Maybe it's just the mindset and not the actual motorcycle but I seem to have a much more interesting life while riding. Take yesterday, for example.
A trip to Portland was on the docket. Lloyd Center Mall is actually one of our customers. For some reason, Terry, the guy who takes care of their many doors, likes me. God only knows why. We don't sell directly to end users. The usual route would be for him to call a distributor. In this case I go meet with Terry and pass the information along to somebody else for the quote. I don't mind. How often do you get to go to a huge mall during working hours and be able to truthfully say it's for business?
Being the first of the month, it was time to mail a couple of checks off. So the day started with a trip to the post office. Since it was before hours, I parked Elvira and walked into the lobby without removing my helmet. As I exited the building and walked back toward the bike I saw this old guy coming my way. I immediately tensed up. I'd met him a couple of times before.
My first introduction to this guy happend at Bing's Restaurant in Lebanon. Katie loves the fake Chinese food thing. Me, not so much. I indulge her off and on. Love and all, you know. Anyway, we're sitting at a table when this old guy walks up to us. Uninvited.
"Does your wife call you 'Honey'?," he asked, pointing to Katie. Without waiting for me to answer he delivers the punch line.
"That's bee poop, you know?"
I don't suffer fools gladly. So I told him to go away. Maybe somebody else would be impressed with his totally imagined wit.
My second encounter was at the post office under similar circumstances. Only this time, I didn't have the helmet on while walking back to the bike. This guy must live close to the post office as he was coming up the sidewalk that time, too. The parking area is on the opposite side if you're trying to put the pieces together. Anyway, as I was standing by Elvira the guy started to talk to me again. It would seem his memory for faces isn't too good, either. He started to tell me something about how he used to ride a scooter. I gave him that cold, blank, stare that cops work so hard to master. The stare totally shut him down and I rode off.
So here we are again. For some reason I decided to let him talk a bit. Don't think I'm getting soft. It simply suited me, ok? Sure enough, he started in about how he used to ride a scooter. Sometime during the World War II years he said he rode a Vespa 125 on a route through Europe that covered 4800 miles or so. According to his story, at least. I told him I was only headed to Portland.
What struck me as interesting was his reaction. The weather was cold and foggy. 39 degrees ( f ) to be exact. The man seemed amazed I was riding that far in the cold. Interesting contrast for a guy who rode a 125cc scooter for a 4800 mile trip during war years. Anyway, I bid him goodbye and he gave me this huge smile and a big thumbs up. I really should change my ways and be accomodating more often, I guess. His day was brightened. I feel sorry for those folks so hungry for conversation or a human connection. Or perhaps it's just a need to talk about themselves. I notice that seems to be the agenda an awful lot of the time. The greeting is just a way to get started.
The trouble with riding in fog is that one never knows what kinds of things are going to appear out of the fog. These photos are examples of the kind of thing you really don't want showing up in your windshield.
This is serious! I'm in the fast lane of the freeway and this is filling my view. Here's another look.
Whew! It's in tow. What a relief! I was reminded of an important lesson. Thanks to a suggestion from Bobskoot, I have been carrying the G11 around my neck and under my jacket. Yes, these photos were taken through the windshield zoomed up close on the Canon. I was not as close as I looked. However, let me say this. Just because a rider CAN do something, doesn't mean they SHOULD!
The standard disclaimer about not trying this at home applies. Riding one handed down the freeway, following somewhat closely behind trucks, and fiddling with a camera can be more than some riders can handle! Leave it to us nut cases.
Once we got about 45 miles into our journey, the foggy beginning was rewarded by clearing skies. Fog gave way to sunshine. By the time I got to Portland, the sun was beaming steadily. Of course, it was localized to the Portland area. I encountered the reverse situation returning home. Not only did the fog not clear down south, but the rain came in, too. Luckily, the rain started 10 minutes after I parked Elvira.
I apologize, but I totally screwed up the exposure on this photo. The sun was shining brightly from the right. I should have changed the metering setting. I was more worried about getting a sharply focused shot. The point of the photo is to show the parking area. It is not a space set aside for motorcycle parking. As you can see, it's just a corner that can't really be used for cars. There is a pull in spot where the car on the left is and the same kind of spot just on the other side of Elvira. The two spots are at right angles to each other so the geometry requires that blank corner.
Terry introduced me to Randy, a security guard that has worked for the mall a long time. I asked Randy about this spot. Nobody has ever given me a citation for parking there but I just had to ask. Randy told me it was useless for cars so go for it. So I have official permission. I guess that's okay. I mean, there's a certain feel to it. Kind of like cast off property rather than being honored with a special parking spot for bikes. Personally, I don't care. This works for me.
There is a chance that a bike could get trapped depending on what type of vehicles parked in the end spots. Not to worry. I had scoped that out. If I turned left I could ride over the curb into the entryway. Hmmm, I wonder what Security would say if they saw me doing that?
The ride home was uneventful except for one incident. I hit the freeway because I needed to get to my laptop and take care of something. As you leave Portland headed south, the freeway goes up and over the Marquam bridge. Two lanes go to the left and head west. The two right lanes head to the right and then down and to the south. Starting to the left, call the lanes A,B,C, and D. I'm in the C lane. A woman in a car is in the B lane. The car seemed to have a bit of trouble getting up the slope of the bridge. Traffic was backed up behind her. She decides she really wants to go south instead of west.
So the woman right beside me decided to change lanes. Where I was. No harm, no foul, I look after myself. What cracked me up was the coincidental aspect of what kind of car it was. Any guesses?
A gold Prius! With a handicapped sticker, no less. The woman realized her mistake and swerved back into her lane, almost going too far to the left. Maybe I should be more careful in future about taking jabs at the Power of Prius. Who knows what kind of cosmic karma I'm messing with?
Miles and smiles,