Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Live to Eat

Everything revolves around eating, or having a meal with friends. Even a ride will start or end with a meal. I love food and don't know when to stop. A few years ago we stopped going to buffets (All you can eat) because I always have one plate too much. It's not as bad now as it was in the past where I would often pile my plate with food and go back 5 or 6 times. Then there was that dessert table filled with whipped cream confections. Most often I could barely roll out the door when the meal was over. Things are better now, I have moderated a bit with the food intake.

Saturday started with breakfast with "the guys" . We have been meeting for over a decade for bacon & eggs at a local cafe every Saturday morning.


Paul, our insurance guy, has started to join us. He rides a Concours. I know bacon and fried stuff isn't really nutritious for you but I like the salty taste. Ever since I read about Steve and his change of diet, I have been feeling a little guilty. I mean, we try to eat healthier food, less red meat, more salads, less fried stuff, chips, french fries, pop more fish, vinegrette dressing and so it goes. An endless list of bland tasting food when you could have a bacon and cheese hamburger with fries and pop

On Saturday I usually visit my friend in the afternoon and have a hamburger combo which has recently been changed to a Chicken Wrap with Apple Juice or just water. I miss the fries with ketchup and salt. Today I missed lunch and thought that it would be nice to have dinner at the Richmond Night Market (summernightmarket.com) I like to have the DimSum at the food area where there are many different types of food.


The market starts around 7pm and goes to around 1am, Friday to Sunday nights, plus holidays. I love the smells of all the food but now I am more selective


We arrived around 7:20p and it didn't seem too busy, but by the time we went down the 2nd isle we could hardly move due to the huge crowds.


If you ever come to Vancouver, it would be an excuse for me to come here again for a meal. There are also vendor stalls and live entertainment. This year one of the sponsors is Pacific Motorsports, a Triumph & BMW dealer and they had bikes on display on the main stage


I ordered a Sui-Mei/shrimp dumpling combo from here. She is getting my order ready. I share my meal with Mrs Skoot and I also had half of a home made meat lasagne. I wasn't full but it felt good to leave a little hungry. I feel so uncomfortable when I am full to the gunnels.

Before Christmas I was able to keep my weight under control, sort of. I use my digital scale every morning and check my weight and self correct daily. There was a lot of eating during Christmas with dinners and going out and my weight skyrocketed and I was unable to get it down. So I gave up on the scale. It is nearly June and I have not weighed myself for months. I was afraid to see those little LCD numbers climb too high.

I have been trying very hard during the past few weeks to limit my intake and select more wholesome items. I even brought salad to work for lunch today


Imagine my surprise today when I finally had the nerve to step on my scale. It went in the right direction


You can hardly notice that I lost 5 lbs

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meet Mary, new owner of our Vino

Today was family day but on the way home I stopped at our local scooter dealer, Rideaway Motors, a Kymco Dealer. When I arrived I was greeted with "your two scooters are here". I didn't know what that meant but I noticed that my previous Maxi-Scoot Kymco Exciting 500Ri was parked but did not notice our prev Vino. A moment later, Mary made her appearance


It was a whirlwind sale. Last week I was preparing my bike for the Victoria Rally. On our local scooter forum Mary was asking questions about a questionable brand of scooter with limited dealers, and limited support. Many were suggesting other models to consider. I hadn't really thought about selling our scooter which had been stored in the garage for the past few years but decided to mention that my scooter was available. A couple of PM's later she made arrangements to view the scooter after work on Thursday. She arrived on my doorstep around 7pm and wanted it right away. Of course I was in the middle of packing and had to leave at 5am the next morning.

It was her desire to have the scooter available for practice during our long weekend holiday and I was not planning to be back in town until late Sunday. We had little time to lose as there was the matter of transferring ownership and obtaining insurance. We had some problems which I won't bore you with but we finally got everything sorted out at 10pm that night. Imagine that you had never ridden a scooter (or motorcycle) before and it was now dark. She had a long way to go which included a bridge. She was going to practice riding around the neighbourhood until she felt confident enough to make the journey home. I told her that if she had some doubts, then come back and I would follow her home.


Everything happened so fast. I had not prepped the bike for sale and it was dusty and the battery was not charged after sitting all this time, but it still managed to barely start the engine. The kick starter works on the first kick. Part of the sale included her bringing her "new to her Vino" to Rideaway to charge the battery. It is a special AGC type battery which cannot be charged with normal chargers.

On Sunday afternoons, many members of our scooter group meet up at Rideway to socialize and have a cup of coffee, generously supplied by Tony. In the photo above they are all trying to help.

As Mary has been enjoying her new scooter and riding it around, the battery was being charged and did not need much of a top-up. When her scooter was brought outside, Gerard (also known as my much older brother) decided to take it for a ride up and down the lane. Gerard's scooter is that rust-coloured antique Honda 250 elite on the right. Yes, that's the one with the 60's style milk carton.


In his past life, Gerard has had many motorcyles which included a Beemer which he rode around Europe


It didn't take long for Mary to be comfortable with our group. Here she is with her McD coffee, supplied by Tony


That's Tony in the Background and Mrs Skoot on the left. She wanted to have an orange soda instead


Here's a quick group photo: Left: Jeff, Middle: Mark, Right: Mary with her "new to her" Vino

(Mrs Skoot & Mary)

That's Mary's new white helmet which she purchased today. Rideaway Motors is usually open on Sundays and weekdays until 7pm during the summer.


She is enjoying her new purchase and getting a lot of practice riding around the city. I hope she joins us again for coffee next Sunday

Friday, May 27, 2011

Victoria Rally, Sunday: Day 3

Sunday morning started out with bright sunshine which quickly turned to overcast skies . This was day 3 of the Capital City Scooter Rally. Quite a few other scooterists are also staying here


Most of these scooters were ridden from either Seattle (Westenders Scooter Club) or Bellingham (SOB's: Scooters of Bellingham) . As with previous years we have breakfast at Pagliacci's, it's a tradition.


Of course, this morning I have no starting issues and my V-strom comes alive with a quick push of the starter button. I am thinking that yesterday when I was trying to jump start the Aprillia Mojito many things went through my mind such as reversing the polarity, or shorting out the ECM but it was probably just a simple side-stand down and in gear sort of safety interlock situation. I remember vaguely that I pulled in the clutch lever and pushed the button as normal and nothing happened, but the gauges did their usual start up sweep. As I was getting ready to ride over for breakfast I had to click my gear lever to neutral and push my bike forward to attach my right sidecase.

I always look forward to ordering my usual plate of traditional Eggs Benedict. It comes out perfect with lots of hollandaise sauce to smear over my potatos.


A few of us from VancouverScootering.com came to Victoria early Friday morning and here we are enjoying a meal together


Soon we have had too many cups of coffee and are ready for the next event and I notice another photo op looking at my bike through the window


Outside we have dozens of scooters parked next to each other. Unlike money hungry Vancouver where you are obligated to feed the parking meters 7 days a week until 10pm, here in Victoria parking is free on Sundays so we thought we had nothing to worry about, UNTIL . . . someone came rushing into the restaurant to say that a parking enforcement person was going to be issuing parking tickets to the scooters. It seems that there is a parking bylaw which states that you are only allowed to have a maximum 2 scooters/motorcycles PER Parking Meter. I mean, what a stupid rule, and for what purpose. The two bikes closest to the meter are exempt and the others will get a ticket. Needless to say the scooters got moved right away and we headed down to the Causeway, which is the parking area across the street from the Empress Hotel, in the inner harbour.

(Orin: scootin ol' skool)

Orin is already there waiting for us . It was my plan to head back to Vancouver to be with Mrs Skoot as this is the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada and I have to share some of myself with family time.

I am not the only one photographing. This is Tess, from Seattle . I was somehow attracted to her equipment


White lenses are for serious photographers . She is working on a project and the photos will make it to her website, presently under construction

Can you spot the "Black Jewel" within the flock of Italian beauties ?


It was a great weekend, rides, meals and friends. I am also on StromTrooper.com and I have been over on the Island before to ride with Ian on the Port Renfrew Loop. He managed to come for breakfast Sunday and kept me company on my ride back to the Ferry. He lives enroute so we stopped at his place for a beverage when he discovered that there was a 2pm ferry which I could just make, if I rushed. He gave me cryptic instructions, turn left, go through two lights and then turn right, etc.

I don't want to tell him that I messed up. I went two lights and turned left and found my GPS indicating that I was travelling West, when I should have been going East. I ate up valuable time and ended back at West Saanich Road nearly where I started but 15-20 minutes later. I continued North to MacTavish Road as I knew it intersected with Hwy 17 which goes North to the ferry terminal. I left Ian's place at 1:05p and now it was 1:25p and due to construction, MacTavish Road was closed and I had to detour around the Victoria International Airport. All the while I was watching the minutes tick by and I knew I would miss the ferry. Usually you will not be loaded onto the ferry if you arrive within 10 minutes of boarding. I arrived around 1:38p and the lady in the booth told me I would make it on. Bikes get priority loading. I parked my bike at the head of the line at 1:40p and we loaded at 1:48p . I know that I am saying WE but I was riding alone.

With no one to keep me company I headed to the upper deck and found a nice spot out of the wind to sit in the sun, when to my delight a beauty sat down beside me. I struggled to get a photo of her but ended up with this


It's hard to think that just a few days ago I could hardly walk and was thinking of just staying home this weekend. It is not easy to wear my riding boots and move my foot up and down to shift. I also tried not to walk too much and wear my sandals as much as possible. I do have a bit of swelling and my boot feels too small and tight, at times. I can't wait to get back to normal.

It was nice to remove my boot and enjoy the scenery and leave the driving to the Captain


The wind blowing through your toes, feels so good

Monday, May 23, 2011

A train rolls by

There is a secluded beach adjacent to the US/Canada border. There are no services here, the beach is not maintained and it gives you a feeling that you are in the middle of nowhere


In the background you are able to see the luxury resort of Semiahmoo in Washington state

On the Canadian side, where I am standing, there is no development and you would be lucky to find accommodations in the form of a derelict teepee


even the totem pole has seen better days . There is a trail through the bushes which lead to the railway tracks


There is an embankment on the other side of the track which lead down these rusted out metal stairs


to reveal a nearly deserted beach, unlike its cousin to the north over in White Rock where parking spaces are non-existant on a sunny day even if you have the coins required to feed the meter. On this side of the slough, there are no meters.


Low tide reveals an expansive beach of sand, which could go out for a mile . I am standing about a block or so from the shore and can barely see the famous pier at White Rock to the North


Viewing south you are able to see the Peace Arch Border Crossing at the south end of this beach


We hear some engine sounds, whistles and then the ground starts to tremble


and we are soon rewarded with the sight of an Burlington Northern locomotive pulling a long convoy of railcars

I wanted to stand closer but the engineer kept tooting his whistle until I backed away. I wanted to take this photo for Jack r, who loves train porn


I didn't have a chance to count the cars but I would have lost count anyway as I only have 21 extremities, but it was a long train with another set of double engines at the rear.


with the train safely out of the equation, here is my version of Planking


Here is a closer view of the border crossing


It was a most excellent day, and we nearly had the beach to ourselves


Sunday, May 22, 2011

A pleasant day for ice cream

When I attempted to start my bike, I was on my way to meet the guys for breakfast. We got our wires crossed. I thought that they were on the way to my motel when in fact they meant that we should meet at the restaurant. I was so busy outside trying to start the other scooter that I did not realize that they were trying to contact me as I left my phone inside. Luckily it was not far and I walked over to satisfy my bacon & eggs craving.


I headed back to the motel to get my bike and head down to the Causeway. This is an area across from the Empress Hotel in Victoria's inner harbour


I think that there are fewer bikes this year. In years past there have easily been over 150 bikes. Many of the familiar faces are not here. There are many activities and rides scheduled so the bikes are spread out over different locations but I think we total around 100 bikes.

(looking North)

and looking South


We are a little early and many of the other scooterists have gone to the local markets to kill some time before the ride leaves at 1pm. There are two rides; the long ride, and the ice Cream Ride

Orin is here, along with Safety Ed from Seattle


Soon it is 1pm and scooters have arrived from out of the woodwork and vie for position



Our ride is delayed until 2pm as we wait for the groups from Vancouver and Bellingham who arrived on later ferries

We opt for the slower ride for Ice Cream up at Matticks Farm . As with other group rides it is difficult to stop for photos . Sorry, no photos of the ice cream. We had to eat it before it melted.

It was now getting late in the afternoon and our group leader decided to lead us to dinner, where there were a lot of vintage Vespas

(You can't have too many mirrors)

It's been a long day and we never even realized that we missed lunch


the best thing of all is that my V-strom made it through the whole day, under its own power


Saturday, May 21, 2011

A new day in Victoria

A few days before my departure to Victoria I was constantly viewing updated weather forecasts to determine what to bring and what clothes to wear. I am learning to travel light. I had planned to spend Thursday night checking air pressures and lubing the chain. Something happened that night which conspired against me. I didn't have time to mount my GoProHD video cam and whilst at the ferry terminal I discovered that I left the 1/4-20 Ram ball mount which meant that I could not attach my camera in its usual way. Luckily I brought my Mini Fat Gecko otherwise I would not have been able to record any video.


The weather forecast was for generally good weather with slight chance of drizzle. It was heavily overcast and we were hoping for the best . I only brought 2 T-shirts plus one long sleeved shirt which I wore over and today did not look like a T-shirt day.


While I was getting things ready and packing my bike for the day a fellow scooterist was having trouble starting his bike. Being the good samaritan that I am, I told him if he had some wire we could jump start his bike using my battery with my 2 pin SAE plug which I use for my battery tender.


We managed to figure something out with the parts we had and spent some time trying to confirm which was POSitive or NEGative before we actually put the two batteries in parallel. Randy moved his Aprilia Mojito 150cc scooter into position and we wired them together. He rode his scooter from Seattle and was worried about getting home under its own power. Nothing happened. We fiddle some more tracing wires and decided to give up and get a new battery. I thought that if we could jump start his bike he would ride over to Canadian Tire. Now he would have to take the bus.

Soon I was ready to go for breakfast, put the key in the ignition of my V-strom and watched the gauges do their usual start up sweep, pushed the starter button, and . . . NOTHING happened. I turned my key on and off a few times, each time pushing my starter button and STILL, nothing. My bike appeared to be dead although the dash lights appeared normal. I have never had any problems with my battery and I always connect to a battery maintainer when it is parked .

I open the underseat compartment pondering what to do


so far my day isn't working out very well