7/14/14 – Oregon Motorcycle Ride

Adventure, Just things, Motorcycle, Outdoors, Travel

I had a great ride over the weekend! The original plan was to camp near Rainier, OR on friday night then ride down to Country Fair at Eugene. I was then going to head back to camp and come back home on Sunday. Plans changed, however.
I left Friday afternoon, and it was exciting for me because this was my first motorcycle trip like this. I went south on U.S. 101 out of Sequim. It is a beautiful ride winding along the waters of the Hood Canal, through the trees and hills and small towns. It was definitely hot, however, and got to be even hotter when we got near Olympia and had to pick up I-5 south. Now I was not too keen on riding on the interstate, but getting to ride 70 mph helped keep us a little cooler. We stopped for food at what ended up being a really good place to eat in Centralia that I will have to update here when I find the name of it.

I got into Hudson-Parcher Park around 8:30 or so and got camp set up. I had a great ride down and was looking forward to Saturday’s ride to Eugene and Country Fair. I ended up staying up too late and woke up much later than I had wanted to. I scrapped going to Country Fair and opted for an alternate plan – a ride over to Astoria and down along the Oregon coast…one of the things on my life list.

It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day when we got on the road. I was disappointed about missing out going to Eugene, but the new plan was exciting too. Astoria is a beautiful place, and I will be heading back there to walk around and see more of the town. As I got closer to the coast it had gotten cloudy and much cooler, so on went the chaps and jackets to stay warmer and dry in case I got into a shower or fog. The road was busy with cars being the weekend, but the ride was very nice with all the twists, trees, a tunnel or two, and neat little towns. We rode down to Tillamook, got some pretty decent Chinese food, and then turned to head back toward our camp since it was getting late.

The journey back took me into Portland. I mean INTO Portland. We finally got out of there after a detour and some directions from a helpful local. We got back to camp and sat and talked around another campfire until the wee hours.

I got up Sunday morning and packed up. A stop at Starbucks for caffeine and a baked good was definitely in order. I then took off toward Mt. St. Helens – it was Magna meets magma. It is a nice 104 mile roundtrip ride back to Johnston Ridge Visitor Center. The sky looked a bit threatening, and I did end up getting into some showers. That sucked because that means you cannot launch into the curves and have as much fun! The mountain was visible more that day than the first time I was there, and looks just as mad and big as the first time. I watched a video and looked around the Visitor Center and headed out. On the way I stopped at a restaurant we passed on the way in. They had a big sign about their chicken and dumplings and cobbler so I knew what I was having. It was pretty good, but honestly…my Grandma Flaherty made the best cobbler (and apple pie and fried peach pies) I have ever eaten. I have never had a really good cobbler anyplace.

I got back on the highway after fueling up and headed on north. Traffic started to really suck, and kept on for quite a ways. We got back onto 101 finally and were blasting down the highway when all of a sudden the bike quit running. The bike lost power, the instrument panel was flashing, and it was slowing down fast and would not go any farther. Luckily, we were right in front of a gas station so I only had to push about 15 feet to get into the lot. Not being a bike mechanic I was at a loss as to what to look for so I went for an obvious problem I knew of in the ignition. I worked on it but it would not start because the battery was dead so the people inside hooked me up – the girl at Subway loaned me her cables to jump it, and the guy selling gas gave me his car keys to jump it. I had no idea if this would work or not, but you do not know unless you try. I hit the starter and nothing, but then reconnected the cables and pressed the button once more and it roared to life! Damn good thing since there is NO kick starter on it, but I was already trying to figure that one out in advance. We were back on the road in about 45 minutes!

I found out later that it was rainy and muddy at Country Fair, so it all actually worked out for the best!

The rest of the trip back was uneventful and pleasant, winding back along 101…the highway I had left on two days earlier. I had a great time and the bike was fantastic on the highway (barring the one problem). I had packed enough stuff on it for the trip, and with just a few small changes and tweaks I will have it down perfect. I am really having a lot of fun on and off the bike!

July 3, 2014

Adventure, Motorcycle, Outdoors, Travel

I got a lot done to the bike this past weekend in preparation for our Oregon road trip next week. Oil and rear drive fluid changes, new K&N air filter, new plugs, suspension adjustments, wash and wax…it was a busy one. We have pretty much all we need so all that is left is the packing and riding. I am converting the square headlight over to a round one, and I got it in the mail this past week so all I need to do is mount it but it may take a bit of fiddling with it to get it right. From what I read from several different people who have done it was that the headlight I got off an older V45 will pretty much bolt right on. I am not quite sure if I will have the time to do it before we go, but it will be on there sooner rather than later. Square headlights never looked good on cars, and even worse on Jeeps and motorcycles.

It wasn’t so busy we were not able to get out for a ride however! We got in a 60-70 miles Tuesday night west of Port Angeles on Highway 112. What a fantastic road to ride, and I say it every time I ride it and have had it in my blog before. Ups and downs, twists and turns, mountains, the Strait, rivers, farmlands, trees…a nice two-lane adventure for a trip that is short or long. I rode the bike all around the whole weekend and the weather was absolutely spectacular. We had 70s and close to 80 here. What a great place to be!

Crab season started today, but I completely forgot to get my catch card. I have not eaten any since last season so it is definitely time! It is going to be busy out on the water, especially in the early part of the season. John Wayne Marina was pretty jammed with crabbers today when I was coming back out, and with the holiday weekend it oughta be crazy.

Today I got to see my first baby pigeon guillemot. He was a day or two old and was so cute! A few days ago I saw some ducklings with their mom. The gulls are hatching as well, and today I saw a seal pup pop up by my boat when I was out on the water patrolling…it is that time of the season here on Protection Island.

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!

Finally!

Just things, Travel

Today, it finally happened. After the title hassle here in WA, then getting sick for over a week, I finally got to take my motorcycle out today for its first ride – albeit a short ride (did not want to push my luck with still being a bit sick). That is one hella powerful machine – so much torque when you lay into it even just a little bit. It is going to take some time getting used to it, but it felt great today. Accelerates very fast, rides nice, sounds great, is comfortable, and I think we are going to be spending quite a lot of time together.

I have been looking at rides in this area on the internet the last hour or so. There seems to be several nice trips (some of which I saw on the way up here in September), plus a few up in Canada when the weather gets a little warmer. I could even ride up to Alaska from here if I got the motivation to do so. I would really like to do a long trip at some point, too. It would be cool to go across country and get to the last three Continental US states I have not been to: Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire (that would leave Hawaii as the only state left to visit and I will have been to all 50!). I would also like to visit the Canadian Maritime Provinces as well while over there.

I noticed gas prices are climbing fast again (cheapest I saw was $3.67 two days ago), so this is going to save me some gas money as well. It gets almost three times the mileage as my car.

But, before all of that ambitiousness I have to get used to riding again, and riding and learning about this particular bike as well. One guy I saw in the parking lot of the Refuge was a multiple-cycle owner and was drooling over it. He said that it would easily run at least 100,000 miles.

That means I have at least 82,000 to go. I cannot wait!