Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Opting Outside

This year REI started a campaign in which they closed their store on the Friday after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) and gave all their employees the day off with pay.  They also urged others to 'opt outside' instead of shopping. The State of Oregon also decided to waive all parking fees at any State Park for the day.

Friday morning the temperature in Corvallis was below freezing at 20˚F (-6.6˚C). While that was not encouraging for motorcycling, we did opt to get outside anyway.  We chose to take the Fiat and drive to the coast where the high temperatures were forecast to be at least 50˚F (10˚C).

Our destination was Lincoln City.  A group gets together a few times a year and hides glass floats on the beaches - they call them "glass art drops".  There were 100 glass floats to be hidden for Thanksgiving.

(Corvallis , OR to Lincoln City, OR via Hwy 99w and Hwy 22)
We took the route in the screenshot above and arrive in Lincoln City about 1 pm.  We stopped at the Jasmine Thai restaurant for lunch.  It wasn't great, but at least they have vegan options when you ask them to omit the egg.

After lunch we tried looking for beach access that wasn't too busy.  No such luck and we weren't willing to brave the crowds to search for the floats.  We drove a little south on Highway 101 and stopped at a State Park in Gleneden Beach where we watched the ocean and took a few pictures. I was surprised at how loud the waves were when breaking.

(Pacific Ocean at Gleneden, OR)

(Looking southwest at Gleneden, OR)
After a few minutes we went a little further south and Troubadour turned down a side road towards the beach.  We parked and watched two surfers paddle in the water.

(A surfer, just south of Gleneden, OR - photo taken through tinted windshield)
Further south we drove until we arrived at Fogarty Creek State Park.  A place we've never stopped in all the times we've driven Hwy 101.  There weren't too many cars in the parking lot, which was promising.  After parking it is a short walk along the creek and under Hwy 101 to the beach. Luckily the tide was on its way out.

(Looking southwest at Fogarty Creek State Park)

(Looking North at Fogarty Creek State Park)

(Starfish in the tide pool)

(Troubadour showing off his find - he put it back in the water just after the picture)

(A second starfish was also spotted by Troubadour)

(My Oakleys were no match for the bright sunshine - and yes I cut off my long hair back in January)

(Troubadour went for a climb)

(I zoomed out for scale - this is the same rock formation as in the first pic I took at this beach)

(Sun starting to go down)
As the sun began its descent, we started retreating inland and to the north to get back into the sunshine.  We seem to have found the 'golden hour', as Dom would call it.

(Troubadour spooking a seagull)

(the ebb and flow of the tide)

(Shadow play)

(Notice the concrete support pillars and that the fence on the left is just hanging)

(Starting to see some nice reflections on the water)

(Troubadour takes a break)

(Interesting caves eroded into the cliffside)

(Looking north- we eventually sat on the medium rock in the foreground to watch the sunset)

(Trees surviving in the wind and salt spray)

(The Pacific Ocean at Fogarty Creek State Park)

(Trobairitz and Troubadour)

(Seagull carrying around a starfish)

(The colors really starting to show)

(Thinking of Bobskoot - we had to take a shoe picture)

(When zoomed in the colors are brighter with the Canon)

(Troubadour by the sea)

(Troubadour had the idea to take a picture through my polarized Oakley lenses)

(Getting lower.......)




(Almost back at the parking lot)
As we were walking back to the parking lot we marveled that the sun we had just watch set on Friday at 4:30 - 5:00 pm was the same sun that folks in New Zealand were seeing at 12:30 - 1:00 pm on Saturday. Now that is amazing.

Back in the parking lot we saw the bridge below and the signs for the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT). The OCT is a hiking route along the Pacific Coast in Oregon approximately 425 miles in length. MAP

(Wooden bridge with Oregon Coast Trail sign)

(Close up of the bridge/sign)
We headed south into Newport so that we could stop at Starbucks for hot chai tea soy lattes.  A nice way to end the day.  Traffic was surprisingly light on the way home via Highway 20.  We arrived home about 6:30 pm and the temperatures had once again dipped down below freezing.

(Our route from Lincoln City home to Corvallis via Newport)
The rest of the weekend saw overnight lows in the 20s and high temperatures in the low 40's. We did not get outside much.  Saturday we went to coffee and ran a few errands and Sunday we bummed around the house and went and fetched groceries.

I am happy to report our temperatures have finally returned to normal for this time of year (lows in the 40's).  Good timing since the rains have returned.

- Au Revoir

"Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow." - Edward Sandford Martin

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Catching Up

It has been many weeks since my last post so I figured I'd best do a catch up post.  Sort of a check-in so everyone knows I am still alive and kicking.

Sadly we've not been on any great adventures.  The most adventurous I've been would have post titles such as: "Adventures in housekeeping" "Adventures in grocery shopping."  or "How to keep your cool driving in Portland traffic." 

Last weekend was the first one out of four where we haven't driven to Portland for some purpose or another.  On Halloween Day we ventured the great deluge to attend the International Motorcycle Show.  Sadly it was disappointing and it will probably be our last attendance.  So sad in fact, that I only took one picture of a custom bike and even then couldn't be bothered to download it off the camera. Read Troubadour's take on the show HERE.

The following weekend we attended the Vendor sale at Beaverton Motorcycles.  While not entirely exciting Troubadour did find a great deal on a Fox winter jacket and a belt.

Weekend before last my brother, sister-in-law, and 20 month old nephew came to visit for the weekend.  Once again Saturday found us driving to Portland, this time for VegFest.  While Troubadour and I have been vegan just over 4 years, my brother and his wife decided to make the change about 8 weeks prior to VegFest.  We figured attending was a good way to introduce them to a variety of vegan foods.  There were so many people in attendance that it was a little trying at times but I think we enjoyed it over all.  Well, except for the $90 parking ticket.  Our contribution to Portland's coffers for the day.

Time marches on and so have the seasons.....the bright colors of September and October......

(Fall colors in our backyard)
....have given way to November's misty shades of gray.

(Finley Wildlife Refuge)
So far sunshine is forecast for our upcoming four-day weekend.  Thanksgiving is this Thursday and the weekend forecast is for nothing but blue sky.  Sounds perfect for riding doesn't it?  It does until you see that our low temperatures are down to 25˚F (-3.88˚C)  Now that is a little chilly.  If we are lucky the sun will come out and warm the air and melt the frost off the roads.  If not maybe we'll head out for a few hikes instead.  The plan is to have no plan, just get outside and do something, anything.

We realized this last weekend that it has been one year since we purchased our Fiat 500.  I am happy to report that we are still very pleased with it.  We've had no warranty issues and still get between 30-40 mpg depending on whether we are city driving or highway driving.  It is a peppy little car and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others, especially if they are looking for a little fun off the bike.

(2015 Fiat 500 Sport - picture taken December 2014)
I hope to post up again next week with some photos of our activities this weekend.  Maybe actually putting that in print will get us out on the bikes or for a hike.

- Au Revoir

" The world is tired, the year is old, the faded leaves are glad to die...." - Sara Teasdale "November"

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sunday - Hitting the Dirt Ride

As some of you may know from facebook, on Sunday a few of us went out for a wee ride in the dirt.

On Saturday afternoon Troubadour and PolarBear went for a mountain bike ride and plans were hatched for a dirt ride on Sunday.  I decided to forego housework and grocery shopping and chose to go ride some dirt instead.  We managed to convince Melissa, fearless instigator leader of our Dam Ride, to join us.  Mel had never ridden off road before so we were curious to know if she would like it.

The guys chose the Santiam Pass Motorized Vehicle Area as the venue of the day.  Here is a link to the trail MAP.  From Corvallis the area is east on Highway 20 and up Tombstone Pass to Santiam Pass.  

(The route)
If you make a right turn (south) at the Hoodoo Ski Area on Big Lake Road it will take you around the ski hill and into the OHV area.

The alarm was set for 6:30 Sunday morning.  We got ourselves ready, had breakfast, and then I packed us a lunch while Troubadour hitched the trailer to the Subaru and loaded the bikes and gear.  We arrived at PolarBear's in Lebanon promptly at 9:30 on schedule.  PolarBear had already loaded three bikes on his trailer and soon we set out to Waterloo to pick up Mel.

We arrived at the staging area just shy of noon.  Traffic wasn't heavy heading up the pass, which was nice and the sun was shining brightly.  I believe it was 50˚F (10˚C) when we left the house. Luckily, as we climbed higher in elevation the sun warmed a little and hovered around 60˚F (15.5˚C) most of the day.

While the staging area was all gravel, the trails and forest service roads were a soft sandy dirt. Most places a few inches deep.  This was a new riding surface for me and I was a little hesitant. Okay, probably more than hesitant.  Loose on the bars..... loose on the bars..... was my mantra for the day.

We set off down one road and while looking for the 'green' rated newbie warm up loop PolarBear accidentally led us down the rabbit hole.  Not that it was a bad trail but there were banked corners with loose soil in the bottom and Mel and I weren't quite up for the task at that point. Did we still ride it?  Yes!  Did we fall over and hit the dirt?  Oh yes!  Did we have fun?  I believe we did since we were smiling most of the time and laughing as we picked up bikes.

(Troubadour in orange - PolarBear in blue - Where is that warm up loop?)

(Selfie taken as they were reading the map)

(Wait, if I turn the camera just so I can get Troubadour in there too)

(PolarBear's trials bike - Hayrick Butte in the background)

(PolarBear pointing at the Hoodoo Ski hill)

(Photo by Melissa - Troubadour, Trobairitz, and PolarBear)

(Troubadour on an XT)
We eventually found the warm up loop and had quite a bit of fun going around and around through the twist and turns learning to keep our speed up around the banked corners.

(Trobairitz in white - Mel in black)
The picture above was taken at the entrance to the green learner's loop.  The post over Mel's shoulder is the exit.  When you make the left hand corner to re-ride the loop there was quite a bit of loose soil in the turn.  On one occasion I was stopped at the intersection and went to turn left. I revved the throttle a little too hard and rode up onto the grassy area.  No big deal other than I went to put my foot down on the low side onto the trail.  Not a good plan and over I went ending up flat on my back.  Luckily, not only was the soil really soft, but I was wearing my inflatable chest/back protector so I didn't feel a thing.  Sure wish I had that on camera. 

By this time it was 2 pm so we rode back the staging area for lunch.  Peanut butter sandwiches, lunch of champions.

(Hayrick Butte mirrored by the TW200)
I had one more fall for a total of 3 that day. The guys decided we were good to ride the blue (intermediate) learner's loop.  Same type of banked corner's, some tighter turns and more of an elevation gain/loss.  On my second run through the loop I got a little too much speed in a left hand corner and instead of pressing the bars more I target fixated and rode up the right side of the bank.  The bike slid out from under me.  Again, not hurt.  I think there is an art in falling off a dirt bike so the bike lands away from you and not on you.  On Sunday I seemed to have mastered that. I think Mel must have too as we both had a few get-offs usually in about the same spots. 

We rode a little further down the dirt forestry road intending to make it to a viewpoint.  There were trucks out on the road (mostly hunters in their camouflage and orange vests - although why they are allowed to hunt near an OHV area is beyond me).  They were polite and moved over but we still had to squeeze the bikes past them.  At the turn off for the viewpoint the road went up and turned at the top.  PolarBear and Troubadour decided to ride up and scope it out.  I hear a rumor Troubadour tried to ride up a sand pile up there some where, but that might just be an urban legend.

They came back down and decided we'd save it for another day.  We headed back to staging to load up the bikes and strip off all the extra gear.  As we were leaving the park we turned to check out Big Lake campground.  We stopped along the way and took a picture of the Subaru/trailer combination.

(Trusty Subaru Forester pulling the bikes)

(Boat launch at Big Lake Campground)
The campground looked like a nice spot.  There were a few trailers parked there and a few people milling about.  While we didn't see any bikes or quads, we did see gas cans sitting by trailers which would indicate they were off playing.  Some campsites had kayaks as well so people were there for the water.

We left the campsite and headed back towards the highway.  The photo below is Three Fingered Jack to the north of the ski/riding area.  You can actually see where it is on the map at the beginning of this post.  Three Fingered Jack is a Pleistocene volcano.  Click the name in the caption below for more information.

(Three Fingered Jack)

(Heading north on Big Lake Road leaving the area - following PolarBear's rig)

(Our bikes followed us down the road - TW200 and XT250)
We arrived home around 6:30 pm and the temperature was a balmy 75˚F (23.8˚C) in the valley.  I went inside to start dinner and Troubadour grabbed a beer bottle of motivation to get the bikes unloaded and trailer put away.  

(TW200, XT250 and a Portland Brewing Noble Scot (Scottish Ale)
I think we all had a good day and we look forward to doing it again.

- Au Revoir

" It is the blessing of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson