Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mmmmm Pumpkin Treats

Troubadour asked me this morning what kind of yummy treat I was going to make him for breakfast. Since it is Halloween I decided on pumpkin scones. They sounded wonderful on this crisp, but sunny fall morning.

I have a recipe I found on the internet that is supposed to copy Starbucks Pumpkin Scones. I have made them a few times and tweaked them to make them vegan, but I have to say I call them "Better Than Starbucks" Pumpkin Scones. These always turn out nice and light, whereas Starbucks scones can be downright heavy and dry on occasion.

Instead of waiting for them to cool completely to glaze them, I just sprinkle them with powdered sugar. The result.... yummy. I snapped a few pics this morning before we dove in.

The recipe makes a small batch of 6. I have to admit - there are only 2 left.

Happy Halloween everyone.

- Au Revoir

"Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite, all are on their rounds tonight; In the wan moon's silver ray, thrives their helter-skelter play." ~ Joel Benton

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Phantom Ride


No, not that kind of Phantom.....

When you look up phantom in the dictionary one of the definitions is "a figment of the imagination."

We have a good natured saying in our group of riding friends and that is "if there's no pics, it didn't happen." Maybe it was your imagination. Maybe it didn't happen.

Troubadour and I went out for an afternoon ride on Sunday. Just the two of us. I can't remember the last time we rode with just the two bikes. Troubadour was in the lead and he took me on a few back roads, up to a viewpoint here in town and back down. Then along a few gravel roads. One of those being Ritner Creek that he went on his off road adventure.

We both had our radios plugged in and when I asked if he'd brought the camera, he replied, "no, I forgot." I would say it was my fault too, as I had forgotten to remind him. At this point I'm thinking... if there's no pics, it didn't happen. Here I was puttering along in the gravel on my TU with no proof.

We ended up on King's Valley Highway and went a little ways and took a break at the store for some water. From there we went back on Highway 20 and turned onto Highway 34. Crap. I knew where this was heading.

All year I have dreaded the Alsea twisties and Mary's Peak. Troubadour knew I was ready and I am sure he was chuckling with glee knowing I'd follow where he went. He asked if my heart rate was going up as we got closer. I replied. "No, but I could use a Rolaids." Deep breathe I kept thinking....take a deep breathe.

Before I knew it we'd gone through the twisties and I didn't know what I had been so hesitant about. Then we tackled Mary's Peak. It is 16 miles to the top, but it was closed at the gate right after the gravel patch so we didn't make it all the way. We stopped to take a quick break at the gate and ended up conversing with a gentleman who just moved here from California. Seems he wanted to check out the TU. He was vertically challenged and thought it looked a good size.

Back down we went. This was the part I really wasn't looking forward to. Up is easy, down not so much. Downhill corners are a mental block for me. I think I did pretty well, kept it up to 30 mph which is the speed on the hill.

Once we reached the bottom of that stretch and then the bottom of the Alsea twisties I said a little 'woohoo' in my helmet and all was good. We took the back way home via Decker Road.

The roads were better than I imagined. Great pavement and way easier than Quartzville was. The bike and I were one on Sunday. I wasn't fighting the gears at all, it was just smooth riding. And I had a great day spending time with hubby.

But..... no pictures means no proof that I conquered my biggest riding fear. Something I wanted to do before the weather turned but didn't think we'd have a chance. I know I did it, Troubadour knows I did it and we'll get pictures the next time.

And yes, there will be a next time. Our imaginations are always worse than reality I find, and this was no exception.

I'll leave you with at least one motorycycle picture:

This was the first motorbike I'd ever ridden. My mom and step dad had matching Honda trail bikes. My mom made cushions for the back racks and my brother rode with my step dad and I rode on the back of mom's when we'd go camping/ hunting. I used to drive mom nuts because I enjoyed bouncing over the bumps. Now I understand why she hollered as I kept bouncing long after the bike stopped. Maybe I was meant for off road...... Hmmmmm.

-Au Revoir

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." ~ Author Unknown

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quartzville Quandary

I was going to write a post on Saturday while Troubadour was out on his epic off road adventure but I wasn't in the mood for writing. I am off work early today so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

On Saturday October 2nd RickRick, Troubadour and I decided to go for a little 200 mile ride. The ride route.......

We went to coffee and from there over to Albany to Premier Motogear as Rick was checking on an order he had placed. From there we took the back roads to Lebanon and then Highway 34 to Sweet Home where we filled up the bikes with petrol. We also took this opportunity to put on an extra layer under our jackets and I switched to my winter gloves. It was a little chilly out and the sun had not yet made an appearance.

We travelled through Sweet Home and turned left, headed over the dam at Foster Reservoir and then we were on our way via Quartzville Road which turns into Quartzville Drive. Rick was in the lead and Troubadour called sweep so I didn't straggle too far behind. (I have a tendency to doddle if I am the last in line) We continued east meandering our way around the river. There didn't seem to be a lot of traffic but the further we got the more campers/hunters we saw.

I wasn't going terribly fast, but I was having fun gaining some cornering experience. I was in need of a quick break as my morning coffee was making me close to bursting. We stopped at Yellowbottom for a bathroom break and a snack. Troubadour found a little critter to match his bike and snapped a pic or two.

Back on the bikes and off we went. From Quartzville Drive we stayed right and were on Forestry Road 11. A little narrower (one lane with pull outs) and a little more climbing before we headed down towards Highway 22. For some reason I could not get in the zone once back on the bike. I felt that I was fighting the little TU the rest of the way up the hill and back down again. Second gear was too low, third too high. It was really frustrating to me.

Here is a shot Troubadour took. You can see the tail lights of the TU and ZZR up ahead.

Sure was nice to see all the leaves changing colors. Riding through the swirling leaves on the road was great. It made me want to shout "whee" in my helmet.

A little further and we stopped for some photo opportunities. Here is Troubadour on his Tiger.

Rick pretending to tip him off his bike.....

and the guys goofing off....

Getting geared up to get back on the bike....

Before we knew it we were on the bikes and heading further east. More twists and turns, uphill and down, several with a decreasing radius. I was going slower than I'd hoped but eventually made it to the junction with Highway 22. Rick was already there with his helmet off.

While stopped Troubadour mentioned to me that I should have been able to take the corners a lot faster than I was and even 'lapped' me at one point. Roaring ahead to catch up with Rick, coming back and then catching up to me once again. I am sure I could have taken them faster but with the way the bike and I were getting along it was as fast as I was comfortable with that day.

I am not sure whether it was fighting the gearing of the bike, or simply the hesitancy of leaning far enough over. Maybe I need to be pushing on the bars harder to get more of a lean thus being able to increase my speed. Hard to do with an aversion to sliding out not to mention the downhill grade with the drop off on one side, yikes. Hell, I was happy to have made it in one piece. The road had several spots of moss, gravel, and just plain large pot holes. Luckily we all had radios on and Rick was good about warning us of the hazards.

These are last pictures we took that day and were taken at the junction of the Forest Road and Highway 22. Troubadour claimed he couldn't see me behind his Tiger so I promptly leaned over and stuck out my tongue for the second picture.

The ride to Salem on Highway 22 was uneventful. Little bit of traffic and we were moving at an indicated 70 mph for most of the way. The TU didn't seem to have any trouble keeping up which was nice. At one point around Detroit Lake the wind was beating us up a little and I did have my heated grips on even though the sun had come out. It was a pretty drive and I think it was the first time I'd been on those roads.

Once in Salem we stopped at Sushi Kyo for a late lunch/early dinner. Excellent as always. From there we went north a few exits on I-5 so that Rick could check on a wetsuit he was having altered. I-5 was a first for me on the bike but I managed to keep up. Then the obligatory stop at Harbor Freight. From there we went through Salem to River Road - the back way to Independence and then down Independence Highway the back way into Corvallis. By the time we were leaving Salem we were riding into the sunset. I had my Oakleys on (don't leave home without them) but was using my clear face shield because of the morning clouds. Once we made it over the bridge to Independence we stopped and Rick applied black electrical tape to the top and bottom of my visor so that I could see. Prior to that I was pretty much riding with my left hand up shielding my eyes so I could see the road. Wasn't fun.

We headed south and managed to get back to Corvallis at 7 pm, just as the Beaver game was letting out. Had a great day of riding (even though it was frustrating at times) and managed to beat game day traffic and watch the sunset. Was an enjoyable day and I look forward to the next ride.

My quandary is - when/how do you know you are ready to step up to a slightly larger bike? I feel the TU is a little too small in the way that it is geared and a slightly larger bike would actually be more comfortable to ride. I've heard that a slightly heavier bike is easier in the corners due to stability. I love how light the TU is for maneuvering in parking lots and how easy it has been to get into riding, but on some level I wonder if it is holding me back a bit with being comfortable increasing my cornering speeds and of course going uphill. (Uphill is not one of it's strong points unless leaned forward in a full tuck) There isn't much out there that is slightly heavier or larger without jumping up too far. I don't much like cruisers and do not want forward controls or to be bent over on a sport bike so that limits my choices.

I have 1600 miles on the TU so far since the end of March and I'm hoping to get several hundred more on it before spring. I know that it is more fun to ride a small bike fast than a fast bike slow but I fear I'm riding my small bike slow. Just not sure what to do, so for now I'll just keep riding and putting more miles under my belt and a smile on my face.

-Au Revoir

"Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Courage can't see around corners, but goes around them anyway." ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More Brit Pics...


Several weeks ago I posted up about the All British Field Meet that Troubaour and I attended at Portland International Raceway (PIR). In the post I indicated a future post with additional photos might be forthcoming. There were way too many to put in one post.

Here are some additional modes of transportation we digitally captured that day......

We saw orange ones....

And yellow ones....

And green ones....

There were ones that looked alike......

And an original too.......

The gentleman that owned the Escort also had his Triumph Tiger 1050 there. Troubadour took the opportunity to chat him up and take a few creative shots of his bike.....

While Troubadour was chatting I managed to stand on a boulder and snap a few pics of the crowd.....

There weren't many bikes there this year.....

And last.... we found a little bit of humor..... or is that humour.....

-Au Revoir

"It's weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don't even amount to a couple of hours." ~ James Lalropui Keivom