Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thoughts of Camping

I had never camped before 2012 but I decided that it was a way to cut down on Hotel costs whilst touring on my bike.   We had a bloggers' meeting in Hell's Canyon which we dubbed iMBC2012 (some info here)  so I decided to buy some camping equipment and try it out .   We decided to meet in Baker City, OR

    Baker City, Oregon                                                                 July, 2012

and here I am with Karen who rode her Vstar from Kingston, Ontario.  While it was my first time camping I was trying to look like I knew what I was doing

My new Marmot tent is on the right.    I like to have facilities (ie water) so I can gently ease myself into enjoying it.    The next night I moved over to the Hotel to be with the others but all the time I was thinking that I should have stayed at the campsite and had company, rather than be alone in my room

    MSR whisperlite stove in action        Baker City, Oregon         July 2012

I also bought an  MSR Whisperlite International gas stove so we would be able to have warm beverages

It wasn't long ago that I would spend my time looking at electronic stuff at Best Buy or Future Shop but now I seem to be more obsessed with looking at Tents, stoves, sleeping bags, folding camp chairs and other outdoor stuff at places like REI  or    I've even started scanning Craigslist ads and bought a backup MSR whiperlite just in case my other one fails

With Spring upon us my thoughts have turned to camping and riding and even though I have no plans to go anywhere I have already gone into the MEC retail store several times during the past couple of weeks looking at "stuff".    I dug out my cooking kit and spread it out on my kitchen counter

Inside my cooking pot I have instant: cup of soup, instant coffee, instant oatmeal and a Cliff bar.  These items I carried across the country from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back home and here they are ready to use in case I need to have something hot to drink.   I love my MSR liquid fuel stove but I bought a cheap stove on the internet

It is very small and uses small gas cannisters and folds up into a small plastic case.

Here it is mounted onto an MSR  ISOPRO gas cannister.   It seems well made and for the price it is a bargain.  It also has a self igniter so you do not have to use a lighter

You turn on the gas (valve) and then push the button and the spark ignites the gas and you get a flame

Then all you have to do is to dial up the gas until you get a blue flame and then it is ready to heat your pot of water.  It is very fast to set up and the water boils really fast

It cools down fast and then you just fold it up and put it into its plastic container.   The cannister is probably 4x larger in comparison.  I also got hooked on alcohol stoves and last year I bought a couple of different designs

Since this stove is so small I was going to include it into my cooking kit but my MSR Whisperlite is more versatile as I can use different fuels, which includes pump gas.   It may not be so easy to find an ISOPRO cannister whilst on the road.

I mentioned that my tent was bought new in 2012.  It is a brand name, Marmot so I thought that it would be leak proof.   Well it was until we made it to Bar Harbor, ME and we got rained out

    KOA, Bar Harbor, Maine                           July 2013

It was clear and not raining when we arrived but that night the heavens opened up with flash flood warnings the next day, so we had to cancel our plans and hang around the town

    KOA Bar Harbor, ME                    Flooding,   July 2013

This is where I noticed that I was getting a bit of water inside my tent.   Not a lot of water but I wasn't sure where it was coming from but I used my camp towel to soak it up.  I think my rain cover was not long enough and not covering the bottom few inches of my tent

    KOA  Cavendish, Prince Edward Island                             July 2013

The weather on PEI was not that great.   Everyone told us that the previous 7 weeks was Hot and sunny but when we arrived it was always threatening rain and coolish.   Notice that I used the stakes to ensure that the rain fly covered more of the tent

When I got home from my cross country tour I decided to seal the bottom seams


and here is what it looks like after my "not very professional" botched job of sealing the seam

    After . . .

I hope this works.   But in the meantime I had been looking at new tents.  Not because I need one right away, as I'm not camping this year but I want to be ready for my next trip.   I was thinking of a larger tent, perhaps a 3 season,  3 Person for more room inside.    For some reason I am going to miss camping this year even though I am thinking about it all the time and wishing I could ride somewhere,  if only for a couple of days.

   KOA,  Cornwall, Prince Edward Island                                     July 2013

Scenes like this make me happy and brings back many memories and I'm looking forward to the day I will be able to do it again

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lobster Fest 2014

It was hard work getting all the meat out but someone had to do it

The shell was so hard I cut my fingers but I guess the Lobster got the worst of it

This was not a kind weekend when it comes to food and the inability to ration one's portion(s).  It started on Friday with AYCE:  All You Can Eat   Sushi when our friend invited us to his birthday dinner.  After a few plates of too much food we ended up at his home for another round of desserts and didn't leave for home until 11pm

Saturday found us at a Lobster feast where lobsters are flown in from  NB: New Brunswick or PEI: Prince Edward Island

We heard about this last year but all the tickets were sold out so we reserved our spot for this event a year ago and had been looking forward for a long time

It is put on as a fundraiser for the Soroptimist Club of Langley for their community projects.

They have a silent auction

and I bought a handful of raffle tickets.  Here is the raffle prize table.  There is a container for each item where you place your ticket for the item you desire

We were lucky to come home with two prizes

This chalk board is up for grabs

as well as this sport bike time piece.  I nearly lost my camera sock case but someone must have found it and

put it over this chair.   It keeps your camera from rubbing in your pocket.   Ever since I came up with this idea years ago, many of my friends also use camera sock cases.    Oh, notice those cows on the table ?   Whilst this is a Lobster event, some would prefer to have prime rib or beef steaks so for those they put the cow on their plate so a lobster will not be delivered by the volunteer staff

Being from the West Coast of Canada, lobsters are very expensive here so I was able to have my first lobster dinner in Bar Harbor, ME last summer as my belated birthday treat

    Bar Harbor, Maine               My first messy Lobster Dinner                  July 2013

Now, here in Langley BC on a Saturday night in May 2014 I get to admire my 2 lb Lobster

    Langley, BC                              2lb Atlantic Lobster

It's too large for my plate

It was a messy affair but I dug right in and did what I needed to do

It also came with; melted butter, lemon wedges, bread rolls, two types of salad, plus a nice potato salad and a small selection of desserts and then coffee or tea

After dinner there were some games, awarding of the prizes and dancing to a DJ

Most of the video was taken with my iPhone.   I am hoping the the copywrite police don't shut my audio down, that's why I only used short clips

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A minute lost is a minute lost forever

We were once young, we never thought we would age and even though our mind believes that we are younger than we are,  we aren't

    Recently spotted in a public park

I've always been healthy.  I'm one of those who never takes a day off due to sickness, except now.  Lately I've been thinking more about mortality.  I equate our lives to a gas gauge.  We all start off with a full tank and as time passes, the level goes down, except that there is no way to top off the tank with more fuel

I admire performance machines but I no longer have the reflexes of someone a third of my age.  Bikes like these are not built for old people

and as I look at this BMW GS  I think of exotic places to ride, like Mexico or South America but I know that it is not within the realm of possibility.    I am not self sufficient, I do not know Spanish nor can I possibly endure the hardships of solo travel in a strange land when I am used to the comforts of home.  If I were 30 years younger I could make a plan to learn more about motorcycle mechanics and take a few language lessons but I wasn't interested in touring that many years ago, and I fear that I am too late so for now my plan is to tour the North American continent where I have no language issues and where things are not much different than here in Canada

I am on the verge of retiring but I am one of a zillion baby boomers caught in the  economic collapse of the civilized world and the thought of having enough funds to live a comfortable life consume my thoughts.  For now, even though I am past the traditionally accepted retirement age,  I continue to work

Back in 2007,  I needed a new(er) car and decided to buy a Honda Civic as my commuter.  Nothing fancy, just something with good gas mileage as I have a long commute.  I like manual transmissions so I chose a 5 speed.   Little did I know that my foot would be randomly acting up and would be a recurring problem.  My plan was to buy a new vehicle when I retired so that I would have something reliable and not needing repairs.  Now I have decided that I won't really need a vehicle since if I stop working I won't need to commute but with my foot problem I should have gotten an automatic.  If I had known that the Civic would be my last car then I should have bought a higher model, like the Accord instead

While my foot is not really back to normal I have been commuting to work on my bike but my foot is still a little bit swollen and my heel is rubbing on my boot and it is causing discomfort so at work I have been wearing slip ons which are less confining and I try to change out of my shoes at the first opportunity.  Last week we had casual Friday so I was lucky to be able to wear my comfortable shoes which helped a lot

I actually planned to wear my shorts but at the last moment I changed into my tattered jeans

Last Friday I had dinner with my Uncle who lives out of town.   I generally refer to him as Uncle "R" but he is also a practicing Doctor so I cornered him and said I needed to speak to Dr "R" for a few moments and he confirmed what I had thought.   I described where it was swelling and all of my symptons so I am now fairly certain that I know what is causing my swelling and  NO, it is not Gout.

I have still not seen any Doctor since my foot started acting up nearly 4 weeks ago and while I am not yet back to normal I am thinking that I should be better soon.   I won't bore you with the details but there are some foot exercises I should be doing to strengthen some muscles but it is something that will never heal and I have to be careful not to stress my foot from now on or the problem will return.  It's just a reminder that I am older than I think and I can't do things like I used to do when I was much younger.

I spotted this bike and when I got closer I noticed this BMW GS was from the Yukon.  I thought to myself,  "I can do that", and perhaps I will but not this year.   This is going to be a short riding season for me.  I have no plans to ride anywhere except perhaps for a few days but I am running out of vacation spots as others at work have already entered their requests and looking at my calendar there are not many days left for me to choose as I have to be at work when certain others are away.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Alfa Romeo Guilia Spyder 1600 Model 10123

Back in the mid 1970's  I had two Alfa Romeos.   One was a coupe, Veloce 2000 GTV and the other was a two seater Spyder convertible

Today as we were heading home I noticed this orange Alfa Guilia Spyder so of course I had to go around the block and stop for a few photos.   There are not many of these cars around Vancouver.  I have only see a handful in over 35 years and each time I try to wave them down and talk to the owners.

I am not sure if orange was a factory colour but I think not.    I couldn't help myself.   I had my good camera with me so I started to snap photos from all directions

This model comes in two engine variations.   This is the 1600 DOHC and is known as the Guilia Spyder.  The 1300 is called the Guilietta Spyder and does not have the fake hood scoop

It is not easy to find parts for this model as when I had mine I had to order stuff from Italy and it took nearly 2 years to get lenses for my signal lights.   I also ordered a windshield but after 2 years of waiting, I gave up

Everything seems to be original.   The owner of this car was having a new convertible top installed and I was not the only one who stopped to admire this classic beauty.   The owner of the repair shop came out and let me look under the hood

It has the original manufacturer's plate showing the model 10123.  My Spyder was a 1963 but I was told that this was a 1964

Looking under the hood brought back memories as I had spent many hours under the hood making adjustments

This car has all the original hub caps which I was missing

It is actually quite a pretty car with classic lines

and here is a view of the interior.   In my opinion this car is complete and seems to have all the right original parts.   It's going up for sale in the $70K range.   A lot more than I sold mine for back around 1977

Speaking of classic vehicles,  I came across this old Moto Guzzi which you can recognize from the V engine configuration.  Notice that the levers are mounted backwards

I have no idea what year this is but it seems like an early model

The instrument cluster is very simple

I also admired this BMW.  I wouldn't mind one of these for tootling around town on a nice day

seems in very nice condition

It sort of has that cafe racer look with the bar end mirrors .  I'm not so sure I want to be hunched over in this riding position, but I like the looks

Seeing that we are on a classic theme, here is a photo of the original

Fiat 500.   They were ahead of their time and have recently come back in a larger form