Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Seasons Greetings from Oregon

We aren't big into holidays, no real surprise there.

But, having said that, I wanted to wish all our moto-blogging buddies out there in the interweb a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, Frohe Weihnachten, Glaedelig Jul, Meri Kirihimete, Bon Natale, Kala Christouyenna, Mele Kalikimaka, Krismasasaya Shubhkaamnaa, Nollaig Shona Dhuit, Chag Molad Sameach, etc, etc

And because Portland's unofficial motto is "Keep Portland Weird", here is a Holiday picture for you.

(Brian KiddThe Unipiper - photo kindly borrowed from

Disclaimer:  While we may think we look cool on our motorcycles or scooters, we'll probably never be Darth Vader dressed as Santa in a kilt, riding a unicycle and playing flaming bagpipes cool.  

- Au Revoir

"The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live." - George Carlin

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Foggy Hike, Soggy Hike

Okay, it wasn't so much a hike as it was a stroll through the woods.  The Friday before last I had the day off and Troubadour and I decided since the weather was so poor and the fog wasn't lifting enough for a ride, we'd go for a hike.

We decided on William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge south of town.  We've hiked there before. It is great if you want a walk in the woods without mountain bikes, joggers, or pets on the trail.

We decided on a trail we didn't walk the last time, the Woodpecker Trail.

(A look at the trail from the car)

(A look back at the car from the trail)
We slowed our pace when we started to see the birds flitting about.  We saw a few woodpeckers. The Black Capped Chickadees were chirping at us and we also saw a Steller's Jay or two.   Rare for us since we usually see the loud squawking Western Scrub Jays.  We walked a little slower looking and listening to the sounds of the forest, muted by the dense fog.

(A slug's eye view of the trail)

(Greenery growing on the trees)

(There was a bird hiding in there somewhere)

(Our view over the oak savannah - fog, the reason we weren't on two wheels)

(Large white oak with a lookout platform)

(The view from the lookout platform)

(I was mesmerized by the silhouettes of the trees in the fog)

(So many trees, so many different branch structures)

(A few wooden boardwalks to carry us over streams and marshy areas)

(Oak leaf on a bridge railing)

(So much green this time of year)

(Moss making everything brilliant)

(I wonder if a bird has made his home here)

(Older white oak trees have beautiful bark)

(It wouldn't be a walk in the woods without mushrooms)

(A rough skinned newt of the salamander family - toxic if licked or eaten)

(A hollowed branch - horizontal and  5 feet off the ground)

(The backside of this tree was quite burned)
We eventually looped back around and made it back to the car.  On the way out we thought we'd find another short trail, but it was getting later in the day.  We opted to take a few pictures of the Fiat in front of the old barn and homestead then go home.

(Fiat by the Fiechter barn)
(Fiechter House and Carriage House, building started in 1855)

As we were leaving we decided to take one side trip into a lookout area.  The gazebo was open but the Cabell March Trail was not due to wintering water fowl.  We attempted a few pictures, but had the wrong camera for the zoom we needed. I apologize these are a little fuzzy.

(A view from the lookout gazebo)

(Mallard ducks on the logs in the water, and white swans in the background on the shore)

(Full zoom makes for fuzzy pics on a point and shoot)
We went home and had a nice chai tea latte to warm up.  

Our weather lately has been alternating between pouring down rain and dense fog.  Neither one motivating for a ride on two wheels, whether pedal powered or fuel injected.  

We shouldn't really complain since our weather has been above freezing and last year we had snow at this time.  Our high today is forecast to be 47˚F (8.3˚C) and you guessed it - rain.  Oh well, all this rain makes for some pretty greenery, except now we need to mow the lawn if it ever stops raining long enough to dry a bit.

- Au Revoir

" Sometimes we need the fog to remind ourselves that all in life is not black and white." - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If Two Wheels Move the Soul

If two wheels move the soul, then four wheels keep me off the bus.

Not that there is anything wrong with taking the bus or rapid transit if it is available in your area. Troubadour has been taking the Subaru to work rather than the Tiger for the last few months.  In the cold, dark, and rain it just isn't any fun to do 23 miles of straight, 5-lane highway.  Especially after surmounting the very large dead raccoon obstacle on his way to work in the summer.

While he's been commuting via Subaru I've been on the city bus.  We've been running with one car for about 7 years now.   For me, it is quite convenient to take the bus to work, it is getting home that is the issue.

We live on a commuter route which means that it comes by twice in the morning and I can get on to come home at the parking lot downtown transit station at 11 am, 3:00 pm, or 5:15 pm.  Most days I am at work at least half an hour early and work through lunch.  I can usually leave early if I have a means to get home. I've been known to walk the three miles weather permitting.  If I miss the bus and the weather is too poor to walk I wait until hubby can pick me up at 5.

Enter the second vehicle debate.  We weighed the pros and cons and finally decided two vehicles made sense at this point.  Not only could I leave work early so hubby could come home to a warm house and dinner ready, but on the days I could leave a little earlier I could stop and get groceries on the way home so we don't have to do it on Friday afternoon or the weekends when it is busier.

We looked, and looked and debated new versus used.  We have a habit of being able to talk ourselves into or out of anything, so it wasn't an easy decision.  We test drove a few things and on the Sunday before Thanksgiving finally decided......and we drove home our new 2015 Fiat 500 Sport we purchased from Lithia Fiat of Eugene.  

(2015 Fiat 500 Sport - color - Billet Argento)

(Silver wasn't our first choice, but it was preferable to the pale green they had in stock)
With a Fiat cash back bonus and a Lithia discount we paid well under MSRP and had no complaints. Hubby even managed to get them to throw in winter floor mats.  It was a long day but we were pleased.  We took turns when we drove it the 50 miles home, switching up with the Subaru.  

Some reviews peg the little Fiat as not having much power but we chose the 5-speed manual transmission and the Sport model.  Press the sport button on the dash and there is enough torque to set you back in your seat....or maybe that is the way we drive.

We've had the car for just over two weeks now and I don't think there is one thing we don't like about it.  It is small, nimble, easy to park, and has great fuel economy - 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. I think that might depend on who is driving too.

So far it has had no trouble keeping up with traffic.  We've taken it on our favorite twisty road to Salem and also for a run up Marys Peak on Sunday and it did just fine.  I am glad we chose the manual transmission though, as I don't think the automatic would have been quite as capable.

- Au Revoir

" I must scream it to the world, my excitement from the top of someplace very high. Do you know many Ferraris?" - Luigi in Cars

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

So Nice He Rode It Twice

Last Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving here in the USA) Troubadour was off work at 11 am, while I had to work until 4 pm.

He was kind and came and took me out for lunch.  We went to Vietnamese Baguette, one of our favorite places in town for a quick, hearty, and inexpensive lunch.

While I went back to the office he went home to take both big bikes out for a rip. The tires needed rotating and the oil needed stirring.  They hadn't been out since our trip to the Tillamook Air Museum in October, sad I know.

Wednesday happened to be a dry day that wasn't too chilly. With rains on the way he took advantage of the break in the weather.  He decided on a run up Marys Peak, the tallest Peak in the coastal range in Oregon.  From the turnoff at highway 34, it is 13 miles of twisty fun on a paved forestry road that is just one and a half lanes wide.

First up was Max.  I'd asked him to get a few pictures for me as I don't have any fall ones with the checkers on the tank.

He took even more photos than I anticipated.  Here are some highlights.

(Max at the Mary's Peak Parking Lot)

(Notice the wind blowing the tree sideways)

(Max at Parker Creek Falls)

(More Parker Creek Falls)

(An overlook on Mary's Peak Road - notice the low valley clouds)

(Fall color lingering on)

(Max hanging out on the valley floor)
Then he went back to the house for Lucy and did the same route up Marys Peak.  A route so nice he rode it twice.  I've included just one of his Lucy pictures in case he finds time to blog about his rides.

(Lucy at Parker Creek Falls)
He was having fun, but reported the wind gusts at the top were strong enough he thought the bikes might tip off their stands.  Needless to say, I managed to beat him home by a few minutes. He had a smile on his face. I think both he and the bikes were happy.

Not much other riding going on. Most of our mountain bike trails are all closed except to hikers until late Spring due to rains.  Bikes and mud make for messy trails with deep ruts.  

Our weather has been alternating between pouring down rain to freezing cold and 23˚F (-5˚C). We've managed a few long walks around the neighborhood but no hikes.

We are trying to ward off hibernation, but the sofa and hot coffee are calling.

- Au Revoir

"Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine." - Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book