Thursday, January 28, 2010

Out for a spin this evening

I had planned to work the Portland area today but ended up being pinned down at home at the office. About 4:30 I blasted off from the house to blow the cobwebs off and run an errand. At a big intersection near the store I got caught at the red light. As I sat there and then took off with the green light I counted 6 other motorcycles. The paper today said that this has been the third warmest January in 70 years. I think the warmer weather for Portland has translated into more riding days this year.

While at the store I browsed my favorite photography and motorcycle magazines. Rider magazine has an article about the new BMW sport bike, the S1000RR.
Whoa, this looks serious. Weighing in at 450 lbs wet with 193 hp, the horsepower to weight ratio is unlike anything else. This would definitely require wrist management.
When I got back to the beemer a guy walked over and started asking questions about it. He said he has a BMW 1200GS and another bike. We talked motorcycles for a while. I always find it interesting that a motorcycle or scooter can breakdown barriers making it easy for conversation with strangers. 

On the way home I came up our mountain the back way to maybe catch a good sunset. I like how the sunsets are getting later. Spring is just around the corner! I went into a newer neighborhood to find an interesting spot with a little altitude. There wasn't a good sunset tonight but I'm happy that I found what might be a good place to capture them. I didn't have my tripod but there was a light post conveniently located right there for bracing myself.  At first I took shots without the houses below but then decided to include them. I think it sort of adds an element of an urban setting.

Just after I got there a lady came out of her house which is to the right of the photo. We smiled and said hello to each other. I told her it looks like a good spot for sunsets and she nicely agreed as she got in her car and drove off.  But I wonder what she thought. Here's a guy on a motorcycle at the end of a dead end road under a street light with a camera and she's leaving her house with this stranger out front who might be appearing to be a photographer.

Oh well, she'll see me there again no doubt. Anyway I'm just a harmless biker-photo-nut.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

World Trade Center...again.

Just a few images to show you more of my work environment... downtown Portland. Down the street you can see one of the walk-ways over the street that goes to the World Trade Center. These "catwalks" as I call them are a photographers paradise. Here you find all kinds of angles, beams, windows and reflections. I did a post on this place back in the fall.

Just had to throw this one in as I parked the Beemer. That's a gym inside there. People were on stationary bicycles. They probably wondered why I took a picture of myself. Maybe they figure I have a blog.

If you look closely at the reflection on the upper row of windows you can actually see blue sky. Yep, blue sky in January - a real treat in Oregon.

Blending the two hobbies of photography and riding is a lot of fun, isn't it?

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Friday Gift

It rained most of the day today in Portland. This afternoon I rode to the jail. I saw two other motorcycles out and even rode behind one for a while. It was a guy on a sports bike. He was cautiously going about 50 mph in an area of the country where 60 mph is common. Of course it was raining, but I still thought that his speed was on the slow side. On the curves we slowed but on the straights he kept it below 50. If it were a car I would have passed it but I got to thinking, maybe this is a good thing. Maybe I should be riding more cautiously than I have been in the rain. When I ride to the jail I feel confident and know the road so well but maybe I'm taking it for granted. Maybe this was a wake-up call. Or maybe I just got behind a slow guy... but on a sports bike? I think that might be an oxymoron.

On the way back home this evening while passing through the Jackson Bottom Wetlands I could see through the trees on my right a nice sunset developing. There are two fields on the other end of the Wetlands that are full of water. I figured the field on the west side might have some good photos to be had. I didn't realize that there would be a duck nicely placed on the lake.

In the spitting rain I took 18 shots by the side of the road. These scenes don't happen too often. I consider it a gift from the good Lord.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Fast Food Day

This morning I met a couple of fellow jail volunteers at McDonalds for breakfast. The three of us try to get together once a month for breakfast and we did that last Saturday. But this morning we had an official bi-monthly meeting at 9 am so we met at 8 am for breakfast.

On the months when we don't have a meeting we usually go to a coffee shop. We get to talking and drinking coffee and lose track of time. Before we know it we've been there 1-1/2 hours and we start feeling guilty about hogging the table.

So we go outside and finish solving the world's problems. We thought we would try McDonalds for a couple of reasons - we don't have to tip (we're sort of cheap) and we can stay as long as we want.


I have to confess that I have a Saturday afternoon ritual that I've been doing for the better part of a year. If nothing else it's a good reason to go for an errand on the bike.
Amber and I have been hooked on TCBY yogurt for many years. In fact, we probably qualify to be part owners of this store. Hey wait, that also applies to the local Home Depot. Anyway, this store is owned by a really nice Korean family. They're the sweetest family and they have all of their teenage kids helping them. We've developed kind of a familiarity with one another but not a friendship; I think because of the language barrier with the parents. They're all extremely polite.

Almost every Saturday afternoon between 3-4 pm I ride to the store. I walk in with all my gear on and my helmet flipped up. I walk over to the reach-in freezer and get two pint tubs of non-fat dutch chocolate yogurt. As I'm doing this, whoever is behind the counter automatically gets the bag ready and starts ringing up the sale. It's all choreographed so well with very little change from one week to the next.

When one of their teenage daughters is working she'll usually giggle at some point. Not the kind of giggle that's offensive just a cute giggle. As I left this afternoon I couldn't help but wonder if they have a name for me in Korean. You know, a name for, "Tall guy on a motorcycle who comes in every Saturday and gets two pints of non-fat dutch chocolate".

Well I'd better wrap this up and get started on the yogurt.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wishing You Dry Handlebars!

Looking forward to dryer weather... it's coming someday!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday Morning Ride

When I rolled the Beemer out of the garage to head to the jail yesterday morning I could see through the trees that a nice sunrise was developing. It was a brisk 36 (F) but dry and clear as I got on my way. The route takes me west for about the first 10 minutes, so I saw the sunrise develop through an occasional glance at the side mirrors. This shot was taken from a different spot than previous photos as the road goes north. The tree line is different but Mt. Hood is still there in all her majesty.

To see another image from this ride you might visit my other blog, My Digital Worldview.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Parking Places

Here are a few of the parking places I frequent in my travels around Portland.
Making friends with a Ducati.
Waiting outside the jail.
This is the crew I hang with. No, actually it's the motorcycle corral at one of the hospitals. Quite a bit of Italian iron here on any given day.

Ciao for now.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Random Riding & Thinking

I finally got out for a ride Saturday afternoon. With a break in the weather, several other riders were also out enjoying the second day of the new year on two wheels. I had planned to kind of take last week off or at least make it low key. I say "kind of" because I don't officially get vacations. Since I work from home I'm still responsible for the work flow even while "off". The plan was not to see too many customers in person and also prepare for the new year.

I ended up getting sick last week. I haven't had a cold in about two years. Last week made up for the gap in time. But Saturday was a good day to get out on the bike and just ride without a planned destination.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to just take off around the country without a plan or itinerary? No specific time to be anywhere or be back home. I wonder how it would be to travel that way on a motorcycle. Everyday would be a different adventure in a new town.

I haven't been by this field in a while and I was surprised to find cabbage growing. Cabbage in January? I'm a city boy so I don't know much about growing seasons. With the threat of snow and/or ice always looming I wouldn't think January would be a big growing or harvest month. But to make sure I wasn't seening things wrong I did a Google search and found there actually is "January cabbage".

When you think about it, it's kind of amazing how food makes it from the fields to our dinner tables. We can freely go into any grocery store and buy food and it's abundant. Not everywhere in the world is that possible.

I hope you've been able to ride this new year. If not, I hope it's safe to ride soon. Get out there and find some cabbage.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

German Toy?

My wife sometimes refers to the Beemer as my toy. I don't consciously think of it as a toy. Sometimes I get slightly offended when she says that. To me it's a well tuned precision engineered German machine on two wheels that's a blast to ride. Well...I guess that makes it, ah...sort of a toy.

I tried a processing technique that bluekat used recently. Thank you bluekat.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

"What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year" - Vern McLellan