Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"It's only water..."

There's a chill in the air and steady moisture is on the way. Fall is my favorite season with the changing leaves and the special food that's unique to this time of year. I think many people look forward to the coming rain that's almost here.

Our rainy season is long here in Oregon. It goes from late October through July 4th, then on the 5th the rain stops.  Funny how that happens. So the big decision on rainy mornings is, should I ride or not?  As a sales rep I get on and off the bike multiple times during the day which can be tricky in the rain. Thus the title of this little story.

September of last year I took the Team Oregon Basic Rider Training class and thought it was very worth while. I'm not saying that because Irondad might be reading this, I really was impressed with the information and the professionalism of the instructors. 

During one of the breaks on the range I visited with one of our instructors. I was admiring his bike which was a new white Honda VFR Interceptor. I asked if he rides year round and he said yes. At this point I had my Vespa only two months and it was summer so I asked, "Even in the rain?" To which he answered with a straight face, "Oh yeah, it's only water". I knew he wasn't trying to minimize the risks of wet weather riding, after all, he's a professional riding instructor. But I thought his comment was both funny and an interesting way to look at it.

Wet weather keeps a lot of riders off the roads, and for good reason.  I'm certainly not worthy of going into a discussion on rainy weather riding tactics. Nevertheless, it's probably safe to say that everyone gets caught in the rain at some point while riding and the initial concern when that happens might be overcome with the thought, "Oh yeah, it's only water". 

Just riding and thinking.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quick Ride To Timberline

Figuring that yesterday was going to be one of the last summer-like days, and considering that our son's hours at work will be changing soon, we decided to take a nice ride together. When he got to our house about lunchtime he suggested that we ride to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.  It's a ride that we've been talking about doing for quite a while. The forecast was calling for cooler weather today with rain moving in by evening.  Tomorrow the snow level is expected to drop to 4500 feet which will cover Timberline Lodge.

Built between 1936 and 1938 Timberline Lodge was a Works Progress Administration project during the Great Depression. The Lodge is about 6000 feet above sea level where the tree line stops and the mountain becomes all rock above.

As we rode east on Hwy 205 the temperature rose from a comfortable 73 degrees to the lower 80's.  Crossing over the Oregon City Bridge we were surprised with stiff wind gusts coming from the north along the Willamette River.  From this point all the way to the town of Sandy we fought cross winds and saw many groups of riders coming from Mt. Hood.  It was one of those days where most people who have a bike were probably on it.

Located on Hwy 26, Sandy is about 30 miles from Government Camp, the gateway to Mt. Hood's ski areas.  When we rode through Sandy the temperature was a breezy 87 degrees; we knew it wouldn't be this way on the mountain.

About three miles before entering Government Camp there are a series of long sweeping curves on the uphill grade with a wide open view on the right that displays a large side of a timber filled mountain and a deep ravine below.  It's hard to describe the view and the expanse of what is visible.  Viewing it on a motorcycle is very different than in a car.  I think it's too big to capture in it's entirety with a camera but the next time I go through there I'll try.  Our mission was to get to Timberline.

This is looking south from the lodge.  That's Mr. Jefferson, about 50 miles away.  The temperature at the Lodge was 63 degrees and beautiful!

Click on the picture above to enlarge it and you'll see three peaks to the left of Mt. Jefferson, that's Three Sisters Mountain.  The one with the top faintly visible on the left is Broken Top Mountain.  These are all near Bend which is in Central Oregon.

The top of Mt. Hood as seen from Timberline Lodge.  Notice how blue the sky looks at this elevation.  Tomorrow night this should be covered with snow.

The buffet looked and smelled good; maybe we'll try that next time.  The ride was 140 miles round trip from the house and it took us a little more than 3-1/2 hours.

I highly recommend a ride over Mt. Hood if you plan to come to the Portland area.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Special Day!

God performed another miracle this morning!  Rylin Noel was brought into the world at 8:26 am PST.  She weighs 9 lbs 15 ozs and is 21-1/2 long.  Everyone is doing fine. What an amazing event.

The birth of a child is one of those occasions where the issues, concerns, and worries of life become trivial.  Deadlines and appointments can wait.

Big brother and grandma make the walk to the waiting area this morning.

 The waiting is the hard part.

   Isn't she here yet?

It says in the Old Testament that God "knits us together in our Mother's womb". What a remarkable mystery that is and what an incredible gift our children are.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Meet Zoey

Zoey is our 135 pound Bullmastiff.  She'll be two in November.  Don't be deceived, she might look like a toughie but she's a sweetheart.

We did a valve adjustment and throttle body sync on the Beemer today. I wonder if she's thinking we'll get a side car one day.  With goggles and a scarf she'd get a lot of looks.

Here's what she looked like when we got her.  The first time I took her to Home Depot most of the women in the store fell in love with her. 

Amber and I have always had a dog or two as long as we've been married.  Our other dog is Mattie.  She's getting up in years.

Zoey and I had a good day together in the garage.  Dogs have that unconditional love that's hard to find anywhere else.  Speaking of love, we're expecting a new grandchild Monday morning!  Below shows our daughter-in-law today!  Stay tuned for the next post.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vintage BMW Display

Recently our son and I rode to a vintage BMW Motorcycle display held at Champoeg State Park (pronounced shampooie), which is about 30 miles south of Portland.  He recently bought a used Honda VTX1300 and it's been a good new experience for us to go on rides together.

We've both had older BMW cars and a common interest in those models as well.  We didn't know much about these motorcycles but we met some good people and learned some things.

The two guys in the reflection on the tank told us that this is a "toaster tank".  The chrome sides are like an old toaster.  This is a '72 R75/5 in mighty fine shape.

This one is a custom job that was catching a lot of attention but it didn't get the raves from the purists.  I liked it, but it doesn't have the nostalgia like the one Charlie6 is considering in his blog Redleg's Rides.

The side car looks modern from the back. 

That's a big rotor and caliper, but disc brakes on a '66?  A tip off that this is a custom job.
A guy pulled up in this MG in excellent shape. 

I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in a while and he said this Vincent is probably worth about $50,000. 

Sometimes priorities can get out of whack and the busyness of life can keep us from spending time with loved ones.  The good Lord knows that I've been guilty of that at times. It's interesting that as we get more years behind us rather than in front, what's important in life changes.  I look forward to our son and I having more shared experiences with our motorcycles.  

Friday, September 11, 2009

Beautiful Day in Portland

I didn't leave the house/office until after lunch yesterday.  It was quite the beautiful day, in the high 70's with blue sky.

Coming from the south on I-5 into the downtown area are some "S" curves called the Terwilliger Curves.  The first curve goes to the right and puts you into an easterly direction which is straight in line with Mt. Hood.  Just before entering the second curve to the left the mountain comes into view briefly if it's not overcast.  I wish I could take a video of how it comes into view because some days there's a "Wow" factor - and yesterday was one of those days.

The picture below was taken later in the afternoon from the west hills above Northwest Portland.


The picture doesn't do it justice.  Some days it looks closer than it's 60 miles from downtown.  As you can see, it has snow on it year round.  At 11, 249 feet it's the tallest mountain in Oregon.


Above is Mt. St. Helens, once the tallest peak in the Portland area, and a rare appearance of snow capped Mt. Rainier, only 54 miles southeast of Seattle.

Above shows three of the four Cascade Mountains that are visible from Portland.  Mt. Adams in Washington is on the right.


Another view of Mt. Hood from the Salmon St. Fountain.

As I left downtown I got to thinking about Mt. Hood having some Spiritual implications.  It's always there even when it can't be seen.  Even though it's a volcano and one day is expected to erupt, so far it's rock steady and doesn't change.  Some days it's taken for granted and other days it's appreciated.  When you get close to it you realize how big it is and how small we are.  And then there's the realization after pondering such a marvel that we're just spinning on a big rock through space and there's either Someone in control or no one is. 

Anyway, just riding and thinking.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


The first business trip to the coast with the motorcycle was in June and was my usual overnighter while working Lincoln City, Newport, and Tillamook.  We have a place in Rockaway Beach that makes a good “field office” on the North Coast.  From here I can conveniently work from Long Beach, WA to Newport, OR.  The twisty Pacific Coast Hwy is loaded with coves and small beach towns and makes for a great scenic ride.  I was looking forward to this new experience on the motorcycle.

It was the encounter with the parrot that made this trip unique.  Had I been in my car this meeting wouldn’t have taken place.  As usual, I work Lincoln City and Newport on a Thursday then drive up to the beach house in the late afternoon to spend the night.  Friday morning I make a few sales calls in Rockaway then work in Tillamook and come home Friday afternoon. 

On Thursday afternoon as I left the hustle and bustle of Lincoln City, which is a fairly big coastal town, I was looking forward to making the hour long trip up the coast.  North of town the road is flat for a few miles then rises and opens up to two lanes on each side with 60 mile-an-hour sweeping curves up to a nice elevation.  The road is wooded on both sides so there's not a view of the ocean.  I had been riding from Newport and my plan was to stop in the first small resort town, Neskowin, nestled on the north side at the base of the mountain.  I wanted to stretch my legs and get a cold bottle of iced tea and take a little break.

Soon after I rolled into the parking lot at the local market, the guy who was sitting in the car next to me got out and starting asking questions about the motorcycle.  He was a retired salesman on vacation from California with his wife and dog and it turns out, their parrot.  He was intrigued about me using the bike to commute as a salesman.  I was intrigued about the parrot in his back seat.  After quite a few minutes talking with him, his wife came out of the store with their two ice cream cones.  The three of us continued to visit, then about 4 kids who were sitting on a park bench with one of their moms ran over and asked, “Can you make her do her trick?”

The lady got the parrot out of the back seat and said, “da-da-DAAH”.

The parrot repeated what she said and did a little singing routine while fanning it's feathers.

This all happened so fast I didn’t have time to get my camera but I managed to snap a few pictures with the BlackBerry.

The couple with the parrot were staying in the RV park as where the kids and their parents.  This explained why the kids were familiar with the “trick”

After saying goodbye, as I got back onto the road I thought to myself how neat it is to stop and meet good people, have conversation and see something that’s out of the ordinary.  I think being on a motorcycle had a lot to do with meeting them.  I wouldn’t have stopped there with my car.  I’ve passed by that general store many times before.  This type of incident isn’t going to happen everyday, but my thought as I got down the road that day was if riding gives more opportunity to meet people and engage with them, I’m looking forward to more of it.


I’ve been happily married to the same wonderful woman for over 38 years. We have three grown children and four grandchildren with another due in about two weeks.

I’m a God fearing Christian who's just a work in progress. Riding has given me more of an awareness of my reliance on Him. 

In July of last year I bought a Vespa GTS 250 to try and offset $4 a gallon gas prices. I’m a sales rep who covers most of Oregon and Southwest Washington and my plan was to use the Vespa for the Portland/Vancouver area. One thing I hadn’t counted on was the thrill and enjoyment of riding. The original plan was to serve a utilitarian need but soon riding became the preferred method of travel.

After almost a year of scooter commuting, I had a nagging desire to ride a motorcycle.  I wanted to ride further and needed to get around to distant parts of the state as fast as when driving the car. In May I bought a used Beemer.

What a great way to see things! And with that in mind, the plan for this blog is to share thoughts and images of my encounter with people and places while traveling this part of the Northwest.

I hope you enjoy what follows. Please let me know what you think.