Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Score: Snow 18, Scooter 0

We've just finished one of the worst snowstorms in recent history. Seattle had up to 6 inches, and in North Bend we had just over 18 inches! It was actually easier to get around North Bend, which gets snow fairly regularly, so the city is well-prepared with snowplows and sanding trucks. In Seattle, however, it was a mess. For some reason the city opted to wait out the snowstorm rather than plow the streets immediately, and what plowing was done was too little, way too late. Also, we don't use salt here for the roads - apparently this is a concern for the salmon habitat, although I just heard that all the sand and dirt that was spread on the roads is bad for the streams as well. In any event, the roads were very difficult to negotiate in downtown Seattle. It will normally take me about 10 minutes to get to the freeway by car from the office; last week, it took me an hour!

Seattle is pretty much rid of their snow, but as you can see, there is still a lot at my house. Also, some interesting icicles have formed.

I can't wait until I can ride again!
My best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Although It's Been Said Many Times, Many Ways...

To all my two-wheeled friends, and those who happen upon this blog, Merry Christmas to you!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

The weather forecasters were all saying that we would get snow Wednesday morning, which didn't pan out. But by Wednesday afternoon it started to snow quite a bit in North Bend, and really started coming down in earnest throughout the Puget Sound area, so that by Thursday we had this:

About 5 inches when I took this picture, and outside this morning it is very cold and about 8 inches.

The hill I live on gets plowed and sanded pretty frequently, which is great with the exception that the snow gets piled up on the entrance to our driveway, so I usually have to dig ourselves out so we can get on the main road. Pretty much all of the school districts in the Seattle area are closed, as well as my office in Seattle.

No scooting today!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

2008 Seattle Motorcycle Show

The International Motorcycle Show made its way into Seattle this weekend, and today I took my son to join me as official blog photographer of the event. The event is being held at Qwest Events Center, which is adjacent to where the Seahawks play (although some will question whether the Seahawks are actually "playing" this year).

It seems that many did not take advantage of on-line ticket sales, as there was a large line waiting to get in, which my son and I were in until I spotted the e-ticket holder line which was deserted. Having purchased our tickets for $1 off on-line just before we left for Seattle, we moved to that line, and we were in. We were greeted by the "Progressive Girls" who gave us swag bags, and off we were to view the 2-wheeled offerings for 2008/2009.

Our first stop was to see the VME (Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts). The VME had three displays of older bikes, most organized by area (Japanese, British, Italian). I am a fan of the older Hondas, and there were some very fine examples here:

Being of the short-legged variety, I've been somewhat afraid to kick my leg over a motorcycle, for fear of tipping over, but I can straddle the cruiser-style bikes quite easily.

The Ural display was very nice:

The Scooter Pavilion made its appearance in Seattle - I guess this was so easy, even a caveman could do it, as the Pavilion was sponsored by GEICO. I admit to really enjoying the commercials, and the Ad with the hipster/passive aggressive cavemen dismounting their bikes and approaching some beautiful girls, only to turn back to their bikes when they see the condescending GEICO billboard Ad is very funny. There wasn't much in the Scooter Pavilion that wasn't already being displayed by Honda, Yamaha, Vespa/Piaggio or Kymco in their corporate displays on the main floor, but it was a great opportunity to focus solely on scooters. Here are a couple of pictures - a CF Moto CVT 250cc scooter/motorcycle and a favorite scooter of mine, the Kymco Xciting.

Speaking of Kymco, if I were to get a cruiser-style motorcycle, this would probably be the one - the Kymco Venox, which is a 250cc motorcycle that looks much bigger than that:

There was even a "car" on display - actually, not technically a car, as they tell me it is classified as a motorcycle, so you could ride this one-up in the carpool lanes around here. It's called an EMC3 Commuter ( and is powered by a 1000cc Geely engine. Two wheels in the front, and one in the rear, it gets a reported 60+ mpg, and is freeway legal. Just under $15k for an automatic.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rattlesnake Lake and The Town That Never Quite Was

About a mile from my place is Rattlesnake Lake, so named because a pioneer surveyor heard the rattle of seed pods and thought he was being attacked by a rattler, not realizing that there are no poisonous snakes in Western Washington. The lake is a popular picnicking, fishing and hiking destination. Rattlesnake Lake is fed by underground springs, which cause an interesting ebb and flow to the size of the lake - in winter the lake looks quite normal, but in the summer the lake recedes a lot, uncovering its earlier life, the town of Moncton, a town that never quite was.

Moncton was in existence from 1906-1915, and was a railroad town, offering access to the Cedar River Watershed that brought water to Seattle and the surrounding area. A new community was built on the rail line along the shores of Rattlesnake Lake. The new village was named for one of its settlers, a Mr. Moncton. The town grew - by 1915, more than 200 people lived in Moncton, and the fledgling community had a hotel, a barbershop, a saloon, a restaurant, a few stores, and even an indoor swimming pool (little did they know that by summer an indoor pool in town would not be needed). A school on the north end of town provided education for children up through 8th grade. Older students had to walk or ride a horse seven miles to the nearest high school in North Bend.

In 1915, due to a new dam being built nearby, water started seeping through the hillsides near the town, which led to mini-geysers being formed, which had nowhere to go but into town. A slow-motion flood began, first outside of town, then in the streets of town, and by May of that year, the water was rising nearly a foot a day, causing the eventual condemning of Moncton.

Here are some photos of the town as it was flooding:

(Thanks to and the Seattle Public Utilities for the history and pictures of old Moncton.)

On Saturday, after I got the Christmas lights up, I rode up there in the Elite to take a few pictures before it got dark.

The lake is in the Cedar Falls Watershed area, and Seattle Public Utilities has a nice Education Center that provides some of the history of this area. The Education Center promotes green- and water-saving building techniques, such as this thatched roof:
They also have a "water drum" area where the rain water is used to create a symphony of drumming - it's pretty amazing to hear these when it rains:
This picture is from the Education Center looking towards Rattlesnake Ridge:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Two-Wheelin' In the Philippines

After reading Orin's (Scootin' Old Skool) post about the Vespa rally in Manila, I recalled taking some two-wheeled pictures during my visit to the Philippines. In 2005 my son and I went traveled there as part of a father-son trip. I am half Filipino, and it had been about 35 years since I was last there. For my son it was his first trip. Most of these pictures are taken from the island where my Mom was born, a tiny island in the middle of the 7,000+ islands that make up the Philippines. It was an overnight steamship voyage from Manila, where we stayed in what are considered the "deluxe" accommodations, which was a large hall with bunk beds. What made it deluxe was the fact that we had bunks (the economy accommodations were on cots on the deck) and it was air conditioned, which was very nice. We were on the ship with my Mom, my Aunt, a number of cousins and we had a great trip down to my Mom's birthplace. At the harbor, there was a crowd of people, motorcycles with sidecars (called Tricycles) and Jeepneys, waiting to take people to various points on the island. This was in my pre-scooter life, but I was fascinated with the ability of these small motorcycles to carry passengers and cargo over some pretty rough roads.

The Philippines is a wonderful place - there's alot of natural beauty, but I would say the most beautiful part of the Philippines is its people. It doesn't matter if you are related or not, you are considered family when you travel to the islands. My son was the first of my Mom's grandkids to visit her island, so he was treated like a prince, which he had no problem suffering through!

Here's a non-motorized tricycle, taken one morning after we arrived in Manila: