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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Surprise - What's in the Box?

Any guesses as to what is in the box?

(Special delivery from across the pond)
It has come from across the Atlantic Ocean........ I am sure it travelled on planes, trains, and automobiles before it arrived safely at our door.

(The instructions remind me of Ikea, all photos)
I think the preceding picture pretty much gives away the answer if you look closely.  If not, the next picture certainly does.

(Oooh, some nice goodies in that box)
(Left side chequered tank pad)

That is right.  The coveted farkles have arrived.  How you ask, did they arrive at my door?  Well, let me explain.......... 

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away..........

I was contacted by a fellow moto-blogger who had (much to my surprise) purchased the chequered tank pad set for me after reading my Coveted Farkle Post.

We exchanged several emails and then DHL visited us just after we got home yesterday and made the special delivery.  The set is better than I imagined it would be, and seems to be a high quality heavy duty molded vinyl.

Now this gentleman, who I shall refer to as MB for 'Moto-Blogger' and/or 'Mysterious Benefactor' (since he would like to remain anonymous), went out of his way to provide me with this special surprise.  It was unexpected and is much appreciated.

He would not let me reimburse him for the price of the goods or shipping, but luckily he will let me treat him to a meal or two if he ever decides to come to the USA, or we hop a plane across the pond for a visit.  Just know MB, how touched I am you did this for me.

The internet truly does make the world a little smaller and even though I have never met MB in person, I believe it is as Bobskoot always says: "There are no strangers, just friends we have not yet met."

I will do a more detailed post after the installation. It looks fairly easy; just a matter of cleaning the parts and mixing a solution to spray on before adhering.  I can't ride it for 24 hours after application so we will have to do it prior to Friday morning so I can ride it to coffee on Saturday.

- Au Revoir

" There is magic in long-distance friendships.  They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound." - Diana Cortes 
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Wuzzle Bee and Garden Art

No moto related content in this post, but I wanted to share a few pictures I took on Friday afternoon.

WUZZLE BEE 
(aka Huge Bumblebee, aka B-52s)

We had a spell of unexpected sunshine and I was out on the deck and noticed a huge bumble bee sipping up the nectar from a few flowers waiting to be planted.   I quickly jaunted inside to grab the camera and hoped he would still be there when I returned.  He was.  It looked like he was having his own little garden party as he buzzed along from flower to flower.  






GARDEN ART

A weekend or so ago we decided to re-vamp a shrub bed by the back deck.  A few plants died over the winter and the old white lattice we'd had hanging on a small pergola had seen better days. With a little recycle, reuse mentality and a few can of spray paint we got in touch with our creative sides.

An old steel trellised gazebo was dismantled years ago and we'd saved the corner panels.  We took the panels and spray painted 4 of the 8 different colors and hung them from the pergola, then planted some evergreen clematis at the base of the two posts.

Voila functional garden art........



I really should have tidied up a bit before taking the pics, but oh well.

We still have 4 panels left and we are now debating painting them and hanging them from the sides of the large pergola with the swing at the back of the yard.  A little continuity to the yard and also some privacy when the vines grow through them.

Has it been warm enough in your neck of the woods for any garden puttering yet?

We are forecast for clear and sunny skies this coming up weekend so I am hoping to get in a ride. Now is the time of year when we try to find enough time for all of our hobbies.

- Au Revoir

"Garden Party" - Ricky Nelson, written 1972
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Can You See Me Now?

No, this post isn't all about hi-vis, although it may sound that way from the title.  It is mostly about a little extra help with people seeing your stopped bike when coming at you fast from behind.

I am sure we've all been there.  We stop leaving enough room for an escape route.  Not only do we watch the traffic in front and beside us, but we keep a keen eye on our six as well.  

Before you know it a car is fast approaching and you do the fancy dance on your rear brake and/or repeatedly squeeze the front brake to flash your brake lights hoping they'll slow down and stop, as you quickly rethink said escape route.

Enter flashing LED brake lights by Hyper-Lites.


I am really lucky in that Troubadour not only ordered a set for both Max and Lucy, but when I got home from work at noon last Friday they were already installed on Max, he just needed to connect the wires.  See, I told you I was lucky.

I can say this - they are bright.  When either pressing the rear brake or squeezing the front brake they will flash for 5 seconds then stay on while either brake is applied.  So, if you are stopped longer than 5 seconds when that car approaches from the rear, you simply need to squeeze the brake once to alert them of your presence rather than repeatedly.

Of course this may also alert your fellow riders when you are getting into a corner a little hot and scrubbing off some speed.

Here are a few of the photos Troubadour took of the process.

(Installed by license plate frame on reflector bracket)
(top view - they don't stick out too far)
(A view of both installed)
He also took a picture of the wiring, but I couldn't tell you what it all means.  It isn't that I am ignorant in the ways of electronics, but I wasn't present for the install, yeah that's it.  Red wire connected to the blue wire?  No, that's not it......

(one wire, two wire; red wire, blue wire)
The following pic was taken with the hyper-lights on while the bike was in the garage.  Next time we're out in the wild, I'll try to get a quick 5-second video of the flashing.

(Post flashing........ now on until brake lever is released)

I am also planning on purchasing the Rev'it Hi-Vis Indigo jacket, but I am patiently waiting until the end of May as they can usually be found on sale for Memorial Day.  I currently have the Rev'it Siren in black (the Indigo predecessor) and have had it for over 3 years.  I like it, but it is quite worn. And with a black helmet I think a hi-vis jacket would be a good idea.  It will be quite the contrast to Max's blue and white.

(Stock photo from extremesupply.com)

So.....have you done anything to your bike or your gear to make yourself a little more visible?

- Au Revoir

" Advice to children crossing the street; damn the lights.  Watch the cars. The lights ain't never killed nobody." - Moms Mabley
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Dust Off Ride

We woke Saturday morning to 38˚F ( 3.3˚C) but the skies were clear and the forecast was for highs of 66˚F (18.9˚C).  A perfect day for riding.

Time to dust off the bike, my gear, and also dust off the cobwebs of my mind.  You know, the ones that accumulate over the winter months and cloud the mental acuity needed for riding.

Troubadour and I rode to Saturday coffee then headed out meandering across the valley in a southeastern pattern.  Some back roads I'd been on before, some I'd never been on.

We found ourselves at Thompson's Flour Mill on Boston Mill Road. (Thompson's Mill was formerly known as Boston Mill).  The mill is the same one in my header pic that was taken 3 years ago.  It is an Oregon State Park Heritage Site, built in 1858, and is the oldest water driven mill in the state.  It burned down in 1862 and was rebuilt within a year.  It continued to grind grain until 2002.

The Mill was actually open so we stopped by and looked around and even took a free guided tour.



Once inside we were treated to working displays showing some of the belts, gears, grain elevators, and augers of days gone by.










The tour guide even guided is through the basement, opened the gates to the mill pond and started the last remaining turbine.  When we went back to the main floor the mill was turned on and we watched all of the original elevators and belts move.  It was quite a sight and must have been really loud and dusty back in the day.

As we went back outside we were greeted by the resident chickens, and one rooster.  



A sign on the outside of the mill showed some of the old advertising from when they produced cattle and poultry feed as well as flours. (They mixed molasses with the grains)


As we walked back towards the bikes we noticed there were more chickens, as well as ducks and turkeys milling around the farmhouse yard and were starting to wander towards us.  The park host had added a feeding station and they were looking for some grub.



They had the largest turkeys I'd ever seen.  A park ranger came and talked a bit and said the poultry came with the place.  A lot of them are heirloom and have just reproduced and kept the lines going.  They were true free range and could wander at leisure.  While it was fenced in front, they have 86 acres at their disposal at the back of the yard/property.

We had parked the bikes by some picnic tables so it was the perfect opportunity for a snack in the sunshine.  We stalled and soaked up the sun for as long as we could then got back on the bikes and headed further east then south.  Troubadour had a route in mind to find a few more covered bridges.


ToadMama - I think I need some of those stick-on googly eyes for my top case when it photo bombs.

Next up was Crawfordsville Covered Bridge in Crawfordsville, built in 1932 and spanning the Calapooia River.



Further south and we saw the Mohawk River (Earnest) covered bridge.  The original bridge was built in 1903 but was replaced in 1938.  This bridge was appeared in the movie Shenandoah filmed in the 1960's.


Back on the bikes and we came to the last covered bridge of the day, the Mill Creek (Wendling) Covered Bridge, built in 1938.


Wendling Bridge was the last stop of the day, but the best riding was yet to come.  We made our way out to Marcola Road then south to Hill Road and east on McKenzie View Road.  If you click on this LINK you can see part of the route.  We were on the upper orange line between Hill and Coburg Rd.  Fun bits of twisties in there with a little elevation change.

We went north on Coburg Rd into Coburg, then into Harrisburg and north on Peoria Rd and into Corvallis.  From Harrisburg to home, it was a little blustery and the clouds rolled in.  It cooled off but it never did rain.

We arrived home about 4:30 pm with smiles on our faces and tuckered out from not riding in a while.  While Troubadour commutes by bike as often as he can, he hasn't been doing much pleasure riding lately.

It was only 110 miles (177 km), but it was a great day out on the bikes and a nice kickoff to riding season.

- Au Revoir

" Springtime is the land awakening.  The March winds are the morning yawns." - Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathysue Loudermilk, I Love You
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Coveted Farkle

Covets or Coveting:  verb - yearn to possess or have....

The Gladius doesn't seem to be a popular bike in the USA, but by searching websites online I can find dealer options and accessories that aren't available here.

One day, a year or so ago, I saw a picture on the Suzuki UK website and I have been drooling over it every since.  I have a copy saved on my work computer, home computer and even my iPad.

(Stock Suzuki photo, from Suzuki UK)

Suzuki UK sells a kit for a checkerboard pattern on the petrol tank side covers as seen above. It is officially called the Chequered Tank Design Set 990D0-44H03-PAD, and retails for £145 (approx $242 USD).  From the website I can't tell if they are gel covers, stickers or exactly what.  All I know is I like them.

On another website I found a description that says: "Two silver S marks and stickers set for the side panel covers in same design are included."

Yet another website describes it as "tank design cover" and "Black and white checkered graphic  to protect your fuel tank.  It not only adds protection, but looks stunning and gives a real sporty look."

So, why if I like it so much have I not bought the kit?  Well, I am having a hard time justifying spending the £145 plus shipping and exchange to US Dollars for stickers.  It would be close to $300 delivered.

It would be one thing if it was a true farkle - functional and sparkly.  But this is just pure aesthetics with no real function.

We've been to a local vinyl piece that makes decals and signs and such and they wouldn't touch it. They said they make the pattern in sheets and would have to cut around it with a razor blade and that they couldn't guarantee the squares would still be square when they went around the angles of the cover.

You wouldn't think it would be that hard to replicate.

(Can you picture him with chequerboard covers?)

What do you think?  Too much or just the right amount of flash for Max?  

Any artsy type folks out there with any ideas on replication and/or vinyl application? 

- Au Revoir

"  It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations." - Walter Bagehot
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Max Turns Three

Well, technically Max is a 2009 model and is 5 years old, but he lived the first two years at a large motorcycle orphanage in Beaverton, Oregon waiting for someone to take him to his forever home.  
On Saturday March 5, 2011, we picked the bike up from the shop after having to wait a few weeks for the rectifier recall to be fixed before they'd let us ride him off the lot.

It was a cold and rainy day and Troubadour gracious rode him home for me.

(Big Smile - first ride on the bike)
Over the last three years we have gone many places together and seen different people, places, and things.  Click the following highlighted words for blog posts on the trips iffin you are interested.  We've taken three day trips to the Wolf Creek Inn and saw forestry roads and peacocks; moto-camped by Crater Lake; did some group riding; attended the IMBC 2012 in Eastern Oregon; searched for covered bridges on Thanksgiving - twice; and ridden many miles of local roads on day trips.

We've also done a few modifications and farkling including installing frame slider/crash bobbins, grip heaters, V Strom hand guards, an IXIL slip on muffler, blue rim tape on the wheels, replaced stock rear shock with GSXR shock, and a GIVI top case.

(Max - Summer 2013 - with Givi top case, the last farkle added)
After owning the bike for 3 years I can honestly say it isn't without its quirks.  It has a really notchy throttle at low speeds with a very abrupt on/off of the throttle.  The pegs are a little high for my long legs and the seat is tilted forward slightly and isn't very padded.  All manageable for the most part.

Is it a perfect bike?  Not by any means.  But it is the perfect bike for me right now.

There are still a few items on the to-do list such a steel braided brake lines and perhaps bar risers. One thing I do want to do is purely non-functional frosting. It serves no purpose but to look good. Sort of a temporary tattoo for motorcycles.  I'll save the details for my next post, but will leave you with a hint:  checkerboard ...........

- Au Revoir

"  A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun.  Enjoy the trip." - Author Unknown
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