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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Winds of Change

Regular readers of this blog (I think there are at least one or two) have probably come to realize that my intended next bike purchase is was to be the 2016/2017 Honda CB500x.

My intentions the last few months have been to sell my 2009 Suzuki Gladius and then purchase a new more upright adventure styled motorcycle.  Unfortunately our fall weather has been uncharacteristically wet and used bikes have not been selling.  

I'll try again in the spring.  What makes this easier to take is that there aren't any 2016 CB500 Xs for sale in the state with ABS.  If I am going to buy a new one I may as well pay the extra $300 for ABS and I like the color better anyway.  Women are fickle creature you know.

So, as I wait not so patiently for any scrap of information about the 2017's, Honda has remained silent in that regard.  Dealers seem to know nothing about the next years model of CB500x and Honda's website only lists 2016 and 2015 for that model.  Hmmmm

With all of the new information being released out of the EICMA I thought for sure we'd hear something.  One dealer in the Portland metro area did tell us they were waiting for a shipment.  Of what? 2016 holdovers?  2017s?  Throw me a scone here. (I'd say throw me a bone, but you know, I'm vegan)

I even tried sending Honda Motorcycles USA a Facebook message inquiring about when they would be releasing information on the 2017 CB500x.  I finally heard back from them, but instead of actually answering my questions on when and if we'll see 2017's, I get this cryptic response: "We apologize for the delayed response. We have some news this week that you will probably be interested in.  Stay tuned! (thumbs up)"

So, as I sit here with a triple shot of espresso coursing through my veins and my fingers drumming on my desk, I start delving further into the releases of the EICMA.  More than one small displacement "adventure bike" was unveiled at the show.  A Suzuki V-Strom 250, a BMW G 310 GS, and a Kawasaki Versys 300x.

I am really intrigued by the Versys 300x.  Not only did they announce that it was coming to the USA, but they already have it listed on the Kawasaki website.  LINK  And it seems to tick more boxes than the CB500x. They actually are producing it with a 19" front tire and 17" rear tire, gear indicator, light weight, ABS, and a 4.5 gallon fuel tank.  It too is a parallel twin.  The only box that isn't ticked when compared to a CB500x is that it is a 300cc motor.  I'd rather it was 400cc-500cc, but it is based off the Ninja 300 so you'd think that would be more than ample power for how I ride. An added bonus would be if I could get some TKC-80's for it.

(2017 Kawasaki Versys 300x - photo from Kawasaki.com)

(2017 Kawasaki Versys 300x - photo from Kawasaki.com)

(2017 Kawasaki Versys 300x - photo from Kawasaki.com)

(2017 Kawasaki Versys 300x - photo from Kawasaki.com)

(2017 Kawasaki Versys 300x - photo from Kawasaki.com)
This sounds like a good excuse to go and visit our favorite Kawasaki dealer to see what they know about the new Versys 300x.  At one point I was leaning towards the 2016 Versys 650, but just didn't want anything that heavy/bulky.

The Versys 300x would also be less expensive that the Honda so I'm thinking that might mean more funds for farkling too.

The winds of change......they be blowing.

- Au Revoir

"I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure." - Unknown
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Monday, November 14, 2016

Game of Fours - Blogger Challenge

A fellow moto-blogger, SonjaM, tagged me in Game of 4's. A challenge in which four questions are provided, to be answered by four answers to each of the questions, and then to nominate four other bloggers. And to quote RichardM "since this wasn't done on FB, I'll take a crack at it. I tend to ignore posts like that on FB."

The four questions are as follows:

1)  What is your favorite food?
2)  What is your favorite drink?
3)  Places you've been?
4)  Names that you are known by?

Well, I've taken a day or so to contemplate my answers and I think this is about the best they are going to get.  Fun fact though, I type out the template and then worked my way back from the bottom as I answered them.  And yes, I usually read magazines from back to front too.

QUESTION ONE - FAVORITE FOOD

1.  Potatoes - Yes, I love all potatoes.  I don't think I've met a potato I haven't liked.  Russet, yukon gold, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.  And having said that, I love them prepared all kinds of ways too. Mashed potatoes are my favorite, but after that there are roasted, french fries, scalloped, baked, hash browns, etc.  

2.  Bread - Who doesn't love bread?  I am lucky in that I do not have a gluten allergy or sensitivity.  I think I inherit my love of bread from my mother.  She could sit down and eat a whole loaf if she could get away with it.  Without discipline I probably could too.  My favorite would be sourdough, although I also enjoy french bread, baguettes, flat breads, and sprouted bread like the Ezekiel bread we use every morning for toast.  My love of bread also ties in with my next food answer - soup.

3.  Soup - Mmmm soup.  I think I also get my love of soup from my mother.  We never did have a lot of money growing up so there was always a big pot of soup on the stove so we could eat our fill. I still try to make at least one pot of soup a week and rotate around the different kinds depending on our mood.  A few days ago I made a Mexican Bean Soup, tonight was potato onion soup.  A week or so ago I made an African Peanut Soup.  I just love soup.

4.  Pizza - Pizza is a food group in and of itself isn't it? Over the years pizza has morphed for us. What used to consist of ordering delivery of the typical American pizza with a lot meat and cheese has evolved into homemade pizza dough with thick tomato sauce topped with a lot of veggies.  Maybe I love pizza so much because I worked at a diner in high school where we made the pizza dough by hand.  Maybe it is because the base is bread and it is a carry over from answer number two. One of the best pizzas we've had recently was at the Pizza Research Institute in Eugene.  We were there in June with Chris L. from Everyday Riding.  Their "#1- roasted potato, pear, and pesto pizza"  and their "#6-spicy baked tofu, garlic, and black olive pizza" were both so delicious.

QUESTION TWO - FAVORITE DRINKS

1.  Tea - Iced tea, hot tea, chai tea lattes, green tea, black tea, rooibos, herbal tea....I love all tea. Every morning Troubadour and I split a pot of tea.  Sometimes on a Sunday we'll drink two or three pots of tea before noon, and we aren't opposed to sneaking a little flavored whisky in there on the weekends or evening either.  We also have a half-gallon jug of home brewed Red Rose tea in the fridge as well - decaf though so we can drink iced tea at any time of day.  Stash Tea is one of my favorite brands though since it is based in Oregon.

2.  Coffee - You knew coffee would have to make an appearance. While I don't drink near the amount of coffee as I used to and we don't even have coffee in the house anymore, I still like to partake. Saturday mornings at our coffee gatherings I'll have a 16 ounce triple shot vanilla soy latte.  Most mornings when I get to work at 7 am I will walk to Starbucks and order a triple shot of espresso over ice in a grande cup with one pump of vanilla topped with about an ounce of soy.  If it has been a crazy day at work I'll get one in the afternoon as well, but if it is after 2:30 pm I'll order decaf. 

3.  Fizzy Water - Club soda, Soda Water, Perrier, San Pellegrino, LaCroix, a fizzy water by any other name.....  I don't drink soda, diet or otherwise.  I don't enjoy sweet drinks, but I do enjoy the burn of a cold carbonated beverage. I try to limit anything with natural flavors in the ingredient list so mostly I drink plain fizzy water.

4.  Water - Eau, agua, wasser, Nectar of the Gods.  There is nothing like a cool glass of water to quench the thirst.  Whether out on the bikes or out for a drive we are always bringing bottles of water with us.  Most of the time in restaurants I'll just have the water instead of tea or coffee. Partly because of frugality and partly because the tea or coffee is never quite the way I'd like it. Makes me seem a little picky doesn't it?

I know most of you are probably thinking that these are quite boring answers.  No beer, no specialty drinks.....but I honestly haven't met a beer I like enough to drink a whole bottle or glass of.  I've always been a hard liquor kind of gal (what's in a name?) but even then I am pretty choosy so it is easier to just drink the four items listed above and not be disappointed.

QUESTION THREE - PLACES I'VE BEEN

1.  Montreal, Quebec - The one and only time I've been to Montreal was in January of 2001 for Troubadour's immigration interview. With temperatures hovering at -35˚C to -38˚C (-31˚F to -36˚F) it was quite a snow covered experience.  I would definitely love to return one day. Since I don't have any pictures from that time, I took a picture of our tickets to Notre-Dame Basilica and a momento that I still had in a treasure box.

2.  Victoria, British Columbia - The one and only time I've been to Victoria was in June 2014 where we walked around the city, toured Butchart Gardens, and of course met up with fellow Blogger Princess ScooterPie and her Husband.  It would be fun to return for a little two-wheeled touring.

3.  San Francisco, California -  We have visited San Francisco a few times. The first time was the summer of 2011 for my 40th birthday.  We also returned in January 2013 to meet up with fellow Bloggers Rogey, BobSkoot, KT-Did, Guido & Andrea, and MQ01.

4.  Chicago, Illinois - Another place I have only ever been to one time.  Back in the summer of 1982 (I think - between Grade 5 & 6) I travelled with my mother, brother and grandparents across the country in the grandparent's VW van to see my grandfather's family in Chicago.  It took several weeks to drive there and back stopping hither and yon along the way.  I do not have any pictures from the trip, but I'll always have the memories.

QUESTION FOUR - NAMES THAT I'M KNOWN BY

1.  Trobairitz - I have no one to blame but myself.  Troubadour started his blog quite some time before I decided to follow in his footsteps in December 2008.  When searching for something to call myself and/or my blog, I discovered that a Trobairitz was the female counterpart to a Troubadour - thus an online moniker was born.

2.  Brandy Beans - Thanks Jenny-fur.  Back in the early 90's I worked at a health food /bulk food store.  One of my co-workers Jennifer didn't like to be called Jenny or Jen, so I started calling her Jenny-fur. Her retaliation was to call me Brandy Beans after the tasty chocolate confection most often found in Germany, but we sold by the truckloads around the holidays at the store.  I still use this today as my name on Facebook.

3.  Brandoso - Thanks Chip.  Troubadour's stepfather is known for giving everyone nicknames.  It is what he does.  For some reason his nickname for me was Brandoso.

4.  Ape Arms - Thanks Mom.   I was a lanky child, all arms and legs.  Truth be told I still have long arms and legs.  My mother, on a regular basis when she would need something off a high shelf or out of a high cupboard, would dollar across the house while laughing "hey ape arms..." I am sure she said it out of love.  I included this one because if we can't laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?

So there you have it.  And having said all of that I nominate the following fellow bloggers to rise to the challenge.  If you have already been nominated by the time I post this or just plain do not want to participate, please let me know and I'll nominate another victim participant.

1.  Barb from Living ...and Running (fka Riding and Running) - Barb's post HERE
2.  Stuart from Tales From the Road - Stuart's post HERE
3.  Andrew from Braais, Beers and Bikes
4.  Andrew from Bandit Rider  - Andrew's post HERE

I nominated four bloggers located across the globe thinking it would be interesting to see how similar or different the answers might be.

- Au Revoir

"  It may be that all games are silly.  But then, so are human." - Robert Lynd
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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sunday - Walking on Sunshine

Almost an inch of rain fell on Saturday, which kept us out of the woods on Sunday.  Instead of riding through the woods mud and talking to squirrels we opted to walk the 3 miles (4.82 km) to downtown Corvallis.  We had thoughts of a nice soy latte and perhaps a cookie from Laughing Planet running through our minds.

As we were leaving the house at noon, we discussed possibly having lunch downtown instead of a snack and coffee since it would take us about 45 minutes to get there.  It takes even longer when I take the camera with me, which I did hoping to find some fall color.

Our route takes us through Oregon State University.  On the western edge we pass sheep and dairy barns as well as greenhouses and other miscellaneous buildings.

(Random rusty tin roof)

(Ginko Biloba, aka Maidenhair Tree in front of research greenhouses - OSU - Corvallis)
A little further East on campus we noticed the Black Tupelo trees in their bright red finery.  We planted one in our back yard last year to replace the giant sequoia we took out.  I think this will be a nice change as it grows. We squish squashed our way out into the soggy Peavy Sports Field to get the picture below.

(Nyssa Silvaticaaka Black Tupelo - OSU Campus - Corvallis)
As Troubadour looked south across the field he noticed that some one had a fire going and the smoke was visible behind a small tree.  He chuckled.  "Look, a smoke tree."  He knows that Cotinus Coggygria is a favorite of mine, aka Smoke Bush or Smoke Tree.

("Smoke Tree" - OSU Campus - Corvallis)
Across the road on the east side of the sports field was another large Ginko.  Looks bigger than the telephone pole in the picture.  Last year we planted a ginkgo in our front yard beside the driveway, but it is only 6-8 feet tall.  Note - if you ever plant one - do not plant a female.  The smell of the fruit is horrendous.  Unless of course you enjoy the odd smell that is something like a combination of rotten feta cheese and dog poop.

(Ginko Biloba in front of Sackett Hall - OSU Campus - Corvallis)
Looking North from taking the above picture we noticed a row of Ginko along one of the newer brick buildings on 30th street.  I believe the brick building below is the Linus Pauling Science Center.

(Row of Ginko Biloba along 30th Street)

(Close up view of the Ginkos)

(The back side of the Womens Building on the left and old Fairbanks Hall on the right)
There were a few Daphne shrubs by the Womens Building and a butterfly or moth was fluttering about the blooms.

(Butterfly/moth on a Daphne plant)

(Random tree at the east edge of the Memorial Union Quad)

(Red fall color - perhaps a maple of some sort)
We were walking further east and saw the back of Benton Hall with this Giant Sequoia.  I thought I'd snap a pic for size reference.

(Backside of Benton Hall - OSU Campus - Corvallis)

(More giant trees against a 4-story building - the Pharmacy Building, I believe)
Our walks usually take us to the multi-use path on the east edge of campus between 14th street and 11th street.  It is a favorite of mine and I take photos of it at different times of the year.  I think these might be Elm trees.  One other we noticed nearby had a plaque that stated it had been planted by the class of 1913.

(Looking east at the Campus Way multi-use path - OSU Campus - Corvallis)
The photo below is looking east down Madison Avenue from 11th street.

(Rows of trees on Madison Avenue between 11th and 10th - Corvallis)

(From 11th Street looking west back towards the multi-use path)

(Another view of Madison Avenue looking east - Corvallis)

(A sidewalk view of the leaves)

(Some maple trees further east on Madison Avenue)


(One block North on Monroe Avenue is another large Ginko)
We arrived downtown about 1:00 pm and proceeded to stop at my office to use the facilities and then walked to Evergreen Indian Restaurant thinking to have lunch.  There were about 10 people outside waiting for tables.  No thank you.  A few blocks away we tried Laughing Planet. There was a long line there as well.  We tried Sky High Brewing & Pub another block or so away and they had the longest line up.  We weren't sure why downtown was so busy on a Sunday.  Could it be everyone was out playing in the sunshine? As we walked back towards my office we tried the Indian place again.  While there was still a line, it was smaller.  We still didn't care to wait so we decided to just get a Starbucks and head home.

We ordered our lattes and while we were waiting I noticed the bagel shop next door wasn't busy. Ah Ha!  We wandered over after our lattes were prepared and ordered a bagel each.  A pumpernickel for me and an apple cinnamon for Troubadour.  I'd been on their website before so I knew they didn't have eggs or dairy.  We just had to eat them plain with nothing on them.  It still helped to cease the hunger pains.  We finished our bagels and took our lattes with us.

One more stop at my office and then we headed west towards home.  The weather had changed. Gone was our sunshine, but it wasn't cold, just a little windy.

I noticed these trees on the corner of Madison and 6th Street at the entrance to Central Park.

(Fall color - southeast Central Park entrance - Corvallis)
Back to the walking path and we admired the elms standing as sentinels along the way.  This time we stopped at Benton Hall for a few pictures.  Why?  Because we noticed a rock with a plaque embedded it it we'd never noticed on the dozens of times we've walked this route.

(Benton Hall - built in 1889 - home to the Dept of Music and the oldest building at OSU)

(A close-up of the clock tower on Benton Hall)

("The clock in the tower of Benton Hall was manufactured in 1913 by the E. Howard Clock Company of Boston Massachusetts. From that time until it was dismantled in 1988, it marked the hours in the tower of the old gas plant in Portland for commuters traveling along St. Helens Road.  It was refurbished and presented to Oregon State University through the efforts of the class of 1988 by Northwest Natural Gas Company on October 29, 1988.  The presentation took place following the centennial year of historic Benton Hall and recognizes the important contributions OSU Alumni have made as employees of Northwest Natural Gas Company.")

(More fall color on Campus Way - Corvallis)
As I was taking the above picture Troubadour noticed that you could see the clock tower on Benton Hall through the trees behind us.  

(Benton Hall Clock Tower - OSU Campus - Corvallis)

(Look at the gorgeous orange foliage)

(A few rhododendrons were still blooming)

(And the hawthorn trees in full berry)

(Crataegus - Hawthorn, not sure which variety, fan leaf perhaps - OSU Campus - Corvallis)

(Yet another Ginko - they seem to be popular on campus)

(Lonely leaf)

As we progressed past 36th Street and onto the multi-use path that runs through the fields of the University, I noticed the skies darkening and the clouds gathering to the west.  I stopped for two last photographs that show our view on the long stretch home from town.

(Campus Way multi-use path, looking Northwest)

(Campus Way multi-use path - looking southwest - alpaca and llama barns in the center)
We arrived home at 3 pm, a little stiff from the walk but overall had a good afternoon.  Round trip of 6 miles (9.65 km).

So far November has been drier than October, and for that we are thankful.  KMTR, a TV station out of Eugene 45 miles to the south of us, has reported that Eugene has broken their record for the most consecutive days without freezing temperatures - 257 as of November 7th.  It has not dropped to 32˚F (0˚C) since February 23, 2016.  Can't really complain about that.  Also there are no freezing temperatures predicted in the long range forecast.  Click ---> LINK for full article.

- Au Revoir

"Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the deal leaves fall and melt." - William Allingham
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Rain Finally Paused Ride

I didn't call this post "the rain finally stopped ride" because I fear it has only just begun.  From October 1st through 5 am October 27th, the Willamette Valley in Oregon received 7.8 inches (19.8 cm) of rain.  We are on track to beat a record high in 1994 of 8.04 inches (20.4 cm) of rain for October. Read the details here ---> LINK.

We were almost giddy when the weather forecast for last Friday was dry and we both had the day off.

With the TW200 sporting a new battery and Troubadour's DRZ 400s race ready we jumped at the chance to get out on the bikes.

A few months ago when Troubadour was out tearing up the back roads with some friends from work they passed a field with some highland cattle, or 'Heilan Coos' as one might say in Scotland. They are gaining popularity here in Oregon but you don't usually see them by the side of a road and he didn't have the chance to stop that day.

A route was planned so that we could take advantage of a dry day. A pleasant 80 mile loop over some gravel forestry roads linking up with some asphalt to find the cows.

Friday was our day. We'd tried previously on September 25th but the dead TW200 battery stymied those plans.

We left the house around noon with the sun trying to shine through the high clouds.  We headed west beyond Philomath and then turned south onto Woods Creek Road. We took Woods Creek Rd to Tum Tum Road, then to Harris Road, which took us to the Harris Covered Bridge at Wren.

(Corvallis to Wren via Woods Creek, Tum Tum Rd, and Harris Rd)
The gravel was in pretty good shape with expected potholes and puddles. We stopped along the way for a few photos.

Tum Tum Road

(Somewhere along Tum Tum Rd)

(2013 Suzuki DRZ 400s and 2009 Yamaha TW200)

(The Woolly Bear Caterpillars were out as well - looks like a bad winter)

(Photo by Troubadour)

(Troubadour was taking pictures with his phone)

(Helmet selfie)

(My artsy contribution for the day - in a tire tread puddle by the bikes)
Somewhere further along Tum Tum Rd Troubadour spotted some smoke.  I mentioned through the Senas that there was also a small helicopter.  He spotted it and also noticed as it looped around that it was spraying something over the clear cut that was burning.  We were pretty sure it wasn't water so we held our breath, blipped the throttles, and took off around the bend and over the hill.  The last thing we wanted was the pilot laughing maniacally as he chased the motorcyclists with herbicide or insecticide.

Harris Rd.

(A TW200, a horse, and a pioneer apple tree on the right)

(Posing the bikes with some distant fall color)

(Troubadour's 2013 DRZ400s)

(The best show of fall color we'd see all day - hard to find in forests of evergreen Douglas Fir)

(Troubadour going to pick some apples)

(The TW 200 and Troubadour - successfully picking apples)

(A view of where we'd been)
Harris Covered Bridge - Wren, Oregon

(Harris Covered Bridge over the Marys River built in 1929)



(Photo by Troubadour) 
From Wren we rode North on Kings Valley Highway and then turned west on Alexander Rd.  This took us over some back roads and gravel roads to Fort Hoskins.

(Wren to Fort Hoskins via Kings Valley Highway and Alexander Rd)
 We made a stop along on the way when we saw this red barn.

(Beautiful barn along Alexander Road)
We noticed a for sale sign nearby and looked it up online when we got home. If you find yourself in need of an old farmhouse and 53 acres, which includes this gorgeous barn, you'll only need to pick $850,000 off your money tree.  Here is a link to the listing ---> LINK.  Check out the photos, they are quite something.

Fort Hoskins

At Fork Hoskins we stopped for a spot of tea and a snack.  "Fort Hoskins was actually one of three forts (which were unfortified posts) built by the US Army to monitor the Coastal Indian Reservation in Oregon in the mid-19th century" To read more click this ---> LINK. We made sure to pack along the Jetboil thinking we might need a warm up.  Since the sun came out we weren't chilly, but the hot tea was still welcome.

(Our view at Fort Hoskins - they are renovating an old fort residence)

(Photo by Troubadour - waiting for the water to boil)

(A tree with some fall color at Fort Hoskins)

(Me acting silly at Fort Hoskins - photo by Troubadour)
From Fort Hoskins  We took Luckiamute Road to find the Highland Cattle.  A few miles up the road and we found them. Unfortunately we couldn't get close enough to pet them on the nose. There was a double fence and one was electric on their side.

Heilan Coos

(A mama cow)

(and her two yearlings - she didn't want to leave them)

(One baby was curious enough to stand up)

(The rest of the cows in the pasture)

(This one was curious but wouldn't come any closer)

(The beige one on the left was the bull)

(Troubadour parked off the road by the gate)

(Enough 'fertilizer' around for the mushrooms to grow)

(I parked up on the side of the road)

After the cows, we continued on Luckiamute Road and made a loop north and east until re-joining Kings Valley Highway.  From there it was a short stint south until we could turn east on Maxfield Creek Road. We were aiming for Berry Creek Road/Tampico Road because it was another short stretch of gravel.  Turns out it is now paved. Doh!  Wonder when they did that.

(Fort Hoskins to Corvallis via Gage Rd, Burbank Rd, Kings Valley Hwy,
Maxfield Creek Rd, Airlie Rd, Berry Creek Rd, Soap Creek Rd, and Sulphur Springs Rd)
We made one quick stop along Airlie Road to take a few pictures of another barn in the sunshine.  The lighting wasn't great but we managed a few pictures.

(A barn somewhere along Airlie Rd)

(Looking Northeast across the Valley towards the Cascade Mountains)
Troubadour took a little longer to take his pics than I did so when he finished he found me leaning on my tail bag waiting patiently.

(Photo by Troubadour)

(Trobairitz & her TW 200 - photo by Troubadour)
This was the last stop of the day.  We managed to get home by about 4:30 and the sun was still shining.  We only rode 80 miles (129 km), but we had a great afternoon out on the little bikes.

It rained some yesterday morning and it is raining again as I write this Sunday morning. It has been for a few hours.  We may break that October rainfall record yet.

UPDATE - as of Friday Corvallis has actually seen 11.25 inches (28.57 cm) of rain. I was actually going off of Eugene's rainfall totals to the south of us.  Here is an article from our local paper yesterday.  LINK.  And yes, it is still raining now.

- Au Revoir

"Autumn repays the earth the leaves which summer has lent it." - George Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799)
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