Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dead Fish For An Ear Rub

There aren't a lot of cartoons or comic strips out there that give more than a passing glance, but Get Fuzzy has been a constant read for me for years. I love the banter between Satchel Pooch and Bucky Cat and their owner Robert, or as Bucky likes to call him 'Pinky'.

They have several supporting characters that pop in and out all the time such as Fungo the Ferret and Mac Manc McManx the cat from England. If you haven't ever read Get Fuzzy and are a pet owner or simply enjoy a good chuckle now and then I encourage you to read a strip or two of Get Fuzzy. They can be viewed here at or a Google search will bring several sites up.

I happened across this one the other day and it struck me as funny. Maybe because when I read it, I imagined a very strong British accented voice saying the last line or maybe because our cat Basil loves dead fish and ear rubs.

Appreciez et nouvelle annee heureuse. (Enjoy and Happy New Year)

-Au Revoir

"When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me?" ~ Michel de Montaigne, Essays, 1580

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Shoulder Check of 2009

No, not that kind of shoulder check, but a look back to see where we've been and what is behind us. As 2009 comes to a close it is time to reflect on all we've done this past year. This was the year that Troubadour and I decided we were going to get out and do a lot of activities rather than simply talking about it while time slipped by.

We thought of all of the festivals and things we'd like to do and started an electronic calendar to keep track. We didn't manage to make it to all of the events we would have liked since sometimes there were two or three different festivals or activities scheduled on the same weekend.

I do however, think we managed to cram a lot of things into 12 short months. Let's see exactly where our time was spent.....

January started off with a rainy New Year's Day and we met the ladies of the local Women in the Wind chapter for a polar bear ride. Everyone rode to the coffee shop for a meet and greet but no one was adventurous enough to ride any long distances in the pouring rain. We did however get to meet Stacey and Stacy for the first time and are happy to see them and ride with them on a regular basis. It was a good way to start out the year. January also saw the move of Corvallis Bike Night back to American Dream Pizza. I believe the first night back saw over 20 people and most were riding. Not much weekend riding was done in January, but Troubadour did manage to sneak in a nice long ride with a group to Foster Reservoir (see side photo). I didn't have all of my winter riding gear at the time so did not attend. Somewhere in there we managed to complete our kitchen renovation as well. It was started over the winter break and consumed many an hour as we gutted it right down to the drywall and did all of the work ourselves. That pretty much tapped our resources and our energy so the year started off slow while we recouped.

February was fairly quiet for us. I do remember another bike night with about 30 folks showing up, and if I remember correctly, that is where we met our good friend Rick for the first time.

March: Looking back it appears that March was quiet as well. Troubadour became a moderator over at in March and has been enjoying it. I am sure there was at least one ride in there somewhere but do not recall exactly.

April saw the first of our festivals for the year - the Oregon Scottish Heritage Festival. It was held at the fairgrounds in Albany and we had a good time walking around and looking at everything. Quite a few clan booths were set up and Gary from Celtic Warrior Kilts had a booth set up. He made Brad's first kilt (see side photo). We also started hiking Bald Hill on a weekly basis training for our annual trip to Wallace Falls. April saw us seriously pondering getting me a bike since it had been 6 years since I took my Team Oregon Course. We also took advantage of one of the nice sunny days and made a ride to the coast for chowder. This was the first of many chowder runs to test and rate the clam chowder up and down the Oregon coastline. Good times were had that day, great chowder was not.

In May we started to get busier. Troubadour and Bolty spearheaded a newby ride and over a dozen signed up to take a short putt putt around the valley. That Friday night we did a pre-ride of the course with Rick and Saturday the actual ride took place (see side photo). We arrived home late in the afternoon and proceeded to spread 20 yards of bark mulch in the shrub beds. Where did we find the energy? The following weekend was the Oregon Vintage Motorcycle Show and ride. We attended the ride on Saturday and also the show and swap meet on Sunday. We could have gone to the Rhododendron Festival in Florence that same weekend, but motorcycles are more fun. Besides, Troubadour was able to get his '76 Kawasaki KZ 900 running and we rode it to the show. May long weekend saw the purchase of my first motorcycle - the Honda Nighthawk 250. It was great for starting out and gaining some confidence. I had to work it to keep up with Troubadour and it seemed a little shaky and buzzy at 55-60 which was worrisome. Lots of evening rides were had puttering along the back roads and learning to countersteer.

June: The last weekend of May/first day of June was spent at the Wallace Falls State Park in Gold Bar, WA visiting with Troubadour's brother, sister-in-law, mother and step father. Hiking was done and good times were had. We had our own private cabin this year. It is good to have your own space to retire to. The following weekend saw another ride to the coast for chowder. We also took the following week off. The first week's vacation we've had in 15 years. We decided to be spontaneous and take a motorcycle ride to California through the redwoods (see side photo). Yes, you can pack three days worth of clothes, etc for two into saddlebags and a tailpack. We only went overnight instead of for two days but we had an adventure and logged a few miles on the America. We considered ourselves lucky to find one of the only hotel rooms left in Crescent City and it had a two person jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. That helped with the sore buttocks from riding all day in the cold coastal weather. A day or two after getting back from California we heard about the Siltcoos Canoe Trail south of Florence and decided to give it a try. We hadn't had the canoe out in years and it took a bit to get our paddling coordinated. We had an awesome time and I'm sure we'll take the canoe out next year too.

July: We started July by selling the Nighthawk and a week later picking up the Ninja 650r. In hindsight not the wisest choice as I really do not like to ride it and I cannot force myself to ride something I just don't feel comfortable on as I would hate to make a fatal error. It took a few rides into August before I knew it just was not the bike for me. July 5th was also the first Western Ride in Days in Independence (a motorcycle show connected with their Western Days Celebration). Our friend Brandon was putting it on so we all showed up en masse to help him out.

July also saw our first trip to the Oregon Country Fair in Veneta. We drove to Eugene and took the free shuttle bus to the fair. We did a lot of walking that day. I could have done without all the pot smoke in the air but hey - it is the Country Fair - and we had a great time. This is the one festival that we will be sure to do next year. Troubadour bought a Utilikilt at the fair and was very happy with his purchase. Maybe next year we'll be adventurous and dress up a bit.

In July we also went to the Portland Highland Games. It was a much anticipated event even though we were in the midst of a heat wave. We both donned our kilts and off we went. We were disappointed with how spread out the games were and that the events didn't really seem to be taking place when stated. We did however get to see some pipers play which is always a good thing. I do not think we will go back next year. That same night after getting back from Portland we went to Da Vinci Days here in town to watch Ladysmith Black Mambazo play. There were a ton of people and although we were tired from our day in Portland we had a good time listening to the African music.

August saw us hitting the ground running. The first weekend we went to Troubadour's mom's house in Washington for a family get together/3 day weekend. We took the car as we knew it would be a long hot trip and we spent 20 hours on the road. The weekend after that was another ride to the coast for chowder and also our anniversary. August was crazy for me as my boss got hurt in a boating accident and so I was in chaos at the office moving court appointments and juggling things around his knee surgery. Mid August we went to the Scandinavian Festival in Junction City and the the following weekend we took the Ninja to Hillsboro to put on consignment or trade for a TU 250. That didn't go as expected and we ended up taking it down to Rod's shop in Eugene to put on consignment the following weekend. August ended with a visit to the grandparents. My grandpa hadn't been doing well and was put in a home. It was good to see him.

September started busy. My boss was still out of the office and on mass quantities of Vicodin so I was left to run the office and be everything to everyone. It was a stressful time but I muddled through. Labor Day weekend saw us at the All British Field Meet in Portland (see side pic) and we arrived late but got to see some nice vehicles and a little racing. We also went on our end of summer ride and on Labor Day my big brother got married so that was cool. The following weekend was the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire. Huzzah for the Black Knight. It was interesting to see all of the costumes and the jousting.

October saw us pulling the Ninja off consignment so that Troubadour could use it as a winter commuter. Good thing he did, as we have had record lows. October is also when we made the decision to go to the Seattle International Motorcycle Show. Thank you Rick for suggesting the trip and train ride. My cousin Chelsea, her son Carson, my mom and my sister-in-law all have birthdays in October so it was fairly busy. We visited family in Eugene then also met family in Newport to have lunch, celebrate birthdays and wander through the aquarium (see side pic). More good times were had.

November started to slow down for us. Not much going on. No obligations. We puttered with the house and Troubadour worked on building his tire changing equipment for the motorcycles. A few short rides were had to get photo tags but nothing too long. Over the Thanksgiving long weekend we tore apart a closet in our spare room so that we could build a walk in closet. It is good to get more renovations started. Not too much left to do on the house.

December started off busy. We tried to get a few more things in before year's end. We went to a Joe Purdy/Meaghan Smith concert in Eugene. Had yummy treats to eat and listened to good music. Stayed up way beyond our bedtime. And finally the much anticipated train ride to Seattle for the International Motorcycle Show. Sleep deprivation is not a good thing but weekend jaunts to Seattle are. The show was smaller than I thought it would be and I didn't get to sit on any bikes. I think I had more fun wandering around Seattle with Troubadour and Rick (see side pic) and meeting Bobskoot and Mrs. Skoot than I did at the show. We managed to have a few days off over Christmas so we framed in the new closet and even hung the drywall. Now we need to tape and crack spackle the seams and screw holes, sand, then paint and buy some closet fixtures, but we'll get there. Will be nice to hang clothes in the closet again.

Upon reflection it was a good year. Some weeks were busier than others. Overall I think we managed to do a lot more activities than we had in in previous years. I wonder how much activity we can pack, pile, squeeze and otherwise cram into 365 days next year. We'll find out.

-Au Revoir

" Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols." ~ Thomas Mann

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blog Monster

I've been feeling the need lately to feed the blog monster. You know the one I'm talking about. He sits there and looks over your shoulder while you are wasting time on facebook. You can hear his toe tapping when you are playing solitaire. He is giving you his evil grin knowing you are thinking about blogging but cannot come up with a post topic.

This is what I have been facing lately. I have been having a hard time coming up with blog post topics. In the summer we are so busy that I have all kinds of things to write about and lots of pictures to share but not enough time to post up anything. Now I seem to be suffering the opposite.

I go to work, I come home. The next day I go to work, I come home, rinse, repeat. You get the idea. Not to say that we haven't done anything lately.

We did go to the Meaghan Smith/Joe Purdy concert in Eugene and had a great time. The music was awesome and we even stopped at a quaint little Patisserie on the way that Troubadour had just discovered. Sweet Life Patisserie on Monroe Street in Eugene. If you are ever in town I recommend it. They serve all kinds of amazing baked goods and treats and supply wonderful organic coffee to wash it all down. I wish we had thought to take a picture or two of our treats. Troubadour did take a couple photos of the concert and a few videos but the lighting was not so great. The picture to the right is of Meaghan during one of her first few songs. Kudos to WOW Hall in Eugene for being a great host in a small venue.

I haven't been out on a bike recently. I think the last time was a few weeks ago when we rode down to Saturday morning coffee, I rode pillion on the back on the Ninja. Not a comfy position. Still perusing bikes here and there and looking on Craigslist too. I am having a hard time justifying the price of a Bonneville SE even with reducing the price by trading in the Ninja. Sure would look nice beside Troubadour's America in the garage though. The Suzuki TU 250 was still on the table as a viable option but one of the distributors at the show said they are hard to get and not even sure if any more will be imported by spring, maybe not until summer. That, and I can't justify spending that amount of money on a 250 cc motorcycle - it is over half the price of a Bonneville when freight and PDI are added. For now I shall wait and see what the spring brings. Maybe the Ninja will sell and something will turn up when I least expect it. I am worried about having to start all over learning everything again. It has been several months now since I've ridden. Troubadour assures me it will all come back to me - kind of like riding a bike (pun intended).

The holiday season is upon us and I for one will be glad when it is over and my favorite radio station returns to playing normal music in lieu of the 24/7 Christmas songs that it is now playing. How sad that I've had to change the station. That is okay. I have pre-sets in the car and I know how to use them. No plans for Troubadour and I. We don't celebrate Christmas and we have come to enjoy the peace that comes with not participating. It has been 5 years since we liberated ourselves from the commercial buying frenzy and madness to please everyone at once. Every year it gets nicer and nicer to just go about our business and observe everyone else caught up in the hustle and bustle. We prefer to show our appreciation of family and friends in little ways throughout the year and not through commercialism.

As the year comes to a close, I shall look back to all we have done in 2009. I have thought of one year end post to come. A wrap up... or reflection if you will. Stay tuned.

-Au Revoir

"Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul." ~ Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bright Bikes, Big City

As most of you know that read this blog, Troubadour, I and our compadre Rick all headed out to Seattle on Saturday December 12th for the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show.

We were up at 3:30 am, out of the house by 5:00 am and on the train just after 6 am. We were all very excited to be on our way and the train ride was swift and uneventful.

Upon arriving at the King Street Station we were greeted by brilliant sunshine and a cool breeze. We journeyed to our hotel a few blocks away. We stayed at the Doubletree Arctic Club Hotel. A former gentleman's club built in 1917. Check in was easy and before we knew it we were in our rooms enjoying warm chocolate chip cookies. I must same they were some of 'the best' chocolate chip cookies ever.

After a quick rest we walked to the show. We wandered around and looked at a lot of accessory booths and some bikes. Before we knew it, it was time to meet up with Bobskoot and Mrs. Skoot ( so nice to finally meet you). With introductions out of the way it was time to look around a bit more. Rick and I found ourselves drifting through the show while Troubadour was hanging out and getting photograph tips from Bobskoot. At one point the Skoots headed out and we traipsed around, just the three of us. It was busy enough that I didn't get a chance to sit on any bikes hence you won't see pics of me on any. Makes for a sad panda. Suzuki didn't have any TU 250's there. A local Triumph dealer was there but no Bonneville SE's were on display. We did learn to take two cameras with us. Since Troubadour had the camera I didn't take any pictures so I will credit every picture in this post to him. I think Rick may have a pic or two of Troubadour on a bike we can pilfer for a later post.

We headed back to the hotel and asked the front desk clerk for a sushi restaurant recommendation. He recommended Nijo. It was a short brisk walk and we were soon seated in a very nice restaurant. Much to our surprise we even hit happy hour. A few drinks and many tasty morsels were consumed. If ever in Seattle I would recommend this restaurant and the Avocado Fu egg rolls. Avocado, tofu and veggies all wrapped up in a handy egg roll. They were awesome. We didn't get any gratuitous pictures of the food, but since it was our first real meal of the day we were pretty hungry.

After a leisurely dinner we strolled in the brisk evening air and made our way to Westlake Center. While meandering we happened to pass a chocolate company and Troubadour took this picture of some yummy looking caramel apples.

When we arrived at Westlake Center Rick led us up to the monorail and before long we were on our way to Seattle Center and the Space Needle. Neither Troubadour or myself had ever actually been to Seattle before. Driven by lots of times, but never stopped. We appreciated Rick playing tour guide for us.

We splurged for tickets and rode the elevator to the observation deck. I can tell you that wind was mighty chilly when we went on our walkabout around the tower. A few pictures were taken and we went back inside to warm up.

We bought a coffee from the stand and relaxed. When going downstairs we wandered around the gift shop and looked at all the overpriced trinkets. No purchases made so we made our way outside and trekked back to the monorail station. On the way we paused to take a picture of this cool lighted tree located outside in Seattle Center.

We finally made our way back to the hotel after 10. Seems there was a birthday party going on next door to us. We were pleasantly surprised when the music stopped and all was quiet. That is until 3:30 am when they returned from the local taverns/bars/pubs/nightclubs or wherever it is 20 somethings hang out to get even more knockered. By 4 am Troubadour was at the front desk requesting another room. Luckily the night clerk was super nice and after trying a few times (darn key cards wouldn't work) got us a room a few floors up. By this time it was after 5 am and we needed to be up just after 7 to meet everyone downstairs and start our day. That made two nights in a row with about 3 hours sleep each. Good job we were in the land of Starbucks as mass quantities of coffee was consumed to keep us going.

I must say that Doubletree handled things as well as we could have asked. There was no hesitation on getting us a new room in the middle of the night. They brought us complimentary coffee and warm cookies by the fireside Sunday morning and also offered complimentary breakfast in their restaurant when I checked out. I would not hesitate to stay with them again.

Bobskoot and Mrs. Skoot drove us to drop our luggage off at the train station and then for yummy Dim Sum for brunch at the Jade Garden in the International District. Who knew we'd drive around and find a 'Best of Seattle' restaurant first pick. The food was really flavorful and a nice visit was had with good people. After brunch the Skoots graciously drove our entourage to Pike Place Market. Parking spaces were scarce so we said our goodbyes.

Troubadour, Rick and I wandered around for several hours. Looking at this stall and that. Troubadour bought a nice wool scarf and some raspberry pepper jelly. Rick bought some Rainier cherries and when we got chilly we went over to the original Starbucks for Carmel Brulee Lattes. Yummy. Needed something to warm our hands.

We wandered more both inside and out. We then headed over to the waterfront. By this point we needed some lunch so we stopped at Ivar's. There had been some chatter on one of our forum posts about a good place to have chowder.

The Chowder Bowl in Newport takes the prize so far, but a bunch of fellows from Seattle said Ivar's was better. Well, we tried it and it isn't any Chowder Bowl that is for sure. Mind you at the Chowder Bowl you don't have to share your chowder with pigeons and you get to eat at a real table with real dishes and it is the same price whether you sit on a patio or not. Thumbs down for Ivar's.

It was getting cloudy and starting to get darker out so we headed towards the train station knowing we had a bit of a trek in front of us. We managed to make it by 4 and our train didn't leave until 5:30. That gave us some time to sit at the train station before departing. We arrived at the station in Albany by 11 pm and after a short drive home we managed to get to bed by 12:30 am with the alarm set for 6:00. We managed to get less than 12 hours sleep over three nights but we had a great time. We'll catch up on sleep sometime. Next year we are thinking maybe we'll try the show in San Francisco just to be different. Will make for a longer train ride though.

-Au Revoir

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." ~ G.K. Chesterton

Friday, December 4, 2009

Shiny Bikes and a Purdy Singer

Time goes by at the same rate every year but it sure doesn't seem like it should be December already.

Now that it is December we are getting close to the International Motorcycle Show in Seattle and are gearing up to sit on, look at and drool over all the shiny new bikes. Their website does not have the list of vendors for the Seattle show, but it appears that the usual suspects will be there: BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, etc. Unfortunately it looks like Triumph will not be there. That is ok. We know where Rod's shop is in Eugene and we know how to get there. It will be a nice opportunity to check out all of the latest and greatest models in person and actually sit on and compare models without driving back and forth across town.

I am hoping to take a lot of pictures while there and post up a report when we return. Maybe we'll have some pictures of the show, Troubadour and I sitting on different bikes, the train ride, the Arctic Club Hotel, Pike's Place, Pioneer Square, etc. I am going to try and make an effort to take more pictures as we don't always take the cameras out of our pockets. We hope to meet up with fellow bloggers and if so maybe we'll have some photos to document that as well. Rumor has it a few of you might be headed to the show.

Well, before it is time to look at shiny bikes we are going to see a purdy singer. And by purdy I don't mean southern slang for 'pretty' - I mean Joe Purdy the folk singer. I found on his facebook page that he was coming to Eugene on December 8th to perform at WOW Hall. A small historial performing arts center. He is an independent musician and all music is self-released.

Troubadour and I have been a lover of his music for several years now and couldn't beleive he was going to be performing here in Oregon. We were more delighted when we found out the ticket prices were very reasonable - as in $15 per person.

He has released several CD's including "Julie Blue" and "Paris in the Morning." My favorite song by Joe Purdy is "I Love the Rain the Most". This is not his video, just photographs someone has set to the song, but you can listen to the full song. His website will also let you listen to all of his music.

Another one of his great songs is "Wash Away", which apparently was played in the TV show Lost. Another favorite of mine is "Can't Get it Right." Here is his video for that song:

Appearing with Joe Purdy on Tuesday is Canadian Singer Meaghan Smith. Until we saw her advertised as a special guest we hadn't heard of her. We are so sheltered down here below the 49th Parallel. After some internet research we found we were really happy she was appearing. We quite enjoyed the clips of her music we discovered. Her singing reminds me of Stacey Kent.

Here is her video for "A Little Love":


-Au Revoir

"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without."~ Confucius

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Basil in the Garden

Well, it has been a few weeks since I've posted something. Not much has been going on with motorcycles so I figured I'd post up a few pictures of our cat Basil.

He was hiding out among the shrubbery in our backyard one summer day and Troubadour snapped a few pictures of him hiding amidst the foliage.

And when he has had enough of picture taking and wants to go back to sleep he looks like this ......

Most of the leaves have fallen off our trees and shrubs so when he goes outside he wanders off into the forest behind the house where he can hide among the evergreens out of the rain. Before long it will be spring and he will once again be looking for a cool spot to snooze in the yard.

-Au Revoir

"If the pull of the outside world is strong, there is also a pull towards the human. The cat may disappear on its own errands, but sooner or later, it returns once again for a little while, to greet us with its own type of love." ~ Lloyd Alexander


Friday, November 6, 2009

Motorcycle Blues

It has been several months since I've ridden a motorcycle and not been on the back. I find I am missing it. I am sure that will please Troubadour to no end. I don't miss it enough to ride the Ninja, but I do miss it.

I hoped the Ninja would sell prior to Autumn setting in and that by now I would be riding something different. Alas, things don't always work out as we plan.

I am still thinking of the Suzuki TU 250 and I am looking forward to the International Motorcycle Show in Seattle next month to look at everything and sit on a few bikes too. Although I love the Bonneville SE, I just cannot justify spending that amount of money on something that will more than likely be ridden only on the weekends. Mind you if I wait long enough there might be a good used Bonneville come up for sale in the Spring. I do not want to bite off more than I can chew however.

I find myself thinking of riding when I am driving around in the car. How would I handle this corner? Do I think I coud ride up there or down there? I think of these things too while riding pillion. I study the lines that Troubadour is taking and how he reacts to different situations. I can only hope to one day ride as smoothly as he does. For now I shall ride pillion and try and soak up all the kowledge I can in hopes of putting it to use come Spring.

Last Saturday morning we met the bike night crowd for coffee. It was sunny when the Triumph came out of the garage and starting to sprinkle by the time we arrived at Coffee Culture. After visiting and solving the world's problems for a few hours we took off. Troubadour and I decided that since the weather wasn't too bad we'd go off in search of the latest photo tag, which was at Fort Hoskins. Part way there the skies opened up and it just started coming down. We arrived at Forst Hoskins and the sun came back out. If you don't like the weather in Oregon, wait 5 minutes, it will change. Troubadour took the picture and we walked around a bit since we had never actually been to the old fort. You probably recognize the picture from Troubadour's blog.

Since we were already out in the weather and didn't have any particular tasks that needed doing we decided to take the long way home and see where a gravel road went. I must say Troubadour did an excellent job manouevering over the 9 miles of gravel to the next backroad. I think there were a few surprised hunters in the area too. Strange looks ensued as we rode by. It was a really nice ride with little to no traffic, just puttering along at our own pace. All too soon we were back on the highway and heading home. Gravel roads and rain make for a dirty bike.

Note the clean spot on the surface of the pillion seat. Can anyone guess what the back of my jacket and riding pants looked like by the time we got home? The front of Troubadours pants were the same. They have since gone through the wash, both the riding gear and the bike.

Good times.

- Au Revoir

"If you don't ride in the rain, you don't ride."~ Author Unknown

Friday, October 30, 2009

Have a Devil of a Hallowe'en

When I was somewhat bored last Saturday I pulled out a box of old photographs just to see which ones were in there. I then proceeded to think I should take some digital pictures of them. With this day and age of technology the easiest way to share your photos is not the old fashioned way. Also, some of the photos were quite old and faded with no known negatives and I wanted to store them digitally before they were too far gone to be photographed. We do not have a scanner so that was not an option.

I found several old photos and grabbed the digital camera. Some of pictures were of Troubadour when he was little, a few were of me when I was little. I even found some of us when we were first together, but we'll leave those for another post.

When I saw this picture of Troubadour dressed up for Hallowe'en, I knew it would be perfect for a post this weekend. He doesn't remember how old he was but it's cute all the same.

Whatever happend to mom's helping their kids make homemade costumes? It seems too easy nowdays to just go to the store and buy whatever you want.

One of my most memorable Hallowe'ens had homemade costumes. My brother Tiger dressed as an outhouse. He had taken an old refrigerator box, shaped the roof, and cut a door complete with crescent moom shape and it even had a toilet paper roll hanging inside. He had used paints and markers to make the outside look like wood. The same year I was a tube of Crest toothpaste. I had an ice cream pail as a 'cap' and I remember coloring the butcher paper by hand to look like the toothpaste tube. Wonder if there are pictures of that somewhere. Ahhh the good old days of imagination and homemade costumes.

May you all have a devil of an All Hallow's Eve.

- Au Revoir

"Proof of our society's decline is that Halloween has become a broad daylight event for many" ~ Robert Kirby

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back in Time

We took the Ninja off consignment and brought it home for the winter a week or so ago and as Troubadour was putting the title away in our lock box, he started looking through it to see exactly what we had in there. Apparently we have all kinds of things. Titles to the other motorcycles, our marriage license from 1996, passports, mementos, etc. Well.... one thing he happened across was a picture that I had thought lost in one of our moves. I don't think I've seen it in 10 years.

But first ......a little background........

Troubadour and I met in Penticton, British Columbia the summer of 1994 when we were in our early 20's and shortly thereafter had the opportunity to be spontaneous and go on vacation to the Oregon Coast. A good way to get to know each other. His mother graciously lent us the use of her motor home and off we went. One stop we made was in Florence to wander around Old Town, and there we saw a little shop that took 'old time' photos complete with costumes. To memorialize the trip we decided to have our picture taken. Little did we know that we would be living in Oregon one day.

Here is a copy of that photo. It is sepia tone and a little faded. Troubadour took a digital picture of it.

I then decided to do a little tweaking with iPhoto and came up with the following version.

It was a nice surprise to find the picture and it felt good to laugh, reminisce, and walk down memory lane. I thought I'd share. I hope Troubadour isn't too embarrassed.

-Au Revoir

"Every man's memory is his private literature." ~ Aldous Huxley

Friday, October 16, 2009

Turning Over a New Leaf


No, not me.... Nissan.

Nissan has a new 100% zero emissions vehicle in the works. It is called the Nissan LEAF and should be available in late 2010.

Troubadour and I have a 2007 Nissan Versa 4 dr. hatchback, which we love. You have probably seen a picture of it when I did the blog on our canoe trip in June. We love the Versa but it would be nice to have something electric with zero emissions for commuting. Troubadour commutes 12 miles each way to work everyday, whereas I luck out with 3 miles each way.

The LEAF looks promising. Althought at first it reminded me of the Versa, Troubadour quickly pointed out the front end looks rather like a catfish. He says it like that is a bad thing.

According to Nissan's website, the LEAF is.... "100% electric. That means it burns zero gas and produces zero emissions. But, this is no golf cart. Off the line, Nissan LEAF performs like a V-6. Plus, there's room for five."

Nissan is claiming:
1) Zero emmissons tailpipe;
2) 100% electric - no gas required;
3) Competitively priced;
4) Speeds up to 90 mph;
5) 5 passenger, 5 door; and
6) Advanced airbags, premium audio, Nissan navigation and more. has a really good article on the LEAF as well, and it can be viewed through this link. Their article is reporting that Nissan is planning on selling the vehicles, but leasing the batteries. I believe this might hamper sales depending on how they approach the leasing process/terms and cost. They are claiming it can go 100 miles without a charge,that is good.

One can hope that Nissan has sat back and watched how the other manufacturers have designed their hybrids and gone one step further. If you have ever watched "Who Killed the Electric Car?", you pretty much know what happend to the first round of electric vehicles. It appears that Nissan is helping to bring electric transportation to us regular folk. Although they will not give a stated price at this time, they are claiming that it will be comparable to other family sedans. Does that mean under $20k, under $25k, or under $30k? We'll see.

- Au Revoir

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."~ Albert Camus


Friday, October 9, 2009

Motorcycle Show

Well, it is official. Troubadour and I are attending the 2009 International Motorcycle Show held at Qwest Field in Seattle, December 11th - 13th.

Last Saturday, while at coffee with the bike night crowd, Rick brought up the suggestion of a group trip to Seattle via Amtrak for the show. We jumped on board immediately. We have been wanting to attend for a few years now, but for one reason or another we never made it. This year the stars are aligned and we are going.

The show is rumored to be amazing. All those manufacturers, booths and bikes to look at, sit on, and drool over.

One of the benefits of living within 10 miles of I-5 is that Amtrak runs up and down the corridor. Rick's original suggestion was to take Amtrak from Albany to Seattle and leave early in the morning on Saturday, attend the show, and return home on a late train Saturday night.

Troubadour and I figured if we were going to spend that amount of money on train tickets and were already going to be in Seattle, we might as well splurge on a hotel room and stay overnight. We have always wanted to go to Pioneer Square and Pike's Place Market so this would give us a change to do that on Sunday before taking a late afternoon train and returning home. It isn't that often we get to go on an adventure.

Rick posted up the idea on the forum to see how much interest we could generate from the other bike night attendees and it was also mentioned at bike night on Wednesday. We are trying to get the wives to go with their hubbys. If they don't want to look at motorcycles we are luring them with shopping while the rest of us play at the show.

So far we have one other couple signed up to do the overnight. We found out the rooms at the Arctic Club Hotel are booking up quickly so went online last night and booked our room. We're locked in now. We opted for the cheaper non-refundable rate. This will assure our attendance. And....oh darn, there were only king rooms with jacuzzi tubs available. And the hotel has Starbucks coffee in-room. It will be tough but I think we can manage to stay there.

The hard part is going to be waiting until December 12th to go. Only 2 more months. We can do it. We will have bike night, Saturday morning coffee and sporadic group rides to tide us over as the weather allows.

-Au Revoir

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." ~ G.K. Chesterton