My XBox Live Gamer Card
Monday, August 25. 2008
I've always warn Olympia Gel gloves in warm weather. Since I started riding I've had two pairs. At the beginning of the summer I went through both thumbs of my current pair and started going through the leather in a couple of other places too. I really didn't have the money to spend on gloves so went as long as I could. Eventually my thumbs were out of the glove more than they were in the glove and this became and incredible nuisance and distraction and distractions on a bike aren't a good thing.
I visited Cycle Gear a store I am not really all that fond of, but a store that usually has gear in my price range. Took a look through the Olympia gloves and they didn't have the right kind in the right size. I looked at some of the other stuff available and tried a few items on, but given the size of my hands, finding gloves that are comfortable is often quite difficult. Then I found a pair that looked like they might be large enough and tried them on. Tried them on before checking the price, and that was a mistake, because they are definitely the most comfortable riding gloves I have ever warn. The fact that they're well made, make effective use of Kevlar and have many other nice features was secondary. Then I looked at the price. There was no way I could afford the $130 price tag. So I left despondent.
A week later I returned, hoping that they'd have some of the trusty Olympia Gels that have spent so many miles on my hands over the past eight years. Once again they were out of my size. Once again I tried on those other gloves. This time I said screw-it, I'll eat a bit more Top Ramen for a while and shelled out the money.
So far it's been a good decision. I haven't warn the Frank Thomas XTi's on any extended trips yet, but they've been great on my daily commute. I'm hoping that they will be warm enough to last me a bit deeper into winter than the Olympias usually did. Because when it gets too cold I have to get a new set of winter riding gloves too, and given my new taste for more expensive gloves, I don't want to think about those funds yet.
Tuesday, March 18. 2008
Dear Fellow Fast Lane Driver,
I think that you and I must have some misunderstanding. When I storm up behind you in the fast lane with my high beams flashing it is not me who is being rude, it is you. You see, the fast lane is there for a purpose, that purpose is to allow people moving faster than you to pass you. That is why there are often two other lanes on the freeway, so you have someplace to drive when you are not passing. Driving in the right-hand lane (slow lane) does not necessarily mean you are going slowly. It simply means that you are making up to two other lanes of traffic available for people who are going faster than you. That is a courtesy to everyone else on the road.
It shouldnít matter whether you are doing 66 miles an hour and believe that is "fast enough" for everyone. It actually isnít, hence my high beams flashing at you. Whether I desire to go 67 miles an hour or 97 miles an hour. That is none of your concern (if the police decide it is their concern, and they have on more than one occasion, I will happily take my lumps).
Driving in the slow lane, except when passing makes everything run more smoothly. I find it quite nutty when the slow lane has no traffic in it and people are backed up in the fast and the center lanes. This is obviously a breakdown of the system and shouldnít be happening.
Driving in the center lane or fast lane is not a God-given right, this is why there are signs all along the road saying "Slower Traffic Must Keep Right." Yes, this means you, even if you are going 80. If there is nothing in front of you and you are going more slowly than I am you must move right. While Iím very pleased when you move to the center lane, It actually makes more sense to move all the way to right lane. This means that I can pass you in the center lane, and the guy going even faster than I am can pass me in the fast lane. See how well that works? You changed to the right-hand lane, and you not only allowed me by, thereby making me happy, you allowed me to allow someone by, thereby making them happy.
If you choose not to move over, I will likely choose to forget that my brights are on, and unlike a car, the brights on my motorcycle are retina searing. Iím sure youíll try and teach me a lesson and slow down. The only problem with that is passing on the right is dangerous, because those smart enough to practice good lane discipline could be pulling back to the right, directly into my path. So if you slow down, I will likely just sit behind you, brights on and wait until you decide to stop being rude, or lazy, or arrogant, or whatever it is you are being and move to the right so I can pass safely.
I hope this clears up any confusion you may have had.
Wednesday, October 17. 2007
I can tell you know. I can spot you from a mile a way. It's an extra special skill I developed since I started riding a motorcycle. One of those survival skills that evolves because it has to evolve to keep me safer on the road.
What's that? What can I tell? I can tell that you're doing something that is as unsafe as drinking and driving. I can tell you're talking on your cellphone. It's really quite scary. I can pick you out of the crowd. Your brake lights flash at strange moments, you regularly drift all over your lane, you end up breaking hard when you shouldn't have to, you change lanes and cause someone else to brake hard to avoid you.
I've done it in the past. Since I started riding my motorcycle I try never to use my phone in the car unless I have a headset. I do that because my experience on my bike has shown me just how impaired drivers on their cellphones are.
If you don't believe me, believe the Myth Busters. They did a pretty in-depth study on the subject, comparing people who were over the legal limit with people who were talking on their cellphones. Guess what. The drunk drivers performed better in many cases.
So please help keep the roads safe. Buy a headset for your cellphone. If you can't do that...
...Hang up and drive.
Thursday, September 27. 2007
Why is it that people who work in retail insist on arguing with their customers? I just don't get it. 16,000 miles ago when I last bought tires for my V-Strom, I bought them from Cycle Gear (it used to be Rose City Cycle and ohh how I miss those days). Since they were going to the store, shipping was free, as was mounting and balancing. Overall the experience was reasonable, not perfect, but reasonable.
Today I called them they quoted me a price $25 more per tire than their own website had them. I pointed this out, and after much hemming and hahhhhing , he said I could get them for only $9 per tire more than the website, but that mounting and balancing would be extra. I made it clear that last time I had to go through this process shipping had been free, as had mounting. "Well sir I've been here for six years and that's never been our policy." I really really wanted to scream at him, he'd already lost the sale, so what's the harm in a little screaming? "I don't fucking care if it's not been your policy, it's what you did!"
I spent some time looking at tire reviews on the V-Strom international site. Looking for sites that had good prices on tires and good service. I found one. SW Moto. They had great prices, and NO shipping. Still it's painfully expensive to put new rubber on the bike. After the almost $260 on the rubber there'll be another $100 for the mounting and balancing. Of course having a blowout at speed when you've only got two wheels under you doesn't sound like too much fun.
Friday, September 7. 2007
I don't get it. How does a tiny nail, with almost no head make it's way straight into the rear tire of my bike? I could maybe understand if it was one of those nails with a big broad head that actually had a hope of standing upright on an uneven street, but there's no way this nail was standing upright, yet there it was, buried in my rear tire. It was a thoughtful nail though, it didn't let all the air in one fell hissssss, in fact it let me get to the service station to put some air in the tire.
I worked at that station one summer when I was home from college (it's also starting point for a wonderful story about a naive little preacher's kid I'll share sometime), and I was surprised to find out that even all these years later the same gentleman owns it. He was a good employer, I'm glad he's done well. Disappointingly, the fact that I had worked there couldn't induce the pump jockeys on duty to plug the tire on my bike (I can't count the number of tires I plugged when I worked there). I shrugged it off, knowing the leak was slow enough I could get home safely.
I didn't have to ride much over the long weekend, and by Tuesday morning the tire was a bit low, but not scary low. I got up early (for me) and started calling around, no one would plug the tire on a bike, not even those experts in all things tire related at Les Schwab. I found myself a bit discouraged.
I am mechanically inept, not just slightly inept, but appallingly, horribly inept. I'm not sure why that is I just am, if it's mechanical I have an innate ability to make any problem worse, and far more difficult to fix than it originally was. I guess I'm just lucky that way. Plugging a tire is easy. I've done many of them, the result is usually a tire that is pretty much as good as it was before the puncture occurred. Well since it's such an easy job I decided to buy a plug kit and plug my tire myself.
I got to the auto parts store where the nice clerk quickly pointed me in the direction of what I needed. I shelled out my $4.99 for the kit (I'm trying not to think about the fact that my life may now be in the hands of a plug that was a part of a kit that cost a mere $4.99), walked out to my bike and adjusted it so I could see the nail. Sometimes nails are difficult to get out of a tire, but this one was very cooperative and it came out very easily. It was then that air started to hiss out of my tire, and I started to think maybe I'd made a small error in judgment. Having come that far, I had to continue. I got out the auger and reamed out the hole, giving the plug clean rubber to seal to. Of course, the new, improved, much larger hole leaked air even faster. It was then that I knew for certain I'd made an error in judgment. Moving as quickly as I could, I got the glue on the plug and the plug in the hole...of my now completely flat tire.
I sat back and sighed. I supposed I could go back inside and buy a can of fix-a-flat. The stuff does work, but it's also expensive and it was just before payday and being almost completely broke I didn't really want to incur that expense. I knew there was a mechanic a couple of blocks up the road, so I walked over and asked him if he'd let me use his air compressor. He was a very nice man and told me it wouldn't be a problem. I returned to my bike and pushed it (not an easy thing to do with a completely flat tire) along the sidewalk to the mechanic's.
His air compressor was very good and I had my tire filled to the correct pressure in no time. He let me borrow his sink to wash up and I was back on the road, lesson learned.
Don't plug a tire when you're nowhere near an air compressor.
I've got to add a postscript. After I got to the mechanic's with my bike, he was on the phone and I had to wait for him to finish. On his counter was report binder, and in it he'd included customer letters. The thing that really impressed me was that he hadn't only included the positive ones. He'd included the negative ones as well. I think that takes a lot of guts and I told him so. If I had a car and needed a mechanic, I'd take it to Integrity Automotive on 122nd.
Friday, August 24. 2007
One of the first tenets of riding a motorcycle is that absolutely everyone else on the road is out to kill you. Once you start thinking with that mindset, it is a whole lot easier to keep yourself safe when you're on your bike.
Feet down on the freeway is not a good thing, when my bike is under power, I have opportunity to dodge, weave, and get the hell out of the way of all those other vehicles on the road that are so much bigger than I am. When my feet are on the pavement on the freeway, it means I'm stopped in a place where people don't generally stop, which means that someone is even more unlikely to be looking for me, which means I'm at greater risk. I don't like that!
I want to say thank you to Mr. Greenpeace Flag Waving Guy who thought the Washington St. overpass across I-205N was a good place to be. I realize you think you were doing a good thing, raising awareness (but of what exactly). What you really did was put me in danger when I didn't need to be. You also likely made a bunch of people late to work. I know the stupidity of drivers is not really your fault, but given your vantage point I'm quite sure you could see what you were doing to traffic, and still you persisted in your efforts to raise awareness (but I'm still not sure what exactly it was you were raising awareness of). Did it make you feel like that kid in the school cafeteria who got up on his chair and shouted "ATTENTION! ATTENTION PLEASE!" and then when everyone stopped what they were doing to look, politely said "Thank you, I like attention"?
I want to say thank you to all the drivers who found these flags interesting enough that they needed to stop on the freeway to check them out. If Mr. Greenpeace Flag Waving Guy had been getting ready to jump I might cut you some slack, but he wasn't, he was just waving his flags, yet you stopped to take in this sight, stopped on the freeway! In case you didn't know, freeways are special kinds of roads where people are encouraged to keep moving, usually at a higher rate of speed than regular roads.
I know neither you Mr. Greenpeace Flag Waving Guy, nor you I-205N drivers really meant any harm, and fortunately, none happened that I know of. In future though, please consider that your actions may be putting people in harms way, not just us folk on motorcycles who end up feet down on the freeway, but everyone out there with a front or rear bumper.
Tuesday, September 6. 2005
Nine of us took off for our semi-annual ride on Friday. We headed north, all the way to the Great White North. It was a fun, and sometimes frustrating trip. By the time my bike made it back to my garage I had done 1100.2 miles over the four days.
Honda Pacific Coast-Chad
The Trip (Overview)
Saturday: Deception Pass to Tofino, BC (Vancouver Island)
Sunday: Tofino, BC to Bear Creek Campground (an hour beyond Port Angeles, WA)
Monday: Bear Creek Campground to Portland.
Music: The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Bad Company
Total Miles: 263
These rides take place twice a year, May and September. I have missed the last three and it has been far too long since I've ridden with my friends. I was incredibly pumped about the opportunity to do this again.
Henry, Wade, Chad, Dave, Paul, John, and I meet in the Rentrak parking lot at 11:30, for a noon departure. I was excited to try out some new technology on my bike. My friend John brought me a Cramp Buster for the throttle. We slid it on and got it adjusted "just right." While I was playing with Cramp Buster the other guys are looking for Joe. Joe is a wonderfully nice guy, however, he's often late! Wade got a call from him and told him we would meet him in Castle Rock at the Hwy 411 exit. Then we saddled up and headed north on I-205 and then I-5 to Castle Rock, Washington. At Castle Rock we stopped for gas, some food and to look for Joe. We successfully found gas and food, but not Joe. A few phone calls later we discovered he was a bit north of us, so we set up a new meet in Napavine where we would return to I-5 after our Hwy 411 excursion.
Once again we headed north, this time on a far more interesting road than I-5. It was a good warmup for some of the roads we would travel over the next few days. What seemed like just a few minutes later, we were in Napavine, and stopped again to look for Joe. Still no luck. We told him we'd meet him in Olympia at the US 101 turnoff.
We jumped on I-5 again and headed north for Olympia. When we reached the 101 turnoff we took it and stopped at the Arco station on the corner. I pulled up behind a car with no driver, so I figured the driver was inside paying for his gas. I sat and waited, and waited and waited the passenger in the car was fidgeting, I was fidgeting and getting impatient. Finally an older gentleman came shuffling out of the AM/PM and headed for the car. "Finally," I thought, and then he started pumping gas. All around me bikes and cars were moving to pumps and getting the fuel they needed. I was still sitting behind and old guy and his wife. Eventually he'd filled his tank. I expected him to get in and pull away, but no, he shuffled back into the AM/PM. Shoulders slumping heavily now, I had visions of dieing before I ever reached the pump.
Eventually he did return and got in his vehicle and left. I pulled forward, and climbed off my bike to investigate the pay terminal. Unlike most stations that have card readers in their pumps There was one pay terminal per pump island. It talked about an ATM fee for retrieving money, since I was buying gas I ignored it and gave it my card. Up popped a message, "This transaction will cost you 45 cents." I muttered and expletive and then decided I'd waited too long to give up and find another gas station, so I bit the bullet and agreed to the charge.
After getting the gas I joined the group, parked in the shade, and said "hello" to Joe who we had finally caught up with, and thought of the immortal words of Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2 "They fuck you at the drive through, ok!" Well that only needs to be slightly shifted to express my views on Arco.
While on the subject of gasoline, don't ever let anyone tell you that self-serve gas is cheaper. The cheapest gas the whole trip was in Oregon.
Saddling up we headed for 101. Traffic was a bit heavy, the exit is a bit tricky, and as Chad found out, when you're earphones get messed up inside your helmet and your trying to figure that out, and ride, something's going to happen! He missed the exit. None of the rest of us, but Wade, realized he wasn't there and we continued merrily on our way up 101 until I only had three bikes in my mirrors when I was quite sure there should be seven. The four of us pulled over, and shortly two more showed up. That left Wade and Chad missing. We waited and waited, and started to worry a bit, and waited and finally their headlights showed up heading north on 101. When they stopped we heard Chad's story about the earphones and the helmet and the missed exit. Apparently if you miss the 101 turn off it takes quite a while to get turned around again. Mostly I'm glad that was all the problem was.
101 North along the Puget Sound is a gorgeous trip up along Hood Canal, Dabob and Quilcene Bays. We took a turn-off for Port Townsend and had a beautiful ride into a lovely post card of and Olympic Peninsula Port. We rode right up to the 6:00pm Ferry to Whidbey Island, and rolled off on our way up Hwy 20 to Deception Pass camp ground, where we met up with Dale, pitched our tents, and went to dinner.
The last time we'd been at that campground, there was a wonderful restaurant, Island Grill, just up the road toward Anacortes. It was closed up tight, which was a bummer, so we headed the opposite direction and found a Mitzel's American Kitchen. The food was sorta kinda adequate, but nothing to write home about.
After dinner we headed back up the road to camp.
Music: Boston, Bonnie Tyler, Collective Soul, Damn Yankees
Total Miles: 202
We had a horribly early start. We needed to be at the Ferry terminal in Anacortes by 7:45am. We saddled up and headed out of North on Washington 20 from Deception Pass Campground. The ride into Anacortes was only about 20 miles and we all stopped at Safeway to buy some food for breakfast and some much needed Starbucks.
There was quite a line at the Ferry, but one of the advantages of being on a motorcycle is that they let you load first. So we made like a bunch of queue jumpers and headed to the front of the line. The Ferry trip out of Anacortes was gorgeous. It was just about two hours from leaving Anacortes to docking at Sidney By The Sea, BC.
From Sidney we headed south on 17 to the north end of Victoria and then North on Canada 1. Just north of Victoria we stopped at a gorgeous viewpoint looking down on the Mill Bay. Paul to the opportunity to answer the call of nature on the edge of a very very steep drop off. I'm sure all the telescopes and binoculars below us on the bay were trained in his direction.
The weather started closing in a bit as we headed North. When we got to Ladysmith we got sprinkled on and some of the guys stopped to put on their rain gear. Continuing North we stopped for lunch at Tim Horton's in Nanaimo. It was a reasonably good meal, and if there were nothing else around I'd probably visit again. In Nanaimo we talked to some of the locals and they suggested that we take 19 out of Nanaimo and miss a lot of the traffic and stoplights that we would face if we stayed on 1, so we bypassed moth of Nanaimo on 19.
We headed north on 19 until we hit 4 and turned west on 4 toward Port Alberni. We stopped in Port Alberni for a butt rest, liquor, beer and cigars. Then continued west on 4 toward Tofino. Up in the mountains West of Port Alberni, the road turns to dirt and gravel for a total of about 17 kilometers. I'm not a huge fan of dirt or gravel, but the V-Strom handled it beautifully. Even when the road wasn't dirt, the farther west we went the more beatup it got. The country was gorgeous, mountains and streams and lakes, a couple of the guys even saw a bear cub.
At the end of 4, the road Ts. Left takes you to Ucluelet, and right takes you north through the Pacific Rim National Park, and eventually Tofino. When we got to Tofino, Joe was in the lead and took a left turn into a development there, then turned left into someone's driveway, honking madly and waving. The rest of us rolled in behind him, and he introduced us to his friend Denise, and then told us we were staying there that night.
My heart sunk. I really really don't like imposing on people, much less imposing on someone I've never even met. But we were told there wasn't a camping space available in Tofino that weekend, so Joe made these arrangements with Denise. We set up our tents in the back yard, and wandered the 100 yards to the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Some of the guys drove into town, to buy some food. A freshly caught halibut was being grilled, salad was made, folk started eating and drinking. I ate a bit, but then bummed a shower from our hosts.
After the shower I noticed that a deep fryer had been added to the mix and one of our hosts was deep frying fresh halibut. It was the most amazing fish I think I have ever had. I ate far too much, but enjoyed every moment! I headed for my tent about 9:30 and felt the first rain drops. I didn't think too much about it and hunkered down in my sleeping bag.
Wade came knocking and said, do you know your towels still on top of your tent? I had forgotten all about it. He was kind enough to put it someplace dry. Fortunately that mades something click in my head and I realized my riding boots were still outside. I got up and grabbed my boots and stowed them safely away.
It bucketed most of the night.
Music: ZZ Top, Whitesnake, Styx
Total Miles: 272
It hadn't been a good night. I didn't sleep well, and kept waking to check for water in the tent. My wonderful little two-man tent (Eureka Apex II) that fits very nicely in one of my Givi Keyless hard bags, had served very well. I hadn't staked out the rainfly or opened the vents or anything, and I only had one tiny puddle of water inside. Groggily dressing and getting out of my tent into the grey morning, I felt the first twinges of a migraine and sighed.
I've been getting migraine headaches since I was very very young. Fortunately I outgrew the vomiting, but the headaches are just a nightmare, and when they get very bad, I end up having to go to a dark and quiet room where I whimper and scream until I fall asleep. I've gotten some meds, they work some times, but not usually, and I've never found a "regular" over-the-counter med that works. I usually get warning that they're coming and usually take preventative measures to be somewhere safe and sound when they get really bad. But how do you do that when you're with a eight other guys who all have to be at a ferry dock 200+ miles away in seven hours?
I hate packing wet gear, but we didn't have much choice, so the wet tent and tarp all got packed away. When I got to my bike I found that I'd left my warm weather gloves out, and they were now soaked. and my helmet had tipped slightly in the night and the cheek pads were a bit wet. That was ick!
So on top of this onrushing headache I now had to face a damp helmet. This day was not starting well. Because we had a deadline--the Port Angeles ferry was leaving Victoria at 3:00pm--we decided we were going to do the first bit in one great rush, no stops until we hit Port Alberni where we would stop for gas and breakfast. I gritted my teeth, climbed on my bike and headed off with the rest of the group.
By the time we reached the turnoff onto 4, I was completely miserable, and I knew that the road only got worse. Eventually I hit the gravel and hot needles started jabbing into my eye over every bump. There were several times when I thought just how easy it would be to ride my bike off the road into Kennedy Lake as we rode past.
I thought we'd never reach Port Alberni, I was trying not to puke, but desperately needed some coffee. We stopped for gas and then headed to Tim Hortons. No one else knew what a mess I was until I staggered into the restaurant and sat down. I made it through my coffee and part of my cinamon roll when Henry said he had some meds that would help. I asked him what and he said 800mg of ibuprofen I took one, but didn't believe it would help. Then we saddled up and my buddy John hung back with me to make sure I stayed safe.
Within an hour I was feeling much better and by the time we reached Ladysmith I was actually hungry. I took another 400mg of ibuprofen and had a bit to eat. Then we headed off for Victoria.
We were thrilled. The ferry left at 3:00pm and we were going to be in Victoria by 1:00pm so we would have time for a nice liesurely lunch somewhere. Parking our bikes down on the Ferry dock we went and bought our tickets and were told, "please be at your bikes at 1:30." We were stunned. There went our liesurely lunch. We dashed across the street to the hotel, ordered our lunches to go in the bar, and took styrofoam boxes back to the dock and ate on the back seats of our bikes.
We've waited in line at the I-5 border crossing, and it's not fun and the Customs and Immigration folk seem harried and humourless. We went through Immigration sitting on the dock in Victoria, and the officers were wonderful, friendly, and had a sense of humour!
The ferry trip to Port Angeles was gorgeous and every one relaxed in the beautiful weather. A couple of times it looked like we would hit a rain squall but we never did, and I was fortunate enough to see some large form of aquatic mammal playing in the ferry's wake.
Docking in Port Angeles we quickly went through Customs, and ran into Chris Howard who had ridden up on his brand new, shiny black, 2005 V-Strom.
It was here we said good-bye to Dave who was heading over to I5 to bomb home quickly enough to catch an early flight out of PDX the next morning.
Our plan was to camp at the Sol Duck Hot Springs in the Olympic National Forest, so we stopped at Goodwill to grab shorts or trunks for the guys who didn't have them, then we stopped and gassed up and headed out on 101W.
It was a beautiful ride along the south shore of Lake Crescent. The speed limit was too slow, and the road a bit slick but it was simply gorgeous. When we got to the Sol Duck Campground we spent some time talking about the cost of camping there and the cost of access to the hot springs and the cost of a meal in the lodge, and decided that our money might be better spent in the free Forest Service campground about 14 miles up the road in Bear Creek.
We made a couple of turns around the campground and picked a nice spot and pitched our tents. Then walked up the road to the little road-side cafe. Walking in it didn't look like much, but we have had very good experiences in places that didn't look all that great. We found our seats, and checked out the menu and ordered. My prime rib was not the best I've ever had, but it was still very very good. I think that the rest of the guys also fully enjoyed their meals. Then the pie and ice cream was ordered and I think everyone who had it really enjoyed that.
We wandered back to camp and around the campfire we talked about the future rides we'd like to do. Then we headed off for bed.
At 12:30 my cellphone rang, I was too groggy to get to it before it stopped ringing but I listened to the message that was left. Apparently something was wrong with the GroupWise server at work. Jason said he'd call Barbara since he couldn't get me. At about 1:20 my phone rang again. Once again, fumbling in the dark I couldn't get to it in time. This time it was Barbara saying she hadn't found anyone to help with the GroupWise problem. I sighed, and started sending emails to Jason and Barbara letting them know I'd do what I could. Then I got dressed and found my way to Chad's tent and woke him up. Poor Chad was up for four hours working on the problem.
Music: Abba, Aldo Nova, Blue Oyster Cult, Def Leppard, Everclear, The Eagles, ELO
Total Miles: 363
We woke up bright (well everyone but Chad who'd been up a good chunk of the night) and early, saddled up and headed toward Forks where we found a lovely little restaurant for breakfast. After a very good breakfast we headed south on 101 to the Hoh Mainline where we headed off across the Olympic National Forest. This was a fantastic little road, and the beautiful weather just made it even better. Eventually we hit 101 again and headed south some more until we got to the Moclips-Olympic Hwy. This was an even better road than the first was was stunningly beautiful ride. Once again we found ourselves on 101 and we continued our trek south.
When we got to Hoquiam/Aberdeen, we stopped for gas, restroom and a snack. Chad and Dale peeled off here. Dale to head to his home near Seattle and Chad to get home quickly to deal with the problem GroupWise server.
South of Aberdeen the south-bound traffic improved dramatically and the ride became a bit more interesting than it had been while dealing with RVs headed home after the long weekend. Eventually we found ourselves in Astoria, where we got gas and then headed into Warrenton to Doogers for a wonderful lunch. Unknown to us, Doogers has hired every beautiful girl on the North Coast of Oregon, and not only was lunch good, we had some incredible scenery of a different kind.
After lunch we said goodbye to Chris who was going to continue south to his family's home farther down the Oregon Coast. The last of us saddled up and got on Oregon 202 and started heading toward Portland. Our greatest goal was to avoid Hwy 26 east-bound on a holiday. At the turnoff to Vernonia we waved goodbye to Wade. Our route was tortuous but, but loads of fun (except for those 15mph turns which I still don't handle with any ease).
Stopping in Newberg the remaining group said their goodbyes and we wound our way through Wilsonville and onto I205.
When I rode into my garage my odometer said 1100.2 miles for the trip.
As always this trip will be permanently etched in my memory as a wonderful wonderful time with lots of good company.
Monday, August 15. 2005
I live by one basic rule while on my motorcycle: Anyone not on a motorcycle is a homicidal maniac out to kill me. knowing that everyone else wants me dead, helps to keep me alive, but there are still instances where it fails me.
Yesterday as I was heading home from the coast, I got off Highway 26 onto I-405 and was getting ready to head across the Willamette river on I-5 when someone decided they'd like to kill either me or someone else.
Two lanes go up onto I-5 northbound I was on the left side of the left lane, and there was a white car in the lane next to me. All of a sudden there was another car next to me in my lane, lane-splitting. The driver was zig-zagging in traffic. It was a good thing I had not yet started shifting to the right side of my lane in order to perform the lane change I was planning.
A few seconds later after my heart rate calmed a bit I saw a lovely sight. A Portland motorcycle cop sitting under and overpass watching the whole thing. I shifted to the right lane and waited while he passed me and pulled in behind the guy who was driving like a maniac. He waited until we'd got across the river and flipped on his lights.
Justice was served.
The factory chain on my V-Strom lasted about 12,000 miles. unfortunately I didn't have the money to replace it until about 14,500 miles. Which means my bike has been making a lot of extra noise as the chain rattled against the chain guard on my pipes.
Knowing I was going to take the bike to Ft. Stevens on the Oregon coast last week I knew I had to replace it. So on Saturday I went to my bike dealer, Action Motor Sports to pick up a new 525x112L chain. They only sell 525x120L's so I knew I'd be ok.
Tuesday night, the day before I was to leave, I went to my friends house and we broke the old chain, and pulled the new one on the sprocket and it turned out to be two links too short. I looked at the box and sure enough Action had managed to get a 110L mixed in with their inventory and I ended up with the short chain. I called the store and they went looking for a replacement chain.
I tried a couple of other places, and found out that Cycle Gear (whom I have written about before) had what I needed. I wasn't thrilled about going but when it's the difference between riding or not riding, you do what you've got to do. I must say, Darren, the young man who helped me was wonderful. He even went looking for a clip master link and found one.
I returned to my friends house and we pulled on the new chain and everything worked as expected. While we were doing this the guy from Action called and said he'd found me a chain and it would be in the store first thing the next morning. I was very impressed that they were willing to work extra hard to correct a mistake. They're good folk to have in your corner. I'll forgive them this one mistake as they have taken very good care of me in the past.
Monday, April 11. 2005
The short story...
"We'll have them done on Tuesday by 4:00pm."
The long story...
I ordered a new set of Metzler Tourance tires for my V-Strom from cyclegear.com [$254 for the pair] (I'm not linking because I don't want readers visiting!) on March 15th, 2005. They finally arrived on my doorstep on April 7th, 2005. I wasn't pleased at the just over three week delivery time, but it was nothing I was going to get too worked up about. My existing rubber still had a bit of life in it, so I didn't have to quit riding.
Saturday morning I called my local Cycle Gear--a place where I have been shopping since before it was Cycle Gear, a place I have been shopping for five years--and asked how long to get my new tires mounted and balanced. The person I spoke to said it's generally next day. I then asked specifically, "If I bring my wheels in today, will they be ready tomorrow?" and he said absolutely.
My motorcycle is my only method of transport, so I planned my weekend accordingly. Having to figure out alternate methods of getting to and from work is not high on my list of priorities. My wife needs her vehicle to chauffer our three boys to and from school, and orchestra, and ball practice, so while she's willing I still hate to make her re-arrange her plans for me.
Saturday afternoon I delivered my wheels and tires to Cycle Gear, and when they said they couldn't be done until Tuesday, even after I told them what I had been told on the phone, and that it was my only form of transportation, I decided that after I get my wheels back I will not be darkening their doors again.
If you're looking for motorcycle gear, there are many other places that will keep their word.
Thursday, August 31. 2000
I wrecked my motorcycle on August 30, 2000. The victim of a driver that was not paying attention. I couldn't sleep the night I got hit, so I got up and wrote an e-mail to the MIG mailing list It appears, edited for correctness, below.
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 00:47:44 -0700
I'm hoping that writing this will help clear my mind so I can get to sleep tonight.
It was a beautiful day here in Portland. I had the privilege of having to visit a client in one of our outlying communities so I got to ride and extra twenty or so miles today. Had a great ride. with every mile that Craigelachie and I travel together I get more confident and more at home in the saddle (yep, even the stock seat).
Today I was running so late that I even took the freeway home. I hate the freeway at rush hour, but it was after 6:00 traffic was thinning, and I wanted to be at my seven year-old's first soccer practice of the season. It was an uneventful freeway ride. I can tell I am improving because I was able to take the exit ramp almost at full speed.
Got off the freeway, and ran along the frontage road to my turn. Two lanes turn left there. There are lovely white lanes painted in the road to show which lane you should travel in as you turn the corner. I'm in the outside lane. The very pretty Dodge Ram in the inside lane takes the turn faster than I. The gal driving knows where I am and stays in her lane. The midsize behind the truck doesn't understand the concept of staying within the alotted lane and swings wide into my lane. I see her coming, let her hear my horn, see the disabled permit on her dash, see her looking straight at me. We make eye contact, but the old gal obviously sees no need to make room for my bike and refuses to shift back into her own lane. Fortunately I have room to manouever, swing wide out of my lane, slow down and let her go by. I think that is the longest I have ever held my horn button down.
My heart is beating a little, and I would love to pull up along side her and give her a piece of my mind, but my cooler half prevails and I go merrily on my way for another block. The street is one way heading east and four lanes wide, I'm in the left of the two center lanes. All of a sudden I see a white object moving fast in my left mirror, it turns out to be some maniac driving far to fast, but he doesn't appear to be a threat. I thumb my right blinker so that I can move over two lanes to make a right turn in a few blocks. I then look to my right. Somebody is obviously trying to get two lanes to the left to make a left turn in a couple of blocks. Unfortunately they need to go through me to make their turn...
...Not quite sure what all happened. I remember my thumb looking for my horn button, but having just turned my signal on, the button wasn't where my thumb thought it was. I have a vivid memory of watching the rear door on the car barely slide past my right foot peg. I can remember thinking I can't go left the maniac going too fast is there. I can remember my handlebars starting to twist out of my grip. I can remember sliding across the pavement thinking how glad I was to be in full leather with a full-face helmet on. The bike slid several feet farther than I did. I jumped up the minute I quit sliding. I noticed a little pain in my right hand and my left elbow, but mostly I was angry. The car that hit me didn't even stop. I thought at the time that they were oblivious to the damage they had caused.
The guy in the car behind me was out his door before I was even able to get to my feet. We picked up Craigelachie. The most obvious damage was to my Memphis Fats shield--the one with the gradient blue tint that matches the blue on Craigelachie so well. The bike wouldn't start, so I pushed him over to the side, and threw my gloves on the ground in disgust. My right hand was bleeding from a small cut, felt a little sore, but seemed pretty much operational. I called my friend and partner John--the KLR guy--and said I needed help and a trailer. I took off my coat and found that the pain in my elbow was a fairly small road-rash that was bleeding quite nicely.
There was a small store in the corner of strip mall where I parked my wounded bike. Two nice young ladies came out and provided me with some bandages and bandaids, they said they saw it, I said can you ID the car, they said it was a tan Camry, but that's all they could tell. I unrapped the bandage and tried to apply it to my elbow but couldn't manage it. Two older ladies appeared and asked me if I was ok. I said yes, but could one of them please help me with the bandage. They hung around quite a while. I didn't pay enough attention, but I now think they were in the car that hit me, and that they came back to see if I was alright.
I called the answering machine at home to explain why I wouldn't be home when they got back from soccer practice.
I stripped off my leather pants, to see what damage had been done, quite abraded, but I hope still serviceable. My left boot is somewhat the worse for wear, the laces were cut in two places, and some stitching came out, I have small hope that they are still waterproof. My coat is covered in abrasions, none as severe as the pants, it is defitely still serviceable.
I'm a big guy (freakishly large). I had a terrible time finding a helmet, but when I thought all hope was lost, I found an $80 Cyber full-face 2XL that fit beautifully. It didn't get too beaten up, but the visor and the right temple definitely spent some time on the pavement. I wasn't kidding when I said that one of the thoughts running through my mind as I slid on the pavement was how glad I was to be well outfitted. If I had a 3/4 or 1/2 helmet on, much of the right side of my face would still be on the eastbound lanes of Washington Street.
John showed up and we rolled Craigelachie onto his trailer and tied him down.
I got home and my wife and three boys came out to greet us. My eldest, Travis, was so worried that he was close to throwing up. The younger two were pretty much oblivious to the situation. We rolled Craigelachie off the trailer, and John was able to start him up immediately. Once the windshield was off he looked much better, though the headlight is messed up, the speedo is broken open, and the steering column was out of alignment. Some twisting on the handlebars put the column pretty much back in alignment, but it will have to be checked thoroughly at the shop. My left saddlebag is scuffed pretty badly, and my left rear turn-signal is too. The worst thing other than the windshield is the big dent in the front of the gas tank.
As time has progressed, I have discovered that the road-rash is going to be the least painful of my injuries. I banged my knee and hip up pretty well. I don't know if I will be able to move in the morning.
I was planning a big ride with some friends next Thursday night. I wonder if they can have him put back together by then.
This has been really long. If you make it this far I'm impressed. I guess this is what's known as catharsis. I think I can sleep now.
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