About a year ago…

Adventure, Just things, Motorcycle

…I decided to stop blogging. It has really been quite a year and many things have happened. I will try to shorten it down just to make it easy on both of us.

First, after getting off of Protection Island I went back to the Dungeness Spit to be a part-time caretaker there for six months while I worked at my new job at the post office.

I started working at the post office in October 2014. In late November 2014 I was involved in a motorcycle wreck. My beloved Honda V65 Magna was totaled but I wasn’t. It was a bad wreck that actually could’ve been much much worse. I was very fortunate. A lady pulled out in front of me and stopped in front of me. I hit her going about 35 mph and bounced off of her windshield and landed in the street. I was very lucky to escape without serious injury, concussion, broken bones, or any other number of injuries I could’ve sustained. Or worse.

While recuperating I was unable to work and lost my post office job in January 2015. In late March I was finally released for work without any restrictions. I had been applying for some jobs, and one day I got a call from a place I had applied to but had forgotten about. It was with Washington State Parks in the San Juan Islands. I was hired on as a seasonal Senior Park Aide for Sucia Island State Park in the northern San Juan Islands. It is absolutely a beautiful state park and I would recommend visiting it if you have the chance. I get to go out onto the water almost every day. We actually take care of about eight different islands up here in the state parks. The entire area is just amazing and the people are great to work with and talk to around town.

Some thought I was crazy, but I bought a Yamaha V-Star 1100 bobber motorcycle to commute on between home and the San Juans. It was nice, saving many dollars on ferry fares as well as getting 45 miles to the gallon.

The recuperating continues, but hopefully the results of physical therapy will be good and give me some relief. I am more than ready and anxious to get all this bullshit behind me. It has been very stressful financially, emotionally, and physically.

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.

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.


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!