Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some Oil, An Ocean, And a couple of Crocs

Life has been a whirlwind lately. No, not a reference to funnel clouds spotted around the valley of late. Just busy. We have extended family in town this week, some that we haven't seen in years. Our cousin Cheryl from Kansas wants to see the ocean. She'd seen it once years ago, but doesn't really remember it. So a family caravan to the coast is the plan for the day. But first the bikes need some maintenance.
We have the parts...

And we have my morning brew...

Giselle is first...and she makes a puddle on the floor. I've been told this is marking her territory. I guess she is the alpha-bike of the garage.

Sam is next. Do I look like I know what I'm doing? Ha! I don't even know how to use the tools. Ron talks me through everything....and loosens all the tough stuff.

Don't forget the oil!

The girls are ready and off we go to Albany. While waiting to meet up with everyone at Costco parking lot, I find a nice car to match the bike. Don't tell Sam but the Camaro would look really good in black!
 Four of us will be riding. Our nephew, Jason and his new bride, Julie will be riding as well as Ron and I. I'm not sure how, but I end up being elected ride leader. I don't want to be leader! I hate being leader!! I will gripe and whine to Ron at least once over the chatterbox.  Perhaps that explains my disconnected push-to-talk button on the return home.
First stop will be lunch at Izzy's in Newport.

I feel like we're being watched...

This little guy was quite the charmer. I took his picture. He disappeared only to return with his own camera! Oh this one will be trouble...big brown eyes, and a wicked sense of humor!
After lunch we make our way to South Beach. What a perfectly glorious day at the coast. It's warm; The  breeze is gentle; And there is blue in the sky. A few choose to lounge in the warm sand while the rest of us take a walk to the jetty. 
The return trip is just as nice. Ron swaps bikes with Jason with Julie for the ride home. Traffic is steady, but not too bad. We eventually catch up to Ron's dad, who had a head start and who we really don't want to follow. I hate passing , but I just can't keep riding at 54 mph, so I pass then wait for the others. It takes a bit for them to get around. 

Maybe I shouldn't have passed...

Maybe they're not going to pass...then they do.

I'll find out later that they loved passing  dad/grandpa. Our aunt and uncle were waving and smiling. Dad was all eyes on the road. I didn't consider it at the time, but Jason's mom was in the car. I hope I don't get in trouble for setting a poor example for my nephew.

When Ron and I arrive home we find a surprise on the porch. Santa FedEx has left a package.

At least one person might be happy to see these...
I can't believe I bought green shoes.
Cheryl enjoyed seeing the ocean :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Addition to the Family

Everyone is posting up their ride to work stories. I have none to post as I didn't go to work today or even ride. Still it has been an eventful day, following an eventful week past.  I'll share one of today's event as it cheers me up.

 What my youngest brought home today.
Did I ever say my kids were allowed to ride...I don't think so!

His cousin is a new rider this year too. It's  always scary to let  our children partake of risky activities, but I also believe risk is a part of life. Be smart, but don't hide from life. Still young men and motorcycles...

The ride...

So the boy has a new ride: 78 Honda CX500. It has a few things that need fixing before it's ready to roll, but basically it runs good and is in decent shape. I badgered him into signing up for a class. He said he planned to take the course anyway, I just wanted to be sure. :)

The rider...
 All tucked in with the fam
Yes I know...the garage needs a cleaning...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


That was the first clue that there was something other than rain falling from the sky. Maybe not the first clue. Plink, PLINK! There was that sheet of gloom that denotes falling precipitation. There was the giant water globs rolling down my visor. There was the standing water that made the road more suited to a kayak than a motorcycle. PLINK,  PLINK, PLINK, PLINK, PLINK!!! The other clues? Little white pebbles coming to rest on my sleeve and my gloves. The mesh ones - because it's practically summer so why not wear the mesh ones.

The hail doesn't pile up, but there are nice little streams of water running down the lane. Like a dependable horse, Sam is a sure footed little bike. She knows where to roll. She doesn't slip or shudder in the water. She doesn't hesitate. She simply follows the line that's laid out for her. Yes, a good bike. I should go give her a polish (except she disdains polishing). Perhaps some tender-lovin' chain maintenance instead.

So now I can add hail to my list of nasty stuff I've ridden in. I think I've covered everything except snow and ice.

No pics because the camera was in the tank bag slowly getting wet. 

No worries, it still's a pic from our walk this evening.
Nasty storms make nice puddles to reflect the pretty clouds that linger.

Note to self: get some armored might help with the hail hits...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Topcase and Stuff

 An aside...
After some consideration, I have decided to reopen my photography blog. If you have an interest in photography, please feel free to stop by. My goal is to have a place where I can focus on photography without photography taking over this spot. Now if we get some nice weather, maybe I can get a ride in to post about.

Ok, back to the subject at hand...
A couple weeks ago I added a topcase to the Ninja. I needed a way to carry things on my bike, and a backpack just doesn't cut it, so Sam got a new tail. My first worry was if I could see around that thing in the mirrors. Not a problem. I catch a small corner of the topcase, but that's it. The view to the back is no worse than it was before the installation. It's still tough to spot cops in those vibrating mirrors though.
I should mention the topcase came from Sears. Yep, I cheaped out. This is the larger size.  I had been told it would fit the Givi rack (FZ449), but we needed to add some bolt holes. Ron drilled out the plate to fit and it's ready to go.
So far it has stayed dry inside. It's been well tested in several major deluges and a few gentle showers.  I sure hope it will hold up in the sunshine. The key and latch can be a little cumbersome, but I don't know how it compares to better cases. If the case is full inside, the lid pushes upward, making it a two-hand job to open. If I turn the key past the unlock point, it remains locked. I have to find the sweet spot where it will release. All minor issues, but I thought I would mention them.
I can fit my helmet and jacket, or I can fit my jacket and riding pants. For work I carry a big bag of whatever I need that day, along with the camera and lunch. Works well. I just grab the bag and go.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


 f/5.6 • 1/250 sec • ISO-100
Rhododendron or azalea? I had to google it, since my definition is Rhododendrons have big leaves and azaleas have little leaves. Not exactly scientific. It turns out that all azaleas are Rhododendrons, but not all Rhododendrons are azaleas. Therefore I'll call it a Rhododendron and that covers everything. By the way, Rhododendron is hard to type!I don't want to type it anymore.

I processed this from the raw file. I don't really know what I'm doing in camera raw, so for now I'm winging it. In photoshop I converted to lab color and adjusted curves. The tutorial for curves/lab is here. I'm quite sure I went looking for some other tutorial and got sucked into this one instead. I wouldn't go looking for lab color on my own initiative. What can I say, it was interesting and different. I'm not yet sure what the advantages are. This was one of my first forays into lab color. I'm also trying to tone down my heavy-handed sharpening. There you have Rhododendron. See, I had to type it again. I'm quite done now.

Huh, look at that...Blogger has been updating. It has a new, improved, preview mode. Strange. I don't know what I think of it yet. Ok. I'm quite done this time...really!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My wildest commute yet.

The morning ride was spectacular. Yes, the roads were wet, but the rain had stopped and the clouds were gorgeously wild. I'm sporting a new helmet this week. It's the same model and brand as my last one, but this one seems quieter. I haven't puzzled out why this should be. Still the beautiful skies and a quiet ride made for a very peaceful morning. Too bad I had to go to work.

My afternoon commute was not spectacular. Well, maybe it was spectacular, but who could take the time to look around and see if it was so. It started out well enough. Grey and a little rain - big deal. It was quite windy though - great! Wind, my great nemesis. Yellow bike was back - wave, wave. I hadn't seen him for a couple months. Somewhere along Enchanted Way the storm hit. Rain and wind of a caliber that would rule out speeding. I was stuck behind a truck and trailer, so it was a moot issue. As a bonus, there was a cop sitting at the end of the road...and everyone was well under the limit.

There is a big S-curve after I turn onto the highway. Once past the curve, the wind and rain turned ferocious. I could see the wind whipping the rain through the valleys between the hills. At least it gave warning to brace for the push. The bad thing was in one valley it came from the west, in the next it was from the east. If I could peel my eyes off the road, I'd be looking for funnel clouds. I'm down to 40-48 mph, tucking behind the screen, hanging on with my knees and trying to keep hands and shoulders relaxed (yeah right).I don't know if any of this helps, but it feels like it helps. Did I ever mention how ridiculous it feels to tuck in when riding at a puny 40 mph? Fortunately the pick-up driver stuck behind me was a patient sort. By the time we pulled into Jefferson things had calmed down significantly. The rest of the ride was uneventful. No pics...the camera blew away. Nah, it didn't but I definitely wasn't going to pull it out and take pics on the fly today.

I'll probably ride tomorrow.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sunshine, High Water, and a Cop Encounter

Friday I went  to fill the tank on the Ninja. You know how that goes. You ride 20 miles to go to the gas station three blocks away. Somehow I found myself out of town along the river, so I went to check out the river level at the diversion dam. On my commute the day before I had noticed the river was up. Sure enough, the dam is practically submerged. It's rarely that high in winter, yet here it is in June.
 This is how it looked in April, closer to normal.

With sunshine putting in an appearance today we decided a ride was in order. Maybe it's a kayaker thing, but I wanted to go look at the rivers, specifically out by Buena Vista. We made our way through Jefferson and Ankeny Wildlife Refuge, then crossed the Willamette river at Independence. Sure enough I spot the first sign that says the Buena Vista ferry is closed. We ride down to the nearby boat dock to find this:

Can't imagine why they don't want to run the ferry across the river.
There is a boat dock under there somewhere.

On our return to Albany we pass an officer on the side the road. It takes a while but he finally pulls Ron over. I stop ahead and wait. I don't know if the officer was disappointed, we were about 5mph (indicated) under the speed limit. Maybe we were going too slow! Nope, nothing to do with the speed. Apparently nothing can be attached to a helmet. Not a chatterbox, camera, spike or even a sticker. Seriously a sticker? No ticket, he just thought we should know. :)
I carry my chatterbox in my tank bag and I left my spike at home, so I was a law abiding citizen this day. I wish I'd have thought to pull out the camera and snap a photo though. We finished the ride with a stop at The Beanery for a treat, and Ron took the time to call and order an extension cable for his chatterbox.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Future riders?

 I think perhaps a warning is in order. My son and my nephew want to ride, and have aspirations of being on the road this summer. These are scary times.
Actually, I'm jazzed. (Does that make me a bad mom?) My Sister-in-law (the other mom) is not so jazzed. Being that there is a a "new" motorcycle in her garage I think the secret is out. Both boys have received stern warnings that they will participate in rider training or face the wrath of mom. Mom times two that is.
This is my nephew and his new-to-him Honda 400. It's a project bike, but it's in pretty nice shape. It runs well enough to ride around the backyard, and that's about it. This may not be a bad thing for the time being.

My son doesn't have a bike yet, but he has something in mind. He likes cruisers...with ape hangers (Smack forehead with hand and sigh). Ah well, I'll be shopping anyway. Motorcycles are one of the few things I enjoy shopping for. For some odd reason he vetoed the Vespa I found on craigslist...