Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Catching Up With Bobskoot In La Conner

I had received an e-mail from Bob of Wet Coast Scootin fame -, with an invite to meet on Saturday the 26th, somewhere between Vancouver and North Bend. We had gotten very close to meeting on a prior occasion - Bob had stopped by to take some pictures in my town, but we just couldn't connect. So, with the anticipated weather on Saturday being quite nice in northern Washington State, we planned to meet in La Conner.

This would be my longest ride so far on any motorcycle, let alone my Triumph, so I wanted to plan my trip out to maximize the sightseeing and minimize the highway traveling. Another reason for this route was my wife's concern over me being on the freeway so much; while I told her that freeway riding is actually pretty safe since we are all going the same direction, I promised her I would take it easy.

I left Saturday morning about 8:45am, and proceeded along I-90. My plan was to take I-90 for about 15 miles, and then head north via surface streets, then return to the freeway (I-405) for a couple of miles. While the easiest route north to La Conner would be to travel from I-405 to I-5, there is a state highway, Highway 9, that almost parallels I-5 and takes one through some very picturesque scenery and small towns. I had never really traveled Hwy 9 before, even by car, so I took this route.

Hwy 9 passes by the town of Snohomish, known for its numerous antique shops and galleries. I stopped at the local Starbucks for some coffee, oatmeal, and wifi to let Bob know where I was. I then continued north on 9, and then made my way west, crossing I-5 and eventually reaching La Conner at about 11:20am.

Saturday was the day before the Oyster Run in Anacortes, which is a large rally for Northwest riders. I was hoping to find Bob easily - he said he would be waiting for me just outside the public restrooms on the main drag of town, but with all of the motorcycles, I couldn't quite make out his bike. Luckily, he recognized me, gave me a wave and I parked my bike.

Bob's scoot:

It was great to meet Bob - he is one of those guys that is very friendly online, and is the same in person. Since it was my first visit to La Conner, we walked a bit, and then decided on a lunch spot.

After lunch, we took more pictures and enjoyed the town. Bob then lead me on a ride to Edison, where there was a large gathering of riders, presumably on their way to the Oyster Run.

I had a meeting with a potential buyer of my GV250, so I had to leave around 2pm. Bob guided me to the entrance to I-5, we said goodbye and planned to meet again.

My return route took me past Lake McMurray. An old gas station remains, and was a great backdrop for a picture of the Triumph.

Bob, it was great to meet you, and thanks for giving me a tour of La Conner!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Loaner Bike

I had to bring in my America to the dealer (I-90 Motorsports in Issaquah) to replace a faulty tach (apparently a known item - there was a bad batch of them made, and a few of us got them), and to install my "dresser bars" (English for "crash guards" or "engine guards"). I love how Triumph describes parts like this - also, my exhaust pipes are called "silencers" (although I bought them because they were louder than my stock pipes). But I digress...

The work was going to take a little over 2 hours, so I stopped by the sales and parts area to see Don, the guy I bought my bike from. Don is a great guy, real passionate about Triumphs, and loves to have customers stop by and chat. When I came in, there were a couple of others there just talking about their rides for the week, and looking at the showroom bikes. Don asks me what I was doing, and after I told him what I was there for, he says "why don't you take one of the bikes and head out to lunch" - since it was lunch time, I accepted his kind offer, and he got one of their demo bikes out, a Bonneville SE.
The Bonneville SE pays homage to the Bonnevilles of the past, and is part of Triumph's "Modern Classics" line of bikes. This line includes the Bonneville, Bonneville SE, Bonneville T100, Thruxton, and the Scrambler. Like my America, these bikes have the same 865cc engine, but the Modern Classics have a more retro look.
Don reminded me that Bonneville SE is lighter so it is quick handling, and has the traditional middle controls - my feet went to look for the forward controls, but there are none!
I take the Bonnie out of their parking lot, and immediately someone gives me the thumbs up on the bike - they are pretty cool looking! I head out onto I-90 and I am impressed with the quickness of the Bonnie; again, this is a lighter bike than my America and she really takes off. Since she is lighter, I notice getting knocked around in the wind a bit, but this is only in comparison to my America, plus this Bonneville did not have a windscreen. There was an aftermarket pipe installed on this bike, made by Arrow, which sounded fantastic!
After an exhilarating ride up and down I-90, I returned to Issaquah for lunch at Starbucks, where I took these pictures. Returning to I-90 Motorsports (if you're ever in Issaquah, stop by I-90 Motorsports - it's a great motorcycle shop) my bike is just about finished. I really appreciated the opportunity to test ride another bike, but am glad to be back on my America.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Three Forks Natural Area

I've mentioned in other posts that the Snoqualmie River has three forks - the North, South and Middle. They converge just north of town center at a place aptly named the Three Forks Natural Area. The 418-acre Area includes over five miles of riverfront and is located between and near large blocks of undeveloped land including Mount Si Natural Resource Conservation Area (8,041 acres), Weyerhaeuser's Snoqualmie Tree Farm (180,000 acres), the Cedar River Watershed (90,000+-acres), and the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (1.7 million acres). It's about a 15 minute ride from my house, and is a very scenic area.

Mt. Si, standing at nearly 4200 feet, marks the Cascade foothills, and can be easily viewed from the Area.

Across the road are large rural homesteads, farms mostly devoted to raising livestock, such as horses and llamas:

A very nice place to stop the Triumph and take a few pictures:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Cat Did It!

2 Cat incidents to report:

1) Blog Cat - That cat, while fun, had to go. She had fleas of the cyber sort - malware, so she has been put outside. She's been replaced by the google-approved fish tank. Click your mouse in the tank to feed them.

2) Real Cat - One of our cats, April, seen above, has been ridding our property of rodents recently. One late afternoon, my wife and I were out on the front porch, and April makes a beeline into the house. My wife notices something in her mouth and screams. April drops off an almost dead mouse in our dining room (reminded me of the Monty Python scene "I'm not dead yet"). More screams for me to get the mouse out, and I have to grab the poor fellow and toss him outside. We now have to watch her before she comes in. As an alternative, she leaves them right at the front door, as if to proudly proclaim her contribution to the family.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mid-Life Crisis

Last year I turned 50. Many guys reaching this age will purchase something to remind them of (or reinvigorate) their youth. Something fast - sports cars, power boats, fast bikes, etc.

Me, I purchased a couple of mopeds.

Well, today I sold them - a 1978 Honda Express and 1981 Yamaha Yamahopper. They went to a guy not too far from me, who likes to tinker with these things. They were gathering dust here, since we live in the foothills of the Cascades, and there was no way they could make it up the hill with me on it! They were great mailbox rides though.
They were both pretty fun bikes, and I still may have a moped or two in me at some point in time. Maybe one of these:

A red Puch; or

A blue Garelli.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

PAX 2009

For the last few years, my son, who is an avid gamer, and I have attended the Penny Arcade Expo (aka PAX), which has been held in the Seattle area the last few years. It's grown so much that it is one of the largest events held in the Seattle Convention Center. It's an annual 3 day event from Friday through Sunday, and is a showcase for all of the video and computer gaming companies, plus numerous board games which either were precursor to, or successor to, a particular computer game. There are seminars on various aspects of gaming, tackling such topics on the legal aspects of gaming, and how soccer moms actually make up one of the largest gaming demographics. This is the gathering place for geeks of all ages.

I'm not much of a gamer - we have a Wii, which is pretty fun, and I have had a Nintendo DS, but they don't really hold my interest. However, I am in the minority in this group, as many pay tribute to the games they play by coming to PAX dressed up as their favorite gaming characters; this is called Cosplay - here's a few examples:

Lots of interesting displays for the various games:

One of the most anticipated games coming out is the Rock Band version of the Beatles - for those who don't know about Rock Band, it's a game that can be played anywhere, from your living room to online. The game comes with various instruments, such as a guitar, drum, bass, or you can take the mike and sing vocals, and the game rates you on how well you play/sing. You don't need to play the "real" instruments to do well in Rock Band - there are various keys and buttons you press or hit and the game senses how accurate you are. In the Beatles version, the instruments even look like the Beatles instruments, down to Paul's violin style bass. The company that sells this had a stage set up where you could become one of the Fab Four.

You might think there is no similarity between a computer gaming show and a motorcycle show, but there is one similarity - models representing the various companies:

And, whether it's a motorcycle or a video game, a pretty model seems to help:

I didn't see any scooters at the convention, so this will have to do.