Nov 24, 2013

October 9-12 Texas Again....Waco awaits...

From NOLO I headed north to Monroe, LA again (had to return a POS camera) so I stopped and hoped to see the Duckmen again. No such luck.  Evasive bastards.   Headed to Tyler, TX for the night since they had a RUDY's BBQ...which I ate for dinner and breakfast.

After Tyler, I rushed to Waco, TX,  my favorite destination:  The Branch Davidian Compound. Last time I was in Waco I had back pal Jenn (well, if you count someone who ditches you and leaves you with strangers as back up).  This time, I was solo and really just curious about how the place had changed over the last few years.  Why?  I have no idea. Mostly, I was wondering how much the place has grown and if the troops of religious zealots had returned...and if so, what did they hope to gain?

The place looked much like it did in 2011 when I was there.  The only major change was the awesome fence surrounding the place.  Imagine my shock as I drove past the church and saw Simon, the man who had given me the previous tour in 2011.  He was tending the garden and as I made my way to his location, he kept working, not looking up until I was almost standing next to him.  He wasn't wearing the hat I'd come to associate with him, but a simple baseball cap.  His teeth had been fixed and when smiled he wasn't as scary as he had been previously.  I introduced myself and told him I just stopped by to check things out.  He said I must have come back for a reason.  I insisted I was just curious...and he proceeded to break into a sermon that would revel all sermons...talking about how I was sent there and how I should just go home and pack my things and come back because it was God's will.  Hmm...that'll teach me to visit.   Charles Pope (the most recent preacher) called Simon and he disappeared, rushing to do Pope's bidding.
The church at the Branch Davidian Compound 2013
I wandered over to the church where two dogs were scurrying my way with big barks and wagging tails.  Along the way a small rat snake cross my path...reminding me where I was and that evil, scary crap was all around.

Simon came back and asked my name.  When I told him, he started talking about how Jess is a branch and I was meant to be at the compound.  I eased over to my car and kept smiling...wondering if anyone would notice if I were kidnapped.  We exchanged numbers and I was quickly on my way.  Yes, fine, judge me.  But frankly, I think being on the inside with a scoop of the next massively religious Waco event would be cool.  Or maybe not.  

From there, I went to the library to do some serious research, stopped by the Texas Ranger Museum for a tour and spent a great bit of time at the hotel, chatting it up with the a local about the day Waco went wild.   

October 7-8: New Orleans: Drinks, gator's and ghosts...

Today's journey took me from Monroe to Mississippi to Myrtles Plantation (most haunted place in Louisiana?) to Baton Rouge to New Orleans (NOLO).

Myrtles Plantation...reportedly haunted.....
My plan was to spend a night in Baton Rogue but after hearing everyone talk about NOLO I decided I may as well keep driving the extra hour and a half.  I found a hotel in the French Quarter that wasn't badly priced and booked three nights.  The Chateau Hotel is on Chartres and St. Phillip and it has parking (win)!   Apparently in NOLO's French Quarter they can charge any price they want for a hotel, so each daily rate is different, even if you book at the same time.  WTF.  I ended up paying $109 per night for a room smaller than the size of my living room.  It had a tiny tub (seriously, it looked like someone stole it from an RV) and even the bathroom door was mini.  But, it was in a good location and had really good AC (though the TV was from 1980 but I'm wasn't really there for the TV).  There was a small courtyard that had a pool and some seating areas.  It was a nice place...nicer than my buddy's place across the street...which made me feel like I scored (and I actually found $20 when checking under the bed for serial killers, so double score).  

The wildest ladies I've met in a long time, The "Ohio's"
The first night I was there I was walking around lost when a man named Walter stopped to help. Walter does maintenance at St. Louis Graveyard #1 during the day and walks the FQ at night just helping people with directions.  Turns out Walter is quite the tour guide.  As we were walking he was telling me all about each house or restaurant's ghosts and residents.  It was pretty cool.  As we were walking we stumbled across two other tourists (from Ohio) who were trying to find their way back to their hotel.  We gathered them up, cautioned them at every curb (seriously, they had been drinking a bit) and we all had a jolly time learning about FQ and chatting it up.  One of them was wearing an Oregon shirt (ISUN:  I shit u not!)  so we became fast friends.

I made my way to Coop's and had some awesome (but very spicy) Gumbo with rabbit and deer meat. Then met Ohio 1 & Ohio 2 at their hotel bar...where they continued to drink Hurricaine's and amaze me with their drinking ability.

The next morning we hit Cafe Du Monde for beignets (which were good but possibly not worth the hype I've been hearing about them all week, I mean, who doesn't love a donut smothered in powdered sugar?).  The Ohio's and I then walked to the graveyard to meet Walter.  Good times.  I won't bore you with the details.  We did NOT see any ghosts but we did see Nicholas Cage's tomb (thinking ahead and apparently why he's in debt...) also did not find Walter for our personal tour so I may go back and try again.

Cemetery #1, NOLO
We parted ways so the Ohio's could hit Harrah's casino and I could go to Hotel Montecello  (the most haunted hotel in Louisiana ...hmmm  a lot of places are claiming that....).  I ate breakfast there, giving the ghosts time to wake up.  They didn't.  Oh well.   I then tromped back to my hotel, stopping at some shops that caught my fancy along the way.

Talented 'gator.   
The next few days were spent hanging with the Ohio's, eating great food, touring the city, drinking (a lot more than I would have though given the Ohio's ages).  While sitting in a bar waiting for a ghost tour a group of wedding goers paraded down the street with music and umbrellas waving...totally the coolest thing I've ever seen.  We went on an alligator tour that rocked. This is a MUST do...though by the end I was freaking out about snakes and not too concerned about the alligators.  Apparently the best time to go to see the 'gators is in May when they are waking up from the winter and hungry....note to sell....stay away in May.

Overall, my time in NOLO was awesome.  Mostly thanks to the great company.  But, I was excited to get stop...Waco TX.  Not your typical tourist destination, but me, I'm definitely "Waco Curious".

Oct 6, 2013

October 5-6, 2013: Louisiana: Monroe and Duck Dynasty: Not what it's Quacked up to be....

Flew into Dallas, TX yesterday with the intent of taking a week of vacation to do...well...nothing.  I had the pleasure of sitting by two dudes from Tok, Alaska on the flight.  These guys, Darrel and Scotty, ended up being really cool.  Funny cool.  The kind of people you wish you were in a bar with, sipping (or chugging) the night away because you just KNOW there will be some great stories and a whole lotta laughter.  After ditching the men I jumped in my sporty rental car (Hyundai Elantra) and drove to the Rudy's BBQ that was on my way to Monroe, LA.  Yeah, I admit it, I drove an hour out of my way to Tyler Texas just to get BBQ.  It was worth it.  As I sat in the parking lot in my Elantra (because some things are better in private), I thought, good BBQ is like sex.  The excitement of what could be is almost torture and when you finally get it, it doesn't last nearly long enough (maybe I should stop that train of thought right now before my pervo friends make comments).

I ended up driving a total of almost six hours to my destination, West Monroe, LA.  Why West Monroe?  Well, Duck Dynasty, of course.  I have not been a devoted fan this season, though I do have the episodes waiting on my DVR...but still, this was at least a place to visit.  I ended up getting into town around 11:00 PM and was happy to have booked my hotel in advance, as I met a nice lady out front who was turned away in the pouring rain.  I'm used to rain.  Oregon is rain grand central.  We do rain.  We do rain well.  But, in Oregon the rain doesn't usually keep me up...or come with thunder storms that rattle my bed.  I finally fell asleep around midnight only to be awakened around 1:00 AM by the loudest  storm I've ever heard.  Pounding and shaking weather that you only read about.  It was like someone was dumping a full water truck on my window.  I seriously started wondering if evacuation sirens were going to sound.

This morning I slept in (vacation, remember?) and drove to the Duck Dynasty home front, their duck call warehouse.  Now, keep in mind, I haven't watched the show this season except for maybe one episode...but somewhere along the lines, the TV made the warehouse look like it was in the country...and well...I could go on, but let's just say I saved you a trip.

There are houses next door, a car wash on one corner and a auto parts store on the other, and a large parking lot that I'm guessing they had to put in because of the FLOCK of tourists.  Despite it being closed today (along with everything else that's awesome in this town), There was a steady stream of Duck stalkers...and I drove by twice just to make sure I wasn't completely crazy...which makes me sound crazy.  But, in my defense, my hotel is right up the street.   I met people from Georgia and Texas...and one cowboy whom I think should have been more afraid of ending up in my suitcase than he was.   He was McDucklicious.  

That's me at the compound.  I know my head is too small for my body.  Must have been something I ate.  
I did the whole "Duck Dynasty" day...for a few hours until I became increasingly bored.  I drove to a few eateries the gang had used in the show...Haskel's Donuts (a block from my hotel and an overly sweet 60 cent donut), Danken Trail (where I was planning on eating BBQ but found it closed), Catfish Cabin (which came in second place on my food list but was also closed), Landry Vineyards (the wine episode, also closed), at I attempted to find Excalibur Family Fun but got lost and decided there was no family fun I'd experience there anyway (you know, on account of me being alone and all).

I finally settled for a steakhouse...ordered me a nice steak and some shrimp (cause it seemed like a mandatory thing since I'm in Louisiana) and a margarita.  Um, yeah, no hard liquor served (It's Sunday, you tourist!).  Of all the disappointments I've had in life, being stuck in West Monroe without a margarita is up on the list near the top.

Tomorrow I hit the Duck Store and buy some trinkets for my Alaska pals, and maybe a few of my friends if you all promise to post photos of yourself with beards.  Monroe and West Monroe are pretty run of the mill towns.  I was hoping West Monroe would be more rural and picturistic but it's not.  I found everyone here very nice and approachable and hey, Jack, no one seems to care about the Robertson's other than us tourists.  One chick in Walmart even said she's always asked if she sees them and she never has.  Hmm..maybe they ship them in...cause I sure didn't see anyone with a long beard wearing camo around.  I'm betting those boys don't come to town much.

PS.  So far, Louisiana is a lot like Oregon...but we have better roads.  Much better roads.  It's also green and lush here...but in Oregon we don't have as many things hiding under rocks and in the waters that can kill you.   Yeah, I choose Oregon.

Sep 11, 2013

Summer's Gone....

Just a quick note to share with you some things you missed this summer...

I went to the BMW Rally in Salem this was so close to my house I just had to go.  Volunteered for three days and sat in on a good lecture and on one that was "so so".  The "so so" one was on riding in Oregon...and I was pretty amazed at the level of local knowledge that was not represented.  I thought surely there would be some stuff that knocked my socks know...something I could learn since I know there are a million places I have yet to explore.  Nada.  There was a great slide showing how moss sometimes grows on the roads...and how deer can sometimes get in the way.  Uh huh.  Thanks.  Most of the riders represented I'm sure they are already fully aware of the hazards of the road...even if they aren't from Oregon.  There were a lot of vendors present, which was pretty cool...but it was in attending this rally (even from mostly the sidelines, as it were) that made me realize riding is about having fun and enjoying what you are doing.  It's about finding your own way and not feeling the need to be a follower.  It's about riding at your speed, to your destinations, the way you feel most comfortable.  And, thus, I've decided that group rides suck.  Sure, they serve a purpose.  But, for me, with what I want to do in life, group rides are a lot like going to the dentist.  I go because I have to, but I certainly don't look forward to them and I only want to do it once a year if possible.

Which brings me to the other thing I did this summer...the Third Annual Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride.  I've ridden this ride ONCE and have volunteered for the three years it's been going.  Each year it seems we do more to improve the ride and make it a fun event...and each year this takes many months of planning, meetings, emails, texts, and endless hours and minutes from my life that is already filled to capacity with work, my dog and going to school full time.  I do it because I believe in the cause, because I want to make a difference, and because I consider the people I volunteer with to be my friends.  This year we had another great turn out...almost 400 riders and passengers.  It was almost a disaster with the food, lunch location issues and sponsor "dilly dally" issues but we pulled it off and I'm proud to say we fully funded the Chris Kilcullen Memorial Scholarship at $50,000.  That goal having been met, next year we are hoping to start giving back to the community by donating the money raised to worthy charities.  That's where the fun begins.  There will always be a place in my heart for this ride, despite the fact that I may not always be as involved as I wish I could be.  

I did just give Runkle his 12,000 mile service at the tune of $533 and replaced the chain and sprocket at another $300 all within the same week...which is enough to make any self respecting BMW rider want to throw in the towel and buy a Kawasaki KLR.  I can't even think about that anymore, let alone write about it.  

The summer has come and gone and again, I didn't do as much as I'd have liked.  Next year...there's always next year.  I probably say that a lot.  But yeah, next year I'm going to do some awesome shit.  Promise.  In the meantime, I'm going to start doing more dirt and gravel roads and researching...because as I move toward the future I see a lot more of those in my story.  After all, that's what Runkle was made for.  I'll try to keep you updated...until then....

Be safe.

Aug 11, 2013

Las Vegas Day 2: August 5, 2013 Two stalkers walk into a pawn shop.....or not....

After the BBQ disaster, Lou and I decided to drown our sorrows at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Vegas, home of the History Channel's Pawn Stars.  This is a tiny looking building in the middle of chaos.  And in front, a long line of admirers, actually waiting in the 100 degree heat to go inside and catch a peek.  Um, didn't they see the sign that said "Open 24 hours" ???  Why not come back when no one is there?

Anyhoo, we drove past a few times and decided jointly that waiting in line to get into a shop that sells used crap was a bust.  So instead we headed over to another television favorite, Counts Kustoms.

They weren't that far away from each other so if you see one, you may as well see the other.  Counts Kustoms is located in a tiny little industrial park with minimal parking with GRUMPY (notice all caps) neighbors.  Some of the custom rides were out front.  The totally cool Volkswagen Bus was a particular favorite of mine.  We would have gotten more photos but the jackass in the glass shop came out and was screaming at us.  Boy did he lose a sale.  You know, if I'm ever in Vegas and need a piece of automobile glass, he is SO NOT getting my business.

A few minutes away from Count's Kustoms is another television stalker (I mean "fan") favorite, Rick's Restorations.  I've spent some time watching this show with my peeps so I know there's cool stuff there.  Oh you have no idea.  There IS.  But you can't really see any unless you want to take a $50.00 tour of the place.  What the hell?  It's not enough that they have a million t-shirts (no, I didn't get you one) for sale along with mugs, stickers, magnets, etc.  No, they have to RUIN history by charging us.  It's not like they charge you to get into the Oval office (oh wait....).   There was some pretty cool stuff in one room, but everything had these signs that said "Do NOT touch."  Geez.  Buzz Kills.  It made me want to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and go to TOWN on this stuff.  Smear.  Smish.  Smear.  Take that, Rick!!!!
Lola's -  YUMMMY
The best thing about being a television stalker is you always get second chances...our second chance came in the form of Lola's - A Louisiana Kitchen, another Diners, Drive Ins and Dive's pick.  And, shockingly well placed on a map, it was RIGHT around the corner from Rick's. Literally.  You could walk.  Lola's had good reviews from Guy, but more importantly, from Lou's sister, Bean.  We decided to give Guy another chance and BOY HOWDY was he right on track with this place.  Lola's is awesome.

If you go to Lola's, head to the bathroom. Really.  In the hallway there's a huge map of the United States and a tribute to 9/11.  There are map pins so people from all over the United States can put a pin in and show were they are from.  It's kind of cool.  I put a pin in for Lowell, Oregon since that's technically my hometown.

We ended up heading to the liquor store and then rushing to get the rental car back to the airport.  We were going to take the South Point's shuttle back to the casino.  Of course we were cutting it close so we told our shuttle driver from the rental car place we were on a tight timeframe.  He told us that wasn't a problem and he'd get us there in 5 minutes.  Yeah right.  I don't know his name, but he was all tattooed up and said he used to own a few gyms until he met his girlfriend there and got her pregnant.  Apparently she forbid him from going back to that type of work since she was worried he'd meet someone new there. Kind of funny to see such a macho man all whipped up like a ...oh never mind. He was a good driver, even drove through a red light in his zest to make sure we were there on time.  We made it with minutes to spare and as we jumped off the bus and hoofed it toward the terminal we heard someone yelling, "Ladies!  Ladies!"  Lou turned around and noticed it was our driver, pointing the other direction!  We turned around and still ended up getting to the shuttle with at least a minute to spare.  

I'm always amazed when people are kind, as I expect the very worst after living in the big city of Portland.  I'm happy to report most the people we met in Vegas were perfectly wonderful.  In fact, many went out of their way to help us and make sure we were having fun and going to the right places.  Maybe that's one of the reasons we make the yearly pilgrimage...Vegas is a nightmare but the sights and people are pretty darn awesome.      

Aug 7, 2013

Las Vegas Day 2: August 5, 2013 It's BBQ Time!!!!!

Today we hatched a brilliant plan to win millions in Vegas.  Ok, you're right.  We didn't.  But we did decide to use the rental car and check out some spots made famous by television.  Well, famous to an extent.  More so now that we've visited them.

Our first stop was John Mull's Meats and Roadkill Grill which was on an episode of Food Network's Diners, Drive-In's and Dives.  You'll need a GPS to get there.  It's tucked into a little neighborhood way off the strip.  It's one of those places you wouldn't find accidentally.  It's got some charm.  A cute seating area complete with fans and misters (which you'll need in the Vegas heat), and a long covered walkway for the lines I hear you'll have to wait in on a regular basis.  We arrived no lines held us back.  Which also meant we were a bit confused on which door to enter through despite the fact that one was aptly signed  "Entrance".  Walk in and you'll wonder if you haven't still taken the wrong door.  Inside you are greeted by a tiny area that houses a butcher shop and steps away, a counter for ordering BBQ.  There isn't room for more than maybe ten customers. All the seating is outside.  We grabbed our grub and headed for the picnic tables.

Pulled pork, brisket, ribs, sausage, mac and cheese and baked beans.
Lou and I were both so very excited to taste awesome BBQ.  This was going to be the highlight of our Vegas trip.  Oh how quickly dreams die with the opening of a food container lid (that was a fat joke, keep up people).

Um, Guy (host of 3D's), I'm sure you know your stuff...but you WERE SO WRONG about this place.  I don't claim to know BBQ (ok, well I claim it a little) but I do know that the BBQ cooking at John Mull's was a disappointment.  Not just for pal Lou didn't like it either.  We ordered a huge assortment...ribs, pulled pork, sausage, and brisket with mac and cheese and baked beans. The reviews rocked.  The food did not. This is probably good BBQ to some people.  I found it flavorless.  It was as if someone boiled all the meats and poured too much bland sauce on it and then slopped it on a plate and crossed their fingers.   This was the first time in history that I've left MEAT on my plate.  I swear, if I hadn't ordered pulled pork, I'd be wondering what that sloppy mess of congealed meat was on my plate.  I'm not going to be too harsh.  I mean, the sides ROCKED.  The mac and cheese was delish..and the beans, though not what I'm used to, packed some great flavor.  I wish the meat would have done the same.  Or that I'd tested it before I ordered extra to take back to the hotel...which ended up in the trash.  If you would have told me a week ago I'd be throwing BBQ away I'd have told you to shut your filthy mouth.   Oh the agony.  It's almost hard to admit I tossed pulled pork in the trash like a virgin throws away her morals at the prom.

Lou shows her disappointment for the worst BBQ ever....

I only hope there's still time to recover from this tragic event during the rest of our vacation. I've written a small poem so you can all feel my pain...

"Disappointment lingers
Where once bbq was on my fingers...."

That's all I came up with.  Sorry, I'm distracted by all the sadness in my heart.  

On to the next stalker local...I mean, place made famous by television....

Las Vegas Day 1: August 4, 2013

Lou and I are in Vegas for our 2nd Annual Summer Retreat.  Oh yeah.  Nothing like a few days in 104 degree temperatures to make you appreciate good ol' Oregon.  We decided to fly this time instead of spending 14 hours in the car, which was awesome...until we got to the airport.

Let me give you a quick run down of what our first day was like:

Airline:  45 minutes to boarding pass. What happened to the air conditioning? Why didn't we print the              passes at home?
Plane ride:  Seats with no baggage area stow baggage four rows behind.
Depart plane:  Wrestle with old people to get back to baggage. Damn it's past my bedtime.
Rental car:  45 minute wait.  What?  No cars?  I reserved on Travelosity. Crap.
Ride to hotel:  How many wrong turns have we made?  Why did I forget the GPS?
Dinner:  Burger King. Pulled Pork?  No sweet tea?  Geez.
Hotel:  Off the strip, a perfect place. Second year there.  Still in love with it.  Smells like cigarettes.                Old people everywhere.  Makes us feel young and spry.

The blog posts that follow are going to bore you to death.  Be prepared.  Don't say I didn't warn you...

Vegas, Baby...

Jun 19, 2013

Blogging....and free speech

It's all about looking in the mirror and not being ashamed of the face looking back.
Hey all,
I wanted to let you know that I have temporarily removed my last blog post....but if you read it, my words were true and meant only as an update for my blog and not as a way to anger anyone.

Sponsorship is one of the most difficult things to should be easy if your cause is worthy, but in this economy, people are hesitant to offer money.  Some companies talk big, get on board with what you've discussed initially, then waffle at the end trying to save money.  When you call them on it, ask them to clarify what they will provide and remind them of expectations already agreed upon (but still give them an option so they can limit their expenses) they run away.

Some companies leave you hanging and then, when public outcry occurs, they rush back in and claim they never did anything wrong and instead, everyone else did.  They ignore the truth and think if they just throw enough money at something, the problem will go away.

Guess what?  There ARE more important things in life than money.  Not everyone is willing to cave in and forget the way they were treated, led astray, and practically bullied into something in order for a company to save face.  Sometimes there's a high road to be taken, and that's what this is about.  It's about taking a moment and remembering what we stand for, what's important, what type of organization we are, what type of people we are, and what type of organization we want to work with in order to move forward.

I say, "WE" but frankly, I speak for myself here and no one else.  Others may or may not agree with me, and that's fine.  But know this:  a company should not have to be forced into doing the right thing.  Companies speak with their actions.  Companies are judged by the way they treat people, by their customer service, and frankly, should be judged by what they do for the community in which they reside.  As a consumer, that's what I'm looking for, and that's what YOU should be looking for.

In closing, I want to add that this topic is one that elicits passion, sometimes anger, and often disappointment.  However, I would ask that anyone who has a position to take draw the line by their dollars instead of posting on social media about injustices and getting involved in a Facebook war of words.  We don't need that, you don't need that, and the drama of it all is just too damn draining.

The BEST thing is, that some companies are awesome.  Those companies work with you every step of the way, share your passion, interest, morals, and mission.  Those are the companies I'd like to be in partnership with.  Those are the companies that matter.

So, on a sidebar, THANK YOU, European Motorcycles of Western Oregon for being one of the companies that matter.   You make life better because of everything you do.

May 25, 2013

Last July I did a post on Cutting Edge Illusions (see it here) writing about the shop and how they donated a paint job for the Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride in 2012.  If you've read my previous posts, you'll recall Chris Kilcullen was a motors officer for Eugene Police Department who was killed in the line of duty in 2011.  You can read more about Chris on the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Guess what?  Solomon at Cutting Edge Illusions has donated a $1200 factory finish paint job for our 2013 ride.  Check out Cutting Edge Illusions's great work...from what I hear, the local Harley shop uses Cutting Edge Illusions for their custom paint and Cutting Edge does work all over the United States.  

We are doing a raffle for this awesome Cutting Edge Illusions paint job.  Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20.00.  All the proceeds to go the Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride which will take place on July 28, 2013.  The money will go toward funding the Chris Kilcullen Memorial Scholarship that will benefit local college students from University of Oregon and or Northwest Christian University in Eugene, OR.  

The coolest thing is, you don't need to be present to win.  We'll be selling tickets at our booth at Cottage Grove Bike Fest on June 23 and at other venues.  We will be drawing the winner on our July 28 ride.

I'm thinking Runkle needs some flames...

If your ride needs to be tricked out and you are interested in a paint job and can't wait for our raffle, give Solomon a call at

Cutting Edge Illusions
120 Cleveland St, Unit 1B
Eugene, OR 97402
P 541.359.3340 F 866.322.0175
Monday—Friday 8am—5pm PST
Please email us for a free estimate.

Volunteerism...gets me into trouble all the time....

This week has been WET.  Rain has been spilling down the gutter spouts like tiny rivers and has definitely made me want to stay inside.  So when my fellow volunteers decided to have a booth at  Thursday's Bike Night at Cycle Gear in Springfield, I thought it sounded miserable.  I mean, how many bikes were going to show up in the rain?  We were about to find out.  But first, we needed to set up our booth.

Skylar, Winston Churchill and Kenzi setting up the banner
We've all been going back and forth about this banner holder for a few days.  Sure, I wanted the banner frame made, but I was thinking for the smaller banner, you know, less height, less width, less of a wind catcher.  Imagine my shock and awe when we put the sign on the holder and it worked!  Holy cow, I was trying to figure out how I was going to apologize to the PVC pipe banner designer (who goes by the name of Cardinal) when the wind picked up.  Skylar was standing in front of the booth admiring the sign when all the sudden the sign fell on top of her.  I was too busy laughing to help save her life.  Whew.  We ended up putting the frame next to the tent to stop some of the rain and wind from coming into the tent.  Worked like a charm!!!

We realized burgers and dogs would be served, so the day wasn't a total loss. And, shockingly, at one point the rain stopped and some bikes showed up.  We were lucky enough to sign up a few people for our ride, and one for our party bus!  The free gifts probably didn't hurt our cause.

Skylar decided to take a photo of some of the people who signed up for the ride and they all stood by the downed banner and smiled.  I, being the only one who has a sense of humor, decided to spice up the photo....

Unfortunately, later on Facebook, someone else decided to find their funny bones...and this was posted....

Everyone thinks they are a comedian.

Touché, Funny people....touché!!!

Riding again....

Despite the nice weather that blessed us here in Oregon for a few weeks (which coincidentally has since been replaced by buckets of rain), I haven't ridden much.  Earlier this year I was commuting on the bike on a daily basis into downtown Portland, rain or shine (mostly rain).  Once I got the company car it was all dry clothes and heat billowing from the vents.  So, for the last few months, I've been walking past Runkle (my faithful BMW G65GS) in the garage watching the dust gather and the mice droppings collect.

Perfect Oregon riding day....
Finally, last weekend I agreed to go on a ride in order to attempt to fine tune the route for the Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride in July.  Attempt being the operative word.  First, since Runkle had been ignored, I had to check the tire pressure which took FOREVER since I bought this really cool mini Husky air pump that I couldn't get to work....I know what you are thinking, you just plug it in and the air goes in, right?  Yeah.  I ended up letting all the air out of the front tire on accident.  I'm an embarrassment to riders everywhere.  Then I had to clean all the spider webs off the bike.  Living in the country is awesome...but the bugs and spiders and'd think I was in a huge city living in a sewer pipe.

Finally, I took off to meet the boys who showed up about an hour later than they should have.  I stood, I sat.  Eventually I realized there were hundreds of tiny spiders crawling all over my jacket so I also jumped up and down, swatted, screamed like a sissy and ended up almost beating the crap out of myself before I could get the jacket off.  Yeah, I'm impressive.

Waiting, waiting...and waiting.....for the boys....

When the boys arrived they explained a couple wrong turns had slowed them down.  Apparently we're going to have to put some serious signage up for the ride.  Great!  More work!  We jumped on our bikes and headed to our planned lunch spot (taking a wrong turn first thing) and eventually wound our way to the Harley store where I was able to find ONE bike I liked.

My pick at the Harley store....I'd rather be riding a Vespa....

The first half of our ride done and no time to do the second half, we decided we (or I)  could route the last half later ...and the boys had to rush home to their women.  Geez.  Wimps.  Or maybe priorities?
Naw.   That's crazy talk.  

Mar 14, 2013

Trout's New Toy- Polaris

I'm probably the nicest dog owner you know.  Really.  I'm not just tooting my own horn.  I'm tooting it for Trout, since she has issues typing.  But, I promise you, she's actually telling me what to write. Word for word.

Trout is now five years old.  We are at that stage in our relationship (ownership to some people) where the vet swore Trout would settle down and be a mild mannered chocolate lab who lays around the yard and only chases slugs.  You know, the dog you've always wanted.  Of course, he said the same thing when she was one about what would happen at the age of two.  Then at two about the age of four.  (Lying bastard.  If he wasn't a little cute I'd have ditched him long ago.)   She IS better.  That's not saying much.  In the last year she's broken two vehicle windows, killed a chicken, scared many children, and has shed a million hairs on my pillow.  It's not as romantic as it sounds.

So, when we moved back to Aurora and were again surrounded by acreage, I decided Trout needed a little more exercise.  I was thinking it would be cool for me to run her more.  And by "run her" more I mean just that, run HER (no way was I going running, I'd spill my drink).  I found just the toy for the job.  I recently bought a 2004 Polaris Magnum.  It's the field jetting king.  Of course, I'm also finding there are many differences between the BMW G650GS and the Polaris.  More than the obvious addition of two wheels.  Since I've bought this champ I've be reminded almost daily that yes, I am a blubbering idiot.  Here are just a few of my mishaps.

Day One:  Magnum is on the trailer and I'm trying to back it off.  Won't start.  Over and over and over, I turn the key, pull the choke, try the pull start, anything.  Damn thing hates me already.  Then I remember a buddy suggested I turn the gas off when I'm not using it.  Once I turned the gas on, Magnum purred like a kitten.

Day Four:  Magnum and I are in the back 40 and Trout is running ahead like a cheetah.  Really.  Magnum starts sputtering.  Damn.  That's a long walk. I start cutting through the field as Magnum sputters and stalls and lurches, finally stopping about 20 acres out.  Crap.  Um, yeah, you know that little knob that turns the gas on and off?  Also has a "RESERVE."  Once I turned the reserve on, Magnum took off like a cat on the 'nip.

Day Five:  I'm chasing Trout through the front yard (yea, I know, that's gonna leave a mark), when Magnum runs completely out of gas.  I hate procrastinating but I love not doing anything.  I grab a can of gas and proceed to pour it all over the seat since I'm apparently incapable of doing anything right. Damn!!!

Day Ten:  I post on Craigs List:  Wanted, a man with knowledge of motorcycles, ATV's, dogs, and home repairs.  Must be okay with constant "honey dos" and bar-b-que.   Must have job.  Scratch that.   Must have GREAT job or be independently wealthy. responses.  Damn!

Feb 13, 2013

Battery Change: I need a monkey.

Happy Valentine's Day to me...a $105 battery!
I finally got Runkle out of my friend's garage after a two month accidental storage.  I dropped Runkle off around Thanksgiving then went on vacation to Mexico, then Christmas came, and finally I remembered I needed to plug in the battery.  By the time I got to Runkle, the battery was dead dead dead.  Darn nabbit!!  I plugged Runkle in but it was too late.

After a quick trip to BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon I was relieved to find my battery was "only" $105.  Yahooooo!   I was informed it was "EASY" to put in the new battery.  I'm shocked they didn't say it was so easy a monkey could do it.

A general rule with me is that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  But, I thought, heck, it's a New Year!  Maybe my bad luck is in 2012!   Yeah.  Right.

First, I took my seat off, expecting the battery to be right there.  Um, yeah. It's not.  I looked around and thought it must be under the tank plastic.  Great.  I thought about calling the BMW shop, but I'm tired of making them laugh.  It's starting to make me sensitive.  Instead I booted up the MAC and did a quick search of "2010 BMW G650GS battery location."   ARGGG.  I wish I had a monkey.

Finally, I figure out I'm going to have to remove all the freaking plastic.  I hate doing that.  Why you ask?  'Cause as easy as it is to remove a few screws, something always goes wrong for me.  I removed the plastic and the battery was in plain sight.  Great.  I unlatched the battery strap and realized I had no idea where my short screw driver was.  I just moved and am apparently not responsible enough to put my tools back.  Unfortunately I have no one to blame but myself.  Geez!  What should have been a ten minute job made me wanting to take a dinner break.  

I chugged along, removed the screws, put the new battery in, and started putting the screws back into the battery posts (I have no idea what I'm talking about).   When I had it all tightened down I felt a sense of triumph.  I started to pull the plastic battery strap back on and it pulled out all the way.  Damn it.  I needed a banana.   I spent the next ten minutes trying to see where the bottom latched but everything was too tight.  I kept sliding the strap down and pulling up, hoping it would catch.  Damn! I was seriously considering my options:  remove the battery again or just put the plastic on and forget about it.  Hmm...what would Madelyn from European Motorcycles of Western Oregon do?   Damn.  She'd probably make sure it was done right.  Damn!  I spent another ten minutes trying to get the strap to hook and finally, it did!  I jumped up and down and made monkey noises!

Giant Loop tank bag saves the day!
I moved the plastic back in place and heard a "tink tink."  Hmm, sounded like something dropped.  What could that have been?  Who knows?  Move along, Monkey!!!  So I did.  I started to screw the plastic back around the tank area (I know, I'm pretty technical), and then I figured out what that sound was.  One of the thingamagigys that holds the screw on had fallen (too technical for you?).  I spent another few minutes trying to locate the missing thingy, but luck was not on my side.  Damn.  Damn. Fine, I thought, I don't care!  I skipped that screw.  I figured my tank bag from Giant Loop would hold the plastic tight.  I'm sure when I get my oil changed again they can fix it.  I mean, that will give the BMW shop something to do.

Almost two hours later, I started my Runkle and heard that sweet sound of freedom.  And shockingly, I began to wonder if Trout could ever see herself hanging out with a monkey while I was at work.  The monkey could play ball with Trout and do my bike repairs.  Win win.  

Tomorrow we ride.


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