Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Weather Outside Is.....?

We have the funniest weather here in central Oregon! A few minutes ago, there was a virtual blizzard going on outside my window. Giant flakes swirling around. Right now, the sun is out, steam is rising off all the wet surfaces, and it almost looks good enough to go for a walk....wait a minute, what's that dark cloud over there?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Yes, That's My Butt...

In the never ending process of promoting our business, I've started another blog. These days, in order to give a business more exposure, the owners must maintain a facebook page, and write a blog, chronicling all the latest happenings, and newsworthy bits about the business. Facebook is easy. I'm already there anyway, so clicking over to the business page, and making a few comments, is a piece of cake. Although I admit, maintaining three separate pages, and sometimes "Liking", or commenting on my own stuff, makes me feel slightly schizophrenic. The blogging part isn't as easy. I've already proven myself to be a bit of a passive aggressive blogger, but in the name of business, I'll try harder. If you would like to read our business blog, here is the link: http://oregondualsportrental.blogspot.com/

Today's post is about height, and baggage options on a motorcycle. I needed a few pictures of myself, sitting on the motorcycle to demonstrate the different seat heights, so the self timer, and a small tripod came in handy. Ten seconds is enough time to get on the bike, and flash a cheesy grin. I turned the camera off while I switched the seats, and I didn't realize it had reverted back to two seconds....So there you have it, a lovely picture of my butt. It made me laugh!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

They Look Great! (So Leave Them Alone!)

I'm putting on my mom hat for this one...actually, my band mom hat, and it might turn into a rant, so hang on!

As some of you may know, my daughter Haley, is a senior at the University of Oregon, and she is a member of the Oregon Marching Band. She plays alto sax, and like all her 250+ band mates, she works her butt off. School just started yesterday, but the members of the OMB have already put in 96 hours of practice, played at pep rallies, the freshman convocation, and appeared at three football games. On game days, the band arrives at the stadium many hours before the game starts. They practice on the field, they play to the tail gaters in the parking lot, they play to the crowd waiting to watch the big screen at the baseball field, they open the football game with a pre-game show, (...that includes one of the best renditions of the National Anthem that I've ever heard. You can listen to it here.) they play in the stands during the game, and of course, they play the half time show. This Friday, the band members will board buses, ride to Seattle, perform their half time show at a high school football game on Friday night, go through the whole game day routine on Saturday, ride the buses home on Sunday, and attend classes on Monday.

Over the last three years this band has been to two Rose Bowls, and one National Championship Game. They've played at Disneyland, Santa Monica Pier, the Phoenix Zoo, and marched in the Rose Parade twice! These kids work hard, they love what they do, and they're good at it!

When the football team is ranked, and doing well, the band gets more exposure, and when the band gets more exposure, the nasty comments start flying about their uniforms. "Oh dear! Did they lose their uniforms on the way to the parade? The poor things are wearing their warm up suits." or "Why can't they wear traditional marching band uniforms?" or "They're wearing baseball caps!" Here is a picture of Haley, and some of her friends, wearing the current uniform.

The uniforms are designed by Nike, and given to the band. Each band member also gets a spiffy pair of Nike shoes, designed specifically for the band. They get a brand new pair each year. Haley now owns four pairs.....well, three pairs, She gave her freshman pair to me. Nike also designs the Oregon Ducks football uniforms, and the the cheerleaders uniforms.

The band uniforms are not traditional. They are somewhat athletic looking. (Ask any band member, and they will tell you "Marching band is a sport!") The band does a lot more than just "march"; they do a lot of running, jumping, dancing, pelvic thrusting, ahem, and marching, so why shouldn't they have a uniform that is comfortable, and easy to move in? The uniform is bright yellow on the front, and green on the back. When the band makes quick front to back movements, the yellow flashes for high impact.

The football team has evolved from this:

To this:

Nobody is suggesting that the cheerleaders need to look more like this:

The cheerleaders have become way more athletic too. Now they look like this:

So why would people want the band to look like this:

The OMB is no longer a wool clad, shako wearing, militaristic, marching band of the past. They're blazing a new trail, they're bringing marching bands into this century, and they look great! (So leave them alone!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Motorcycle Escort

Let me get this straight, you're going to pay me $200 to ride my motorcycle around Mt Bachelor all day? Well, heck yah, I'll do that! And so began my adventure as a "Motorcycle Escort" for the Leadman Triathlon.

The details were a bit sketchy; I was told to show up at the Cultus Lake boat ramp at 7:30am on Saturday, and be prepared to have a passenger. When asked earlier if I was comfortable riding with a passenger, I answered "Yes, as long as they aren't too heavy". When I arrived at the boat ramp, I was the only female rider, and all the passengers appeared to be larger males. Hmmm. There were eight hired motorcycles; (though, I'm sure I counted ten) our job was to carry the officials, and professional photographers around the bicycle part of the triathlon course. One motorcycle, carrying one official, would be dispatched for every forty bicycles that left the staging area. We lined up at the bicycle staging area, and the officials picked their ponies. One of them decided he was going to ride with me. I have no idea why. There were larger riders on bigger bikes. Not being male, I don't know what is worse from the male point of view; riding on the back of a motorcycle with a female at the controls, or riding behind another dude. Maybe this guy thought I was the lesser of two evils. Having only ridden female passengers, who were all about my size, I was extremely sceptical of the impending situation, and I was right. My bike is somewhat top heavy to begin with, and when Mr Official got on, we went over...like a lead balloon, as the saying goes. Plenty of people around to right the motorcycle, no one hurt, and no harm done, but we mutually agreed that this was not going to work. Mr Official hopped on a Gold Wing with another male, and rode off.

We were told at our very brief briefing, that if we didn't have a passenger, we were to ride as decoys. "When the bicycles hear you coming, they won't know if you are carrying an official or not, but they will assume you are, and if they are doing something illegal, they will stop. If they don't stop the behavior; call them on it." Yeah, 'cause I know all the rules of triathlon bicycling. I bid farewell to two Harley riders, who also had no passengers, and set out to be a decoy. Realizing I wasn't wearing my sunglasses, and needing them badly, I stopped at the end of the road to Cultus Lake to put them on. I was instantly approached by a wirey guy with a large camera, asking if I had room for a passenger. I asked him how much he weighed, and explained that I dropped my previous passenger on his backside. He wasn't fazed by this information, and only outweighed me by thirty plus pounds, so we decided to give it a try. He introduced himself to me as AJ, hopped on the back with a lot more skill and finesse than Mr Official, and away we went! We stopped at several points along the route, so AJ could take photos as the bicycles went by. I enjoyed these stops, because the people who were congregated there, wanted to talk about my motorcycle. I had a golden opportunity to talk up our business, and hand out fliers. At one point during the day, we rode past Mr Official, and Mr Gold Wing. I gave a hearty wave, and they looked somewhat surprised, or amused see me with a photographer hanging off the back of my bike.

It was a beautiful day for a ride, the course was great, I was done by three in the afternoon, and supposedly there is a check for $200 in the mail for me. Would I do this again? Probably. Just need to keep my eyes open for a skinny photographer!

Here are the athletes swimming laps in Cultus Lake. I know they were wearing special suits, and the lake water was probably warmer than the air, but there is no way I would be in that lake! The air temp was hovering at 32 degrees, just before the sun was fully up! Brrrrr!

Bicycles waiting for freezing cold swimmers to emerge from the lake, and ride them.

This sign made me giggle like a 12 year old boy, but I wasn't the only one who took a picture of it.

A bicycle rider getting ready to mount. The shoes are already attached to the pedals, so they just slip their feet in. Notice how the people in the background are dressed.

One of our photography stops. Interesting people, nice dogs, great view of mt Bachelor in the background.

One of the photographers chose to ride backwards, in order to get some good shots.

...and away they go!

Handing off water to thirsty cyclists.

Red, taking a break next to Devil's Lake.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Benham Falls

Yesterday I needed to get out of the shop, and have a change of scenery, so I packed up the Camel Back, and went for a walk. I guess it was really more of a hike, but hiking to me is more strenuous walking with elevation changes. This hike was relatively flat, and about 7 or 8 miles, depending on which sign you believe.

I parked the truck at the north end of Sunriver, and headed for Benham Falls. The trail winds through the forest, and along the Deschutes River. It's narrow and dusty, and a favorite with mountain bikers from Sunriver. I was hoping that since it was Labor Day, maybe the tourists were heading home, and the bike traffic wouldn't be too bad. I did encounter a few, but they were huffing and puffing along at a slow enough pace, that I could easily get out of the way. They do kick up a lot of dust, though.

I saw this purple flower growing out of a rock formation.
I saw some great views of the river.
....and then I saw THIS!
Okay, it's a little blurry, but it's a bag of dog poop by the side of the trail. We interrupt this hike, to bring you a dog poop rant. Who does this? I saw more than one of these yesterday, and I've seen this many, many times when I lived in the city. I'll be the first to say that I don't like dog poop on the trails or sidewalks, but at least it IS biodegradable. By putting it in a bag, and leaving that bag in the woods, you are insuring that it will be around for my grandchildren to enjoy. This defies any logic. If you're the kind of person who carries a bag, and picks up poop, you should be the kind that takes it to a garbage can. If you don't want to carry it; make the dog carry it. If you want to leave it in the woods, then don't put it in a bag. Push it off the trail and cover it with some dirt! Okay, I'm done, but sheeesh, who does this?

The next part of my journey took me over this bridge.

The trail from here to Benham Falls is wider. A sign said that this used to be an old train track in the early 1900's. It was used to move lumber, before the highway was built.
The next picture is of a sign you don't want to miss, if you're in a boat....

....because it is at this exact point, that the river goes from flat and lazy, to white and crazy!
Benham Falls isn't so much an actual waterfall, as it is a chute of fast moving, churning, white water. The lava rocks form a deep, narrow canyon, that the water travels through with frightening speed and force.
Whew! I hope you remembered to take your boat out!
Once the river has passed through this turmoil, it calms down again, and flows through a volcanic rock area, with a great view of the mountains in the background.
I walked a little further down the river before turning around, and heading back to Sunriver. On the return trip, I came across this little guy.
He had a big mouthful of pine cone, and gave me a serious scolding. He screeched and yelled at me for several minutes. Maybe he thought I left a bag of poop in the woods!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fall Is In The Air

September first. I can feel the fall in the air. The days are getting shorter, the nights are colder, and today is the first Duck football game of the season. I love the Ducks, and I love football season, but I am not ready to say goodbye to summer. We typically have some warm days in September and October, before the real cold sets in; we're even hoping to get one more river float in, but there is no denying the change in the air. The squirrels seem extra busy lately. There is a squirrel nest in the tree next door. The occupant has been up early every morning this week, making that strange noise that squirrels make, and running from tree to tree. I think he is gathering and storing for the winter. Most of the fawns have lost their spots, and the does are starting to look motley as their fur changes to a winter coat. Our vegetable garden is showing signs of frost already. I'm not ready for summer to end; not ready at all, but I will say this: GO DUCKS!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lookout Mountain

I went for a ride today! Now you're saying to yourself "You rent motorcycles, and you have seven at your disposal, you probably ride every day!" Well, I don't ride EVERY day. Actually most of my job is at the computer. I answer emails from potential and future customers. I answer their many, many questions. I get their insurance and SPOT devices set up. I add stuff to our website, make sure the calendar is up to date, put pictures on facebook, and interact with other motorcycle minded facebook pages, for exposure. I fill out a lot of customer paperwork, wash bikes, make sure all the stuff that goes on the bikes is in order, and spray Lysol in returned helmets. Most of my riding is to the gas station to fill up a bike, or to Pro caliber in Bend, to order parts, or to pick up parts. The truth is, I could jump on a bike, and take off into the mountains any time, but when I'm here by myself, I just don't...very often. I'm not afraid to ride on the pavement by myself. I've ridden between Bend and Portland, alone many times. It's the off road stuff that isn't such a good idea to do alone, but today, I went for a ride.

I wanted to go to the top of Lookout Mountain. It isn't very far from our house. I see it all the time. I know there is a Forest Service road to the top, because I've seen it on the map, but I've just never been up there, and today I had a bug to go.

I chose our smallest bike. It's not our shortest bike, but it is light, and only has a 250cc engine. I love my BMW, but if I drop it alone, I can't pick it up. Well, I did pick it up once; the Rawhyde guys made me lay it on its side...gently, lay it on its side. I wasn't riding it, or anything...it was just for demo purposes, to prove that I COULD pick it up. Anyway, it took me three trys, and I about hemorrhaged, but I got the thing picked up. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it again, and I don't want to try. I know I can pick up the KLX if I had to, so that was to be my trusty steed. I packed some water and a granola bar, and off I went.

The Forest Service marks their roads with a stick that looks like this:
 They don't survive the winters very well, and the Forest Service isn't very prudent when it comes to repairing or replacing them. Many times, the number on the road, isn't the same as the number on the map, sometimes the number decals fall off, leaving only a partial number, and other times the shrubs are covering the marker all together.
 It's always fun to play Where's Waldo with the road markers from the back of a motorcycle in the forest. 

Despite the challenges,I managed to navigate my way to the correct road. On the way up, I encountered some logging.

 I'm always amazed that pictures of steep roads, don't look steep. The next picture is the road to the top. I thought it was kind of steep-ish.
At the top, I parked the KLX in the shade, drank some water, ate my granola bar, and had a look around.
I thought with a name like "Lookout Mountain" there would be some kind of lookout at the top. That seems like a reasonable assumption...of course not. THIS is what's at the top.

 Solar panels, a very tall antenna, and whatever that white shed is. This isn't the first time we've ridden up a mountain only to find a big ol' pile of technology at the top. Oh well. 

I took a picture of this:
I'm not sure what these are called. They're common here; we even have them in our yard, but they usually grow straight up. I've never seen one do this before.

I didn't spend a lot of time at the top of Lookout Mountain. I decided it looked like the kind of place a bear, or mountain lion might call home, and I didn't want to be the thing they called lunch, so I hopped on my bike and headed back down the trail. I stopped half way to take this picture:
I had a great ride, I didn't drop the bike, and I now know what is at the top of Lookout Mountain.