Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Long Winter's Nap

Autumn is upon us, and the rainy season has arrived here in Western Oregon. The time change that was supposed to be abolished years ago still happened cutting our daylight hours even shorter, and the temperatures are beginning to drop along with all the leaves on the trees. All of this a good thing this year, because maybe, just maybe... people will stay home and we can get this global pandemic under control.

We live in hope.


Brandy is keeping me busy with home renovations, and as I get one job checked off the honey-do list another is waiting. However, I think I can finally see the end of the list... at least the bottom of page one. Now that the guest bath is done, we've moved onto the master en-suite. 


Narrow, shallow contractor grade tub surround has to go.

This one is kicking my ass though, the last time I removed and reinstalled a tub I was 12 years younger. Also the last one was in a 1970s house when contractor's took pride in their work, this house was slapped together in 2007 and I've had to fix, repair, and replace so many shortcuts because of shoddy workmanship. Although I'm not a professional contractor, I take my time and try my best to do it right, not just for my own peace of mind but for the next poor sap (me) who might have to remodel this house again in 20 years. 


Deep soaking tub installed

Just in time for warming winter soaks

These projects are supposed to keep me home during the pandemic and practicing the stay home, stay safe mantra. But several trips to the hardware store for bits and bobs is proving otherwise. Just as I think I have everything I need to complete the current project, the kid at the store cheerfully says "see you tomorrow". 

Now that the tub is installed and I'm done crawling under the house to plumb fittings, I "get to" move on to framing in the shower niche, plumb the mixing valve and get it set in place, then install backer board, mortar and tile. 


Found a longtime leak in the plastic supply fitting while hooking up the drain

I'm used to working with copper pipe and haven't worked much with PEX pipe before, so I'm upgrading several cheap contractor plastic crimp fittings to very expensive brass SharkBite fittings. I love SharkBite as they don't require soldering, just a simple push to fit and they swivel so if you need to adjust as you work you can. 

We have a four day weekend coming up, so I hope to finish up the tub and shower project by then and get started on the flooring. My goal is to get to the bottom (page one) of my honey-do list for New Years.


I've been asked to write short motorcycle maintenance tips and tool recommendations for our work Facebook page and Instagram posts, so I thought I'd compose and share them here. They're designed for new riders and beginner DIY'ers so I'm hoping for some feedback as social media comments are rarely constructive.

Kidding, just kidding.



Me and Lucy working on E-Rider footage back in the day. (Photo Credit: Team Oregon)

Be healthy, stay safe.

Thank you Veterans. Lest we Forget.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Oregon Fires

News of the wildfires in Oregon and California have reached international broadcasts, and our blogger friends around the world, some we've never met are reaching out to ask if we're okay. 

Wow! Thank you so much for thinking about us, we love you all.

Brandy and I are doing well. We are several miles away from the fires, the strong winds have calmed, and even though there was little threat the fires would have crossed the Interstate highway and Willamette River, the resulting smoke is causing hazardous, unhealthy air quality sometimes off the scale at well over 500. We've been staying inside trying our best to avoid the smoke, both of us suffering headaches and minor coughs. I am home from work since last Wednesday until further notice when the Oregon State University closed the campus (hence a blog post). Funny enough, the air quality is worse at home, than it is at work... I'd be safer at work. 

We haven't seen the sun in a week.

This is out our front door at 9:00 am Tuesday, September 8th when it is normally bright and sunny.

 Here is my commute into work Tuesday morning at 7:30 am... Dark, dark.

From my work at 3:00 pm Tuesday afternoon.

Check out the slideshow from OPB:

And photos from Oregon Department of Transportation and KVAL News:


We have it easy compared to those that were evacuated from their homes, many of them now burned to the ground, some small towns lost. The people of Oregon have really come together to donate food, clothes, and supplies despite radio silence from #45. Although he has repeatedly blamed "poor forest management" for the cause of these fires, repeatedly to convince his congregation.

~ As an update, and what we've been doing lately ~

Brandy has been working from home since the end of March due to Covid, and appreciates the quiet that is lost in an open workspace office environment of 40 plus co-workers. 

I've been going into work everyday to an empty office, and hanging out in the shop cranking the tunes, turning wrenches, and maintaining bikes. Our facility is off campus so I'm alone most days, all day, I have the eerily empty office building all to myself. 

We feel fortunate to both have our health, and full-time employment during these crazy times. We haven't been riding much, Brandy sold her Kawasaki Versys 300X just before Covid, and with staying home there hasn't been much reason to buy another bike yet. She has been checking out Craigslist, and Cycletrader trying to decide what to buy next. We'll see what happens next Spring, but I don't think this virus is going anywhere anytime soon. I've been commuting to work on my Tiger 800 (Brandy has named her Lily, as in white tiger lily), and I've only been out for a weekend ride once or twice this summer.

Andy and I up Mt. Hebo on Sunday before the fires broke loose. 
Lily out of commission. New fork seals on order.

We lost 14 year old Squire Basil Kitteh last September to kidney failure (a year ago yesterday 9/13)...



And since my love for motorcycles is now my job, we've been turning to our other hobbies such as hiking, canoeing, and camping. Unfortunately, so has everyone else and the trails are crowded, campsites are full, and it's been too peopley out there. I bought a truck in June, and we finally went tent camping the last week of August.

Much steeper than it looks, part of the Oregon Back Country Discovery Route #6 we rode back in July 2016

Dispersed tent camping 
Is that Bullwinkle?

With the fire regulations we weren't able to have a camp fire, and what's camping without a campfire? Brandy will tell you, it involves a lot of mosquitoes and going to bed early. Needless to say, conversation during breakfast the next morning was about travel trailers, because there's camping... then there's camping with your wife, so like other motobloggers we may be transitioning into RV'ers. Everyone has been buying RVs and camp trailers so much so that sales have exploded this summer with Covid. But winter is coming, and we're just biding our time, hoping people don't want to pay for storage, and the market will soon be flush with lightly used trailers going cheap. Brandy predicts that families are not only tired of their kids being stuck at home since March, but camping all summer with said kids, they've learned their lesson and never want to go camping again. 

We met with Beemer Girl's hubby Chris, and Richard and Bridget Machida for dinner Friday night... of course we talked more about RVs and camping than we did motorcycles.

So I'll peruse Craigslist and RVTrader this winter whilst doing the seemingly never ending honey-do list home renovation projects... 

(Listing Photo) Before... UGLY, but we could see the potential.