Sunday, May 30, 2010

Coastal Serenity

After a visit to the jail Friday afternoon I headed over to our place at the coast. It was to be a quick trip to get some much needed work done then come back home Saturday. When I got on the road about 5 pm Friday there was a steady rain falling. It continued through the coast range which made for absolutely stunning scenery. This time of year the Tillamook Forest is lush and hyper-green and the rain just exaggerated the colors. The two lane road meanders through the mountains with the Wilson River alongside on the coast side of the range. At times I found myself thinking, “This could be like Europe, maybe even Germany. Yeah that’s it, this is Germany and I’m on a BMW!” 

Many of the timber laden mountain slopes and peaks had those wisps of fog hanging on them. Several times I restrained myself from stopping to takes photos. The speed limit for most of the canyon is 55 mph with just the right amount of slow developing sweeps and curves. As with many canyon roads, especially on the Friday night of a holiday weekend, slow driving folk can be persistent obstacles. After passing some of these folks, I didn’t want to stop for photos and have to start all over with the passing game. It's a dilemma that has two options.  I guess the only solution is to take most of a day going through the pass making many stops for photos.

I stopped in Tillamook to pick up a few things at the store then headed up the coast in the light coastal drizzle and wind. Breaking out from the protection of a wooded area just before the road drops next to Tillamook Bay, the onshore ocean wind gave the bike a hit which allowed me to lean into it yet still go straight. It’s generally a surprise and a fun one at that. Looking left out onto the bay at the peninsula that juts out from Cape Meares, I could see the gray out-of-focus look that an oncoming squall reveals.

Arriving in Garabaldi on the north end of the bay, it has that misty and quiet look that a fishing town has at the end of a work day.  Around some more curves north of town and past the tide pools which are now covered with high tide, the road gently drops down near a serene looking Lake Smith. The drizzle has all but stopped; it’s getting darker and I’m almost to the house so I stop to record the scene. 

The return trip home yesterday was almost a milestone. I only encountered one vehicle ahead of me for the entire 50 mile trip on Hwy 6 through the coast range. This was probably because most everyone was going towards the coast instead of away from the coast. It was a rarity that I gladly accepted.  The sun was out and the temperature was just right at 60 F.  A perfect day to be on two wheels enjoying the amazing scenery.

Friday, May 21, 2010

First Year Thoughts

Today we have a year on the road together.  As I look back on some of the areas to which I've been and things I've seen while riding I can't help but have a strong feeling of gratitude.  Grateful for the memories but also for being unscathed.

When I began riding again two years ago, I had no idea that it would grip me the way it has.  And with the number of riding years ahead of me dwindling, I'm going to continue to enjoy as many miles as the good Lord will allow. 

I wish you many enjoyable and safe riding miles.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tire Change Reflections

Last night I posted this photo with a very short write-up then decided to delete it. The trouble with doing that is Blogger doesn't delete it from the blog lists of others.

Next Friday it will be a year since the truck arrived at our house with the Beemer. I've put 14,000 miles on it this year. When I got the bike it had a little less than 12,000 miles and the previous owner had just installed a new rear tire. In the last couple of weeks the tire had worn through the wear indicators. Since I plan on making a trip to Southern Oregon next week I figured I needed some fresh tread.

I bought my tire online from my favorite motorcycle supply house, which happens to be in Oregon. The tire was waiting on my porch the next afternoon. Wednesday afternoon I stopped at the nearby Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki dealership to work out the installation. They wanted to check out the rear wheel to make sure it would work on their balancer. Everything check out okay so I told him I'd call Thursday to make the arrangements.  Before I left I popped a couple of shots of the FJR next to me. I'm pretty sure some people in the service department thought I was weird to take several pictures of the side case of an FJR waiting for its owner. I just thought it was a Kodak moment.

Here's where the glitch came into play on the tire thing. Wednesday was a nice day with high clouds but Thursday was clear and sunny and very beautiful. This caused anyone with a motorcycle to call the dealership and want their bike worked on for the upcoming beautiful weekend. The service department was slammed and he said it would be two weeks before they could look at my bike. Wow, things change fast when the sun comes out.

So this morning I strapped my tire on the bike and rode to the BMW dealer across town by the airport. It's first come first served so I made sure I was first. Actually I was the only one. An hour later I was back on the road.

Before I left, a man and a lady each pulled up on 1200GS's. His bike had two new tires strapped on the back. I couldn't help but notice that the two tires on his bike looked okay, so after he went inside I asked her about the tires. She said that they were cupped and because they're leaving for Alaska in a few days they need replacing.  They're both tour guides for trips from Portland to Alaska. We spoke for a while before she gave me her card. The company is MotoQuest and the trips look very interesting. It's not necessary to have a dual sport bike because they have all sorts of tours. Maybe someday.

While I was waiting for the shop to open I couldn't resist another reflection shot with the FedEx truck.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Simple Engine Parts

Quick, close your eyes!  It's a motorcycle without anything on. Actually the stuff that's not on is all the plastic "Tupperware."  Yesterday I did valve adjustment, changed the plugs and the air filter. It's kind of a big service so I have more to do but I'll spread it out over a few weekends so I can continue to ride.

Whenever I do engine work I'm generally struck by the fact that these simple engine parts allow us to be transported to and from various destinations. We don't see these parts but we rely on them to do their job and not fail.

I use the term "simple engine parts" because the gasoline combustion engine is really a simple design. The first time I delved into doing major work on an engine was soon after Amber and I were married.  We had a VW bug that needed an engine rebuild.  We didn't have the money to pay a shop to do it so she encouraged me to try it myself.  It seemed like a monumental undertaking so I bought a book called "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive."  It was a step-by-step manual for, what it stated on the cover, "The Compleat Idiot."  The word "complete" was intentionally misspelled.  This spiral bound book was very detail oriented as well as funny.  It even pointed out the times when the reader should take a break and have a beer.

When I took that engine apart I still remember that I got a slight sense of intruding in an area I shouldn't see. Kind of like seeing my own kidneys. It was a sacred thing that I shouldn't mess with because those engine parts were so important to the whole car that regular people shouldn't look upon them, let alone touch them. I don't want to see my kidneys, I just want to know they are there and working properly.

I've gotten over that feeling of holding engine parts high on a pedestal.  But whenever I do some wrenching I get a sense of respect for how these simple parts allow us to travel with a safe and confident feeling.  And how I generally take for granted when I turn the key everything will work well. Kind of like my kidneys.

Our son and his family came to the house yesterday.  The weather was so nice he rode his motorcycle while our daughter-in-law drove the kids in the car. I think our grandson is going to have a bend towards riding someday. All of us were hanging out in and around the garage on lawn chairs with a couple of motorcycles and a scooter. Three years ago that would have been unthinkable. What have we come to?

This morning on my ride to the jail I noticed many of the fields have crimson growing. I stopped to take one shot of the red blanket over a farm.  A word that comes to mind that describes the weather and the sights this morning is glorious. These days are the reason we live in the Northwest.

While cruising along this morning enjoying the view and taking in the fresh morning air the thought occurred to me, "Man, those valves are popping in and out at a fast rate.  I hope I did everything right!"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rusty Memories

Today I was in Irondad's neck of the woods.  The morning started in Albany visiting the usual customers; the jail, the hospital, and the college.  After that it's a short hop on a highway to Corvallis, the home of the Oregon State Beavers, where I visit basically the same sort of customers. The above photo was taken at Oregon State near all of the shops in the facilities department.  Monochrome gives it more of a state government parking lot look.

I had one of these when my wife and I were dating and first married.  Mine wasn't rusty and it was a convertible. The first time she got in it on our first date she asked if it was a Karmann Ghia. That wasn't a cool thing to ask a Porsche owner but I forgave her. We still laugh about that car mix up.

There's one thing that motorcycle owners have in common with Porsche owners. Most of us wave to other motorcyclists. Porsche owners blink their lights to each other.  It's a recognition that you have an affiliation. I like that.

While riding home I stopped to take some photos of this landmark. The car marks the entrance to the property of a guy and his son who restore old Porsches. There isn't a sign for the business so the car looks out of place near the road. Too bad it has to rust away.

I should pull in this place with a Karmann Ghia and ask if they'll work on it!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekend at the Coast

We went to the coast for the weekend which means going through Tillamook again.  I thought I would just post some images from our time there.  No motorcycle pictures because this was a family weekend.

As we came into town late Friday afternoon I stopped to capture "the cows coming home."  It was about 4:45 and they were heading back to the barn for chow.  I guess you could say this is their rush-hour traffic coming back from a day at "the office."

Above is one of the bulls. This guy was big compared to the cows. I would hate to see him in the rode at night when I'm on the bike.

Saturday morning I drove into town to get some goodies at the bakery.  I decided to stop by the pier to get some photos. I found a bunch of people clamming.

Here's a guy who caught his limit of Cockle Shells.  He'll put them in a little flour and egg and have fried clams for lunch.

Saturday afternoon we drove into Tillamook and stopped at the cheese factory.  This is always a mandatory stop when the grandkids are with us.

I think it was either break-time or shift-change because no one was working.  The big blocks of cheese in the foreground are cut into 2lb blocks and packaged for retail sale.

There's always a line for ice cream. It's well worth the wait.

Our granddaughter looks like she's praying for more ice cream but I happened to catch her clapping. 

Here's a shot of "Mother and Daughter."  It's our daughter and granddaughter as we left the cheese factory.

Our granddaughter and I took our bullmastiff, Zoey, for a walk this morning.

We found this woolly guy crossing the road. I laid down in the street to get some closeups. Of course there weren't any cars on the road at this hour but I did learn something. It's hard to get a good shot of a caterpillar crossing the road while holding 140 pounds of curious dog.

Hope you had a good weekend and were able to ride.  Oh yeah, watch out for caterpillars... and bulls.