Friday, April 22, 2011

Meeting RichardM & Downtown Parking Farkle

Last week in a post on Richard Machida's blog he mentioned that he would be stopping in Oregon to visit relatives on his way home to Alaska from a meeting he would attend in the East. I commented that it would be nice if we could get together for lunch, so we did yesterday.  Richard was gracious enough to stop and meet me for a late lunch at a Subway Sandwich shop about 15 miles south of Portland.

This is only the second time that I've met a fellow blogger.  Last year I met with Irondad a couple of times and I came away with the same feeling yesterday. These meetings are unique.  That is, the connection is further down the road than it normally is when you meet someone for the first time.  And there's plenty to talk about while filling in the blanks that are left with blogging.

I greatly enjoyed meeting Richard and getting to know him. We're both originally Southern California guys who have migrated to the Northwest. And we're both Beemer riders. He hadn't eaten since early in the morning when leaving Washington DC and was willing to interrupt his drive to be with relatives and have a late lunch with me. 

Thank you Richard for stopping on your way south.  Hope you continue to have safe traveling my friend!

Before I met with Richard I had a sales call at one of the older hotels in downtown Portland.  Just to briefly explain our parking meter system, we used to have the standard coin meters at every parking spot.  Some years ago the city installed green boxes like the one on the left.  This is where you pay to receive a small parking permit which is displayed on the inside of the window of your car facing the sidewalk.  Most people don't like this because you have to walk to the box in the middle of the block, pay, wait for the permit to print, then walk back to the car.  If it's raining it's a hassle.  

For motorcycles the instructions say to display the permit somewhere near the seat, as in sticking it between the two seats.  Of course this means it can either blow away or even be stolen. Mix rain into the equation and the permit is in bad shape.  Since the permit is also the receipt, if it disappears you also lose your proof of payment. It's a pretty lame system for those on two wheels.

A few weeks ago while parking, a meter person had just finished giving the car in the next spot a ticket.  I brought up this point about motorcycles being at a disadvantage and he gave me a coupon to get a free parking permit holder.  I didn't know these existed!

I sent in the coupon and within a couple of weeks received this handy little farkle.  The parking permit is held captive in the plastic display and kept safe from the elements or someone lifting it.  Yesterday was my first time using it and as I walked away from the bike in a downpour I walked with confidence knowing I had city approved protection.

It's funny how little things like this can bring happiness.

When I came out of the hotel the shower had passed and the sun was shinning.  Perfect for the ride to meet Richard, although it wouldn't last. In the short 15 minute ride down I-5 there was sun, rain, and hail. Typical Northwest spring fare.  If you don't like the weather stick around for ten minutes and it'll change.

God's speed.


  1. Mike:

    I know what you mean about meeting someone you have never personally met, but have been friends on the internet through blogging. It's like meeting an old friend you haven't seen for a long time.

    That's a neat parking permit holder. And Yellow is also my favourite colour.

    Riding the Wet Coast

  2. What is it about you and Subway? Methinks you must own stock. :) You and I have been twice and now Richard?

    Some of us got to experience meeting each other but on a larger scale last year. What a cool experience! Although meeting you for the first time solo was awesome, too.

    I'll have to check that permit holder. I thought the instructions said to put the sticker on the headlight. Either way, that holder is just the ticket ( get the pun? ) for the rain.

  3. Bobskoot,
    You've said it well - like meeting an old friend you haven't seen for a while. I'm looking forward to meeting you one day! Do they have Subways in Canada? :-)

    Yeah, I wish I could have made it to Bend last summer. I hope another reunion happens some day!

    I just did a Google search for the permit holder and found more info I didn't know. Like writing down the permit number in case it gets lost. But here's the link to getting a holder free.

  4. Mike:
    How cool to meet a fellow blogger. In the space of the last 6 months, I've met fellow Kiwi bloggers Andrew and Raftnn (Roger. On both occasion, they turned out to be absolutely top people and it somehow makes their blogs even more relevant.

    I was amused that the parking permit is for motorcycles AND convertibles! Is it invalid if the convertible roof is up ? ;-)

  5. Geoff,
    That's neat that you've met Andrew and Roger. I agree that it heightens the relevance of the person's blog. It's a fascinating concept to connect with people then possibly meeting them later.

    That's funny about the convertible top. Now that I have one of these I'll have to check out convertibles. Thanks Geoff!

  6. Mike:

    as one who has had many convertibles, you get into the habit of leaving your doors unlocked. It is better to keep your vehicle devoid of valuables and let them easy access, otherwise you might end up with a slashed top. It is a hassle to get your top replaced as the insurance will never pay for complete replacement due to depreciation and wear factors. I have had my vehicles ransacked before but luckily, no damage. I had a top slashed on my cabriolet which was around 3 years old and they stole my Blaupunkt radio. It was a hassle. Easier to leave it unlocked.

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  7. Mike:

    It really was great to meet you even if it was only for an hour or so. As Bobskoot said, it was like meeting an friend you haven't seen for a while. My mom and sister thought it was really unusual to stop and meet someone I've only "met on the Internet". Who knows what kind of evil lurks out there...


  8. Bobskoot,
    That sounds like good advice although it would take a lot for me to leave the doors unlocked. I guess I'm just too security minded. I agree that the insurance part is a big hassle too.

    I can understand that your mom and sister were sceptical. It could be risky meeting an online acquaintance. It was great meeting you Richard - thanks again!

  9. That's awesome you and Richard met for lunch on his trip here! Ron and I met Richard, last year in Bend (wish you could have been there). It's odd meeting someone for the first time that you know through a blog. Not quite strangers, but still new and scary. Ron and I would love to meet you sometime, though maybe not in the big city of Portland. How you ride those mean streets and stay alive) I'll never know. :)

  10. Kari,
    I wish I could have been in Bend last year too. I'm looking forward to meeting you and Ron sometime. Maybe this summer we can arrange that. I'd like to meet all the Corvallis area bloggers so maybe we can meet for lunch some Saturday. Thanks Kari!

  11. Finally, there is a good parking ticket solution for motorbikes! Yeah! In London, we have mainly free m/c parking but in some areas you need to pay by telephone which means entering all of your details using the keys on the phone - it can take 10-15 minutes!

    Great that you got to meet RichardM. I thoroughly enjoy meeting fellow bloggers. Riding across the USA gives you lots of chances to do that and both there and back here in the UK, I think I have met a total of twelve so far!

  12. Gary,
    That's an interesting way of paying using the telephone and free motorcycling parking is great! I've been saying we should have that in Portland to go along with how bicycle friendly we are.

    Wow, that's great that you've met twelve other bloggers so far! Of course you've covered a lot of territory! Thanks Gary!

  13. Hi Mike, great that you guys could meet. Always nice to see that people connect over the net.

    Like the parking permit, lucky you.

  14. Hi Sonja,
    Thank you - it is nice to read about bloggers meeting. You and Bobskoot have had some nice rides together!

  15. Thanks for the link to the permit holder!

    I was trying to figure out which Subway that was. Then I saw Richard's post which had a different angle. That Subway is there by Target and Costco, isn't it? There is a Starbucks at the North end of the lot that I use a lot for a mobile office. Near the freeway, you know.

  16. You are correcto! I thought we would meet away from the downtown hustle and bustle but on his way south. I forgot that there are a few Subways in Wilsonville. He missed the Costco exit and went to a different one. I should have gone to where he was instead of making him find me. Wish I had a do-over. :-)

  17. There is always a beautiful connection when riders meet. Sharing experiences, ideas and thought is the best thing that can happen to riders, am happy for you Mike. Keep posting, I am a huge fun of your content. Michelin Motorcycle Tires