Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Morning Ride

When I left the house this morning for my ride through the country to the jail, there wasn't rain, fog, or even an nice sunrise. In other words, there was no drama. Since I haven't posted here in a week I was wondering if there would be a unique spot to get a photo that might give some sort of a topic. I continued to ride and think... ride and think... with more riding and thinking. After all that's what this blog is supposed to be about. 

Then I realized that I might not have anything to post from this ride so I relaxed and enjoyed the sights and sounds as usual. I say sounds but actually it was the roar of the wind around my helmet that I happened to notice today. Even with ear plugs when the windshield is adjusted just right the wind has a similar distant roar as on a commercial airplane. Kind of a nice treat to add to the piloting experience.

Just before entering the city where the jail is located there's a natural wetlands that I've written about before called Jackson Bottom Slough. The road at this point is a straight shot right through the wetlands to the city.

Because the road runs north and south it gives good opportunities to see some nice sunrises and sunsets with waterfowl included.

The sunrise didn't make a showing this morning with the cloud cover we had but the solitude of the early morning ride and the peaceful scenes were just the right combination to begin the day. Whenever I write about these Sunday morning rides I usually have the thought that I should try this on other mornings too. I do leave early some mornings during the week but there's too much traffic and mental interference. And Saturday mornings are nice but people can usually be out on the road early then too. Then I realize that early Sunday mornings are unique for being on a country road and enjoying the beauty of the things around us whether large or small. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday Riding

Saturday morning I met a couple of other jail volunteers for our informal monthly breakfast. The forecast called for another stellar day. Shortly after this photo was taken and after I continued down the road a guy on a sport bike closed in on me quickly. It was to be that way all day with motorcycles and bicycles out in full force.

Here's the after breakfast standing around in the parking lot shot that was initiated a couple of months ago. We met at 9:00 and didn't get to the parking lot until 11:30. My plan was to be home around noon to meet our son and go for a ride. His hours have changed at work and he has weekends off. We haven't gone for a ride together since September when we rode to Mt. Hood.

We decided to ride on Skyline Blvd. which runs along the crest of the West Hills of Portland. Famous for it's sweeping views, twisty curves, and expensive homes Skyline is a favorite route for motorcyclists and bicyclists alike. We stopped briefly at this Starbucks (point A on the map below) and found some other riders.

View Larger Map
Soon after we got onto Skyline I spotted this view from a small cemetery on the north side of the road. On the left is Mount St. Helens and on the right is Mt. Adams. Mount Rainier, close to Seattle about 160 miles away, was also visible just to the left of Mt. St. Helens but I didn't get it in this shot. Sorry, but this is the only photo I took on Skyline. We wanted to ride and have fun so stopping to take pictures was something I wanted to do but the enjoyment of the ride overruled. I can tease you a little and say that the view looking to the left which is south and the view along the road was really nice. We saw a lot of other motorcycles and many bicyclists enjoying the course too. We'll come back sometime and do some slower exploring with the camera.

We stopped at Rockcreek Tavern briefly on Cornelius Pass Rd. before we returned to Hwy 26 at point B. We went west on Hwy 26 to extend our ride before heading home.

We made one more stop which gave another photo opportunity. I thought this photo was interesting because it shows our bikes together and also the big shadow from his front wheel.

Then I turned around and noticed this tree filled with new buds. It capped off a nice ride with the hope of spring arriving soon and more rides to come.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday Parking Spots

If you have a motorcycle or scooter, chances are you rode it yesterday. We've had spring-like weather, although spring weather here is still rainy. This was in the motorcycle parking area at a southwest hospital. All Harleys were out and shiny.
When I got to my usual spot at the mall (field office), the coral was full so I took the spot next to it to give other riders some more space.
Beside the BMW 800ST there was this cutie - a Triumph Daytona Triple. This one always gets my attention when it's here. I like the styling.
This Yamaha FZ6 is almost always here. This guy works in one of the department stores.
And then there was this little sweetheart. Somebody help me here - I didn't see an emblem identifying it anywhere. Still made by Piaggio this one looks like a classic.

Nice chrome and paint for an older skoot.
Finally, this wasn't a parking spot but rather it's a building I pass by every Friday afternoon. It's in the little town of Scholls. I've been wanting to stop and compose some sort of photo. Not sure why it has two speakers and why they're mounted over each big door. It would seem that one speaker would be enough for this little town.
 Life's little discoveries are a little sweeter on two wheels.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Astoria and Beyond

Yesterday I worked in Astoria, the gateway to the Columbia River on Oregon's north coast. This is the view looking east from atop the hill on which The Astoria Column sits. This is looking back at the water that enters Young's bay and then out to sea. This body of water is on the south side of the Astoria Peninsula. The Columbia in on the north side.

This is looking west at the entrance to the Columbia River. What a beautiful day. It's rare for Astoria to see sunshine in February. The ride here from Portland on Hwy. 30 along the Columbia was a chilly 44 (F). There were times of sun, clouds, and slight fog but by the time I got near the coast it was all sunshine.
Here's the Astoria Column. After spending most of the morning in Astoria and after having lunch, I headed south to Warrenton and Camp Rilea. Do you recognize this view below?

Irondad had his FJR in roughly the same spot (I think) and it was his header photo for a while. He allowed me to drop his name at the Camp for business purposes. I'm pretty sure the door opened wider for me here for future business.  Thank you Dan!

The original plan was to spend the night at the coast but I decided just before leaving home that I would come home. So after Camp Rilea I headed down the coast taking photos along the way. Here's a sea stack rock in Tillamook bay.

As you can see, the sun was getting low as I was getting ready to head inland through the pass from Tillamook. I wanted to make the 50 minute ride through the mountains before it got dark and too cold. I was also concerned about deer and elk moving.

On the way out of town I stopped at this dairy to capture the cows having dinner. On my other blog I posted a different photo of these cows. The owner of the dairy, unbeknownst to me, saw me taking pictures and somehow found the posting and commented. I'm still amazed at that.

When I got back to the farmland west of Portland the sun was already down below the coast range. The weather was nice for the 256 mile round trip. I was pretty beat when I got home. When I left Tillamook I was kind of wishing that I would have stayed but it was nice to be home.

We seem to have good weather in the west when the rest of the country is not doing so well. I hope your weather is good or will get better soon. Spring is only about a month away. 

On the morning ride along the Columbia I was thinking about how just a 3 degree rise in temperature can make a person feel warmer. I guess it felt colder because the river is cold and the air felt heavy and damp. At times the air felt a little warmer and lighter as the elevation would rise. Yet another interesting phenomenon we don't get to experience when in a cage.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Honda Nostalgia

Yesterday at Emanuel Medical Center I parked next to this old beauty.  This Honda 90 really brought back memories. As a teenager I rode around a little on a borrowed Honda 50. In those days the riding gear consisted of t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. 

At the time I thought the Honda 50 was pretty big. My dream bike then was a Honda Scrambler 250.
One of the guys I grew up with had a Honda 50 too so we would ride together. His dream bike was a Honda Superhawk 305.

Occasionally we'd have heated but friendly arguments on which bike was faster. One time in the heat of an argument I told him that Scramblers scramble the eggs that Superhawks lay. I don't know why I thought that 250cc's would be faster than 305 but we had fun discussions.
I looked up the 90 on Wikipedia. They were made between 1969 and 1979. This one is in pretty good shape considering it's between 30-40 years old.

I like the aftermarket cup holder too, and that's a clock down below. And the pilot light on top of the headlight told you if the high beam was on. Talk about old school!

When you compare this to the bikes that are around now it makes one wonder what motorcycles will be like in the future.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Today's Morning Ride

This morning as I left for the jail about 7:00 it felt almost balmy at 50 (F) with a slight drizzle. As usual, before I left the house I waffled back and forth on whether to ride. The negative pull is it might rain too much and be too dark and even be too foggy in the country. The other thought is after the jail when I go to church the Beemer is the only motorcycle in the parking lot. What if people think I'm crazy riding on a rainy day? Then I think, "Nah, I'm riding."  When it comes to riding I don't care what people think and besides these Sunday morning rides are a personal time of reflection and joy if I may use that word. Joy is not a macho word that guys usually use. Joy is different than happiness. Happiness relies on external things while joy comes from within even in spite of external stuff.

As I've written here before I can't express the solitude and feeling of gratitude during this time. I've been riding for less than two years and I don't know how long the good Lord will let me continue but I am grateful for the enjoyment riding provides. I wish that I had stuck with it when I first rode as a teenager but there must be a reason that didn't happen.

I guess with riding more senses are being used than when driving. There's the visual stimulation of the beauty around us and the feeling that you're in it instead of just watching it. Then there are the smells, the sound of the exhaust and the vibration while straddling the motor. And finally there's the feeling when accelerating and the feeling of soaring while leaning in and out of curves. All of this is something that not everyone experiences.

Many years ago I use to run everyday for exercise. As with most runners there comes a time when you face knee surgery on one or both knees. When I had my first surgery I remember the doctor telling me that I was part of a subset of the population. Depending on the mileage that runners do it puts them into another subset so that you become a subset of a subset. You get the picture. As riders of motorcycles and scooters we are a subset of the population. Not everyone gets to experience what we do on two wheels.

I really like reading each of your blogs and how riding fits into your lives.  As I write that last sentence I realize that riding and blogging puts us into another subset. And with all of this there's another reason for gratitude. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Today's Randomness

It rained most of the day today. Here's a view of a downtown approach.

I managed to get a slight shot of the tail end of the lower deck of the Marquam Bridge discussed in Irondad's recent post. This is the split that causes people to change lanes to the right for I-5 south or left for 405 and ultimately west on 26. I was in my car this morning when this was taken. I can't imagine taking a shot like this on the bike.

I noticed this budding tree limb while walking into one of my accounts. I wonder how long it will take for that to pop out. Spring is almost here! That reminds me, I need to trim some trees.

As I was about to walk into the jail this afternoon this caught my eye. It was going about 60 and I just managed to dive out of the way after this photo. Okay, it was actually backing up slowly.

This is how it looks from where I park the Beemer when I'm at the jail.  I always like the way the light enters through these concrete frames. I have many images of this in different seasons. The reflection from the wet tracks of the cars made an interesting pattern today.

I guess there's not a real point to this post. It's just a couple of random thoughts and some images - thus the title. Steve Williams has written a few times that taking pictures is like doodling. I like that analogy because at times it is similar to random sketches.

Hope you got to ride today.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday Parking Places

This is just a quick series of some parking places from my travels on Monday. They're probably not too interesting but I thought they might qualify for a blog post to show places in Portland and Vancouver. The above is at a major medical center in Portland.

Same spot - different angle. Whoever rides that scooter is pretty hard-core. It's there a lot.
A major medical center in Vancouver, WA. The morning was foggy.

Washington State University Vancouver campus.

A school district. A fair amount of workers here either ride or want to ride.

Okay, this was a fun stop in Northwest Portland. It's fun looking at camera gear.

In the parking lot of the photo store I spotted this family vehicle complete with a rendering of Mt. Hood. Honest, I didn't draw that. Just after I took this image the owner and his daughter came out and drove off.

When I came out of the photo store this guy was patiently waiting for his master. It also looks like he could be the get-away driver. 

Hope the weather allows you to ride.