Monday, June 28, 2010

Tiny Tidbits

I realized I hadn't posted since June 10th and figured I'd better hop to it. As I sit here wondering where the time has gone, I try to think of what we've been up to for the past three weeks. I know allergy season has been in full force so I haven't been feeling as good as I'd like and some days being outside is difficult. I usually load my pockets with Kleenex and persevere.

I am sure I don't remember all of what we have done. I don't think it has been too exciting. I did have two "firsts" come up and they happened on the same day. As most of you know Monday June 21st was International Ride to Work Day. My first first was that I rode my TU to work that day. This was also my second first, which was riding solo with no supervision. I had not been out on the bike by myself prior to that. Troubadour felt comfortable that I could handle it. Heck it was only 3 miles. I made it there and back and had a big smile on my face. I did it and know that I can and will do it again. I hate to suit up for only 3 miles so I don't see myself riding to work too often but I know I can if I want to.

The ride there and back was uneventful. My parking space behind the building is on a slight incline and I backed the bike in. When leaving I started it up while I was putting on my helmet, etc. As I was just about to put my sunglasses on I noticed it was started to slide slightly downhill due to the vibration. I realized it was trying to flip up the kickstand. Quick action had me grabbing the bars and flipping the kickstand back down. After that I sat on the beast while putting on my glasses and gloves. I was taking no chances on it going over. It is still unscratched and I hope to keep it that was for years to come, fingers crossed.

This last Saturday June 26th Troubadour, Rick and I took a day trip to Portland. We stopped and had dim sum downtown for lunch. Tasty but not as good as what we had in Seattle with Bobskoot and Mrs. Bobskoot in December. Sorry, no pictures of the food. As we were making our way across town Rick Rick (our handy interactive navigation system - more fun than Tom Tom and comes with a sarcastic mode) took us the back way and showed us the Pittock Mansion. We had no clue it was even there. It is up in the west hills of Portland and is a sight to behold. There were too many trees in the front to get a picture, but we did get this shot of the back of the mansion. I've always been sucker for pictures of architecture.

This was the home of entrepreneur Henry Lewis Pittock and his wife Georgiana Martin Burton Pittock.

We were too frugal to pay the $8 each entry fee to tour the mansion so we had to satisfy ourselves by walking around the grounds and also looking at the groundskeepers four-story cottage. It was a beautiful sunny day. Perfect weather for touring the gardens. The grounds were lovely with all kinds of shrubbery, roses and a breathtaking view of Portland and the mountains in the distance.

I believe Mt. St. Helens is in the background of this shot....

And Mt. Hood in this one....

I must give photo credit to Troubadour. He who holds the camera, takes the pictures. He did a great job. As we were heading around the side garden I asked him to take the following shot. I thought it would be interesting looking up at the mansion with a bit of maple tree in the foreground.

Our curiosity was satisfied and our legs were properly stretched after such a big lunch so we got back in the car and headed to the Columbia Employee Store in Beaverton. Rick had a voucher to get in and was nice and invited us to go with him. We'd never been to the employee store but had bought Columbia Sportswear from other retail establishments. It was pretty busy on a Saturday afternoon but we didn't mind braving the crowds for such good prices. Everything was at least 50% off retail. Some items were even 60% off. We each managed to find a few things and probably spent more than we should.

All that shopping and trying on clothes is thirsty business so we found a Starbucks. The guys had some Java Chip Frappuccinos and I had an iced Caramel Macchiato. Mmmm. Sufficiently cooled down we went to a local motorcycle dealer and wandered around trying on different gloves and gear and looking at all the bikes. They have Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki so there was a variety.

We decided to head for home but managed one more stop to wander through Crate and Barrel. We saw a Crocs store but it was too late in the day to stop. Next time though, as we know where it is now. But what color to get. Red? Black? No, that might match the bike too much. I might just have to go for a nice shade of lavender for contrast. We'll see. Any suggestions?

As we headed home we started to get hungry for dinner and stopped at Red Robin in Salem. We ate way to much. Finally made it home about 9 pm. Was a long but good day.

Yesterday we decided to stay home and do some yard work. Speaking of yard work... a few weeks ago we did manage to get 5 yards of bark mulch and 2 yards of planting soil delivered so technically we've been doing something the last few weeks. Just takes a bit to jog my memory. All the bark mulch went in the backyard so one of these days we'll need to get another 5 yards for the front. One day.

The long weekend is coming up but we have no big plans. There is a motorcycle show in Independence on Saturday July 3rd that we'll go to. Our friend Brandon kind of spearheads it so we go and help him set up and take down the tents, etc. We had a great turn out last year and we're hoping this year the second annual will be even better. I had the nighthawk this time last year and sold it right before the show so I didn't have my own ride entered. This year I'll be riding the TU to it, so I will have another first. First time riding to and entering a show. I am sure this will trigger more photos and another blog post.

Until then, happy riding and enjoy that sunshine. Summer is finally here.

- Au Revoir

"A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked." ~ Author Unknown

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Snail Tale

While searching the internet for a picture of a cool cartoon snail I could use as an avatar on our local motorcycle form (to represent my riding speed) I found this picture:

It intrigued me so I had to do a little more net research. When I did, I found the following pictures that, unless someone is mass producing them somewhere, appears as though it is the same vehicle:

My curiosity was piqued so I proceeded to do a little more googling. I managed to find an actual article on the fabrication, which I've linked HERE. It explains all that went into building it with multiple pictures. I did not want to pilfer the photos from the article so I'll let you click on the link. Seems it was designed for Burning Man and that in itself is way cool.

I even managed to find a picture of it at Burning Man while breathing fire:

And while looking for a fire breathing picture of it, I found this.....

I thought the little critter was quite creative.

I honestly think it would be an amazing experience to go to Burning Man at least once in my lifetime, but at the same time I don't think I could 'loosen the bone' enough to actually attend. I know people here in town who have gone but I don't know if Troubadour and I are ready for it. Things that make you go hmmmmm?

-Au Revoir

"Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance." ~ Epicurus

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This and That

It has been several weeks since my last blog post mostly because there just hasn't been much to write about. Of course I could have blogged about the weather, but cloudy skies and rain is not a great motivator.

Let's start with Memorial Day weekend. On the Saturday we rode to coffee but it was quite chilly with dark skies so we didn't go for a ride after. We did take the car to Eugene just to find out both the Triumph Dealer and Discount Motorcycle Parts were closed. Had Mio Sushi for lunch and then drove home. The sun was finally out so we managed to get in a few hours of yard work before dark.

Sunday we went two-up on an all day ride planned by a friend on the forum. Was a nice ride South then East through the valley and back home again. Stopped in Creswell at Los Cabos for lunch but we didn't take any gratuitous pictures of the food. It started out as quite an adventure. We met everyone at the appointed meeting place and just as we were gearing up to go Troubadour noticed a flaw in his front tire. He decided it wasn't safe for the ride, but had a new one waiting at home ready to be mounted. We decided to see how fast we could change it and catch up.

We raced home and in a flurry of activity managed to take our gear off, completely change the tire, gear back up and head out in under an hour. We phoned Rick and left him a message to have the group wait for us in Noti where they were joining the Eugene group of riders. Turns out we were only about 10-15 minutes behind. Not too bad. Kudos to Troubadour for his quick tire change and even quicker riding to catch up. They gave us a quick 5-minute break to catch our breath and back on the road we went.

Here is a few pictures of the group taken just after catching up to them at Noti.

We had pretty good weather for the ride. A mixture of sunshine, light rain/misting, and high clouds. Here are a few more pics taken by Troubadour at one of the stops to let everyone catch up to the sport bikes that were leading.

And one of our fearless leader and sweep. Sweep on the left and Fearless Leader and ride organizer/instigator on the right.

It was a long day but we had a good time. I think we were tuckered out by the time we got home and maybe even napped a little.

On the holiday Monday we were bored and it was raining so we thought we'd drive to Salem to see what stores were open. Just as we were heading out Rick stopped by so we invited him to join us. We wandered around a few stores and had sushi for lunch. This time at our favorite place Sushi Kyo. Yum. They are the best we've found out of any we've tried locally.

Normally we'd have gone back to work Tuesday, but took the rest of the week off. We originally planned to go somewhere or do something fun on our days off, but as the week approached the weather was still looking too crappy and rainy so we decided to stay home instead. Tuesday we had a few errands to run and ended up having sushi for lunch again this time at Momiji's in North Albany.

Wednesday we decided to drive to Portland for the day, but needed to be back for bike night. We ate too much at Olive Garden for lunch and wandered around R.E.I. We then headed to Ikea and raced back home. I opted to stay home for the evening and Troubadour went to bike night solo.

Thursday morning came and we went grocery shopping. Supplies were getting low. After we went out for lunch at Big River. A place we wouldn't normally go, but I had a gift certificate that we needed to use up so that was nice. That done we puttered the rest of the day away.

Friday we got some tomato plants planted in Topsy Turvy hanging containers. We found them on sale at Home Depot. We'll see how they work. We are hoping for lots of tasty tomatoes this year... if we get enough sun. The sun came out early afternoon on Friday so we decided to take the bikes out for a putt. Thus far I'd only had the TU out to Saturday morning coffee and back a few times.

Troubadour decided I could tackle the road to Alsea Falls and off we went. Here is a picture of the falls and also one of me as we were just getting ready to head back home.

Yesterday dawned with brilliant sunshine and it was time once again for Saturday morning coffee. We geared up and took the bikes. After visiting for a while we decided we needed to fill the bikes with petrol and maybe ride to Eugene. Fueling up was an adventure as I don't think I've touched a gas nozzle since we moved to Oregon in 2001. That done we headed out. Rick came along and did a nice job of sweep. Hopefully I didn't hold him up too bad.

We meandered down the back roads and stopped at the Triumph Dealership where Troubadour test drove the new Tiger. I'll let him tell you how he liked it.

After that we went to Mio Sushi for a late lunch then headed home. This time with Rick leading and Troubadour running sweep. Part way through the ride home Troubadour pulled out the camera one handed and took a few shots of me on the bike. He was shooting blind though due to the reflection on the viewing screen and trying to ride at the same time. Pretty talented.

I managed to put 50 miles on the TU on Friday and 100 miles yesterday so I am slowing getting more experience. I need a little work on my turns onto side streets but that will come in time. And of course I don't lean as much as I should in the corners but that too will come with time and experience as I gain confidence.

All in all not a bad vacation. Or should I say 'staycation'. We would have liked to get more yard work done and get more riding time in but we did fine handling the weather we were given. One of these days summer weather is bound to arrive and we can do all of the things we would have liked to have done last week and more.

In retrospect we didn't do a whole lot on our week off. Instead of travelling to places far and wide we opted to stay close to home and eat lunch out most days. Cheaper than going on vacation but still a treat.

-Au Revoir

"A good vacation is over when you begin to yearn for your work." ~ Morris Fishbein