Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Modified Trips and Lines that Blow

So I went to Siletz this last Saturday. Here is my route.

My aunt has written a children's book and has donated a copy to the library in Siletz. Apparently, on the library's birthday, she also did a book signing.

The plan was to attend the 15 minute book signing and then wander over to the coast and get some clam chowder. I figured that I would know where to eat when I saw it.

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.

So I went through Corvallis, and then Philomath and finally Siletz. Philomath was doing some improvements on main street for a while and it looks like they have finished the project, so the streets are nice and flat. No potholes yet.

A short time after Philomath three motorcyclists merged onto the highway in front of me. They were a group of some kind because they each had a small yellow flag with a blue logo on it. The area that they came out of had a little store, so they must have stopped there for a short break.

So I gave them some space, but traffic slowed, and I kept moving up on them.

I am always mindful of another riders space behind them, because I know that some riders do not like to ride with people that they don't know.

I also know that new riders will sometimes try to join a group. So it was not my intention to join them, and I hope that they realized that.

Their ride took them to the town of Toledo and they turned off there.

Overall, it was a nice trip to Siletz. No really interesting things happened. Of course the speed was slower than normal, so it was easier to enjoy the scenery and the day.

The 15 minutes I had planned to spend in the library turned into an hour and a half, and was then followed by pizza at the local pizza place with a few of my relatives (I have a million and lots had shown up).

I had to leave the party early in order to make sure that I was not going to traveling the mountains in the dark.

It was on the way back I came to a rather difficult discovery.

My lines suck.

Meybee they blow.

Perhaps they bite.

In April I will be attending an ART class. That's Advance Rider Training. You get to take it when you get 12,000 miles experience.

I can just see the instructor in ART class telling me that my lines are bad:

"Hey, you on the red-headed-stepchild-of-a-motorcycle! Your lines are bad. Are you just riding randomly in the lane, or are you actually planning and scanning the road ahead?"

Perhaps the instructor will be more like what you see in boot camp:



These are my lines.
There are many like them,
but these lines are mine.

My lines without me are useless.
Without my lines, I am a cross on the side of the road.

So I guess I will be finding lots of twisty roads to practice my lines.



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A black sheep and the "cool" side of the corral

So last Saturday found me on my motorcycle.

It was a nice day and I just had to be on my motorcycle, so I picked a direction.

The direction that I picked was north.

So I went the back way on Scravel Hill to Jefferson and then north to Salem. (FYI, if you go this way, remember when you come up to the freeway, take the Enchanted Way road just before the freeway. Then you are not speeding along a freeway. When you do meet up with the freeway, there is this odd little sort of exit/merge thing that will allow to to get to Commercial Ave in Salem without actually getting onto the freeway. You cannot go south this way, however without actually getting on the freeway for a short mile.)

If you keep on Commercial and then turn left on the bridge to Dallas, you can turn off at Rickreal, and then go Corvallis.

It's a nice ride. There was a lot of motorcycle traffic before Salem, due to the fact that the roads were really not very well traveled.

After Salem, there was a lot of traffic and no motorcycle traffic.

The speed limit on the road from Salem to Corvallis was 55, but traffic really goes 65+. Probably why there was no motorcycle traffic.

The first time I was on the road, I was going from Corvallis to Salem, and was on my way to my 600 mile checkup for my motorcycle.

I had only 600 miles total experience with a motorcycle and really didn't want to be on the freeway just yet.

It turns out that I probably should have been on the freeway, because that road that day scared the crap out of me.

So anyhow, here is a map of my travels that day. There was a stop off in Corvallis for lunch at King Tin. Click here for the map.

Okay. Now, listen to this.

I get to work just before 8 to an usually an empty motorcycle parking area. It's a cool area that is enclosed with a railing, that makes it a kind of corral for motorcycles. It's also a bit further into the college than regular parking so motorcyclists get to park up closer than the others.

If I am running late then often there will be a motorcycle or two when I get there and I always park in the same place (I like predictable). The others will often be parked in the same places too, but we are scattered randomly around the corral.

When I return to my motorcycle at the end of the day, more than once, all the motorcycles are parked on the other side of the corral.

What am I, a red-headed stepchild?

Is my motorcycle the geek of the motorcycle world?

Look for yourself:

All the motorcycles are clearly on the OTHER side of the corral!

And then it hit me.

My side of the corral is the cool side of the corral.

See look for yourself, and drink in the coolness of the Rebel:

On the "cool" side of the corral, it goes Rebel, Rebel, Vulcan, Rebel.

The other side of the corral, had a Shadow and a sportbike (Sorry, not up on my sportbikes, so I don't know what kind it was.)

It's good to be me.



Friday, February 8, 2008

Lost and Found and Lost for Good

So the weather on Wednesday morning was not raining, but supposed to rain later in the day.

Good enough for me.

During work it rained:

The rainfall was rather light, so I planned to ride to church later that evening, and when the time came to go, I had dried out.

But I found that it had started raining a bit harder. Since it was going to be too much time and trouble to put the Rebel away, and that was going to make me late, so I rode.

It turns out that I should have drove anyway.

I was rather soaked. My wet pants even dripped into my socks, making my shoes squish when I walked.

By the time I got home, I was one giant puddle.

I think I caught a cold. I am still stuffed up a bit.

To top it all off, when I got to church, I found that one of my ears had come off.

This is what a helmet looks like with only one ear:

Happily, I found my ear on the deck on my way into the house (that would be silver lining in my puddle).

Here it is:

I can see that this new helmet is going to be hard on the ears. The graphics on the helmet create just enough of a difference between graphics that, combined with ordinary road dirt, is going to be tough on the ears (the seal with the suction cup).

I think that I am going to have to purchase a bunch more.

So Saturday, I watched the Space Shuttle dock with the International Space Station.

It was the kind of day that only motorcyclists appreciate.

The first nice day toward the end of winter. While the Space Shuttle docked on TV, I could see the blue sky peek out from behind the clouds.

The roads were dry, and finally, it was not cold.

I pulled the Rebel out of the garage and picked a direction after stopping for air and gas.

Unfortunately, just outside of town, I found that the reflection in my speedometer was shy an ear, and backtracking the path did not find my ear on the side of the road.

So I had to return home and get a new set.

Fortunately, I had tied the replacement ears and tail together with thread, because the suction cup on the new tail was slightly flawed and it kept coming off.

So headed out of town towards Brownsville, and then toward Coburg. Going through Coburg (slowly, because I hear that the local Police are pretty quick with the ticket book), and ended up in Eugene. Lunch was at IHOP:

On the way home I took the freeway. I like the freeway. Not as many distractions for the driver, so it's really not as dangerous as surface streets. It's just faster.

I got up to 75 miles per hour on the Rebel.

The semi truck in front of me moved to pass someone, and the semi truck in front of him went to pass the same person.

I decided that whatever prompted them to pass, was prompting me to pass too and I passed, what turned out to be a truck pulling a trailer.

When they returned to the right lane, I found a long line of semis effectively blocking my way.

So, I rolled on the throttle and passed a loooooooooong line of semis. There were probably 20 of them, and they were all in the right lane blocking me from merging over, and the traffic behind me was not letting me go my usual 65.

Eventually, there was a break in the trucks and I merged back into the right lane and let what turned out to be one car by.

One car.

I busted my butt for one car.

Oh well.

A link on Google Maps of my route. Click Here.