Monday, July 26, 2010

Will it make you sweat?

No sooner did the 4th of July come and go when summer hit full force in the Willamette Valley. This year there were no in between temperatures, no grace period. We went from a chilly 65˚ to sweltering in the mid to high 90's. Ick blah. Personally I am good with high 70's or low 80's.

We've begun to think of creative ways to beat the heat. We have a large stock tank we used as a pond at one point in time and were thinking of filling it up and using it as a pool of sorts. Not a good idea. The raccoons would invade it and wash their grub in the wee hours of the night. The raccoons are the reason we no longer have a pond. They like to drag your plants half way across the yard and eat your goldfish.

After experiencing 100˚ temperatures on Saturday we opted for a leisurely drive to the coast yesterday. We heard rumors the air was downright chilly just one hour to the West.

We managed to do a little bit of yard work in the morning. Some pruning and deadheading of climbing roses, watering and even spraying of weeds. Just before noon when it was already over 80˚ in the shade we decided it was time to head out.

We got in the car and made our way to Newport - along with half the valley residents I am sure. Our first stop was the Chowder Bowl on Nye Beach. Mmmm chowder. Whether you be friend or family we will always recommend the Chowder Bowl. They have the best chowder we've found up and down the coast. FYI - Mo's is for tourists. I'm just sayin'.

There was only patio seating available and we gladly took it. Troubadour made one trip back to the car for our sweaters. The wind was a little nippy but I wasn't going to complain about the cool air. It beat the heat in the valley.

We relaxed and enjoyed our chowder and decided to head to the historic bayfront area to wander around and putter the day away. Our view driving down to the bay....

We found a parking spot without too awfully much trouble and started walking. Before we got too many steps Troubadour wanted to take a picture.

The sun was playing hide and seek with the wind and we were having a nice lazy day. We wandered in a few shops and even debated buying some salt water taffy. We resisted the urge and wandered some more.

There were a lot of fishing boats in the harbor....

At one of the view areas the sea lions were basking in the intermittent sun. There were about a dozen laying on the docks being gawked at by dozens of tourists. We didn't get any photos of the sea lions but we did get a few shots of a fishing boat moored right up close.

As people were looking at the sea lions we were looking at small fish swimming around the docks. We then spotted several starfish attached to the pilings of the pier. Hard to get a clear shot through the murky water but Troubadour managed to get the following photos.

We made our way back to the car and decided to head South to Waldport. We arrived at Waldport shortly before 5 and everything was pretty much closed. Our stomachs were rumbling so we stopped at a grocery store and bought a couple bananas for a snack and headed East. We took the scenic route and arrived at the house somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00. We were out late enough so that it was cooler outside than in and were able to open up all the windows and let the breeze in.

It was a nice relaxing day. I highly recommend a trip to the coast for beating the valley heat.

-Au Revoir

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." ~ Sam Keen

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Things I Learned at the Inaugural IMBC

I like to think of life as one big learning opportunity. There are some things we learn after just one time and others take a little longer. I do believe on our road trip to Bend and back for the International Moto-Blogger Convention I learned more than a few things.

* I learned that when you head out on an adventure with expected temperatures in the high 80's to low 90's always arrive bright eyed and ready to go...

.... because you won't look and feel that way after arriving at your destination....

* I learned that no amount of planning or OCD will guarantee a group ride leaves on time.

* I learned that to conquer your fears (in my case riding over the pass) one must face them head on and give them a swift poke in the eye to show them who's boss.

* I learned that a Suzuki TU 250 will pass a Toyota Prius uphill on the Santiam Pass provided you downshift a gear or two and "give it all she's got captain", also known as WFO. I learned to pass where there is a passing lane and that it can take two tries. The TU does not however, have enough power to 'click click bang' as Troubadour would say.

* I learned that even if you only have a piece of toast for breakfast at 7 am it is possible to pace yourself and not inhale your food at 3:30 in the afternoon. The questions is...was the food so incredibly good because we were starving or was it just that good? I'm thinking it was just that good. Kudos to Stacy and Stacey for the restaurant suggestion.

* I learned that if two bloggers are texting by the water there is a good chance they are texting each other....

* I learned that when it is over 90˚ outside and you are not on the bike, it is a good idea to take the liner out of your mesh jacket and pants. Doh!

* I learned that if you are eating dinner late into the evening it is okay to have breakfast instead....mmmm cinnamon buns sliced and made into french toast.

* I learned that no matter how exhausted you are..... the sleep you get in a hotel bed is not as restful as at home.

* I learned that you will wake up earlier than planned or desired when sleeping in a hotel.

* I learned that decaf coffee and a fresh waffle cooked by your hubby from the hotel continental breakfast are pretty good at 6:30 am even when eaten in the hotel lobby.

* I also learned to vacate said lobby prior to 7 am before the rest of the guests with their petri dishes wake up and want grub.

* I learned that if you set up a meeting time for breakfast at 10 am, chances are everyone is up and around early and are thinking of ways to pass the time wishing we had set an earlier time.

* I learned that if you are right handed you should always pull up at the gas station with the pump on your right side. And in the event you spill a little gas and there is no garbage can do not put the paper towel in your pocket.

* I learned that if some of the petrol dribbles on your gloves because of where you placed them when when fueling up - do not put them in your helmet while having breakfast.

* I learned that if you only order a side of hash browns for breakfast the waitress will look at you funny and think you are odd. How un-American of me.

* I learned that I can ride over the Santiam Pass without issues or problems if I believe in my abilities and use the skills I've learned.

* I learned that heated grips are still enjoyable even on the 18th of July when one forgets to put the liner back in their mesh jacket.

* I learned that moto bloggers are a friendly lot with a great sense of humor.

* I learned how enjoyable it is to visit with old friends and make new ones too.

* I learned that if I don't ever take the camera away from Troubadour I'll never get any photos of him.

* I learned that you meet the nicest people on a Triumph, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha and/or BMW. You probably meet nice people riding on other brands too, there just didn't happen to be any in our group.

A big thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to meet up and hang out in Bend or even just come along for the ride. We enjoyed meeting those bloggers we'd never met before and also catching up with those we had. We look forward to another meet up. I do believe Bobskoot mentioned something about 2 years from now in Hawaii to take over the island on scooters. Intriguing.

All in all I'd have to say it was a 'Croctacular' success!!

On a side note the TU now has 999.8 miles on the odometer. Time to ride it around the neighborhood to get it to 1,000. If nothing else - heading to coffee Saturday morning will do the trick.

Yesterday we had the pleasure of my mom visiting for an overnight. She and I went organic blueberry picking (30 lbs) in the afternoon and then just visited and took a few silly pictures in the evening. It was getting a little too dark so they turned out grainy but you get the idea.

-Au Revoir

"Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there." ~ Virginia Burden

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Boil 'n' Oil

The weather has been quite toasty in the Willamette Valley the last week or two so we haven't been up to too much. We've been baking and boiling in the heat. I managed to get a toasty sunburn at the show on the 3rd so spent the 4th relaxing and hanging out trying to drown out the neighborhood fireworks with a loud movie as the cat cowered in the closet.

On Monday July 5th Rick needed to go to Portland for a motorcycle part and invited us to tag along. We took our Versa since it is better on gas than Rick's Trooper. Since we were heading up I-5 I made a request to stop at Bridgeport Village Shopping Center. Now, most people know I am not a fan of shopping .... any kind of shopping. Did I mention I don't like shopping. Although, there was one store I had been wanting to visit but had not been there yet. We didn't manage to get any pictures in the store but I did make a purchase.....

Yes, that is right. They have a Crocs store. All kind of Crocs. Dress Crocs, casual Crocs. Little Crocs and big Crocs. Crocs, Crocs, Crocs. I think I could make up a Dr. Seuss poem about Crocs. After trying on multiple pairs it became clear that my feet just were not meant for the most typical Crocs. They were either too small or too big. I was between sizes.

I've always felt that I was so non-conformist I don't even conform with the non-conformists. Well the Crocs I picked show it. Yes they are Crocs, but they don't conform to the type of Crocs that Bobskoot, Sonja, Bluekat and others have. I even picked a bubblegum color. How unlike me, but they should be a nice contrast to the TU. They'll even go with the rose colored mirrored visor I just put on my helmet. We'll get more pictures in Bend next weekend.

Crocs bought we were hungry for lunch. Hungry enough to eat a croc.... no wait, best find something else. Rick thought of a French bakery we might enjoy and he was right,

Petite Provence (Boulangerie and Patisserie) was several times the size of our French bakery here in town.

The pastries looked amazing....

They had quite a few tables and a full menu so we sat down to order lunch. Rick forgot to warn us how large the portions were so I ordered the special - Riviera Sandwich (homemade bread, walnut pesto, brie, lettuce, tomatoes and roasted red peppers - served with homemade potato salad on the side)

Troubadour ordered the Collette Omelette (eggs, basil, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, mozzarella - served with roasted potatoes and butternut squash on the side).

Rick ordered the Northwest Salmon Hash (salmon tossed with fresh cut potatoes and leeks grilled and topped with eggs - served with a fresh baked still warm croissant)

I had a coffee and the guys just had water. I hate to tell you this Bobskoot but it was way more than the three of us could eat and it was well under $50. If ever in Portland I highly recommend Petite Provence. In fact I think we'll go back just for dessert and coffee one day. Hmmm... what excuse do I have to go to Portland?

Yesterday Troubadour and I went for Saturday morning coffee and decided to ride to Eugene after. We were each on our own bike and had the radios hooked up for communication. Stopped at the Triumph shop for a few minutes and then on to Discount Motorcycle Parts. Troubadour managed to find some gloves at the Triumph shop but we didn't find any goodies at the other place. By that time it was 2 pm and we were starving. We headed over to Cafe Yumm for a quick bite in an air conditioned cafe. It was cooler yesterday with a high of only 88˚ but we both had full gear on and were boiling in traffic. We wear mesh pants and jackets in that kind of weather, which was marvelous when going over 20 mph, but was still roasty-toasty at low speeds and in parking lots.

We had a nice meal of an Asian salad for me and a salmon burger for Troubadour. Well rested and cooled off we headed for home. It was quite blustery along the back roads. The wind was whipping over the fresh cut grass fields. When we were almost home we decided to stop at a local store that sold Crocs. They don't have much in stock but we were assured they could order us anything we wanted. We didn't purchase anything but we did manage to get a few pictures under the sign.

Somewhere on the ride home the TU rolled over 600 miles on the odometer. Time for it's first oil change. Troubadour was anticipating this so he stopped at a shop in Albany last week and bought an oil filter. The filter is damn small too. I should have taken a picture of it. This morning we went out and purchased some 10w40 oil and this afternoon Troubadour instructed me as I changed it. I put on some latex gloves to protect my hands from the warm oil. Here is me watching the dirty oil go into the pan....

And pouring in the fresh oil (you can see the small filter on the oil pan) .....

Troubadour decided it was time for me to clean my chain as well..... with a toothbrush. Luckily we keep all our old toothbrushes for just such occasions. That was a dirty job. Think I was smart enough to put the gloves back on? Nope.

Troubadour was nice enough to help me with the chain, but somehow he didn't end up as dirty as I did. Must be all the practice he's had. He also put the chain lube on for me after. I think next time he cleans his chain, I'd best be in there helping him.

That sums up our week. Everything from boiling temperatures to an oil change for the TU. Good times.....

-Au Revoir

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." ~ John Quincy Adams

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bike 'n' Burn

The alarm rang at 6:01 yesterday morning. Bollocks! I hate it when we have to set the alarm on a Saturday. Although, it was for a good cause. As many of you may have already read on Troubadour's Blog, yesterday was the motorcycle show in Independence. Our friend Brandon was organizing it and we agreed to roll in early and help set up and get organized. A shower, couple cups of coffee, and a piece of toast later and Rick was here on his ZZR to escort us to Independence. We arrived in Independence about 8:30 am with little fuss. Only one wrong turn. Well, not so much a wrong turns as an "oops that is a gravel road and we have shiny washed bikes."

Setting up was complete and bikes started rolling in early. The sun was out and it warmed up considerably. Luckily we had shorts under our riding gear and were thinking ahead and brought sandals too. Sorry Bobskoot, I don't have Crocs ....... yet.

Early bird registrants were eligible for raffle prizes and those were drawn about 10:30. More bikes rolled in and people were voting for their favorites. The bike awards were given out about 12:30 so that everyone still had time for a ride after or to go home and visit with family and friends on the long weekend.

Rick, Troubadour, and I along with another rider decided to ride into Salem for sushi. Salem is our State capital and quite busy so I was a little apprehensive. Rick was in the lead and Troubadour called sweep. I missed one turn but luckily we had our radios with us and with a quick u-turn caught up. We rolled into Salem and had sushi for lunch. We were hungry enough we didn't stop for any pictures.

After a quick fuel stop we headed home the back way to avoid I-5. I had a few more firsts today. Not only did I ride in Salem for the first time but Rick took us back by way home via the Buena Vista Ferry. First time riding onto and off of a ferry. It was downhill to the ferry and uphill just after getting off the ferry. Luckily Troubadour gave me some pointers over the radio as we were on the downhill grade to the ferry...."Don't use your front brake." I used my back brake and all was well.

Here are a few pictures Troubadour took on the ferry.

We didn't get any pictures of him because he had the camera. Going to have to get myself a little point and shoot I think. I always feel bad asking for the camera like I'm taking away a toy. Something small for the tank bag maybe.

We made it home and Rick decided he wanted to go to a plant sale and invited us along for the ride. He went home and picked up his Trooper and met up with us a bit later. While he was gone I discovered I really should have used sunscreen today. Yep sunburned. I am looking like a proper redneck right about now. Also managed a slight redness of my face, arms and back of my calves. I had sunscreen in the Triumph's saddlebags, but did I put it on? No....... of course not, didn't think I was getting burned.

Once we got home from plant shopping we relaxed and made some dinner. Ravioli with homemade pesto. Yummy. Spent the rest of the evening relaxing and puttering on the computers and downloading the photos off the camera.

Now to figure out what to do today and tomorrow. We shall see..... Take out the canoe? Another motorcycle ride? Shopping? Take a hike? Ride our bicycles? Not sure what we'll do but I know it will include finally sleeping in tomorrow, or at the very least waking up at the same time but with no alarm clock. Whatever we decide to do, you can be sure we'll have the camera with us.

Oh, and before I forget. Happy Independence Day America!

- Au Revoir

" Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."~ Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!!

.Happy Birthday Canada .... and a Happy Canada Day to all of our friends, family and loved ones living in that great nation north of the 49th Parallel.

And to be politically correct for any french speaking readers out there... "Fete du Canada!"

To Canada the country.... I give a big grizzly bear hug. We think of you often and miss you like crazy. (Not enough to move back yet, but we do miss you)

- Au Revoir

"As always, Canada will now bury its war dead, just as the rest of the world, as always, will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does. It seems that Canada's historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored. Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance" - Kevin Myers