Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Here I sit broken hearted...

WHAT an ordeal this mess with my Phx home has been.  I can't begin to explain the frustrations, false starts, various people I have dealt with, explaining over and over, costs associated, and 10 months later... I still don't have a home to live in.

I'm a very patient guy, ask anyone that knows me.  I was a patient machinist apprentice in my younger days, a patient Chief Instructor for the Canada Safety Council operating the National Motorcycle Training program, had not only my own MC shop but ultimately three outlets.  Patient with a former wife that was serially promiscuous, money problems at times and of course... patient as a father to two now in their mid 30's daughters.

I miss this.  Prepped and ready for a day of adventure.

Patience could be my middle name!

This ordeal with my Southern home has beat me up more than riding two hundred laps on a MX track!

I do my best to stay on an even keel regardless of the obstacles life puts into my path.  Today, as I sit in my Phx hotel room wondering if there will be any progress on my home, I watch tv, feed the local feral cats and hope that before I head home I can leave on an up note.

ON another note... it's a very nice December day, temperature will be in the mid 20's (70's F) and I'll soon pop out on my scooter and have a visit with my stalwart friend, Judy.  I'll be stopping off somewhere for my 'healthy' fast food outlet dinner.  This isn't is bad as it sounds.  Here in the US of A the choices for fast food are infinite. Back home especially on the Island, there are a few of the typical places.  Burgers, coffee shops, but it is a small Island.  Choices are limited. 

From my hotel door to my home and back is a distance of maybe 9 miles round trip.  I wouldn't be fibbing if I guesstimated perhaps 200 eating places within that radius. There's McD's, Burger Kings, Subway's, of course, then the waffle places, the taco places, the pancake places, the Sushi places, the coffee places. 

Besides that, there are hundreds of independent restaurants. Lots of  Mexican, Italian, Greek, and then there's the Golden Corral!

I feel like I'm putting on weight!  It's not so much the burgers and tacos and pop... none of which help but I come down south so I can ride my XT!  How can riding a MC be an exercise you ask, after all there isn't much exercise riding your Fat Boy to the Bar and Grill.  For decades I have ridden off road ans I still enjoy it. 

On a typical day I'll fuel up in Phx then head out of town.  Maybe to the Castle Hot Springs road, maybe Crown King or the New River canyon.  I could be riding up the Senator highway to Prescott. On these trips I am standing on the foot pegs more much of the day.  Twisting, dodging dry washes, sand, rocks, climbing, descending thousands of feet.

By the time I am heading 'home' I may have covered a 100-150 miles without seeing another human being, up and over mountains, deep in valleys, and when the 350 engine stops... I am exhausted mentally and physically.  That, to me is the best exercize I do.  Sure walking to Irishtown road with my wife is good exercise but there is nothing that I do that works my body (and mind) more than riding a trail bike.

Beautiful scenery


Sitting here in the hotel, is not doing me any good.

I'm heading home in a week. 

At some point the repairs on my place will be completed and I can put this years ordeal behind me.

All my possessions in the POD

I'll get back to eating normally and during the winter I'll be getting exercise clearing snow, keeping vehicles running, perhaps walking the track at C.O.P. and using the staircase (the real stair-master)  to keep in shape. 

At least I can do a little cooking at my hotel.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


The John
It's a deep subject... "  

As the old joke goes.

Here I sit, in my one bedroom suite at a Marriott in Phoenix Arizona.  It's a beautiful sunny day, temperature in the high 80's. Just past noon, I'm thinking of heading out on my trusty Sun L scooter for a bite to eat at a local joint.  I have a choice of dozens of fast food vendors within 5 miles and of course I have a fridge and stove so I can make something on my own.  Since I finished my left-overs last night from the day before I don't really feel like cooking today. 

The kitchen
Thanksgiving Thursday, I met Jude and her Mum at the Golden Corral and even though it was packed, it was well organized and we got in with only a 15 minute wait.  I was quite proud of myself for keeping the meal to a single plate although I admit I had a healthy sampling of desserts!  Seems to me I am getting little in the way of exercise except for the walk around the complex during the early evening, looking for feral cats to feed.  Last spring there were dozens but so far I have only spotted two and one of those only a couple of times, it's a puzzle.

When I go I'm prepared!
The progress rebuilding my home I wrote about last blog has slowed considerably and I am discouraged.  It is pretty clear to my eyes that repairs won't be completed prior to my having to depart on the return leg of this trip.  What that is going to mean and how it washes out, I don't know.  I'm beginning to think I will have to make a third trip back with my ordeal now stretching into it's 10th month.  To make matters worse, I have not ridden my XT 350 since this time last year.  In short I bought the place here in order to ride in different terrain and longer into the year.  I've had some excellent riding over the years but with this dilemma, that stopped dead last year.

My entire Phx life is in here!
I tried to find some riding gear in the POD but it's so jammed full, I have no idea where my gear may be.  I have a pair of jeans or two, some slip on canvas shoes and a helmet.  Nothing else.  When I ride in isolated locales like Baja Mexico or the US SW, I go prepared.  I take food, water, clothing for layering an air pump and even leave a hand sketched map for Judy.  This way if I run into some unplanned calamity at least she knows where to send SAR help! 

Looks like the new skins will have to wait until next year.
Much as I would love to get away from my current circumstances, I have to be patient and deal with the reality of my situation.  My patience after 10 months is running ragged.

So... I guess I'd better get my jeans on, grab my helmet and  find something to eat. 

Even the ever helpful Boo is wondering what's going on

This is why I love trail riding down here!!

I "ain't" getting any younger...

Monday, November 13, 2017

P is for Progress!

IT'S a shame that I am in Phx where the days are warm and sunny while the nights are warm and  sultry... and I am confined to the local area.  After the initial shock of seeing my two batteries on the charger but the charger breaker off (along with the rest) I had the two topped up by the following day.  I was having visions of having to buy new batteries again, but fortunately dodged that bullet.

My kitchen

I have virtually no clothes, no socks and no riding gear save for a helmet and gloves (which I bought last spring).  The POD is still where it was 9 months ago and it's still locked. 

I just came from 'home' to see that Robert and Phillip are doing well on the initial painting and assorted work.  He tells me there will be a different crew here tomorrow painting the accent colors.  That sounded a mite odd, but hey... I'm just glad to see some Progress!

Living room and entry

The two of them worked through the weekend (Memorial Day here in the US) when I thought we would certainly take this weekend off.  Well I did anyway.  Watched some war movies and documentaries related to that history.  This is after all Arizona and the battleship by that name was one of 6 sunk during the attack by Japanese forces December 7th 1941 at Pearl Harbor.  My local library has a small memorial plaque in its yard.

Coco last spring before our departure to Canada

Fuel is still quite inexpensive at a common $2.25-2.35 per US gallon.  A single one of those will give me a typical scooter range of 85 miles.  It would probably improve if I had a bit more horsepower but the 150cc fan cooled Adventure is less than 10 bhp.  I don't have any problems around city streets and have even taken two day long trips on her.  One was across the cities to Apache Junction a few years back and last year I took little used paved country roads to roll on 180 miles via Wickenburg. My Citicom with 21 hp would be quite useful down here but hey... the Chaun-L is light, reliable and has enough room for 3-4 bags of groceries.  In other words, she's been my mule for almost 10 years.

Got sorted with my PC roaming this morning so that should give me more flexibility using my cell.  Hopefully I will meet again with Robert the PM on my digs and we can get on with my choosing material and fixtures.  Ultimately I would relly love to be able to spend as much time s possible in my own place than this Marriott hotel, the same place I stayed last year except for not having the companionship of Coco, who I am missing a lot.  Nevertheless, I am glad she is there in her new home and not here in this hotel room.

Boo, has her own keys to my digs...

Hey... maybe things will come together and I can squeeze in a ride.  Ever since getting stalled out lost looking for the Old Stagecoach rd this time last year, I would like to tackle it again and complete the loop.

Well TTFN as they say!

Just another beautiful sunny Arizona day!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Long and Winding road.

This... is my kitchen!

Sometimes the toughest roads are not roads at all.

No quoting of Forrest Gump allowed here, but indeed this last few months, my southern home has caused me a great deal of grief.  Having moved across the country lessened my time down there and this year especially, I've not been able to take advantage of riding my XT over mountains and through dry washes.  With the calamity that befell my place and the subsequent dilemma of having it repaired, have seemed like two trips, a year in fact, wasted.

I'm heading down next week and although re-construction has begun with a new project manager, me thinks I will be spending most if not all this trip, sitting idle in a hotel room... again.  This entire episode of my life I will chalk up to experience and not one I'd wish to repeat.

I bought my US home while I still lived out west.  From Calgary it was a short flight.  I would board the plane at 6 am and by noon I was parking my scooter at the grocery store.  Even when I drove I-15 and I did Love driving it, there was much to see once south of Great Falls. I enjoyed the couple of nights I'd spend in a Motel usually around Dillon, MT then again in Nephi, Utah, anticipating my visit and where the next one would take me.

Having moved to the east coast limits my time to a few short weeks each year.  Not that I couldn't stay longer but even at this point in my life, I still have obligations and duties to face up to.

I fly now, driving is too time consuming, and as such... I sneak in a few weeks between seasons hoping that it doesn't snow 'back home' while I am away.  Although the weather has been beautiful and even today I am looking out on blue skies and fine temperatures, this is Canada and we live in a land of four seasons.

How much longer I can do this... that is unknown.  With Lisa and family living within an afternoon's drive, I will no doubt be spending more of my time with her and the family.  Holly and Kev on the other hand, have moved from Calgary to Seattle to work and recently bought a house.  I suspect that my efforts and time will shift north from Phx.

In any case, it's the end of October, I've ridden most of my bikes in recent weeks and now its time to pack them up once again and get the snowblower and blade equipped Big Bear ATV ready for what's coming.  It's a lot of work to keep vehicles in prime shape and if I don't put the effort in, pretty soon rust intrudes, paint fades, mechanical parts cease to work.  Hmmm, sounds a lot like my body!

Today I dealt with the remaining batteries which even with a great deal of care, in Trevor's own words, "they knew how to put men on the moon but can't make a M/C battery last two years"!

On the plus side I was doing some shopping the other day and got talking to a staff member who noticing my gear, asked me what I was riding.  We came outside after paying my bill and he admired my XT 600, Big Blue.  He plumb near fell over when I answered his question as what model year it was, stating it was a 1990.  If your math is bad, that makes this bike 28 years old.  In fact my DT 50 L/C is even older at 29 and my XT 225 isn't far off being a '92 model I've owned since new.

1989 DT 50 L/C

1990 XT 600E

1992 XT 225 Serow

1998 XT 350

1982 FT 500
1996 F 150 4X4 Supercab

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tis the season!

It's fall on the Island

NO... I don't mean Christmas, that thankfully, is a ways off yet.  I mean it's the time of year when I'm switching over into 'winter' mode.  I have 3 weeks to GET the Blazer and Ford re sprayed with rust proofing, some mechanical work done on the Chevy, and swapping summer rims and tires for winter's on the R/T.  This is where an equipped and large garage come in handy.  Whoever designed this house, was thinking ahead.

Really... it's a piece of cake...

I'll be putting the snow plow back on the Big Bear and making sure both snowblowers are ready to go.  One for the house, the other I just bought, for the apartment. Various other items have been checked off my extensive annual pre-winter list, I don't expect to be cutting anymore grass so the various lawn mowers are parked.

The joke that used to circulate among motorcycle enthusiasts was "yeah, did you hear, so and so bought a garage with a house attached!"  Well, it's true!

It's been a glorious year, Weather conducive to riding, new destinations, new adventures, old destinations revisited, yup... all in all a pretty good year.

I had a great time exploring New Brunswick, which might just be my favorite province, and plan to continue exploring Nova Scotia next year.  I have a new story that I call Utopia being printed in the December CDN BIKER I'm told, so watch for that in your mailbox (what? You don't have a subscription, shame on you!) Better put the CDN magazines on your Christmas list...

My health is good other than my nerves being frayed by the lack of progress on my Phx abode.  After seven months, it still stands empty.  I am hoping that prior to departure, they will at least get started and be well advanced.  I don't relish living in a hotel room again this trip.

IN the meanwhile it hasn't been all work and no play, nope... I had Chris with his new '08 KLR 650 and Trevor with his older model out for a local ride.  Chris only began his MC career a few years ago but Trev is a pro.  We did ride that "CLOSED" country road in the Wellington district, having warned them that it may be wet. And there was indeed some muddy spots.  It is however open, flat and straight, nothing real technical.  I had them sign a waiver (j/k) and off we went.  Of course that didn't prevent Chris from skidding the front tire with some front brake application ("whatever you do, don't touch the brakes") and doing a 'swan dive' off the bike, literally clearing the mud-hole and hardly getting dirty at all!  Even the Russian judge would have granted him a 5.9 on that one!

That's nothing.

Not to be outdone... Stretch dumped just a few yards farther along!  Those are the Kodak moments that you wish you had on film!

Chris doing an unconventional 'dismount'  The Russian judge gave it a 5.9

The Boys in Wellington PEI Heart of Acadian Island.

Just so you new, even I fell off the other day riding my Serow when I found out that the spot I had chosen to stop in on a nearby ATV trail was right over a hole that was unfortunately, 3 inches deeper than my leg!  I was able to let the bike down gently on it's right side, still idling away until I hit the 'kill switch', so you see... it can and does happen to anyone.

Calm as can be... Long River

A few ATV's out but no bikes.

My last ride on the bike took me through overgrown country roads, trails used by snowmobiles in winter and quads the rest