There's always a bit of trepidation when meeting someone face to face when all you've had previously is an online relationship. Sounds like an internet dating situation doesn't it? Truth be told, the thought pattern is similar. Will we hit it off? Will they be disappointed when they meet me? Will I be disappointed? Bobskoot has called me a legend. What will he think when he finds the legend is actually an ordinary guy with a very worn 'Stich and scruffy riding boots? I experienced this situation several times last weekend. I'm very pleased to say that we strengthened the friendships in each case.
I had to be in Klamath Falls on Saturday. It's not real far, somewhere around 220 miles SE of where I live. Our motorcycle safety program has a system to do quality control checks around the state. That was the reason for this trip. Having some work related customers in K Falls, I went down a couple of days early. The plan was to leave for Bend on Saturday afternoon and meet up with the traveling bloggers.
This would be a good time, since we're talking about spreading the love, to say that I have officially fallen in love with Elvira. You've already seen here about her cornering prowess. The road I took between Oakridge and Klamath Falls is pretty much arrow straight. Long open stretches that are sometimes obstructed by big trucks and recreational vehicles. Being stuck behind these rolling roadblocks isn't much fun when it's 91 degrees outside. ( I was going to translate that into metric for Bobskoot who insists we have to use that system, but I fnd I don't really care )
There are a large number of drivers who are still wondering what that black and yellow blur was that blew around them. Probably a swarm of killer bees. Yeah, that's it. I'm not going to incriminate myself. You have to love that motor. 'Nuff said.
O.I.T. is one of the end users I call on when I'm in town. You know how it is. We take pictures of our bikes near identifying objects. Don't know if we're marking our territory or proving we were there. Either way, Elvira was parked where you see her. I hate mid-day sunshine as it washes out everything. The sun was behind me so the polarizing filter wouldn't help. I'm standing across the entry drive from the bike adjusting the exposure compensation. Along comes two absolutely gorgeous college age blondes in a cyan blue convertible.
They offer to take my photo with the bike. I decline the offer, telling them the bike is the important thing, anyway. Waving, the two goddesses drive away. Only later, as I'm once again on the road in the brain baking heat, does the thought occur to me.
I have totally wasted an opportunity to benefit from the attentions of these two young women. I can hear Riepe groaning and slapping his ample forehead. Yes, Jack, your reputation has spread literally from coast to coast. I know what you would have done, my friend. Animals would still be flocking to the oasis in the desert caused by your drooling tongue hanging out, too.
All I can say is that I'm lucky to have a girl like Katie. Why eat hamburger out when you can have steak at home? Again, 'nuff said on that.
Thursday afternoon I get a call from Mrs. Conch. We talk for a minute or two. Then she hands the phone to the man himself. I'm actually talking to the famous author of Key West Diary. Turns out we will both be staying in K Falls Friday night. On Friday a text message comes in that says they are running a bit behind schedule. We had planned to meet for supper but that won't work. I send a text back telling Conch that I prefer drinks only for the first date, anyway. You know, just in case it soon becomes obvious things aren't working. You're not trapped as long.
Mrs. Conch replies that they have a bottle of wine for our first date. Turns out that San Francisco traffic is horrible and they won't be in town until really late. Talk about covering miles in a day! So our meeting will have to wait until breakfast Saturday. I recommend the Black Bear Diner which is next to their motel. Now it's official. A real date with a real time and place.
We've arranged for 7 AM. I show up a bit early and back Elvira into a spot next to the front door. Across the way I spot this big bear of a man doing something in the back of somebody's car. There's a blonde dog with him. It looks like the man's stealing dog food from the car to feed his dog. I'm tempted to call the local police. Until my gaze moves down the man's legs which are bare below the hem of his shorts. I spot pink crocs. My God, I've just had my first look at Conchscooter and his faithful four legged sidekick, Cheyenne.
Much to her disappointment, Cheyenne is deposited into the backseat of the car. Conch's wife, Layne, joins us for breakfast. Conch may have a differing opinion, but we hit it off right away. Both of them possess lively minds. Layne is a Saint, while Conch has a bit more of the devil in him. Which he proved by trying to get a photo of me stuffing food in my mouth. Years of developing aggressive scanning skills on a motorcycle proved useful. I believe I saw and foiled his attempts. We'll see when he catches up his blog.
The portions at the diner are huge. Both Conch and Layne were served bisquits with their meals. Both of them decided to save them for later. If they had a flat tire on the road, the bisquits were quite large enough to be used as wheel chocks. I went a different route and ordered ham and eggs. According to Conch the ham was half a pig.
We parted after a few photos were taken. Below is a picture of my well worn riding boot with the famous pink crocs from Key West. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit. We both had to move on to our next destinations. Mine to the motorcycle training range and Conch to a lunch meeting with Bobskoot. Don't know how that went. I just know they were both still alive afterwards.
Arriving in Bend, I checked into my motel room. I use this place often so the management knows me. I was given a big room which had a sofa and a kitchen. I'm not sure if the motel folks were being nice or not. Yes, it was a huge room. On the other hand, it was the room farthest away from the office.
Bobskoot and I exchanged text messages. Plans were up in the air for meeting. Finally, I got a text that said they had all decided to come to me.
First to arrive was Richard. We had all used the BMW Rally as the excuse to be in Bend. I think Richard is the only one who attended the rally. Next to arrive was Stacey and Stacey, along with Troubadour and Trobairitz. ( also known as Brad and Brandy ) As you can see, we had motorcycle parking in the shade in front of my room.
Bobskoot and Sonja showed up a bit later along with Bluekat ( aka Kari ) and Ron. Bluekat and Ron were staying at the same motel as me, so they parked over by their room. We offered Bobskoot and Sonja shaded parking with the rest of us. For some reason, Bob chose to park out in the sun. Perhaps his philosophy is the same as mine. A quick escape route open on the first date, just in case. Although, he is stripping his riding gear, so perhaps not so quick. Maybe he just likes restaurant dumpsters!
Once again, I took a photo of my scruffy riding boots beside a famous pair of crocs. These belong to Sonja.
What Stacey has now dubbed the 1st International Moto-Bloggers Convention was very unofficially called to order. I am delighted to have served as host. I have to say this was an extraordinarily nice gathering from my perspective. We were all just "us". Real people sprawled about the room telling stories and getting to know each other better. I had met Brad and Stacey ( Bolty ) before. The rest I was meeting in person for the first time.
Our meeting started a little after 5 PM. Time flew by as everyone kicked back and relaxed. Mention of supper was made several times. Everybody was so relaxed that nobody wanted to move. All of a sudden it was 8 PM. Stacey and Stacey decided they needed to leave for their night's lodging. Richard was headed to Corvallis. The rest of us decided on a restaurant close to the other hotel and departed for a late supper. It was 10:45 PM or so when I got back to my room. What a thoroughly wonderful time we had! I would rate our first gathering a smashing success.
The hotel parking lot was full of bikes. I counted 37. This is a very high ISO photo of the view from my room.
A plan had been made for the gang to meet for breakfast around 10ish ( heavy on the "ish" according to the Stacey's ) and ride back to the Valley together. Bob and Sonja were going to spend a few days on the Oregon Coast. For the rest, the Valley is home. I don't sleep much. 10 AM seemed really long to wait for. I have an old friend another 45 miles east whom I haven't seen in years. My plan was to go see him and the two of us would ride some more. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but did want to see my friend.
Here's a Can Am taking up my parking spot. I had to scrounge for a space by some other bikes. This is 4:45 AM with a flash. The ride with my friend was great and I arrived home late Sunday night.
Here's a photo of a mountain at 6 AM in the morning sun. I'm so used to looking east towards the mountain that it seems totally weird to look west and see them.
My friend and I got an early start. We successfully avoided deer encounters three times that we know of. Seems deer in this part of the state get a kick out of crossing the road in front of passing motorcyclists.
I hope we have another bloggers convention ahead of us. This one was awesome. Next time we all have to go to Key West!
Miles and smiles,