Thursday, January 30, 2014

Will Travel for Motorcycles......

How far would you travel to look at motorcycles?  Any further for an International Show?  This last weekend we found out we'd travel 8.5 hours (370 miles - 595 km) each way.

Four of us, PolarBear, his wife SweetPea (Andy & Karen), Troubadour, and I had a couples weekend and attended the Vancouver Motorcycle Show in Abbotsford, British Columbia.  One country to the north and a one-day drive away.

It was a whirlwind trip.  No time to visit with, or even alert the locals to our presence.  Andy & Karen picked us up at 7:30 Friday morning and we headed North, stopping for lunch and petrol along the way.  We arrived at the Lynden border crossing at about 3:30 that afternoon and managed to make it to our hotel in Abbotsford around 4 pm.  The border crossing was typical - Where are you from?  What is the purpose of your visit?  Are you exhibitors or spectators of the show?  Are you staying with friends or a hotel?  We were surprised that he was giving us options as opposed to making Andy come up with the answers.  Thank you for driving Andy!

Our hotel room was larger than expected and had a mini-kitchen.  It was also one of the cleanest hotel rooms I've ever been in. 

After a Chinese buffet dinner and a smidge of shopping we turned in for the night with plans to meet at 9:30 am Saturday to head to the show.

We arrived at the Tradex to find a line already forming. Well over a 100 people were waiting for the 10 am opening.  Along the building and around the corner into the street.

(There were a lot of people in front of us in line)
Once the doors opened the line moved quite quick and we were inside and looking around.  We were greeted with some eye candy for the gentlemen.

We were quite interested in seeing models that were not available in the USA or that were hard to find.  Here are some pictures.  We didn't take as many as we normally do and the lighting was odd, but I couldn't be bothered to compensate for it with the camera.

(Troubadour on a Grom - he's been wanting to see one in person for a long while)

(SweetPea on a BMW Nine-T - only pic I managed to get of Karen on a bike)

(Trobairitz on a Sym Wolf Classic 150 - it's so little)

(Polar Bear on a Grom - only pic I managed to get of Andy on a bike)
We went outside to the staging area for the shows.  We watched the stunt show by Ernie Vigil and Nick Brocha of Team Empire on their modified Street Triples and also the trials demonstration by Jordan Szoke. It was beautiful and sunny outside and we were able to enjoy the shows in just our t-shirts without a jacket.



Back inside we had lunch in the cafeteria and wandered some more.

There were a few vintage bikes on display.

(1971 Norton Commando Roadster)

(1953 Ariel Square 4, Mark II)
(1971 BSA B50SS with colorful Triumph in the background)
We also saw bikes in different color schemes for the first time.  Such as Triumph's Scrambler and Speed Triple in blue and the Yamaha FJR in Espresso brown metallic.

(Triumph Scrambler in Matte Pacific Blue)

(Triumph Speed Triple in Matte Caspian Blue)

(Yamaha FJR 1300 in Metallic Brown)
And more wandering ensued.

(Random Moto Guzzi)

(Moto Guzzi V7 Classic 'Racer')

While in the Moto Guzzi booth a little 73 years young (he told us his age) Italian gentleman proceeded to tell us of his adventures at the age of 14 of borrowing his brother-in-laws Guzzi for a late night cruise looking for girls and subsequent crash.  He never did tell us his name, but I'd like to think it was Giuseppe. His stories were one of the highlights for us.

(Honda CB500X)

(Honda CB500X)
We did see CCM which we've never seen in these parts.  We actually missed the booth but Andy took us back to show us.

(CCM 450 Adventure bike)

We did walk by the Ducati booth.  I only took one picture as they seemed to have the same thing on display in every show. Sleek little Italian numbers.

(Ducati display)
I think the most colorful bike we saw was a customized Yamaha Bolt.  I am not a huge fan of them, but they do fill a niche I guess.  This one was completely customized and surprisingly stunning in person.

(Photo by Dan Schawmann)
Even with all of the pretty blue Triumphs on display I think my favorite color combination and classiest profile award had to go to the new white Vespa 946 with the cantilevered red leather seat and red leather hand grips. The more I look at it the more I think it looks like a curious/angry cockatoo, but I still think it was pretty neat.  Orin from Scootin' Old School recently did an in-depth post on it.  You can read it HERE.

W left the show just before 5 pm after seven hours of wandering.  We were greeted by a vivid sunset.

We went back to the hotel to freshen up and find some dinner ideas.  We decided on the Old Spaghetti Factory.  After eating entirely too much (no food porn pics - we were too hungry) we retired to the hotel agreeing to meet at 7:30 am Sunday for the drive home.

Sunday morning, after a quick stop at Tim Hortons we headed South and watched the sun rise.

After pit stops and a stop for lunch we made it home at 4 pm.  All in all it was a wonderful weekend with great friends.  Thank you for driving Andy!

Next up...... The One Motorcycle Show February 7-9th in Portland. We attended last year and you can see my post HERE.  This year it has moved to a larger venue which should make it more enjoyable.

I am still hoping if the weather cooperates we'll get out on the bikes this weekend.  We'll see.  Supposed to have sunny afternoons but temperatures hovering around freezing in the mornings.

- Au Revoir

" We are each the star of our own situation comedy, and, with luck, the screwball friend in someone else's." - Robert Brault

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ducking the Fog

For a week or so the Willamette Valley has been socked in with fog.  Fog that doesn't lift all day. We'd finally had enough.  Yesterday after coffee we did what we do every time the grey skies and highs of 39˚F (3.8˚C) temperatures get to us - we headed to the coast for some sunshine therapy.

(Heading West on Highway 20 just went of Philomath, OR) 
(37˚F in the early afternoon - why we didn't ride to the coast)
We drove approximately 25-30 miles west before the skies cleared, the temperatures warmed up to 46˚F and there were sunny skies the rest of the way to Newport.

We parked along Yaquina Bay and wandered a bit.  The breeze was a little cool, but it was sunny so we didn't care.

(There were a lot of boats docked in the bay)
(Looking west out to sea)
(Part of the dock that washed ashore from the Tsunami - our original posts can be found here: LINK and LINK)

(The NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - research ships were in Port.
All Pacific Ocean NOAA vessels are now based out of Newport, OR)
(Another NOAA vessel)
(Looking east around the bay)
(Looking east into the Yaquina River)
(California Sea Lions enjoy Newport too)
(The seagulls are always plentiful and friendly - I was about 2 feet away from it)
We looped the historic bayfront wandering into this shop and that, and made our way back to the car. From the bayfront we drove across the bridge to the Port of Newport where Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Newport Aquarium are located.  There is also a little eclectic shopping area called Aquarium Village.  Most of the shops were closed, but we did find some photo opps.

(Sadly it was closed)
(Pirate's plunder?)
(Sharkcow anyone?)

(I saw this and thought of Toadmama)
From there we drove to Starbucks for something cold to drink then pointed the car east and headed home.  It was sunnier further east than it was coming in, and just as we were wondering if the fog broke in the valley we saw it rolling over the hills.

(There it is)
(Cows in the mist)
(And then we hit the wall - can't even read the sign)
We arrived home about 5 pm and decided to make soup for dinner; something hot on a chilly evening.  When we watched the local news they forecast another few days of the grey stuff and said if anyone in the valley wanted to escape the fog they needed to head to the coast or the cascades, so I guess we did the right thing.  

As you can tell from the pics we haven't been out on the bikes recently.  The temperatures and air quality just do not appeal to us.  Sure we could still ride, but it wouldn't be enjoyable.

This morning we woke to 32˚F (0˚C) and of course we are socked in still.  Hmmm to stay home or head for the hills and find more sunshine, that is the question.

How does Basil react to the fog you might wonder?  He deals with it the only way he knows how..... napping on the ottoman that sits in front of the living room window.

(How Basil ducks the fog)

- Au Revoir

" I would wear a full-length cape if I could get away with it - I do love a good swirl in the fog."- Martin Freeman