All is Well!

Adventure, Motorcycle, Outdoors

My new adventure as the caretaker here on Protection Island is shaping up quite nicely.

Yes, it has been quite a change going from being the caretaker on the spit. There, they have approximately 80,000 to 100,000 visitors a year. Here, it is just me. I would say that is quite a change.

I went about 11 days straight of being out here. Last Sunday afternoon, I was able to finally go back over to the mainland. I stayed at a friend’s house over the weekend and helped him do some landscaping by running an excavator for him to move some big rocks. We worked a couple of 10 hour days and got quite a bit done actually. I am sure I will be going back over to help him do some more of it as well. I’m really kind of anxious to see what it’s going to look like when it is done.

After that, Wednesday I plan to come back out to the island. I had to do a lot of personal errands before I came back out, one of which was to buy groceries. Another important item was to go to the post office, which I had not done in two weeks. A couple other errands I had to run was eating some Chinese food, some Mexican food, a burger, but unfortunately the Thai restaurant was closed. That will be this week.

It can be rather difficult planning on doing things when you are so dependent on the weather to be able to go back to the mainland. Last week I got pretty lucky. While I was in on the mainland we had gale force winds out here at the island. That is not good weather for a smaller boat to be out in and I was happy to avoid it. My timing was actually really good both going back to the mainland and coming back out to the island. Two days after I got here there were gale force winds.

I have been staying fairly busy. There have been plenty of maintenance things to do around here, such as mowing grass, running the trimmer, watching the dock almost daily, and doing some projects around the cabin. As the weather gets nicer, I will be out on the water more, patrolling around the island to keep people away the 200 yard minimum. It will be interesting spending most of the day out on the water in a boat. I will also be helping out the biologist with some projects out here as well.

It is really going to be an interesting summer, with even more new experiences coming my way!

I am also looking for some hard bolt on saddlebags for my motorcycle. I plan on doing some weekend trips on the V65 this summer and I want a secure place to lock my belongings like rain gear. Plus, going to the grocery store and running errands around town it would also be nice to have locking bags and not have to haul everything with me or worry about it getting stolen. I am also looking for a sissy bar bag, and possibly a tank bag. I am trying to buy used things to save some money, but I am not having a whole lot of luck with the saddlebags yet. Whatever I saddlebags I get, I will have to fabricate some sort of mounting hardware or bracket for them to fit on my bike. I have cloth saddlebags, but they have no security.

My youngest daughter told me about two TV series called “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down”, two shows about motorcycle travels – really long trips. Kind of gives me the urge for a road trip.

Finally!

Adventure, Motorcycle, Outdoors

I write this post as I am sitting here in the cabin on Protection Island. I’ve got a nice wood fire going in the stove and I am enjoying a cocktail after a busy and hectic last few days. I am now the caretaker on P.I., and this is my first night here in that role. It has not had a chance to sink in quite yet. What has sunk in is that I’m tired.

This is a whole different lifestyle and will take some adjusting, but it will be great and I am really looking forward to it. The cabin is completely off the grid, and there is no internet. There are a few solar panels feeding batteries and a back-up generator. My internet will be through my iPad or my iPhone.

I came over here late today – around 6:00 pm. It was a beautiful evening to be on the water. There was a little choppiness in one area, but overall a nice ride across.

I have spent the last few days in turmoil. I have been running about trying to get out of my other cabin but my car broke down. Apparently, the brand-new transmission I had put in 22,000 miles ago decided to go back south.

My car broke down last Thursday. I had it towed to our office and then the next day I had it towed to the place to do the warranty work on it (thank you, AAA). Of course they have to try to fit me in when they can and I understand that. It’s not their fault. I had it done in Colorado before I left.

I called the shop today to try to see what timetable we were looking at for my car to be done. I explained my situation with having to get out here to the island and being at the mercy of the waves to pick my car up. He said it probably will not be done until next week now. Pretty much everything in the transmission is shot. He told me nothing was salvageable out of the inside of it. It’s really in bad shape and they really don’t know what part failed first it is so bad.

This has really put a big damper on my plans for trying to get over here to the island a little sooner. I have had to rely on other people to haul me around. I went to the grocery store today on my motorcycle and I was quite surprised how many groceries I was able to fit in the saddlebags. Of course, the motorcycle will not hold enough stuff to take over to the boat to bring over to the island. That is where I’ve had to rely on the other folks.

Luckily I have had the motorcycle to rely on. Got to do some running around I needed to do but it was also two very beautiful days for a motorcycle ride.

But I am out here now. Finally!

Motorcycle Ride

Adventure, Motorcycle, Uncategorized

I got a replacement part for my 1986 Honda VF1100C V65 Magna about the time I got sick, so it has been sitting in my car for over a week. It is a helmet holder/lock, and it also locks the seat in place. Since I was off today and am almost back to normal I decided to go put the part on my bike and get it back together and ready to ride when the weather breaks (we have had some serious winds and some rain around here lately; it has also been too cold to ride over the last 6-8 weeks and I was also in Hawaii). I got the part on and it works like it should.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnflaherty/sets/72157641142088875/

Well, one thing led to another… the showers stopped, the bike was re-assembled and ready to go, the sun came out, and a chorus of angels sang. I strapped on the helmet, neck warmer and insulated coveralls were already installed, and pulled on the leather gloves. It was out onto the highway for a quick ride between weather systems! WOOT! I use he term “quick” as in “not a long ride”… I would never ever break the speed limit. Ever. Especially when I am piloting 1100 CCs and 100 H.P. of raging badness. But it IS rated for a top speed of 120… and I know I don’t want to go THAT fast.

After sitting for a while it needed to be run at highway speeds to keep the fuel flowing through it in an orderly fashion. I added some Seafoam to the fuel a while back to help with moisture and the damn ethanol issues that can cause from sitting too long. While I was at it I added a shot to the oil as well – it is supposed to be good for all the systems on an engine. I got the bike warmed up, and it was ready for some attention. From everyone.

I got on the neighborhood road with the slow speed limit and went toward the highway. Engine is good and warm; man it feels good to be back in the saddle again. I got to the highway and turned the corner onto it and off we went… and, of course, doing the speed limit because I don’t break any traffic laws. Ever. This really was going to have to be a short ride judging by the look of the sky… there was some really nasty weather heading toward me. I am sure I could probably outrun it on this bike, but that would be illegal. So I went a few miles around the block and went back to the garage, returning just in the nick of time. The winds picked up and the rains came again as I pulled into the garage. Mother Nature cut me some slack for a few minutes and let me get it out of my system.

Man, it felt great to be up on two wheels again. It has been WAY too long. I have considered selling it, but every time I get on it it just begs me to stay as it roars to life. It is such a fun bike to ride, and there is nothing that compares with that “oneness” you feel with your surroundings on a motorcycle. It is much different than a Jeep or convertible with the top down… on a bike you are much more connected to everything that is going on just due to the nature of being on two wheels. If not, well, then you can fall over and get hurt.

It is so much fun to ride, but would I REALLY sell it after saying all of this? Well, sure… EVERYONE and EVERYTHING has a price. I don’t know if I will try to sell it or not at this point, but if I got a decent offer out of the blue I would seriously consider it. If not, well there are plenty of road trips to be had this summer that I did not get to do last year since it was so busy here.

Motorcycle Ride – 11/13/13

Adventure, Motorcycle, Outdoors, Travel

For this week’s SECOND adventure I took another bike ride. As always there was no particular destination, but it ended up being a long day and a really great ride.

I decided Tuesday to go for a ride Wednesday since the forecast looked decent. I got out of bed and got ready to go after a quick breakfast. I headed into Sequim to gas up and on the way in I was torn. The sky to the west was clear and beautiful; to the east were a few clouds but still looked good. I decided to go to Port Townsend and get on the ferry to Whidbey Island and ride around to see what was there. A new adventure in a new area I had not yet been to.

I went eastbound on 101 and ended up passing a car on the highway driven by some friends. I know them from the Refuge… they are volunteers here. They have been doing some camp hosting and I knew they had been home and were heading back to their duties. I waved to them, but was not sure if they could recognize me through my full helmet.

I got over to the ferry terminal, paid my fare, and parked and went inside the small building for a minute to look around. When I came back out my friends were pulling in. We chatted while waiting for the ferry. They were heading up to Anacortes to check on their boat in the marina up there. They invited me up for a visit and to see their boat. They were going to be at their boat about an hour or so, and I told them I did not know what I was doing, but you just never know…

We got on the ferry and chatted some more. They showed me some points of interest on Whidbey Island. They had camp hosted at Fort Casey, which is right next to the ferry terminal. They also gave me some hints about a couple of shortcuts to avoid some traffic. After a 30 minute ferry crossing it was time to disembark so down to the car deck we went, me to my Honda and they headed off to their 4Runner.

Heading north on Whidbey Island I was really surprised about how different it felt. It is a beautiful place… nice two-lane twistys through some spectacular scenery and gorgeous farmlands. It definitely seems like a whole different place there. I have noticed that about Washington State, however. Everyplace I have been is very unique and different than the last place I went through… and there is nothing wrong at all with it. Many places I have been one town looks the same as the last and the next, but my experiences here have been to the contrary and I really do like that quality a lot.

I got to Oak Harbor and was hungry. I was looking for a salad, and I went past a sign-spinner for a pizza buffet at “Louie G’s” for $7.99. To justify stopping there, I quantified it by proclaiming to myself “I bet they have a salad bar with that pizza”. Sure as hell, I was right. The pizza was excellent, and I had two big salads to make up for my glutenous (and gluttonous) sins. Well worth the money spent.

I decided to try to get to Anacortes before my friends were going to leave their boat. I took off and went north on eastbound state highway 20. The Magna was running great after the fixes I did to the idle and cooling, and it is an absolute pleasure to ride this motorcycle. It is heavy – about 600 pounds, but 1100cc of asphalt-shredding fury move it along just fine. I am still learning about the handling of the bike – I am pretty sure I have the power and performance of it pretty well understood 😀 – and these roads are a blast to ride on. Heading down the road I saw military aircraft taking off. I believe one was a P3, and the others were jet fighters, maybe F-16s. Those F-16s are so loud taking off. I bet that gets old in a big hurry if you live nearby. One went directly overhead and the sound was just incredibly loud inside my helmet.

I finally got to Anacortes and found the marina where they are moored. Nobody was at the boat, so I went back to the bike and just looked at the boats docked. It really is a beautiful sight. Some of the boats are gorgeous. I called them up and they were actually just finishing up their lunch a few blocks away. They came over and we went over to their boat. It is really pretty cool to see inside one of those. It has beds, heat, and a stove in a compact space. I was always curious how they looked inside so now I know. They offered to take me sailing after the first of the year, and of course they had to twist my arm to say “yes”. I cannot wait!

It was time to part ways yet again – they were back to their gig, and I needed to get back to Coupeville to catch a ferry back to the Peninsula. Anacortes is a really nice place, and I will definitely be back up to visit again. Maybe I will ride up for the Oyster Run 2014. We all left, and I started back after gassing up the bike. It has been a good day so far, and I get to ride some more on this beautiful island.

I got to the ferry terminal and had to wait about 45 minutes. It got a little cooler as the day wore on and it was going to be not only dark, but also quite cool on the way home. I knew it would be cool so I had plenty of layers to wear so I wasn’t too worried about that. The darkness was my main concern only because of the deer on the roadway. I hear deer and bikes do not mix real well.

I got off the ferry and started toward home and noticed it was awful dark. My headlight is always on (wired from the factory), and my running lights were lit. I discovered that my low-beam had burned out sometime during the day. I apologize to all of the drivers I may have blinded with the high-beam on my bike, but I had no choice but use it to get home.

I rode somewhere around 160 miles Wednesday. Not many miles for being gone all day, but it is quality and not quantity when riding in areas like this. You always have to take the time to stop and see things in your travels no matter the distance you venture. Another plus is the bike is getting about 42-43 MPG. Not bad for a bike this big, and definitely better than the 18 my car gets. That helps make for some cheap fun and travel.

Here is a link to a few pics I took: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnflaherty/sets/72157637675448203/. Riding alone it is difficult to get many pics without stopping so I do not get to take many while riding. A helmet or bike-mounted GoPro would be cool, plus they shoot video! Maybe someday I will be able to get one.

Life is good!