Picture This

It's a sunny day, but not warm by any means. There's a thin fog coming off the Pacific causing anything more than 100 yards away to take on a dream-sequence like haze but also spoiling the crisp view you are wishing you had. To the left, a cliff drops menacingly to the sea. To the right, a steep hillside is covered with many shades of green and dotted with yellows, purples, and oranges from blooming wildflowers. The road dividing these drastically different but equally spectacular landscapes winds, banks, rises, and falls. Convertibles and motorcycles are the order of the day, with their drivers hopping out at every view point for a quick picture and then speeding along their way.

I could hardly capture the natural beauty of it with my dinky little camera (not to mention that stopping Scoot Scoot meant a throw of the dice as to whether I could get him up and started again), but my attempts weren't half bad. Moral of the story: drive U.S. 1 between San Luis Obispo and Big Sur sometime in your life. It's purty.
Wednesday May 30 2007File under: travel, road trip

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So Good to Be Home

For me, one of the best parts about an extended adventure (like those I seem to have been taking recently) is returning home. The familiarity, the people, the routine, and even the backlogged mail all combine to form that concept of home. Nothing really makes you appreciate home as much as being away from it. That appreciation really came to the forefront this weekend as I passed over Deception Pass bridge on Scoot Scoot and traveled the familiar Fidalgo roads home. As always, awaiting me were the familiarity, the people, and even the mail that I was looking forward to.

Now it is back to the routine, but not in a bad way. But not to fear, I've still got stories to tell from the road. Over the next week, as I catch up with other computer tasks, I will be catching up on a few blog posts that I meant to make from the road but never got a chance to. So keep it tuned to BdW.
Tuesday May 29 2007File under: travel, road trip

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Ooooooo, Knobby

AAA said it couldn't be done. I had resigned myself to bumming rides all the way home (which still isn't completely out of the question). But lo and behold, a town here-to-fore known only for cheese comes to the rescue!

After attempting Julie's idea of thumbing it out of the town of Yacht Hats (what's the deal with not picking up a scrubby forlorn looking fella and his 200 lb bike!?), I tried Ma's idea of AAA. Sho 'nuf, AAA came to my rescue, again. Since I had precisely 100 miles of free towing, that's exactly what I used. They pretty much told me there isn't anywhere on the coast to get a motorcycle tire fixed, so I was on my own. They dropped me off in the parking lot of the Tillamook Les Schwab last night at 9:30 and bid me good luck.

This morning, after thinking I lost my keys (only to discover they were safely placed in plain sight in scoot scoot's ignition in the Les Schwab parking lot) I was feeling pretty down. But after doing some leg work, I found a new (used) tire and some helpful fellows to put it on for me...all for $20!! Granted the tire isn't an exact replacement, but if I ever need to go off-roading, it will be just the ticket! Whatever the case, although I didn't think I would be saying it this soon, it feels good to be back in the saddle again.

Now I'm off to tour the Tillamook cheese factory!
Saturday May 26 2007File under: travel, road trip

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The Plot Thickens...

I'm afraid the scooter gods might be trying to tell me something. My excellent luck has gone unnoticed by them for too long. It is time for them to settle the score and punish me for thinking I was mighty enough to use the Yumbo 110C for something other than city driving for this long.

This morning, I ran out of gas. Not overly surprising with the .9 gallon tank and that it has happened before, to lesser degrees. Anyway, this morning, I was about half a mile outside of Gold Beach, OR when the telltale sputter happened. I shifted to neutral to see if I could coast into to town, but no dice. A brisk walk there and back got me ready to put major miles behind me.

Then comes the fishtailing. No, not "fishtaling", like "I swear it was this big." "Fishtailing" like the tail of a fish all over the road. Luckily, it was at relatively low speeds and I was able to get to the side of the road relatively quickly. "What was the cause?", you ask. Well, a flat tire. More specifically, a blown tire. No hope for a patch.

So here I am in Podunk, OR (oh, sorry; that could be almost any town on the Oregon coast ZING! Yachat, OR) with a flat tire. What does one do when one has a flat tire on a motor-driven cycle? Well, I'm trying to figure that out. I'm open to suggestion. The hardware store in the next town up the road says they could have a new tire here by Tuesday. I'm hoping I can do better than that.
Friday May 25 2007File under: road trip, travel

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Scoot Scoot goes Poot Poot

Okay, it was more of a "sputter, sputter" than a "poot, poot", but it wasn't good, that's for sure. To this point, Scoot Scoot has been a champ; there have been little issues like loose chain, disconnected speedometer, a bolt almost falling out, loose mirrors, etc. but nothing that really influenced my ability to ride or that has been too hard to fix. Well, just outside of Big Sur, CA, Scoot scoot decided he*'d had enough. He just wouldn't start. Finally I got him started by push starting.

Picture me running through a dirt parking lot along side Scoot Scoot who is fully loaded with all my stuff, then trying to hop on without slowing down so I can compression start. Hilarity ensued. Trust me. The people in the parking lot watching can vouch for that. Then, once going, I couldn't slow down until I found a mechanic 30 miles down the road in Monterey. $285 in repairs later, I'm back on the road. The mechanic that worked on him didn't have nice things to say about what I was asking from my little city scooter. The woman at the desk, however, applauded my little adventure.

Feeling very disheartened by the whole thing, I immediately posted an ad on craigslist looking for a ride for me and Scoot Scoot. Needless to say, there weren't any takers. I guess Scoot Scoot and I will just have to soilder through.
Thursday May 24 2007File under: travel, road trip

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Joshua Tree NP Revisited

Didn't I say I was going to have to visit Joshua Tree National Park again? Well, like they say, there is no better time than the present.

This time around, it wasn't hurry-hurry, go-go though. We had time to see the park in full. We hiked, birded, touristed, pondered, loafed, star-gazed, and basked in the desert beauty (taking care to find shade as much we could.) (Yes, Ryan, we even hiked up your mountain.)

For a better write-up and more pics about our visit to the park, check out Emily's post about it. And for those of you who want the full 360 degree tour, check out this.
Tuesday May 22 2007File under: travel, road trip

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A Lesser-Known Aesops Fable

Once upon a time, two friends went out camping in the desert. Like well-informed desert-goers, they took plenty of water. To keep the water from getting too hot in car and to claim their spectacular camping spot, they left the water containers under the picnic table. Little did they know, the creatures of the desert have grown very smart.

Upon returning from a wonderful day of exploring the desert, the two friends returned to camp to find the water containers with little critter holes in them and much of the water gone. In an attempt to save the water, one friend filled his water bottle with water remaining from the critter-holed water containers.

The sun went down on the desert and the two friends fell asleep. The water saving friend was awakened in the middle of the night with terrible pains in his stomach. Visits to the privy did not rid him of his stomach pains, so his stomach decide to take matters into its own hands. Under the bright stars of the desert, the offending water, with remnants of lunch and dinner, found its way onto the desert floor.

The desert creatures took note of the commotion. Coyote stood close by and watched the action. As the friend slowly made his way back to the tent, Coyote crept closer and closer to the scene of the commotion. The friends watched from the tent as Coyote ran and got his friend to share in this new midnight snack.

That just goes to show you that... Can you find the moral in this story?
Sunday May 20 2007File under: travel, road trip

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Desert Dispatch

As I find myself in the middle of the desert without water or electricity, much less wifi, for miles, I'm phoning this dispatch in from the road, much like the reporters of yore. Special thanks to Ma for acting as stenographer. O, and once I find some wifi again I'll get up some new pics.

Here are a few highlights from week 4 on the road: meeting and hiking for a few miles with some through hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail; Pines to Palms Highway through San Bernadino National Forest; beating the heat with a midday movie in Palm Desert, CA (10 Oscar Nominated Shorts); free promotional Hagan Daaz ice cream cone; another spectacular campsite at Joshua Tree National Park; revisiting recycle man in Indio, CA who is completely boggled by my little adventure.

Traveling is fun.
Thursday May 17 2007File under: travel, road trip

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EPotM for May

I'm extremely excited about this month's environmental project of the month (EPotM). It syncs so perfectly with this little road trip that I am on.

This month, I've decided that I want to recycle enough cans and bottles from the side of the road to pay for my gas here in California. California has a cash redemption law on bottles and cans like many other states (why doesn't WA?). You would think that would discourage people from chucking cans out their window on the highway. Well, as they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure. So far, I've earned about $16.00 which gets Scoot Scoot quite a ways down the road.

The History Channel's Modern Marvel's episode on canning states that recycling one can saves enough energy to run a T.V. for 3 hours. While I find that hard to believe, it's obvious that there is some energy savings over having to make a new can from scratch. So besides beautifying the highways and byways of California and keep waste out of the landfills, my little project will help save energy. I won't even go into the carbon offsetting that must be happening. Really, I think this is the best EPotM to date.

(Oh, and since a picture is worth 1000 words and this post is windy enough, here's a few of this month's project in action: 1, 2, 3, 4 )
Monday May 14 2007File under: travel, road trip

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Schralpin

I had always heard skimboarding was different here in California and now I understand why. For one, skimming smoothly along the beach for long distances at a time just doesn't have the panache needed to make it here in SoCal, so they beefed it up by skimming down the beach into the waves and doing all sorts of surf-like tricks. Another reason they do it differently here in CA is less obvious; their beaches don't lend themselves to long smooth runs.

Yesterday, I went out and found myself a skimboard rental shop. In chatting with the folks there, I explained what I was looking for. You could tell they thought I was a little crazy for wanting the flattest beach around, rather than the one with the best shore break. They tried to help nonetheless and pointed me on my way. I got a couple of good runs in, but nothing like that time Smiley's flooded over. Oh well, I guess not everything is better in Califonia.

(Oh, and a big thanks to my action photographer Julie who took these action shots.)
Saturday May 12 2007File under: travel, road trip

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