Saturday, October 30, 2010

Traveling Fool

I cannot believe how quickly this fall has gone.  I have been on the travel circuit since September.  I been to Atlanta twice, Portland, Seattle, Portland again, Coos Bay and now I'm off to Orlando and Tampa Florida.  Some flying, some driving a couple train rides and  motorcycle riding.  It's been a whirlwind trip. Here are a few shots from Seattle

Puget Sound-- Ferry to Bainbridge Island

 Safeco Field-- Mariners Baseball Game

 The other side of Pike Street Market

My room with a view! 
 The small red sign at the bottom is Pike Street Market

This will be my third trip in three years to Orlando and my first trip to Tampa.  Fortunately, I will have a weekend in between two conferences that will afford me the opportunity to explore Florida.  Do I go back to Disney World, go to Universal, rent a motorcycle or go scuba diving???

I'm hoping for some weather delays for the Space Shuttle launch.  It is scheduled to be launched Monday afternoon but a should they have a delay there is a good chance we will be able to see it from our hotel in Orlando.

If you have any thought of adventures in Florida... please let me know.

Monday, October 4, 2010

On the Road again

This year seems to be the year to travel for work.  Some years I'm lucky if I get out of the office but this year I will be lucky to see my desk.  I usually do a trip to several community colleges around the state to recruit students for OSU Extended Campus and OSU degree partnership programs.  These trips occur in January and February.  This year over the course of 5 weeks I visited 13 CC's.  This fall seems to be the time to get out of state.  So far this fall I have been to Atlanta twice during the month of September.

The first trip was for the National College Testing Association annual conference.  You might be thinking "Wow... people actually get together to talk about testing?" YUP... that is right.  It was a great conference where I had the opportunity to learn more about how to run a testing center.  I am in the process of setting up one for OSU.  The second trip was an opportunity to attend a workshop on Retaining Online Students.  Three days of intensive learning with colleagues from OSU.  During both trips I had some opportunities to explore downtown Atlanta.

Centennial Olympic Park

Back in about 1995, I received a certificate saying that I had a brick with my name on it placed at Centennial Olympic Park.  A couple of years ago a friend went looking for it but could not see it because a stage was on that section.  I had the opportunity to find it on the first trip to Atlanta 
Atlanta has a number of great sights around the downtown area including the World of Coca Cola (where you  can sample coke products from around the world) as well as see how it is made and bottled.  Of course like any other great amusement park it would not be complete without dumping you into the Coca Cola gift store!  

The Georga Aquarium and CNN Global headquarters are all located around Centennial Olympic Park.  The Georga Aquarium is the worlds largest and including several types of sharks.  

Also found a restaurant that we went back to several times during both visits to Atlanta.  If you make to the south, this place should be on your list of spots to hit.  Max Lager's Brewery and Pub is fantastic.  Be sure to try at least one of the beers and the Cheesy Grits!!! 

Atlanta is a great place to visit... I highly recommend later fall.  Much cooler and very fun.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

936 - Crater Lake... The Long Way Around

Day 1:  The Coast

936 was the number of miles for the last of the three weekend tour.  This time it was a group of 7 riders.  We met at the Philomath Hwy Safeway parking lot.  This is the start location of many group rides that I go on.  This shopping center has great options for escaping Corvallis.  After meeting everyone on the trip, Ryan and his dad Tom, Kevin and his dad John, Harry and BBall we were ready to go.

Ready to go!
We headed south on 53rd and over to Bellfountain for a quick paced warm up ride to Triangle Lake and out to the Oregon Coast.  We stopped along the way to stretch, chat for a few minutes and decide upon lunch.  We opted to Old Town Florence and a Mexican cafe - Diner on the bayfront.  After a nice lunch we headed south on 101.  The sun was shining and it was warm.  This is significant because as we headed south the winds picked up and it slowly got colder.  By the time we got to Coos Bay, it was time for a break and coffee to warm up.  We geared up with our cold weather gear and headed out again.  After heading out of Coos Bay, Ryan was in the lead with BBall in second, Harry in third and I was in forth. A brown object flew out of BBalls pocket and landed across the road.  Harry and I were quick to pull over and turn around as Kevin, John and Tom heading on by.  Harry pulled off and I turned around and headed down the road to slow down traffic as Harry picked up the contents of BBalls wallet.  The group stopped in Bandon to wait for us and it wasn't until I pulled up next to BBall that he realized that his wallet was missing.  With all person belongings in hand we headed on down the coast.

Kevin on the Klamath
Again the further south we headed, the colder it got.  Before we got to Gold Beach the fog started to roll in. We stopped in Gold Beach for a bathroom break and to fill up the tanks.   While taking the restroom break, two bikes pulled up with BC plates.  They were headed north on 101 and had come from Las Angeles.  They were on a two week vacation and needed to be back in Vancouver by Sunday.  They told us of construction coming up as well as the fog that we would be seeing all the way through the Redwoods.  I'm so glad that I packed the new Columbia Sportswear jacket with the neoprene collar and cuffs.  This was great for cutting the wind.  I wore it under my perforated leather jacket.  We headed south again with Ryan in the lead and I was in second.  We got separated from the group by some opportunity passing, we did pass a couple of LEOs with no problems.  Now it was reported that the others had the LEOs lights turned on for them.  What's up with that???

We made it over the California boarder and stopped at the Ship Ashore motel.  A fine low budget establishment across from the Indian Casino with a nice restaurant, bar and karaoke on Friday nights.
BBall and I headed over to the bar for beverages while the rest did a little pre-functioning in the room.  We were already relaxing in the bar at the table of honor right next to the stage.  Dinner was excellent and the entertainment was small town spectacular or at least a spectacle.  The music wasn't bad, you just needed to close your eyes and not look at the stage.   Ryan finally got up and sang a little Billy Joel song and knocked the socks of the crowd.  They will be talking about Ryan for years to come.  We then had a group sing along with the song Proud to Be An American and the waving of American Flags. This small community worked hard to remember their veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  After a long day it was time for sleep!
Breakfast at the Klamath River Cafe

Day 2 - Redwoods to Medford
Which way do we go??? After leaving the Ship Wreck Motel... we headed south down 101 through Crescent City and into the Redwoods... It was sunny, it was foggy, it was so thick I could not see the bike in front of me.  YIKES.  We met up with Tom and John's brother for breakfast.  I guess I should say that Ken met up and blew past us on his Husky 610.  We had a great breakfast and headed south again deep into the Redwoods.  Those are amazing big trees!

John on the Klamath Hwy
We headed south again on 101 to Arcata and the plan was to head East on Hwy 299.  Somehow the directions got confused and a one hour later and a couple turn around's and we were now in two groups headed east for some warmth... Warmth we found. The temp went from the low 50s up to 95 in about 35 miles.  We met a nice guy on a FJR1300 who gave us the suggestion of taking Hwy 96 from Willow Creek to Yreka.  That is one of the most amazing roads I have ever ridden.  One hundred fifty miles of great pavement, tight twisties following the Klamath river.  The further east we went the warmer it got.  At one point we stopped at a campground and drenched ourselves in the faucet.  By the time we made it to Yreka we were spent and our energy levels were low... not to mention the level of our fuel tanks.  We decided to head up I-5 to Medford and a hotel with a pool to relax.

Day 3 - Medford to Corvallis (Via Crater Lake)
Rest Stop in Prospect
Started with a continental breakfast complements of the Ramada Hotel in Medford.  We headed out looking to avoid Hwy 62 to crater lake so we stuck to county and forest service roads that ran back and forth across the Rogue river valley.  We found a great road through Gold Hill, Shady Cove, Pilot Butte, and Prospect before heading into Crater Lake National Park.  By the time we reached the park it was time for lunch.  We relaxed at the restaurant near the south entrance and then headed into the park.  Having been warned about the park rangers from other riders we took it nice and slow.  At least Ryan and I did.  We didn't have any problems with the rangers but the other group had the park rangers red and blue lights on to remind them to keep the speed down.  We enjoyed a nice ride around the park rim and then headed down the mountain towards Roseburg.
Crater Lake

Cooling off in the North Umpqua.
It was hot... really hot... and we had it.  We stopped along the river and jumped in.  Some people took their gear off.  I chose not to.  While the Vanson Jacket came off, I kept the hydro vest, leather pants and boots stayed on.  The river was cold but felt great.  The wet leather kept me cool the rest of the trip home.

Close call with two deer and an old junker car.
We took a side road from Glide to I-5.  A very fun road but we had two close calls, Kevin had two of my favorite road animals try to take him off of his motorcycle and I had a scare with a overshot corner and a junker car coming down a steep hill with no guard rails. This was when I realized it was time for a break and I was ready for some straight roads to get home.  We headed up I-5, got separated in Eugene and headed home.

Seven departed, seven returned, no scratches, no road trophies, and miles of fun.  A great end to 2145.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

445 -Bare Naked Ladies, 90 Years Old and a Dentist

445 Yup... that is the number of miles for weekend number two of the trip around the state. I returned to Bend with several friends heading to the Blogger meet up... that was their excuse! I was in search of Bare Naked Ladies. They were found at the Les Schwab Amphitheater(LSA) in Bend on a warm July evening in Bend.

First let me say that there is not a bad seat in the LSA. The LSA is set in the center of Bend next to the Deschutes River across from the Mill District shopping area. I went with one of my best friends Andra from College who also shares a love for this crazy band from the great country to the north. We opted for the reserved seats and were not disappointed. We were center stage seventh row... with no one sitting in front of us. The concert was amazing to say the least. The crowd was a little mellow until the sang "If I Had a Million Dollars". Then everyone was up dancing to the music.

After the concert I spent the evening at Andra's sisters house and headed off to Portland early Sunday Morning. I had a party to get to!!!

My aunt Julie turned 90 and it was a full family reunion for the event. I was great to spent three hours riding from Bend to Portland with all the riders leaving the BMW rally, then to see all my cousins that I haven't seen in years. A big part of the reunion was seeing the reaction to the changes that I have experienced in the last year. I have lost 120 pounds and several of my cousins did not even recognize me. A great time was had by all!

Monday was my bi-annual trip to the dentist. My friends in Corvallis give me a bad time because I go to the Dentist in Portland. I feel that when you find someone who is good and treats you with respect that you should continue to give them business. My dentist took care of me during undergrad and graduate school and made sure I had clean teeth even without insurance. I feel the least I can do is continue to see him as long as he takes care of me. Another check-up! No cavities!!!

I then headed back to Corvallis/Philomath via Hwy 219 west of Portland, down Hwy 99W and the Kings Valley Hwy. All and all, another great weekend.

Next up... the Numb Butt Tour 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Wow!!! 2145! That is the number of miles I have ridden in the last three weekends. This does not count to and from work on a daily basis. These are the weekend trips the last three weekends.

765-- That was the first trip for work. I had a meeting and doctors appointment in Portland three weeks ago. I also forgot my wallet in Philomath so I had to make a return trip home before heading to the Bend/Redmond area for the first of two Yellow Ribbon Veterans Education and Employment Fairs that I attended the weekend of July 10. The trip to Bend and some eventful moments... like the summer snow storm of bugs while riding along the river in the early evening between Sweet Home and the top of the Cascades on Hwy 20.

I stayed at a great new hotel in Bend; The Oxford Hotel. I highly recommend it. It was a great stay and I only wish I could have spent more time at the hotel. I arrived at 10:30pm and had to leave the next morning by 7:30am to be at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds. The fair went from 9am - 3pm and then I headed south and west to Medford for the next fair.

I rode down hwy 97 towards Crater Lake, bypassed going into the National Park and headed for Medford. I arrived in Medford around 6:30pm. After getting settled into my normal hotel (the Holiday Inn Express) I went out to find the Central Point High School and the location of the next Yellow Ribbon Vet Fair. Did I mention that it was a really warm weekend? In the 90's in Portand, Bend and Medford. It is amazing how quickly one can become dehydrated. Note to self, drink more water!!!

The Vet Fair in Medford was interesting to say the least... Nothing like hanging out in a very hot gym for 6 hours. The big questions of the day were.. Why did a building contractor had three huge bags of ground coffee on their table? They had no clue as well. So we spent the day making up stories about the coffee. The best quote coming from the Subway Sandwich Table next to the OSU table... "I definitely have sandwich experience!".

I also had the opportunity to meet Senator Ron Wyden. He came up to our table to thank us for for attending the fair. It was nice of him to acknowledge that people came a long way for the fairs and we (OSU) were one of the only two state universities that were in attendance.

The return home to Philomath was uneventful and it was nice to be back at home... More to come...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Which Way to Go?

That is the decision I make every day when I leave home. Is it the highway or the back road? Do I go over the hill and try to cross traffic or take the longer route and take a right around. Do I turn left and deal with the in-town traffic. It usually comes down to how many times I hit the snooze button. Heading to work is always a series of decisions for the shortest amount of time to get to work.

Heading home is always different. Depending upon when I leave I can alway make the 7 mile trip home take more than 7 miles. Sometimes it's to pick up a half gallon of milk in Harrisburg. Fill up the gas tank in Albany or Junction City. Sometimes it just doing the Kings Valley tour before heading home. Somehow it always takes longer on the motorcycle.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why IRO?

For many years I have expressed my opinion and have referred to it as IRO. Always included in that was the double wide (quotations signified by the index and middle finger making a quote marks motion).

Not that anyone was really listening but sometimes my opinion and ideas would be taken and shown the light of day. Many times with positive results. In this blog, I will share my observations, trips, trials and occasional opinions with anyone who cares to read. Watch here for updates and enjoy!