Friday, August 31, 2012

Seven AM for Martha

Martha issued a tiny-challenge . . .

" So how about a tiny challenge. Show your town, or your sky, your 7 o'clock in the morning wherever you are "

Well, I tried to wake up a few minutes earlier to capture this


This is a few minutes away on an alternate way to work through Queen Elizabeth Park. I failed. I snapped this 10 minutes late.

the following is a boring photo taken exactly at 7:00am as I am heading to my car for my morning commute


overnight temperatures are getting cool, so we get condensation in the mornings. The sun is just starting to make its appearance. Being in the heart of the city, we cannot see the horizon, we have to wait until it rises above the houses and trees

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

iMBC2012 Random Photos

I had a great weekend in Oregon meeting other bloggers. I wished that our weekend was longer, perhaps a day or two extra next time.


Here's Vstar Lady/Karen riding like a pro in Hell's Canyon. See, it wasn't that bad, was it ? I think she is starting to like the roads of Curvistan

I learned a few things, and even tried Camping

Sunset in Baker City, Oregon

Here I am in Baker City giving my new equipment a work out with my tutor in the neighbouring tent, imported from Kingston, Ontario at great expense

Erik was excited when he found a pair of Ninja Green Un-crocs©


what are the chances of finding a Ninja Green Un-Croc© in his manly size ?

This next photo is my chuckle of the day. Signs are meant to be ignored

Wonder who this is ?

perhaps this is her . . . (without mentioning names)


Not everybody rode to the Dam at the end of the road

Erik & Bobskoot enjoying the scenery

As I look at these photos I get a little sad that it had to end. The weekend was too short


It was Sunday, we had our last group dinner and it was time for hugs & a final goodbye . It was getting dark and some of us were staying a few miles away in Enterprise, Oregon


Even though Karen is from the land of Flatistan, she is a cowgirl at heart. She was looking for some cowgirl boots


Sometimes a video is worth a thousand words

I can't wait until we meet again . . . presently scheduled for iMBC2014

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Parking on the street

has its consequences, and is less secure than being in your own property. We are in the midst of a construction project which resulted in having to park our vehicles on the street with no access to our garage or carport


We had no cause for concern as we are in a good area but after 3 months my Corvette was recently vandalized. My Honda commuter car as well as my V-strom are also parked on the street in front of our home. I bought a bike cover


to make my bike more inconspicious but I got to thinking that perhaps I should park it out of sight. My carport is at the rear of the house accessed through the laneway .


but you notice that I have some obstacles to overcome. The simpler way would be to


ride my bike on the sidewalk along the side of the house, through the narrow gate. It is not that easy to maneuver but it can be done . When I had my smaller scooters I used to bring them in and out through the gate on a daily basis


The opening is narrow but with a bike as heavy as a V-strom you need help from the engine, and then turn it off using manual power through the gate. It is not easy to push 550 lbs of V-strom through the soft grass. I take it slow and easy until I reach the gate then turn the engine off


from here I have to duck walk it the rest of the way. At this point my handlebars are slightly wider than the width of the gate, so I have to skew the steering to get the right bar through, and then the left bar will just clear


This is a delicate operation and your bike has to be in exact position but I have done this several times. Now comes the complex task of turning my bike around so it is


facing the correct way the next time I need to bring it out. The contractor has a lot


of their equipment and tools stored here but I have to move it out of the way, then put it back where it was . Anyway, operation accomplished and I am happy to report that I feel better now that it is back where it belongs, out of sight and off the street


It is too bad that we have to rule our lives by the actions of a minority who have no regard for the property of others. I was just thinking how upset I am that they (vandals) have deprived me from enjoying the last remnants of summer in my convertible

I only drive my 'Vette during the summer months. So far I haven't used it much at all. I don't use it when it rains, nor when it is too hot so I have been waiting for the temperatures to moderate. So now that the weather is perfect, I am without . . .


A couple of iMBC2012 images. Here are a couple of grabshots taken in Hell's Canyon.

Sonja on her H-D

Erik on his Ninja

It all happened so fast. I was in the right spot but nearly too late to snap these. I didn't have time to set the camera for fast action

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Naked !

During July we had a bloggers meetup in Hell's Canyon, Eastern Oregon iMBC2012 . On our last day in Joseph, Oregon I was systematically packing my bike getting ready to leave. It was very early, before 6am. Everything has its place and I thought that I had gathered everything but at the last moment I decided to check the fridge as I nearly forgot that I had put a beverage in there. It is my normal practice to scan the room for missed items before I vacate my room and I have forgotten things in the fridge before. Imagine my surprise when I noticed something that I thought belonged to someone else.


I chuckled to myself before I realized that perhaps it was directed at me, for some unknown reason. The day before all of us had elected to take a non-riding day, relax and just get to know each other better. We spent the afternoon perched in our chairs under the shade of a large tree to escape the heat.


Pure Naked, I've never seen this brand before. Every time I look at this label I smile and think that it may have a secondary, hidden meaning. What was I supposed to do with it ? Who left it there ? Was it left on purpose, or was it left for me to enjoy. So I thought that I would not consume it on the road, but rather bring it home with me so I could enjoy it the way it was supposed to be enjoyed . . .

naked coconut 2
The bottom

to drink "Pure Naked" the Au Naturelle way . . .

The Top

Mmmmm, cool and refreshing at the same time

The Middle, sort of . . .

It is such a liberating beverage

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Corvette was Vandalized - update

Top cut in 2 places, plus some stuff was sprayed inside. Waiting for police to arrive. This was posted from my iPhone


Imagine my surprise and heart failure this morning as I headed to work at 7am when I noticed that my top was slashed


I was so upset since I have had tops slashed before and it is a hassle with phoning in a police report, then the insurance company to get a claim number, then bringing it in for inspection, estimates then having it repaired. I had a slight problem with the police report as I thought that they were giving me a hard time and had I had to wait for a police cruiser to arrive to physically inspect the damage before I could bring it somewhere for an estimate

I posted the first photo directly from my iPhone, I finally figured out a simple way to do it

It seems that there are animal rights activists running around town breaking into cars and spraying them with Fire Extinguisher retardant because of the leather seats. The police mentioned this several times, thus the reason that they wanted to see it for themselves.


I was also told not to try to clean it myself incase chemicals imbed themselves into the leather causing additional problems, so I drove it to my repair centre perched on a Garbage Bag


Here is Tony, my service advisor photographing the damage.

I actually had big plans this weekend. There is a huge Corvette Rally at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, BC for which I had already pre-registered and paid my entry fee months ago. And also a Vintage M/C Event in Tacoma where I was back and forth on the fence about going. So now all my plans are quashed as I cannot drive the car without rainproof protection

Tony just called and mentioned that they will be cleaning my interior but the top is at least 10 days away, so the repair process is well underway . Duecks is an excellent service centre.

Now that everything is being done the best that can be, I have settle down a bit and wonder why I have been targetted. It's not like a normal person would be carrying a Fire Extinguisher full of foam, so this was not necessarily a chance encounter. I hope they aren't waiting to damage my replacement top, it's not even like I needed one in the first place as mine was like new

On my last post I had purchased some Vegan snacks, or so I thought, but Trobairitz chimed in that perhaps the decadent Butter Tarts with raisons were suspect. So it was another excuse to purchase another package just so I could read the label. I mean, it was the right thing to do. And also I have to eat these delightful morsels . . . can't let them go to waste, can we ?




I didn't realize it at the time that our neighbour also suffered some damage from a slashed tire. I came home and spoke to another neighbour down the block that they also tried to break into his truck

Neighbour's slashed tire

I was originally afraid that I was targetted and for some reason that these vandals would be back, but they were creating havoc as they ventured randomly down the street.


so I am a bit relieved that I was not personally singled out

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It seems that

a lot of us have become inadvertent bike slugs. It has been too hot to consider riding with all the gear and sweating in traffic and I was no exception. My bike had been idled for a few days during our recent heat wave, but in anticipation of a hot date I needed to make my bike operational. I checked my tire pressures and they were low. I had to drag out my new air compressor


Would you believe that my front tire only registered 27 psi ! I haven't checked them since before the iMBC2012 which was mid July. I quickly pumped it back to 33 psi


which was the recommended pressure for solo riding. My rear tire was also a bit low, nothing as serious as the front but it only showed 34 psi, when it should have been 36 psi


so naturally I pumped it back up too. The plan was to ride my bike to the local grocery store to replenish my junque food supplies. It was hot and I didn't feel like gearing up, plus the fact that what I was buying was going to be too heavy for my side cases

junque food

while all this food at first glance doesn't appear to be that healthy, you have to consider that it is all Vegan, so I thought that this was a good thing

this stuff was so heavy that I had to use a grocery cart


I had just enough room in my trunk to carry all these delicious morsels home



Another Gas report and rip-off:


One thing that our American friends may not know is how much we are being gouged for our premium fuel/gas. Most prices are quoted as Regular 87 octane.

today our gas prices fell to $1.349 / litre, which works out to $5.106 / US gal

but many of us have vehicles which require premium fuel


My hobby car is recommended to use 94 octane. I have tried to use lesser octane but 87 creates all sorts of dieseling and hard starting problems. The lowest I can get away with is 91 octane but I alternate once in a while with the good stuff. Also it can get expensive to fill the tank so I try to keep it half or more so it doesn't feel like I have to empty my wallet everytime I need gas

Today I only needed about a third of a tank. It costs about $125. to fill the tank from near empty


At $1.509/litre this works out to $5.712 /US gal. So the difference between Regular and Premium gas is just over $0.606 per US gal. That's 60 cents per gallon. I notice on my travels that when I am in the USA, the difference is only about 10 cents per gallon, which is only a modest difference.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Close calls

I often ride my bike to work. Earlier in the week I had a couple of close calls. Other than a temporary elevated heart rate, all ended well.

I try to leave home before 7am. Vancouver does NOT have a freeway system. All highways stop at the city limits and from there it is a mess of surface streets to zig and zag my way to work. I don't have many options but I have 3 routes to choose from and can make minor adjustments along the way due to traffic flow. This particular day I chose a route that I don't normally use so I am not familiar with the traffic patterns.

I was heading Eastbound on a single lane urban street with parked cars sort of like this


Early in the morning on a work day traffic is brisk as everyone is rushing . I was last in a group of 3 cars. We were not travelling very fast, definitely under 50 km/h which is the city speed limit, and there is nowhere to pass anyway. I had been following these cars for nearly 2 miles and I notice a car on the right coming from a side street waiting for us to pass and I noticed the left blinker light flashing

Etch-a-sketch version of our near encounter

The three cars in front of me passed and then suddenly the car on the right started to make his left turn right in front of me like he didn't know I was there. Luckily I was spaced back a bit and there was more room between me and the car in front.

In a millisecond I squashed my brakes and slowed to a walking crawl, and then the car stopped just in the nick of time to reveal a driver with an astonished, stupid look. I passed, stared at him and then realized that this was my lucky day . I think people are not expecting to see a motorcycle as I was certainly invisible to him .

I find that sometimes the faster routes are really safer as drivers are in rush and keep changing lanes to get ahead, therefore they are always scanning for traffic and they are more aware of where the dangers lurk and where the vehicles are positioned.

After work I took the faster southern route home; Marine Way, Marine Drive then Northbound on Cambie Street. I was being cautious as usual but I got tripped up at 41st avenue when I went into the dedicated left turn lane

Left turn lane at 41st & Cambie, Vancouver, BC

Remember that this is the weekend. Traffic is much heavier during a weekday afternoon rush hour. Today, being a Saturday, it was sparse. This is a very busy intersection with 4 lanes. A dedicated left turn, a right turn and two straight through lanes. The left turn is controlled by an Advanced Left turn light which allows the left turning traffic to GO first, then another light signals the through traffic to proceed. There are also pedestrian crosswalks and bike lanes here.

Looking North

Notice the position of the green van which is a taxi. This particular van didn't do anything wrong, I only wanted to note the position of the Van that is in one of the 2 straight through lanes (heading south)

I was on my bike in the dedicated left turn lane (northbound) waiting for the advance left turn signal light to turn green. I was second behind another car. The light turned green and we started to turn. Then the lead car in front of me stopped abruptley. I usually twist my throttle mid turn to gain speed for the upcoming straight section but instead I had to brake hard to stop in time from not hitting the car ahead. I had no idea what had happened nor why we had to stop. Then the car ahead made a maneuver to clear the intersection and before me was a taxi which had gone straight through his RED light and nearly clipped us. I was in the middle of the intersection watching him back up but then the lights turned green for the thru traffic and in seconds, traffic was moving all around me and I was trapped in the middle of the intersection with no escape route

Note: excuse the quality of this video. I usually host videos on Youtube but since this was so short I decided to upload to photobucket instead, and it messed the colours up, but it gives you an idea of what happened


Gas Report: I filled up today. Notice that our gas has gone up to $1.393 per litre


this works out to $5.272 per US gallon

Friday, August 17, 2012

Camping equipment thoughts

This post is inspired by Vstar Karen when she asked me a question about my new sleeping bag.

Vstar/Karen: relaxing in Baker City, Oregon

I am new to camping. I like “facilities” and while I have done lots of reading regarding tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, stoves . . . I have no experience using them so I have to rely on what I read and what others use. You can’t really go wrong with brand names but they are more expensive so when you are in the “testing” phase you buy what you think will do for the moment keeping costs down.

As for my tent I wanted something lightweight and packable for motorcycle use. I had a tent all picked out at Mountain Equipment Co-op ( which is the Canadian version of REI, or Capellas. Something for summer use, not the best, but not the cheapest either. I thought that the Tarn2 would be the one

but then I found a Marmot on sale at Atmosphere ( which was previously known as Coast Mountain Equipment for a much better price and I think the Marmot is a better tent

Then I bought a minimal Woods brand sleeping bag for summer use, after all we were heading to Hells Canyon in Oregon and it is always hot there. We are talking about 100F hot and this bag was rated to 45F which worked out fine for Baker City but not so fine when I went to the Coast in Waldport. Now that I found out that I like camping (with facilities), I decided to purchase another sleeping bag good for cooler temperatures. I like so I went on-line to check them out and I decided to buy

the MEC Ziz which is duck down filled, small and packable which is what I wanted. But then I saw another bag on sale for $50. less so I bought the Marmot Cloudbreak 20 instead to save some funds.

the Marmot is rated to 20°F (-7c) and I don`t plan on camping when it is that cold anyway. Since I don`t wear pajamas I decided to also buy a micro-fibre liner. When I decided on this Marmot I thought that I wanted a Mummy style to be warmer, and also with less material it would pack smaller. Anyway I climbed into this bag and zipped it up to try it out and it makes me a bit claustrophobic as I am not used to being confined in this small space, and there is no where to put your arms. It feels like you are in a strait jacket. Anyway, I am going to keep it anyway and see how I like it under field conditions. Maybe having confined arms and warm is better than unconfined and cold.

I may eventually also buy the MEC Ziz anyway. It is a barrel design, not so confining and is down filled. Plus in hot weather you can unzip the bag and use it as a duvet.

On my trip to Oregon I didn`t know if I needed to buy a sleeping pad or not.

Marmot trail light 2p tent with inflatable pad, Baker City, Oregon

At the last minute I decided to buy a cheap self-inflating sleeping pad from

I mean it worked okay but it was bulky. It was on sale for about $30. so I thought that was a bargain. Now that I am refining my camping equipment I decided that I would buy something more packable so I went to and bought

Small: MEC Reactor 3.8 vs Large: Escort from Cdn Tire

the MEC Reactor 3.8 self inflatable sleeping pad. It is less than half the size.

My new MEC Reactor 3.8 is about half the size

I also bought a larger 35L dry sack, so now I have two. I found that I didn`t have a suitable packing system and I was fumbling to find everything when I was setting up and packing up. Everything was in disarray.

My new system is to pack as follows:

20L dry sack: holds my Marmot Trailight 2p tent
35L dry sack: holds my Marmot Cloudbreak20 sleeping bag, MEC Reactor 3.8 sleeping pad, camp towel and sleeping bag liner

My MSR international liquid fuel stove and fuel bottle and misc camping stuff will be stored in my left side case. The two dry sacks will be held onto my rear seat using Rok Straps

I downloaded the Allstays Camp & Tenting app for iOS and I wished I had this in Baker City. It would have made it easier to find campsites (with facilities) along the way . Unless it is raining, I think I would prefer a tent instead of staying in a motel.

Karen prefers camping too