kesterson

    Politics aside, as a child of Appalachia I was very disappointed in your derision of parts of NC. Mississippi, too. “…residents too poor or too stupid to leave. Close your eyes and you could be in Mississippi.”

    I really enjoy your writing and your photography. I consider your blog a treasure and an asset to our community of artists. I value the escape from the polarization that we find ourselves inundated with. You’re better than that.

    1. Dogman

      Gotta agree with Laurence here. Equating poor with stupid is, in itself, is a bit…well, you know.

      People live where they live for varied reasons, including family and feeling connected to “home”. I look at the centers of economic and educational progressiveness (i.e., our decaying cities with their unbridled greed and unrelieved stresses) and I can’t help but feel they are onto something, those poor and stupid fools, surrounded by people important to them and a landscape open and clean. Could be they are the smart and wealthy ones.

  17. StephenJ

    Sorry Rob, but in the days when you were able to vote (Labour) in general elections, and did, presumably…

    You knew beforehand that they were going to financially cripple the economy and at the end of each of their terms, not only leave it in far worse condition than when they took it on, incurred record debt each time….

    You knew that?

    But you still voted for them?

    It’s what they do.

    But you still voted for them… Don’t deny it. It’s what socialists/liberals do!

    That has been the history, since the first Labour administration in the 1920’s….

    Of course the sad thing is, that Cameron and those tory’s following, have done exactly the same thing.

    The ONLY thing we can do is take their toys away by leaving the EU, there might be a small initial shock, but the predictions are that we will be MUCH better off within months.

    I will guarantee, that a return to proper right wing liberal economics without the malevolent influence of the EU/Corporatist/globalist system guarantees that ordinary folk and the nation as a whole will prosper.

    It is significant that George Bush died overnight, being as he was one of the architects of the EU “new world order”.

    Thank f*** for that!

  18. Tom P

    @ Ron Himebaugh, those Cannondale aluminumiumium frames have made great strides with their SAVE micro suspension. I bought one a couple of months ago and it’s by far the smoothest I have owned. Carbon forks, mind. Leica user, Cyclist and Remainer (but hey, perfection is rare in a man, as one of my exes used to say).

  19. Rob Campbell

    What in the name of all that’s holy lead you to that conclusion? I have never voted left, and am sure I was Maggie’s numero uno fan!

    I remember driving from our house to the in-laws’ because their zone was getting power when our electricity and gas zone had been cut off due to the political strikes, food being part-cooked in one place and finished in the other! I had my first studio maybe five miles from both the Pressed Steel and Rootes factories in Scotland and recall how militants destroyed both; I remember Red Robbo in the Midlands and the direct demise of the UK car industry-as-was; miners rioting and beating up our stupidly unarmed police forces… Please don’t associate me with the friggin’ left!

    That does not, however, absolve Cameron from his own stupidity in trusting to the common sense of the masses, nor absolve May, accepting as she does that the least expensive option is to write off the money spent on attempted suicide thus far and that the status quo is our best option, but from still refusing to recommend that the nation opt for that. All the other options will cost billions. It is said that nothing happened after the vote? Really? From being the country with the fastest growing GDP in Europe before that bloody vote, we turned into the slowest. The pound is currently as low as I can remember it being. If that’s not a recession, then the definition needs redefining. The other uncomfortable truth is that Northern Ireland is wagging the UK body like a shaggy dog’s tail. It is impossible for two independent states not to have a border; only the internecine murder tendencies of religious Irish peoples north and south of that border makes the impossible be treated by the rest of the UK as if it were perfectly reasonable and attainable. As for the Scots… at last the SNP now, finally, has the chance to represent itself within the cloak of least insane.

    If a country makes a blind guess in a referendum, based on nothing but fibs and prejudice, then surely, once the achievable reality is visible to all but the wilfully blind, it is not undemocratic, but a political necessity, an act of duty, to give the people a chance to correct their mistake in the light of current information. That, either via further referendum or simply by government grasping the nettle and saying this can’t be allowed to happen on our watch.,

    Regarding the migrants crossing the Channel: they have absolutely nothing to do with the EEC; they are from without it, and as unwelcome in Europe as in Britain. It wouldn’t make an iota of difference if the EEC existed or not, geography is as it is, and France the closest point to our dumb nirvana of benefits for all. Blame British laws, not the foreigners. If you seek the origins of this problem, look no further back than the immediate post-war period. We had no yardies or mega drug problems in those days before that, and nobody was running cars into crowds; we did have big bang problems being imported from across St George’s Channel, though…

  20. Ron Himebaugh

    Tom, that’s what I need. I think my forks are the old Pepperonis, and no suspension, fore or aft. What I think is called a “stiffie.” I’m thinking I should replace the knobbies and use the C-dale as an urban bike for picture-taking and get a properly suspended trail bike along with a steelie for the road. Need to sell some cameras………

  21. Dan Castelli

    When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s difficult to remember the original objective was to drain the swamp. This little nugget was impressed upon me in 1969. Has nothing to do with trump. Nice set of pics. I think that was what your post was about – photos along a rural area. That and biking. I think you’re mining a rich vein of visual delights.

    The most difficult places to make photos are ultra progressive & ultra conservative areas. Just two sides of the same coin. Both sides are suspicious & mistrusting. Both sides think you’re violating their ‘rights’ by snapping a pic or two:

    August 2018. Cambridge MA: I was walking with my daughter back to her apartment. Snapped a picture of a dog on Mass Ave. Some toddler was in the background. Mother comes up to me and tells me she’s gonna call the cops because I took a picture with her child in the background. She told me it was against the law. Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Cambridge.

    August 1972: Pulled over the side of the road to snap a pic of some field hands working in the hot Florida sun. A local cop pulls up behind my car. “Watchya doing boy [me: long hair, pale white guy]? “Taking a picture officer.” “Against the law…can I see license & registration?” Got a bogus ticket. I was lucky. Welcome to the Great State of Florida.

    Who knew photography was a crime?

  22. StephenJ

    At the risk of perpetuating this discussion ad infinitum Rob, I have to say that we probably hail from similar political background and viewpoint but have arrived at different conclusions regarding the “final solution” 🙂 … All the fun of being old gits.

    I am not a xenophobe and you are not a lefty, let the mutual insults abate now.

    I lived through the experiences that you describe in your first para, although those power cuts were part of the traitor Heath’s time, he now having dropped to the second worst PM in UK history just behind May and in front of the communist Attlee… Actually on reflection, they are joint bottom a triumvirate of ordure, considering the number of opportunities that they have wasted in pursuit of their mad ideas.

    I concluded that we needed to get the political class to take responsibility rather than palming everything off on the “bloody common market”…. Nuthin’ to do with us guv attitude. Then once we have that back, campaign for more issue based democracy (direct democracy)…

    The best PM (not saying much) Thatcher, really should have aimed her guns (and handbag) at her own bureaucracy along with the EEC, the miners were never really an issue, but she made the huge mistake of standing up to that lefty crook Scargill when she knew that the markets would ultimately rule and that he would price himself out of it.

    This was what UKIP formed following Maastricht was about, until Tony Blair started importing perfectly innocent and healthily ambitious people, whilst ignoring the people that were already here, apart from insulting us and our children that is. Blair of course had hit on the idea that spinning an ever increasing number of plates enabled him to extract even more from the public finances for his own enrichment and his cronyism. It was in 2003 that Farage began to talk about EU immigration (free movement) as an issue for the first time, until then it had never been mentioned. The campaign was previously ALL about getting a referendum to leave the EU and then getting more direct democracy.

    Unfortunately that party it is not like that now, it is now the reincarnation of the BUF/NF/BNP and will be consigned to a rightful place of about 1-3% in any election, hopefully it will soon completely whither. Any decent kipper has left or let their membership lapse.

    Corbyn and his coterie are bolsheviks and virtually nothing that is in their manifesto is allowable under the Acquis, the rest of the Labour Party, the Tory and LibDims are all globalists and essentially corporatist/fascist, they think that we will somehow benefit from their micro-management of our every breath. The right of the Tory party are way too conservative, both socially and economically… There is nowhere for a laissez faire classical liberal such as myself to go or vote now.

    Your comments regarding the EU, indicate that though I might have been incorrect to label you as a progressive lefty, you appear to be still very much influenced by the propaganda that the government and its media and bureaucratic cohorts have spread about our financial position after leaving on the same terms that we successfully conduct business with our biggest partners, the US. For every one of those very well publicised lies, there are well argued opinions that demonstrate that leaving will ensure that we would be more prosperous rather than less, by leaving.

    As mentioned earlier, I am planning to leave for warmer climes, I am thinking of the hills around Rasquera, but also the Atlantic coasts of Portugal and Galicia look interesting. I am very depressed both politically and physically by the relentless onslaught that has resulted from the intelligent and right vote to leave the EU, waking up to sunny mornings might help to lift that. Nobody could have predicted the depth of government treachery in pursuit of its globalist aims.

    The (300 mile long) Irish border for instance was not an issue between 1922 and 1972, indeed, my Irish wife has full rights in the UK, as do I in Ireland… There are already different currencies, different tax rates, different excise rates, different rules regarding insurance, different rules regarding veterinary issues, and none of it is a problem, either technically or clerically/legally. We have passed a bill that means that our technical standards are at least equal to those of the rest of the EU.

    Note that there are also similar borders on the other side of the EU that also have no issues, and do not have a so-called “hard border”… it is all bollocks designed to punish the people that have had the temerity to be in the majority (and increasing) view that the EU is a bad thing. The behaviour of our own government who gave us the referendum and said they would honour our decision is frankly worse than the predictable behaviour of the politburo in Brussels.

    I note that you appear to be partial to a bit of Balearic life, I stayed in Puerto Pollença and Deia a couple of times and you are probably better off living there and having no vote in blighty. I reckon from looking at your website that you have missed out on some of the finer points of living in the UK for anywhere near as long as I have. Excellent snaps by the way!

    For me, the hope is that somehow, we will either leave the EU on what is called WTO terms, or remain (until it inevitably collapses). The “deal” as cooked up by that malodorous cow is the worst possible from whichever angle it is viewed… The lies about travelling around Europe and even working or studying in each others countries are just part of this globalist campaign to enslave us all. One ring to rule them all.

    None of which alters my view that the confederate south, including the people of NC, has nothing to be ashamed of for thanking Jesus (who he?) for their beautiful land, nor voting for the egotistic Trump for embiggening himself whilst subscribing to the Reagan doctrine that if a politician or bureaucrat says to you, something along the lines of: “Good afternoon, I am from the government and I am here to help”, that your best next action is to run and hide and take your firearm with you.

    I agree with Tim that Trump is probably mad, but I really laughed when at their Thanksgiving tradition, he was thankful for himself and all the great things he has done. On balance I prefer the big ego type leader, who thinks more about himself than the type that suggest that there is something that they can do for the poor, which of course entails tightening their grip on other folk’s liberties, and sticking their big noses in where not needed. The latter type are inevitably far more corrupt… the clintons come to mind here.

    Family beats tribalism, tribalism beats nationism, nationism beats confederation, confederation beats federation and federation beats globalism. The bigger they get, the less control we have over our own destinies, the less freedom we have and the less money we have to express that freedom.

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