Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Okay guys, time to head out to the garage to find, clean and return to the kitchen drawer your wife's turkey baster before she sees it's missing. Although knowing that you used the baster for leveling acid in your batteries, emptying the float bowls in your carbs and transferring fuel from your bike to the lawn mower last spring or bleeding your brakes, do you really want it back in the kitchen?

I like Thanksgiving,'s everything Christmas should be.

I'm thankful that Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday each November so there isn't any guessing of what days the boss will give you off of work. A guaranteed four day weekend, none of this 25th of December falling on a Saturday, Sunday or mid-week scheduling crap, eating up your precious vacation days you've squirreled away for that trip you want to take next year. Sorry Canada, this is one holiday I give to the US for getting right.

I'm thankful there isn't the commercialism attached to Thanksgiving. I don't feel obligated to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on material things for others that they already have or didn't ask for. Although the grocery stores are busy with people pushing, shoving and going toe to toe for the last can of cranberry jelly log, I don't have to participate. Our cupboards are stocked, we don't eat a lot and we aren't working in the kitchen all day.

I'm thankful for the weather, although this year we had a brief dusting of snow and ice a bit early, today is looking to be clear and sunny. I may be able to sneak a ride in this afternoon. November is usually much better for weather than the end of December. I hope those who are traveling for Thanksgiving aren't taking this for granted because it's going to be much worse in another month.

I'm thankful for the one, simple holiday greeting "Happy Thanksgiving". There is only one way to say it and what's better than to wish someone a neutral greeting. No one can take offense because of their beliefs, you don't have to make sure to include or you accidentally exclude a certain group when offering a friendly salutation.

I'm thankful for not decorating. No climbing on the roof, precariously hanging over the edge or dragging out and climbing a 40' ladder with wet, slippery snow packed boots to string lights on the house, trees and shrubs in the yard. I'm not untangling 600 feet of twinkling lights only to find that I have to go through seventeen hundred and ninety four lights to find the one bulb that's burned out. No trees were killed in the making of this holiday only to be toss out on the street 3 months later with the trash. And best of all no tinsel, who thought of this little accessory anyway?

I'm thankful for the peace and quiet. Even though some radio stations and department stores insist on playing holiday music 18 weeks early, one can get through Thanksgiving without hearing Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer 42 times a day. The bell ringers have started but you can still avoid those stores and find what you need at another store that has at least held out allowing the incessant ringing until tomorrow.

I rant and joke with tongue in cheek, but in all seriousness, I am very thankful.

I am thankful to have such a loving and caring family.

My wife Brandy,

my Mom and Dad,

my brother Barrett, sister-in-law Lisa and my favorite niece Faith,

my mother-in law Carleta,

my brother-in-law Tiger and sister-in-law Tanisha.

I am thankful for all my friends, readers and fellow bloggers.

I can't forget little Basil kitteh.

I am thankful for my health and to hear how fortunate and healthy my family and friends are and that everyone is doing well.

I wish everyone and your families a Happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter Comes Early

Bah, it's snowing, which means I can't ride, which makes me grumpy.

Everyone around here loves snow, they get so excited when the weather forecast even makes mention of the horrid white stuff. People go nuts from when the first snowflake forms to watching it accumulate on their lawns. "It's so pretty". They're not thinking about how they are going to get to work the next day or how they are going to get to grandmother's house for Thanksgiving, just that it's snowing.

I don't like snow, I've had my share of shoveling, driving, chaining up, digging out, slipping, sliding, crashing and doing the damn penguin walk all while freezing my ass off.

I was curious how things were piling up around the valley and checked out a couple of web cams. First the local Oregon State University web cams...

then around the state using Trip Check...

This isn't even snow, I know the rest of the country is having some nasty weather but this is more of an inconvenience. Schools have closed, but that's normal for around here when it snows more than an eighth of an inch. Fine by me, fewer soccer moms on the road.

I was curious to see the what the weather was doing in 'the old country' and checked the web cams there.


Kootenay Pass

Now that's snow!

As I use this blog as a journal and look back from time to time to remember certain events, I try to make notes like this one of how early it snowed this year. Here are a couple of newspaper clippings:

Mid-valley braces for more cold weather
After dealing with snow and ice Tuesday, the mid-valley braced for colder temperatures overnight.

Temperatures are expected to reach the low 20s and upper teens, according to the National Weather Service. Snow flurries are possible, but not expected overnight.

Temperatures for Wednesday are expected to reach a high in the mid-30s, and Thursday and Friday are predicted to get into the 40s. No precipitation is expected until Friday, when rain is expected.

Most mid-valley schools were closed Tuesday because of the weather.

Corvallis School District officials could make a decision later Tuesday about closing school on Wednesday. Monroe School District officials will likely make a decision by 5 a.m. Wednesday whether to close to school. Alsea School District officials cancelled school for the rest of the week on Monday evening, because Wednesday was scheduled to be a half day for students. Philomath students have Wednesday off because of teacher inservice.

For updates, see the "Weather Closures" list on

Linn-Benton Community College opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Mid-valley highways and streets were icy Tuesday morning.

There were several reported incidents involving cars and trucks on I-5 between Creswell and Eugene.

All lanes were blocked on I-5 southbound at milepost 192 in Eugene-Springfield, ODOT reported shortly after 8 a.m. Icy conditions disabled multiple vehicles.

A semi jackknifed at I-5 northbound, milepost 186 north of Creswell. Traffic was slowly getting by in the left lane.

A second semi spun out on I-5 northbound at milepost 212, north of Coburg.

Highway 20 was extremely icy at milepost 4, east of Newport. Multiple vehicles have spun out near that location.

Motorists are encouraged to carry chains and extra clothing and blankets.

Further North

A vicious storm struck the Pacific Northwest and other western states at the start of the holiday travel season, dumping heavy snow on roads, knocking out power to tens of thousands of people and causing a cargo plane to overshoot its runway in Seattle.

At least three deaths in Washington state have been blamed on the storm, including a man struck and killed outside his car Monday night on snowy Interstate 5 in Tacoma. Washington State Patrol Trooper Brandy Kessler said it wasn't clear whether the man was chaining up his car or pushing it when he was hit.

A man's body was found along the Willamette River waterfront in Portland, Ore., on Tuesday. Police were trying to determine whether the death was weather related.

Blowing snow, slick roads and temperatures in the mid-20s turned the Monday evening commute in the Puget Sound region into an hours-long crawl _ for those who made it home. Some commuters gave up after being stuck for five hours or more and returned to their offices, or just left their cars at the side of the road.

Snow and blizzard warnings across Washington and Idaho's Panhandle ended Tuesday morning, but frigid air will drop Tuesday night to the single digits in Western Washington and as much as 15 degrees below zero in Eastern Washington, the National Weather Service said.

Seattle's morning rush hour wasn't, with few cars on the icy roads and motorists keeping it slow. Most schools in the state were closed or delayed and the University of Washington closed all three of its campuses. Snowplows and deicing trucks were at work.

Those hoping to get a jump on Thanksgiving travel were out of luck, with officials urging people to stay home and many highways dangerous to travel. Alaska Airlines Group warned that flights were being delayed or canceled because crews couldn't get to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where it accounts for about half of the passenger flights.

"Our customers and our employees both are just having a bad time because the roads are really bad," Alaska spokesman Paul McElroy said. A record 2.5 inches of snow fell at the airport on Monday, breaking the old record for the date of 1.5 inches, set in 1977.

A China Airlines Boeing 747 cargo plane landing in snowy conditions Monday afternoon at Sea-Tac overshot its runway stopping point by about 100 feet, airport spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt said. No injuries were reported.

Elsewhere in the West, the weather service issued a blizzard warning for Utah amid forecasts of strong winds, heavy snow and possible whiteout conditions Tuesday night. Searchers will brave an icy blast of winter when they resume the search of a rugged canyon near Moab for a man believed to have shot a Utah park ranger last week.

Commute times in Utah's urban areas could quadruple, and officials told holiday travelers in the northern part of the state to complete trips by the afternoon to avoid high winds and blowing snow. Utah State University is closing early, and schools and city offices canceled evening activities.

Temperatures dipped to freezing in the Portland area and homeless people lined up at emergency warming shelters. Some schools closed, but Portland International Airport was open and flights were operating normally after crews worked through the night to deice runways.

Oregon State Police said heavy snow, high winds and limited visibility caused numerous commercial trucks to jackknife Monday near Mount Hood, and sections of Oregon Highway 26 were closed intermittently. Troopers also reported at least a dozen crashes Monday on Santiam Pass in Oregon's central Cascades.

Chains or snow tires are being required on all mountain passes and some exposed valleys in the Sierra and northern Nevada, as snow and gusty winds make it hard to see the road. About a foot of snow is expected around Lake Tahoe.

Forecasters predict up to 14 inches of snow in north-central Idaho as the storm closed schools and shut down sections of highways. Idaho State Police said all roads in Bingham County in eastern Idaho are closed and the agency is urging motorists across the state to stay off streets slick with ice and snow. Four highways in eastern Idaho were closed.

In Washington, the state patrol launched a plane equipped with a heat-seeking camera to look for stranded motorists from Seattle south to Olympia.

"Our aircraft can cover large areas much faster than ground based troopers," Sgt. Jim Nobach of the patrol's aviation section said. "We can also check those sections of road that troopers can't get to because of downed trees or power lines."

Winds gusting to 65 mph made matters worst by cutting off power Monday for tens of thousands of utility customers in Western Washington. Puget Sound Energy said most of its 90,000 outages were in Kitsap County. That number was down to 64,000 by 6 a.m. Tuesday, but spokeswoman Gretchen Aliabadi couldn't say when everyone would have their power turned back on.

Two people were killed Monday when the car they were in slid on a snowy road at Cowiche near Yakima and collided with another car, the State Patrol said. In Tacoma, a Pierce County Transit bus slid down a steep hill and overturned with about 20 people were aboard on Monday. Twelve were taken to hospitals, but no serious injuries were reported.

Temperatures should start to moderate Wednesday and there's a chance of rain on Thanksgiving Day in Western Washington, although it could start as snow. Eastern Washington temperatures are forecast to remain well below freezing into the weekend, forecasters said.


Let's be careful out there and have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lighten up...

Monday was the first ride since Daylight Saving Time ended and my ride home was dark and wet. I ride in the dark all the time, it is nothing new to me and I am somewhat comfortable riding in the dark. But Monday something I never expected lurked in the darkness.

Normally when I ride in the dark it is after eight. There is minimal activity and there isn't much to go bump in the night but I watch for deer, critters and pot holes. The problem when Daylight Saving Time ends is that it isn't late, people aren't at home finishing dinner, doing the dishes or watching a movie. They are headed home from work, running errands and following their normal routine. I too was following my normal routine and this is when I was at my most vulnerable. I did everything I always have, I rode home along the same route, traveling at the same time I do everyday, only this time it was dark.

My route just skirts me around OSU campus, where I am diligent to watch for students wearing their team colors of black, black and more black.

Their other team color is orange, which is much more visible but not nearly as fashionable. Why a university in wet, rainy Oregon wouldn't promote orange over black as a team color beats me. UofO just south of us in Eugene seems to have the same problem with their team colors of green and yellow.

I can make myself as visible as possible and this works great for others to see me but does absolutely nothing if I can't see you.

Once I get past campus the streetlights become fewer, the sidewalk ends and the road narrows. I make a right onto a two lane road flanked on both sides by ivy covered hillsides. Slowing to 25 mph I climb a small hill, crest then ride down the other side. The road was never intended for the amount of traffic it sees, but aren't most city streets like that? It is a little beat up but it bypasses two traffic lights and a whole mess of gnarly traffic. Tbolt can attest.

Monday evening was an uneventful commute until I started ascending the rise, moving to the right to avoid the ruts on the left. Then to my surprise I came upon a young lady in dark clothing nearly scrambling up the bank with what may or may not have been a baby strapped on her back. It happened that fast. I did not see her until my headlight beamed in her startled face. She obviously saw me, but had she been in the roadway with nowhere to go, it would have been too late.

I nearly turned around and gave her a flashlight I carry in my top case, but thought better of it. The last thing I need is to be maced, tazed, arrested and thrown in jail for stalking a young lady in the dark rain.

Maybe this little encounter has made her aware of her attire, maybe she will dress in lighter, reflective clothing next time, but then again maybe I am simply dreaming. I can't hand out flashlights to every pedestrian, cyclist and skateboarder I see (or don't see). Maybe I can do my part by scaring the living daylights out of a person or two hoping not to hit them. I have worn my hi-vis vest out on evening walks, I always carry a flashlight and I wear bright reflective gear when I ride. I protect myself by being visible and I guess the best I can do is lead by example.

Let's be safe out there and lighten up.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

There's a New Kid in Town

I noticed a post from a friend, Dan Crouch of Rare SportBikes For Sale, on a popular social networking site linking a local blog. I clicked on the link, read a few wall posts, the information page then went searching for the home page to find MOTOREGON.

MOTOREGON supports local riders and involves the riding community by accepting reader submissions as well as articles from local writers.

I am looking forward to having a community-based media where we can gather, read and learn from area riders. I can only hope that a forum may be in the works.

I contacted Dane Carbaugh, introduced myself and asked if he would support our local bike night. A quick response and a reply later we worked something out.

Best wishes Dane and thanks for supporting local riders.