Sunday, January 31, 2010

Quartzville Road

It's a sunny, almost no rain, day. That must mean it's time for a ride. I've been wanting to ride Quartzville Road for a while. This is a scouting trip. Later this year I want to ride the whole route to Highway 22. Ron and I take the back roads toward Sweet Home, past Foster Dam and are on our way to Green Peter Dam, the first stop of the day.  Being that riders always take pictures of their bikes on bridges and other scenic spots along their route, we decide to stop for a photo op.
What are you lookin' at, Hon?

Did you know that you aren't supposed to park on a dam? It's a homeland security thing, or so the nice man in the white pickup (with brown lettering on the side) told us. I get in a couple of shots, but I'm not daring enough to take his picture. Besides no fines, tickets, or cavity searches appear to be forth coming, so why press our luck. We are violating national security and all, and the nice man is being, well nice!

My ride.
My partner in crime.

We park at the end of the dam (as instructed) to get our gratuitous bike pics and glam shots. Then off we go.

Quartzville road is awesome. It's a blast to ride, and it has stunning scenery. This could be a deadly combination. The eyes want to stray to the view...the one with a drop off...don't go where your lookin'.  We didn't take many photos. I didn't want to stop. Some rides are meant to be ridden, not interupted with photo ops.

I did take the time to get one requisite curvy road shot. There were much better scenes of the road, but they were funner to ride than photograph, so this is the one you get.

One more of the bridge because I like the pattern of bolts and railings alongside the road.

And a quick shot of a little waterfall around the base of some trees. Point, shoot and go; I'm antsy to be back on the road.

Being winter the reservoir is low. I hope we get enough snow pack to fill it this spring.

This is my only effort at photography for the day. I tried out the ND filter on a small waterfall. I even had a tripod for the occasion. It was about this time I figured out the camera was set on ISO 800! What the *#*$^@ did I need to have the camera set at 800?? I never use iso 800. Some photographer I am, not checking my settings, lol.

Another glam shot of the suzi and Quartzville creek.

More gratuitous scenery

Since we have the tripod we pose for a self-portrait.
"Did it take the picture yet?"
"Just keep smiling!"


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fuel Injection - A Picture a Day

I took this photo last winter when Ron had his bike apart. There's something fascinating and photogenic about engines and the assorted parts. With a husband and son both with "projects" I have a plethora of subject matter all around the house. A treasure trove I've barely tapped.

I think this is part of the carburetor...or is the carburetor. Whatever, I just thought it was interesting. An opportunity to play with the camera and play with photoshop, apply curves and contrast and a little sharpening, or maybe a lot. I like the subtle blush of colors, some warm, some cool. I wonder if Ron would mind tearing it apart again, to let me have a go at it with the G11? Probably not. He informed me that any bike I drag home must be fuel injected. Apparently he doesn't care to do this project again neither on his bike nor on another.

This whole post will be rather silly if it turns out this is not a carburetor.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It used to tick me off when the weather was dry during the week only to turn to rain on the weekend. Have you ever noticed how chipper some weather forecasters can be? Annoyingly so. I don't want a chipper forecast about good weather when I'm working in my office that has no window!

Why save a great ride for the weekend? If I ride to work, I never have to miss a good day. Ok, I admit I have a pretty awesome route to work. If I leave early enough I can forgo the freeway and take the country roads. Today's commute started lovely and ended with rain. The rain fell, but it didn't touch me. A perfect ride doesn't require sunshine. I like dry roads and overcast skies. No glare, no sun in my eyes, no light and shadow play across the road. I consider these ideal conditions.I guess if the sun wants to shine that's ok too. I will deal with it somehow.

Gratuitous bike pic

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I went, I sat, I rode

I'm in love. After months of looking and sitting, and sitting some more, I finally got to ride my beloved Ninja 650r. Sigh! and it was good!! Sorry, no pics of my big adventure. Ron has been after me for months to  go ride one. I hate riding a bike that isn't mine. I hate going to dealers. I dislike the whole selling/buying process (excepting the riding the bike part...I like that now).

The Ninja is lime, as a Ninja should be. She has (count them) zero miles. How can I ride a bike with zero miles? Are they crazy? The test ride starts in the parking lot. Actually that's not true, it starts with more sitting in the showroom. I'm not flat footed. I'm not on the balls of my feet. I'm on tippy toes. I can't back up because my feet would slip out from under me. I'm not sure this is a good idea. Then we move to the parking lot.

I have three guys standing around watching. (GO AWAY PLEASE!) One slow loop around the lot. She feels pretty good...lots of engine braking with this one. Second loop, second gear even better. All my stops are good.  I don't drop the bike. Ok, time to hit the road. It's only a short ride, but it is very, very good! Do I sound excited? Am I nattering on? Sorry.

I get in the wrong gear once or twice, but the ninja handled it well. Did I mention it was a wonderful ride, a "one with the bike" sort of ride. I thought the high seat height would scare me, or worse cause problems at stops, but everything felt right. I love the high, upright seating position. I can see all around me. I can tell already cornering is gonna be nicer. Much nicer. She wants to corner. And she can lean! I can lean!! Who knew.

Sadly, we didn't bring her home. I have a bike to sell first. :(

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I hate tar snakes!
I hate tar snakes in the dark!
I hate tar snakes in the the rain!!!
They make my bike wiggle and squiggle.
They are evil.
Just so you know.

 The Suzi is going to visit her shop boy this week, and she requested a bath. Finally got the summer bugs scrubbed off the front. There really is a shiny little bike under all that grime. I didn't clean the spokes. I hate cleaning spokes. Who invented spokes anyway? They are almost as annoying as tar snakes are evil. When we pick her up I can look at all the other pretty bikes in the shop. Sit on a Hayabusa or two. It could be fun.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Smells like Christmas.

Last night we had a windstorm. A strong one. The kind of storm where I'm checking the yard to see if the canvas garage has blown away...again. By morning it's calm. The eastern sky has that lovely, "partly cloudy" look that promises a pretty sunrise and a scenic ride. The temperature drops as the sun comes up. Was that really necessary? Alas, the fingers will be a little cold on this commute.

For the most part the roads are dry, and empty. It's a holiday and traffic is light. No school buses to contend with today! My last rural stretch of road before entering Salem is lined with tall fir trees, and the road is littered with debris from last night's wind. It makes for a good time dodging the pine cones, small limbs, and fluffy green tufts. It smells like Christmas. I would miss this riding in the car.

This photo was taken on a bicycle ride a couple weeks ago. The image was overexposed. I did a lot of processing...played with it one day to make a grayscale image; Came back today to fuss with it some more and added a sepia cast. I love scenes like this, lonely and neglected. This one is all about texture. Texture in the grass, the tree, the old fence. I think it's a little bright, but I wonder if it were printed it might be about right.The big tree is too centered, but changing the angle of view added elements I didn't want, so I'll have to be satisfied with it as is.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I fell into temptation at the checkstand.

 I didn't ride the motorcycle. I didn't ride my bicycle. I didn't go out with the camera and shoot pictures. It was rather peaceful...indulgent.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Faded Roses

I spent a little time this morning learning different settings on the G11. I don't trust my post processing yet. I'm still not sure if I tend to oversharpen.

I selected and blurred the background a little more on this one.The bouquet was for my birthday a couple weeks ago. Yes this is commentary on my housekeeping...I haven't thrown them out yet. Why do you think I blurred the background? To disguise the fact that I'm playing with photos and not cleaning house.

No sprinkles, but a nice glaze

I was called to account for mentioning sprinkles and not bringing dounuts. Alas for some it always comes back to the tummy! To make up for my mistake I offer the cinnamon roll.
Sorry to say this one is long gone :(

But more can be had here:

Tis a fine road to the country bakery by any two wheeled conveyance of your choosing.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wind, Sprinkles, and a Distraction

Per the KATU website:
"Winds are picking rapidly in the Central Willamette Valley with some gusts reported near 45 mph around Salem. . ."

Rhonda! Say it isn't so!! This is the weather bulletin this afternoon. I thought the ride to work was exciting. Apparently the ride home will be more so.

I have learned something this week: Rain is fun to ride in, and better than the chilly, foggy stuff we had a few weeks ago. I say bring on the rain! Maybe it's not quite that fun.

I finally heard it today at work..."It's a little rainy for riding isn't it?"
"I like riding in the rain."
"Oh, you must be a real Oregonian." This from the young guy at work.
I guess I now count as certifiable.

Seriously, it was a nice ride. The sky was stunning (and a bit distracting). And it was warm. Warm is nice. My cornering was nice. See, everything was nice. Nice, nice, nice! This morning was one of those rides where everything just feels right, even with the wind gusting and blowing and a few drops of rain falling.

I had to stop this evening and get a picture of the sky. I can't shoot the canon on the run (yet), and anyways it didn't seem right to take a picture and not include the Suzi. That's what comes of blogging and start having to include the chariot in the pic. Life can get so complicated.

The view to the east. The foothills have disappeared and been replaced by a big pink cloud. I can't seem to bring out the color as it looked. Chopped off the bottom cuz' it was just ugly parking lot. Hey but look, it's gravel. I went in the gravel...quite the adventurer now.

The view to the west. A distracting sky.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Goals, A contest, and a picture for the day

I've never been a goal setter. I'm incredibly undisciplined. If I set a goal I will most likely change it on a whim, so why bother. But with everyone posting some of their plans for 2010 I thought maybe I should give it a go.

I put a pathetically low number of miles on the motorcycle last year. I don't know what happened! 2008 I started riding and I don't think I drove the car all summer. I was a passenger in the car, but when I had to drive, I chose to ride. So this year I aspire to ride more. I'd be happy with 12,000 miles. (Might have to take a tour to get the numbers up - oh darn!) On that note, I've thrown down the gauntlet and issued a challenge to my darling hubby.

Actually it's more like I was bragging about riding to work more than him and his taking it as a challenge. (I never said it was a challenge! It was just a comment! Really!!) We look at the calendar and figure that so far we've both ridden to work 3 times each. We can do better. The race is on to see whose going to rack up the miles...or the trips throughout the year.

So how do we set this up? He works 5 days a week. I work 4. I go 68 miles round trip. He goes 36. His bike is older which equals more down time. I'm looking to sell my bike and acquire another. There will be a space of time when I will be (gulp!) bikeless. I get shivers just thinking of it. You want to witness desperation? There will be much whining. Well, we'll figure something out.

I have one other motorcycling goal, but I'm sort of waffling on it, so I'll save it for another post should I decide to go through with it.


One more from Ankeny Wildlife Refuge
Ive taken photos of this scene before. It's one of my favorite places for a quick stop when there's not time to hike, or sometimes we pack a lunch and just sit in the car to enjoy the wildlife and the view.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

One more pic for the weekend...well, maybe two

Ron and I drove (mistake!) up to Ankeny wildlife refuge for a quiet stoll along the boardwalk and a chance to get a few photos to play with this coming week. This little guy offered to model for us. I think he's a long lost cousin to that Geico fellow.

We spent the afternoon going for a quick ride around the valley on the Suzis to no place special. Ended up at The Beanery to warm up before heading home.

One of us has a mocha, and one of us has an ice cold smoothie. One of us has warm hands. Somebody must be using his electric jacket while the other valiantly rides through the chill.

Lots of rain coming this week. It's gonna be fun dodging the showers.

Picture of the day

Not great photos, but they are my pick of the day as I've never seen so many eagles all in one place. 12-14 were gathered in two separate clumps of trees off of Red bridge Road. We think there were actually 13. But it was tough to tell. One flew off between the trees and may have been counted twice. I don't know anything about the habits of eagles, but I didn't realize they would hang out together in such high numbers.

Severe crop

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back to school...But just for a visit

I went to my old stomping grounds today; Linn Benton Community College. My first clue that it was the wrong time to visit the college, should have been the cars parked out along the road in front of the campus.  It’s the first week of the term and everybody is there. A word to the wise, don’t go to a college campus on the first week of the term if you don’t have to. I’ve been too long away from the college life; I should have remembered this.
 New construction going on
Surprisingly I do find a parking space. It’s in the nether regions of the parking lot. I didn’t have to park this far away when I went to school! Whenever I'm here something stirs in me. My time here had a big impact on my life. I should expect strong ties. My greatest inspirations were nurtured here. Some of my biggest challenges had to be met and overcome. Challenges from class and from life. It’s a strong tie.

I see stars!
I came to visit the bookstore. It’s the closest place around that sells quality art supplies. Today is book return day. There you have it; I came to campus in the first week of the term, on book return day, at noon, to visit the bookstore. What was I thinking?  There are a thousand backpacks piled at the front door. There are a thousand students milling around inside. Never mind, I don’t need supplies that badly today. It will wait. 

When visiting the campus I like to stroll through the galleries. Kurt Norlin has his collection of panoramic photography on display. He taught a digital photography class that I took, long before I owned a digital camera.  I enjoy seeing his work again. While in the gallery I find evidence of my time here as a design student. A print of one of my illustrations hangs in a conference room. I’m surprised and pleased that it still gets displayed. It’s a little whisper from my past.

This campus used to be so familiar to me. Now I feel like an outsider, but I still feel that spirit that inspires me to reach beyond what I think I can achieve. I learnt and grew so much here. It should always be familiar. There’s a dynamic to a college campus. I felt it a decade ago when I was a student, and I feel it now. I think it’s the presence of youth, fresh and preparing for their future. It’s vitality. Some will be culled. (I was the first time).  But I returned later and I came with a love for learning that I never knew I had.


Motorcycle parking and a sweet kawasaki

Friday, January 8, 2010

One down...

My morning started early today with Ron waking help him get his bike up. There she is, slumped over the barrel planter next to the driveway. I didn't think he'd appreciate my whipping out the camera before we commence to get the old girl up, so we set to work and have her up in short order. It's a good way to warm up for the day. Ron's statement: pics? It didn't happen!

Looking past the backyard I can see just a hint of color to the sky. One quick pic...

Not a good photo, but I just want one to remember the morning. I don't think it's cold this morning until I slip on the deck. It's 33 degrees and there's frost on the car, but no need to scrape is for riding. I have new pants to try out, and some new silk liners for the gloves. I wonder how much they'll help against the cold.

On my way out of town I catch a glimpse of a guy in his car. He's looking at me, rubbing his arms to gesture "cold"! It makes me chuckle. Yes, It's cold, but it's still wonderful to be on the bike. I don't know why, but the cold  makes the ride seem to belong just to me. I see no other riders this morning.

The afternoon commute is pleasant, even though it's a run down the freeway. I find a nice big hole in traffic and set a relaxed, easy pace. It's almost like having the road to myself. I see two riders this afternoon. One dark cloud threatens rain, but it never catches me. I'll hear it plinking raindrops on the skylight after I'm home.

So why did the Suzi take a nap this morning? It seems that Ron's usual habit is to roll out of the garage then stop to plug in his jacket. When he stopped to plug in he leaned the bike over to the kickstand...and over...over...oops, no kickstand. Yes, the old "I forgot to put down the kickstand" routine.

I'm glad he doesn't do the blog thing. He doesn't get to tell stories on me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One Image, Two Views

Inspired by other photographers, online and in real life, I've been playing more with black & white photography. It appears so simple, yet can easily become complicated. There must be a dozen and one different techniques to create a black and white image.

This is another image from one of my Cheadle Lake walks. The original is a bad image, with an ugly, muddy background, and blown highlights. But I like the composition, and I like the subject. (Perhaps the better option is to return and shoot another image with better light and correct exposure.)

Ive been playing with gradient maps in photoshop. It's a technique I learned from a website link that Mike sent me. It's an interesting technique and it gives some intriguing control over the image. I've had better success with some other images, but it did a lot to salvage this one. I like the post and chain in the foreground, but the background is a lost cause. (Yes, definitely need to reshoot.) I've left just a hint of color to this image.

 On the other end of the spectrum, there is color and lots of it. Sometimes I see something in an image that just begs to be oversaturated. (Really, I don't hear voices...mostly.) This is a portion of the same image, highly saturated, heavily clipped and rotated. As a composition, I love how it turned out. It may even make banner status one of these days. It has the right proportions.

More of my b&w photography

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ring Around the Valley

There are rides that leave me wanting more, and rides where I get my fill. Today was a nice, fulfilling ride. At the end I was ready to ride home. The route is a nice 150 mile loop ride around the Willamette valley. Ron and I ride out to Scio then up highway 226 to Camp Morrison Road and Hannah Bridge.
Hannah Bridge

Thomas Creek

We loop around some of the backroads in this area and as usual I  get us lost. I always seem to get lost when I'm on the motorcycle. Maybe I should rethink that GPS thing. Surrounded by foothills and creeks, there's really nowhere to go and eventually we find the right road (Jordan Rd) back to the highway.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Jordan Oregon

The route continues onto Kingston-Jordon Road and we start to wind our way back towards Stayton, and then Jefferson. Too hungry to stop, we continue past Ankeny wildlife refuge and ride on to lunch at Starduster Cafe at the Independence airport. Two other riders are there as well as the Sunday crowd. As expected lunch is delish', and we head out with tummys full.
Starduster Cafe

We ride out to King's Valley and mostly have the road to ourselves - perfect. Afternoon is getting on, and it's starting to get cold, so We turn off at Maxfield Creek Road and head back towards home. I don't think we could have come up with a better first ride for 2010.
King's Valley Community Church

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First Bicycle Ride for 2010

Today is our first bicycle ride of 2010. A little wet, but not too cold and no wind made for a pretty good ride around Corvallis. 25 miles more or less. The bike computer died, so that's the best estimate. 25 down, 1975 to go.

A kawi is parked at the start location. I've seen it here before, and I have to take it's picture. I never have to take pictures of cars or bicycles unless they're some kind of classic still on the road. But I'm compelled to shoot motorcycles. I wonder if other riders take pictures of mine? Maybe I should wash her now and then.

Since it's a short ride day, we decide to ride the tandem. Ron gets Kermit dusted off, aired up, and ready to go. It's also time to start my training using the G11 on the bike. It doesn't fit in my hand like the little fuji.
A few shots to the front.

A few to the back.

I'll need more practice before I take it to the Suzi.

It's fun to be back on the tandem, but I'm afraid it'll never again be our main bicycle. I can't relax on the back anymore. It seems like since I started riding motorcycles I have to be in control of my ride. I want to pick my own line. I've lost one thing (the joy of tandeming) but gained something else (motorcycling). It's not a bad thing. Just change, and that happens in life. Ron will probably enjoy the ride more without me on the back "giving instructions".
We lose Dennis who stopped to fix a flat. What starts out as a 5 minute fix turns into a 30 minute nightmare that included blood loss. No crashes, just a stubborn tire with a very tenacious bead. Being the dedicated riders that we are, we drop Dennis and head back to Corvallis and lunch at Old World Deli. Dennis drags in a half hour later, and after a beer and a brownie his ordeal has already morphed into the usual "harrowing war story" we all share and love.

Maybe tomorrow will be the first motorcycle ride for the year. The weather report is looking good!