Sunday, August 31, 2008

All British Field Meet

We drove up to Portland on Saturday to check out the 2008 All British Field Meet at the Portland International Raceway.

It was my first time to the P.I.R. and what a great opportunity to check it out, admission was reasonable and there was plenty to see. Vintage car racing, a car show and even a few bikes were on hand to represent. It would have been nice to see a few more bikes, gear and parts vendors and some food vendors (at least a fish and chip truck) but maybe next year. We took the car as I am not fond of PDX traffic on a bike anytime, let alone on Labour Day weekend, but I may have to register and enter the bike in the 2009 show. We spent a few hours there wandering around checking out the cars and bikes.

The threat of rain hung over the event while we were there but it was still sunny enough that Brandy brought home a sunburn as a souvenir. I fared much better as I am never shy about wearing my old man straw hat.

There were several different makes and models of cars present but I am partial to the Mini, probably because of the simplicity, functionality of design and that my mom owned a Leyland Mini when I was a kid.

I do like the Triumph TR3, TR4, TR5 and TR6s as well, but it has always struck me as odd that not only one, but several British car manufacturers would design, build and sell so many convertibles for such a wet climate.

We even saw a couple of Ford Cortinas, another car my parents owned when I was just a wee little lad. It was funny to hear, as we wandered around, the good old boys tell stories of "I used to have a..."

I said to Brandy, I wonder if in twenty years I'll stand around talking about my 1974 Vega wagon I owned when I was a teen?
Well, I didn't have to wait 20 years, as we stumbled upon a car show in Newport today and a 1976 Vega wagon. I fell right into reminiscing and it was too late...I said it to the owner..."I used to have a '74"

Sunday, August 24, 2008


"When you're right, no one remembers. When you're wrong, no one forgets." This must to be the life motto of a meteorologist.

I must say that last Thursday the weather forecast was not only right but right on the nose. Rain showers were predicted for the morning and expected to clear up by noon opening up to sunshine and warmer temperatures. I had my doubts as I rode into work that morning in the rain and then watched it through my office window drown my bike for the rest of the morning.
But, you could have set your watch by it, because at 12:00 noon the rain stopped, the sunshine came out and I thought how the local meteorologists never get the recognition they deserve when they do get it right. I would suspect that they are right more often than not, it is just not the outcome we want to hear and we have a tendency to blame them for the bad news. They don't produce the weather, they study it and report their findings. I have to congratulate them on a job well done, they are under appreciated. Keep up the great work!

My signature on many of the forums in which I participate, is a quote from Mark Twain: "Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get".

A mild storm is expected to arrive this evening bringing a chance of rain. Of course, I just washed my bike...again.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rain, rain, go away...

We've been experiencing some midsummer rain this past week, somewhat out of the ordinary for Oregon summer and how it came was odd. Last Saturday was a do nothing, too hot to ride, stay in air conditioned comfort kind of day. But by 2:00am Sunday morning were gathered outside in the backyard hunkered down under the gazebo watching the lightning and listening to thunder while Mother Nature watered our dusty, moisture deprived....lawn? We definitely needed the rain to revive the local vegetation as the threat of forest fires increased throughout the summer. Ironically, the lightning that accompanied the rains had our firefighters on alert.

My plans for a ride Sunday were thwarted but a brief sunny break about mid-afternoon offered an opportunity to wash the bike, change the oil and to complete a thorough inspection beyond my daily once over. I rolled the dice, betting that the rain would stop and that Monday's ride into work would be warm and dry. Good thing I am not a betting man, as it has rained for the past 3 1/2 days. I've pulled out the hi-vis rain gear and I've been cautious of all the oil the rain has pulled up from the roads.

Riding into work this week I shake my head at drivers who do not drive with their lights on in overcast or rainy weather. I am required by law to have my headlight on all the time so that I may be seen. I'll say, that grey Buick in the shadows of the grove of rain laden tree boughs approaching my left turn ahead is sure hard to see.

And when did that Ford truck sneak up behind me? We do what we can to make ourselves seen and ride like we are invisible, but shouldn't this be a two way street? Daytime running lights have been required on all cars produced for Canada since 1989, I guess it still strikes me as odd to see a car operated with it's lights off.

Same theory for hi-vis vest and jackets, only I have discovered a flaw with wearing this attire. Last Spring I would come home daily complaining to Brandy how someone cut me off or didn't see me. I even had one guy pull out in front of me, meet me at the next light, get out of his car and apologize to me and that "he did not see" me. Ummm, I am wearing bright green! Anyway, this summer with warmer temperatures I've switched to my grey mesh jacket and surprisingly my daily rants diminished. No problems all summer, until yesterday, while wearing my hi-vis jacket a driver breezed through a stop to crowd me in my lane. This morning, with no one behind me, a truck pulled out in front of me headed in the same direction I was, failing to wait two Mississippi to let me by. Every motorcycle and scooter forum and blog you read has these same stories, all too often the topic of discussion. But my discovery is that of target fixation, drivers do it too!! The only difference between us and them is that we are aware of the how and whys of target fixation and we train ourselves to look ahead, look beyond, avert our stare. Drivers just merrily continue with their day, oblivious to their very own psychological event they just experienced. They see us, they just don't see us. I will continue to wear hi-vis during rainy, inclement weather, but I am reluctant to make myself a target. Maybe a two tone red/ does mean stop, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Where did it go?

Where did summer go, wow time flies, I realized I hadn't written in the blog for a while. I've been busy in the yard with honey do projects. Except when it comes to the yard I am my own worst enemy.

We went for a ride on Sunday 8/3 to Metolius/Sisters and discovered a few things along the way. Before heading up the hill we pulled over at Short Bridge just East of Sweet Home. I've been through here many times before in a delivery truck but I never knew this covered bridge was there.

I am learning to actually take time to pull over and stop for pictures. But a slow learner, the only other picture I took that day was along Peoria Road, a spot I pass twice a day to and from work. Can you blame me? This is a pretty nice garden.

Over the Cascades I managed 50 mpg, two up to 4200 feet above sea level and down the other side. I normally average 40 - 42mpg riding solo back and forth to work on a daily basis and was surprised to calculate such a significant difference on this particular ride. I can only attribute it to the elevation. Does the bike run lean at a higher altitude or was she just happy with the two of us saddled up, bopping along, through the curves enjoying the cool mountain air and the ribbon of asphalt laid before us? I don't know for sure, maybe it is me, with Brandy on the back of the bike I ease up a little on the acceleration, shifts are considerably smoother and cruising speed is a little more modest. I still think it's the altitude.

We rode into Camp Sherman looking for a bite to eat. Turning off of highway 20 and pulling into a little roadside turnout, we dismounted and removed the inner linings of our jackets to welcome the sun's warmth after a cool morning ride over the top of the pass. I love the Willamette Valley, but it is nice to enjoy the dry heat of the desert every once in a while. We stretched and headed into camp for some grub only to find the lodges closed and an overcrowed market cafe. Both of us are not fans of populated gatherings so we were off to Sisters for lunch. Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire. I've been to Sisters before and I understand it is a tourist town that boasts antique shops, fairs and numerous shops of trinkets and treasures. It is evident that my memory fades, as this weekend was just as busy as ever, but one block off the main drag revealed a quiet little bakery with about three tables, perfect! We had a bite to eat then got out of Dodge.

It was a shame to ride over here and not stop at the head of the Metolius River so back up we went. Everyone I've talked to about the Metolius has raved about the camping and how beautiful the river is and how it comes from a spring in the rock hillside. I enjoy an awe inspiring moment as much as the next guy but where was this beautiful sight everyone speaks so highly. A 1/4 mile walk down to the head of the river reveals... a pond? A small quiet stream down in the shadows of the wild blackberries and woodland shrubbery. To the right, through the brush and bramble, a river and a mountain backdrop, it's pretty I admit, but nothing to rave about, even a little disappointing. Meh, a whole lot disappointing, to us, to me.

As we left, to head home without any other photos, I pulled up behind a car with Crater Lake Plates and chuckled to Brandy, "Crater Lake better be awe inspiring, it warrants a license plate and it's on the Oregon quarter"