Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last Day of June

It doesn't seem like we've been up to much in June, but at the same time the month went by quite quickly.

Since my last post I participated in the Ride to Work Day. Due to lack of luggage on Max (one of these days I'll get a top case for it) I managed to leave my camera at home, so no pics taken. Mind you the view of my parking space is not much. Sitting in a lot right outside the back door next to an unassuming brick building. At least it is shady in the afternoon.

I did get to wear my new Rev'it Sand pants on the commute. It is only a 3 mile ride but they didn't seem to ride up the legs like the Cayenne Pros did.

I'm hoping this weekend I'll get a chance to wear them for a long ride.

We didn't get any riding in last weekend. The weather has been decidedly better. Days of brilliant sunshine interspersed with clouds and a sprinkling of rain. The temperatures have been in the 70's every day so that is a bonus. Last Saturday RickRick stopped by and we went to Saturday morning coffee then up to Portland for the day. We had Dim Sum at Jin Wah in Beaverton. Sorry Bobskoot, no food porn pictures. Didn't even take the camera. How inconsiderate of me.

From there we went to Harbor Freight and then to the Columbia Employee Store located at the company headquarters in Beaverton. For the last few years Rick has worked an education fair for them and in return has been provided with guest passes. We have been lucky and this is the second year he has invited us along. If it has the Columbia or Mountain Hard Wear label on it then they sell it at the Employee store for at least 50% off of retail. Some items are even more than 50% off.

(Picture pilfered from the interweb)

We wandered around and tried on clothes. An hour and a half to two hours later we emerged with bags of goodies and our wallets several hundred dollars lighter. It is nice to have some summer clothes that fit though. I think all three of us weight less than we did last year. I know all of the stuff Troubadour bought last year is way too big on him. Now, we are set for summer.

From the Columbia store we went to Rick's mom's house across town. We stopped to say hello. Rick discovered her cell phone wasn't working and it was time for her to upgrade. He asked if we minded a trip to the Verizon store. Ummmm.... the closest one is right by a Starbucks. Nope, don't mind at all.

We went to Cascade Station by Ikea in Portland and were there for about half a hour. Took Rick's mom home and headed South towards Corvallis. As we were coming into Salem Rick suggested we get sushi for dinner at Sushi Kyo. It was almost 6:00 pm and we hadn't eaten since lunch. Sounded good.

Nina was working and everything was tasty as usual. We headed home after that and managed to make it by 7:30. It was a long day and we were tired. I think we managed to stay up to watch a movie though.

Sunday we had a relaxing day. Puttered around and went to a couple of plant nurserys. Dropped off some fresh halibut at my bosses house and puttered in the yard. Troubadour grilled some halibut for dinner and we feasted.

Too soon we were heading to bed to get ready for another work week.

I did manage to try out the new camera a few more times with a few random shots from the backyard. Hopefully I will use it more this weekend. So far I find on 'auto' mode I can take two pictures right after one another and their exposure is totally different. Not good.

Today is the last day of June. In hindsight I haven't done much riding so far, but the weather had a bit to do with that. I am lucky and have an extended long weekend. Not only do I have Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off but I have tomorrow off as well. That gives me the whole day to go grocery shopping and get the house clean for the weekend.

We don't have any plans but I am thinking a ride is in order. Just a matter of planning where to go that will have the least amount of long weekend traffic. Hmmm. To the coast? The Cascades? Or stay in the valley? We'll see.

And on a side note.....

Happy Canada Day to all our Canadian blogger brethren.

- Au Revoir

"Oh, wouldn't the world seem dull and flat with nothing whatever to grumble at?" ~ W.S. Gilbert


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Win Some, Lose Some

Sometime during the last week I decided that my new Rev'it riding pants were really going to bother me in the way that they ride up my leg while on the bike. The cold air blowing over my exposed leg coupled with having the zipper exposed to the rain may have added to the soggy cold socks on the way home last Sunday and that got me thinking.

I messaged back and forth on Facebook with Mike from Premier Motogear to see if they had a Cayenne Pro trouser in black in a medium tall. Of course not. That would be too easy. Could he get one in? He didn't think they could get in any Cayenne Pros in black. He did say he was able to order a pair in green if I wanted that. Ummmmm, no, thank you.

Bollocks! He suggested I bring the pants back and try the Rev'it Sand trousers on again only this time in the medium tall. I was trying to remember why I didn't like the Sand when I tried them on last weekend, but capitulated and said sure. If they didn't work he was willing to let me return the pants for a refund even though I'd worn them once.

After having a nice nothing but blue sky, warm sunny Friday, yesterday dawned cloudy and drizzly. We took the car to coffee. By the time we left the coffee shop and headed to Premier it was raining. Of course it was, it's the weekend. Troubadour rebelled and wore shorts anyway. I wore my new Keen Emerald City sandals (hooray - they are finally making dressy looking ones) The closer my feet are to naked the happier they are so I love the time of year where I don't have to wear socks and closed shoes.

(Bobskoot inspiring feet photos again)

When we arrived at Premier, Mike grabbed the Sand trousers and pulled out the hip padding and had me try them on. They fit in the waist (after cinching) and thigh area, same as the Cayenne Pro, but they were definitely baggier from the knee down. In their back shop they happened to have a Kawasaki Concourse. He was nice and let me go back to check leg length while in a riding position. Major difference between the standard length and a tall. Tall was the way to go.

Now I had a dilemma. I could order the Cayenne Pro online and get them in black in the correct size and length OR I could take the Sand I was trying on.

Any guess on which I chose?

I chose the Sand I was trying on. A few things tilted my decision in that direction.

1) Great customer service and I was able to buy local. Not always easy to do these days;

2) The Sand trousers have more adjustments at the calf for tightening them than the Cayenne Pro;

3) The Sand have cargo pockets on the legs whereas the Cayenne Pro just had narrow slit pockets at the top; and

4) The Sand trousers were $100 less that the Cayenne Pro.

Sand Trousers (note nice cargo pockets)

I figured all those outweighed a slightly baggier pant from the knee down. I didn't realize until after we'd gotten home and I did a little research that the Sand do not have any Cordura either. They are made with "PWR/shell seat and PWR wax coating on the inside of the legs for a better grip on the bike." I am sure they will wear just as well as the Cayenne Pro for how I use them. Win some, lose some.

After leaving Premier we headed north to Salem to Sushi Kyo for lunch. After stuffing ourselves on miso soup, edamame, and sushi rolls we headed to Costco. Not the best choice of things to do on a Saturday but we needed a few necessities such as coffee and toilet paper.

We ended up buying a small pocket camera while we were there. They had the Fuji XP20 in a bundle with a rechargeable battery, neoprene case, battery charger, and 4 GB memory card on sale for $139. We have been thinking of buying a smaller pocket size digital camera so that when riding we'd each have one and the Canon is just too big for my pockets. This camera claims to be water proof, dust proof, freeze proof and shock proof. Sounds perfect for motorcycling. We decided to purchase it. How wrong can you go for $139, especially when Costco has a 90-day return policy on digital cameras. There were three colors to choose from; green, orange and blue. Of course I got the blue.

This camera only has a 5x zoom, which is about half of the Canon, but it has the panoramic stitching feature as well as being very small and light. So far it is easy to use and easy to switch between the features.

When we got home last night we charged the battery, which only took an hour, and started taking a few pictures to try it out. Luckily the sun had come out by this time. Troubadour went out and took a few pictures of flowers in the back yard.



(Tree Peony avec bee)

(Tree Peony sans bee)

I also tried it out a bit on some things around yard.

This morning Troubadour went out for a ride with a few friends. I chose to stay home. I think he needs to go riding every now and again without a newer rider hanging around so that he can go at his own pace and have fun with the guys.

I just took the camera out to test the panoramic mode and came up with the following two pictures of the back yard. Click the picture for a larger view.

(Back yard taken from the deck)

(back yard taken standing at the pergola swing)

I had to take one last picture. This is a little acrylic mushroom statue. I bought it a few weeks ago on impulse to bring a bright spot to the flower bed by our back deck. It makes me smile.

So, as you can see, the camera doesn't take the greatest or clearest photos but if you take it for what it is, I think we'll have a camera that can be abused riding, hiking and travelling and will help us capture the moment. For times that require stellar pictures we'll still have the Canon.

I have found two things awkward with the camera so far. One is that you need to open the battery/memory card door in order to open the little door that hides the USB hook up. This is because they both need to be sealed under the waterproof latch; understandable but inconvenient. The other thing is that the shutter release button isn't on the very right side of the camera, the zoom is. I find this slightly awkward since I am used to the Canon. The large rectangle button between the on/off button and zoom is the shutter release. You win some, you lose some.

-Au Revoir

" Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art." ~ Ambrose Bierce


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Ride and Some New Pants

Troubadour and I hopped on the bikes and rode to coffee last Saturday and by the time we got home in the early afternoon it was nice and sunny. Changed into some shorts, did a little yard work and decided to take the car and go to Premier Motogear in Albany and see what they had for ladies riding pants.

Made a quick stop at Dutch Brothers for some iced coffees and off we went. It is a short 10 mile drive and soon we were there. There were no other customers in the store so Mike provided great one-on-one service. He made a few suggestions and had me try on several pairs of riding pants. I was looking for something in a trouser fit as opposed to the usual baggy over pant.

I tried on a pair of men's Rev'it Sand pants and also an Olympia ladies pants. The Rev'it Sand pants fit better by far but still weren't right. Mike had the idea to go down to a size medium and switch styles. He had me try on a men's Rev'it Cayenne Pro. I liked the minimal velcro on the Rev'it pants. The waist was great but hips felt a little snug. He took out the very small hip padding and also had me go try them on without my shorts underneath. That made a big difference since my shorts were double cuffed and had been bunching around the hips when I pulled the pants up. This made the fit great.

(Rev'it Cayenne Pro pants)

I wore them around the shop a bit and also sat on their motorcycle simulator (i.e. - bar stool). I was worried that the standard length might be too short when riding but Mike assured me that for a 32" inseam that was the appropriate size. The price was a little more than I wanted to pay, but they are a 4 season riding pant with a waterproof liner and a quilted thermal liner. The fact that they go with my Rev'it Siren jacket is a bonus. I tried last night and they will even zip to my jacket.

I was a happy camper. Finally a pair of riding pants where I didn't feel like the Saggy Baggy Elephant when wearing them.

Saturday night we did more yard work and Troubadour gave his bike a much needed oil change.

Sunday dawned and I packed us a picnic lunch and we geared up to attend the Day to Ona (Daytona) Beach gathering. Lunch (gumbo, burgers and hotdogs) was being provided by Rod from the Triumph shop, but since we are vegetarians we are used to packing grub for ourselves.

We rode downtown and and fuelled up, stopped at the Beanery for a scone/muffin for breakfast. When we came out there was a new Tiger 800 parked by Troubadour's Lucy. We even knew the owner. He was headed to Ona Beach too and was meeting his riding buddies.

(Lucy flirting with a Tiger 800)

We then headed to the local meeting place. As we waited for any more locals to show we saw Bluekat and Ron ride by...... off for a long day in the saddle.

For some reason I didn't think to take out the camera at this point. I need to get better at grabbing it when we stop.

There were 6 of us and I wasn't the only female this time. Thanks Dani for coming along.

We rode down to Alpine where we were set to meet up with the folks riding up from Eugene and one from Monroe. Our group was the first to arrive. We had just removed our helmets when three Eugene riders showed up. We all took a bit of a break while waiting for the rider from Monroe. The sun was shining so we didn't mind the wait. We had all arrived early.

And.....I remembered to ask Troubadour for the camera. I find the Canon too big and bulky to keep in my jacket pocket. I need to find a smaller pocket sized one.

(Dani saying hello to the camera)

(Yes, this passes for sunshine in Oregon)

(Andy - aka Polar Bear - checking out Dave's Bonneville)
(That is his black Tiger in the background)

I think we had kickstands up at 11:00. I believe 10 bikes total headed along the twisty curves of Alsea Falls, into Alsea and west on Highway 34 to Waldport.

There was one near miss on highway 34 on the way to Waldport. Troubadour and I were a little behind the rest of the group due to my speed in the corners and a group of three motorcycles came up behind us. The first bike went by me no problem, but a KLR 650 decided to pass me on the outside of a blind right hand corner hugging a double solid line trying to share my lane. I held my speed and my line and out of my peripheral could see his tires weaving on the double yellow. He went by and so did the third bike.

Troubadour was on the radio cursing and I had to agree. Not a cool pass. It bothered him more than it did me, but he could see if from behind and knew how close the KLR was to me and how he was invading my space. What pissed him off most was if a truck had of come around the corner going the opposite direction the KLR rider would not have hesitated to push me into the embankment to save his own hide. Luckily it didn't go down that way. I've also had more than one person tell me I should have ran a little wide and forced him to ride in the other lane, but as a newer rider I just held my line and speed and looked through the corner and let him go.

The group stopped just before Waldport to wait and have a rest. It was spitting rain here and there but we arrived at One Beach without further incident. Turns out the KLR was headed there too for the Triumph function. Did I mention theKLR was sandwiched by two Triumphs and those two riders worked at the Triumph shop. Not sure how they knew the dude on the KLR. First thing Troubadour did was have a few choice words with him before I could even get parked and get my helmet off. He was nice about it but wanted to point out his asshat move in front of everyone at the function. The KLR rider apologized and admitted he acted poorly.

With that out of the way we had our picnic and enjoyed visiting. I even got more than one hug from Rod, owner of the Triumph shop and ring leader of the event.

We hung out for about an hour and as the rain started we headed North to Newport. The folks from Eugene headed South towards Florence for their rainy ride home.

We decided to stop in the bay front area of Newport for some salt water taffy and hot coffee. Thanks Erik for the tip of hot pepper taffy. Jalapeno taffy really is good if you've never tried it. A new favorite.

The rain didn't let up. If anything it was raining harder. We decided to book it for home. I haven't had much experience in the rain and certainly not on Max. I know - trust your tires. We took the winding road along the river and all the while I was thinking we'd see the sun as we approached the valley. That was not to be. After the road rejoined Highway 20 I asked Troubadour to lead, as I knew we'd get home faster. We did have to pull over at one point. Not only my visor was fogging up, but so were my sunglasses.

I stashed my sunglasses in my pocket, put my gloves back on (oops -gauntlet on the outside of the sleeve) and headed out again. It rained hard the entire way. Didn't let up until late that night. About half way home I felt a cold trickle in my boot. Bad words were said in my helmet when I realized my Harley Melia boots were not waterproof. By the time we got home my feet were soggy and cold. The rain had run down my jacket and into my gloves and my shirt cuffs were wet and my long hair and buff had wicked water into my collar and a bit of my shirts were wet.

I am pleased to say that although I was not expecting to rain-test my jacket and new pants on Sunday I was pleasantly surprised with the results. My legs and torso were completely warm and dry. My arms were too, even with the damp cuffs of my sleeves. I did notice that the pant legs came at least half way up my boot when riding. I don't know if that is why my boots were leaking, but Dani mentioned it may be because of the knee armour and where the pants are sitting to accommodate it. Will do a Cayenne Pro pant review after some more wear.

What did I learn from our Sunday excursion?

1) Don't believe the weatherman when he says the forecast is 78˚F in the valley and nothing but sun;

2) When it is raining, tuck your gauntlet gloves inside your jacket to keep your hands dry, otherwise not even Fieldsheer Aqua Sports will hold out;

3) When Rev'it claims their gear is waterproof with the liner in, they mean it - two thumbs up;

4) Buy a fog city for your visor;

5) Let someone else lead when your visor isn't quite clear and you want to get home quicker;

6) As soon as you can.... order the Sidi Jasmine Rain boots you have been coveting; and

7) Trust your tires.

All in all it was a good day and I am glad I had the chance to ride in the rain. It was something I needed to do but wouldn't have gone looking for it. I think I jinxed myself a few posts back when I said I wouldn't set out in the rain, but didn't mind getting caught in it. Doh! Weather gremlins must have been listening.

PS - The Canucks just lost the Stanley Cup final...... I must console myself with Umpqua vanilla fat free frozen yogurt and fresh strawberries.

- Au Revoir

" Have I mentioned how F*&#ing sick of this rain I am?" - Troubadour on a Triumph

Monday, June 6, 2011

Finally a Ride

Had a busy weekend. Saturday we attended the swap meet in Albany. Didn't sell as much as we liked but managed to get rid of a few things. Troubadour sold a pair of riding pants and a riding jacket, but I didn't sell any of my gear. Oh well, there is always eBay.

We had use of a easy up shelter or quick tent as they are sometimes called. It was a beautiful day with brilliant sunshine. The warmest we've had all year. I managed to get a sunburn on my feet, back of my calves and a bit on my arms. Sunburn never felt so good.

(Taken today so you can image how red the stripes were on Saturday)

** Note to self, taking sunscreen with you does not work unless you take it out of the car and actually apply it.

We were home from the swap meet by 3:30 pm so we puttered for the afternoon and watched a movie that evening.

Yesterday dawned nice and sunny. We relaxed on the back deck and had our coffee in the sun and talked about where to go for a ride. We decided that we needed to head to Falls City as our local forum had a game going and we needed a picture of a city sign starting with an "F".

We went west towards Philomath and decided to stop at NutCakes for breakfast. RickRick had mentioned it and was even using it as the start of a group ride the same day. We got there too late to see the group off but did have a pastry. I thought we might have a muffin or a scone but all they pretty much had were donuts. Did I mention they had donuts, cuz they had donuts if you wanted a donut. We each decided on a fritter. They were big but too sweet. I don't think we'll be back.

Sufficiently tweaking on sugar we headed west then north on the Kings Valley Highway. We made our way to Falls City and Troubadour got his picture.

I knew that he wouldn't be long in taking the picture so I just waited on Max, didn't even bother to put my kickstand down.

(Me and Max hanging out in the dirt)

We headed further north to Dallas where we stopped for a break at the Hunter Arboretum Botanical Garden. Finding it was a happy accident of Troubadour's. Will be neat to go back and wander around some day. We did manage to get a few pictures.

Notice the sunshine in the pictures. Little did we know at the time this was about the last we'd see of it all day. From Dallas we got lost on some back roads trying to get on the main highway. We weren't used to being in that part of the city and managed to see some back roads we didn't know were there. They ended in gravel so we did some u-turns and finally found what we were looking for. A quick jaunt on the highway heading west and we were at Grand Ronde.

After getting the "F" city we needed a "G" city and this was the closest. Grand Ronde - home of Spirit Mountain Casino and not much else. We didn't partake of the casino; too many people and way too much cigarette smoke for us. A little bit of sun managed to filter through the clouds at this stop.

We decided to continue west towards Lincoln City on the coast for lunch. On the way Troubadour saw a sign for the Drift Creek covered bridge so we took a little detour.

The Drift Creek Covered Bridge was originally constructed in 1914 on Drift Creek just south of Lincoln City. In 1997, when it was scheduled for demolition, the Sweitz family offered to salvage what timber could be saved and reconstruct the bridge on their family property east of Lincoln City. Construction was complete the summer of 2001.

We were getting hungry so we continued on to Lincoln City thinking of a fuel stop and some lunch. The sun had gone behind the clouds as we got closer to the ocean. It was chilly as we arrived in Lincoln City. I had turned on my heated grips by this time.

After a quick fuel stop Troubadour spotted the Jasmine Thai restaurant (Thai food is always a good bet for vegetarian options) and we stopped for a late lunch. By this time it was 2:30 and I was starving.

We started with salad rolls:

And ordered the spicy noodles and noodle delight to share family style:

(My choice - Noodle Delight with tempeh)

(Troubadour's choice - Spicy Noodles with tempeh)

Sufficiently full we took some leftovers home. The restaurant was nice and provided us with a plastic container with a tight lid. That was pleasant surprise as we expected a clam shell type of foam container.

We headed south and then turned east on Oregon Route 229 or the Siletz Highway. A local favorite that parallels Highway 101 along the Siletz River, only with a lot less traffic and terrific twisty roads with smooth pavement. It didn't warm up as we headed south and it was decided that once we got to Highway 20 we'd book it for home.

We were surprised it didn't warm up as we headed into the valley, then the rain shower hit. I think I jinxed us the other day when I mentioned I didn't mind getting caught in a shower. Luckily it wasn't too heavy and stopped before we got home. We managed to make a jagged loop for the day.

We made it home by about 5:30 pm without any trouble. Another 196 miles on Max. The bike has just over 1000 miles on the odometer now. I even added a tank protector. It looks like a clear one but it is actually a blue one we found on clearance that happened to match really well.

My knees, right forearm, and buttocks were slightly sore from the ride, but what surprised me was how tired I was. Tried to have a bath and soak the tired bones but kept falling asleep. Self preservation had me getting out of the tub and crawling into bed before 8:30. Was nice and rested when the alarm went off at 6:01 this morning.

This coming up weekend we are looking forward to the annual Day to Ona Beach gathering put on by the Triumph dealer in Eugene. We have wanted to go the last few years but it has conflicted with other events. Good excuse for another ride to the coast.

- Au Revoir

"Life is too short for traffic." ~ Dan Bellack