Monday, July 29, 2013

Waiting at PDX

I'm sitting in the Portland International Airport waiting for my flight back home. Being able to attend both the family reunion and the MOA rally in a single trip was a real treat. This was the third MOA rally that I've attended and this was by far the most enjoyable. It could've been the weather or the location but I think that it was getting to meet some of the other attendees including folks from Alaska.

The weather also had something to do with my enjoyment of the family reunion. In the past it was so hot that it was difficult to do anything even sleep. This time, the temperatures were in the seventies with a gentle breeze in the afternoons. There was a ton of traffic as I approached Portland and I had decided to blindly follow the GPS app on my phone. It successfully routed me around several traffic slowdowns. The car rental office that I used was in Clackamas not at the airport. It was about ¼ mile walk to the train station and two trains to the airport. While on the train, we passed miles of stalled traffic on I205.

Looking forward to the sidecar tomorrow. It seems like its been a while.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Family Reunion (Cont.)

Update - For those that are looking for reunion pictures, I set up another blog site here.

The family reuunion continued on and there was a historical walk led by the Menucha arborist. At the last reunion, he also led a walk but this year it was a little different. He showed us some of the old areas of the garden and mentioned some of the invasive species in the area. (This flower is not one of them) but I thought that I would start this blog entry with a nice flower photo.

One of the Saturday afternoon reunion activities was sushi making. Here are my cousins preparing the ingredients for basic California rolls with a few extra ingredients thrown in. The cousins we visited in Tokyo took charge of preparing the different ingredients. Since we are not allowed by health code to serve food we prepare ourselves in the dining room, we prepared everything in one of the other buildings.

This is the main room in Creavy Hall next to the kitchen area where we were preparing the sushi ingredients. I'm not sure what game they were playing but it looked like it took a lot more skill and energy than I have.

After dinner, one of the cousins taught/led everyone some dancing to honor deceased relatives, Bon Odori (盆踊り). The ones in the middle circle were more familiar or experienced and helped lead. This is the main room in Wright Hall. This is a fabulous reunion location and at a family meeting, it was decided to hold it here again in the summer of 2015.

For some reason, a hat making contest became part of the festivities. It may have started when the cousins were younger but it continues on. Here is the winning entry made from a bin of stuff brought for activities. I tried to make a sock puppet but my artistic skills are lacking.

More dance instruction.
Here is the view from the pool deck. You can just see Vista Point on the left. Menucha actually has a better view up and down the Columbia River than at Vista Point but the views are not being maintained. Quite a few trees would need to be trimmed and it just isn't happening. Just in the 18 years that we've been using the facility, the view has been disappearing.

And, here is a group photo of the reunion attendees.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Family Reunion

Update - For those that are looking for reunion pictures, I set up another blog site here.

On Thursday morning, I picked up my mom who flew in from Alaska and my nephew who came in from Singapore. After lunch at a local diner type of restaurant, we headed toward the family reunion site. We were a bit early so we stopped at Vista House located about a mile east of the reunion.
It was a typical crowd at Vista House but the views were pretty spectacular. I think I took enough photos for a panorama but I don't have the software with me. This is the view looking to the east up the Columbia River. Looking west are city views of the greater Portland area. We then headed on the historic highway stopping at a couple of waterfalls along the way. I got the impression that my mom was getting tired of the waterfalls and the short hikes that would be required to see them so we headed down towards the highway back to the exit toward Menucha.
The reunion has been held here at Menucha for the last twenty plus years and it has proven itself to be a great location. Safe for kids to running around with large open areas for running around. Lots of organized activities, if you feel inclined, as well as time for just sitting around talking.
This is the entrance to the main building called Wright Hall. It doesn't look like it has changed in all of the years we've been coming here but there have been subtle improvements. Such as a nice patio.
Bubble blowing has been a favorite activity at this reunion. This is my nephew from Corvallis demonstrating his bubble generating technique.
Here is my brother in-law on the left, my nephew in the middle and my mom on the right. We are supposed to make a poster showing aspects of our family. We decided to make a larger family grouping to reduce the effort. This is the first reunion that I've been to without any other family members.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Oregon Charcuterie

Well, I got to use the new word I learned last week. On Sunday after the MOA rally in Salem, I headed up to Portland to pick up a couple of pieces of luggage that we left between the trip from Singapore and back home to Fairbanks. I went with a relative to Olympic Provisions, a gourmet charcuterie in Portland. They make all of the cured meat products for their restaurant as well as for other specialty markets in the Pacific Northwest.

I had the capicola and cotto salami hogie on a nice hard crusted roll and it was delicious. We had lunch outside on the sidewalk in front of their store with temperatures around 75°F. After the wonderful lunch, I headed south to Corvallis. I got in a little geocaching and spent quite of bit of time on an audio conference with folks in Fairbanks.

On Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to have a wonderful dinner with fellow moto-bloggers Troubadour and Trobairitz at the Big RIver Restaurant in Corvallis. Before we knew it, several hours had passed. As always, it was great to visit with them again and share a meal. No pictures as I didn't think of it.

On Wednesday morning, I stopped at Anderson Blues on my way back to Portland and picked up a couple of pounds to bring to the family reunion that starts tomorrow afternoon. Assuming that I can stop munching on them...


Monday, July 22, 2013

BMW Demo Rides

Last Saturday while at the MOA rally in Salem, OR, I did test ride a couple of bikes. BMW brings quite a selection of bikes to the rally ranging from the C600 Sport to the S1000RR and the K1600GTL and just about everything in between. You just show up early and sign up for the bike you want at a time you can make it for that day. If you sign up for something that is above your experience level, they have you ride something else first so they can evaluate you. I was more than a bit nervous as this was my first ride on two wheels since last October so it was kind of like my first ride of the season. I tried sitting on the F800GS and the R1200GS and both were too tall or too heavy for me. The new R1200GS was apparently the hot ride. Everyone in line seemed to want to ride it. I had brought my gear with me just to be able to do a couple of demo rides.

I test rode the G650GS and the F700GS. Both bikes have about the same or more horsepower than my current airhead, are watercooled, have ABS, fuel injection, etc. The F700GS was incredibly smooth and so quiet that I could barely hear the engine going down the road. We headed through Salem before getting on the open road then turning off for some nice twisty roads. I have no idea where we went as it as "follow the leader". The bike in front of me was a S1000RR and it rarely slowed down for any corner. I took it a little bit slower but after a while, I was feeling pretty comfortable in the turns. Both bikes were plenty quick and the brakes were phenomenal compared to what I have. But the air pressure on your chest from the wind (at the post legal speeds we seemed to be going), is something I would have to get used to. The demo rides were about 45 minutes long and designed to get you on all sorts of roads and you were in groups of four to five bikes. Pretty nice demo rides and I must admit that I really liked the F700GS.

Dom, aka Charlie6, had asked for more pictures of this rig. This is the scooter on the back of the Boxer Metal utility sidecar. Note the BMW logo that they put on the tank and the clutch housing. The overall fit and finish of the stuff they manufactuer is top notch.

Here is the coffee machine in the aluminum box behind the sidecar. Earlier in the day, they were using it to make lattes but I don't have any pictures of that. With the scooter removed the door of the compartment drops for a nice flat work area.

I did get a chance to talk to Jay from DMC sidecars as he had expressed some reluctance over the phone regarding my Cozy/R100RT combination. He thought that if I wanted a larger sidecar, I really should look for a more appropriate tug instead of spending more with my existing setup. He believes that the airhead frames were too lightweight even with the subframe as BMW was focused on reducing weight. He did offer some tug recommendations. I'm not looking for a larger sidecar but wanted to know what my options were.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sidecars at the MOA Rally

There were sidecars of all varieties at the BMW MOA Rally in Salem, OR. Here is a but a small sampling. This one was placed in the vintage display and is a racing model based on a BMW airhead. The monkey has to really hang out past the wheel on right hand turns as the car could be lifted with one hand. The owner was available to answer questions and demonstrated why so many hand holds were needed. The pilot kneels down on the two half pipe shaped platforms behind the carburator with his chest on the top of the engine. Rear brakes and shifting is as normal though stirrups are fitted on both levers so your boots wouldn't slip out.

This is a more modern and colorful version. It is a DMC M72DX attached to a R1200GS. A very popular tug for sidecar installation by DMC. It is a beautiful paint job and I'm told runs as good as it looks.

This is an old chassis and Steib sidecar with a more modern airhead engine transplanted in. This is the body style copied by my Cozy sidecar but it sits much lower to the ground. I've read that the additional ride height is so it could travel on rough roads.

Boxer Metal made this as a support vehicle for motocross races. It has a pump and 9 gallons of gas with a fill hose. There is a scooter for running around the pit on the rear as well as a cappuccino machine in the upper aluminum box behind the seat. The wheels and frame is made by EML which, I believe, is a Dutch company that produced high end sidecars.

I will close with this old Ural. At least the frame and sidecar is from a Ural. The engine and transmission is from a late 70's BMW airhead. The owner was quite a character as you can imagine from this setup. But then again, so were most of the people in attendance including myself.

The rally is now history and this afternoon, I returned to Portland to pick up a couple of large, heavy pieces of luggage from my cousin's home in Portland before heading south to Corvallis. I will be here for a couple of days before heading back to Portland for a family reunion.


Friday, July 19, 2013

BMW MOA Rally - Salem, OR

I arrived in Portland, OR, at 4:45am on Thursday morning and took public transportation to Clackamas for a much cheaper car rental. Unfortunately, the rental company didn't open up 'til 8:00am so I ended up sitting in a fast food place for a couple of hours. Pretty boring sitting the Jack-in-a-box but it was a good opportunity to catch up on some of the other blogs.

The BMW MOA (Motorcycle Owners of America) rally is being held at the fairgrounds in Salem, OR. The location is wonderful compared to the previous two rallies that I've attended before. It's cool in the morning and hasn't been really getting hot until mid-afternoon. The seminar rooms, the vintage area and the indoor vendor booths are nicely air conditioned. My rent-a-tent is the fourth one from the right and saved my from having to carry camping gear as part of my baggage, They supply the tent, air mattress, sleeping bag, camping chair and towel plus provide coffee, ice water and electricity to recharge things.

I met CCjon this morning. He is a Ural rider from Texas who rode from Key West to Prudhoe Bay earlier this summer. I missed him when he came through Fairbanks as we were getting ready to fly to Japan and Singapore. It was a great to meet him and hopefully I'll see him again tomorrow. He is camping with friends from Texas and I saw him at a sidecar seminar put on by David Hough, Jay Giese and Coach Ramey Stroud. David Hough is the author of the Yellow Book as well as Proficient Motorcycling. Jay is the owner of Dauntless Sidecars, the company that made my subframe and sidecar mounting hardware. Coach Stroud teaches classes in off-road riding techniques.

Here is Jay showing off his newest creation. Their M72DX installed on the new 2013 water cooled R1200GS. He believes that it is the first one thats been hacked. It is a very clean installation and it was completed on Wednesday evening. one day before the rally started. As you would imagine, it has every option in the book including electric lean and automotive wheels and tires for the pusher and sidecar tire. He is working on a new wheel design that would be useable in all three positions so you would only need to carry a single spare.

After the street sidecar seminar, David Hough invited anyone with a rig to come out to the parking lot where he set up several drills that are in his book as well as in the S/TEP curriculum that was developed by the three individuals mentioned above. Here he is describing how to "fly the chair" while going in a straight line. Some didn't believe it was possible so what else was he to do but borrow someones rig and do a demonstration. The rig pictured is a R1150GS with a DMC sidecar mounted.

Here is David Hough "flying the chair". By the end of the training session almost all of the participants were able to do it for at least a short distance. I was surprised how easily the wheel comes up. I was thinking that my sidecar wheel has never came off the ground unintentionally but I think that maybe it has just I had never noticed it. He told me what I needed to do once I get home. Unlike many on the forums, he thought that the Cozy was a good match for an old Airhead especially if it was mounted with a wide track. If I had mounted it tight to the bike, then it would be too light and come up too easily.

When not wandering the grounds or attending seminars, I have been hanging out at Airhead Central. The local Airhead group has a nice tent and they collected a lot of couches and chairs for folks to relax. They have a donation jar and they pick up snacks and drinks. The Kansas group leader has been making breakfast for any in the group who wants hash browns, eggs and bacon. They also have a setup for people to work on their bikes. Many aren't comfortable working on the bike without help and here there is plenty of people to help with just about any task. Matt Parkhouse from Colorado Springs even pulled apart a 5 speed gear box to show the most common problem areas and he had the parts available to rebuild it there.

There are about 5000 people and bikes here spread out all over the fairgrounds. In addition to the indoor vendors, there are a number of outdoor vendors doing tire changes, suspension upgrades and farkle installations. I think in spite of BMW riders being the cheapest part of the bike, they do a pretty good business at this rally. BMW has a fleet of demo bikes here and the most popular bike is the new water cooled R1200GS followed by the K1600GT and the F800GS.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Visitor With a Yamal

This morning when I went for coffee at College Coffeehouse, a soft spoken gentleman asked if I was Richard with a sidecar. He then introduced himself as SteveZ, the proud owner of a new Ural Yamal. He had arrived into Fairbanks yesterday after driving up from Washington state with his new purchase and is on his way home in south-central Alaska. Compared to Dom and CCjon, he is lightly packed but still has all of his camping gear stowed in the sidecar. He came up on the Cassiar and his rear pusher tire still shows plenty of life left. Maybe it's just the load that was causing the accelerated wear on Dom's tires. This model is the one named after the Russian ice breaker and has the teeth on the right front side of the car as well as accessories such as the front bumper with fog lights, a gas can on the left rear and the paddle. It was a very nice looking rig and he hasn't had a bit of trouble with it.

Of course, I couldn't take a picture of the Yamal model and not take a shot of the paddle. It was a pleasure to meet you Steve and I hope that we will meet again. He has been following both Dom's and CCjon's trips and was more than a little concerned by their problems as you can imagine. This is his second Ural so I am sure that he knows what he's getting into.
George Rahn was amazed with the number of Urals that are making the trip up the highway.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Response: "What Gear Is Inside Your Gear?"

ChrisL at EverydayRiding posted all of the stuff he was carrying within his riding gear. I emptied out all seven pockets of my Kilimanjaro coat and two pockets of my riding pants and came up with three whole items. Only one of which is associated with riding.

A 1GB flash drive, a quarter and the motorcycle ignition key. I guess I don't use my riding gear pockets very much. I didn't include the shoulder and elbow pads as I didn't want to pull all of them out. Everything else I may need during the day I carry in the tank bag.

Today was our first sunset before midnight in quite a while. I guess it's the beginning of the end of summer...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Midnight Sun

Last night, I noticed a bonfire on the beach near the hut where I have been staying. There was a group of researchers that had accumulated a pile of shipping pallets and other scrap wood and were roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. This was a little before midnight and since I had a meeting at 8:30am, I didn't stay long. I talked to a couple of researchers about their projects and it was a pretty diverse group. After all, what else would you do on a Friday night in Barrow.

I'm not sure how long the bonfire lasted but I was getting pretty chilled with just my fleece liner. Even though it was still nice and sunny, there was a slight wind. You may notice that most of the folks had coats, hats and gloves and no one was inclined to go for a dip in the water.

A few may recognize this memorial. I posted a picture about it five years ago. It is a memorial to several Japanese tourists whose small plane crashed either after take off or on approach to the Barrow airport while on a flight seeing excursion. I was with a number of visitors who were meeting on IT and information security concerns within the NSF funded networks. They were up here last year and this is a follow-up meeting. This is in the middle of a brief tour of the town and facilities.

I head back to Fairbanks tomorrow morning.