Thursday, December 30, 2010

When Nature calls.....

When we last met boxes of smoked salmon were being delivered to our distributors. I was in NW Portland with the next stop being down in Tigard. Normally it's not a bad trip due to the large arterials in a big city. My plan was to grab I-405 just as it came off the Fremont Bridge. Funny how we get so complacent about the marvels we encounter on a regular basis.

Just as a quick side trip, the Fremont Bridge has the longest main span of any bridge in Oregon. It also holds the distinction of being the second largest tied arch bridge in the world. Whatever in the heck that means. I'm just glad it doesn't fall into the river while I'm crossing it.

Anyway, the plan was to take I-405 South, the Sunset Highway West, and Highway 217 South. The trip is around 15 miles as the crow flies. Depending, of course, if your crow flies straight or imbibes in a little corn mash brandy in the crow bar beforehand.

Like any big city Portland has an ebb and flow of traffic. There's good times and bad times for being on freeways. Bad times make up the majority, of course. This day all bets were off. It was three days before Christmas and closing in on lunchtime. To top if off, my destination was very near one of the largest shopping malls in the area. It would not be fun. However, I'm not Irondad for nothing so I fired up the bike and faced the ride.

Imagine, if you will, a morning spent on a motorcycle riding in the cold. Mix in a few stops where coffee is consumed while business is discussed. About the time traffic started backing up there was this nagging urge for something else to flow. Like a small stream heading for the ocean, the farther I traveled the larger the current grew. Will power and fortitude were called for. In great measure. Laugh if you will, but you've been there. Indelicate as it may seem.

At last I exited Highway 217. I knew a back way to the distributor's business. I headed North on Cascade Blvd. Coming up was Bob Lamphere's motorcycle store where I had purchased Elvira. It seemed like a great place to head into the pits. For some illogical reason I decided to press on. It wasn't much farther to my destination. It's a sickness at times. Oh, to be like Steve Williams who thinks nothing of hopping off the scooter every 10 or 20 feet to make pictures, eat pastry, and drink tea. And, er, other things.

I, on the other hand, act more like a Japanese bullet train at times. Pick a destination, board the train, and hang on! The resemblance ends there as I am not long and sleek. Nor have I reached those speeds despite coming close at times.

Elvira and I have to contend with road construction just after we pass the motorcycle shop. The kind where there are two flaggers and one-way traffic. We sit and wait for a good ten minutes which feels like ten hours. Once past, we finally make good time as we are heading away from the mall. Kind of like a salmon swimming upstream. Which doesn't actually work as a good illustration but I'm trying to bring it back to the smoked salmon in Elvira's trunk.

We arrive at our destination at 11:30 AM. The only guy I know at this establishment is the owner. They only sell a small portion of our stuff so contact is very infrequent. His big corner office facing the front is dark. I decide to leave the salmon and Christmas card with the receptionist. Who just happened to frighten me. A lot.

She is a battle axe with a capital Medussa. Make-up cakes her face like a San Diego mud slide. I'm pretty sure that if one were to scrape off all the cosmetic formulas they'd find Jimmy Hoffa. In an effort to look somewhat pleasant she has a red smile painted where her mouth would be. If she were human, that is. The actual effect is more like lipstick on a dragon. I'm still in my 'Stich and standing in front of her counter. I don't know if it's me or the motorcycle gear, but she looks like she wants to drag me off and feed me to her young.

After reading various of his blog entries, I'm pretty sure that Jack R was married to this woman once. Perhaps that explains the venom in her eyes as she looks my riding gear up and down.

I already had to pee. Now this woman is scaring it out of me. Which is weird. I mean, here I am, a bad, tough, rider who's covered a hundred fifty miles on a cold morning already. I have on thick ballistic nylon gear. Somewhere underneath it all a Glock is cozily nuzzled up next to me. Yet, facing this woman I somehow can't muster up enough intestinal fortitude to ask,

"Do you mind if I use your Little Motorcyclist's room?"

So I do what any other tough guy would do. I slink back to the bike still holding it. Fortunately, the seated position helps while I ride away and ponder my next move. I just hope it's a voluntary one.

I'm drawn back towards the motorcycle dealership until I remember the road construction. So instead of turning left onto Cascade Blvd. I stay on Greenburg Road. I mention the street names because those of you who are local will understand what's happening. Greenburg Road crosses Highway 217. You can head North or South. If you stay on Greenburg without turning off you will find yourself at the South end of Washington Square Mall. I tried real hard to exit onto 217. Really. However, it's a long dang ways to the next restroom stop that isn't as crowded as a snow cone stand in Hell.

By now visions of Niagra Falls, Victoria Falls ( I put that one in for you, Dave ) oceans, aquariums, fire hoses, rivers, and broken dams are flooding my brain. Pun intended. Part of me is screaming that this is a huge mall three days before Christmas!!! The other part is screaming that it's close, dang it!! While sanity and physical misery fight for top spot my body is sort of just drifting along. My path of travel is largely dictated by traffic. Elvira and I are going with the flow while trying to avoid close calls that will make the final decision moot.

Now I realize it's too late. For changing our destination, that is. You were secretly hoping I'd embarrassed myself, weren't you? Like a bug drifting towards a whirlpool we don't realize we're trapped until it's no longer possible to escape. I'm not a trials rider, nor is Elvira a trials bike. Although the image of a large Yamaha sport-tourer up on its back wheel and riding over cars IS interesting to think about. Elvira's sleek and fast but that won't help in all this traffic, either. We're being sucked down the drain into The Mall. So I guess the decision has been made. It's kind of like standing and arguing about whether the tracks are from a deer or a bear until the train runs over your butt.

I'm going to pee at the mall, which will be both a blessing and a curse. While I'm there I might as well find some food and do a bit of looking around. Which is another story that will be in the next post.

Miles and smiles,



Allen Madding said...

Somehow, I successfully avoided the mall this Christmas season. I even avoided the outlet mall closest to the house. You're a tougher nut than I am. I don't think the overwhelming call of nature could have pushed me into the mall.

Happy New Year!


redlegsrides said...

Motorcycling near a mall during the height of Christmas shopping season....I agree with Allen!

Fortunately, my bladder control allows me extended riding periods...which comes in handy when you just don't want to stop riding; you know what I mean.

Happy New Year to you and yours!


Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Redleg's Rides

irondad said...


I can honestly say I didn't actually buy any gifts at a mall. Not sure if I was a tough nut or numb, but I like the sound of the former!


I was just innocently trying to do my job, and there I was. Honest!

In my defense on bladder control it had been 5 hours. And 5 cups of coffee!

Happy holidays and New Year,


Mike said...

Your description of all the roads and the challenge each one presents is music to my ears... it's what I call home!

Being on Greenburg near the mall a few days before Christmas with a full bladder would not be good. I feel your pain.

Nice photos in your post. I like your new header too. I got three of our grandkids flashlights and they seemed to enjoy them a lot.

Happy New Year!

Trobairitz said...

Great post Dan.

I think they should tailor make gas tanks to the size of a rider's bladder forcing us to stop and tinkle earlier than the painful stage.

Unfortunately even with the TU's small tank, it can hold it longer than I can.

Happy New Year to you and your family. All the best in 2011.

RichardM said...

An entertaining post. Nice comparison of your riding style to a train. I'm afraid that I have been accused of focusing on the destination and the schedule and ignoring the sights.

I honestly don't see how you can ride in that kind of traffic. I think I'd go out of my mind...

Happy New Year!

BTW, thank you and I'll send an email.

Unknown said...


Glad you held off long enough . . .
it was suspenseful

A very Happy New Year to you and Katie

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

PS: don't they have water bottles in your size ?

Bluekat said...

Poor Elvira. I'm surprised she didn't take matters into her own hands, rising up on back legs, er one wheel like some great black stallion and galloping through the traffic with William Tell overture playing in the background...

That must be some scary receptionist to strike fear in the heart of Irondad! Condolences on a trip to the mall at Christmastime! The stuff of nightmares.

Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year!

Balisada said...

I am glad you had a successful conclusion to your ride!

And as for the receptionist, I imagine you didn't see the broomstick she rode in on!


Anonymous said...

Let's review the scenario: IronDad proved he was made of iron, therefore he had no need to
have a pee. Or have I got it wrong?

Seriously at your agerDan a PSA test of your blood is suggested and maybe have your prostrate examined. We men age, sorry, fact of life.

Our liquid discharge plumbing can have problems.

My rule has always been, use the loo/toilet whatever whenever available. Assume nothing shall be held internally forever. Unless the exit is plugged, again for whatever reason.

Mind if worse comes to worst there always is a corner or a vertical pole or the wheel of a parked whatever which needs to be cleanesed. Just remove any personal identification while doing so.

We mean have a distinct advantage over the female species when it coems to draining liquids, however never
assume your bladder will hold
five or more cups of coffee.

As one who has one kidney (the other removed due to cancer) which
is not in the greatest condition,
and one bladder, electrical poles
and washrooms are my friend more than my enemy.

On that note of amber liquid, don't imbide too much with the change of year to 2011. And best wishes to you and your family for 2011

Steve Williams said...

You've shifted gears as a writer. Nice post. I just hope that receptionist doesn't see it. Otherwise you may need the Glock.

Consult Mr. Riepe on how to deal with things in a manner that keeps you out of jail. He'll know the people you will need to pay off.

Otherwise, man up and learn to hold it. Geez. The wussification of America has come to Oregon...

And what were you implying I do wjith those "other things?"

Happy New Year!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Unknown said...

I always thought IBA should stand for the Iron Bladder Association...

Joe said...

Dan, here's wishing you a most prosperous, safe, and happy 2011.

I still keep these words of yours on my desk at school: "Too many people make too much noise and flap their mouths way too often. They're full of themselves and their own ideas. Often times wrong ideas. They miss so much because they just won't shut up and be quiet." They remind me to shut up and listen every day.

All my best in the New Year!

- Joe at Scootin' da Valley

Bucky said...

Older man = weaker bladder. I can vouch for that.

One thing that you didn't mention was the time to reach the hardware, er -- plumbing, ah -- relief port, oh you know what I mean, once you find a suitable place to offload some liquid.

This is much more a problem in winter with layers of insulation overlapping under the riding suit.

Maybe one of those thing-a-ma-bobs they use in hospitals...

irondad said...


Normally I like that area. Just not during the Christmas rush. I especially like Washington Square. The scooter display you posted a photo of long ago is still there.

The flashlight picture was due to seeing Ryan stick the thing in his mouth one day. Thought it would be a great photo and he was more than willing to chew on the thing again!

It's your turn for flashlight photos!

Take care,


irondad said...


That's a great idea. There should also be a "next restroom so many miles" gauge built into them.

Richard M,

Some days you're a bullet train and others you're more like a freighter. I prefer being a bullet. I mean, the reason for a long legged bike is to actualy ride, right?

Take care,


irondad said...


I'm glad I held out, too. No matter how many layers one has on, eventually the evidence shows. By the way, I prefer used coffee cups since they're disposable!

Take care,


irondad said...


I love the picture you painted of the black bike rearing like a horse. Maybe we could get Bobskoot to make a movie?


Silly me. I thought it was actually just a broom. I did wonder about the black point hat on it, though.

Take care,


irondad said...


After reading your comments all I can say is:

Put the rubber gloves down and back away!

Take care,


irondad said...


Is switching gears in my writing a good thing or a bad thing? Serious question.

I'm not sure if it's a matter of bladder control or honesty. Telling your companions you have to stop and pee earns one a ribbing.

Telling them you want to stop and make a picture is different. Then, if you just happen to need to pee while stopped, well....

See the difference? I think you're simply more clever than me!

Take care,


irondad said...


That's what they would like you to think. What it really stands for is Invisible Bottle Association.

The one you can't see but is hidden down a pant leg!

Take care,


irondad said...


Thank you for gracing my blog. I read yours but seldom comment. Shame on me, probably. Your posts are more like inner reflections that I hate to intrude upon.

I'm deeply honored to have written something that you find to be of use. Thank you so much for sharing that, again. I remember you mentioning it earlier, as well.

Take care,


irondad said...


Believe me, when I finally got to Sears I wished it was ok to ride in the store! Right up to the restroom.

Like I wrote to Chris, there is an Invisible Bottle Association. I believe I will have to join up.

Take care,