Sunday, November 19, 2017

Going to the Land Down Under

Well, on November 8, or maybe it was the 7th?  A friend called me around 10:00 pm and after I woke up, said, "what do you think about a cruise in New Zealand?" In my half asleep state, I said, "that sounds like it'd be fun."  Turns out, she'd been talking with her daughter who lives in Wellington, NZ, and had been keeping her eye out for cruises.  As it happened, there was a Holland America two-week cruise departing from Auckland on December 7, for the crazy price of $1,099.  And that's an ocean view cabin, not one down in the bilges. And, as it happened, there was crazy cheap airfare from Walla Walla to Auckland, via Seattle and Honolulu, for $635. My partner Tom Scribner said he'd paid more than that flying to Des Moines for a deposition.

After several ticketing shuffles we ended up with one way fares to Auckland, departing on Nov. 30, leaving on the MS Noordam from Auckland on December 7.  The cruise stops at various Ports along the east coast of the Morth and South Islands, then heads out to sea to Hobart, Tasmania, then to Melbourne, Eden, and finally arriving in Sydney on December 21. As it happens, my brother Hugh and his family moved there in August.  We will stay with them and also see brother James and Arie and also Hugh and James' mother Helen. We will fly home on Quantas on Christmas Eve.

Eleven days to go!!! 

So, let the adventure begin! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Hey!  I was here first.  This restaurant is infringing.

Palouse Caboose in Palouse, WA

Monday, February 6, 2017


A friend once said motorcycles are like shoes. You wouldn't wear a pair of Nike Cross Trainers to a ballroom dance, nor would you wear Cole Hahn wing tips on a 10k run. Motorcycles are the same.  There are Cruisers, Dual Sport bikes, Bobbers, Dirt Bikes, Trials Bikes, Motocross Bikes, Touring Bikes, and yet more.  Each with its own function and purpose.  So what are, or were, my motorcycles?   There have been a few.  Let's start with what I own at the moment.  Listed in order of when acquired.  By the way, I'm not in the habit of naming my bikes, though I've named a few. Suggestions welcome.

2011 BMW R1200RT

One day in 2015 I happened to wander into Tom's Cycle in Walla Walla.  There on the floor was a beautiful 2011 BMW R1200RT.  Corey offered to trade me straight across for the 2010 black Harley Ultra Classic I was riding (that I had never clicked with).  After a few weeks and some negotiating, I did the deal.  It wasn't quite straight across, as the Harley needed a new tire, but in the end, I was free of the Ultra and the BMW was mine.  That summer, I rode it to Sturgis.  It was probably one of 6 BMWs there among a sea of Harleys.  What a great ride that was.  It's now my favorite motorcycle.  Had the seat redone by Seth Laam last year and added some Denali LED running lights.  What a great motorcycle.

At Kelsey's in Spokane, headed to the BeeCee Beemer's
Hot Springs Rally, Nakusp, BC, August 2016. 

On the way to the Grand Tetons, WY,
August, 2015

2012 Victory Cross Country Tour

I've been hanging out with Victory enthusiasts since 2007, since I became acquainted with David Beede and started going to the Starkey campouts. I bought my first Vic, a 2008 Vision, in 2011.  I bought the 2012 XC in March, 2016 from a guy in Canby, OR. Found on Craigslist.  The seller was a small dealer who is retired and buys and sells bikes, snowmobiles and maybe quads for fun. His shop was so clean you could eat off the floor.  When I test rode the bike, Kim and the guy chatted about drag racing, a common interest. Although it's a Cross Country Tour, the seller cannibalized the bike.  The trunk had been removed and sold.  I later found out that the HID headlight had been removed and replaced with a standard H7 bulb.  Oh well, with what I paid, it was still a good deal.

Canby, the Day of Purchase

Mt. Idaho Grade, outside Grangeville, ID

2007 Kawasaki KLR - 1st Gen.

One day in September, 2016, I stopped by Thunder Alley, the Tri-Cities Victory-Indian-Slingshot dealer.  As it happened, they had a 2007 Kawasaki KLR on the floor for a good price.  It had a lot of aftermarket farkles - skid plate, enhanced suspension, fork brace, etc.  I'd been looking for a dual sport for a while and this one fit the bill at a mere $2,500.  Sold!!!  I added a DeWalt topbox and Komy 1600 Lumen LED driving lights.  Took her to Moab in May, 2017, with Ed Bloom and Dave Denham, where we rode some pretty gnarly slickrock roads.

Costa Rica Sunsets

I've been away from this Blog for, what?  Four years?  Probably been riding my motorcycle(s). Time to reactivate.  First things first though. I'll start off with a video of Costa Rica sunsets from the 2012-2013 trip. All photos from Malpais.  A beach I can't recall the name of and shots from the deck of Nido de Aguila.  Enjoy.

Friday, January 4, 2013

December 27 - Travel Day

We awoke Wednesday, December 27 to thunder and rain.  The clouds were low and the hills around us were quite misty.

You could hear the Howler Monkeys across the valley hooting and staking out their territory.

We finished up packing and then headed into town for breakfast at the bakery.  Excellent breakfast.  I'll have to remember to give the bakery a good review on TripAdvisor.

Outside, the formerly dusty road was pretty much slimy clay.

I saw the first BMW I'd seen in Costa Rica that morning, a f800gs:

Time to head back to Nido de Aguila and get the bags and head for the ferry.  We'd decided to take a 2:00 pm ferry, which we hoped would get us to Puntarenas in time to get on the road and make it to Santa Ana by dark.

A couple shots of the road leading to Nido de Aguila.  You can see why you wouldn't want to try to get up there in a standard, low-slung 2wd car:

Rita and her party were leaving that day also.  Rita and her daughter were heading north on the Nicoya Peninsula and Danni and Elena were headed out to the ferry and then taking a bus home to San Jose before leaving the next day for Panama for a few days.  They were talking about taking the bus to the ferry, but I offered to give them a ride.  Actually, I offered to take them as far as the San Jose airport, but they concluded they'd be better off getting an inter-city bus from Puntarenas which would take them right into downtown San Jose.

Rita and her daughter:

From the ferry dock in Paquera:

One of the ubiquitous dogs that seem to be hanging around everywhere.  This little guy was wandering up and down the line of cars waiting for the 2:00 pm ferry.

We had a mishap exiting the ferry.  They'd parked me on the lower deck, snugged in on the right side.  When I was leaving the ferry I heard a snap and saw that I'd broken the right rearview mirror off on some obstruction.  It was hanging by the wires that operate the electric mirror apparatus and I thought it best to try to find some duct tape to tape it up.  Stopped at several stores in Puntarenas looking for cinta adhesiva with no success.  Best I could come up with was scotch tape, which would not have worked.  We made the drive to Santa Ana with the mirror hanging against the car, dangling from the electrical connections.  Not a problem, as it turned out.

The timing worked out just about perfectly.  We made it to the airport area, a few kilometers from the Aloft Hotel just as it was getting dark.  By the time we got checked in and settled, the traffic on Ruta 147 had cleared enough so we didn't feel like we were taking our lives in our hands by crossing to go to Soda Tapias for dinner, so that is what we did.  The three of us split two orders of the Pollo dinner, which comes with rice, black beans, and papas fritas.  Yum!!!

I'll do another post about turning the car back in to Wild Rider and catching our flight out to head home.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Last Sunset from Mal Pais

December 25 was our last fullday at Nido De Aguila in Mal Pais. We decided to basically do nothing and hang out in full relaxation mode, though we did venture out to checkout some tide pools. Unfortunately, the tide was still too high and there was not much of note.

We enjoyed out last sunset over the ocean in this beautiful place.Photos were taken Christmas Day.

Christmas Day

This was our first ever tropical Christmas.  Very different from past Christmases, where we'd decorate the house and, in the past, I'd do my best at a Clark Griswold imitation with outdoor lighting.

Kelsey had brought stockings, and Santa apparently got the forwarding GPS coordinates, as they had been stocked by Christmas morning:

There were a few, small, gifts we'd brought with us:

After presents, Kelsey cooked up Huevos complete with Christmas tortillas:

We'd talked about surfing, but concluded that was too much work, so we decided to laze around Nido  de Aguila for the day, and went out later to a beach north of Santa Teresa to check tidepools.  The hammocks got a good Christmas day workout from  us.