Thursday, March 22, 2012

Third Day of Spring

The third day of Spring looked more like the first day of Winter. 

 We woke to more snow and I was forced to take the car to work. I decided to take the long way to work so I could enjoy the sunshine and snap a few pics of my commute.

This turn is one of my favorite parts of my commute. It's a left turn from the southbound lane of Peoria Road and east onto Tangent Drive to welcome the morning sun, I ride through the trees and the road winds about a quarter mile to the next bend.

I cross this little bridge and the road opens up from the canopy of trees to the vast expanse of farmer's fields. Normally green with grass or filling the air with the aroma of meadow foam, this morning it was beautifully blanketed with snow.

The great thing about having snow around here is that nearly everyone is afraid to drive in it so the majority of the population stay to the main thoroughfares leaving the back roads all to myself.

Oh darn, a detour. Oh well, I guess the long way to work just became a little bit longer.

This stretch of road sure brought back memories of driving through Northern Alberta. 

Back to the main road and nearing my office, this is not the way to clear snow from the car. Wait until they stop at the first traffic light and all that snow on the roof slides onto their windshield. Nothing is more fun than standing in the middle of a busy intersection brushing cold, heavy, wet snow from the windshield. (I'm a quick study).

So where does all that snow go at the end of the day?

My usual route home involved yet another detour, this time it was back to the main road and all the hustle and bustle of the commuter traffic.

I sure hope to be back on the bike tomorrow... but it may just be the canoe.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The second day of Spring... really?

Fine, I guess all that optimism yesterday was for naught.

This morning we woke to yet another blanket of fallen snow, forcing me to take the car to work which makes for one grumpy boy. Schools are closed, power lines are down and police cars are in the ditch.

Spring snow causes schools closures, crashes

Welcome to spring in the mid-valley.
Snow early Wednesday morning led to the closure of most mid-valley schools, including those in Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Philomath and Sweet Home schools districts.
Jefferson schools were on a two-hour delay.
The University of Oregon has delayed its opening until 1 p.m. Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College opened as usual. The exception was the LBCC Sweet Home center, which was was closed because of a power outage.
ODOT reported at midmorning that Highway 20 was closed five miles east of Sweet Home after several trees downed power lines that were blocking the highway. 
The closure is expected to be a lengthy one. There are multiple reports of trees down on U.S. 20. Motorists should avoid this area, and are encouraged to postpone travel, if possible, or be prepared for extreme winter driving conditions.  Motorists should also reduce speed and be alert to changing road conditions and the possibility of falling trees and limbs.
In Benton County, a head-on crash about 8:30 a.m. involving two semi-trucks closed Highway 99W at Alpine Road north Monroe.
Southbound traffic was being detoured through the Alpine cutoff.
The driver of one of the semis, Timothy Tull of Springfield, had facial injuries and was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis.
The other driver, whose name was not immediately available, was OK.
ODOT also reports multiple crashes along the I-5 corridor in the Eugene-Springfield area, but no complete highway closures. Motorists should expect snow accumulation on area highways, with especially slick conditions on any elevated roadway or ramps. 
There are also multiple crashes reported on Highway 36 and Highway 125, west of Eugene.  There are multiple reports of trees down on Highway 58. 

A head-on crash about 8:30 a.m. involving two semi-trucks has closed Highway 99W at Alpine Road north Monroe.
Southbound traffic is being detoured through the Alpine cutoff.
The driver of one of the semis, Timothy Tull of Springfield, had facial injuries and was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis.
The other driver is OK.
The roadway was slick, and both drivers could not negotiate a curve when they collided, according to Oregon State Police Trooper Phil VanLeuven.
The highway was also temporarily closed but has been reopned at Finley Road, where a Benton County sheriff's car went off the road and into a ditch.
Deputy Brent Iverson was responding to the semi crash when his vehicle spun out and ended up in the ditch. Iverson is OK. The vehicle has some front-end damage and was towed back to Corvallis

Downed power lines close Highway 20 east of Sweet Home

Highway 20 is closed 5 miles east of Sweet Home (milepost 36) after several trees downed power lines that are blocking the highway. 
This could be a lengthy closure. There are multiple reports of trees down on U.S. 20. 
Motorists should avoid this area, and are encouraged to postpone travel, if possible, or be prepared for extreme winter driving conditions. 
Motorists should also reduce speed and be alert to changing road conditions and the possibility of falling trees and limbs.

Storm breaks snowfall records in Eugene, but spring will make swift comeback

  An early-spring storm dumped up to 7 inches of snow on Eugene, making it the biggest snowfall to hit the city this late in the season in 73 years of record-keeping, the National Weather Service said.

All that snow caused havoc on area roads early this morning in the Central to South Willamette Valley.

The Oregon Transportation Department reported crashes on Interstate 5 and crashes as well as downed trees on other highways. U.S. 20 east of Sweet Home was closed because trees fell on power lines. U.S. 20 at Santiam Pass was also closed due to a snow slide that may have trapped a vehicle, ODOT reports. Crews have reached those vehicles and everyone is OK.

Also, ODOT reports that Oregon 35 is closed by an avalanche six miles north of U.S. 26. By 1:30 p.m., ODOT reported that Oregon 35 is open again.

The National Weather Service forecast another 1 to 3 inches of snow today in the southern Willamette Valley, mostly from decreasing snow showers. ODOT webcams showed Interstate 5 to be mostly wet with little accumulation on the road surface.

Snowfall totals
included 7 inches in both Eugene and Silverton, and 3.5 inches in Salem. Eugene averages about a half inch of snow in March, but most of that usually occurs during the first 10 days of the month, the weather service said. Measurable snow also fell in the Cascade foothills west of Portland, including in Corbett and Damascus at a higher elevations.

This is the La Niña winter weather we’ve been waiting for,” said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University. “It’s pretty typical – an active storm track, wet and cool. It’s a bit later than we’ve expected, but low-elevation snow in March isn’t unprecedented.

“La Niña is officially waning,” Dello added, “but she’s still got some fight in her.”

At the University of Oregon officials plan to reopen the campus for classes at 1 p.m. today. 

A weather service hydrologist, Andy Bryant, says the storm will hang on through today and then move east as showers.
Bryant says it could leave up to 2 feet of snow in the Cascade Range, boosting a below-average snowpack.

"It could get a bit interesting again Thursday morning, but for the most part we will be back in the mid-40s,'' he said. 


Our email is down at work, our network is out and our power keeps flickering off all morning and it is still snowing. It wasn't getting to work this morning that was the problem, it'll be trying to get home.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Welcome Spring

Although it doesn't look much like Spring around here with all the grey skies, cold mornings, constant rain and threats of snow still in the forecast, it is still my favorite season of the year. I know that if I'm just ever so patient that the sun will come, the high water will recede and we'll see the bright, colorful blossoms, buds and blooms. The daffodils are up and standing cheerfully despite the relentless rain, the birds are coming back and calling to us that it is time to come outside, the sun slowly warming and calming the winter winds.
We aren't getting the mid 70º temperatures like everyone in the mid-west is enjoying right now, but we didn't suffer the cold, freezing winter storms and snow they did either, so if anyone deserves the nice weather it is you mid-westerners and those to the east.
Our turn will come soon enough, I am hopeful that this rainy weather is short lived and we will get a warm, dry Spring this year. The rain is the price we pay for all the green year round.

Happy Spring Equinox to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere and Happy Autumn Equinox to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere.

EDIT: A friend shared this poem this morning and I had to share it here:

Golden locks of forsythia, eye shadow in shades of crocus, camellia red lips and pieris flower earrings dangling long against her neck. Cloaked in cherry blossoms, she struts herself up and down the boulevard. Spring is a whore driving us all nuts with fever.        - Deborah B.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Brake pads

Early this year in January I had the sprag clutch replaced in my Tiger, unfortunately an oil weep had developed and was slowly coating my brake pedal, footpeg, centerstand and right boot in an ever so fine mist of synthetic motor oil. There are two bolts fastened vertically from the bottom of the crankcase that the Thunderbike crash bars mount and the mechanic didn't get them adequately sealed, but no harm no foul. Saturday, Trobairitz and I took advantage of the break in the clouds and short periods of sunshine to go for a ride to Eugene as I was finally able to get down to the shop for the repair. They made good on their word, got me right in and took care of it while Trobairitz and I went for lunch. I tried talking her into riding the Bonneville demo bike so we had two bikes but she muttered something about not licking the cookie and insisted on riding pillion on Max instead.

That little Gladius is a great bike, it's so light and nimble I could hardly tell she was back there. Suzuki only brought the Gladius into the US for one year, making them somewhat rare and hard to find so it would be hard to let it go for a Bonneville only to regret it later. This is why we need a bigger garage, more bikes. His, hers and ours.

We went to our favorite cafe for lunch as they offered a St. Paddy's day special of a Ruben sandwich we wanted to try. While we were waiting for our sandwiches I received a call from the mechanic confirming the oil was weeping from the bolts so they used a brass washer and silicone to seal the leak but also mentioned my rear brake pads were worn.

What? Didn't I just replace those?

Back at the shop I was talking to Rod and discussing the difference in brake pads and why my rear pads wear faster than the front. I mentioned to him the conversation I had with another motorcycle parts supply shop where I usually buy my brake pads and how they recommend using sintered metallic or Double-H pads on the front for more stopping power and softer organic pads on the rear to avoid rear wheel lock up. This of course explains why I'm replacing my rear pads much more often and I should have recognized the difference of good intentions from good advice. I understand the logic behind this reasoning and would tend to agree with it for new riders who may have a tendency to stomp on the rear brake or for off road use where it is much easier to lock up the rear wheel. But being a seasoned rider where the majority of my riding is on the street I especially appreciated Rod's response...

"You do have control over that."

Yes, yes I do. Smooth progressive pressure on the front brake and light pressure on the rear.

Smart man.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Head and Eyes Up!

Huh, wha? Oh yeah, keep your head and eyes up, look through the turn.

Remember this photo?


When I first started auditing Team Oregon classes last fall my mentor hooked me up with this hat. With a bit of persistence, perseverance and a whole lot of patience through the winter months, I managed to make it through the interview process and landed myself into an IP (Instructor Preparation) class. What made this especially difficult for me was that December, January and February are the busiest months at my work. Once the Christmas season is over it is full throttle to ship grass seed into the distribution centers and stores for the upcoming Spring season. I was going into work early, working through my lunch and staying late trying to keep up. I was committed to the #29in29 challenge and did my best keeping up on everyone's blogs, commenting when I could. Then during the weekend and evenings Brandy and I moved a couple of walls to expand a closet in our master bedroom, then put down cork flooring throughout our house. 
My interview with Team Oregon came and went, I was accepted into class and before I knew it I was headed up to Portland for a weekend of information overload. 

Aka - "The Range Cards"

I have literally, short of sleeping with it, packed the Basic Rider Training Range Guide with me since it arrived on my doorstep, reading exercise after exercise after exercise just to prepare for IP.

I had an absolute blast, thoroughly enjoyed myself and learned so much that the knowledge started weeping from my ears. Two instructors teaching, two more instructors "playing" the role of error riders and 11 other fresh, newbie classmates took turns going through the exercises on the range for two days. We took turns riding the range and teaching an exercise so at least the other riders (fellow classmates) were model students. The error riders like "Relentless Ray" however, struck fear into all of us as he barreled all 250cc's of training bike down the range making sure to mess something up for us to coach and correct, but Ray just wouldn't learn and continued to test us over and over and over again. C'mon Ray!

We all passed and graduated to Apprentice Instructors, donning our new official khaki brimmed caps, eager and ready to teach our first class.

The "official" instructor cap.

And this past weekend just happened to be my first class. Let me tell you, at least you can somewhat predict what Relentless Ray was going to do in IP, having 12 actual students who have never been on a motorcycle before will really open your eyes and keep you on your toes. As long as I kept telling myself that they were more afraid of me than I was of them I'd make it through the weekend.

Seriously, they were all great students and my fellow instructors were very helpful and supportive. I had a great time, had a lot of fun, learned even more and can't wait for my next class to do it all over again.

Just like students learning to ride, I'm now able to keep my head and eyes up. I have a few more classes to teach before I am signed off as a full instructor.... now to slow, look, roll and press through the next turn.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

I thought this was an interesting bit of history....

and how it is so popular today.


Friday, March 2, 2012

New Triumph Tiger Sport 1050 spied

 Oh boy!  Oh boy!  Oh boy!
 I knew patience would finally pay off! 

New Triumph Tiger Sport 1050 spied 


Triumph’s never-ending onslaught of new bikes shows no sign of slowing after a keen-eyed MCN reader scooped the new 2013 Triumph Tiger Sport 1050 parked while out testing.
The spy shot shows a new version of the current 1050cc inline three-cylinder road-biased adventure bike which remains a popular and good value machine often favoured by those who ride every day.
The bike is based on the current Tiger 1050 but side decals reveal its name as the Tiger Sport and it has clearly given a big makeover – the single-sided swingarm, wheels, front fairing, subframe and seat unit are all new.
The bike was spotted parked at a McDonald’s drive through outlet in Banbury, Oxfordshire. It was being ridden by factory test rider who appeared to be taking a break from the snowy conditions.
MCN reader Dan Hewitt took the picture and has been paid by MCN for the exclusive use of the images – just as you could be if you spot a new bike. All you have to do is email the images to
For the full story see the February 29 issue of MCN.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

In like a lion...

so this Tiger isn't going anywhere today.

I can't schedule a two hour delay like the local school buses do.

Let's hope March goes out like a lamb.