Monday, November 30, 2009

For Dom!

Just pulled the latest issue of Cycle World Magazine out of the maibox. First I was drawn to the short article about the new 1200cc Honda VFR. Then I looked at the last page. You can guess whom I thought of right off the bat!

Sometimes you wonder what's buzzing around in somebody's head, don't you? Not that he would do this kind of thing, of course. Still, none of us in this blogosphere are totally sane. Just sayin'!

Miles and smiles,


Friday, November 27, 2009

Tell it like it is.

One of these days I'm going to open my mouth and really offend someone. Oh wait, I've already done that. Several times. Sometimes you just have to tell it like it is.

This particular incident started innocently enough. Work required me to be in Tualatin, a suburb of Portland. There's a new library and city hall building. It has a lot of our products in it. The owner has taken occupancy. Once in while there are teething pains as things settle in. That's where I come in. I'm Joe Handy and I ride a motorcycle. ( sorry, I still remember Dragnet )

In what can only be described as God smiling on motorcyclists, there has been a few days of great weather for late November. The afternoon highs are in the mid 50's ( f ). I'll ride in any weather but sunshine's always nice.

Elvira and I arrive at our destination. Parking is weird and crowded. In order to back the bike into a parking spot I chose to, shall we say, violate the traffic flow as prescribed by signs and arrows. Right in front of a cop car pulling out from behind City Hall. Not literally right in front of, but in full view of the officer. On a public street so I'm fair game. I escape unmolested. The sunshine has everyone in a good mood, I guess. Well, almost everyone.

As I'm dismounting an older man walks by the bike. He looks like a retired sailor. He has a well trimmed white beard which blends into his white t-shirt. The shirt looks like the "wife-beater" type but has short sleeves. Tan slacks top bedroom slippers. The kind with hard soles that you can wear outside to get the mail. Or to the library, it seems.

The man is full of admiration for the bike.

"I thought that idle sounded different than a car", he says. "What a pretty bike!"

Elvira and I let the "pretty" part go. The guy meant well. I'm just not sure that Elvira is the kind of bike that wants to be called "pretty". She'll eat up being called beautiful. The "pretty" part is a little "girlie" for her, though.

The guy keeps walking up to the library, but very slowly. The man doesn't try to engage me in conversation like so many do. He's just taking in the bike. I agree. Elvira's a lovely thing, isn't she? Elvira thinks so too. I kicked her tire to bring her back to reality. She so easily gets lost in the adulation of others. Maybe I shouldn't have transferred the vanity plate to her.

Having been bitten by the photography bug, I play around with the camera. I've brought both the Nikon and the new toy which I'll tell you about in the next post. I'm working on technique. Mostly getting the camera to do what I ask it to do without using the automatic settings.

The Givi trunk makes a great mobile tool box. I've brought a few tools along for my task today. As you can see, magnifying reading glasses are starting to become an essential for close-up work. Unfortunately. I thought I would be Superman forever. What a disappointment.

In the process of playing with the camera for a few minutes, I take a couple of photos. The objective is to see what different aperature settings do for depth of field. I don't know that a couple of people in the photos will figure prominently into my morning in just a few minutes. More on that in just a bit.

I've been told very pointedly that I MUST check in with the library personnel before taking a door apart. Understandable in this day and age of the fear of terrorism frenzy. The advice is useful since I am within a few feet of a place where armed police officers hang out. No point in upsetting the apple cart no matter how much of a rebel I consider myself. So I enter the library and go find someone. The closest place is the Help Desk just inside the inner set of doors. With a business card in one hand and an upside down helmet full of small tools in the other, I wait patiently to talk to the lady at the desk. You see, somebody else has beaten me to the desk.

If you look at the photo above you will see a man on the right in a sort of two toned colored jacket. To the left is a young man in white pants. When I took the photo I wondered about this group at the front doors. By my reckoning the library should have been open for ten minutes or so. These two people are the ones ahead of me at the Help Desk.

The young man has some challenges. His brain and his body aren't in total synch. I feel that way myself sometimes, truth be told. Must be the occasional stray Kryptonite particle floating about. Anyway, the young man's body movements are jerky and his speech is pretty garbled. The older guy is at the Help Desk with the young man. There is a clipboard with a sheet of paper on it in the older guy's hands. He is making notes as things progress. Or, in this case, don't progress.

"Can you ask the lady where the bathrooms are?" says the older guy to the young man. The young man eagerly points into the large vestibule where the bathrooms are located.

"No! Can you ask the LADY where the bathrooms are?" asks the old guy again. The lady at the Help Desk, bless her heart, assumes an encouraging look on her face with a warm and friendly smile.

Again, the young man points to the bathrooms. Again, he is called to task.

"No! I said 'Can you ask the LADY where the bathrooms are?'" There is a little more agitation in the man's voice now. One more time the young smiles and points to the restroom.

Those who know me can guess what happens next. Katie says I should learn to be less shy. She also says I have a wicked sense of humor and enjoy messing with people. My riding students who love me for being so kind and patient wouldn't recognize me in real life, she says. I've tried to wait patiently but my "this is so stupid" meter has pegged out.

"You know, your pupil might be more motivated if he didn't think the exercise was such a tremendous waste of time", I say to Clipboard Guy.

He looks at me like he's just seen a big, nasty, bug but is afraid to come close enough to squish it. Help Desk Lady looks at me like this could be fun. The young man looks at me, too. I see a spark of intelligence in his eyes. I'm pretty sure he knows what I'm saying.

"What do you mean?" inquires Clipboard Guy. I get the feeling he's not really wanting to know what I'm thinking. He's setting the stage to skewer me with his sword of Superior Intelligence.

"Well, it's obvious the young man already knows where the bathrooms are. He's probably wondering why on earth you're making him ask something he already knows the answer to," I counter.

Clipboard Guy motions to his clipboard, oddly enough. He's been making some sort of note every time the young man points to the bathroom instead of asking the question of the Help Desk Lady.

"This is a program designed by people with more intelligence than you", he says. "A lot more intelligence and with degrees in Behavioural Development. We need to follow the program". Now he's starting to get that satisfied look like he's about to deliver the death blow to the Heathen who dared question him.

He doesn't expect the Heathen to fail to be cowed by his obviously superior position. So The Heathen opens his mouth one more time.

"Well, it's true I only have a helmet full of tools and no Sociology degree handy. What I do have, though, is a Master's Degree in Human Nature. I know a thing or two about teaching and motivating people. It seems to me like things work out a lot better when the students understand the goal of the exercise and it actually means something to them. I'd suggest you quit hiding behind that clipboard for a bit and get to know the young man. Do you have any idea of what he likes or what might interest him? I know it sounds crazy but you'd probably be more effective if you took a bit to time to find these things out."

This time Clipboard Guy has a look on his face like he just tasted the most sour thing on Earth. All of the muscles around his mouth are contracted. He's in a sort of a bind. I get the feeling he doesn't know if I meant I have a real degree or if it was just a figure of speech. The young man is patting me on the shoulder while he studies my face. Don't know for sure why, but the timing is right. Help Desk Lady has this interesting look on her face, too. Only hers can better be described as glee. She's a working person like me. I have a feeling she's dealt with Clipboard Guy before and doesn't exactly have the warmest feelings for him.

It's a sort of no-win situation for Clipboard Guy. He knows he's not going to intimidate me. He doesn't want to look bad in front of the Help Desk Lady. Coming to the library with his clients is probably a frequent occurence. Ok, maybe not anymore for Clipboard Guy after this. He musters whatever superiority he can and motions to the young man.

"Let's go over there and look for some books" is his exit line. He and the young man go to the other side of the library.

Personally, I don't consider it any sort of victory. All I ever wanted to do in the first place is to get his ass out of the way so I could officially "check in" and do what I came to do.

Once I was finished and returned to Elvira, I put the tools away and started to zip my jacket. A lady was rolling by in her car as she exited the parking lot.

"Better bundle up good!" she shouts.

Heck, it's up to fifty degrees already. Even with wind chill factored in, that's above freezing. It's going to be a glorious ride into Northeast Portland where my next stop is located!

Miles and smiles,


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hi-Viz for horses?

It seems that Hi Viz isn't just for motorcyclists these days.

On a recent ride home I took the long way through farm country. This horse caught my eye. After all, isn't that the purpose of Hi Viz?

Although the horse is falling down in half of his basic strategy. We teach that motorcyclists should work at "seeing" as well as "being seen". The horse has the "being seen" part down quite well. However, no matter how I tried, the horse would not look up from the ground. His scanning skills still need some work, it seems. You never know when a stray mountain lion might be lurking about, you know. Or some guy living a cowboy fantasy and showing up with a branding iron!

Miles and smiles,


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where does it go?

In my last post I wrote about using a motorcycle as everyday transportation. The same as if I chose a car or truck. In other words, the bike is as much a part of getting me from place to place as a car is for most people.

I do have to admit, though, that there are some fun differences. There's something I do when riding that I seldom do when in a car. That's checking out where a road goes. Just for the sheer heck of riding. I'm always checking out roads then filing them in my mental map system. I've gotten to the point over the years where I can take off for a few hours of riding and string all these roads together. Never coming close to a main road and never backtracking. Unless,of course, a road's so awesome I want to go ride it over and over.

One thing I've never done is set out in the car to do the same thing. Have you ever noticed that something that seems to be such a chore in a car is so much fun on a bike? Just another item in a long list of reasons to ride, I guess!

Miles and smiles,


Friday, November 20, 2009

Lunch with Orin

I had lunch with Orin on Wednesday. As you may already know, Orin is a fellow blogger, authoring Scootin' Old Skool. Orin is living in Portland these days, having transplanted from Seattle. If you've followed his blog you know Orin's endured a string of events lately that haven't exactly gone in his favor.

Orin recently underwent surgery to amputate part of his right foot. This, too, he wrote about on his blog and you can read about it there. Orin hasn't been able to ride the scooter, mostly because he says he can't successfully put the bike on the centerstand. It's tricky using the ball of your foot when you no longer have one. Give him time; Orin will figure it all out. In the meantime, that's where I came into the picture.

The two of us had never actually met in person. I figured this was a good excuse. Bear with me a minute while I take a very short detour.

Sharon over at Sojourner's Moto Tales just did a post wherein she expressed her frustration with people who tell you that things could be worse. Like that's supposed to make you feel a whole lot better about the bad crap happening to you. I share her sentiments for the most part, but in some instances I think it might actually help. Thus I found myself walking up the sidewalk to knock on the door of Orin's house.

After becoming unwillingly unemployed and homeless, having to relocate to a different city, and having your foot operated on to make it look like a chimichanga ( Orin's words ) things have to be looking just a bit depressing. These are just the highlights. Not to mention the not being able to ride part.

So I figured, what the heck? Having to endure lunch with me would surely make the other things look a little less bad in comparison for Orin. I mean,it's worth a shot, right?

Seriously, though, I enjoyed Orin's company. Don't tell Orin this, but I actually came away with a few new things to think about. More accurately, I was reminded of something really important. Something I've tried to get across in this blog. I know, I know, when will I get to the point?

Orin is a very intelligent man. He and I conversed on a wide range of subjects. Some had to do with motorcycles, of course. We talked about other things like articulated buses, life in a condo, how the health care system in the U.S. compares to that of other countries, the gentrification of older sections of cities, and so on. We also discussed how society wants to put themselves and others into convenient "slots", complete with labels. In particular, in the motorcycling world. You just knew we'd get back to that subject, didn't you?

The point is, a lot of folks use motorcycle brands to build their identity upon. I'm not really going to comment on that here. What I'm taking away with me is the renewed appreciation of just how multi-dimensional those of us in this blogger neighborhood are. Sure, motorcycles are a large part of our lives. We mostly write about riding on our blogs. Except for Conchscooter, who writes about whatever he bloody well feels like. Which I appreciate, by the way. Even at that, a motorcycle is the vehicle from which he observes all these things he writes about.

Focus on the words "a part of our lives". That's in contrast to being the sum total of our lives. Orin and I talked about how we don't live and die by the brand of bike we ride. If we find ourselves without a bike for whatever reason, so be it. That doesn't lessen at all who we are. A bike serves us, not the other way around.

That's the point of my blog. A motorcycle is everyday transportation. I can leave my house and pick any of several means of conveyance. Car, truck, or bike. Of course, the bike's obviously the most fun and fulfilling, but any one of them will serve the purpose. My motorcycle is woven into the fabric of my life just like a car is for most people. I don't put on the bike and gear as a costume to make me fit into some "lifestyle". Riding is a way of life. There's a distinct difference. My hope is that as many people as possible are able to experience the same thing.

Today Orin is going in to get the stitches removed from his foot. Hopefully everything will go fine and the other nagging issues will heal as well. We'll look forward to reading about the journey back to riding on his blog.

Thanks for the chance to meet you, Orin. I enjoyed it immensely!

Miles and smiles,


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Avoiding the Ambush ( Part II )

Occasionally the conversation did turn to the subject of training techniques for motorcycle riders. TEAM OREGON recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, and has some 160 instructors at more than 20 sites around the state both preparing future motorcyclists to go out on the road and teaching current motorcyclists how to improve their riding skills. They offer several stages of instruction, from the basic, to the returning rider, to advanced instruction in cornering and braking skills, and most important, avoidance maneuvers.

As Bob ( who put in his time in the army ) says, going out on a motorcycle can be compared to being the lead guy on a patrol, where you want to avoid getting ambushed. The point man is looking for tell-tale signs, like a suspicious object on a trail which might be a command-detonated mine, or a narrow alley where enemies on the rooftops can toss down grenades and bring a withering hail of firepower to bear.

The same can be said for a motorcyclist. You can be ambushed in traffic by left-turning motorists, or out in the countryside by entering a decreasing-radius turn at too high a speed. The idea is that a well-trained rider will anticipate the possibility that the oncoming Buick just might turn left---since drivers have been known to turn left in front of motorcycles as well as in front of semis. Those motorists out there are "the enemy," although unintentionally, and they might suffer poor vision, or be distracted by sending a text message, or just be oblivious to what is happening around them. As far as rounding that curve goes, road signs should have warned you of recommended speeds, and if you missed those, just the fast disappearing asphalt should tell the aware rider it past time to slow down.

Nobody in the motorcycle business is unaware that riding a motorcycle is a heckuva lot more hazardous than driving a car. There aren't many fender-benders in the world of motorcycling; an accident happens, whether it is hitting another vehicle or running off the road, and there are no air bags ( except on one model ) to protect you.

Here are some depressing statistics. Motorcycle registrations are about 3 percent of the total vehicle population in this country, but we suffer 12 or more percent of the fatalities. You can attribute that to any number of things, from daring young kids overloaded with testosterone, to elderly folk with poor vision and poorer reaction times. Half the motorcycle fatalities are single-vehicle accidents, which means that the only person at fault was the rider. And of the remaining 50 percent, surveys have found that in half of those accidents the motorcyclist was wholly or partially at fault.

To Oregon's great credit, the state has the lowest motorcycle death rate in the country, about half of the national average, based as a percentile of the total motorcycle registrations. That certainly deserves a cheer. And TEAM OREGON is working hard to diminish that number even further.

One of T.O.'s mottos is: "Expert riders use expert mental skills to avoid having to use their expert physical skills." Steve and Bob feel that the real danger comes from the motorcyclist being so concerned with him- or her - self that he or she fails to see the bigger picture, the possibility of an ambush ahead. If the soldier is concentrating on where he puts his feet, he won't see a movement in the foliage a hundred feet ahead, a head ducking down from a window. Or the motorcyclist with a narrow vision outlook won't spot the soccer-dad in the van leaning back to yell at his kid and missing a stop sign, or the sand kicked on to the pavement by a trailer's wheels as it rounded a country corner. As Bob says, "If you ride into an ambush there is no question that you're going to get hurt---the only question is whether or not you're going to survive."

A rider tends to go where he looks: target fixation---you see a rock in the road, you stare at it, you hit it. The idea is to look around, see what is happening everywhere, not focus too intently on one target. Expand your horizons, don't just stare at the road right in front of the motorcycle.

The Oregon people are doing constant research, like the study they just began with a federal grant that will allow them to find out where motorcyclists actually look while going down the street or road. The technology involved is extremely sophisticated and it will be a three year study. Nobody knows what the conclusions will be, but if it results in something that will help instructors teach students how to avoid that ambush, all well and good.

Anyway, it was a great 20th anniversary. I'll let Sue surprise me again for the 25th.

( end of article )

Again, my deepest appreciation to Clement for granting me permission to reproduce this article. I hope you find it as thought provoking and helpful as I did.

Miles and smiles,


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Avoiding the Ambush ( Part I )

I have had the privilege of training riders for a good part of my life, now. I have been riding for as long as I literally can remember. You've seen my passion for training and sharing riding knowledge spill out in this blog. I've seen thousands of students in my classes and interacted with many more riders in other venues. Still, though, my reach has been fairly limited, relatively speaking.

In contrast, a person who has had an influence over a great many more riders than I is Clement Salvadori. You've probably heard of him. Clement has been a regular contributor and columnist for Rider Magazine since 1988, if the official bio is to be believed. He's also famous for his ever present beret! Rider Magazine hasn't been the total extent of Clement's works. What I've always appreciated about his writing is that, despite being technically proficient, Clement always sees the humanity in situations. Clement has a book out that is a compilation of his Rider Magazine columns. His column is entitled "Road tales". Fittingly, the book is called "101 Road Tales".

Earlier this year, Clement and his wife Sue visited Oregon. It was a central location for a gathering of old friends. Of course, riding figured into things. Clement is an ST1100 fan like me which is another reason to like him! I'm not sure what he rode up here to Oregon.

Clement wrote about his trip to Oregon in his October, 2009 column in Rider Magazine. What I really appreciated was the comment about improving rider skills. I've written about the difference between riders with one year's experience repeated over and over and those who actually build skills to ever increasing levels. The column also deals with rider responsibility. It's our task to find information early and use it to our advantage. We can't just let things come to us.

I sent Clement an e-mail asking his permission to reproduce the column here on the blog. Clem graciously granted me that permission. Due to space considerations, I'm going to split it into two parts. What follows are Mr. Salvadori's words. Here is the part that sets the stage.

Avoiding the Ambush

Some riders go 100,000 miles and never learn anything new, just repeating habits, while others are constantly seeking to improve their motorcycling skills.

Our 20th anniversary was coming up, and gracefully I asked Sue what she might like to do to celebrate the occasion. I was thinking along the lines of a candlelit dinner at Chez Panisse, but she had other thoughts. "Let's go to Oregon," she said.

No complaint from me, as western Oregon in the spring is a delightful place to ride motorcycles, the countryside as green as emeralds. The Coast Range and the Cascade Range offer thousands of miles of great road, where traffic is light and the pavement smooth.

Also, we have good friends, Bob and Jann, who moved up to Corvallis last year, home to Oregon State University, which operates TEAM OREGON, the state-run motorcycle training program. Bob is now on the team, and we've also known Steve, the team captain, for 20 or more years. Plus other friends would come down from Seattle, and it promised to become a great party.

It rained like Noah's Great Deluge the first day on the way up, but then the clouds went off to soak other places and we had blue skies for the next week. We could not ask for prettier riding, with tall peaks in the Cascades still covered with snow, the valleys abloom with flowers. True, we did run into the occasional snow-blocked forest-service road at higher altitudes, but all that meant was a good run back to the nearest alternate route.

And food! It appears that the culinary arts amongst our friends are in great shape, who vied with each other to impress us, and we dined on deliciousness like chicken marsala with pesto spaghettini, or oysters with ahi tuna. As well as a BLT at Portland's biker bar and grill, Kelly's Olympian.

( to be continued )

Miles and smiles,


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Something to fill space

I figured I should come back and pay some attention to the blog! Actually, I've been working on something but it has taken a bit of time to get the pieces in place.

In the meantime, I read a post over at Scooter in the Sticks. Steve's been playing with taking and posting photos by means of an iPhone. Some of the photos aren't up to the high standards he's set. Readers seem to be calling Steve to task about it. Hmmm, spoiled, aren't we? In the meantime, folks like me are happy just to get a good photo once in a while. I'm certainly not suffering from the same dilemma as Steve. Maybe being blissfully average in some things has its advantages, eh?
I have my own struggles with photos. It's been an amazingly fun and rewarding journey as I follow the sound of my electronically enhanced shutter. Like folks learning to ride a motorcycle with proficiency, there's so many things to blend into the recipe. There's this point where you know the individual elements. However, while concentrating on one thing, we forget about the others. Here's an example.

You've seen a picture like this before. I recently had lunch with Mike. He took some photos of our bikes and put them in a post about our lunch. Here's a similar view of the bikes from my camera.

Interestingly, we both took photos of our bikes with what you might call an "artistic" rendition. If you look at Mike's post there's a shot of the front of our two bikes taken from one side. Mike commented how we both had the same model of Givi tail trunk on our bikes. I had this great idea for my own "artistic" photo. My shot is from the same side of the bikes but focuses on the trunks instead of the front half of the bikes.

So I'm all involved in setting up the shot. I want the picture to sort of flow across from left to right. I'm working on getting the relationship between the two Givi cases just right. All that "rule of thirds" stuff is bouncing around in my head. I like the way the saddlebag on Mike's bike sort of adds a neat accent between the tail trunks. The saddlebag is located somewhere near the lower right crosshair of the grid marking the thirds. By the way, there are rain drops on our trunks. It was rainy and windy but the two of us braved the elements! Although I do have to admit that we were cozy inside Subway when the worst of the rain drenched the world.

Most of the shot turned out how I wanted. It was only after uploading it to the computer that I noticed the Burger King sign and the parked car right behind the bikes. I cropped out most of the sign. Now there's just a blue pole that's not too intrusive. I don't think I could have found a workable angle to get the trunks just right without the car in the background. Maybe a lot of work with Photoshop, I suppose,

If I was really thinking at the time I took the photo, I could have adjusted the aperature setting to kind of blur the background more. Did I think of it then? I think the answer is obvious!

Hopefully I will one day look back on these kinds of things and laugh at my own ineptitude. Come to think of it, I'm laughing along with you all right now! I didn't start out as a professional motorcycle rider, either, you know. These days I figure I'm pretty good. Maybe the same will hold true for my photography skills. I'll just keep learning and practicing.

In the meantime, though, aaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhh!!!!!!

Stay tuned for a couple of posts about avoiding ambushes. It will be material from a writer much more famous than me!

Miles and smiles,


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Love me, love my bike!

One of the reasons I started this blog was to promote riding as, not only fun, but as everyday transportation. At least, as much as possible. Sometimes the things or people we need to transport preclude two wheels. Other times the weather conditions prevent riding safely. Yes, I sometimes ride in "dicey" traction conditions. I'm not encouraging anyone else to do that. There are times I choose to do so. That's just me. At the same time, I'm always aware of limits and stay within them.

In accord with the sentiment in the poster above, most of my business travel is now done on two wheels. ( By the way, thanks again to Stacy who stiched two pictures together for me to make a whole poster ) I have the full blessing of the guy who signs my paychecks. Farther down I've shared an e-mail exchange between the boss and I that illustrates the situation

The goal has been to make riding so much a part of my life that when people think of me they think of motorcycles. I've made this statement in the blog before. It's who I am, it's what I do. More specifically, I want to be thought of as someone who uses a bike for primary transportation. It's been pretty successful so far.

There are some foks, however, who for various reasons have prejudices against people who ride. I don't need to go into it here. We all have our own examples of those who represent us in a less than favorable light. Sometimes people have fears and prejudices that aren't anyone else's fault. Just a bad experience in an earlier time can be a reason. So why am I bringing this up here?

It's pertinent to the post. We recently came under the guidance of a new Regional Director in our corporate world. He has responsibility for everything West of the Rockies. We are being summoned to Kirkland in December to get introduced. Thus my inquiry.

I didn't want to cause a problem for my boss by just showing up on the bike. Yes, I could just force the situation. Sometimes there's a place for diplomacy. I'm pleased to report, as you can see, that the bike and I are considered a package. Here is the e-mail string. The most recent message is first so you'll have to start at the bottom. I've deleted the actual e-mail addresses in the interest of preventing spam opportunities. Not because I don't trust you all!

From: "Dana Murray"
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 10:21:42 -0800
To: Dan Bateman
Subject: RE: Bob Brust

No problem “Easy Rider”

R Dana Murray AHC, Principal
Door Security Solutions PNW
Pro-Spec Agency
Kirkland, WA

This message (including any attachments) contains confidential information intended for a specific individual and purpose, and is protected by law. If you are not the intended recipient, you should delete this message and are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, or distribution of this message, or the taking of any action based on it, is strictly prohibited.

From: danb@********* [mailto:danb@*****] Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 9:40 AMTo: Dana Murray

Subject: Re: Bob Brust

Not sure that I will, depending on snow and ice, but will anyone be offended if I ride the bike up? Don't want to give Bob Brush a negative perception.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

From: "Dana Murray"

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 08:36:09 -0800
To: ( dan's note: the list of the whole gang )

Subject: Bob Brust

RE: Meet and Greet

To All

Meeting on Dec 16th in Kirkland to meet and greet with Bob Brust.
Please make arrangements to be here that day.

R Dana Murray AHC, Principal
Door Security Solutions PNW
Pro-Spec Agency
Kirkland, WA

This message (including any attachments) contains confidential information intended for a specific individual and purpose, and is protected by law. If you are not the intended recipient, you should delete this message and are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, or distribution of this message, or the taking of any action based on it, is strictly prohibited.

So like I say, love me love my bike!

Miles and smiles,


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remember, Contemplate, Appreciate

Work for a world where mutual respect rules our conduct. One where we can either understand each other or agree to disagree without violence. May the world leaders find ways to co-exist peaceably. Until then, may those who answer the call and their families be blessed. All who have served and serve today have our deepest gratitude. Thank you.

Miles and smiles,

Friday, November 06, 2009

That hemmed in feeling.

Do you ever get that David and Goliath feeling? I went to a construction related meeting yesterday morning in Lebanon. My first impression was of being Gulliver amongst the Brobdingnagians. What? Do you think all I do is ride motorcycles? Gulliver's Travels is more than just a fanciful story, by the way. The book is actually a clever satire by Jonathan Swift aimed at the English aristocracy.

There's a large project breaking ground across from Lebanon Hospital. It will be a teaching facility that should encompass 24 buildings if the Master Plan actually comes to fruition.
A pre-bid meeting for general contractors and sub contractors was being conducted. There were over a hundred people at this meeting. I swear every one of them drove either a pickup or big SUV.

I'd watched a driver in one of those trucks with four doors and a full size bed try to parallel park in the space I am in. Of course, that was BEFORE I took the space, fortunately. As you can see, the driver didn't have any success. Big surprise. Kind of like trying to park a Greyhound in a doghouse. Greyhound bus, that is.

After getting settled and upon entering the conference room, I was also the only one in Hi Viz and packing a helmet. Yeah, I stuck out like, well, someone wearing Hi Viz and packing a helmet.

I decided that the David and Goliath picture was more accurate. No matter how big you are, never underestimate small, fast, and powerful!

With all this talk of LEEDS ( recycled content ) and "green" buildings, maybe they should start with the contractors' vehicles.

There is more than one group that uses their vehicles to be profilers, it seems. Granted, some trucks actually get used like a truck, but most seem to be showy pavement queens. I think there should be environmental bonus points awarded in proportion to the number of motorcycles on a job site. Just my humble opinion. Ok, not so humble, but you get the point!

Miles and smiles,


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bonus time!

I was talking to Balisada the other night when I was teaching class at LBCC. She kindly dropped by to offer greetings. We were both in the process of dealing with riding gear. Balisada was geared up and ready for the ride home. I was taking gear off and thinking about getting the classroom ready.

We talked about how we were still getting some nice days here and there. Balisada said she thought these days were a gift to those of us who were going to ride all year. A lot of folks have returned to their cages. People are thinking of winterizing bikes. Thoughts of battery tenders and fuel stabilizers are on their minds.

In contrast, there's those of us who are thinking of renewing the waterproofing on our gear. Winter gloves are coming out. Once again, I've put off wiring Elvira for an electric garment. Maybe I'll pull her out of service for a bit and do some catching up. Dean W. has kindly offered to help me with this project. He is a prince among friends.

I'm reminded of a video game where you get extra "lives" after a certain point. Of course, I haven't seriously played a video game since Pac Man. I used to be pretty darn good, though! Most players have fun for a bit but soon lose out. Others hang in longer and are rewarded with bonus time. That's what these extra sunny days are. Bonus time for hanging in there and conquering, as it were.

I'd be remiss to not include a disclaimer here. Our climate allows us to ride all year with few exceptions. It gets pretty darn wet but there's little snow. Black ice, maybe, but not too much really adverse stuff. I fully recognize the advantage this stupidly wet climate brings for year round riding. Not everybody can, or even wants to, ride in bad weather. That's okay. Riding is a deeply personal experience. Each needs to ride their own ride and be respected for doing so.

Up in Salem is this motorcycle only parking area. In the summer this place is crowded with bikes. It's free and close to several state agency buildings. Today it is empty. Nearby is a fountain where I decided to exercise my fledging photographer skills. Hey, it's like riding, isn't it? We learn by doing. If only I could find the clutch on the Nikon, maybe I'd feel more at home.

Here's my slow shutter speed to make the water look less defined. Of course, then I have to readjust the aperature and exposure. Why is it so complicated? I have to just keep thinking about windows and curtains. Somehow it helps.

Here's my fast shutter speed photo. Now I need more light since the shutter is open less time. Aargh! Maybe I'll stick to fast. Yeah, I like fast. Well, not for everything. Never mind.

I was comtemplating having some coffee and a snack in the Employment Department Building. I changed my mind. Hearing sirens, I snapped a quick photo. The paramedics went into the cafeteria. Maybe some other time.

Business complete in Salem, I returned to Albany. It was good to see that the LBCC bike parking was being used. There were a half dozen bikes in the corral.

I was only interested in a couple. Here's Elvira parked next to Balisada's Rebel. What a couple of great looking bikes, eh?

No, I'm not really stalking you, Balisada, despite what it looks like! I simply find cheer and comfort seeing the proof that others besides me have adopted a year round motorcycle lifestyle. Balisada has her "cute" tiger ears and tail on her helmet. Let me tell you, I've seen her around town on the Rebel in all kinds of weather. On just about any day I can ride by and see the Rebel parked at the college. Balisada is as far from a poser as anyone could get. Don't let the dimunitive size of the bike fool you. She's a hard core Road Warrior.

Speaking of stalking, I took a loop through the parking lot of the Darth Vader looking seed company. I know Bradley is going to think I'm stalking him, too. I'm sure he saw me through the windows today. Although I'm throwing everybody off today by not wearing the Hi Viz 'Stich. I'm toying with a blue and black Kilimanjaro for fun. I like the 'Stich better. Sure enough, the Triumph was there. As it is almost every time I stalk Bradley. I mean, drive by. The Ninja must be getting a little TLC after her boo boo. Bradley is an inspiration to me, too.

We're blessed with some scenic roads around here. There's still a lot of open farm land just outside of the urban area. The sun is enjoyable to ride in. However, the middle of the day is proving a bad time to get some good lighting. I'm noticing how the bright sun washes the color out of things. However, I'm also learning to use a polarizing circular filter at right angles to the sun to help out. I thought ths photo came out fairly nice. The sun's to my left. Just to prove that I actually took this photo myself, good or bad, here's another one. The gratuitous bike shot.

The filter did a good job of taking a lot of the glare away. For some reason they say the polarizer won't work on glare from metal surfaces. I guess it's some sort of light reflection theory that's over my head. Anyway, if you enlarge the photo, you can see the stripes of the concrete reflected in Elvira's body work. Bonus pin striping!

On the way back into town, I saw something slumped in the roadway. I thought it might have been Reep. With his arthritis and all, I thought he might have ventured West, fallen off his bike, and that I would find Fireballs in the weeds someplace. I was relieved to see it wasn't our favorite "fun to harrass" friend.

No, this is our Redneck version of slow tourists. Kind of like what happens to those who go to Key West and "fiesta" too much. These are real obstacles in our part of the Hundred Acre Woods. Yes, you will experience traction issues, so be warned. Eyes up!

I started to grab the thing by the tail and pull it off the roadway. Suddenly, a very old flat bed truck with siderails and a rocking chair tied to the roof screeched to a halt. An old gal with a long skirt, wire rim glasses, a ponytail, and a shotgun jumped off the truck. Her voice screeched like the truck tires as she threatened me. I was firmly told to go get my own road kill, thank you, she was claiming this one. Whatever, Granny! Hmmm, she and the old man looked kind of familiar, somehow.

Looking back, this was a pretty good riding day. Our bonus time is going to end, soon. The forecast calls for rain tomorrow which looks to be with us for the next week or so. Oh well,

I'm finally going to meet Mike in person, tomorrow. We're meeting for lunch in Corvallis. I'm enthused about it.

Miles and smiles,