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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Riding to the Coast for Coffee

Saturday June 17th we busted our butts weeding the shrub beds in the backyard.  We decided that Sunday needed to be a ride day because all work and no play.........

It used to be that we'd ride to eat.  Pick a destination based on a restaurant choice and point the bikes in that direction.  Since going vegan over 6 years ago that proves to be a bit more difficult so Troubadour had the idea of riding for coffee.  There are a lot of little coffee shops within a days ride.  

Troubadour left the destination planning up to me so I chose the Siuslaw Coffee Roasters in Florence as our destination.  Temperatures in the valley were going to top out at 86˚F (30˚C) and Florence was forecast for a high of only 70˚F (21˚C)  We decided on a route that had some back roads, some gravel roads, and a little highway riding too (no way to avoid the highways). This would be my longest journey on the Versys 300x to date - 195 miles (313.8 km)

We set off down Bellfountain Road to Territorial Road then headed west on Highway 36.  A left turn put us onto Poodle Creek Rd.  A nice twisty back road that heads South where it intersects with Highway 126.

We turned west on Highway 126 and then turned right onto a gravel road to take us to the Wildcat covered bridge. We'd actually been there once before - almost a year ago to the day and it was under construction at that time.  Having been built in 1925, it was long overdue for some TLC. Last years blog post --> LINK.

(ScooterBob at the Wildcat Covered Bridge)

( Looking a little right you could see a railway bridge)

There were quite a few people down by the river and some were in kayaks, and others were swimming. That water must have been cold though as the river is in the foothills of the coastal mountains.

We got back on the bikes and decided to take the gravel road, which turns into Stagecoach Road, until it  intersects Highway 36 at Swisshome. It is a lovely one lane gravel road that twists and turns and undulates along the river for about 15 miles.

Troubadour recently bought a 360Fly camera and was having some issues turning it on.  We stopped in a bit of shade while he fiddled with it.  I took advantage of the break and pulled my camera out of my pocket.

(Gravel road heading west - view from the Versys cockpit)

(Where we'd been - a view of the Versys mirror)

(Even had time for a selfie - I'm wearing my Rev'it mesh jacket and HJC helmet)

(Troubadour fiddling with the 360Fly camera)

He managed to get it working and we were off.  The camera is quite something.  If your computer's operating system is compatible or you are on your smart phone you can actually look around while watching the video and look at the scenery, not just the direction the camera appears to be pointed.  He has posted a few videos on Facebook, hopefully he will find time to blog a few clips as well.

Stagecoach Road comes out on Highway 36 which we took west to where it intersects with Highway 126 and took that along the river to Florence.  We stopped at the Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters in Old Town by the river.  As we were pulling up two motorcyclists were leaving so we had parking out front.  The outdoor seating was just to the left of the bikes.

I went inside and purchased us each a 16 oz iced vanilla soy latte.  They seemed rather weak, but they were cold.  We sat outside and enjoyed the view of the historic Siuslaw River bridge, which opened in 1936, and did some people watching too.

(The bikes at the Siuslaw River Coffee Roaster in Florence, Oregon)

(ScooterBob posing for the camera)

(Historic bridge over the Siuslaw River)

Too soon we were back on the bikes and heading east towards home.  We retraced most of our route except for the large gravel area as it would have taken us out of the way and we weren't keen on the extra stretch of Highway 126.  It is the major highway between Florence and Eugene and there is always a lot of traffic on the weekends, especially RV's.

We did stop twice along the way.  Once for a potty break (damn coffee) and once to give us a break from the constant buffeting of the wind.  Troubadour's knee was giving him grief and my sits bones were sore - not much padding on my arse the Versys seat. 

We arrived home at 6:30 pm, 7 hours after leaving the house.  Not a bad day to be out on two wheels.

- Au Revoir

"Why not seize the pleasure at once, how often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation." - Jane Austen
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Friday, June 2, 2017

Visiting Bloggers, Camping, and Saturday Coffee

This post will encompass the last three weekends. I haven't had time recently for much blogging so I will put it all together and try not to make it too long.  Lucky for you I haven't taken many pictures.

FRIDAY MAY 12

A busy weekend for us.  Blogging friends RichardM and ChrisL both arrived in Corvallis this day. It just so happened that Richard was to arrive in Oregon when Chris was landing at the Portland airport and was able to give him a ride to Corvallis.

Richard also brought ScooterBob along to officially pass the torch.  We made sure to go out for a yummy dinner at Evergreen Indian Restaurant while they were both here.  If we look tired it is because Chris, Troubadour, and I ate and shopped our way through Portland on this day (Saturday) and this was also after a late dinner and past my bedtime.

(Troubadour, Trobairitz, ChrisL, RichardM, and ScooterBob - photo by Richard)
Richard was a champ and even gave Chris a ride back to Portland on Monday since he was headed that way anyway to pick up his RV.   Troubadour and I both had to work Monday.

FRIDAY MAY 19

A camping weekend.  About every other year we try and get together with Troubadour's brother, sister-in-law, and niece and nephew for a camping trip.  You may remember camping in Kalaloch on the Olympic Peninsula from the year before last.  LINK ----> HERE.

This year was at the camping area in Washington Park in Anacortes, Washington.  We were far enough north in Washington that we were actually north of the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island.  Anacortes is an hour or so (depending on traffic) north of Seattle on Fidalgo Island.

We arrived later than anticipated as it took us 3 hours to go the 50 some odd miles from Seattle to our exit at Mount Vernon.  Yes, 3 hours to go 50 miles.  Sigh.  It was a long day.

By the time we got our tent and stuff set up we had just enough time for a campfire and a quick visit before bed.

Saturday we took the kids down to the playground in the day-use/boat launch area and let them burn off some energy.  The kids and the brothers even attempted kite flying, but there wasn't quite enough wind.

(Washington Park day-use/boat launch, Anacortes, WA)

(Kites in the air - I think Troubadour is on the play structure on the right)

(Troubadour's brother Bear getting a kite ready)

(Nephew Little Bear rocking the rings)

(Niece Faith and Troubadour having fun)
After playing and warming up in the sunshine we walked back to the campsites and had some lunch. From there it was a nature walk. There is a 2 mile road that goes around the park. Unfortunately they tout it as a walking trail too, which would be fine if there weren't so many cars on the one-lane road.  Luckily it was one-way traffic.  We spend our time dodging cars and taking different paths to view the water or walk through the trees.

(A view of one of the many surrounding islands)

(Many boats were in the water)

(Lots of boats)

(Troubadour soaking up the sun and enjoying the view)

(The spring wildflowers were in bloom)

(There were a lot of wild shrub roses smelling pretty and reminding me of BC and Alberta)

(We think the snowy mountains might be on Vancouver Island to the west)

(One of the trails through the woods)
Back at camp the squirrels were getting closer.  The one below ran up a tree when it spotted the in-laws dog. 

(A bold brown squirrel)

(Hello squirrel)
One of the funniest things we saw while camping was a squirrel running down the road in the campground with a face full of marshmallows he'd stolen from a camper.  Well, that or the deer ripping open a bag of hot dog buns and having a feast. That was at the campsite beside us, we were smart and kept our food locked in the Subaru when not eating.  The campground critters appeared well fed.

On Sunday we went for a drive.  We crossed the historic Deception Pass Bridge (which was crammed full of tourists) and ended up in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, located a little south west of Anacortes and the home to a Naval Base.  We found Windjammer Park right by the water. We stayed long enough to all get a little sunburned. Our campground was in the tall evergreen trees and was quite chilly.  It was nice to sit in the sun and warm up and take off a few fleece layers.

(Windjammer Park, Oak Harbor, WA)

(Pretty views of the water)
Looking a little northeast a large structure caught our attention.  We weren't sure what it was at the time and my best guess using Google is that it is part of the Naval Air Station's Seaplane Base.  I guess there are actually two Naval bases on the Island.

(Interesting view with the mountains behind it)

(A closer view with the Canon camera zoomed in)
As we were walking back to the parking lot I noticed the windmill.  A large Dutch population moved into the area in the 1890's, 40 years after the Irish settled the area.  

(Windmill in Windjammer Park, Oak Harbor, WA)
We relaxed for the rest of the day at the campsite and headed home on Monday.  Another long drive with heavy traffic through Seattle and Portland.  That'll learn us for not leaving earlier.

Tuesday night we were lucky enough to go out for dinner with RichardM and his lovely wife Bridget.  This time it was Thai food at the Woodsman Restaurant in Philomath, and again we stayed up past our bedtime.  (We get up at 4 am, so we try and be in bed by 9 on a work night). We always enjoy their company when they are in town.  Below photo courtesy of Richard.

(Troubadour, Trobairitz, Bridget, and Richard)
SATURDAY MAY 27

While we initially had a longer motorcycle ride planned for last Saturday, we ended up staying at Saturday Morning Coffee longer than anticipated.  It was almost noon and we were hungry for lunch so we just went home.

I believe these are the same pictures I posted over on Wet Coast Scooting.  Not a large turn out for coffee but we've recently changed venues and that hasn't sat well with some of the folks.

(Tiger 955, Versys 300, Daytona 675, Tiger 955, Monster 1200, and ScooterBob)

(What is this creature that has wandered into the paddock?)

(Troubadour. PolarBear, Melissa, Josh, and ScooterBob at Tried & True Coffee, south Corvallis, OR)
We have hopes/intentions for a three-day trip to Southern Oregon at some point this summer and if all goes according to plan we'll get pictures of the bikes and ScooterBob with 12 different covered bridges we haven't seen before.  Now, if we can only find a three-day weekend where it isn't too hot down there.  We were going to go last September, but the temperatures were around 100˚F (38˚C) and we just weren't keen on that much riding in that heat.

Fingers crossed we can make it happen this year.

- Au Revoir

" After all is said and done, a lot more will have been said than done." - Author Unknown
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

You Know........

You know you're vegan when the Vehicle Identification number (VIN) on your brand new motorcycle has the word KALE in it.

Thank you to Troubadour for pointing this out.

(Partial VIN of the Versys)

Oh, and need I mention the rains have returned. We did enjoy 3-4 days of sunny weather though - while we were at work. And here we are almost half way through month 8 of rain........

- Au Revoir

" Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will." - James Stephens in The Crock of Gold
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

No Sparkle Farkles

Well, it has been a few weeks now since I purchased the Kawasaki Versys 300x.  Unfortunately I haven't been back on the bike since.

The week after my initial ride, I had a lower wisdom tooth and molar pulled that went dry socket. Not good for putting on a helmet or when cold air blows in.  It has finally healed enough to get back on the bike.

While in dental misery riding-limbo a few things arrived for the bike.  The dealer initially forgot to order the hand guards and center stand, but after a friendly reminder phone call from Troubadour, I was able to pick them up on Saturday.

We also ordered some Oxford heated grips from Revzilla.  Thank you to those that reported how well you were enjoying yours.  When ordering, Troubadour noticed that the adventure ones would be too large so he ordered the sport version instead.  I have only ever had the grip heaters that fit under the stock grips so this will be new to me.  

Now we just need to find the time to install everything.  Troubadour was teaching a Team Oregon class all last weekend and he works overtime this Saturday.  I am sure we'll find time soon.

(Is it still a farkle if there is no sparkle?)
One of the other things that has occurred in the last week or two is that Max went to his new home. I am sure Jeremy will treat him well.  He seemed quite pleased and plans to keep it for a long time.

(Jeremy getting ready to head off into the sunset.  Bye Max)
Springtime has finally arrived in Oregon.  While we still have more rain than we'd like, at least our temperatures are warmer.  Here is a picture of our Crabapple "Royal Raindrops" that is blooming in the front yard.  Such a pretty time of year. Even with the clouds, the blooms make our days brighter.

(Royal Raindrops Crabapple)
- Au Revoir

" He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." - Harold Wilson
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Versys 300x - First Ride Impressions

Having brought the Versys 300x home last Saturday April 8th, my first opportunity for a ride was the next day.  The forecast called for rains to start late afternoon, but we wanted the temperatures to warm up a little since I wouldn't have heated grips.  

It was close to noon when we set off.  I'd been fighting a cold so thought it best to keep it to a short shake down ride. While it was sunny, it was rather chilly.  

We decided on a familiar route south of Corvallis.  South on Bellfountain Rd to the parking lot of the Muddy Creek Charter School.  Six years ago my first ride on Max was to the same location. We were a little later in the year this time and the blooms were mostly gone from the plum tree.

(First ride on my 2017 Kawasaki Versys 300x)

(It was chilly and I couldn't be bothered to take my helmet off)

(Trobairitz on a Versys - I had my gloves off from taking pictures)

(A Kawasaki Versys 300x and a Triumph Tiger 955)
We got back on the bikes and continued further south on Bellfountain Rd to Alpine.  We stopped at what once was the Alpine Community Center, but is now Queen Bee Honey. This also used to be a meeting place for group rides when folks were coming up from Eugene to do the Alsea Falls twisties (South Fork Rd).

(Stopped for a break at Queen Bee Honey)

(Front view of the Versys 300x)

(And one more shot of the bikes)

As Troubadour was taking pictures I noticed a honey bee land on my helmet, and then another one.  What else would one expect when stopped at a honey company?

(This helmet is the bees knees)

(No bees were harmed in the making of this blog post)
From Alpine we back tracked to Muddy Creek Charter School and turned west on Decker Road. We then turned right onto Ervin Road to see how the Versys would handle its first bit of gravel and to scrub in the new tires a little quicker.  It handled the gravel just fine and I think I went a little faster than I would have on the Gladius.  This looped us back to Bellfountain Road where we turned north and then onto another short stretch of gravel before arriving home.  We arrived home with 85 total miles on the odometer.  I'd officially ridden 45 miles (72 km) which is longer than the 40 miles Troubadour did when riding it home from the dealer.  Not bad since I was just going a wee distance with the way I was feeling.

With no heated grips and the cold air whipping up through my dirt bike helmet, I was happy to be home where it was warm.  

While I love my Gladius, and I will be sad to see it go, I know that it isn't the proper tool for the job anymore. The Versys 300x handled the gravel very well. 

I liken it to a pair of shoes.  While your favorite pair of flashy dress shoes may fit well and you love them, they aren't the proper shoes to go for a hike.  Max is my flashy pair of shoes, he just doesn't do well hiking after Triumph Tigers in the woods.

So far we have a Givi rack on order so that I can put my Givi Monokey top case (aka 'trunk monkey') on the bike and are debating what kind of heated grips to get.  Whether to get grip heaters like I have on Max and the TW 200 or Oxford heated grips.  Troubadour also offered to put the hyper-lites on the bike so that is coming at some point as well. And..... we are still waiting for a call from the dealer to tell us the hand guards and center stand are in.

I am already looking forward to the next ride.

- Au Revoir

"What do you suppose?  
A bee sat on my nose.  
Then what do you think?  
He gave me a wink.  
And said, "I beg your pardon,
I thought you were the garden." - English Nursery Rhyme
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Monday, April 10, 2017

Let the Good Times Roll

I think that I am friends on Facebook with most of the folks who read this blog and therefore this won't be surprising news, but if you haven't yet heard I finally made a decision and bought a new motorcycle on Saturday April 8th.

The new addition to the family is a 2017 Kawasaki Versys 300x ABS in graphite grey.  I just couldn't do the green. It has been a long process deciding between the Honda CB500x and the Versys300x.  We had to wait for the Versys to actually hit the showrooms here in Oregon.  In the end, the Versys won due to the 19" front tire, gear indicator, rear rack, and all for $1200 less than the CB500x. And it actually weighs about 40+ pounds less than the CB500x.

For the past two weekends we visited our preferred dealer a total of three times.  The first was to make sure they did in fact have them in stock.  They did have a green one in ABS that was on a test ride and promptly sold and also a grey one just being prepped that was non-ABS.  For $300 we figured we'd opt for ABS if we chose to purchase.

(2017 Kawasaki Versys 300x in non-ABS)

(First time sitting on a Versys 300x)

(Felt pretty good)
The second visit was on Friday to see if they had unpacked a graphite grey with ABS yet for a test ride.  They hadn't but they did volunteer to bring one in for us from their warehouse in Salem and prep it for Saturday afternoon. 

Saturday morning we went to coffee, had lunch at Marco Polo in Salem, then drove out to Sublimity to the dealer for our third visit.  Our weather had been iffy with a huge storm going through on Friday. Mary's Peak saw wind gusts of 91 mph (146 kph).  Luckily the weather was a little better on Saturday.  Still windy, but at least there were sunny breaks between the squalls.

We arrived sometime after 1 pm and the grey ABS model wasn't quite prepped so Troubadour took the non-ABS model for a wee test ride while the sun was shining. Well it was shining for part of the test ride, then another shower came through.

When he returned to the dealer he noted the only thing I might have issue with is the short gearbox and having to shift more frequently on take off than I was used to with Max.  We talked about it and discussed things and determined that this bike was best suited to how we planned on riding.  The suspension is enough to smooth out the bumpy roads, it has the 19" front tire so we can put a more dual sport/gravel oriented tires on it, it has a gear indicator (which I was used to from Max) and it also came with a rack.  The dealer offered to throw in the Kawasaki hand guards and gave us 10% off on the center stand order.  We did not pay any freight or PDI charges, just MSRP.  We also chose to do the DMV paperwork ourselves which also saved us their $115 documentation fee.

A few years ago Lori, aka BeemerGirl, told me that she believed it was bad luck to ride your own bike home from the dealer.  I believe her after my own experience with the 2009 Bonneville back in 2012.  I rode it home from the dealer and just couldn't bond with it.  So with that in mind Troubadour was nice and suited up between rain storms and rode the Versys home for me to ward off any bad ju-ju.  He stopped part way home and snapped a few pictures with his phone.

(2017 Versus 300x on the way home)

(I was following along in the Fiat 500)

(Outside an abandoned building)
We arrived home with exactly 40 miles on the odometer.  There was less than a half mile on it when he pulled away.  A few more pictures were taken as it sat in the driveway on Saturday afternoon.

(Mission control - 40 miles on the odometer averaging 57.7 mpg)

(2017 Versys 300x in the driveway)
On Sunday we managed to go out for a ride before the rain returned.  I'll post up a trip report and first impressions in my next post.

Max is for sale if anyone would like a gently used 2009 Suzuki Gladius with 11,000 miles on the odometer........... just saying'.

- Au Revoir

" I went to a general store but they wouldn't let me buy anything specific." - Steven Wright
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