Thursday, December 31, 2009

Two Thousand and Ten

We say goodbye to Two Thousand and Nine, goodbye to another year, another decade and we welcome Two Thousand and Ten.

All the newscasts are remembering the doom and gloom, the celebrity deaths and the recession of the past decade. I'd rather recall the fun we had, the friends we've made, the travels and good times.

No long post, no pics, no pomp and circumstance, just quiet reflection, well wishes to all and a simple thank you.

“New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rated R (for Riepe)

Being from small towns with a population of less than 50,000, I thought I was in for a treat going to Seattle for the weekend, but instead I was shocked. I've walked both East Hastings in Vancouver and St. Catherine Street in Montreal at night, but I couldn't believe what I saw in Seattle.

The locals wander around in their underwear, making them half naked.

Shops sell crude t-shirts.

Not to mention the free entertainment offered.

Even Pike Place Market wasn't safe, although tasty.

I can't wait to go back.

in the meantime Cherry Mishmash!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

more of Seattle...

While talking to Bobskoot last weekend, he mentioned a few photography websites, spoke of cameras and patterns then left my to my own device...pun intended.

Here are a few photos I took while out and about Seattle.

Yes, I thought about it.

Not bad for some quick shots with an inexpensive point and shoot but we all have to start somewhere.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seattle sights

Seattle in a weekend, a whirlwind tour and glad to be home. We made it to the train station early Saturday morning, leaving our ice covered home to thaw from the previous night of freezing rain. It was difficult to commit to the train back in early October, but we are so glad we did, who'd have thought the weather would be so against us. We had to leave one couple behind as they couldn't make it down their driveway and down the hill on the ice to the level ground of the valley floor. Leaving me, Trobairitz and Rick without adult supervision.
Arriving at the station we ran into a fellow motorcyclist friend going to Indianapolis for a convention for work. We enjoyed her company to Portland where she hopped off to catch the Max to the airport. With a mere 4 hours it wasn't long before we reached our destination and were snapping pics.

Our friend and, unbeknownst to us, tour guide Rick

Arriving in Seattle and walking to the hotel.

Our rooms were ready and we were greeted with warm cookies.

We stayed at the Double Tree Arctic Club Hotel just a couple blocks from the train station and just a few extra steps to the motorcycle show. We spent the afternoon at the show trying on bikes and checking out the vendor schwag.

We met up with the PNWRiders crew for a quick photo and then stood around looking at each other. Without a keyboard and monitor nobody knew how to communicate outside the forum. We did run into Tiko, another forum member from Corvallis, but everyone else kept to themselves.

After a few text messages we found Bobskoot and Mrs. Skoot at the show but I knew he wanted to visit with his friend Chuck and we had bikes to see, so after meeting with Chuck we let them go for dinner and promised to meet for breakfast. I didn't get any pics of us at the show, it wasn't until Sunday morning I was able to get a photo.

Bob and Mrs. Skoot offered to drive us to the train station to drop our bags before heading to the international district for Dim Sum brunch at Jade Garden, another first for us.

I caught Bob procuring blog fodder

I have alot to learn about photography to catch up to Bob's level, but I listened and learned as he enlightened me with his knowledge. Thank you Bob, I am saving my pennies for that next camera.

We finished up breakfast and the Skoots had to get home so they graciously drove us to Pike Place Market and we bid farewell while making plans to meet again in the new year.

It was a pleasure to meet you both and you too Chuck, looking forward to it again.

Stay tuned for Sunday afternoon....

-EDIT: more details on Trobairitz' Tablet


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How low can you go?

It has been chilly around our neck of the woods lately. We have been experiencing an unusual arctic front that is bringing in temperatures well below freezing. The reason why I say chilly and not downright cold is because SonjaM reminded me of what downright cold looks like with her Calgary post. I've been to Calgary in the winter, hell I've been to Edmonton and to Montreal in winter, I know what -40º feels like, snot freezes solid at -40º, I've lost a car to -40º.

So I do appreciate the mild Oregon weather, the recent sunshine is a pleasant change from the cold, wet, rainy season and I admit in the past 9 years I've become acclimated and somewhat pusillanimous. I don't take it for granted that I can ride as much as I do in the winter.

I've been watching the temperature drop and have been enjoying the lack of moisture, however everyday it gets colder and colder to the lowest temperature I think I've ever rode in, 8.2ºF (-13.2ºC) this morning. And to Irondad, as sadistic as it is, the windchill this morning at 60mph was -21ºF.

8.2ºF is my personal best, albeit I did use a heated liner, heated grips and fairing. Unfortunately, due to my lack of attention regarding a battery tender, the Triumph wasn't up for the challenge, although I'm not sure I could have done it without the fairing of the Ninja anyway. A heated visor will be next because if you think a foggy visor is hard to see out of, try it when that fog from your breath freezes. A frosted visor and riding into the morning sunrise makes for a blind motorcyclist.

Tomorrow is expected to start warming up and the rain to return this weekend. What a better time to have rain return than the weekend we head to the motorcycle show in Seattle.

Although, it just wouldn't be Seattle without rain now would it.

See you at the show.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Finding a happy medium...

Trobairitz and I have been debating, discussing and deciding which is the right bike for her. She started out on the Nighthawk 250 and it was too small. She stepped up to the Ninja 650R and it was too...(this is starting to sound like the story of Goldilocks). We thought about the new Suzuki TU250X but are afraid she will out grow it quickly and we'll be in the same predicament we are in now. We test rode the Triumph Bonneville SE last summer and of course she fell in love with it, but learning on an $8000 bike is a little steep for our budget.

One day I just happened to be checking out bikes on Craigslist, looking for a Yamaha Mountain Trail 225 for my mom when I came across this little gem:

2000 Kawasaki W650 - Mint, Low Mile Retro Look - $3500 (Palm Springs)
Date: 2009-11-18, 7:06PM PST

Selling my 2000 Kawasaki W650. This was Kawasaki's retro-look bike only imported in 2000 and 2001. Considered by most bike magazines to be much more faithful to the classic Triumph Bonnevilles they were paying homage to. (Search for articles in Google) They featured a bevel-gear drive, electric and kick start (easy one-kick) front disc brake and a center stand. This one is in absolutely mint condition with no dents, scratches, and perfect paint, chrome and metal, with just over 4000 miles on the clock. Actually looks better than my crummy camera shows (usually not the case, eh?). If you want a rare, Brittish look bike with modern Japanese reliability, this is the bike for you. You will get stopped everywhere you go and asked about it. Parts are available from any Kawasaki dealer. This one currently has a new Corbin Gunfighter seat ($329), but I have the perfect original seat. (See photo in the advertisiement pic) Great vintage look for the collector, or make it your daily rider. These bikes are selling nationally for between $4500 and $6000 in this condition with this mileage. I will take $3500 firm (as in F - I - R - M ). I keep it at my place in Palm Springs and come there once a month. I will be available to show it only Friday, Saturday and Sunday (11/20, 11/21, 11/22) and won't be back until mid-December. Bring cash and ride it home. Again, I am not taking "offers." Do your research and see what a bargain this bike is. No test rides without cash in hand. Clear Oregon title in my name, in my hand.

After working out the logistics in my mind, do I send a check to my parents who snowbird in Palm Springs, have them look it over and store (ride) it at their place until Spring? I could fly down there and ride it back. I could drive down and trailer it back. They could trailer it on there way back North. Do I buy a bike sight unseen? What about the Ninja, we promised ourselves to sell it first before adding another bike to the stable. But it is so pretty, and it'd be a perfect little bike to learn on, don't drop it babe they don't make 'em anymore. (Wait, it was me that dropped her bike, never mind).
After an hour of chatting with mom online, trying not to let her talk me into it, fiscal responsibility prevailed and I decided to let this one least until mid December. I haven't called the seller yet to find out if he sold it that weekend or not, I don't know if I could make that phone call. If he sold it I'd be upset I missed out on a great bike. If he didn't sell it, I'll have to ride that emotional roller coaster again.

A friend at bike night told us he has never regretted buying a bike on emotion. That is what motorcycles are about.

So a week or so had passed, the Thanksgiving holiday came and went and I found myself on Craigslist again like it was online porn.

I found this one, a little closer to home:

2000 Kawasaki W650 - $3600 (Camas, Wa)
Date: 2009-11-29, 2:17PM PST

2000 Kawasaki W650, great condition, Corbin Seat , Low miles
Comes with magnetic tak bag, Extra Oil Filter, Oil Filter Wrench,Bike Cover
Chain Lube, Manual
3600.00 OBO

Not to wish either seller ill-will, but what's a guy to do but resist temptation, sell the Ninja and hope that one of these bikes is still available or another comes along.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Circus is in Town

The Cycle World International Motorcycle Show will be in Seattle next month, although not in town per-say, close enough to make a weekend out of it. We are going to Seattle on the train with some friends we regularly ride with. I am also looking forward to meeting some forum members who are planning a meet up at the show, which got me thinking about bloggers in the Pacific Northwest. Are any local bloggers going to the show? I know Bolty can't make it no matter how often I ask, but I'm sure that Irondad, you must have some work related ride that would put you within a 100 miles of Seattle on the weekend of the 12th. Bobskoot? Baron? Lance? Bluekat? Daily Rider?

Here is the webpage with all the details to the Seattle show, LINK

It will be interesting to find out if it is true that Suzuki is not shipping 2010 models to the US. Hell For Leather Magazine reports that no 2010 Suzuki are being imported as Suzuki claims 2009 inventory will satisfy demand. You can read the article here: Hell For Leather Magazine

I don't understand why Suzuki would do this while other manufacturers like Honda is entering the next decade with not only updated 2009 models but all new for 2010 models. I am afraid that Trobairitz's Suzuki TU250X may not be available.

It reminds me of the hot dog cart story that our local Triumph dealer has posted in his shop. Here is the short version:

A humble hot dog man had a successful business selling quality hot dogs. Every customer was served with a smile. One day the man’s son came home from college and told his father a recession was coming so he better cut costs. The hot dog man stopped advertising and garaged some of his hot dog carts. Sales fell. He retrenched staff and used cheap sausages and sales fell further. Eventually he decided he would go back to doing what he was doing, that is selling good quality hot dogs with a smile … and sure enough… sales went up.

We are going to Seattle to check out the new 2010 models and to sit on alot of bikes. Come spring, if Suzuki doesn't meet demand I'm sure that Rod of Cycle Parts will have something available.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Photo Tag

I was stumbling around the interweb a couple, two weeks ago and found a comment on my blog from Bucky of Bucky's Ride. Evidently he too owns a Ninja 650R the same color as Trobairitz's.

I found his blog post about a local game of photo tag. Although I haven't had time to read all of his posts I could certainly relate to his photo tag post. He found someplace new to him and took the time to wander around and learn about the area instead of racing back to the computer to win the tag.

We play photo tag as well and have discovered some local landmarks we would probably never have bothered to consider. The most recent experience was a photo tag a forum member had posted:

This one was a little difficult to pinpoint as the were no actual identifiable landmarks included in the photo. I had a general idea where it was but with daylight diminishing soon after work I could not ride out to the two remote areas I thought it may be. This post required more of a hint and a simple request gave me a bigger picture:

Okay, I still didn't know where exactly where it was but I knew where it wasn't. That eliminated the ride north of town where I thought it may be and narrowed my search to the west of town up King's Valley. With a little help from Google Maps and a hint from a friend I found confirmation.

We met the gang for Saturday morning coffee then just the two of us ventured the damp morning fog and threatening showers to find the tag.
We rode out to Fort Hoskins and got more than just the tag, as I mentioned about Bucky's post, we learned about the history and heritage of the area.

And got the tag.

Had it not been for photo tag I doubt that I would have ever gone out there. After the tag we rode out to Summit along a gravel road. Not having a compass or a visible sun to guide us west I had an inkling of where I was headed. As Trobairitz mentioned in her post, we got a few looks from hunters scouting the area. I am sure it was a strange sight from the cab of a four wheel drive truck to see a shiny cruiser riding up a wet, slimy, remote gravel road.

She ain't shiny anymore, but she ain't a prima donna either.

We enjoyed the ride, discovered a new road and learned a little more about the area. The sun came out and I put some time aside to wash the bike for I had 24 hours to go find a new photo tag to post.

Consider this a Photo Tag introduction, I'll periodically post a new series of pics from the past summer's tags. You'll see Stacy's bike in a few and hopefully I can get Irondad signed up on the forum and joining us too. We need a few die hard winter riders to keep photo tag going through the dreary season.