Friday, August 24, 2007

Exit The Helix...(And A Couple Big Bridges)

I felt the need to blast out a quick post to at least feel caught up. This week has been full of meetings at work and elsewhere, and a full plate of activities to boot. So blogging fell off a bit, and I hate feeling like I'm behind.

The '86 Honda Helix that I was a short time caretaker for, has moved on to a good new home. The "Tall Slim Fellow" purchased the old gem on Monday, and has been commuting to work everyday since. His ride to work ends at the same place as mine, but begins quite a bit further up the road from where I start out each day. This will become a great fuel saving situation for my friend, and every buck counts. The bonus is the fact that he too will enjoy the feelings that we all share by leaving the cage at home, and two-wheeling to the grind every day. The "In the wind" feeling.

I hope that the Helix does the job as well for him as it did for me in the short time that I had with it. Ol' Mule is doing full duty again, and I don't feel like I'm cheating on it by scooting on another ride.

After dumping a big chunk of cash at the motorcycle shop, the Sportster is in top shape as well. The neighbors hate it when I light it up at 6:30 a.m. though, so I'll keep the peace by riding the Big Ruckus.

In changing subjects, we are all aware of the bridge collapse in the hometown of the Rush Hour Rambler, and the way it has affected Gary's daily commute. If you don't know, see his site on my blogroll, and you'll understand how this tragedy has impacted him as a daily commuter. And in my world, how bridge loss changes my ride as well.

Well ya see...there are these two bridges in my nice little town that connect East to West Port Angeles. Or, there were two, now there is one still in use, and one getting the wrecking ball. After 70 years of use, the City has decided to knock them down and replace them. November of '08 is the target time for being able to cross the valley's again, so we too will get to be creative in finding our ways to work. I happen to live on the far West side of town, and work on the furthest East side, so I enjoy the full effect of losing this connection.

The neat part is how the city turned some quiet little side-streets into main drags by simply putting up traffic signals and barriers with direction signs. Even leaving home early each day, I sometimes get caught waiting through a couple of signal cycles. The full impact won't be felt until mid next month when the Valley Street bridge gets the ball, then we'll start getting hung up even more each day. But, as a lady said to me at work, "In six months it'll all feel normal, and we won't even think about it any more." And she's right.

Until then, I'll keep buzzing out of here in the early hours on my scooter, having fun as usual.

Have fun,

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Catching Up...

I realized last night that it had been awhile since I posted anything, and that the pace of things in general seems to be moving rather quickly for me right now. Summer is flying past, and before we know it, the leaves will change color and fall to the ground, and the cold of the late season will be on us. I really need to soak in what's left of Summer now, and the only way to do that is to slow down. It's hard to smell the roses when the roses are gone though.

I have been spending some time in the evenings with a friend that landed in the hospital last week. I found out through another friend that my buddy was having complications from an earlier surgery, and would need to be opened back up and repaired. I was with him as the nurses came in to haul him away, and his spirits were good. The next evening found him wiped out on morphine, and not connected with the world around him. Looking out of one eye, trying to make conversation, he finally just reached out his hand and held mine for a moment, then fell asleep.

I hope that my visits make a difference for my friend, because it's made a difference for me. I'm left with the feeling that I am supposed to be there, and I'll continue to touch base till this gent is released to go home.

On the motorbike front, riding has been great lately, and it looks as though the Helix may find a new home soon. The "tall slim fellow" I'll call him, may be riding home on the old gal tomorrow. The Helix will be pressed into service as a full time commuter for both work and school, and in my opinion, will be the perfect scooter for the job. As much as I enjoy riding her, we haven't bonded together yet to the point where I will pine when she's gone. The Harley on the other hand...

I was sure that I could just put a price on the Sportster, and let it go. I was flat wrong. At the point of putting an ad in the classifieds, I walked in the back door and told my wife that I couldn't do it. I had gotten the old sled running, and had blasted all over the neighborhood, and knew from minute one that I couldn't part ways with a bike that I am identified with. This might be the one that I can't part with. I know this bike too well, and I'd hate to have to try to explain every funky little haywired quirk to a potential owner anyway. Better off that I keep peace in the shop, and lose the notion of selling my pony.

Right now the Sporty is in the bike shop getting a new starter. I had been told by a mechanic that the Sportster starter is "bomb proof" and that I probably needed to check my grounds, and clean all the leads. So with the battery replaced, and everything spit shined and cleaned, my electrogremlin showed up and halted my fun again. Frustrated, I pecked away long enough to get it fired up again, and jumped on and hauled tail to the local shop to have my buddy Paul diagnose the problem. Paul, by the way is not the mechanic that uttered the "bombproof" quote. MMI trained, Big Paul is my preferred moto-doctor, and he will hopefully have the sled up and running by mid-week. Just in time for my return to ABATE.

The chapter that I held the position of Coordinator in is going through a major overhaul. The head honcho that was in office when I first started, is coming back to rebuild the chapter literally as it was in its last stages of existence. I had moved along about a year ago when the direction had moved from where we were going, to a negative political path that I didn't want to follow. A simple phone call of "I'm back, and I need your help," was all it took. I'll come back, and I'll help out the best that I can, because the same guy that is leading the chapter again, is also my friend in the hospital, and he can use all the help that he can get right now.

Have fun,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I was trying to stack up some words to build a new post, then changed direction after I had made a comment to Steve Williams after my last post. I had said that I created the word "grinitis" in reference to my feelings when commuting on my scooter. So this is actually a continuation of the theme of my last post. I had also said that the only time I feel like this when I drive to work is if The Ramones come on the radio. That is pretty rare around these parts.

I had also noted that I had to drive today, and it felt like I brought some work issues along with me. The drive just doesn't have the "good time" flavor of scootering. I need to be in the elements, and feel, hear, smell and be a part of what is going on. Rain or shine, dark or light, old Billy Boy is the happy scooterin' cat. It's the same to me as the person poking his toe into the pool to decide if it's right to wade into. I'm the kid in the baggy swimsuit flying by on my way to a monster cannonball. I want to be all the way in, and enjoying every bit of the experience of being there. Driving to me, puts you there, but not in it the way that moto-commuting does. If this makes sense to you, then I made my point, if not, then chalk up these ramblings as the words of a scootering nut job. I'm happy either way.

I guess this brings me back to the term "grinitis" that I think I coined. This is more a feeling inside that I get when putting along on a simple motorscooter. I grin both inside, and outwardly as I tool along, and I have told many that they too can feel this way by giving riding a chance. What can you lose by giving riding a go? You might like it. Be safe, be smart, use good judgement in wearing protective equipment, and don't put yourself in unsafe conditions until you are prepared. But consider riding as an option to the boxed in world of the cage pilots.

I know that these are the words of the Scooter Evangelist, but unless I bang the drum now and then, I don't deserve to have my motorpulpit to preach from. Riding is not a magic pill, or a snake-oil to bring vitality and everlasting youth, it's just a flavor of happiness that many have acquired a taste for. And the side-effect of this flavor it the afore mentioned "grinitis." It's good stuff me.

Have fun,

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Power Of The Positive Commute

Since I'm a pondering sort, I was thinking about my commute and how it affects my day. The Ride to Work is a ride of preparation. These are the moments that put me in a mindset that allows me to begin my workday clear and focused. As I ride, I take the time to look at the mountains, and try to take in some of the early morning sights, sounds and smells. I take deep breaths of the cool morning air and try to enjoy the relaxing feeling I get with riding as I close in on my destination.

I also take this time to start piecing together my battleplan for the day. As I try not to take my work home with me, I really need to get focused to feel like I'm ready to roll when I clock in. It's more about having my attitude in the right place, and I try to be consistant in showing a positive outlook. I find that it is much easier to feel chipper and awake after a ride in the crisp air on a motorscooter.

The ride home is different. This ride is for shedding the stress and mind clouding issues that come with a day on the job. This ride is the ride away from work, and it gives me a chance to prepare for the next part of my day...Husband and Daddy. I tend to string this putt out a little longer than the morning ride, as the extra time gives me a chance to both relax and to brace myself, because when you have little ones at home going full tilt, you gotta be on your toes or you are going to get run over. My kids are at the ages where its still a big deal to have Daddy come walking in from work. I get the full rundown on who did what to who, or "Can I have a popsickle before dinner?" "Can we play baseball?" and all the other things that are important to little whippers. You have to have your head right to handle these things.

Maybe its just me, but I feel clearer headed, sharper and much more prepared to handle both sides of my day by simply operating a scooter as my transportation. I'll try to convince anyone that will listen that the motorscooter is the "Fountain of Youth" in two-wheeled form, and that they will receive endless joy by simply breathing two-stroke smoke. So it's a given that I have convinced myself that I will be happier if I ride instead of drive to and from work. And in my world, that's all that counts.

Have fun,

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