Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oh, Basil.....

A week or two ago when I was out taking pictures of spring blooms and foliage Basil decided he needed to follow me around. He finally jumped up on an old weathered adirondack chair and decided to get all cute for the camera. What follows is the series of photos I managed to take. As soon as I'd get the camera focused he would move before I could get the shutter snapped so I didn't get as many candid shots as I'd have liked.

He'd had enough by that last picture and wandered off..... until I made my way inside, by then he was hoping it was feeding time.

-Au Revoir

" I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It's not. Mine had me trained in two days." ~ Bill Dana

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Group Ride to the Coast

By now most of you who read this blog have seen Troubadour's blog post documenting the ride to the coast on Sunday. He posted up his great video so I thought I'd share a bit more narrative and some still photographs. You know, we ladies have a tendency to be a bit more wordy than the men, well except in Irondad's case, his compositions tell you he can confabulate with the best of them.

A group of 6 of us on 5 bikes met up at the former Creekside Coffee. This was our usual meeting place all last year for group rides and has since closed. We still use it as a meet and greet though due to location.

We headed south to Alpine to meet up with the Eugene group. The day was nice and sunny and we left Corvallis at about 9:15 or so. We arrived at the little town of Alpine shortly thereafter. As we waited for the group from Eugene I took a few pics of the bikes.

After an approximate 45 minute wait, which we didn't mind too much because of the warm sunshine, the Eugene group arrived. Our consolidated group consisted of 13 riders on 11 bikes. We headed west around Alsea Falls at a brisk pace. We didn't stop to take any pictures but I do have one from a ride Troubadour and I took around there last year.

Once around the falls we were at the junction with Highway 34, and with a left turn we were heading west toward the coast at a fairly quick pace. Troubadour was courteous and left the saddlebags off the Triumph so that I could get a better grip on the passenger pegs. A better grip for his passenger means he can ride at a quicker pace. Before we knew it we had arrived in Waldport and stopped for a restroom break. Troubadour managed to grab the camera and get a few shots. Me, I was digging in the tail bag for the water bottle.

Another member of our group took this picture of the bikes and riders:

Troubadour snapped this pic of me when I was admiring the vastness of the ocean. Yes, the ocean is still there. It doesn't matter how long it has been since I've seen it, it is always waiting.

One rider headed back as he was on a timeline and the rest of us had a discussion on where to eat lunch. It was decided that Mo's is for tourists so we headed south to Florence for lunch at the Bridgewater Seafood Restaurant. Troubadour and I were there for lunch on a group ride last year too. They always welcome our large group and the food is excellent. I would highly recommend it if you are in Florence. Just venture down to Old Town and relax and enjoy a great meal. They even had a live musician on Sunday afternoon.

One of the Eugene riders grabbed a pic as we all sat down to peruse the menu. Not quite in focus but it will do.

After a relaxing hour or so and with all our bellies full we continued on our way. We headed east towards Eugene. A few split up from the group and headed a more direct route home to Eugene on Highway 126, the remaining took the twisty route around Triangle Lake. The route was a little rough and the frost heaves had the ground quite uneven in some spots. Made for a wallowing cruiser on some stretches. We made it around the lake and everyone stopped to regroup.

From here we broke up into two groups, one group heading east and south to get back to Eugene and a group of us heading north back to Corvallis. We arrived home about 4:30. It was great day with a great group of riders. By days end we were exhausted. We had had a full day at the Oregon Gardens in Silverton the day before. I'll save those pics for a future post.

Still waiting on my new boots. They shipped and are set to deliver on Saturday by Fed-Ex. Of course they are. I had them shipped to my office thinking that is where I am everyday. Murphy's Law dictates they will attempt to deliver to the office on Saturday. I will call them tomorrow or Friday and see if they can hold it for personal pick up on Saturday or hold it and deliver to the office on Monday. We'll see.

Tomorrow is Earth Day. Please everyone - go out and hug a tree and worship some dirt.

-Au Revoir

" I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority." ~ Elwyn Brooks White, Essays of E.B. White, 1977

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring flora

We've been doing a lot of weeding in the shrub beds in our backyard lately and noticing all the plants that are budding up or already blooming. Yesterday afternoon I took advantage of our brilliant Oregon sunshine and wandered around and took a few photographs. Getting the shots I wanted without my shadow in the frame was no easy feat. I managed to get the following when all was said and done.

Erysimum Linifolium (Siberian Wallflower):

Magnolia Stellata 'Rosea Jane Platt' (Star Magnolia):

Robinia Pseudoacacia 'Lace Lady' Twisty Baby (Locust)
One of Troubadour's favorites - check out the thorns:

Cornus Florida 'Cherokee Chief' (Cherokee Chief Dogwood):

Ribes Sanguineum (Flowering current):

And last the Daphne Odora:

As I was taking the picture of the Daphne, Basil followed me and decided to ham it up for the camera. I took several pictures of him rolling around on one of our weathered Adirondack chairs looking all cute and fluffy. I'll share those in a future post.

We went to the Oregon Gardens today for earth day and took a few pictures there as well. They are still in the camera and if any turned out I will share in a future post as well.

Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful and 71˚ so a group ride is in store to the coast. We'll see if we get many photo ops on the way. We'll be going two-up as I do not have enough miles under my belt solo for a group ride. That will come in time and my new boots will too, hooray. You'll have to wait and see which ones I ordered later. I will do a review. I just hope they fit as they were ordered off the internet. Should arrive by next Friday. Until next time....

- Au Revoir

" Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vegas Pics - Part Deux ......

Well, I promised back at the end of January that I would post up some more pics from our Vegas trip so here goes. I will avoid narrative of the pictures and let them speak for themselves ......

I think that is enough photos for now. I am hoping to do a separate post on the really old slot machines we found at Main Street Station. We'll see how long it takes me to get to that. Depends on what the weather is like and how much riding we get in vs. building the deck.

-Au Revoir

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." ~ Ansel Adams

Friday, April 2, 2010

Quest for Little Red Riding Boots

Okay, so I don't really want red riding boots per se, but I would like a pair of nice new shiny black ones. I figured I'd already done the Goldilocks post so I might as well keep the 'Fairy Tale' theme going since that is what trying to find new boots locally is turning out to be.

I have been using my current riding boots since late 2001 early 2002. I bought them before I took my MSF course in the fall of 2002. I went to our local Coastal Farm Supply and found some nice H H Brown Opanka Packer boots that lace up 8" up the calf and they have been good to me. (see pic to left) The problem is they have a higher heel than what I would like. I've looked halfheartedly over the last few months for new boots since these are not bad for the passenger riding I've been doing, but since I now have my own ride the search is on for more rider friendly boots.

We do not have many options locally for purchasing riding boots. I can buy western style all day, but not motorcycle specific boots. Well, technically if I wore men's boots my options would open up considerably. What I should say is that there are not many options locally for women's motorcycle boots. We have one Honda shop here in Corvallis that seem to be geared more towards off road riders. No luck there. Eugene has a few more options but nothing really in the way of gear for the ladies. Our favorite motorcycle shop in Eugene has a few options but nothing that seems to fit.

I have had three ankle surgeries back in the day on my left ankle due to osteochondritis and I still get a little touchy when interior shoe/boot seams rub it the wrong way. A certain height heel will also cause my ankle to give way while walking. This combination poses an additional challenge when looking for boots.

We've been to all the motorcycle shops in Eugene, Portland, Beaverton, Salem, Corvallis, and Albany and still no luck. I did find a pair that wasn't too bad in Albany when I bought my jacket but they just weren't right and I couldn't spend the over $250 on them when they didn't feel right. On Sunday we were in Salem and stopped by Cycle Gear and I tried on the only style of women's boots they had and they weren't bad. But the sizing was a little off. No half sizes. The price was better at $139 but the fit still wasn't right. After stopping in Albany on the way home to look at a 'boot shop' and finding all mens boots I looked at Troubadour and said, "Finding ladies riding boots is like shopping for men's nail polish." Sure places sell boots, but not ladies. Sure drug stores sell nail polish, but not men's nail polish. Think about it.

Sunday night I finally started looking on the Internet. I figured if I could find some brands and styles maybe I could find a place semi-local to try some on. I did find a few potential models but don't know if I could find them locally or not. I haven't ventured to order shoes, let alone boots online before so I don't know how well it would turn out. I could always order two sizes and send back whichever doesn't fit. Or just order one size and get two styles and pick which ever is more comfy and send the other back.

Some potential contenders I've found are as follows:

Ariat Dynamite H20 Boots I believe Lucky would call these 'big stompy boots'. They are a fair price at $140.

I like these with the neato retro look Women's Xelement Black Siren Strap Motorcycle Boots. Function and frosting at an online sale price of $75, regularly $150. They do have a zipper on the inside leg for easy on/off as well. And I like that I can tighten the straps to cinch them down around the calves.

I also find the Xelement Advanced Dual Strap Leather Boots slightly intriguing. I like that they have shin protection and seem to have more impact protection that the others I have listed. I am worried about the bulk as my calves are quite small, but the few reviews seem good. Have any of you heard of this brand before? A good price at $80 on clearance from $150.

My favorite pair out of all I've seen online are the Harley Davidson Melia Boots, but I have a hard time bringing myself to advertise for, or wear Harley branded gear. No offense to the brand but I think too many people already fork over good money to advertise on their behalf. They too have a zipper on the inside leg for easy on/off. They are a fair deal at only $130 and Troubadour says go for it, no one will see the Harley badging.

Troubadour did some additional online searching and came up with a few other styles that might be good in the $150 - $200 range. Just not sure what to do at this point.

So.... any ideas out there on potential riding boots? What are you ladies using and why do you like or dislike them? I would try mens but my feet are so small that I need a size 5.5 to 6 in boys (mens aren't small enough) and it seems you just can't find them outside of off road boots. Help and advice are always welcome.

-Au Revoir

"Five years ago, we thought of the Web as a new medium, not a new economy."~ Clement Mok