Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Hot" To Get Going On My Next Project

I noticed on Scooter in the Sticks that Steve is recognizing the first signs of the change of seasons in his neck of the sticks. Well, right here in good ol' Port Angeles it is full-on Summer. We are cookin' in 80 plus temps, and the forecast is for hotter tomorrow. Not even my ride home from work cooled me down. I do like it though.

Well, my latest motorbike project is finally getting a little momentum behind it. My pal Paul, the lead motorcycle mechanic at Olympic Powersports is guiding me through the steps to restoring a 1978 GL1000 Gold Wing. Maybe not restoring as much as "rustoring" since we aren't doing a frame-up job on it. We will get it in good running order with some elbow grease, parts and cash though. I'm looking forward to the project, and can't wait to throw a leg over the saddle. (After it comes back from the upholstery shop.)

The one hitch in the gittalong is the application for lost title. The girl at the Vehicle Licensing desk told me that the vin number look-up showed a titleholder, and a leinholder. The title holder appears to have vanished, and the leinholder has since closed his business. I did however contact his daughter, and it looks as though he will sign-off on his portion of the affidavit.

The nutty part is that if I follow their guidelines, I will need to send the affidavit to the last known address of the registered owner by certified mail. If it is returned unopened, then I can turn it in to the gal at the licensing desk to be hopefully registered to me, but not as the titleholder. It seems that I will need to wait for 3 years in case the original dude decides to come out of the woodwork to reclaim it. That would suck. Oh, and I was told that the State Patrol will need to inspect it. They told me that they don't do inspections any more. What a mess.

I e-mailed Paul the other night throwing out the option that maybe we could look at one of his other Wing's that doesn't carry so much baggage. He has six of them. I have had my eye on one that I call Old Black. It has all the character that appeals to me in a beater motorcycle. If the title is clear and he hasn't become too attached to it, I may end up coming up sweet on the deal. I contacted Paul today to tell him to check out his e-mail box, then let me know whats-up.

And with that, when I know, I'll let you know.

Have fun,

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Rainy, Dark Highway That Brought Me Back

Yeah, I'm still around. Life has a way of finding its own priorities for you, and so I dealt with them. I never did stop riding though.

I felt like it was time to get back in the blogging saddle after an adventure in riding that I had last night. Sometimes you need a little nudge to get you moving in the right direction...

My family and I rolled out of town on sunny Wednesday to spend a few days on the beach at Kalaloch, about 100 miles from our doorstep. Since I was in need of a long ride, I loaded up the Big Ruckus and enjoyed the hot August putt to our yearly camping destination. Being that the weather usually doesn't play by the rules in a rainforest region, I packed my raingear just in case. Lately I've taken to wearing my Fieldsheer touring jacket with body armor. I totally abandonded the old school "mod" staple fishtail parka in favor of some serious new school ride-wear technology. I also wear an orange safety vest now too. Like my boss says, "Better to be seen, then flat."

My rainpants are basic fisherman's heavy duty pants, and I keep a light weight hooded hikers rain jacket in my tour pack for when the need arises. Well, the need arose at about 6:00 p.m. yesterday.

After having a real nice dinner, the mist off the Pacific Ocean started getting a little heavy. Not wanting to pull the rug out from anyone's good time, I was hesitant about pushing the issue of maybe bailing out and heading for home a day or two early. Then it started really getting wet.

I tossed the idea about pulling up stakes (literally) to my wife, and she agreed that the fun factor was pretty much gone. In an attempt to keep the trip alive, I went out to build a fire, and the rain said no. I was done. I asked my wife if she would help take the tent down, and in record time, we were packed. I ducked for cover to strip out of my wet clothes and change into dry duds and my raingear, and after pulling the cover off the scoot and saddling up, we were off. It was now 7:45 p.m.

Full-on darkness is about 9:00 p.m., and my goal was to be at Lake Crescent at dark. A bit like a cowboy's trust in his horse, I now feel like I have a riders relationship with my scooter. I trusted my steed to get me home. With my wife in the family mini-van with dozing kids in back, I lead us out of the campground, and headed toward home.

I think we rolled all the way to Forks, (approx. 40 miles) with no traffic behind us. I hung out at around 60 mph in the straight stretches, and backed off a bit in the sweepers. We made Forks in good time, and I stopped to check for any concerns from my wife. She asked why she couldn't see my brake light on the road. I told her that I wasn't using it. I tapped it so she could see that it does work. Now it was my mission to make the lake by dark.

There are sections of highway that run straight and long between Forks and Lake Crescent, and when the rain wasn't drumming down, I was able to roll at around 68 mph. The one thing that I wasn't prepared for though, was the moths and flying bugs made out of glue that live on this stretch. I remembered the saying that I used to use at the service station when washing the bug collection off tourist's windshields, "It won't have the guts to do that again." The whole front of the scooter, the windshield, my helmet and goggles, everything, was covered in a layer of bug guts. I started wishing for the hard rain again to wash some of this stuff off. Soon enough, we had made it to the lake.

Lake Crescent is a beautiful lake that resides in the Olympic National Park, and Highway 101 winds for 21 miles in a twisty path around its shores. It was now dark, and the drenching rains had returned. "Huh... visibility sucks," I thought to myself. I found a wide pull-off at around the halfway point, and stopped to let some traffic go by. I asked my bride to wipe off my goggles for me. I was having a hard time seeing through the water, guts and road grime that covered the lenses. My vision is bad as it is, I needed to see for the home stretch.

I wicked it up and headed for the ranch. The last few miles flew by in familiar territory, and I was thinking as we wound down our quick trip, that I really enjoyed this ride. I was tested in conditions that I don't usually ride in any more, and I did it off-the-cuff. No planning, no worrying, no nothing. I saddled up and rode the way I used to so many years ago. I was happy riding in the rain and darkness. My wife asked if I was stressed out at all. I told her that I was "far from stressed." "I was having a good time out there." It was this thought that compelled me to sit back down at this keyboard.

I've been working my rear-end off to achieve the highest levels of success in so many areas of my life, and having to be "on" so much of the time. Happiness is achieved and cherished, but I have to work for it as well. I didn't expect to gain so much joy in tearing a soggy camp down and hauling balls for home in the rain and darkness, but I did. Absolute flippin' joy. And I got to share it with my wife and kids. That made it even better.

I don't think I would have been back here anytime soon had I not had this experience, but I think I need to do this now. It feels right again...

Have fun,

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