Friday, July 30, 2010

Heading west to Corvallis, Oregon

I think our IMBC2010 was a success. We had a great meeting in Bend, OR and on Sunday it was time to head West. The internet is a great tool for getting to know others in the Blogging community. It's one thing to be able to converse back and forth using keyboards but it's even better to be able to put faces to names. We will have to do this again but perhaps we should rename it the "Meeting of Crocs Convention", MOCC for short


I don't know who set the time for Breakfast but it should have been earlier. While waiting for 10am to arrive the Crocs got restless

(Mr Troubadour & Ms Trobairitz, Corvallis, OR)

Please introduce yourselves to . . .

(SonjaM, Vancouver, BC)

After a couple of hours it was finally time to head over to the Bear Diner, where we noticed this BMW GS which resembled something from the military with German writing


It looked like something from the second world war, but it was relatively new, but appeared old looking . He had been attending the BMW MOA rally in Redmond, OR and was heading back home to California. He said that he won an award for best in his class


After gawking at this magnificent bike we made our way inside

(Troubadour & Trobairitz)

The Bear Diner seems to be a popular place for breakfast but I ordered the smaller, Seniors portion


I have a fondness for eggs on the weekend

(Everywhere there are bears looking at you)

We had our fill of food and beverage and soon it was time to make our treck over the mountains back to Corvallis on Hwy 20 . This would be the first time that we will have ridden together as a group, and the first time that SonjaM has ever ridden with others, so she was a little apprehensive about formations and speeds

(Bluekat on her Ninja)

and here is Ron, aka: Mr bluekat on his Suzuki cruiser


Ron had a problem with his bike and we were unsure whether it would make the trip home, but it did . Eventually we were all suited up and riding away with Troubadour leading and Bobskoot taking up the rear. It was a lucky thing that our radios were compatible with each other and we were able to communicate while riding. We were all using FRS/GMRS radios with helmet headsets with mic. We would have had a problem using Bluetooth systems as they can only pair Two helmets at a time. SonjaM and Myself were using IMC motorcom headsets with Midland radios, similar to the ones being used by Troubadour & Trobairitz. Ron and Bluekat were using Chatterbox.

As we were riding along, Troubadour would ask if we wanted to stop in Sisters or other viewpoints along the way and we eventually stopped at

(Trobairitz, Mt Washington in the background)

We also wanted to take a group picture

(Sonja, Brandy, Bradley, Kari, Ron & Bob)

It's a lucky thing we had our radios to communicate so we could request a washroom stop. This is somewhere near the summit


When we got closer to Lebanon we came to a junction and Ron took the lead as he knows these roads like the back of his hand and took us over to the other side of the lake and stopped at the dam

(The Suzuki TU250 made it over the mountains, both ways with no problems)

Eventually we made it to the Walgreens parking lot in Lebanon where we said our goodbyes to Kari & Ron


Bradley took over the lead again for the final leg home to Corvallis. I had a request to stop for gas along the way as we had to continue our way to Lincoln City after a snack. When we reached the gas station I took a pump on the opposite side from Sonja, Bradley and Brandy so I did not realize that he had a problem with a gum wrapper falling into his gas tank.

I also had a problem which I was unaware until we hopped into their Versa on our way to the restaurant and I noticed this

(Change guard bolt fell off)

Luckily this was just a minor problem. The rear chain guard bolt must have vibrated off and caused the guard to swing into the chain and destroy the top portion. Bradley loaned me a Zip Tie and soon it was good as new

We had a simple healthy meal at Cafe Yumm in the University district


We headed back to their home to say our good-byes. It was hard to leave as we were so relaxed but we still had another 2 hour ride to the coast and up to Lincoln City where we would spend a couple of days before heading north back to British Columbia.


We were now on our own. We had made new friends, cemented our relationships, strengthened our bonds to each other. And I know we will cross paths again.

We had a delightful weekend and could only wish that we could have spent more time together.

( + what happens in Bend, stays in Bend)

'till next time . . .


Nearly forgot to post the video:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meeting Irondad, the Legend

When I first started Blogging the intent was to showcase the scenery of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, which I have defined in my mind as BC, WA & OR. Photography had always been my hobby ever since the early days when I was one of the school photographers. Belonging to car clubs we often went away for the weekends in various places on both sides of the border. I like driving vacations and it is more about the journey and the less travelled roads rather than a specific destination. When I had my Jeep and Pick up truck, we would travel on many gravel roads all over the province. Vacation planning would be to scour over maps trying to make a route on unfamiliar roads.

On many of our travels to out of the way places I would encounter many situations, meet locals and make friends with strangers. And so it is with the blogging community to which I have become attached. Our community is comprised of many individuals scattered all over the country and even in other parts of the world. It is like discovering new places to see and many people to meet.

During my initiation stages I would often frequent some of the more highly rated blogs. I don't want to leave anyone out so I will just say that "Musings of an Intrepid Commuter" was one of those that I would monitor daily but didn't consider myself worthy enough to actually post a comment. Like my hero, I would dote on his every word and read with interest his posts regarding handling your motorcycle proficiently. Whether it be cornering, braking, or go where you look.

(FJR on the left, vistors on the right)

There seems to be a great concentration of Bloggers in the Corvallis/Albany area which is not that far away from Home and it was my thought that perhaps, ONE DAY our paths would cross. Recently our paths did cross. It was during our IMBC2010 in Bend. It would be my chance to finally meet this man of STEEL, 7 ft tall, Ironman and Guru of motorcycle training. The top honcho of Team Oregon. The number ONE, the CEO, the BUCK stops here . . .

Irondad was in Klamath Falls and the plan was for him to transmit a text message to me when he arrived at his hotel. Our group was a mere 3 miles away taking a walk by the river when I thought I felt the earth shake. I didn't know what to make of this but when the text message arrived, I knew that HE had arrived.

We made our way over to his hotel to use as our command centre. As I rode past his bike and saw the personalized licence plate, I knew that he "was in the building" . He lives and breathes motorcycles and I didn't want him to evaluate my shaky riding technique so I parked on the other side of the parking lot so he wouldn't notice, but he was standing outside on his balcony and saw everything. He has an Eagle's eye and nothing escapes his powers of observation

(Irondad with Stacy)

I came up the stairs and we introduced ourselves. We had chosen this weekend to meet in Bend as it was the same weekend as the BMW MOA motorcycle rally being held in Redmond and there were many bikes in the lot below


There were other makes as well but most were BMW's. Dan (Irondad) has become quite proficient in his photography and likes to excercise his camera

(Irondad, behind the scenes)

He tried to dispell his Guru status by telling us that tonight he was just one of us, but in the end he took the premiere spot, in front of the class in the commanding position, with us students looking on


During the next few hours we were talking sort of like in a classroom setting. It had been suggested a few times about going somewhere for dinner, or perhaps even ordering in but time was slipping by and soon RichardM had to go back to Corvallis

and Stacy and Stacey had to leave for their campsite before it got too dark


We decided to gather somewhere for dinner and chose a restaurant near our hotel . I was lucky to grab the empty chair opposite Irondad which the others had thankfully left vacant for me.

(Dan, Ron & Kari)

We had a leisurely chat before and after dinner trying to get to know each other better

I should have ordered something sensible like Irondad did


Like a healthy soup and sandwich combo which included a pie for dessert instead of my cholesteral chocking sandwich loaded up with gravy


It was a nice "first time" and I hope we get a chance to meet again. We would not see him again for breakfast as he had to leave early to meet a friend in the area. I am sure that he is a very busy person. Between motorcycle training on the weekends and working his job, he has little time to be social. We are glad he managed to take a brief time out to meet us all in Bend.

I was also a little apprehensive about his bringing up the rear on our group ride back to Corvallis on Sunday for then he would know what little riding skills we possess

Friday, July 23, 2010

Downtown Bend & Crocs

By the time we arrived in Bend we had already ridden 5 hours from Toppenish, WA through some of the roughest roads Oregon has to offer. Traffic was fairly light until we reached Madras and things started to back up. It was refreshing to leave early at around 6am and experience the cool crisp air, but eventually we had to remove our liners as the heat of the day started to seep in.

I was minding my own business walking with Cheyenne on Bond Street wearing my Pink footwear when a voice called out from a customer of the local coffee shop regarding the colour of our shoes. We quickly explained that we were colour blind and we thought that our shoes were black


when I noticed another person wearing a matching pair


Our family has finally been re-united. The Crocs from Key West, FL have made contact with the Crocs from Vancouver, BC. From opposite ends of the continent we are together in an unlikely place in the middle of Oregon


We took another photo of this momentus moment, imagine two curmudgeons from opposite worlds together for the first time. It was a great meeting. It was as if we had known each other for "years" .

(Bonding time)

We walked and talked while Cheyenne intently listened. When we reached this store there was a voice which commanded us to go inside.

(Mr Conchscooter & Mrs Conch, the one without the crocs)

It was Mrs Conchscooter which started this whole Pink Croc affair. Mr Conch cannot be trusted to bring back suitable footwear and told Mrs Conch that he would wear anything that she deemed suitable for his purpose and that colour didn't matter.

(Layne, aka: Mrs Conchscooter)

It didn't take long for Layne to select a pair of pink footwear in a differing Croc style.


The Crocs are modelled in front of Cheyenne for her approval


Mrs Conch was anxious to wear her newly purchased Crocs immediately, as you will notice


We had a pleasant lunch together and walked about for an hour or so and I started to get text messages from the group riding in from Corvallis. The first message came from RichardM, and another came from Troubadour. Time was running out and soon the Conchs' had to be on the road and on their way back home to Key West.

We didn't know where to meet so I texted back to meet at our Hotel as we had not yet checked in. I told Mr Conch that the others from the IBC2010 were heading to the hotel and he said that he would make his way there too on his way out of town

(Conchscooter, RichardM & Mrs Conch)

Mr Conch was admiring the Suzuki TU which resembled a smaller version of the Triumph Bonneville.

Here`s a closer view of RichardM, with his Crocs all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska, complete with matching shorts

(Hmm, I wonder who is behind in the Yellow crocs)

The group from Corvallis had just arrived and wanted to go somewhere for lunch, and soon they were all suited up and rolling out of the parking lot

(Stacy and Stacey)

and here`s Bluekat (Kari) on her green Ninja with matching Ninja Green Crocs

(Ninja Green Crocs are safely tucked away, out of view)

We were all socializing and walking by the river when I received my first text message from that legend, Irondad Dan. As a group, we all decided to go to Irondad`s hotel and use it as our meeting place


When we arrived at his hotel I got my first glance at his FJR with the unmistakeable licence plate. We had finally arrived . Irondad is in the building


Thursday, July 22, 2010

An important date in Bend, Oregon

Our reason for attending the IBC2010 in Bend, Oregon was to actually meet those whom we have gotten to know on-line. When the plan was first hatched some months ago a few others had made arrangements to also attend. This included GAW from St Louis who was going to arrive by Friday (July 16th). Also with the assistance from Mike, whom kindly secured our rooms at the Bend Inn & Suites, who was also arriving on Friday. So my plan was to also arrive on Friday so they both wouldn't be so lonely.

(Grocery Store: Toppenish, WA)

My solo rides are usually over a long weekend with a much closer destination. I purchased and outfitted my V-strom for touring and I thought that this would be a good time to try a weeks riding vacation. I wasn't really sure that I wanted to go alone and talk to myself for a week but I was going to give it a try. Then when SonjaM got wind of my desire to travel to Bend, she wanted to tag along.

There are many factors which influenced my decision to take this vacation and the timing which was working out perfectly. Mr Conchscooter posted a while back that he wanted to take a vacation to California around Mid July and I put the bug in his ear. He made a commitment to meet up somewhere on the West Coast. With the few extra days I had resolved myself to riding to California to meet him half way on his epic journey across the continent. I was dreaming of a night in the same hotel and take a walk with Cheyenne at the same time.

(Toppenish, WA: City of Murals)

Then the plans changed and due to circumstances, Mr Conch decided to cut back and tour the new England States and visit friends. Meanwhile while doing our trip planning, Sonja indicated that she had limited vacation time due to projects which needed her personal oversight. She could only commit to 3 days (Mon-Wed) plus the weekend. This was a problem for me as I wanted to be in Bend on the Friday which was the original plan to meet up with GAW and Mike. Luckily she freed up Friday but after I had checked with Mr Google Maps, it was going to be nearly 500 miles and would take around 12 hours, plus rest stops and meal breaks. Remember that the plan was to minimize use of I-5 and travel on secondary roads at slower speeds and also find time to snap a few pictures along the way. After some consideration we decided to leave from work early on Thurday and travel a few hours into the Seattle area to make Friday a little easier. This meant additional hotel expenses but we would still be able to reach Bend by Friday evening for dinner.


Unfortunately, GAW had a mishap on his BMW Xcountry and Mike had a birthday to attend so the pressure was OFF so we changed our plans again to arrive into Bend by around Noon on Saturday (July 17).

Back to Mr Conchscooter. All of our emails, texting and comments had always been to meet on July 17th, so all was in order and the planets were coming into perfect alignment. We made a detailed ride plan outlining our stops and booked all of our accommodations along the way. Everything was set, our bikes were serviced and we were just waiting to leave on Friday.

Two days before we were to leave, Mr Conchscooter sent me a text message to confirm our arrangements. He was lost somewhere between Texas and Santa Cruz. It was criptic but something like this, "Dinner on Friday and Breakfast on Saturday, then we leave, does this suit you?" I was in a panic as all of our plans revolved around getting to Bend after lunch on Saturday. Messages were transmitted back and forth across the country and I was finally resolved that we would not be able to meet as he stated he had to get back to work in KW at 6:30pm on Friday.

While Mr Conch was always telling me July 17th, he didn't consult Mr Calendar and thought that the 17th was Friday. So never the twain shall meet and I, with tears in my eyes texted back that we were so close but we would miss each other by a few hours. I wished him well for his travels back home and perhaps one day we would meet in Key West.


It's a long way from Santa Cruz to have a meal in Bend and he had a lot of miles to travel to get home without the added stress of diverting hundred of miles out of his way to Oregon.

But WAIT, I received another message. He asked if I would consider a compromise and meet half way. Instead of Breakfast could I get to Bend by 11:00am for Brunch. We would enjoy a leisurely meal and he would be on his way. Of course I agreed but how to tell Sonja that we had to leave before 6am for the 5 hour ride to reach the restaurant by 11:00am

Don't tell Conch but we did manage to make a few brief photo stops

(Wind Farm, south of Goldendale, WA)

I just love windmills and often stop for photos. I just love the yellow rolling hills and looking at these propellers.

We also stopped at Shaniko for a refreshment break and half a banana


Shaniko is a ghost town complete with deserted buildings. It resembles a movie set of a western town. Today we noticed a lot of bikers on the road, and we spoke to this group who were camping somewhere in Redmond


Unfortunately we arrived a few minutes late at 11:30am but Mr Conchscooter waited for us outside of the restaurant and I recognized him and Layne, right away

(Mr Conchscooter always smiles when there is food in front of him)

and with Layne's blessing, I am now officially Jewish, as I managed to force part of my meal onto Mr Conch

(Oy Vay: big steak, small stomach)

Jewish Tradition dictates that I must share my meal.

More on Mr Conchscooter to be continued . . .