Sunday, April 28, 2019

And She's A Lot Like You...

After coffee last week, Andy and I were wanting to go for a ride. Without a plan or a route in mind, we couldn't decide which way to go. Fortunately, Andy is a walking GPS and off the top of his head linked together several short stints of backroads to make for a great afternoon of riding. I was quite happy to follow along, singing a song, and not having to plan a route. It's not that I don't have any sense of direction, I just don't know which way to go and can easily end up riding around in circles.

We stopped at Salmon Falls Park and walked down to the falls. I'd never been out there before, and it had been several years since Andy had been camping up the creek nearby.

Plenty of nice swimming holes to jump into, and pools to relax, I'm sure it's crowded in the summer

Andy posing for the new Klim catalogue

We rode a little further up to where the pavement ends, but with the grey skies and recent rain the road was a wee bit muddy and we weren't up for picking up our bikes. So we turned around, headed into town and ended up at a motorcycle dealership to peruse their wares. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the highly acclaimed KTM 790 Adventure R... no luck. They did have a few KTM 790 Dukes that tempted Geoff James into tomfoolery and shenanigans.

We hummed and hawed, sat on a few bikes and made vroom vroom noises...

And not to say I don't have my own temptress, and seriously considered this pavement princess. 

2018 Kawasaki Z900RS

It was a great afternoon and a great ride, but something had been bothering me for a while. Because I didn't have to plan this route, I was able to follow along mindlessly and it gave me all afternoon to ponder other things.

All this temptation was too much to handle, 

What to do? What to do?

Well, you do what any foolish minded motorcyclist would do.

Simply compound the problem by adding yet another bike to the fleet.

2016 Triumph Tiger 800 XRT

Of course we had to go for a ride

For some reason this tree at Muddy Creek Charter School has been the go to place for new bike pics. I don't know why, as it's not particularly pretty, and we're always fighting trash cans and caution tape in the background. But tradition is tradition, so we rode all the way down south of Corvallis to continue said tradition.

Brandy sticking her tongue out at me

So Lucy is currently sitting in the garage. I'll take her into work one day, then list her for sale for someone else to love.

We had some great times together, thanks for the memories,
but I've got a new girl now...  and she's a lot like you.

~ It's hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Rush Hour

One of the many great things about working with Team Oregon is talking with former students, they love to tell us their stories and experiences of their classes and instructors. I was visiting with a vendor one day, who happened to be a former student, and he mentioned something his instructor said to him that stayed with him for years,  although he couldn’t remember his instructor’s name, he recited “Never ride like you’re late for work”.

We tend to get in a hurry, whether late for work, late for an appointment, fetching groceries, shuttling kids to their game, or simply trying to make up some time. Regardless, that’s when we make mistakes, and as we teach in class, a mistake in a car may result in a minor fender bender, a mistake on a motorcycle can be fatal.

Driving isn't what it used to be, long gone are the days of going for a Sunday drive, and stopping alongside the road for a picnic lunch. Driving just for the enjoyment of driving.

Motorcyclists still get it, but even then many of them are in the same hurry, hurry, rush, rush mindset as car drivers. Destination over journey.

Brandy likes to leave for work early, I’ve always contributed this to her OCD (or as she calls it “CDO” because it has to be in alphabetical order), so I’ve also adopted this schedule and learned that I beat the “rush hour” traffic. This allows me to ease into my day, appreciate the sunrise, and the quiet stillness of the morning. I take my time and admire the scenery. My commute is much more pleasant now that we've moved and changed jobs.

And, I can stop to take photos like these ones I took this morning.

Cemeteries are quiet places to reflect 

So I thought this would make for a great challenge to other riders, and commuters alike to leave a little earlier, take your time during your commute, pull off on that side road for a moment, and take a picture. Whether you work day shift, night shift, split shift, or maybe you’re retired and you’re out picking up the morning paper. 

It can be of your bike, your car, your bicycle, or simply of you stopping to smell the roses…

Slow down, and appreciate the small wonders along your commute.

~ I regret less the road not taken than my all-fired hurry along the road I took. ~ 
Robert Brault

Sunday, March 3, 2019


It seems that I've been reminded of maintenance a lot lately, not to the point of nagging, but you know that feeling when it's mentioned often enough it no longer seems coincidental?

I suppose it is in my job title, description and my responsibility to maintain a considerably large fleet of motorcycles. All of the training bikes have gone through what we call "Winter Maintenance" whereas they are serviced during the short period of downtime when instructors are not training due to.... well, snow.

Difficult to teach motorcycle training in these conditions

I read Thistledown's blog post yesterday reminding us of maintaining our bikes.

Then this morning I came across Eric Trow's article "An Ounce of Prevention" in the latest edition of Rider Magazine that detailed not only motorcycle maintenance, but our own physical maintenance. That part rang true with me and was a little below the belt.... which has been slowly disappearing over the winter with changing jobs, all the food at work and lack of my own physical maintenance. There's that word again.

Spring is coming, the weather is warming, and I'm determined to take the bicycles down from the wall this year in an attempt to discover walking and riding paths in our new neighborhood. All of this peppered between home renovations, updating, and deferred maintenance.

We've been remodeling the kitchen with new cabinets, new hardware, a new fridge, updated electrical plugs and switches. This weekend's project, between selling the old fridge on Craigslist, we're installing a glass mosaic tile backsplash. Hoping to get the kitchen mostly done and functional before Spring riding season.

As I helped load the old fridge onto the buyer's trailer, my new neighbor came over to introduce himself and offer assistance. With my garage door open he spotted our mountain bikes.

"You ride? Have you been up to Black Rock? We're going tomorrow if you want to come along!"

Ummm, yeah. I didn't get any riding in last year and I'm in no shape to drag my ass up a mountain to ride down a black diamond trail full of mud and snow.

"Thanks, but I'm in the middle of a kitchen remodel. Maybe next time, have fun, nice to meet you!"

Back to work, then because we didn't go to coffee there was an expected and intentional visit from Polar Bear on his Tiger to slow down production as friends tend to do. Nice to see you Andy, thanks for stopping by.

I was elbow deep in tile mortar when my phone rang... now what?

My buddy Jeff also took advantage of the one nice day to pull his DRZ out of the shed and start it up. Although he had it running, he was struggling to keep it running when putting it in gear and went about fiddling with his clutch thinking it was out of adjustment, without success.

"Is your side stand down?" I asked.

You could hear the light come on over the phone.

Mental maintenance is as important, being out of routine Jeff hadn't been riding since his shoulder injury last June during the Black Dog Rally (he fell off his bike tearing his rotator cuff and required surgery). While on the phone he mentioned his brake light wasn't working. I asked him to pull the bulb and check the filament, all looked good and he reinstalled the bulb.

"Both filaments are lit" he exclaims.

"Then it's your brake switch" as I mosey out to the garage to use my DRZ a reference already knowing the next question, and the sequence of questions thereafter.

"Where's that?"

Hold on while I find something to put on the cold cement floor to lay down on. Damn, that's a long way down as I groan and moan from lack of maintenance. "You should be able to hear the switch click as you depress the brake pedal." Ah crap, my brake light is lit too. Back up off the floor to grab a couple of wrenches, and some WD-40 all the while talking Jeff through the process.

"See the bolt and nut attached to your brake pedal down underneath bike? There's a switch activated by the head of the bolt, loosen the nut and adjust the bolt."


We finally got it, both our bikes needing the same adjustment. I told him it was a good thing he sold his KLR and bought a DRZ or I may not have been able to help him over the phone. He said he's going for a ride now. I cautioned him to check his tire pressure first as his bike's been sitting awhile. That started a whole new discussion about tire pressure and tires, specifically the OEM tires he's running on his bike, Bridgestone DeathWings. The tires I suspect aided in his crash last June.

Needless to say we didn't get as far on the backsplash as intended, but I did manage to help Jeff with his bike maintenance, and set a reminder for mine.

Back to work tomorrow to maintain maintenance.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Contain Yourself

I have to say, my new job has certainly given me a new perspective.

After five years of operating a forklift loading and unloading shipping containers, one spends many an hour and sometimes many a day inside an 8' x 40' dark, windowless steel box.

Related image

Monday had me supervising the placement of three storage containers by crane...

Setting up and adding counterweight

This is one side of a container you don't see everyday.

The first of three containers being hoisted

180º Spin

Talk about perspective.

Lowered into position

Setting it  down on a dime

Here comes the second one...

Setting the second one into place

What a great way to spend a Monday morning.

Two down, one more to go...

Alley Oop

#3 coming down

Unhooking the last container

What a beautiful January day, I love my job!

The view of Mary's Peak from the office

Every once in a while, turn life over to see what it looks like from the other side. 
~Terri Guillemets