Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - A Reflection

Once again, it's the time of year when we look back at all we have done, or not done, in the last year and look forward to those things we hope to do next year.

2013 was not a great year in terms of motorcycling riding and miles travelled or even short overnight moto-trips, but it did seem to go by quite quickly.  Does that mean I'm getting old?

Instead of doing a long review of the year, I decided to do a few photo collages depicting our year.  According to iPhoto we took 3,320 photos this year, so I figured a few collages might be the easy way to highlight some of them.  Out of the many website that you can use for collages, I chose because it was free, easy to use, and all they needed was an email address and password to sign up.

So without further ado, here is a look back at 2013 in all it's faded glory.  Click on the collage for a larger look.

**  The first collage has two photos taken by Bobskoot: the one of the blogging group in San Francisco and also the picture of RogeyTroubadour, and Me also taken in SF.

That is it, 2013 in a nutshell.  

I hope that all of you have a healthy happy 2014. My wish for you is a year filled with love, laughter, and miles of dry roads and sunny skies.

- Au Revoir

"We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas - Beyond the Sea

With the Willamette Valley once again filled with dense fog and a predicted high temperature of 38˚F (3˚C) yesterday, we were inspired by Sonja and Roland and decided to head for the coast, which was forecast for sunny skies and 58˚F (14.4˚C).

Just before noon we stashed the kites in the Subaru, grabbed some protein bars for lunch and pointed the car West.  The drive to Newport takes about an hour on Highway 20.

Our first stop was the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and park to use the facilities.  The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was built in 1871 and is the oldest building in Newport.  It was active for only three years until the traditional lighthouse was built at Yaquina Head in 1873.  It was decommissioned in 1874 as Yaquina Head Lighthouse made it obsolete.

(Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon)
Also in the park is the Fisherman's Memorial Sanctuary, built in remembrance of those Lincoln County fisherman lost at sea.

From Yaquina Bay we drove north looking for a spot to play on the beach and fly a kite.  We decided to turn into the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, in which the lighthouse is located.  Neither of us have ever been there before and we were intrigued.  It is normally a fee park but for Christmas it was a free day.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse, originally called Cape Foulweather Lighthouse, is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon - the tower stands 93 feet (23 m) tall.  The lighthouse still uses its 1868 French made fixed Fresnel lens that can be seen 19 miles out to sea.

(Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon)
The park was a lot larger than anticipated with the lighthouse, hiking trails, an interpretive center (closed) and also stairs leading down the cliff to tide pools.  Did someone say tide pools?  We walked down the stairs and wandered for a good hour or so.  Here are some pics of the highlights.

(Beds of muscles) 
(A snail on the left and other crunchy bits)

(Giant Green Sea Anemone)

(Sea Star, aka Starfish)
(Troubadour tickling the anemone)
(Tide pool with anemone, urchins, and muscle shells) 
(Purple Urchins)

(Artsy rust on the railing)

While the tide pools were sheltered from the wind, being up on the bluff at the lighthouse made us realize it was quite breezy and there was enough wind for kite flying.  We got back in the car and drove a little further north to Moolack Beach.  What appealed to us about Moolack was that it was undeveloped with no facilities and there was only one other car there.  We put on our hats and I donned gloves my as well.  We walked down the path and Troubadour brought out his para-foil kite while I did some beach combing.

(Looking south towards Yaquina Head Lighthouse from Moolack Beach) 

(Half a Sand Dollar - does that make it fifty cents?)

(Me and my shadow)

We, and by we I mean me, were a little chilly from the wind and decided to pack it in.  The beach was getting busier and there were now a dozen or so people and half as many dogs running around.

We managed to find the only open coffee shop in town, which happened to be Starbucks.  We stopped for a couple of grande soy chai tea lattes and headed east.  We arrived home just after 5 pm.  Our batteries were sufficiently recharged from the sunshine and we were ready to hold down the sofa for the evening.

I hope everyone else had an enjoyable day as well.

- Au Revoir

" Somewhere beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me, my lover stands on golden sands, and watches the ships that go sailin'." - Bobby Darin 'Beyond the Sea'

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Seasons Greetings

Whatever your reason for the season - I hope you enjoy your time with friends and/or family.

- Au Revoir

"If the October days were a cordial like the sub-acids of fruit, these are a tonic like the wine of iron.  Drink deep or be careful how you taste this December vintage.  The first sip may chill, but a full draught warms and invigorates." - John Burroughs, 'Winter Sunshine'

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Color of the Season - Blog Challenge

Martha over at Wisconsinland offered up a challenge this morning for those living with bleak winter weather.

She posted pictures of beautiful orange red roses and also a montage photo with a bright scarf, gloves, and a dog with a red collar all on a brightly patterned rug.

Her challenge is as follows:

"How could I not take a photo of these blazing orange red roses? 
Find some color to bring to your bleak winter. 
I could offer that as a challenge to those in bleak wintry conditions right now. 
Any takers?"

I accept that challenge.

Most people that read Troubadour and my blogs know that we have been experiencing some unseasonably cool and snowy weather.  We received 9 inches (22.8 cm) of powdery snow on Friday December 6th.  90% of it is still on the ground.  The 10% that melted has refrozen, as our temperatures have only just begun to creep above freezing.  I've dubbed it Snowpocalypse since people aren't equipped to deal with it in these parts and the schools have been closed since last Friday.  If we get any more snow we'll upgrade to Snowmageddon.

We've dealt with frozen hot water pipes, freezing fog this morning, and tomorrow morning freezing rain is predicted.  At some point when things thaw out, I think our clothes washer may even commence working again.  Might I remind you it isn't even Winter in our neck of the woods yet, it is still Autumn for two more weeks.

My bright spot of color is a picture of our backyard I took on Friday.  Our bicycle planter was the lone spot of color amidst the sea of snow.

Now if one was to ask Troubadour he might say his favorite bits of color in our bleak weather were his high-vis Aerostich and Fly helmet when he was playing in the snow on Friday.  ---->LINK

Another bright bit of color in our winter would be Basil's favorite red fleece blanket high up on the maple bookcase in the spare room.

So, if you are suffering, enduring, or otherwise embracing bleak winter weather are you up for finding a bright spot of color?

Any of you in the southern hemisphere or Florida that are experiencing Summertime warm weather can still find a bright spot of color I'm sure, but it may turn us in the North a bit green with envy. Pick a shade of green, any shade.


- Au Revoir

The snow doesn't give a soft white damn who it touches." - E.E. Cummings

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chilly Willy Ride

We had the day off Thursday for Thanksgiving so decided to head out for an afternoon ride to try and get the two covered bridges we missed on our Thanksgiving Day Ride Through the Woods last year.

The day dawned with temperatures below freezing, but by noon had warmed up to a balmy 45˚F (7˚C).  At least it was sunny.

We dressed in layers.  I finally put the quilted liner and rain liner in my Rev'it pants and the heated jacket liner in my riding jacket.  I felt quite like a penguin waddling out to the bike and hefting a leg over, hence the Chilly Willy title for the post.

Our first stop was for fuel a mile down the road.  Unfortunately they were a little busier than anticipated  so a wait was in order.  My left earplug wasn't seated right, and for this reason I took my helmet off to take them out and put them back in while we waited.  I thought the guy filling up at the diesel pump an island over was going to swallow his gum when he found out it was a girl riding Max.  Troubadour laughed mockingly in his helmet, I could hear him through the Senas.

We rode down Bellfountain Road then turned west on Highway 36 towards Triangle Lake.  We stopped at the lake to use the facilities and take a small break.  We managed to find a spot of sun to park the bikes.  We weren't there 5 minutes before the sun was behind the mountain and things turned a smidge cooler.  I did manage a few pictures.  The lake was beautiful.  Smooth as glass, and begging me to take pictures of the reflections.

After a brief respite we pointed the bikes west once again.  We had to watch out in the corners to make sure they were just shady and wet, and not icy.  The highway department/county had doused the corners with anti-freezing crud and so the bikes were getting a little coated and I was hesitant about slippage.

We found the Lake Creek, aka Nelson Mountain Covered Bridge, built in 1928.  Hard to believe we've ridden by it dozens of times, but never noticed it just off the highway.

Further west we headed towards Deadwood looking for the Deadwood Creek Covered Bridge, built in 1932.  The map was at home so we relied on Troubadour's sense of direction.  Good thing he knew approximately where it was.  We turned north onto Lower Deadwood Road and approximately 5 miles later was the turn off for Deadwood Loop Road and the bridge.  Luckily there was a sign indicating the bridge location.  It was a half mile stint down the Loop Road; a wet, packed earth road. The wooden bridge deck was slippery as hell so we rode over it to the gravel just beyond before parking.

Notice the difference in lighting between the two bridge pictures.  The Deadwood Bridge was nestled in the foothills and the fog was rolling in.  We quickly took pictures and turned around while dodging an overzealous barking dog from the house next door that thought he either wanted my left footpeg or front tire as a snack.

We backtracked to the highway and found a sunny spot to stop and quickly eat a protein bar.  It was getting late in the afternoon and we needed some sustenance in order to make it home without stopping again.

The above picture, was the last picture of the day.  It's the bend in the road where we stopped for our snack.  Notice the change in color/change in texture of the roadway in the shadows.  Most of the afternoon we were dealing with those changes and coming out of the shade to blinding sunlight.  It was easier heading home when the sun was behind us.

With no more stops along the way, we managed to outrun the dark, barely, and rolled into the driveway at 4:40 pm.  Feet were cold, fingers were cold, nose was cold.  Did I mention we were cold?  The thermometer outside said it was 44˚F (6.6˚C) when we got home.  Combined with the windchill at 60 mph, I knew why we were chilly.  Troubadour mentioned we may need to think of a warmer Thanksgiving tradition.

The weather has been a little odd lately.  It is now 55˚F (12˚C).  We finally awoke to temperatures above freezing this morning.  It is unusual for us to have freezing temperatures for days on end in November.  The forecast is for a wintry mix of snow next week.  If it does snow, it won't stick, which is nice, but they are also forecasting lows of 18˚F (-7˚C) by Wednesday night. Chilly Willy indeed.

- Au Revoir

Why are you crying?" shivered the otter. "Because I am cold!" shouted the gnome. "Then why are you shouting?" chattered the otter. "Because," yelled the gnome, "when I shout it gets part of the cold from the inside out.” - Stephen Cosgrove, Gnome from Nome