Monday, August 29, 2016

A meandering ride to the river's end.

The first motorcycle ride of my 40s. Decided to ride to the coast. A nice long ride, but shorter by usual touring standards - rode to Mendocino from Napa on Hwy 128, through the Napa Valley and the Alexander Valley vineyards, and then through the glorious Redwoods near the coast. It was sunny, warm but not too hot earlier in the day - the reason for tackling the in-land portion of the ride first.  Hugged the coast on the return journey, enjoying nature's air conditioning. The fog had blanketed the coast this afternoon - the sun struggled vigorously to burn it's way through. To no avail,  it remained a prisoner to the wall of fog.  

The ride was brisk and fun - few (almost none) leisure stops. The weather was melancholy on the coast, but there was no fog in my mind. Opportunities to ride come seldom these days. I was grateful to be out this day. 

I did make two or three notable stops. First at Point Arena lighthouse. The scene was guarded by the fog, but breached periodically by the beacon from the lighthouse. I ventured to do my best to capture the cliffs kissing the ocean - take it home with me in my mind, and also locked away inside my camera. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sometimes you have to leave the ground - to fly.

I have always maintained that riding a motorcycle is the closest you will ever get to flying, without ever leaving the ground. Although, sometimes - you have to, and it is definitely very OK to float off the ground, and soar into the sky! This occasion was my big four-O! Life supposedly begins anew at the big four-O! However, I don't feel any differently than when I hit the big three-O, which I think is a very good thing. Not that I was going to let that stand in the way of celebrating! My American family had a surprise gift waiting in the wings..and it involved a way. 

It would appear, if you have a flame thrower, some sturdy ropes, and lots of extra fabric - you can be a hot air ballooner. Oh don't forget the basket - you basket case! Don't try this at home kids! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

St. Helens and Rainier. The Pacific Ring of Fire - Part 3.

The great state of Washington is where my dear friends Lisa and Tobie live. I don't get to see them very often, perhaps once, maybe twice a year, when they make their way down to the long-distance rider gatherings or what I (probably only I) refer to as 'The Fest' in Gerlach. I had the pleasure of seeing them at the IBR start in Albuquerque, New Mexico - July of 2015, but they were volunteer staff for the IBR, just as I was, and that meant many things to do, and not enough time to visit and catch up. It had also been 4 long years, since I visited them at their mountain cabin in Packwood, WA, and as I would learn - they have been quite busy upgrading their property in this time. More on that later..

This entire trip had fallen into place almost last hour, and I was excited to see my friends today. Lisa had been in touch with me throughout the day, we were exchanging texts when I would stop for gas or food. She is a great hostess, and she knows I love good food, so she was already grilling me on what I like for dinner, for breakfast, to drink and so on .. god bless her - she is such a sweetheart! This blog post is dedicated to Lisa and Tobie - very dear friends and honest, hard working, responsible, patriotic Americans. May we all be blessed with good friends like them. 

It was after a late lunch in Hood River, OR - that I ran into the other variety of our citizens. I am not a bleeding hear hippie in any shape or form - I respect people who work, and who desire and appreciate the dignity of work. I have little patience for people who would rather mooch off the hard work of others. I didn't know in the beginning, but one such example was parked beside me in the parking lot, and from inside his car, he struck up a conversation with me on the pretext of being interested in my motorcycle. I chit-chatted for a bit, even though I wanted to just get on moving, and after a few minutes of banter - he dropped the shoe. Could I spare $20 for gas? Hahaha - I should've seen this coming! I scanned the car - there he was with his iPhone in his hands, and in the passenger seat, what seemed to be his drugged up girlfriend, who hadn't stirred despite the conversation. He had to have been speaking up because I had earplugs in and my helmet on. What I really wanted to tell this schmuck was to use that government subsidized phone to try and find a job, but instead I just told him I didn't have any cash or change to spare that I could give him - and that he should try his luck with someone-else. There is a lot more that I wanted to say to him and say here, but it's best to stop wasting time and just move on .. in the immortal words of Smashmouth - I needed to get some fuel myself - and we could all use a little change!

As I set sail along-side the windy Columbia river, I had caught whiff of the barn, lunch had been a lousy McDonald salad and the texts with Lisa had whipped up my appetite. My love for good food was now engaged in full-scale warfare with my wanderlust, there wasn't a clear winner in sight, but the stalemate did result in a much quicker pace. 

The savory Wind River Highway was first on the menu, and the GoPro was set on a 5 second time lapse, in retrospect - that was a lapse too long. I should have set it to 1 second or maybe a 2 second lapse. This highway serves up curve after delectable curve for miles and miles - in some cases you can clearly see the highway slithering away into the distance in front of you. I was hoping (counting on) the GoPro to catch these moments, but due to my own fault in setting the lapse, none of the 5 second lapse captures passed the taste test to be included here in this report.

For no fault of mine, however, the ever so kooky GPS had managed to ignore the turn-off on Curly Creek to get to NF-25, and as I would find out - also every other way-point I had set on NF-25. If I hadn't been paying attention - it would have routed me right to Mt. Adams - where incidentally (and I knew) the road was washed out and closed. Thanks wacko GPS - but I was prepared for your mischief, you weren't going to keep me from St. Helens and views such as this below!