Friday, August 28, 2009

Busy but boring week

Here it is Friday again and I don't have much to write about this week. Even thought it has been a boring week it has still been busy at work.

I work for an attorney who is a sole practitioner. Meaning he is the sole attorney and I am the only employee and do everything he doesn't do. I am reception, research, drafting, accounts receivable, accounts payable, file clerk, mail clerk and at times the complaint department. Depending on the day sometimes I'm overpaid and sometimes I'm underpaid for it all.

Not quite 3 weeks ago my boss fell while salmon fishing out in the ocean and went down hard into the side of the boat broke the big toe on his left foot and tore the tendon on his right knee/ quad. You know it is bad when your boss calls you on your cell at 9 pm on a Sunday night. That Monday I went into the office and was a flurry of activity cancelling in-office appointments and either rescheduling court appearances or finding other attorneys to cover. Over half of what we do is criminal law and we have a good network of criminal defense attorneys we can call upon to cover when needed and go visit our clients in jail.

After a few days he returned to work. He was sporting some shiny crutches but he was in the office. After seeing his family doctor an MRI was ordered for last Saturday. He saw the orthopedic surgeon on Monday (more scrambling around and changing appointments) and Wednesday morning was the actual surgery. I found out about the surgery late Monday and got a jump on moving things around. Luckily we only have one trial scheduled for next week so only one formal Motion to Continue was needed. Everything else can be moved via a few phone calls. Okay, sometimes more than a few phone calls. Thank goodness for email.

One would think without a boss there things would slow down. Not quite yet. Although I am getting caught up with all the estate planning and probate projects that have been stacking up on my desk. He will be having to work from home for a week or so, which means shuffling files back in forth and trying to organize court appearances by phone, etc.

He is at home recuperating so I managed to score today off. Normally I work until noon on Fridays then do my weekly grocery shopping and come home and clean the house top to bottom. This morning I was able to go out for groceries first thing and had most of my cleaning done by 1 o'clock. The cat came in and is snoozing on the sofa which means I can't vacuum so I will do that later when he heads back outside.

I am planning on a nice relaxing afternoon. Maybe a little reading, consuming lots of decaf coffee and maybe puttering on the computer. Looking forward to a relaxing evening after a strange week of work. We use Neflix and a have a few movies here so maybe we'll watch one of those.

Tomorrow we'll do Saturday morning coffee with the bike night crowd and then head to Eugene to visit family. I turned 38 on Wednesday and the family feels the need to celebrate the anniversary of my birth. Go figure. Birthdays are not a big deal for me but for some reason other people like to celebrate them with you. I figure it is a good excuse for Troubadour and I to ride the America along the back roads and enjoy some time together. It is 66˚ and raining out now but it is supposed to be in the 80's and sunny tomorrow.

We didn't get out much this week. The Ninja is still on consignment so I am riding pillion. We did go for a quick ride on Tuesday night (I think - maybe it was Monday) so that Troubadour could snag a photo tag that had been posted on pnwriders forum. The local Corvallis riders have been playing tag taking pictures of their bikes in different locations and then the others go out and try to find it. The one from Tuesday night was from a local park that has several entrances so we had to take a guess as to which one it was. Troubadour guessed it right and it was the first one we came to. Well not really, it was across the road from the first one. Does that count as the first or second? The photo to the left is unrelated. Troubadour stopped on his way home from work one night this week and took it. I like it, so I stole it for this post.

Not sure what is on the agenda for Sunday. Guess we'll play it by ear. Maybe someone will have posted up a local ride by then or maybe we'll go off on our own. You just never know.

I think I've rambled enough so I shall sign off and maybe I'll have some interesting pics to post come Monday. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

-Au Revoir

"Punctuality is the virtue of the bored."~ Evelyn Waugh

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quick Update

Just thought I'd post a quick update on the bike situation.

Yesterday after morning coffee with the bike night crowd, Troubadour rode the Ninja to Eugene to consign at our favorite Triumph dealership, Cycle Parts. He called Rod, the owner, earlier last week and Rod was on board for selling it. I followed Troubadour down in the Versa.

I must say how nice it is to deal with this shop. Rod was busy when we arrived and his daughter graciously helped us with the consignment form, looked up Kelly Blue Book value and agreed with us on it's worth without our having to mention what we thought it might be worth. She stated that her dad wanted us to look at a "for sale by owner" listed on his bulletin board. Seems someone had a 2006 Bonneville they were selling for only $3,300 because it had a dent in the tank. We went inside to take a peek. The ad looked great but we were informed that a guy who was just there had already bought the bike. Of course he did, it was a great deal.

That having been said, I took the ad down for him and we perused bikes. One thing I noticed was how small the Bonneville SE really did look. I sat on it, Troubadour sat on it. I moved it back and forth, tilted it from side to side, put my feet up, down, etc. Sure didn't feel as heavy I remembered. Sure didn't seem much bigger that the Nighthawk. That was encouraging. I didn't have my gear with me so I did not take it for a second test ride. Our first test ride on it was a month or two ago. Troubadour mentioned when we left the house about taking my gear and I said that I wanted to sell the Ninja first and if I rode the Bonneville SE and fell even more in love with it, it would just be teasing me.

I think the metaphor I used was it is like giving someone a cookie but telling them they can't eat it. "Here is a cookie. You can't eat it but you can lick it a few times." No fair. He laughed and understood why I didn't want to take it out until I was ready to pull the trigger. Rod was really busy so we headed to Discount Motorcycle Parts (DMP).

We had not had breakfast yet and it was already noon so we stopped at the Daily Bagel for lunch, which is just beside DMP. The bagel shop is great and we always try and stop there when going to DMP. They have amazing hand made bagels, a lunch menu and also a full espresso menu. I had a swiss cheese bagel toasted with garlic/artichoke/parmesan cream cheese. Not healthy, but entirely too yummy. Troubadour also had the swiss cheese bagel, but made his into a veggie sandwich and we chased them down with iced decaf vanilla lattes. Sorry no gratuitous photos of the grub.

With our bellies full we headed next door to DMP. I was checking to see if my new mesh Scorpion Nip/Tuck jacket had arrived yet. It has been on backorder for about a month and a half now. Still no luck. I hear maybe September. By the time I get it I'll need a thermal liner in it. Speaking of liners, Troubadour did score a new Tourmaster heated jacket liner. He is excited to put it to use. When he commutes in the winter at 28˚F he gets a little chilly. The liner has full sleeves and a heated collar. He will be toasty. Annette at the shop looked at him a little weird when he said he'd take it. I guess they aren't selling many in August. She had to take us into the back room to show it to us. I am sure he will blog about it when he gets to try it out.

When we left Cycle Parts we told Rod we'd stop back by and see him as we had not had a chance to talk to him when dropping off the Ninja. Back to Cycle Parts we went. He was just going for a soda with his wife (Hey, isn't that an old Kim Mitchell song? - not that anyone knows who he is down here). When he came back we chatted a bit. Troubadour sat on the Thunderbird and if he still had his gear on Rod said he could take it for test ride. He is looking forward to trying it out. He's not a fan of the exhaust or rear fender on it but really liked the comfy seat. Might be the only thing that ever pried him away from his America, but I doubt it.

We talked to Rod a few minutes about the Bonneville SE and asked him how many mile he needed before selling his demo. He volunteered to sell his demo to me then but I told him I had to wait for the Ninja to sell. I said, "Sell that Ninja for me Rod and I might take that SE off your hands."

You know you have found a great shop with great service when the owner makes an effort to personally talk to you every time you are in and also gives you a hug goodbye when you leave. Yes, it is true. We did not even purchase anything yesterday, and he still gave me a big hug when we left.

Never have I had that kind of service anywhere else. What can we say, we are fans of Triumph for life. We'll also support Rod and his shop any way we can..... Stay tuned for updates on the Ninja sale.

-Au Revoir

"The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one." ~ Erma Bombeck

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Weird end to last week

Last week ended on a weird note. Thursday Troubadour called a Suzuki dealer in Hillsboro that we've been to lots before to see if they had any TU 250's on the floor and to see if they were interested in perhaps a trade or a consignment of the Ninja. The salesman seemed eager on the phone. This got us excited.

We arranged to borrow a truck and Saturday morning had coffee with the bike night crowd, went to pick up the truck, loaded the Ninja and headed North on I-5. Saturday trafffic was crazy. Instead of the schools of cars fighting their way up I-5 it was one long group of traffic. No holes to be found. Was really glad Troubadour wasn't riding the Ninja.

On the way to Hillboro we stopped in Beaverton at a large dealership to see if they had a TU 250 on the floor. Yes they had one and the salesman was graciously willing to dicker on the MSRP vs the added $600 for freight and set up. We sat on the bike and were only there for a few minutes before heading out for lunch. We were starving.

Stopped at Hot Pot 'n Sushi (yummy) for a quick break in Hillsboro and continued to the dealership where we were informed that their only TU had sold after hours the night before. Bugger! The eager young salesman proceeded to show us the thrashed Triumph T-100 they had just purchased from auction that we could have for the low low price of....... no thanks. He did some checking and said they had 2 TU's in their warehouse. He then proceeded to tell us they only had 1 TU in their warehouse, but the warehouse wasn't local - it was 55 miles to the south in Salem but they could have it in a few days.

They too had freight and set up added to the MSRP of the bike. It was only $500 but still a hefty amount when considering it is only a $3,799 machine. This dealer didn't even seem interested in negotiating that amount.

Next came talk of the Ninja. We know what blue book retail is for the Ninja and know what they could list it for sale, figured knock of $500 for their profit and we could come to a reasonable agreement on trade. They are a large dealership that has high sales and a large used bike turnover. We approached the trade idea. Out came the 4-square sales pitch form and he said he needed to take it to his manager. We decided to play the game for a bit after all the salesman had only been at the job a little over a month. The "manager" came out and took a look at the Ninja and said he would give us about $1,400 under blue book retail and low-balled the wholesale value. We said that that wasn't a fair deal and before we could ask about consignment and purchasing the TU everyone walked away from us and left us in the parking lot.

WTF just happend we were thinking. A no Ninja trade was a not a deal breaker to us, merely a suggestion or idea. We were still interested in the TU. But we were left standing in the parking lot by ourselves. We were walking buyers and they walked away. Again, WTF? I'm sorry, isn't this a tenuous economy? Aren't businesses looking for sales?

So we got in the truck and called another dealer, this time in Oregon City, and after being on hold to the sales department and having to call back 3 times finally got a receptionist to take a message since "all of the salesman were on the phone." Not with customers, but all on the phone. We were trying to check stock as it was on the opposite side of I-5 and it was getting late in the day.

We decided to return to the dealer in Beaverton since we knew they had one in stock and seemed willing to negotiate price. Two salesmen greeted us when we walked in the door and then no less than a dozen proceeded to ignore us once we were in the building. We were on and off the bike. Troubadour had the key turned, lights on, etc. The TU was parked by a stockroom door or managers office or some such door salesmen were going in and out of and not one, I repeat, not one, stopped to say hello, made eye contact or asked if they could help us. We couldn't even find the guy we had talked to 2 hours earlier.

So, with a few choice gestures and a big vocal thanks for the non-help we headed home. Less giddy and lower on morale than when we started the day that is for sure.

We headed back down I-5 stopping for a Starbucks in Wilsonville. Somehow that seemed to lift the spirits. Stopped at a motorcycle gear place in salem and tried on some boots, no luck there.

Finally we made it home, unloaded the Ninja and returned the truck. (yes we filled it with gas first) Went out for a nice relaxing dinner of a slice of pizza at one of our favorite places to eat - American Dream Pizza. Sat on the roof and just reflected on the day. Me drinking my unsweetened iced tea and Troubadour enjoying his cool PBR.

We've decided to take the bike to the Triumph dealer in Eugene to consign. Troubadour bought his old Sprint ST from him, and consigned it with him when he bought his Triumph America. Rod has been good to us and I don't think we fully appreciated him until dealing with other dealerships. He is an easy going guy with a relaxed sales style, no 4-square sales form with him. A call has been made and he is ready and willing to help us out. We may even take the Ninja down this Saturday. Troubadour would ride it this time as he can take our favorite backroads.

Oh, and here it is Wednesday and the one shop we left a message for in Oregon City has not called us back. Who knows if they had a TU in stock. You think with these economic times customer service would be a little better. c'est la vie.

-Au Revoir

"I went to a general store but they wouldn't let me buy anything specific." ~ Steven Wright

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random Cat Photos

It has been a while since I posted any random cat photos so I thought I'd post up a few.

Baxter (R.I.P.) often gave us the "stink eye" for bringing Basil into the household as a kitten, evidenced by these photos.....

- Au Revoir

" "Two cats can live as cheaply as one, and their owner has twice as much fun." - Lloyd Alexander

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another weekend gone......

Today is Monday already and we had an interesting weekend. Never did make it to the garlic festival on Saturday, but we did go for a nice ride to Depot Bay and Gracie's Sea Hag for lunch. Troubadour and I rode two up and one of our bike night crew joined us on his V-Strom. Saturday morning we met up with everyone at Creekside Coffee in Corvallis. There were three rides going on. A group was headed to Bend to test ride Ducati's. We were headed to the coast for a chowder run and the other was heading to Eugene.

We all headed out about 10:30 am or so and went our different routes. Here is a picture I've pilfered off our PNW forum showing everyone at the coffee stop before heading out. Thank you Ducatichick for taking it.

The ride to the coast was uneventful. A few back roads were taken at a nice pace. Troubadour went easy on me as I wasn't in for a "spirited" ride. Some of the backroads were a little choppy though - quite the butt buster. They really need to be resurfaced. Pulled into Depot Bay and the Sea Hag without too much trouble. Hwy 101 traffic is always heavy though.

The Sea Hag had an extensive menu and was actually quite pricey. We'd heard good things about it though so had to try it. The only thing on their menu that was vegetarian was a garden burger - no kidding - even the salad's weren't vegetarian. We didn't feel like yet another garden burger. The clam chowder had bacon in it so I opted out of that. Troubadour decided on the fish and chips with salmon as the fish. I had the fish sandwich, as i was having fond memories of the fish sandwiches at the Barley Mill Pub in Penticton. Anything on the menu is highly recommended at the Barley Mill if ever in the Okanagan. Here are the obligatory photos. They didn't come out well as we used our new Kodak camera we aren't too happy with.....

We were all full from lunch and headed back to Corvallis the same route we came, arriving home at 4 in the afternoon. Had a nice relaxing evening.

Sunday we decided to have a lazy day. Slept in and I made homemade blueberry muffins for breakfast. Puttered in the yard and headed to a couple of plant nurseries. Headed home and about 6 or so in the evening decided to take the bikes out since I'd only been on the Ninja twice.

Well the motorcycle gods/gremlins got to me. I had an epiphany and decided that the bike just isn't right for me. There is something about it. Maybe it is too big? Too intimidating? Too performance oriented/powerful? There is just something that is freaking me out. I got a few blocks down the road and just couldn't do it. Maybe it is because I've never really been a fan of sportbikes. I like the standard or naked bikes. I do not have a need for speed. I am built for comfort not for speed.

Troubadour is very supportive and said he was proud of me for admitting what a lot of people wouldn't and that is that I either stepped up too soon and/or that a bike wasn't right no matter how easy other people thought it was to ride. He'd rather have me find out there was something about it now rather than wrecking going around a corner later. I never scared myself with the throttle or anything like that. Never lifted the front tire, I think I was too apprehensive of the power to give it much throttle. I did have it up to 65 mph on the backroads on a few straight stretches.

When I was riding the Nighthawk 250, I thought that it was a little too shaky, light and a pain to ride, but I can tell you I had a lot more fun working it to get it to 60-65 than attempting to hold on to the Ninja.

So.... the Ninja is up for sale and we're on the hunt for a smaller lighter bike. We are actually looking at the Suzuki TU 250 again. Maybe that is what I should have bought before the Nighthawk. We'll see. Troubadour would rather see my on a smaller bike having fun and keeping up with him that a larger bike and not wanting to ride. Here is a pic of the TU - they call it a baby Bonneville. Seems fitting.

I will keep everyone posted so stay tuned.

Now that the weekend is over we're back to work. Today is our 13th wedding anniversary and my mom was nice and sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to my work and my brother even sent a text message. That was very nice of them. Troubadour and I are heading out when he gets off work for a nice dinner at a local place called The Woodsman. They have excellent Thai food. Perfect for our anniversary.

- Au Revoir

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Busy busy busy

Well another week gone and done. Not that it is the weekend yet, but it has been about a week or so since I've posted much beyond the camping utensil picture.

Troubadour and I were gone last weekend for a long weekend. Headed to his Mom and Step-Dad's in North Eastern Washington on Saturday and came home Monday. Had a great visit. His Brother and Sister-in-Law were there as well from Kelowna so it was a full house.

We had a good visit. Good people, good food, and good times.

We were up at 5 am on Saturday and out of the house by 7 am. Headed North on I-5 and then took the I-84 down the Columbia Gorge. Beautiful scenery as always. We weren't looking forward to the 10 hour drive each way but it wasn't too bad. You just have to find as many Starbucks as possible.

We did find out that if one is desperate enough (yes even for decaf) that you can spot a Starbucks sign in Spokane across 5 lanes of traffic and through a horse trailer. Believe me, I did it. Good job Troubadour was driving. He hit the gas, snuck in front of the truck pulling said horse trailer and into the left turn lane we went. It was about 108˚ in Spokane Saturday afternoon so those "iced Decaf Caramel Macchiato's" were mighty tasty. Something to lift the spirits for the last 2 hour leg of the trip.

When on a motorcycle we like to say it is the journey that is important not the destination. In this case we were in the Nissan Versa and it was the destination that was important since the journey was nothing to get excited about. The scenery through Eastern Oregon and Washington did not enthrall us. Something about sagebrush and scrub pine trees in extreme dry heat that just doesn't do it for us. We were happy to smell the humidity when we got back to the Willamete Valley on Monday.

We decided to take a different route home on Monday. The in-laws gave us good directions and got the maps out. A nicer twisty road that followed a river for the first leg of our journey. We meandered down to I-90 and drove through Yakima. South of Yakima but before Goldendale we stopped at the St. John's Monestary and Bakery for lunch. A quaint bakery that sold Greek entrees and baked good. Stuffed ourselves with some Spanikopita and Baklava and off we went.

We finally arrived home at 7 pm that night. Round trip was 20 hours of driving. Not bad for a three day weekend.

We are still trying to catch up on sleep and at work but we'll get there. Tonight was Corvallis Bike Night so I walked down after work and hung out with everyone for a while. Had a great slice of pizza and headed home. Troubadour was still down there visting when I left. I was too burned out from work and just wanted to head home.

Haven't had much time to get out on the Ninja lately with being gone and tired from work. Maybe this weekend. The weather has finally cooled off to a balmy 75-80 here in Corvallis. Perfect for riding. If only the wind would calm down.

We have the Elephant Garlic Festival coming up this weekend so I believe we might suit up and head out on the Triumph on Saturday. To me garlic is like the other white meat. Oh wait, we are vegetarians, it's the only white meat. We love garlic and I use lots when cooking. You know.... if the recipe calls for 1 or 2 cloves I have to put it at least 4 maybe more. Good thing Troubadour loves garlic too. We haven't been to the festival before but heard about it from the local Women in the Wind chapter that rides there every year.

That will still leave Sunday for taking both bikes out and putting some more miles under my belt. Will try and take some pics. Until then.....

-Au Revoir

" Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation." ~ Elizabeth Drew

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Camping Essentials


Here are the camping essentials no one should be without....

Now that is creative. Wonder where you can buy them?

- Au Revoir

" Camping: The art of getting closer to nature while getting farther away from the nearest cold beverage, hot shower and flush toilet." ~ Author Unknown