No, not that kind of shoulder check, but a look back to see where we've been and what is behind us. As 2009 comes to a close it is time to reflect on all we've done this past year. This was the year that Troubadour and I decided we were going to get out and do a lot of activities rather than simply talking about it while time slipped by.
We thought of all of the festivals and things we'd like to do and started an electronic calendar to keep track. We didn't manage to make it to all of the events we would have liked since sometimes there were two or three different festivals or activities scheduled on the same weekend.
I do however, think we managed to cram a lot of things into 12 short months. Let's see exactly where our time was spent.....
January started off with a rainy New Year's Day and we met the ladies of the local Women in the Wind chapter for a polar bear ride. Everyone rode to the coffee shop for a meet and greet but no one was adventurous enough to ride any long distances in the pouring rain. We did however get to meet Stacey and Stacy for the first time and are happy to see them and ride with them on a regular basis. It was a good way to start out the year. January also saw the move of Corvallis Bike Night back to American Dream Pizza. I believe the first night back saw over 20 people and most were riding. Not much weekend riding was done in January, but Troubadour did manage to sneak in a nice long ride with a group to Foster Reservoir (see side photo). I didn't have all of my winter riding gear at the time so did not attend. Somewhere in there we managed to complete our kitchen renovation as well. It was started over the winter break and consumed many an hour as we gutted it right down to the drywall and did all of the work ourselves. That pretty much tapped our resources and our energy so the year started off slow while we recouped.
February was fairly quiet for us. I do remember another bike night with about 30 folks showing up, and if I remember correctly, that is where we met our good friend Rick for the first time.
March: Looking back it appears that March was quiet as well. Troubadour became a moderator over at pnwriders.com in March and has been enjoying it. I am sure there was at least one ride in there somewhere but do not recall exactly.
April saw the first of our festivals for the year - the Oregon Scottish Heritage Festival. It was held at the fairgrounds in Albany and we had a good time walking around and looking at everything. Quite a few clan booths were set up and Gary from Celtic Warrior Kilts had a booth set up. He made Brad's first kilt (see side photo). We also started hiking Bald Hill on a weekly basis training for our annual trip to Wallace Falls. April saw us seriously pondering getting me a bike since it had been 6 years since I took my Team Oregon Course. We also took advantage of one of the nice sunny days and made a ride to the coast for chowder. This was the first of many chowder runs to test and rate the clam chowder up and down the Oregon coastline. Good times were had that day, great chowder was not.
In May we started to get busier. Troubadour and Bolty spearheaded a newby ride and over a dozen signed up to take a short putt putt around the valley. That Friday night we did a pre-ride of the course with Rick and Saturday the actual ride took place (see side photo). We arrived home late in the afternoon and proceeded to spread 20 yards of bark mulch in the shrub beds. Where did we find the energy? The following weekend was the Oregon Vintage Motorcycle Show and ride. We attended the ride on Saturday and also the show and swap meet on Sunday. We could have gone to the Rhododendron Festival in Florence that same weekend, but motorcycles are more fun. Besides, Troubadour was able to get his '76 Kawasaki KZ 900 running and we rode it to the show. May long weekend saw the purchase of my first motorcycle - the Honda Nighthawk 250. It was great for starting out and gaining some confidence. I had to work it to keep up with Troubadour and it seemed a little shaky and buzzy at 55-60 which was worrisome. Lots of evening rides were had puttering along the back roads and learning to countersteer.
June: The last weekend of May/first day of June was spent at the Wallace Falls State Park in Gold Bar, WA visiting with Troubadour's brother, sister-in-law, mother and step father. Hiking was done and good times were had. We had our own private cabin this year. It is good to have your own space to retire to. The following weekend saw another ride to the coast for chowder. We also took the following week off. The first week's vacation we've had in 15 years. We decided to be spontaneous and take a motorcycle ride to California through the redwoods (see side photo). Yes, you can pack three days worth of clothes, etc for two into saddlebags and a tailpack. We only went overnight instead of for two days but we had an adventure and logged a few miles on the America. We considered ourselves lucky to find one of the only hotel rooms left in Crescent City and it had a two person jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. That helped with the sore buttocks from riding all day in the cold coastal weather. A day or two after getting back from California we heard about the Siltcoos Canoe Trail south of Florence and decided to give it a try. We hadn't had the canoe out in years and it took a bit to get our paddling coordinated. We had an awesome time and I'm sure we'll take the canoe out next year too.
July: We started July by selling the Nighthawk and a week later picking up the Ninja 650r. In hindsight not the wisest choice as I really do not like to ride it and I cannot force myself to ride something I just don't feel comfortable on as I would hate to make a fatal error. It took a few rides into August before I knew it just was not the bike for me. July 5th was also the first Western Ride in Days in Independence (a motorcycle show connected with their Western Days Celebration). Our friend Brandon was putting it on so we all showed up en masse to help him out.
July also saw our first trip to the Oregon Country Fair in Veneta. We drove to Eugene and took the free shuttle bus to the fair. We did a lot of walking that day. I could have done without all the pot smoke in the air but hey - it is the Country Fair - and we had a great time. This is the one festival that we will be sure to do next year. Troubadour bought a Utilikilt at the fair and was very happy with his purchase. Maybe next year we'll be adventurous and dress up a bit.
In July we also went to the Portland Highland Games. It was a much anticipated event even though we were in the midst of a heat wave. We both donned our kilts and off we went. We were disappointed with how spread out the games were and that the events didn't really seem to be taking place when stated. We did however get to see some pipers play which is always a good thing. I do not think we will go back next year. That same night after getting back from Portland we went to Da Vinci Days here in town to watch Ladysmith Black Mambazo play. There were a ton of people and although we were tired from our day in Portland we had a good time listening to the African music.
August saw us hitting the ground running. The first weekend we went to Troubadour's mom's house in Washington for a family get together/3 day weekend. We took the car as we knew it would be a long hot trip and we spent 20 hours on the road. The weekend after that was another ride to the coast for chowder and also our anniversary. August was crazy for me as my boss got hurt in a boating accident and so I was in chaos at the office moving court appointments and juggling things around his knee surgery. Mid August we went to the Scandinavian Festival in Junction City and the the following weekend we took the Ninja to Hillsboro to put on consignment or trade for a TU 250. That didn't go as expected and we ended up taking it down to Rod's shop in Eugene to put on consignment the following weekend. August ended with a visit to the grandparents. My grandpa hadn't been doing well and was put in a home. It was good to see him.
September started busy. My boss was still out of the office and on mass quantities of Vicodin so I was left to run the office and be everything to everyone. It was a stressful time but I muddled through. Labor Day weekend saw us at the All British Field Meet in Portland (see side pic) and we arrived late but got to see some nice vehicles and a little racing. We also went on our end of summer ride and on Labor Day my big brother got married so that was cool. The following weekend was the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire. Huzzah for the Black Knight. It was interesting to see all of the costumes and the jousting.
October saw us pulling the Ninja off consignment so that Troubadour could use it as a winter commuter. Good thing he did, as we have had record lows. October is also when we made the decision to go to the Seattle International Motorcycle Show. Thank you Rick for suggesting the trip and train ride. My cousin Chelsea, her son Carson, my mom and my sister-in-law all have birthdays in October so it was fairly busy. We visited family in Eugene then also met family in Newport to have lunch, celebrate birthdays and wander through the aquarium (see side pic). More good times were had.
November started to slow down for us. Not much going on. No obligations. We puttered with the house and Troubadour worked on building his tire changing equipment for the motorcycles. A few short rides were had to get photo tags but nothing too long. Over the Thanksgiving long weekend we tore apart a closet in our spare room so that we could build a walk in closet. It is good to get more renovations started. Not too much left to do on the house.
December started off busy. We tried to get a few more things in before year's end. We went to a Joe Purdy/Meaghan Smith concert in Eugene. Had yummy treats to eat and listened to good music. Stayed up way beyond our bedtime. And finally the much anticipated train ride to Seattle for the International Motorcycle Show. Sleep deprivation is not a good thing but weekend jaunts to Seattle are. The show was smaller than I thought it would be and I didn't get to sit on any bikes. I think I had more fun wandering around Seattle with Troubadour and Rick (see side pic) and meeting Bobskoot and Mrs. Skoot than I did at the show. We managed to have a few days off over Christmas so we framed in the new closet and even hung the drywall. Now we need to tape and crack spackle the seams and screw holes, sand, then paint and buy some closet fixtures, but we'll get there. Will be nice to hang clothes in the closet again.
Upon reflection it was a good year. Some weeks were busier than others. Overall I think we managed to do a lot more activities than we had in in previous years. I wonder how much activity we can pack, pile, squeeze and otherwise cram into 365 days next year. We'll find out.
" Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols." ~ Thomas Mann.