Friday, May 21, 2010

May 15th Newbie Ride

As stated in Troubadour's last post, Saturday May 15th was the Second Annual Mid-Valley Newbie Ride spearheaded by our very own Bolty, aka tbolt.

A few of us met for coffee and a tasty fresh made French pastries at Le Patissier here in Corvallis before venturing to the designated meeting spot of the old Creekside Coffee location (now closed due to landlord/leasing issues). While at a quick petrol stop at Safeway we tried to see if there were any bikes waiting. We didn't realize until we ventured closer that there was a huge group compared to last year. I think the first thing I said to Troubadour when seeing the parking lot was "holy crap!" Three different areas in the parking lot were being utilized.

Turns out we had approximately 30 bikes show up. Some newbie riders, some who were experienced but hadn't done much, if any group riding, and some experienced riders who just wanted to ride the route. We saw old friends and met new ones. We even met Bluekat and her husband who came along for the ride. (Welcome! It was a pleasure to finally meet you.) Here is a picture of Bluekat and her hubby Ron with Bolty in the foreground.

Soon Bolty had us gathered around for some last minute instructions. You know.... dos, don'ts, what different hand signals meant, a bit on the planned route and also information on how she would like to see everyone broken into smaller groups depending on comfort level of their riding skills.

When taking the photos, I tried to get pictures of the people we were riding with and not just the bikes.

We had 4 groups total. One experienced group and three newbie groups that were categorized into fast, medium and slow. Bolty led the slow speed newbies and Troubadour led the medium speed newbies. Our friend Darren lead the fast newbies and I am not sure who started out leading the experienced riders. Here is a photo of Bolty and Troubadour before the ride.

We were hoping that Troubadour would be riding sweep so that I, riding pillion, could take some action shots of the newbies and even some video, but alas it was not to be. I think Troubadour enjoyed being our fearless leader that day, so it's all good. Soon enough we were on our way. First the experienced riders left, then about 10 minutes later the fast group of newbies left and so on.

40 miles of sunny, twisty back roads later we rolled into Monmouth to Burgerville for the lunch stop. Troubadour and I decided we weren't hungry so opted for a short walk to Dutch Brothers Coffee for a blended iced coffee. Hit the spot on a 70˚+ day. We then mingled and took a few more pictures.

Here is a little video of the faster group of newbies heading out after the lunch stop.....

The long meandering ride back to the coffee shop was uneventful for our group. A nice pace was set and a good time was had by all. After arriving at our destination we waited for about 15 minutes for the slower group to arrive and 30-45 minutes for the faster group. One of riders in the faster group had mechanical trouble and some improvising had to be done to get him back on the road. Kudos to our impromptu mechanics.

We couldn't have asked for better weather or a better group of riders. A big thank you to all those who led, rode sweep, organized and participated. I am sure there will be a Third Annual Newbie Ride next year.

I hope to participate as a rider and not just as a passenger next year. I didn't have enough miles under my belt this time. As a general rule they like all newbies on the ride to have at least 1,000 miles and I am not there yet. This summer, if the rain ever lets up, will be a good time to rack up some miles and gain experience and confidence. I am looking forward to watching the miles increase on the TU.

Au Revoir

"Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success." ~ Author Unknown


Friday, May 14, 2010

Rhodies & Potheads

Now, by that title you might have thought I was writing about a concert series or some such activity, but no, I am writing in regards to a trip to the Oregon Gardens that Troubadour, Rick and I took several weekends ago.

It started out a normal Saturday, get up and get ready for coffee with the group. A look outside showed us we had a visitor....

Squirrels are not a normal occurance for our yard. Basil is too scared to keep them at bay but I think they remember that Baxter would have chewed their furry butts when he was alive and hung their tails as a trophy... so they stay away. This is only the second time we've seen a squirrel in the yard in the 4 years we've lived here. We did see a chipmunk once but Baxter was chasing it and we made him drop it when he caught it. Run little chipmunk run. The chipmunk lived to tell the tale and we've not seen another since.

We finished watching the squirrel raid the sunflower seeds from the feeder and rode to coffee. Coffee was the same as it usually is on Saturday morning.... we solved the world's problems and wondered what to do for the rest of the day. Troubadour mentioned we were thinking of going to the Oregon Gardens in Silverton since they were having a day with free admission to kick off Earth Week. Rick inquired about joining us and we were off .... decision made.

We rode home and got in the car then picked Rick up and decided to stop at our favorite sushi place in Salem for lunch. Rick had never been to Sushi Kyo before so we had to introduce him to the Salem Roll they serve. Yummy! It is a sushi track or 'Kaiten Sushi' type of place and you can also order off the menu. I highly recommend it if you are in Salem. Bellies full we piled back in the Versa. With Troubadour at the controls and Rick navigating we found our way to the Gardens.

Rick has good parking karma and we managed to find some free parking by the entry gate. A short walk and we were in. Even after living in and around Corvallis for over 9 years we'd not been to the gardens before so we were intrigued. The weather was typical Spring weather for Oregon, cloudy... then windy... no wait... sunny... no.... maybe a little sprinkle here and there. "Wow, do you see those black clouds to the west?"

Due to our unusually chilly Spring there weren't as many things blooming as we'd hoped but I did manage to get a few pictures of Rhodies (Rhododendrons).

You can tell the changing weather just by looking at those two pictures. It went from overcast to brilliant sunshine within minutes.

In our meanderings we also found blooming Fothergilla:

and Choisya (aka Mexican Orange):

and even a Davidia (aka Dove Tail or Hankerchief Tree):

Troubadour took a nice photo of a water tower in the distance:

While I was taking pictures a crazy little bird came up and was interested in the shiny lense. You may have seen him before.....

As you can see, this was not a timid bird and he was not detered by the camera. Troubadour really was as close as he seems and the zoom was out a bit too. I honestly didn't think the camera would focus but was pleasantly surprised when we downloaded it.

As well as having a plethora of plants the Oregon Gardens also has fountains:

and monuments/objects d'art:

and as promised in my title.....potheads:

Of course, these weren't the only potheads at the gardens that Saturday but they were the only ones that didn't smell like patchouli bush.

-Au Revoir

"If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom." ~ Terri Guillemets