Monday, September 29, 2008

Made It To Oyster Run '08

Against my better judgement we decided to go to the Oyster Run in Anacortes, WA on Sunday. It is the largest one day gathering of motorcyclists in the Western U.S. This year they expected over 30,000 bikes to attend. I estimate there were more......

We got up early and expected to get going by 9 am. From 7 o'clock on you could hear the drone of motorcycles off in the distance going up I-5. By the time we left home and merged onto I-5 heading North it was a sight to see. What a thrill it was to be on a 3 lane interstate surrounded by hundreds of motorcyclists in every lane, with only an occasional car squeezed in between the crowd. All you could see ahead or in your mirrors were motorcycles. I have never seen anything like it and it was an emotional and exhilerating experience.

We stopped about 30 miles north of home to drop in and see my son, who had a group of many friends who were gathering to go also. The gas stations in his town were filling up with hundreds of bikers meeting up. Nate and his friends were going to breakfast so we headed to the Oyster Run without them and said we would meet up later. We never found them at the event. We did, however, run into the friend who had sold Dave the Victory. What were the chances of that?

We went off of the interstate and headed towards Anacortes on the back roads which were scenic and rural. It was a clear blue day which turned out to be warm and sunny. As we neared the town of Anacortes traffic came to a halt. We crept into town inch by inch. That is when the fun ended for me. By the time we parked my clutch hand had a full cramp.

The event was interesting, with local vendors and bike builders etc. All the biker groups were there wearing their colors, but no incidents as far as I know. Everyone was happy to be there and appreciating looking at the motorcycles. We walked around in shoulder to shoulder crowds and made our way up the entire street and back the other side. There was one group doing a scheduled stunt show but we didn't wait to see it. Otherwise, it was just a large gathering. After I saw about the thousandth bike they all started looking the same.

Here is a lineup of Big Dog bikes.

Not sure what this was but when it was revved it was so loud people were covering their ears!

How's this for a motorcycle cover?

I liked this biker gorilla.

They said this bike was on Biker Build-off. They were giving it away.

As we tried to leave town the traffic was even worse than coming in. There were several directions to go but all were creeping or stopped. We headed east and found a back road with only a few bikers on it. It was a long ride home and I was very tired by the time we arrived. All day we only went a total of 155 miles, but rode for about 6 hours. My left hand turned purple from clutching. I guess I'm not as tough as I think sometimes.

I don't think I would ever attempt to go to the Oyster Run again, because it really had nothing to offer me. Crowds like that aren't my thing. I'm glad for the experience, though, and got my first bike event pin.

LVMS to host seventh annual Femmoto this weekend

Press release:

LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host Femmoto 2008, a weekend of motorcycle riding, demonstrations and motor fashion to celebrate female enthusiasts Friday through Sunday. Femmoto is a women-only event which offers female riders the opportunity to test-ride motorcycles on the LVMS track, peruse the latest gear designed just for women, discuss the lifestyle with manufacturers and meet other women who share their passion for motorsports.

“Being involved with the biking industry for a long time, I began to see an increase in women riders, the bonding that was going on between the women riders, and the need to have an all-female track event,” said Femmoto founder Bonnie Strawser. “I wanted to get more women comfortable on motorcycles and give them a great environment to do that.”

Femmoto is hosting 11 motorcycle brands for demonstrations at the event, including Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Kawasaki, KYMCO and Triumph. Attendees are invited to ride all brands and styles of motorcycles on both the track and street throughout the weekend.

“Diversity is what we’ve been aiming for and I think this year we have really hit our mark,” Strawser said. “As there are many types of female riders out there, there are many types of motorcycles they might be interested in. Having so many brands and so many bike types will make this a really fun event for all our attendees.”

Track rides are reserved for female participants. Pre-registration slots are filling up for the closed- course demos and interested riders are urged to pre-register. The entry fee is $135 per day. Appropriate track gear is required for closed-course demos.

Last year’s event hosted more than 550 female riders and Femmoto organizers predict an increase in participation in the 2008 event.

Femmoto was created in 2001 to introduce ladies to sport bikes in a safe and fun environment. Its growth and support have allowed the event to evolve into a weekend providing women with new and exciting features including workshops, seminars and exposure to a wide variety of specialty products and services.

For more information on the Femmoto 2008, call (419) 340-3977 or visit

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Ride Home--Bandon,OR to Seattle

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While in Bandon we spent one day going to town and visiting our favorite stops. We had lunch at The 2 Loons deli in the downtown area. It is always one of our favorite places to eat, with that local flair that only a small town has. The food was delicious. Our next stop was the Wagon Wheel, where we always buy a T-shirt. When the T-shirt wears out in a couple of years, that signals us that it is time to make another trip to Bandon. The other place you cannot miss is Cranberry Sweets. Bandon is the Cranberry capitol of the world, and we just missed the Annual Cranberry Festival the day before we got to town. Cranberry Sweets is a candy store that puts out plates of little candy samples, so of course you want to buy after you've tasted all the wonderful flavors.

As we headed back to our motel down the little road that goes from town and follows the coastline, we passed Face Rock. It is so cool. Can you see the face?

We left town on Wednesday morning and made a quick stop on the north side of the Coquille River where the historic Coquille Lighthouse stands. It is a landmark for artists and photographers to appreciate. It is from the 1890s and not in operation any more from what I understand.

The view looking back towards Bandon.

Once we got on the road we headed back up the coast with the intention of heading inland towards McMinnville for the next nights stay. This morning was the coldest and most miserable of any on our trip. The further north we went we rode through mist, fog, and very cold temps. I had on 4 layers on top, my jeans and chaps, and my Buff around my neck. I had only brought my regular gloves. By the time we rode a couple of hours, my fingers were numb, I had pulled the Buff up over my nose like a bandit, and my legs were cold through my chaps. I could feel that my teeth were cold, even though I kept my mouth shut (no comments from the peanut gallery). We stopped in Waldport for a hot cup of coffee at another DQ.

After we thawed out, we continued on north until Lincoln City. Then we headed inland towards McMinnville. Once we were away from the ocean, the sky opened up, the sun was out, and we started warming up. We passed through the most lovely countryside and followed a river. Soon we saw amber fields of grain, vineyards, Italian prune orchards and wide open spaces. This was one of my favorite roads on the trip, probably because it was 30 degrees warmer than along the coast. We stopped in McMinnville, which is a cute little town where McMinnamin's Brewery started. It's a Northwest favorite. We found the Hotel Oregon, that houses McMinnamin's. We considered staying there, but they only had on the street parking. We weren't comfortable with leaving our bikes out on the main street all night. So we had a beer and thought about it......

There was a Native American casino and hotel that we had passed about 20 miles back. We decided to go back, get a room, eat a nice buffet dinner, and gamble. We got a really good rate on the room which was luxurious and big. It was so good to be warm, and to walk around for a change. We were able to watch our bikes from the 5th floor room we had. We had a wonderful time, lost our shirts (not literally) and were ready to ride home on Thursday. By the end of the day we had ridden 6 hours and about 250 miles, for a total of 729 miles so far.

We left Thursday morning for the home stretch. I was ready to get home and see my cats. I miss them when I am away, they are such a part of my life. We were about 90 miles from Portland, so once we hit Interstate 5 it was freeway all the way home. I led and had to go 80 most of the way through Oregon to keep up with traffic. It was windy, cold, and raining off and on the last day. Once we got through Seattle I felt a great relief that we had made it all this way with no motorcycle problems or events. The only thing that happened was Dave's zipper pull breaking on his motorcycle jacket while we were in Bandon. He was able to use the inner zipper for his liner to keep it together so he could make it home. We got home around 4pm Thursday all in one piece and happy to be sleeping in our own bed that night.

The second day was about 250 miles and 6 hours of mostly freeway riding. The total trip was 987 miles. I would do it all over again, now that I've rested up. I can't wait to plan our next trip.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Destination Bandon: The Second Day--Pacific City to Bandon, OR

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On the second day of our ride from Seattle to Bandon, OR we woke up with our bikes soaking wet with morning fog.

We wiped them down, packed up and off we went south towards Bandon. We expected it to take about 6 hours of riding. Before we left Pacific City we went back towards Cape Kiwanda to snap a few photos. It was around 10 am.

Once we got on the road it was comfortable riding and the sun was coming out. The road is narrow and twisty so we took our time as well as followed lots of logging trucks and large RVs which kept us at a slow pace. The scenery was lovely so it allowed us a glimpse of the ocean every once in a while. We finally stopped at Cape Fowlweather for a break. According to the sign, Captain Cook discovered and named this Cape. We were there on a nice day. Winds can be over 100 mph here with no visibility.

There was alot of fog to ride through from this point south.

Cape Foulweather did not have a public restroom (?!) and I take advantage anytime we are stopping. I had already had a couple cups of coffee earlier in the morning. We headed south again down 101 and, lo and behold, we ran into road contruction. This was a Monday morning and they had the road down to one lane on a major through way. I tried to stay calm and not think about it as we sat with our engines turned off for 40 minutes as nobody moved. The fog was surrounding us so we couldn't really see the scenery either. We finally got going and so did the miles of cars and logging trucks behind us. The first town we came to I stopped. What a relief!

As we rode on further the temps got cooler and the fog was covering the ocean view. We stopped often for hot coffee and food. That day DQ became our fast food friend. Almost every small town in Oregon has a Dairy Queen with clean restrooms and hot strong coffee. They would prove to be our rest stop of choice for the days to come.

We finally arrived in Bandon around 4 pm after riding 6 hours and about 180 miles that day. So far we had gone 479 miles on our trip. It felt much easier than the first day, although challenging terrain. The road is narrow and passes inland through deep dark forests, and then moves out right along the rocky cliffs next to the Pacific Ocean. Again, my mind registered so many images I was having trouble processing it all. We would be staying at this little motel for 2 nights. It is called the Windermere and was originally built for artists who would take little cabins and park their Model A's in between. It has been updated but still keeps the quaint woodwork and charm of a beach motel. It had a little kitchen area fully supplied with necessities. There is a sliding glass door which looks right out to the ocean. I could have lived there. Some mornings the fog would cover the whole beach, but if you waited for the window of opportunity there were a couple of hours a day you could actually see out to the horizon. Our other window looked out to the bikes so we could keep a good eye on them. It was perfect and 1/2 mile down the road from my aunt.

Again the fog and moisture took over our bikes as the sun went down. The motel was great about giving us alot of rags to wipe them down in the mornings. They were also very interested in the Victory and the motel owner was seen checking it out many times in our 2 days there. Everyone we met along the way was interested in the bikes. These were all Seniors travelling along the coastline like we were. We talked to people from Utah, the Netherlands, and other motorcycling travellers.

In Oregon you are not allowed to pump your own gas. Can you believe it? They don't want the public breathing gas fumes, but it is OK for the guy working the pumps. With motorcycles it is a different story. They have to slide your card into the 'pay-at-the-pump' slot, and then hand you the nozzle. I always fill my own and Dave does too. I think bikers are more particular with their gas drips, so they always had a paper ready for me to catch them with.

As we wound down for the day, we looked out at this lovely view. Now we could relax, visit with my aunt, and rest up for our ride home on Wednesday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Destination Bandon: The First Day--Seattle To Pacific City, OR

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We rode down to Bandon, Oregon to visit my aunt. It was the first long trip for both of us. We had luggage on Dave's Victory that strapped to the back rest. It worked very well and held everything we needed that wouldn't fit in the saddlebags.

We finally left on Sunday around 10am. The weather promised to be sunny and clear, with temps around 70. We headed down interstate 5 as far as Olympia, the state capitol. It was pretty quiet on a Sunday around noon.

At Olympia we cut over towards the coast. Now these were lovely wooded highways with almost no traffic. There were smooth, fast and slightly curvy roads that I really enjoyed. They followed along small inlets and bays where oysters are raised. This area claims to produce the most oysters in the world. The aromas you smell as you ride along are amazing. The ocean air is cool but clears your head.

We finally arrived at the Astoria Bridge, which crosses the mouth of the Columbia River. This large expanse of fresh water flows right out into the ocean. This bridge has always scared me when I crossed it in a car. It is extremely long and on the Oregon end there is a tall part that you climb up, up, up so that ships can go under it. It freaks me out. So I was not looking forward to crossing this bridge on a motorcycle. It turned out to be a lovely experience and quite enjoyable. The sensation was entirely different than I expected and I only wish I could have stopped and taken pictures.

We stopped for a break at Cannon Beach. This area is famous for its Haystack Rock and others scattered along the coastline. It is an artists mecca and, of course, a tourist trap. You can see why.......

Finally after riding for 7 hours, with a few short breaks in between, we arrived in Pacific City, Oregon. An old friend and her husband had driven a fully restored 1963 Austin Healey 3000 convertible on a British Car Rally and ended up in Pacific City that night. We met up and had a great time visiting, eating and drinking at the Pelican Pub and Brewery. Good beer and atmosphere, good food but just a little overpriced.

We got a room at a little motel in town called the Inn at Pacific City. It was inexpensive, clean, and quiet. It was perfect for a night of much needed rest and a welcome hot shower. In the morning we walked up a block and found the tiniest cafe with bang-up breakfasts. The biscuits and gravy were the perfect thing to get me ready for the road.

On the first day we rode for 7 hours, and 296 miles. Once you are in Oregon, the roads are narrow and very rough in some places. There are passing lanes once in a while, so you can get around the guy you've been following at 25 mph. for 10 winding miles. For me, it was physically challenging to ride so long, but it was worth it. I already felt like I had accomplished something riding so far and as fast as we could go to keep up with traffic. So many images had already been recorded in my memory that I will think back on and reflect fondly for the rest of my life.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ride to Bandon, Oregon

Sunday my husband and I are taking off on a ride to Bandon, Oregon. The town is on the southern Oregon coast not far from California. My elderly aunt lives there and we like to go down every few years and check up on her. It is also a lovely little fishing town with not much to do except enjoy looking at the beautiful rock formations in the ocean and walk the beach.

We decided to go suddenly when the weather looked like it was going to stay dry and warm for yet another week. Here in the Northwest it is always a gamble whether we will have rain or not as summer ends. Once it comes, you can kiss summer goodbye.

We'll be going on the Vulcan and the Victory with only what items we can stuff into our saddlebags. My husband also borrowed a T-bag from a friend so we should have plenty of room. We'll take two days to get to Bandon, stay a day or so, and then two days to come back. We plan to be back home on Thursday evening.

Our route will go across on the Edmonds ferry to the Olympic peninsula. We'll take back roads all the way down to Astoria, Oregon. From there we will follow the coastal highway all the way to Bandon. If there aren't too many RVs on the road to slow us down, we should have a fun ride. The coastal highway is a winding two-lane road so there are not many places to pass. My friend and her husband are also heading down the coast on a British car rally, so we'll probably see alot of sports cars along the way.

I will be taking photos as we go so stay tuned for a fun virtual trip.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Close Call on the Vulcan

I had to run out to mail a package today at lunchtime. I was on the bike, so took off from my business park and headed down the road. It was a nice sunny day today, so I was enjoying being out on the bike.

I was tooling along about 25 or 30 mph when the BMW I was following decided to stop short. He saw some ladies approaching a crosswalk (mind you, they weren't there yet!) and decided to bow up in the road. I don't think I was following too closely, but in a split second I was skidding to a stop. My brakes locked up and I slid, but I didn't want to hit the car. As I finally came to a stop my front tire was turned a little to the right and the bike started tipping over. I couldn't stop it so I flew off on the right side and the bike rested on its engine guard. They've saved the Vulcan twice now from tipping all the way over.

I was fine, other than a little stiffness as the day continues on. The bike was fine but we noticed a little fluid on the ground from underneath. I think it was gas or coolant. One of the ladies ran over and said, "I'm a biker, and I'll help you get it upright." What are the chances of that happening? We both couldn't get it up, as it is quite heavy. So the guy jumped out of his car and stood there not knowing what to do. I think he was more shook up than I was. Between the three of us we stood the bike up, having to tell the guy to put down the kickstand so we could all let go of it. He obviously doesn't ride.

They made sure my bike and I was OK and then we all went our merry way. My adrenaline was pumping for a few hours later. By the time I rode home from work I was stiff, tired, and felt like I'd been through the wringer. I was surprised how such an event can take so much out of you. I'm still hearing the screech of my brakes in my head as I slid along towards the back bumper of the BMW. I will probably have nice dreams tonight.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Montana Motorcyclist Dies In 239 mph Crash

I found this in the Seattle Times today. The man had a life-long goal:

A 47-year-old record-setting motorcycle racer from Montana has died when he lost control and crashed while traveling at 239 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

A 47-year-old record-setting motorcycle racer from Montana has died when he lost control and crashed while traveling at 239 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Investigators weren't sure what caused Cliff Gullett, of Bozeman, Mont., to lose control of the motorcycle Wednesday during a time trial.

The American Motorcyclist Association said on its Web site that Gullett was competing in the 500cc Streamliner class at the Salt Flats, where drivers go for speed records every summer on the flat, open space just east of the Nevada state line.

Gullett owned Team Bozeman Motorsports, a motorcycle and snowmobile dealership. He had set a handful of world land-speed records and wanted to eventually become the first to reach 400 mph on a two-wheeled Streamliner, according to an interview last week with The Billings Gazette.

Curt Lance, Team Bozeman's general manager, said "Cliff always told me that if anything happened on the Salt, he wanted it to be quick and not lingering. He died doing the thing he loved to do most - racing at Bonneville."

American Motorcyclist Association: