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...



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Jumpn'Jack Flash, it's a drag.




THIS is my second weekend living in a hotel. 

I'm bored. 



I swear I haven't watched this much television in my five years on the Island!  I go for walks around the compound, been to K Mart once, but with little in the way of clothing and footwear and NO riding gear, there is little I can do.  All I do is watch tv, eat and sleep.

Not exactly how I had this trip planned. 

There is little to do at my home, besides the almost deafening noise of these industrial heater/fans running 24/7 what can I do there?  I am at the mercy of insurance adjusters and contractors. And... time, which I don't have any to spare.



I had planned on finishing up the Old Stagecoach Rd loop, but that's not going to happen.  I had hoped to get back up into the mountains, but that won't happen. 

Nope... I just veg and even I can take only so much of that. 








Monday, March 27, 2017

Vegging out!



Coco seems to be mellowing out...

MOST people that have known me for a very long time, know I am not the guy that sits around knitting for very long.  Call it cabin fever or whatever you wish but as I age, I am still interested in the world around me. Even though my primary mission on this trip south was to retrieve Coco, the cat I found living under my Honda last fall, and return her to our home in Canada I certainly was going to do some riding and exploring.

I'VE been coming down south for years, I love the SW with it's deserts and mountains and clear air, cacti, dry riverbeds and exploring opportunities.  Since moving to eastern Canada it's not as easy as hopping into the Blazer with motorbike on the rear rack and heading south on I 15.  I've long since purchased a scooter and dual purpose bike for my use while here and I have made good use of them both.  Even the Honda Ascot I bought on impulse a couple of years back, I've ridden although sporadically.
Coco a week after I found her under my Honda.


I'VE  published several stories including riding the Superstitions, the Mogollon rim, Painted Rock and of course, conquering the Crown KING Trail.  To say nothing of scootering around Glendale all the way from the White Tank Mountains across the city to Apache Junction one year to visit with gal pal Diane.

OVER the years I've been to amazing places, seen rattlesnakes up close, free range burros, scorpions and tarantulas as big as my palm.  I've ridden dark narrow canyons, boulder fields, ascended and descended mountains, fallen down and when I got back up, I did it again and again and again. ( the riding not the falling)

I'VE met incredible, interesting people the latest being Dwayne and Ruth, a couple from Washington State.  Dwayne's father was born in 1893 and passed away in 1993.  For those of you challenged with math, that is a hundred years, a century and what a century it was!

Watching T.V.


IT'S Monday morning, the beginning of my first full week here.  I have spent all but one night in the Hotel Marriott, with Coco as company. Just before arrival I found out that my home had flooded.  Within hours I had a crew working on repairs.  Of course first thing is assessing the damages, then clearing everything out and beginning the restoration phase. I had a very brief window to get a bag together with a couple of t shirts, shorts (it's warm here) and some toothpaste.  I caught a ride with Judy's son, cat in carrier and been here since.  Yesterday, the first time I have been back hoping to grab a few pieces of clothing I find my door taped off and warning signs pasted on.  Turns out I have asbestos in the place, not unusual at all I am told and this requires a far more invasive cleaning technique that I was not prepared for.  Flooding the place would have been a difficult job to tackle but my problems have been compounded by their find.

I do miss little Boo though!


AT this stage I really have no idea what the remainder of my trip holds but it is unlikely that I will close off that Old Stage Coach road loop I had gotten lost on last fall.  In fact I will be very fortunate to spend the final week at my own digs and Lord knows what I will find.  It almost seems like I've stepped into a time machine and am going back to when I first saw the place.

Very Nice digs at the Marriott and they take pets!


IN the meanwhile, back at the ranch so to speak, Coco and I are hunkered down sharing a couch and a bed and watching COP and Travel shows and Judge Judy doling out justice to people that are certainly in some cases, 98 cents short of a buck! I admit I haven't done this for a really long time.  On the plus side, I am in a good place, a room with a kitchenette, a swimming pool, and a laundry mat for my few clothes.  The staff are very pleasant taking an honest interest in the people coming through the lobby door. So far the people at CONTACT and Allstate have been very efficient and helpful, something I have gotten used to down here in AZ over the years.  Yes... I have met the rude American like that woman and her husband (he was okay, she was a hurricane of insults and rudeness) in the south of France who was loudly complaining at the hotel restaurant that her waitress didn't speak English.

I mean, it was the south of France after all...

I'M not sure how the month will unfold but even though I may not be riding the rim of a washed out canyon with my reliable XT 350...this in itself,


THIS is why I love riding down here.





is quite the adventure!








Saturday, March 25, 2017

FLOODED


SO, I'm in Phoenix Arizona, out on the street... trying to start my ultra reliable Adventure scooter.  Battery stayed fully charged on the tender since last fall but she just won't fire.  I try the kickstarter, nada.  More pressing the starter until I realize... the kill button is off!  A flick of a switch, throttle wide open, the engine is flooded of course by now, and away she went. 

Now you may laugh here at my predicament and it only goes to prove my point, all of us have our  

"DOH MOMENTS"

In my case it can be explained quite easily for not only was the scooter flooded but  my entire 1000 sq foot two level condo!  A broken toilet tank and my neighbor coming by to turn on the utilities prior to my arrival and presto!  One uninhabitable apartment unit!

I am writing this from a temporary hotel accommodation suite about 5 miles from my Glendale home.

Not only is my long time, desert getaway pad so wet, mushrooms could grow on the carpets, but my life down here has been turned on end!

Grabbing a few important things, like passport, wallet, registration papers, and one pair of socks! Everything I own here after nearly ten years, is jammed into a storage unit locked away from even me! I am now exiled from my home and will not likely move back into her before my return trip beckons.  To top it off, little Boo is also exiled from my/her digs but at least I have the consolation of Coco, the skin and bones female I found last fall sitting here as I write this.  She is making the flight back to Canada with me!  It's not the first time a local abandoned kitty will be transplanted from the south to the north with the Doc!

I have no photos to show (it was kind of low on my list of priorities) but I'm sure I will have some before long. 

As I have said many times about riding, or traveling or dreaming... there is always the potential for the unexpected.  How you deal with it, will depend entirely on how mentally and physically prepared you are.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Another sad day...



It wasn't long ago I met a like minded pal and enthusiast.  I will write more later but am telling all of you right now...  make your lives count, even if it's only to be a friend for someone else.


Couldn't find a nicer human being than Dan. 

RIP buddy

PECORA, Daniel Joseph
January 31st 1952 - February 17th 2017
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Danny Pecora at the Golden Hospital on February 17th, 2017. He was 65 years old. Danny was the youngest of five children born to Maria and Frank Pecora January 31st 1952, in Golden, B.C. He worked for the Department of Highways / EMCON, and had recently retired after 38 years of service.
...
Danny was quick to volunteer and lend a hand to his family, friends, and community. He was involved with local service groups such as the Lions Club and the Cadets. He was also a member of the Snow Kings Snowmobile Club and the ATV Club. Danny’s passion for motor sports had him racing snowmobiles in his younger years and motorcycles in his later years. His off track motorcycle adventures took him to Alaska, across Canada, and all through the United States. He truly loved to ride and took every opportunity to do so.
Danny was pre-deceased by his parents Maria and Frank Pecora, his sister Delphina (Frank) Colonna, and his brother Jim (Emma). He will be lovingly remembered by his daughter Amy (Matt) Dutton, his granddaughter Lily, his brothers Orlando (Wendy), Mario (Mary), and numerous nieces and nephews.

Food for thought.



IMAGINE  if Honda had not imported the step through 50 into North America, if you can.

For many of us ahem, 'older' motorcyclists, regardless of what we are riding today, we started our careers on small displacement Japanese bikes.  Most of us didn't just go out and buy a Norton Dominator or a Rocket Three as our first bike.  Even if you are older than I am, your first bike may have been a used BSA Bantam, which was nothing but an unreliable post war copy of the German DKW.

But, when the Honda corporation decided to export their basic transportation single cylinder step through across the big pond, it was a game changer.  Not at first mind you!



I recall the elder Sibthorpe, the founder of BOW CYCLE and Motor Company, telling me stories of the  rep bringing by the little Honda.  There was nothing like it at the time.  He was talked into taking ONE... to test the market of course.

It sold and fairly quickly too.  So he brought in another, then another and then another and soon they came by the truck load.  Who was buying these tiddlers bikes with pistons the size of a shot glass?  I can tell you it wasn't the hard core guys that lived on Castrol oil!

HONDA was the first to tap into a market where the "Nicest People" weren't riding motorcycles.  After all this was prosperous Canada/USA not war ravaged Japan!  Lo and behold HONDA MOTOR's began selling the classic fifty to very nice people.  It was the second car or the kids ride to College, or Mom's ride to the grocery store.

If Soichiro Honda, the founder of the company had not gambled its future on the tiny little CUB as it was known, I would guess that there would be many fewer motorcyclists on the road in N.A. today.

Ultimately the HONDA CUB in it's many incarnations would become the number one manufactured motor vehicle of all time!  Yes and I mean including the Model T, VW Beetle and the FORD Mustang! (put together) It has proven to be utterly reliable and even Charley Boorman chucking one off a three story (or was it 4?) building didn't kill it.  Of course the wheels were square!

It is the most prolific and most copied motorcycle of all time.  All you have to do is look at the burgeoning Chinese market where you will see dozens of copies of the ubiquitous little bike being made in the millions. 


 
I myself didn't start my career riding a CUB, no I did not.  I did however begin my riding life aboard a Honda S 90 (S for Sport or SUPER)  That bike with it's four cycle horizontal single cylinder engine and four speed transmission was a direct descendant of the little 50!

Everybody I know on the planet knows I am a fan of small displacement motorcycles, I still have many bikes that are under 500 cc in my stable and have always believed in the less is more as opposed to the 'No substitute for cubic inches' theory.

I myself have two models of the little step through in my own garage.

Doc