Monday, June 26, 2017

Sea food... eat food!







How pretty is this?


My eldest niece Liz, has left for home in Alberta after a two week visit to the east coast.  She was last here for barely a stopover while in her teens.  A return visit was long overdue.

Obligatory Bridge shot


Even though the Maritimes is small and PEI even smaller, two weeks is barely enough time to get over the jet lag.  Work and other obligations kept her stay short.

More seafood.

Number one on her agenda (besides seeing family of course, I think) was to gobble up as much  variety and amount of sea food as she could lay her lips on.





We're not talking Captain Highliner here folks, nope this had to be the real McCoy, the genuine article, in the flesh scallops, clams, mussels and of course Lobster.  Now I just want to say one thing about lobster and if you're in the biz, no offense intended.  Lobster is to sea food as Harley Davidson was to motorcycles.  There was a time when these odd crustaceans were used as fertilizer.  Cod, Haddock and other fish species were the catch, but of course over fishing pretty much did all that industry in.



Even more Sea food!


Using cunning and stealth, somehow, the unworthy overlooked bottom dwelling lobster became the hot ticket on restaurant menu's everywhere.

Rocky and Bullwinkle?!

It's not unusual to walk into a mid level eatery and pay a kings ransom for a lobster plate.  How did that happen? Look at HD.  Run into the ground or at the very least, poorly managed by AMF, near bankruptcy, unreliable, imagine poor HD, has become... through slick advertising, capitalizing on the "Bad Ass MF H-A" image, into one of the most recognizable brands in the world.  I'd venture to say right up there with giants Coca Cola, John Deere and Mercedes Benz among others.  Let's face it, lobster became in the 90's what HD had become.

Anyway... back to the 'kid's' visit.  Barely had she dropped her back pack when we were off to New Brunswick to visit Lisa, Rick and of course William.

Between tides at Alma NB
Already learning to drive...


I had thought of us riding two bikes but in her own words, "my legs are too dam short" for the bikes I have.  I could have ridden over with her as pillion but driving the R/T allowed us to gab and catch up on things.

We took the scenic route through Moncton, Riverview and with stops at Hopewell Rocks*, Alma, Norton and Hampton, we arrived duly at 7 in the evening at Rothesay NB.

NB Well known for covered bridges.


Once returned home to the Island the real sea food experience began.

High tide, much more interesting at low tide


I won't say Liz single hand idly endanger the lobster stocks but I'm sure the little beggars are glad shes moved on.

It was a good visit.  We didn't sit around much and if she ever comes back again, we'll en-devour to travel a bit farther afield to view some of the hundreds years old history the Maritimes are.

And she thought Jonny Deep (:) was going to save her...


* Try and arrive at low tide, much more interesting and with the ability to meander on the floor of the ocean being a real treat.

How many people want to do this, wander a cool sandy beach all to oneself.












Saturday, June 17, 2017

Moving into riding season, inch by inch.

Overlooking the Okanagan Valley 2015
Ahhh, she's aging but still B E A U T I F U L !
BIG PLANS require BIG THINKING!     

Of course any plan can be shut down cold by the unexpected, ummm, like cold. For example, the spring was looking good but then lately, in June, we began moving into summer at a snails pace.

Disregarding for a moment the responsibilities we have as human, like work or money or family commitments, coupled up with inclement weather and presto, that well thought out good idea, goes up in smoke!

Can't alter the weather (well in a good way) we just give into Mother Nature sometimes and move on.

Shore is purty!

I've had my T Bird out a couple of cool rides, my Citi 300, which actually has pretty decent weather protection for legs arms face and hands, and my XT's which in reality, I ride mostly in country lanes or trails, where weather doesn't affect one as much. 

Cool day at the beach.

We've seen 28C a couple of times and in fact maybe 10 days above 20C... which truthfully "ain't bad"... but it's been inconsistent and rarely falls on the days you don't have an overgrown lawn to cut or people aren't moving in and out of your apartment, or visitors.

Brenda is shrinking year by year...


I had hoped that by now I'd have had several rides under my Prexports, but nope... once again playing catch up.

LS 650 Savage


I've have my eldest niece, who's old Savage I borrowed two years ago to ride back in my home turf * western Canada  visiting for a couple of weeks and because her legs are "too dam short" in her words, she doesn't fit any of the bikes I have licensed, so it's been travel by 4 wheels not two, as of late.  At least its been warmer and of course given us a chance to yak side by side.

Feeding the local wildlife.

Speaking of Liz, she's wolfed down whatever seafood came across her bows, scallops, clams, mussels, and of course, lobsters in a fashion that would make a whale shark gasp!

Never the less, I am still moving ahead (crawling) into summer 2017 with high hopes. 

I have 5 street legal bikes in my garage and I do plan to ride them all...

Cheers!

* Home is where you hang your helmet







Sunday, June 4, 2017

Spring has sprung!



... or has it?

MY point in traveling to Arizona in the spring for 2017, was to "test" the waters so to speak. 

When I was a financial advisor most of my work took place during the year end/rrsp season/tax deadline, which meant I didn't have the luxury of staying the winter in true snowbird fashion. Living in Calgary I often drove the Blazer south late in November or December sometimes clutching the wheel with arms and teeth clenched. 

Where would PEI be without Anne...?


I 15, up and down through the Rockies could be hazardous to one's health early in December!

Seeing as how I am now (sort of ) retired, I thought "why don't I just fly down in late March" and stay awhile, you know... it's warmer than December, most of the blizzards that hit the Island in the wintertime are done by mid March (I said most) and I could get my riding muscles that get lazy in the CDN winter, a chance to get honed while riding some spectacular scenery.

Great idea right!  Well of course who could have foreseen my place flooding out from a broken toilet tank...

Murphy... maybe?

While I am still dealing with that, hopefully getting closer finding out I have limits on my policy, I returned to Canada exasperated and frustrated and with weak muscles.  People say 'go to the gym...'  Problem with that is then you develop, 'going to the gym' muscles not 'riding in the desert' muscles!

Lobster season is underway, bet the little green guys are thrilled about that!

True to form, the spring has been slow to start between fits and spurts, and I haven't ridden a whole lot.  Even today it's only showing 6C and of course windy and with scattered rain. 

People ask me what it's like to be 'retired'... I answer 'I'll let you know when that happens.'

I've been getting the Prowler ready for summer, I often sleep out there during the warmer months, plus I am waiting for company, my eldest niece is arriving for a couple of well deserved holiday weeks. 

Gentile hills lots of red roads and green as the Irish.


I have however been out on the two XT's, my 1990 600 and my '92 225.  They are about perfect for the roads which this time of year resemble if not a MX track, but certainly a TT.

I was sitting on some sports bikes this week, including a used VFR, FZ6 and a Ninja 300 and as much as I like those bikes, the ideal motorcycle for traveling bumpy PEI roads is still a larger dual purpose bike.  You can corner like a Ninja and still take that left turn at Cap Pele to see where that trail goes...



Someone asked me this past week which of my bikes I would keep till last, if I had to sell them off?

 At this stage of my life having brought with me those bikes that had significance for sentimental reasons (the Thunder Bolt, Serow or Passport) or simply because they filled a purpose (the TTR's and the TY) I would still keep the big blue XT 600.  That bike and I have covered everything from paved TC highway, Baja, Cape Breton from Calgary... to a Rocky Mountain enduro race course (but only a single lap)

With slightly taller gearing and grunt from the SOHC 4 valve engine it will cruise at legal speeds but is still light enough so I can manage to toss her about in a trail when needed.

This time of year when roads are gravel covered, back roads are still drying out and the aforementioned pot holes are deep and plentiful, it's still my  ideal machine.

MY most favorite???  Maybe, certainly the most practical.


The weather has been sporadic, nice on those days I am doing repair work at the apartment building or servicing the lawn mower, and crappy when I have a day off.  Speaking of which I was in Canadian Tire and asked my long time buddy Louis if he had anything for me full time, when quizzed why I wanted to go back to work (which I don't) I replied that working full time would mean having time off!

Unlike my Banana belt pal Ronnie... living out in BC which I hear hasn't had great weather either I am putting miles on in hundreds not thousands.  Like I say to him... it's all in the Smiles per Gallon that really counts.

In the meanwhile, I am doing laundry, getting the pink stuff out of the trailer tank and keeping the cat fights to a minimum.  Speaking of that... Coco has done well in her transplant and is fitting in very nicely...






Friday, May 26, 2017

Kicked in the gonads!




IT's true. You don't have to be a 'male' to get that feeling.

I had really good intentions of heading south for some weeks and get some early season riding in.

We do have incredible sand beaches on the Island

Well as you know, that didn't happen.  The attending frustrations with how things have been unfolding have taken their toll on me in a sense of loss and of course the stress involved with dealing with insurance (which is always such a treat) and ultimately the lack of riding time, of which this spring trip added up to ZERO.

Sure I got to ride my scooter, but then again it is really my only means of transportation while I am down there.

The XT 350 is my Arizona  ADVENTURE BIKE,  and the sum of Adventure miles in the spring of 17... Nada, like I said, Zero.

That feels like the aforementioned feeling.


Of course the Island is really nothing more than a giant sand bar!



















I have a very ambitious riding season planned and the early start would have given my riding muscles some much needed post winter exercise.  That will have to wait now.


This is the kind of place XT Yamaha's thrive.





AS compensation, I did talk Brenda into a beach walk a few miles from our home on PEI.  It was a cool windy day but we did find some sought after 'sea glass' which to me is about as interesting as a snail crossing the beach.

However to her, finding these remnants of beer bottles is akin to finding Spanish gold off the coast of Florida!



I did however do a little riding since my return, mostly known back lanes and unpaved roads beginning with the hill just behind our home.  Some still with dirty red snow.

AS you can see my XT 600, which I affectionately call, Big Blue... is lookin' good and working very well.  Some times I am asked which bike I would sell last if I was forced to do, to eat.  

This would very likely be it.  She has taken me (and her sister XT) to a 6000 km ride from AZ to Baja and back.


Pretty as a picture!  Local trout stream.

She (and her sister) made the trek from Calgary to the east coast in my pick-up, and from here ridden the Cabot Trail.  Blue and I will spend more time on the road (and trail) this upcoming summer than perhaps at any time since we moved to the Island.

Last years overnight trek with Trev and his KLR were only a warm  up ride!


Hard to believe this bike was built in model year 1990!

Friday, May 5, 2017

YaHoo!



Sure... it was only an hour and 17 minutes, but it was sunny, reasonably warm, and I was out on my Serow!

Finally rebuilt my S/M deck
After a disappointing 5 weeks spent in a hotel room in Phx AZ, unable to ride my 350 because my residence was in a flooded shambles, I finished my chores for the day early yesterday and with late afternoon sun blazing like it was happy to be alive and full of energy, I was fired up.

I started up the hill from my place in Spring Valley, it's a steep climb and this time of year, rutted and muddy in places. Riding the entire 2.7 km standing up, I realize again how out of shape I am.  For anyone not familiar with off road riding, you have greater control standing on the pegs, using your legs as suspension.

Always something to do around the homestead...


I'd had plenty of experience with such things having ridden MX, trials and trails in my career.  After a winter lay off even with the snow clearing I do, those muscles we use for riding are still in hibernation.  Each and every year I begin the season slowly, building up stiff muscles.  During May I will spend much of my riding time in shorter hops, walking and practicing my rusty skills.

Lobster season is underway, this in the small port of French River


One of my favorite back roads, almost blocked by a fallen tree
Nevertheless, I was whooping in my helmet, blue sky meeting blue ocean at Sea View and generally behaving like a lunatic happy once again to be on two wheels and twisting the throttle. 

There is no need to describe to motorcyclists this feeling of joy, freedom and euphoria you get especially that first ride of the year. It's like the old saying; " if I gotta explain it to you..."


I have plenty of plans this season.  Even being retired, I have lots to do, in fact I have been thinking as of late that I would actually like to be retired!  I'd like to kick back, watch some documentaries on Netflix, ride my bikes, do a little fun wrenching and generally fill my hours with those things that don't require a lot of gray cell matter, and perhaps even the odd cold brewsky! 

With Lisa, Rick and baby William now living nearby, I have made a vow that I would go over once a month for a couple of days (don't want to wear out my welcome) and ride a different street legal bike each time.  I currently have 5 bikes licensed for the road and each of those is capable of doing the trip. 

If I wanted to get there in the shortest time, it's T Bird or V Strom and the highway.  If I feel like a slower pace, I can take my Citicom and the old highway, which is always more infinitely intriguing.  If I was interested in the hillbilly roads, I could take my Serow or XT 600 and turn it into an all day ride either way!

Tributary into Long River


I'd like to ride the entire coast of N.S. this year.  That's something I never did when I operated my Freedom Cycle business back in the 80's.

One of the big attractions for moving back to the Maritimes was in exploring the local history.  Okay it's not Spain or Austria or Italy but compared to Alberta, there are several hundred years worth for me to visit. From my home on the Island I am no more that 6 hours by main drag from the farthest point on the map!

So, if you don't hear much from me over the next 6 months, don't worry... I'll be out riding!


The Bald Eagles are back!










Friday, April 21, 2017

Ho Hum

Home Sweet Home ?

Picture me yawning.

Boring picture isn't it.

So I've been coming to Arizona for many years.  I love the climate, the topography, the people are nice, any store we have in Canada, there are a dozen of, all those fast food places we see but don't have, they're here aplenty. 

If you are a motorcyclist, there are well paved Interstates, twisting mountain back roads, dirt trails galore. 

Before...


Arizona of course is famous the world over for it's unique sights like the Grand Canyon, a half mile wide meteor impact crater, the PIMA air museum and let's not forget the shoot out at the Okay corral in Tombstone!

I come here because I love exploring back trails on my dual purpose bike, taking breathtaking photographs, rubbing up against Saguaro cacti (just kidding) and watching jack rabbits, coyotes and road runners doing their thing.

Living on the east coast now, as opposed to Alberta, poses it's own difficulties getting here as in time and expense but I continue to make the trek annually.

This is the first time I've come in the spring.  The temperature is warming up as opposed to cooling off in December,  and I hoped I could get an early start to riding in our CDN spring.

After.

Of course if you are reading this blog, you'll know that I've been living in a hotel due to an unexpected flood in my townhouse the day before I arrived.  To top that I made arrangements to bring back with me Coco the cat, that I found living under a tarp on my patio when I arrived last fall.  Unable to bring her back last December given the restrictions on pet travel at that time of year, my neighbor Judy found a home for here with family.

Unfortunately she wasn't getting along there and I took the step to bring her home with me this trip.

Well it's nearing the end of April, I began packing my meager possessions and will be returning to the Island next week.

I have no new stories of riding in the Bradshaw's, having a sandwich overlooking a dry wash canyon, or listening to, well nothing...

About the most interesting thing about this trip (apart from the ceiling coming down onto my couch!) was the dish washing detergent. 

Yes that's right.  Shortly after I arrived I tried some of the complimentary items in the room.  I will admit it was dark and the packaging looked attractive but it wasn't till I had the tablet in my hand before I realized that... this wasn't edible!

All right, I admit, riding the Apache Trail or the Mogollon Rim or drooling over vintage aircraft, or ogling cliff dwellings are a whole lot more interesting than nibbling a dishwasher tablet, but like life.  You win some you lose some.

At least I'm 6 weeks closer to riding back home and I plan to take advantage doing that this year.






Heading home!





Saturday, April 8, 2017

MisAdventure times 10


OKAY... perhaps not since Ciudad Constitucion,

Baja Sur and waking up unknown to us, at what amounted to a Motel of Sin, have I had such a misadventure as I am having right now.

Down to the bones!


This is the first spring visit I have had to Phx and so far it hasn't gone well.  Let me explain, the weather is most exellent, my XT is running well and I feel pretty good physically.  I decided that I would get a jump on the summer riding season by coming south and doing some riding.

home... for this trip.

That was a very good idea until 36 hours prior to leaving home, when I found that my place flooded and as a result I'm technically homeless.  Sure Coco and I have a nice hotel room, the weather is fine but my stuff, my life down here is packed in boxes and locked in a storage container!  I was able to grab a couple of pairs of pants, shorts and T shirts, but my helmet, Baja MUV, and ICON boots are MIA for the most part.  I mean I do have a helmet and I do have my scooter but until I can have a home with the shelves and drawers stocked and access to my life... I have to be patient as the rebuilding process takes it's course. 

Once I found out that I'd been inundated and everything was pretty much soaked and water logged, I've had to trust other people to help me out of this jam.

Normally I am a patient man and for the most part the company I'd hired prior to leaving, have been exemplary in their efforts to get me back on track. 

On the other hand, as instructed I'd begun a claim with Allstate my insurer.  You know, the Good Hands People.  Well in my only experience with actually needing homeowners insurance I have been ahem... less than impressed.  Lots of apologies for my predicament, I have had less luck with communication and action.  It's like pulling teeth!  Once again I see an insurance company dragging their feet and leaving the insured (that would me myself) in the dark, while maneuvering to mitigating their exposure and as I have heard many times in my life, they don't seem to appreciate that this is my 'holiday' and I am on a limited time frame.  Trying to get them to understand my dilemma, seems like making a jump to the planet Jupiter... with a rowboat!

Three weeks have gone by and for the last third of that time, NOTHING has been done to my southern home.  Both I and the construction company are sitting twiddling thumbs while the powers that be, this gargantuan company, effectively leaves me out in the cold.

Much of my stuff is heading to the dumpster!


It seems there is nothing I can do to have them understand I am leaving shortly, a fact known to them from the beginning of these proceedings... so I sit in my room while my vacation runs down.

Like many things in life, this is one of those that leave me with a sour taste and feelings of being unable to effect the outcome in a positive manner.

Coco and I wait...