Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Last Saturday - First Day of Summer

Last Saturday, June 21st, was the first day of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere.

How should one celebrate I pondered. Well, since Troubadour was teaching another Team Oregon class, I decided the first thing to do was ride to coffee.

Seven bikes made an appearance.  Only one non-rider attended, but he was in his swanky blue Lotus heading to a car show in Grand Ronde, so he was forgiven.

(Triumphs always seem to outnumber the others)
I arrived home from coffee just before noon and by then the temperature warmed up considerably. It went from a cool 54˚F (12˚C) ride to coffee, to a toasty 75˚F (23.8˚C) ride home.

Now, since it was the first day of summer and I really didn't have any other plans, I decided to give Max his annual bath.  Yes, I said annual.  I thought it was a good time to rid him of the winter road grime and protective layer of insect carcasses and bug splatter.

Turns out he shines up pretty nice.

(Max, all shiny and clean - for now)

I used Ice carwash by Turtle wax and a microfiber cloth and toothbrush to clean the grime off, then dried it with another microfiber cloth.

(Photo by Motorcycle Superstore)
The pièce de résistance was using Troubadour's super duper clear coat in a can.  A year or two ago he discovered Maxima SC1 Silicone Detailer, "New bike in a can" and man is it nice stuff.  Spray it on, wait 30 seconds, buff to a shine.

It can be used on plastic, fiberglass, and painted surfaces.  I made sure to stay away from the seat, don't want that too slippery.

If you've never used it, you might want to give it a try.  It contains silicone (just as the name suggests) and "prevents mud and dirt from adhering to plastic" and "leaves a dry film to protect against the elements."  So far Troubadour has had no issues when used on his bikes so I thought I'd give it a try.

I liked how it made the hand guards look new as well as the black plastic turn signal housings and the black plastic on the radiator guards.  +1 and recommended.

Now....... just to find time to get out and ride and see how much dirt and/or bugs stick to the bike. Challenge accepted.

- Au Revoir

" In winter I get up at night, and dress by yellow candlelight.  In summer quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, June 20, 2014

Kissing the Trail

As you probably know from reading Troubadour's blog post, we bought new bicycles last Saturday. While he went for the full-on Trek X-Caliber 6 mountain bike, I opted for the hybrid Trek Verve 3 with 29 inch wheels (and 24 gears).  

While the tires aren't as aggressive as mountain bike tires, it does ride very smooth with very little effort.  Something I can actually ride to work easily enough once I find a messenger bag or back pack.  When test riding bikes, I found the traditional mountain bike leaned forward a little too much on my wrists.  The grips and shifters on this model suited me perfectly with a more upright position.  I opted for a step through model so that I can ride it work and not worry about whether or not I can wear a dress that day.

Saturday afternoon we drove to REI in Salem and poked around for a few farkles.  Troubadour needed a water bottle holder and something to hold the light on his bike.  I happened to find a book called Kissing the Trail, that we also purchased.  It is a resource book for single track mountain bike trails in the Northwest and Central Oregon areas.  More than 70 trails are listed by difficulty and location.  Should provide days and months of fun, once we get a bike rack for the car that is.

Sunday, under ominous skies and spitting rain, we took the bikes out for the first time.  (Not counting Troubadour and Polar Bear riding them home from the shop. - Thank you for riding Andy!)

We cut through the tree farm into Grand Oaks and then through the chain link fence and over to Bald Hill Park.  While we didn't do the switchbacks to the top like Troubadour did a few days later we did some time on gravel and dirt track before looping back around to the paved path.  Within 10 minutes of being out the sun came out and decided to end its game of hide and seek with the clouds.

(Troubadour on a Trek)

(Trobairitz on a Trek)

Since the sun was nice and toasty and we hadn't had enough riding time yet, we circled back to the house, picked up a few dollars, and rode downtown for coffee.  We sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine.  After coffee we took a longer way back to the house.  Beginning at Front Street (First Street) in downtown Corvallis there is a paved multi-use path that winds East along/near Philomath Boulevard  all the way to Philomath I believe.

At one point we rode under a railroad trestle.

Further East the path runs through a park where we stopped for a few photographs.

Down from the park a little bit, I stopped by a row of flowers for a few glamour shots trying to hide/disguise the hideous yellow flowers on the frame of my silver bike.  Why manufacturers think women need flowers on anything is beyond me.  I don't see beer cans and lawn mowers depicted on the men's bikes. :-)

(This picture makes the tires look a lot skinnier than they really are)
It was a great day out on the bikes.  We covered about 10 miles or so and I am looking forward to our next ride.  The hard part is that we now have one more hobby/sport to try and fit into the schedule.  Let's see - gardening, yard work, mountain biking, motorcycling, hiking, canoeing, camping...... luckily a few of those can be combined in a weekend trip.

- Au Revoir

"After your first day of cycling one dream is inevitable.  A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go.  You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow." - H.G. Wells

Monday, June 16, 2014

Take Your Bike to Work Day

Today was the 23rd Annual International Ride to Work Day.

And yes, I rode to work.  I know it is only 3 miles and hardly worth suiting up for, but this is the one day a year I am guaranteed to ride to work, rain or shine.  It was overcast and a balmy 51˚F (10.5˚C) this morning.  Not too chilly at all.  I did put the rain liner in just in case since it had been raining just before I left the house.

And here is the obligatory picture of Max in the parking lot.  He looks quite bright against the dreary office building.  The brown door in the background is the back door to the office, so at least parking is close.

(Max at work -  in my reserved parking spot)

(Not a glamorous location)
The ride home was pretty mellow, sunny and 68˚F (20˚C).  Traffic was nice and light since school is already out for summer in these parts.

I know some moto-bloggers, such as Troubadour, Redlegs Rides, Did He Ride Today, and Everyday Riding ride to work day in and day out on their two and three-wheeled machines.  I am sure riding to work is just part of routine for them, but  ......  did anyone else ride to work today?

- Au Revoir

"Note to self: never ride a motorcycle in stilettos and a miniskirt." - Maggie Grace, actress

Friday, June 13, 2014

Victoria Adventure - Day 3


Warning - a long day with a lot of pictures.  Carry on......

I must admit, we slept in a little on Thursday, May 29th.  I don't think we got out of bed before 8 am.  Again, Troubadour headed to the lobby for coffee while I put the coffee maker on to brew.

We thought of what to do and decided while it wasn't as windy in the morning, to stroll around the Harbour Walkway in a counter clockwise direction and loop around by Fisherman's Wharf, Ogden Point and possibly to the Mile '0' marker of the Trans Canada Highway.  Then if we had enough time we'd go to the Royal Museum in the afternoon. (spoiler alert - we didn't have enough time)

After breakfast of toasted bagels with peanut butter and bananas we set off about 10:30 am.  It was slightly overcast with a little breeze.  It was nice to just take a stroll without being on a timeline at all.

We walked by the floating homes of Fisherman's Wharf.

(We couldn't resist taking a picture of this beautiful Moto Guzzi V7 Classic)
Before we knew it we'd walked to Ogden Point.  When we were on the ferry we passed it and I took a picture, but I didn't know that it was the cruise ship terminal at the time.  Not until we rounded the corner and saw the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas in port.  I even found their cruise ship schedule online so I know the Rhapsody was heading to Seattle, Washington from Skagway, Alaska.  I later found out this was the same ship PolarBear and his wife took on their cruise to Alaska a few years ago.

(Royal Caribbean - Rhapsody of the Seas)

There were quite a few tugs and tankers in the straight.

Ogden Point Breakwater Walk.   We walked to the end and back.   Luckily they installed a railing last year.  You can see the skies were still overcast at this point, but the sun was trying to break through.

Further along Dallas Road there were odd combinations of old and new construction.

(My guess is the one in the middle is now a rental - not much privacy)

We walked around Holland Point Park and after a pit stop we found Mile 0 of the Trans Canada Highway at the southwest corner of Beacon Hill Park.

(Mile 0 of the Trans Canada Highway)

It was a bonus that there was also a Terry Fox statue there.  Being a child of the 80's in Canada, his run was a large part of what I remember of Elementary School. That and participating in local tribute runs every year thereafter.

(Terry Fox Statue)

(Inscription on the Terry Fox Statue)

From here we walked around the corner, through the grass, and up a trail to the flagpole and top of Beacon Hill.

The trees told me it is usually quite windy on the hill.

(Trees growing sideways from the wind - the city in the background)

(Stopping to smell the Wild Roses - a favorite of mine)
We entered the main park area beside the Children's Petting Farm.  Pet the animals, not the children.  We walked a bit and admired the views.  We were amazed at how many Canadian Geese and Mallards were wandering and flying about.

(One of the many ponds in Beacon Hill Park)

(Canadian Goose - they were really close - no zoom used)

(The goose whisperer - no we weren't feeding them)

We saw a lovely stone bridge and I could have looked at it for hours.  There is just something about really old bridges that I enjoy.  This bridge was built in 1889.

(Beautiful stone bridge in the park)

(View from the bridge)

You can't see it on the photos above, but the park is the home to a Great Blue Heron rookery.  The birds were quite loud in their nests in the trees 60 feet above the ground near the stone bridge.  We attempted to zoom in for a picture of the ones we could see, but the cameras were just not powerful enough to make out the images.

(Another stone bridge - this one built in the memory of Emily Carr by her sister Alice)

(Troubadour taking a picture of me)

(The photographer becomes the photographed)

(The largest rhododendrons I've ever seen outside of Oregon)

(They may have been losing their blooms, but they were painting a pretty landscape)

(A beautiful dogwood - photo by Troubadour)

(A large watering can - kids water feature - sadly no water for the big kid to play in)
We took quite a few more pictures in Beacon Hill Park, but I didn't want this post to be too long.  I do want to say that besides meeting Princess ScooterPie and MotoMan, this was our favorite part of the trip.  We enjoyed the park more than Butchart Gardens.  There were less people/tourists and it just seemed more natural and leisurely.  We would have loved to spend more time in the park but we were starving and started walking back into town for sustenance.

(Yard art from a random home on our walk)

(We walked by the Emily Carr House)

(Another view of the Emily Carr House)

(I had to take a picture.  Do you think they lost a bet or willingly chose these colors?)
As we were walking we were discussing what to do for lunch since it was after 2.  Troubadour had the brilliant idea of returning to ReBar for dessert and coffee/tea.  Brilliant I tell you.  So we continued our walk into downtown.  We arrived at ReBar and each ordered the vegan Chocolate Velvet Cake and a Soy Chai Tea Latte.  Troubadour snapped a pic of me trying to tidy my hair after walking in the wind all day.  I was looking into a mirror behind him at the time of the picture - you can actually see my eyes for once.

(ReBar - vegan Chocolate Velvet Cake and Soy Chai Tea Latte)
Technically we didn't have 'high tea' while in Victoria but we did have chai tea - does that count? After ReBar we made our way back to the hotel, checking out restaurant menus on display as we walked by - pondering where we might want to go for dinner later.  We arrived at the hotel and took a little break.  I believe we walked around 10 miles this day.  Oh look, housekeeping left us cookies once again.  

Princess Scooterpie suggested driving Dallas Road around the loop quite a bit further than we walked.  It is an enjoyable motorcycle ride for her and we wanted to see it too.  We got in the trusty Subaru and headed out.  It was a cute little two lane road that went around Ogden Point where we'd walked earlier and kept going.

There were great views of the strait and a few marinas along the way.

Because of the time, we thought we'd best make a quick drive by Craigdarroch Castle then find dinner.  The castle was built by Scottish Immigrant Robert Dunsmuir, who made his fortune on Vancouver Island coal.  The castle was built between 1887 and 1890.  More information can be found on the Castle by clicking this --->LINK.  The castle was closed when we drove by, so I just took a few pics from the outside.  I was surprised at how many limousines of tourists were still arriving.  I think it was almost 6 pm by this time.

(Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC)

As we drove back into downtown we stopped for dinner at The Joint Pizza for some vegan pizza. This was particularly special to us because we have not been able to go out for pizza in the almost three years we have been vegan.  No pizza place in Corvallis actually uses vegan cheese, and cheeseless pizza is not that great.  The joint uses Daiya, our favorite vegan cheese to use when making homemade pizza.  It is made in Canada.  The Joint was very vegan friendly and even had gluten free crusts for those that cannot have gluten.

(A small place with a funky atmosphere that reminded us of American Dream Pizza in Corvallis)

(The Happy Hippy pizza with Daiya to make it vegan)

(Cool artwork on the wall)
Because our lunch was so small (just the cake and tea) we actually ate the whole pizza.  Good thing it was thin crust.  From here we drove back to the hotel and just chilled out for a few hours.

Friday morning we were up and out of the hotel by 8:30 am and heading to the ferry terminal. When heading back into the USA you need to be at the terminal 90 minutes early.  It was a fairly smooth drive home except for Friday afternoon rush hour traffic in Portland.  We stopped at Native Foods for dinner and finally arrived home about 8:30 pm.  A long day.

Basil was happy to see us.  He was hiding under the covers in our bed, per usual.  

I hope you enjoyed our recap of Victoria.  We enjoyed our trip.  I believe we have some random photos that were never posted too.  Over 800 were taken on our two little point and shoot cameras and I still have one camera to download, the big Canon, but I don't think it was used much.  I may do a follow up post with some randomness and I know Troubadour has thoughts for a post or two of things I didn't mention.  He is teaching Team Oregon classes 4 out of 5 weekends in June so he needs to find some blogging time in order to post anything.

- Au Revoir

" A passport, as I am sure you know, is a document that one shows to government officials whenever one reaches a border between counties, so the officials can learn who you are, where you were born, and how you look when photographed unflatteringly." - Lemony Snicket