Thursday, January 19, 2006

Interesting vehicles and some misc. things.

Here is a link to a picture from our local newspaper. This shows Hwy. 34 just outside of Corvallis. This is what is causing the traffic back-up. Bear in mind that this is a four lane highway with a left turn lane. This road is used by thousands of commuters.

This front page may change but the flood picture is up right now.

Today I had to drive my truck. A contractor is coming down from a job in Washington and I'm meeting him farther North. He has cargo for us and I have to take a fresh load for him to haul back up. There's just no way to get that kind of thing on the bike! Honestly speaking, I'm kinda glad for the break. As much as I enjoy being on the bike the constant battle with wind and rain lately have me tired. It's been about three straight weeks of two-wheeled commuting. Things were just plain nasty this morning.

Since there's no ride to write about I thought I would share a couple of interesting other things.

I'm trying out a new set of in-helmet speakers for my portable CD player. I like to listen to the radio on the way to work and then listen to music on the way home. I find that some music actually seems to improve my timing and flow through corners. Oddly enough, the CD that seems to do best in that task is by Weird Al Yankovich. His "Food" album. If you don't know who he is, Al does parodies of other songs and the theme of this one is food. There's something about the beat, I guess. I'm careful to keep the volume down enough I don't miss traffic noises and stuff. There's a new little toy I'm playing with called a "Boostaroo" that is supposed to give you a little more volume and clarity without blasting yourself out. I read about this and the speakers in Motorcycle Consumer News. If you want to find out a little more about these leave a comment. The speakers are really good and quite reasonably priced.

You may have wondered why I am waiting for more daylight to ride my backroads home. I don't have any problem riding backroads in the dark. It's just that this particular set is open farm country. There's usually deer, flocks of wild turkeys, mud and rocks on the road from farm equipment, and so on. Better done in the light. According to my trusty Casio watch the official sunset is at 5 PM. Which means that I have about 20 minutes of daylight so far. Need a little more, I'm afraid. We're gaining a little each day so it won't be long, now.

Interesting vehicles can be seen on the road. Once, coming back from Southern Oregon, I passed the Oscar Meyer "Weiner Mobile". What a trip that rig is. If you look it up on an internet search engine you will find pictures. Yesterday I saw an old Cadillac. You know, the one with the squared off front and back ends. This guy had a big steel plate across the back of the car and a huge push bumper on the front. On the roof was a large replica of a rocket launcher. On the left and right side of the hood were fake machine guns with long barrels and complete with big cartridge holders. At least I hope they were all fake! Harmlessly acting out the fantasy we all have of how to deal with road hogs, I guess.

Early on in the ride yesterday I passed a Hummer. I couldn't help but think of the contrast between a driver in a Hummer and a person on a bike. I'm the picture of independence, doing my thing and not caring about "fitting in". Secure with who I am. Having fun while using less fuel and leaving a small "footprint" of my passage. What a polar opposite the Hummer driver is. This is my opinion only, but I feel that Hummer drivers are trying to overcompensate for some personal shortcoming, whatever that is. Hummers are one of the most socially irresponsible vehicles ever sold to the public. Gas hogs that leave huge "foot prints" of their passing.

God bless motorcyclists!


Gary Charpentier said...

Hello again. I had to comment because I have been arguing with myself about having music on my motorbikes.

My fear, born of many years riding vintage machinery, is that I will miss that sound that tells me a ride is about to end badly, and expensively, with a blown engine or some other malady.

But there is some music out there that just begs to be listened to while we are out on the road. My current favorites are "The Cadillac Hitmen".

This is an instrumental band, out of Maine, of all places, who play what can only be described as sixties surf guitar meets spaghetti western soundtrack. They call it "desert surf". Truly awesome stuff. I know they have a website, and google will take you there.

But I just can't get myself to rig my ride to play these tunes. So what do I do? I listen to the same song over and over before I go riding, so it will be echoing around inside my helmet as I roll on down the road.

As for Hummers... don't get me started! Better yet, I will tell you about it some other time.

Ride well,

CADman said...

just wanted to say thanks for the blog - good reading.

I commute year round on my BMW roadster. I enjoy reading about how other people equip for riding, hoping to pick up a good tip. Keep up the good work.

I know what you mean about those rural country roads. I live in rural West Georgia and commute 65 miles (shortest route) to downtown Atlanta. My ride has a lot of variety - country roads, highway, big city. As scary as the big city traffic is, the closest calls I've had is with wildlife on the country roads. My schedule usually has me getting home at 10pm or later.

Last night (around 1130pm)I got a close up but brief view of a fox crossing in front of me in a curve. (okay it could have been a dog, but fox sounds cooler, and it sure looked like a fox)I was lucky, if he had hesitated a fraction of a second I would have hit him.

Some of the other wildlife I have had the pleasure of a close up view of include buzzards, coons, armadillos, opossums, rabbits, and countless deer.

A couple weeks ago a dog caused me to run off the road launching off a small hill, finally I stopped just short of a lake. Again on a rural country road. The whole time I was picking up the pieces and putting my bike back in running condition I didn't see another person go by. If I had been hurt there is no telling how long I would have been there.

I have the most fun riding those rural routes, but they may wind up getting me in the end.

Oh well got to go see whats out there tonight. Didn't mean to write this much, sorry. Keep up the good work.

irondad said...


welcome to the site and thank's for the encouragement. I will go along with the "fox" thing as I have seen them as well as coyotes. Got into the middle of a group of buzzards once. Not going really fast, but thought I would give them a thrill. Miscalculated how long it takes them to get those heavy bodies up in the air and was not aware of the fact they like to "lighten the load" in the process.

Glad your off-road excursion ended well for you physically. Maybe you should carry a snorkel just in case!

Gary --- I will check out "The Cadillac Hitmen". Sounds right up my alley. Maybe the guy I saw in the old Cadillac and the machine guns was a "Cadillac Hitman".

Mad said...

I have a little flash memory MP3 player that I listen to on the ride to and from work sometimes. Riding with music can be pretty cool but my handy tip is: Don't listen to heavy stuff like Metallica it will make you ride like a lunatic. Since making that discovery I listen to gentle melodic stuff when I ride

irondad said...

I've thought about getting a mp3 player but have been worried that I won't be able to readily operate the controls with my gloved hands. That's why I use my portable CD player in the tank bag's map cover. I can quickly make adjustments without taking much concentration from riding. How does the mp3 work for you? Do you just set it and leave it?

Mad said...

Yep, I set it up with a playlist of my favourite tracks (or bung my current favourite album on it), get kitted up, hit play, put my gloves on and ride off. It works for me pretty well except at speed on quieter tracks, they can be almost drowned out. I need a pair of those nifty noise cancelling headphones. Maybe when I have a bit of spare cash.