Friday, January 29, 2010


As you know from earlier posts, Troubadour and I headed to Las Vegas last Saturday to celebrate his 40th birthday. He did a follow-up blog post the other day complete with a few pictures and a narrative.

In my opinion Vegas is highly over rated. I know people have said that unless you go to some of the outlying areas such as Hoover Dam it isn't the same. Although it would be cool to tour and take pictures of it .... to me Hoover Dam isn't part of Vegas, it is it's own entity .... Hoover Dam.

Since Troubadour has already summed up our journey and I agree with his take on things, I don't think there is much more I can add. Instead this post will be a pictoral narrative of sorts. Some of my favorite shots of our trip. We managed to take over 470 pictures so this might take a few posts.

Here are a few shots taken from the plane at 37,000 ft.....

I've always found architecture facinating and find myself taking pictures of buildings in odd ways or looking up just to see what is up there. Here are a few gems found just by looking up.....

And then what you can see if you look a little beyond what is right in front of you......

A few of my favorite pictures from the trip were taken inside the Bellagio of their Chinese New Year displays....

And of course a pictoral wouldn't be complete without a few pics of Troubadour and I.....

On the plane flying out of LAS....

We have more pictures to share, some quirky, some fun, some neon lights at night. I will post up some random Vegas shots in a future post. Until then....

-Au Revoir

"The night before I left Las Vegas I walked out in the desert to look at the moon. There was a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high." ~ Norman Mailer

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You Say It's Your Birthday.......

Troubadour has a milestone birthday approaching on Saturday January 23rd. He will be the big 4-0. Yes 40. We pondered on how we should celebrate. Neither one of us are big into birthdays so a huge party was out of the question, but we thought it was a good excuse to take a weekend jaunt to somewhere we've never been. We decided on Las Vegas.

Where else should one go to party and celebrate the big day? Not too far from home but still a good distance for a 3-day weekend. We started looking for deals on the internet back in mid November and tried to stop by a few local travel agencies too see what they could do for us. Two that we tried were not open on weekends so the Friday after Thanksgiving we stopped by AAA to see what kind of packages they could come up with. Unfortunately after we stopped by they never did give us a call or email back so we decided to be our own travel planners.

We found a great deal on flights from Alaska Air and then Rick suggested using to find a hotel. (Thank you Rick) Priceline did not like our first or second bid, but they did come back and say they could get us into a 5-star hotel for under $100 a night on the strip. We said, sure why not, and took a chance. We managed to score a suite at the Trump Hotel across from the Fashion Show Mall. At first, we didn't know how we felt about that until we started doing a little research. It is 100% non-smoking, is tailored to couples, has no casino, every room has a king size bed and a mini kitchen as well as a full marble bath with a two person jetted tub. Did I mention there is a 14" television built into the mirror across from the jacuzzi tub? If we get bored of the sights of Vegas we'll at least be able to retire to the hotel and relax in comfort. "Oh, room service."

I called the hotel earlier this week to confirm and let them know we will be there for a 40th birthday and that this was our first trip to Vegas. The woman on the phone was extremely helpful and said she left a message in their computer system that said if they were not booked up to please give us a complimentary upgrade to a suite on the highest floor possible and a strip view. That was certainly nice of her.

We then thought "we can't go to Vegas and not see a show." I asked Troubadour what show he might like to see and we came up with a few ideas. Maybe Zumanity, or O, or even The Lion King or Blue Man Group. I asked Troubadour to pick one since it is his birthday I wanted him to choose. He decided on LOVE - the Cirque Du Soleil set to Beatles music. All of the audio clips and music in the show are from actual recordings from the Beatles' Abbey Road studio. Reviews say "The show is a slightly psychedelic journey through the trends and politics of the '60s and most importantly, The Beatles' history, told through nearly 30 of the group's songs", so it should be amazing.

Needless to say we are hoping for multiple photo opportunities and are taking more than one camera. I am sure we'll see lots of blog fodder. Since we've never been to Vegas if anyone has a few pointers of places to visit while there, we welcome ideas from the peanut gallery, but please, no Elvis. Viva Las Vegas.....

-Au Revoir

"In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number."~ Steven Wright

Friday, January 15, 2010

Good Times & a Soggy Bottom

As I sit here on a chilly afternoon drinking hot coffee and listening to the rain pouring down it reminds me of our polar bear ride on New Years Day. I put on my nice clean dry gear (freshly washed from our last venture in the dirt and rain) and we were ready to go.

When Troubadour and I got home afer the short 70 mile ride we were both soaked, some areas more than others. Both our Firstgear Aqua gloves were soggy wet and water could be squeezed out just by making a fist. His hands stayed dry, mine were wet and cold and managed to wick water up to my elbow under my jacket. Maybe it was his heated grips that helped keep his hands dry.

My feet were wet clear though my leather boots and wool socks. I didn't know my HH Brown pack boots were not waterproof, but now I do. See, I learned something from the adventure. Since I was riding pillion the back of my gear was coated with grime. Damn, now I need to wash them all again. Let's see if I can get the elbow armor in the right direction this time when I put it back together. My elbows don't bend backwards. If I remember right, the silicone spray Troubadour put on his riding pants failed in the heavy rain that day and he was wet to the skin.

I saw the following picture in an email at work last week and the first thing that came to mind was the polar bear ride. The rain today just happend to reminded me of it. This is how I felt when we got home that day.

Good times and adventure can sometimes give you a soggy bottom.

- Au Revoir

"I am sure it is a great mistake always to know enough to go in when it rains. One may keep snug and dry by such knowledge, but one misses a world of loveliness." ~ Adeline Knapp

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Horse of a Different Color

In researching the Suzuki TU 250 I have discovered several sites dedicated to the little machines. They have been for sale overseas for at least a decade and have quite a following.

Here in the land of the free we don't necessarily have the freedom to choose as many different models/colors as are available elsewhere. And not just with the TU 250. Another example is that the Suzuki GS 500 is available here with a fairing, but in Canada you can purchase it naked. I sure wish we had that option here. Yes, I know, we can get the SV650, but we are not given the option for the smaller non-faired bike. *Sigh*
Back to the TU.....Most people are familiar with the standard Suzuki TU 250 in the only color it is available in the USA- red. I have used a picture of that particular model many times in earlier blog posts. What you might not have seen before is what is available elsewhere. ADVRider forum has quite a long post on the bike with several good links where you can view treasures like the following..... 'note it is usually known as the ST 250 overseas':

This beige bike with tan/camel seat is by far my favorite that I have seen. If it was available in the USA I'd have already bought one. This was actually a 2004 model.

You could also find them with a teal and white tank:

Or white tank with blue frame: (Think that is where they got the idea for the Gladius color combination?)
And how about orange for the local Beaver fans (Go Beavs!) ..... or BC Lions if you are into the CFL....or....maybe you just like creamcicles......

And although the beige and tan is my favorite this one takes the prize for customization (love the tail light setup):

So, while I wait for the Ninja to sell, I shall bide my time, I shall try to practice patience, and I will drool at all the different models and options available across the pond.

-Au Revoir

"Sometimes the best communication happens when you're on separate bikes." ~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hot Chocolate for the Soul

Last Saturday Troubadour and I and our friend Rick headed to Portland after our morning coffee with the bike night crowd. We stopped for dim sum for lunch and then proceeded to multiple motorcycle shops. Sorry no gratuitous pics of the dim sum, although I can say .... dim sum for three in Portland was more expensive than dim sum for five in Seattle. Me thinks they may have forgotten to write down a few of our items in Seattle.

We went to several motorcycle shops and sat on many bikes. Troubadour sat on some Suzuki V-Stroms, Kawasaki Concourses, Triumph Tigers and several others. I sat on the Suzuki TU 250, the Suzuki Gladius and a few BMW F650s and GS650s. We finally came to the conclusion that the best bike for my needs right now would be the Suzuki TU 250. They have quite a following on the internet and seem to be a great all around bike. And in comparison does not feel much different from the Bonneville SE. The Ninja has been listed for sale both in Cycle Trader and on Craigslist. As soon as it sells we'll be buying the TU 250.

Over the years we have realized that with motorcycles as with life, we do not need the biggest or the baddest, the most expensive, or even the newest. We love our small 1970's two-bedroom 912 square foot house, our car that is a few years old, etc. Troubadour came across the following story or essay, if you will, and I though it fitting for our life's philosophy. I am sure you have probably seen it before - with religion and without. I prefer the non religious version as I am non-believer and freethinker.

Hot Chocolate for the Soul

"A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives. Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: "Notice that all the nice looking; expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate. The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate."

Enjoy life and all it brings.

-Au Revoir

"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things." ~ Elise Boulding