Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

Another year has come and gone so it is time to reflect on 2012.

Of course, starting with most recent memories first, I'm thinking how terrible 2012 was and how the New Year simply had be better. But, then I looked further back and although the last couple months of 2012 were... let's say less than ideal, the rest of the year was pretty damn fantastic.

We miss you mom.

Unfortunately, along with two thousand and twelve playing me the unemployment card, my mom passed away on December 1st.

I took her passing pretty hard. My unexpected lay off was a bit of a blow, a difficult transition and an emotional roller coaster for me with looking for work all the while thinking of my mom.

We went to Washington in October to visit her as she wasn't doing well and although I didn't want to admit it, deep down we all knew we were there to say goodbye. I'll be forever grateful for making the trek north and getting to see her. It was only two short weeks after our visit that she was admitted to hospice where she received the care, attention and the  rest she needed.

Thanks so much to friends, family and most of all Brandy's love and support. I did my best to keep a positive attitude, eventually letting go of some resentment I had about my job and realizing how fortunate I truly am. I was able to evaluate what was important to me and discover what it really means to be happy, also life is too short and money costs too much.

It took me a bit longer than I expected to find work, I patiently waited for companies to get through the election, then the fiscal cliff scare and now year end budgets, but great news came when I was offered a position with a major distribution center and I start my new job in January.

Looking back through both of our blogs, reviewing photos and posts detailing everything else we did last year I must admit, despite the lows, 2012 was pretty awesome.

Just two weeks ago it was a brief conversation leading to a quick and impromptu decision to attend the Motorcycle Show turned into a welcome respite.

Thank you Andy for driving!

Another way to get me out of the house and blow the stink off, Trobairitz humors me and tags along when we go for hikes...

I say 'tags along' because I hike then wait for her to catch up.

 It's not that she's slow, it's the fact that she stops for so many photos.

This works out well for both of us as it gives her blog fodder and me a chance to catch my breath and admire the scenery.

Last summer we went to Seattle, camped out under the skies of Sea-Tac, saving hotel fare for the Experience Music Project Museum instead.

Then that same weekend met Sonja and Roland for the ACE Cafe Summer Shakedown at the LeMay Museum.

It was only two weeks earlier we met up with friends from Canada that we hadn't seen in years and plans for next year are already being discussed.

Jared, Brenda and Andrew from Penticton

Then there was the iMBC2012 in Baker City and Hells Canyon, what a fantastic trip. We made some new friends and the blogosphere became a little bit smaller.

Stig and Mrs. Stig came to visit and I got to ride with the famous Everyday Rider himself.

For 2012 I also got to ride a Triumph Bonneville for a little while.

And we visited giant marshmallow farms in Tillamook.

Fuzzy taught us how long February can really be with her photo challenge #29 in 29.
Great challenge but never again, it was fun and a whole lot harder than you'd think.

We also started the year off with a honey-do project...

And finally put down flooring in our home.

Of course I cannot forget all the support, the fun and the journey I started by joining Team Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program. I can't wait to get back into the classroom and on the range.

Team Oregon Instructor Training - Braking Clinic

OSU Visibility Day

Team Oregon Instructor Training - Cornering Clinic

My 'home range' at LBCC

So all in all, 2012 turned out alright. I had a lot of fun, made so many new friends and overcame some personal challenges. Of course without a commute the last four months of the year I didn't cover the same mileage I did in 2011, but even so, with 8653 miles I only came up 1885 miles short from last year. I'm closing 2012 with my odometer reading 43,227 miles and here's to many more miles and smiles in 2013.

Happy New Year everyone and shiny side up! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Throw Up Christmas Ride

You know those houses in the neighborhood that put the Griswold's Christmas light display to shame?

Rick posted up a group ride to visit houses in the neighborhood where it looks like someone threw-up Christmas all over it. It has been a long time since I've been out on the bike and since it was the end of the world, we didn't get out for a Solstice Ride so out the door I went.

We started with the local Pepsi Company that puts on a Christmas light display every year, they decorate their warehouse and grounds with Christmas lights, plywood cutouts of  cartoon characters and animate them with lights, mechanical movement and music. Hundreds of people drive the grounds every year as tradition, it is difficult to stop for photos on a motorcycle as it holds up traffic but you can read about it here.

Courtesy of the Gazette Times/GT Connect
After riding through the Pepsi display we rode slowly past a couple of houses with much smaller electric bills and knowing that our next stop was going to be awesome.

This guy's neighbors invest just as much money in blackout curtains as he does in Christmas lighting, it is quite blinding.

We stuck around for a couple three songs then went off in search of other displays. We rode past a couple more well decorated houses then stopped at this popular house which has been decorated every year for as long as I've been here.

I knew Santa's sleigh was old school

...but this is too cool for school.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyeux Noel and Season's Greetings to all.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's The End Of The World

Six o'clock something, something, something, no fear, something, something, renegade, something, something and I feel fine...

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes,
an aeroplane - Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn,
world serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs.
Feed it off an aux speak,, grunt, no, strength, 
The ladder starts to clatter with fear fight down height. 
Wire in a fire, representing seven games, a government for hire and a combat site.
Left of west and coming in a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck.
Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped.
Look at that low playing!
Fine, then.
Uh oh, overflow, population, common food, but it'll do.
Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and the revered and the right - right.
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign towers.
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn.
Locking in, uniforming, book burning, blood letting.
Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a candle, light a votive. Step down, step down.
Watch your heel crush, crushed. Uh-oh, this means no fear cavalier.
Renegade steer clear! A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies.
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.
(I feel fine)

It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental drift divide. Mountains sit in a line
Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev. Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs.
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam book neck, right? Right.

It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.

It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine.

It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it. (It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (It's time I had some time alone) and I feel fine...


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Solstice Wreath

Fuzzy posted a photo of her Knobby Tire Christmas Wreath she made last year. I was too late and too busy to make one then, but since I have way too much time on my hands now what excuse did I have?

We don't celebrate Christmas so this is more a Solstice Tire Wreath made from a Shinko Dualsport Tire  off my Tiger.

All it needed was a little greenery, so I went out to the backyard and took a few cuttings from our Giant Sequoia, some holly and a couple sprigs of Escallonia and Ta Da!!

I'll post another photo tonight when it's lit up.

Addendum: I added a sprocket in the center...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Two More Bridges

The weather forecast for Thanksgiving called for a dry day. We didn't have any obligations to fulfill or traditions to uphold, we suspected that everyone was where they needed to be and off the roads, so what to do but go for a ride?

We went online and found a couple four covered bridges we hadn't been to so I grabbed the Benchmark map and quickly came up with a route. I'd travelled the route about ten years earlier and the best I could remember is that it was paved so off we went.

The first stop was Hayden Covered Bridge just west of Alsea.

Kissy kissy

When we pulled up and dismounted we heard a train whistle yet there are no trains up here, I know this because like bigfoot, there are no tracks. We walked through the bridge and discovered on the other side that one doesn't necessarily buy property in the country to be quiet. Believe it or not, some buy property in the country to make noise and this person was doing a fantastic job of dropping property value with every blast from his air tank. It was time to get getting.

We rode west down Hwy 34 to the Five Rivers turnoff and made our way south to the next covered bridge on our route.

I was scoping out a possible future geocache spot and Brandy caught me, she's such a muggle.

We had two more bridges to get and were further south on our route. We had to get down to Hwy 36 via NF32. Like I said, I've been through here before but 10 years ago, the road got twisty but then the yellow centerline disappeared and it got narrow.

The narrower the road, the more leaves and debris build up. We recently experienced a serious wind storm last week and I started to wonder how clear our route would be.

Brandy was doing fine so we decided to carry on.

It was slow going and I have to hand it to her, she happily poked along behind me.

I eventually stopped to check our GPS reading and confirm we were still on the map.

Where are we?
A car went by while we were stopped so I knew we were close to some sort of civilization. Although I have to admit after passing some hunters and a lone mushroom picker I was considering leaving a trail of bread crumbs to find our way back.

A couple miles down the trail we came upon this. Ah crap, it's getting late and we've got to be 30 miles deep into 10 mph roads. I take note of the tripometer at start points, intersections and mileage posts so I knew we were only 10 miles from the main highway.  I checked the map again and found a gravel road that would get us around and out but we had to hustle. I don't mind the dark but my riding partner does not so we needed to get to a main road we were familiar with before dark.

It was a steep descent out of the woods and if I learned anything from watching Man vs. Wild, Survivorman and Dual Survival I knew we were on the right path. It wasn't long we were riding up to Triangle Lake where we stopped to to tinkle before mounting up and booking it for home.

She told me to make a face.
We had to surrender the last two bridges for another day, as it was the last 20 miles home was in the dark but we knew the road and made it safe and sound. What a great way to spend Thanksgiving.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

All the leaves are.....

The weather has been on and off rainy lately but we did have an absolutely fantastic day recently. It cleared off and I was able to go for a mid-week ride to blow the stink off so I left the dirty dishes in the sink and took off in search of autumn colors.

Western Oregon just doesn't have the giant maples that offer the beautiful picture book leaf colors you find in the Eastern states and provinces but plenty of evergreen conifers and oak trees.

If you look hard enough though you can find a vine maple or two amongst the greenery and moss.

Does an orange bike count as fall color?

I hadn't been up to the top of Marys Peak yet this year, so the ride up was long overdue, let alone never being up there mid week. I actually had the whole mountain to myself for a few minutes.

And from the top of one mountain you can get a great photo of another across the valley.

Mt. .Jefferson

I have been busy with Team Oregon teaching my first two classes the last two weekends of September. A mentor was with me in the classroom in case I messed up, froze of stage fright or missed something and of course to evaluate me. It wasn't Irondad, but a longtime instructor and leadership council member much, much higher ranking than Dan and twice as difficult. 
(I'm kidding, everyone at Team Oregon is so encouraging and helpful). 

Needless to say, the extra effort and time I dedicated beforehand paid off and I completed the requirement to meet standard in two consecutive classes. I am a now full certified instructor and I just taught my last class of the year, solo.

My first range last Spring

Next year I'll work on becoming a mentor myself and pay it forward. What a great program!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Déjà tune...

Something is really irking the troubadour in me, three songs have been released recently and I can't help but think where have I heard this before? Why are artists doing this and does anyone else notice what's going on or is it just me? Either way, this is how my brain works.

The first one took me awhile to put my finger on, much to Brandy's dismay I whistled the tune over and over and over again until it finally came to me. The single is from Jason Mraz titled "I Won't Give Up" not the whole song but the bridge at 2:14 in the video.

If you don't want to listen to the whole song here is the link to the sections I am referring to: and 

At 2:14 it sounds very much like the same as 0:26 of Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band.

Now that I have you whistling to an earworm of Afternoon Delight, the next song was easy to figure out, whenever it comes on the radio I immediately think of the song that predates it.

The piano intro and riff that Kidd Rock used for his song All Summer Long...

is from Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London!!!

You have to admit that one was either an intentional tribute or blatant theft, I'm sure you all pick up on that one.

The third one may not be familiar to many as the song that Pink's new release "Blow Me One Last Kiss" reminds me of isn't that well known, but I like it.

"Blow Me One Last Kiss" rings awfully familiar of "Earthquakes and Sharks" by Brandtson

and 0:46 here

Anyway, that's my warped mind and the wonderful world of music that resonates in my head and my helmet.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kissing Bridges

My bestest friend played hooky from work today to steal me away for a motorcycle ride.  With the change of the season and fellow bloggers posting about the leaves turning color, we packed a picnic lunch, grabbed the maps, fueled our bikes and headed for the hills on a scenic tour in search of autumn.

It has been a very dry summer around here, we haven't had any rain since June and it has remained quite warm making it hard to believe it is fall and the end of September.

We headed East crossing the valley floor and it wasn't long before we discovered that the leaves haven't changed yet so we went in search of other symbols of fall and what better than covered bridges.

Larwood Bridge - Built 1939 - Crabtree Creek

 Covered bridges were designed to protect bridge decks from the weather and deterioration, but they also protected lovers from sight and became known as "kissing bridges".... so we did.

Larwood Bridge - Built 1939 - Crabtree Creek

I had a feeling that this was going to be a good day... 

as more bridges meant more kissing... 

so off we went in search of another.

Hoffman Bridge - Built 1936 - Crabtree Creek

Then another...

Gilkey Bridge - Built 1939 - Thomas Creek

And another...

Hannah Bridge - Built 1936 - Thomas Creek

Then another...

I told you it was going to be a good day.

Shimanek Bridge - Built 1996 - Thomas Creek

 We found one last one in Stayton which was rebuilt after the original burned down in 1994, the year we met. 

Stayton-Jordan Bridge - Rebuilt 1998 

All this kissing was getting pretty hot and we didn't want the bridge to burn down again so we headed for home. It was a great day, we had a lot of fun and look forward to finding the rest of Oregon's covered kissing bridges. 

Thanks for the day out sweetheart, I love you.