Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tire question?

Okay, this is less a blog post and more of a question. I found some cracks-slits in my tire that I'm worried  about. The first had a tiny stone embedded, but it came out easily enough, the other was a bigger slit I found close by. Both are in the thick part of the tread. I'm just wondering, is it normal for bike tires to get little slits like this? Is it safe?  I dunno if they're just surface nicks and nothing to worry about, or is the tire going to disintegrate as I roll merrily down the road??

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Follow that Bike

It's not often I get to view Sam from the seat in my cage. I'm sad to note that her glorious bright green barely shows from the back.
She keeps going...
And why am I following Sam (and Ron) on a ride around the countryside? There's a perfectly plausible reason. We wanted to know Sam's tank range. Ron is riding because I'm sure catastrophic events will occur when Sam runs out of fuel.

"What do I do when she quits?"

"What if she quits in  a curve?"

"What if I'm on a hill with no shoulder?"

"Oh, hand over the keys and go get in the car!"

Sam is on what passes for her reserve...the fuel gauge flashes when 3.9 quarts are left in the tank. Two days commute puts me at around 140 miles where I fill up. I think I've gone as far as 160 miles before filling. I am  sure we'll romp down the road for 20 or so miles where Sam will conk out on the side of the road. Wrong! We don't know it yet but she has 50 miles left in her.
...and going...
We keep extending the loop
...and going...
"Are we there yet?"
 Finally Sam gives up the ghost somewhere on Richardson Gap Drive. I haul out the gas can from the car. Ron and I chat and laugh at such a silly thing to your bike out of gas. A nice guy on a Harley circles back to check that everything is okay, probably wondering at the strange things kawi owners do. Thanks man, for checking on us.

Sam can go about 190 miles on a tank. It's a useful thing to know. Ron takes her on back home, and even fills her up before returning to her garage.
Pretty skies on my commute this morning
On another note, it dawned on me today that I have seen the sign of summer and didn't even recognize it when it detoured me from my usual route. Don't be put off by the grey skies, construction season is upon us. Some people call it summer.

The Commute Lately
Construction Solstice
This particular detour has left me distraught. They're flattening out my favorite "jump" on Scravel Hill Drive, the railroad crossing, or rather they're bring the intersection up to the level of the tracks.
Railroad crossing as of last winter.
 All right, it doesn't look like much, but Sam and I have a lot of fun going up over the tracks. Rubber has never left the pavement, but the suspension gets a little light, and we can imagine that we catch a little air. What can I say, I'm slightly delusional and easily entertained. Rumor has it that a similar crossing can be found in Turner.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Princess gets a Bath

I have been giving Ron more than his fair share of harassment with regards to The Princess and her baths. He really does have a method to his madness, something he heard from a coworker who rides.

How to wash The Princess in three easy steps:
Hey! I write this kind of, information at work all the time!

 1. Rinse the bike with water
2.  Spray with a mixture of Simple Green cleaner - don't let it dry.
Heavy duty, Industrial strength,  royal-sized, Princess sprayer.

Oh God, I hope I'm not next!
3. Rinse with water to remove soap.
The bugs just flow off the windshield!

(Okay four easy steps)...If you're so inclined, sponge off the shiny bits as not all dirt residue is removed by the three step process.

flowery, artsy, glam shot

It takes about 10 minutes to bathe The Princess. Ron has made it perfectly clear that if this didn't make things easier, The Princess wouldn't see soap and water for many long weeks...or months. I may even have to give it a go.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rain Again, Naturally

It starts out so promising, but alas it is not to be...a dry ride that is. In preparation for longer trips Ron and I decided it was time for a long ride. The absolute hardest thing about planning a trip is picking a route. So many options, which one to chose. I can fritter away whole weekends with indecisiveness. This weekend we come up with a plan, a trip to the coast, and we stick to it.

The route will take us out to the coast by way of highway 34 to Waldport, down the coast highway to Reedsport where we'll head inland on highway 38 to Drain. Returning north we'll take Territorial Road around the edge of Eugene, and then ride local roads toward home, a total of 277 miles, more or less. When I figure out the mileage later at home we'll realize this is our longest ride ever, most of it with the pitter-patter of raindrops on the face shield.

Fortunately we have a dry highway 34 to ourselves out to the coast. For those not local to the area, this is a great, curve filled, motorcycle road. At least this portion of the trip can be given the appropriate level of appreciation and use. The first raindrops hit us outside of Waldport, and the rain will stay with us for the rest of the day. Needless to say I have very few photos. I had planned the day as a blog post and wanted at least a few nice pics, but with the rain I don't even want to take the camera out of the bag.
No photos in Waldport. We take enough time to add the rain liners, gear back up and "get out of Dodge". It isn't long until we hit one of the few dry sections of the ride, through Yachats and the long climb up Cape Perpetua.
A dry patch
Cape Perpetua & Devil's churn
It's not possible to do justice to this route without photos. It's very pretty, even though much of it is highway miles, both routes through the mountains are beautiful. Gotta say, all this rain has made things extremely lush this year.

We stop for coffee and a snack at a little restaurant in Drain, Oregon. It's time to get out of the rain and take a little break from the saddle. We are accused of bringing the rain with us - guilty. We linger for awhile which is out of character for me. Something I only do on motorcycle, or maybe bicycle. I guess two wheeled travel makes one slow down at times.

Back on the road I miss my turn and end up on the freeway. I'm really going to have to give in and get a GPS. I'm tired of trying to find hidden roads, hoping I find the right route. We finally find our way to Territorial Road, which is another great road...if it isn't raining cats and dogs. One pucker moment on some loose gravel in a corner, but all is good, the tires stick.

We take one final break in Harrisburg. Just a moment to stretch and to fuss with Ron's heated jacket which has been working intermittently lately.
Willamette River in Harrisburg

Monday, June 6, 2011

Catching up with May

It's been a crazy spring - It didn't bother to show up this year. My blogger muse seems to have left me as well, and I've hardly posted anything. May started so well. We had the ABCD post, and a little later a new bike came home with us one afternoon. Then nothing. So let me catch up on the month...

Sam spent a week at the shop for some general maintenance and a new chain and sprockets. She is now ready to rock and roll. Emphasis on roll. Logistics of the week required Sam to hitch a ride home in Old Blue. Her first time being hauled anywhere. I'm not sure that she was pleased with this arrangement.
Ron and I took our first ride together with him on the Nighthawk. We went in search of the new Buena Vista ferry and found it in it's place on the river. It won't be running until later this summer, but it's good to see it where it belongs. River levels are still high. It would make a brisk trip in the kayaks.
Buena Vista Ferry
First ride together with the Nighthawk
In anticipation of moto-camping trips (or maybe a nice hotel, motorcycle trip), I've been messing around with packing the bike. I only rode around the neighborhood to see how carrying gear would be, but it still made me feel like a real motorcycle tourist. No that isn't all the gear I'd be carrying. :)
Tourist wannabe
Friday I took Sam for a ride (or she took me). First stop the diversion dam a few miles out of town. I needed to fuss with an earplug, and it's a good spot for a picture or two. Too bad I blew out the highlights in the water. Typical of me when I'm not paying attention to my camera settings. Some days I just want to point and shoot.
Diversion Dam, Santiam River
Afterwords it was off to the back roads of Sweet Home and Foster Reservoir. I was up that way a couple weeks ago, and water levels were still quite low. Surprisingly on this day the reservoir looks full and a few boats were bobbing in the water. How fast can a reservoir be filled anyway?
Foster Reservoir
Foster Reservoir - Blue skies, Unbelievable!
More back roads as I meander towards home. It's a short ride, maybe 65-70 miles, but I will need to rethink how my bike fits for longer rides. Problem is, I don't know that much about fitting a motorcycle. Bicycles, I know exactly what I need, but on Sam I'm not so sure. I scoot too far forward on the seat. I think this is in part because the handle bars are a long reach for me. What I end up with is painful sitbones from not parking my butt where it belongs, or a sore back from leaning and reaching forward. It's bothersome and I'm not sure how to fix it. Start changing stuff, and then you end up changing even more stuff to make the first stuff work. It can turn into a never ending nightmare.

Saturday Ron and I took up our other two-wheel mode of travel and did a short, quick bicycle ride with the club. They went on to do either a 55 or 70 mile route, but we cut it down to 30 miles. Made it home in time for lunch and an afternoon run to Eugene on the motorbikes. I think every motorcycle in the Willamette Valley was out on the road this weekend.
The Princess
Ron has decided he doesn't want a top case on the nighthawk. He doesn't want a rack, or side cases, cuz she's so purdy and all. He's also been given to excessive washing of the bike. We now call her the Princess as she appears to be slightly vain and high maintenance. We went to look at softbag options, but haven't found the right ones yet. Ron did come home with a tank bag. It's a start. The ride was fun and ended at Starbucks for smoothies.

It was a pleasure to sit and soak up the sun. It's not that we haven't sat outside already this year. Riding gear makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors even when cold, but how nice is it to hang your jacket on the back of your chair, and just feel the sunshine radiating warmth.

Sunday finished up with one more short ride. I needed to fill the gas tank, but first I had to empty it. A quick ride along country roads should do the trick.
Larwood Bridge. My month started here with the ABCD blog
 With the warm weather there are plenty of bugs to speckle the windscreen. I find a hitchhiker when I stop for gas. I saw this guy coming. He hit me and bounced off. I did a quick panic-brushing off my jacket, but I never noticed who was resting on my tank bag. He was there for most of the ride.
We arrive home and The Princess is dirty again, so out comes the soap. I think she had two baths this weekend. It's a sad thing to witness.