Saturday, August 30, 2008

Coming soon to an RV park near me!

Dave and Paige are on their way back to Washington. They plan to spend next weekend at an RV park in Moses Lake. It will be nice to see them again. I may join them, even travel with them to Bremerton. I guess it depends on my mood and the weather.
Speaking of the weather, I think fall has fallen. The days are cool (low 70s), the nights are cold (high 40s) and the wind is rocking the house. All of my blankets are in use. That being said, I've not yet turned on my furnace, so it can't be all that cold.
Think warm thoughts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ironman Canada

This word comes to mind in many applications.
The professionals that participate in this series are amazing athletes.
That 2210 people registered to participate in this event is amazing.
That 2065 people completed the 3.8 km (2.4 miles) swim, 180 km (112 miles) bike ride and 42.2 km (26.2 miles) run is amazing.
That all of these people were excited about registering for the 2009 Ironman Canada immediately after finishing the race is amazing.

That most of the non-professionals train all year, hire coaches, spend hours upon hours training, adhering to a strict diet, buying the latest gear and staying focused on the target date for a year is amazing.

Wendy is amazing. She finished in the upper half of the field. She completed the race 25 minutes faster than she did two years ago. She was smiling as she finished the run.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rain, rain go away!

I chose to stay in eastern Washington so I could enjoy a warm, dry summer. Hah! It's cold and wet. Luckily I have my new computer, cable tv and my books to keep me entertained.
I hope the weather improves for my trip to Penticton, B.C. this weekend to watch Wendy participate in the Ironman Triathalon. She and Boone have rented a house for the weekend, so I'll spend a couple nights with them.
My new (to me) Corbin seat arrived and I put it on the bike yesterday. I love how it places me lower and farther back in the bike. The backrest almost reaches my shoulder blades. I really like the fact that the backrest can be used for the driver or passenger seats and the faux Ostrich look is kind of cool.
It's 105 degrees with a threat of thunder storms in Phoenix - I guess I'll wait a little longer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Dell

Was mad enough that I didn't want to buy another Dell, but the price for an Inspiron 1525 was so good ($450) at Best Buy that I couldn't pass it up.
I will never deal with the Dell help desk again.
In an attempt to salvage all of my pictures on the old hard drive, I purchased a hard drive enclosure (at Dave's suggestion). I sure hope it works. I'll let you know.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dead Dell

I bought memory upgrade cards from Dell for my Dell computer. After installing them in accordance with the directions provided, my computer failed to start up. I reinstalled the original RAM cards and tried - no good. I called the Dell technical support group in India. The guy had me disconnect everything, pull my hard drive and battery and CD-rom, then try to start it - no luck. Then he says, "I'm very sorry, your mother board needs to be replaced." My reaction was somewhat along the line of "What the *^&%$ are you talking about? My computer worked this morning before I installed the Dell RAM in my Dell computer, what are you going to do about it?". I got another "I'm very sorry" and transferred to customer service so I could return the RAM upgrade I bought. This person asked for my e-mail address - they aren't listening, my computer isn't working, having my e-mail address is useless. I asked again if they were going to do something about my ruined motherboard, he offered to connect me to the technical support folks. I explained I had just been talking with them for 45 minutes, I don't need technical support, I need a new computer and Dell should do something about it. You got it, "I'm very sorry".

So dear readers, I'm very sorry, I won't be in contact via e-mail or blog until I replace my computer. Expletive deleted.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Snowbird plans

Well, I've done it. I signed up to rent a space here: for the year starting in October. Renting by the year is much cheaper than renting by the month for anything more than five months. I'll be in space 94. Dave & Paige are in space 150.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Good-bye Don

I just learned that Don, my brother-in-law from Tularosa, NM, died this morning after spending the past few weeks in the hospital. I'm going to break a promise and tell you that he had undergone bypass surgery recently. He didn't want anyone to know. He probably thought that it was none of their damn business. Maybe it wasn't, but I think people cared for him more than he knew.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back to Day-to-Day Life

The only thing left on my calendar is to go watch Wendy participate in the Penticton Ironman on the 24th. After that, I have to make a few decisions.

Do I move over the mountains? That's where most of my friends and family live and I want to see them, but that is also home to the gray skies and traffic.

Should I buy a dish? I've learned to live without television, but sometimes...

Do I go back to Arizona for the winter? I know I want to go south and Dave & Paige will be in Apache Junction..... I've never parked the Minnie Winnie more than 4 weeks in one spot (except in front of my old house while I was waiting for the house to sell, so that doesn't count).

A real big decision will be how long do I want to continue living in the Winnie and if I want to live in a house, where?

Stayed tuned readers, watch me wrestle with myself.

For now, I'll go back outside and finish digging up that Oregon grape that Patti wants out of her yard, then get my new RAM cards for the laptop (1 gb) so I can watch videos (maybe even FAILURE - The special ordered RAM cards didn't work. They suggest I order directly from Dell. Crap.

Let me finish my coffee and ponder these earth changing subjects.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Oregon in 2,000 miles or more

My friends Rob and Steve organized a ride around Washington last year. Steve is the Road Captain, finding all of the best roads to ride on a motorcycle. Rob is our Number 2, Steve's Wingman. He makes all of the hotel reservations well in advance so we have a place to sleep. All Dave and I had to do was ride - and we had a blast.

Before the trip was finished last year, we decided to ride around Oregon this year. Sadly Dave couldn't be with us this year, so two replacements were found - Pat and Gerry. I think I can safely say a good time was had by all.

Steve, Rob, Pat and Gerry started out from Kitsap County and headed to The Dalles via Hiway 7 stopping to visit Mount St. Helens as we did last year and exploring Gifford Pinchot National Forest. I left Thorp and headed directly south via Hiway 97 and 142 thru Klickitat Canyon - another of our favorites from last year. I arrived at the Best Western in The Dalles much earlier than the rest because I didn't take any wrong turns. I did get a bad recommendation for dinner though and Rob didn't let me forget that it was my choice. At least I found the liquor store - too bad it was closed.

Day Two we headed in a roundabout fashion for La Grande via Shaniko, Antelope, Fossil, Long Creek and Ukiah. We found all of our missing shoes and a real shoe tree! Pat's bike has a name - The Leaf Blower. His Honda VTX1800 has a sewer pipe for an exhaust and he turned the tip straight down thinking the noise would be less offensive after bouncing off of the pavement. We all soon learned to not follow too close as his exhaust acted like a leaf blower, cleaning the path behind him and blowing anything in it's path in every direction.

Day Three was 370 miles of slicing and dicing thru Hell's Canyon. Steve on his Road King, Rob aboard his Aprillia and Pat were really carving the corners. I held back a bit and Gerry rode in his own comfort zone. His Honda ST1300 didn't have many miles on it when he started this ride. We joked about being "halfway" as we rode thru Halfway, but in reality we had two-thirds of the day's ride ahead of us. It was a long day and we were tired when we finally arrived in John Day for the night.

Day Four was a dash across the state to Oakridge thru Paulina and Post, where for $465,000 you can buy the town - gas station, general store, bar, post office, restaurant and residence all in one building on two acres of land. We stopped in Sisters for lunch and rode on thru Mckenzie Pass down Hiway 19 to the Best Western in Oakridge.

It rained. My sheepskin seat cover got soaked. I got no sympathy from my compadres - they had no sheepskin. Our destination is Crater Lake. One of those places you "must see" in your lifetime. We stopped in Prospect for gas and lunch. I love small town America. You can keep your Denny's and Shari's. I won't even mention those places where you talk to a clown to order your food. The road to Tiller was under repair so some tricky riding on fresh oil and gravel was required to get to Canyonville. Steve found a recommended ride from there to Powers on a Forest Service road. It's not so much of a road as it is a bike path. We needed Gerry's GPS unit just to find it. It was a slow ride and Steve kept his eyes open for oncoming traffic as he rounded the corners. Nobody offered to take the point from him. We were anxious to get to Coos Bay and breathe easy.

The ride up Hiway 101 towards Tillamook looks better than it is. Unlike Hiway 1 on the California coast, traffic is not restricted, so we fall in with trucks and motorhomes, but Steve planned ahead for this and cut away from the coast at Waldport on 34 that runs along the Alsea River. On the maps it is a twisting blue line, in reality it is a twisting yellow line. At the gas stop in Philomath, I made Pat drop his bike, but I stopped him from turning the wrong way on a one way street. He wasn't very happy with me for a while, but damage to the bike was minimal and he didn't have to dodge oncoming traffic. I think he forgave me. He led us thru Corvallis and the Oregon State campus to a nice lunch stop as he knew the area since his daughter attends school there. Steve took over after lunch and led us to Tillamook - our last night together. The Best Western is next to a Fred Meyers and we made the beer run afoot.

More rain. I was only half joking in Oakridge when I said we should go back to Eastern Oregon. I decide to sit a while in Tillamook and hope the rain stops, the others stick to the plan albeit with a later than normal start. I later learned that they missed the turn off to Neciacum junction and when they got to Hwy 26 they stopped and consulted as a group. They decided to take a more direct route home so they continued up 101 to Astoria and took 401/101/107 to Montesano then on to McLeary, Shelton and home. It was sad to see them leave without me, but damn it, I'm retired - I don't have to be anywhere bad enough to ride in the rain. A couple hours later the rain lets up and I head north on 6. It starts to rain again. It continues until I cross the coast range. I turn north thru Timber and Vernonia (Axmen country I guess - I haven't watched the tv show). My feet are soaking wet in my hot weather riding boots. I decide to stop in Seattle and visit Carolyn rather than continue to Thorp today. I even made it to Everett to visit Mom for an hour or so, then took Hiway 2 over the Cascades to Ellensburg. My bike is filthy!

Now I'm sitting warm and cozy in my little house on wheels, smiling about events of the past week and looking forward to "Spud Run '09". Will you be here Dave? I missed your dry humor (and the dry weather).