Sunday, July 12, 2015

More Salem Errands

After leaving Raceway Ural, we had lunch at a wonderful restaurant in Salem called Marco Polo Global Restaurant. They had a huge selection of dishes with full Chinese, Europeon and vegetarion menus. I had stir fried noodles w/vegetables and mushrooms in salted black bean sauce. Absolutely delicious.

After lunch, we went to a couple of motorcycle shops in search of new boots. One of my boots fell apart at a gas station in Troutdale, OR, just east of Portland. The sole almost completely fell off. I left on the trip knowing that I would probably need new boots but figured that there would be a better selection in the lower 48. I was looking for waterproof boots with a cleated sole, without laces or zippers. Trobairitz spotted this pair of FirstGear Kathmandu boots which checked all the boxes. The one on display was even the right size. Plus, they were on sale! These will be my first pair of actual motorcycle boots. The old pair were leather work boots and had lasted almost 8 years. Not too shabby. But they had laces which got tangled with parts on the bike more than once.

The boots were purchased from Cycle Country in Salem. They had a decent (though not huge) selection of boots but also a lot of new and used bikes. The buckles, leather and padding on the First Gear boots are lighter duty than those you would find on dual sport boots but I think they'll be adequate.

The next stop was REI. I was not very satisfied with the Sierra Designs Flash 3 tent I had picked up in the spring for this summers motorcycle trips. The amount of netting in the tent construction and the design of the rain fly meant is was well ventilated but also too cold for even Alaska summer camping. I did like the integrated rain fly design which made setup a breeze. REI took the tent and the footprint back with no questions asked.

As a replacement, I opted for the Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL3. It still has (less) netting for much of the tent body but the rainfly fits a lot closer in more like a traditional dome tent. Or you can stake it out to get more ventilation. There is also a small eyebrow vent at the top of the rainfly that can be opened if you want to vent out heat and moisture. The floor space is almost identical to the Flash 3 and has two doors and two vestibules. It has some LED lights sewn into the the ridge seam. Not sure how useful that feature will be especially in Alaska. I had purchased the Sierra Designs tent using a 20% off coupon and they gave me the same discount on this one as well. REI has great customer service and the net price difference was $10.50 as the footprint was a bit more expensive.

How many tents require 3 AAA batteries? If you have a USB cell phone charger battery it will also run on on one of those as the interface to the tent is USB. So a better question is how many tents have a USB plug?

 

On Sunday afternoon, Troubadour took me up to the top of Mary's Peak in their Fiat 500. They offered to let me ride on the TW200 but I really don't feel comfortable riding someone elses bike. I suspect that Troubadour would have preferred to ride up Mary's Peak but he humored me and took the Fiat. That is a great handling car and performance was fantastic especially when you consider that the engine is less than 2x the Ural and the weight is about 3x the Ural. The weather was not ideal and after the nice weather in the Willamette valley, it really felt cold and windy on top. BTW, Troubadour compared the dimensions of the Ural and the Fiat. I think the Fiat was a little longer but the width was about the same.

18 comments:

Unknown said...

I've seen ads for those LED-lined tents, and I've wondered about them.

I'm interested to know if you find it a useful feature, or just a gimmick. Keep us posted for sure.

VStar Lady said...

Richard I was very happy with my Big Agnes sleeping pad, but have never checked out their tents. I love the idea of LED lights inside - I have one that I hang each time I set up the tent and it provides enough light - great when you're trying to find your tent in the dark;)

redlegsrides said...

That's a pretty good return policy that REI has....I'm still using my over 20 year old tent that used to be sold by Target....works for me, so far.

The ATV boots I got for summer use are proving a bit warm for that role. Sigh.

RichardM said...

Personally, I think that they're a gimmick but then again, in Alaska, it would be light all the time when the tent would be used (not in the snow!). But, I'll probably pick up some batteries for it...

RichardM said...

During the times I usually go camping these days it's never that dark. I've given up on the whole winter camping thing long ago.

RichardM said...

Last year I finally got rid of my 2-man Timberline tent that I had bought in ~1974. I still need to replace the zipper on my 2-man Stephenson copy that I made in 1980 (great tent! Integrated rainfly and only 1.9 lbs). My Kelty 2-man tent is cramped for 2 people and is what I used on my other trips. The Sierra Designs was much larger and I really liked that the integrated rain fly which goes up at the same time as the tent. But you're right, REI has a great return policy!

I was amazed at how much cooler the running shoes are than boots when riding. It made me really glad that the Ural had a heel-toe shifter.

Trobairitz said...

Sure hope those boots work for you Richard or I'm in trouble, lol.

I don't think Brad minded driving Mary's Peak as long as you didn't mind hanging on for dear life. :-)

Thanks for the plums!!

RichardM said...

After walking around in them for a while I think they'll work just fine. I'm in the process of waterproofing the seams.

Thank you again for everything. The blueberries were very sweet. The road up to Mary's Peak was great but would be a lot more work on a Ural.

Troubadour said...

I've pondered the LED tent lights, and have come to the conclusion that LED lights surrounding the outside of the tent wouldn't cast a revealing shadow or silhouette of the occupant(s) as a light inside the tent with you would. In theory.

Troubadour said...

Let me know if you need a ride up to Raceway, I can show you another back road and I promise to go easy on you.

RichardM said...

I just picked up som AAA batteries for the tent light. I believe the lights are installed along the ridge seam.

RichardM said...

Thank you! Hopefully on Friday. I'll call them on Thursday.

BMW HACKER said...

Love the boots....on my "want" list.
Also a great choice on the tent....you have great taste in gear!

Dar said...

Those are might fine looking boots! Gotta to love anything name Big Agnes! I think the led lights might be cool, just enough light to see at night without fumbling for a flashlight. How's the bike repair coming?

RichardM said...

I wasn't really sure what I was looking for in a pair of motorcycle boots. I just had an idea of what I didn't want. Laces or zippers. Both seem to be just asking for problems in my opinion.

As far as the tent, it's another attempt to find the perfect solution and, as you know, there probably no such thing.

RichardM said...

The note on the bike indicated late Thursday. I hope it's done by then. I will probably call late Wednesday to see if it's still on track. On Saturday, they said that the final drive should be in on Monday but the mechanic couldn't work on it until Wednesday.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Had never heard about the tent lights before, interesting. I'm carrying a small sealed 5ah battery/integrated 12V receptacle now to charge my thing a majings in the tent at night, just using it total loss over the rally weekends.

All sorts of powered opportunities......:)

RichardM said...

I've never heard of them either. But kinda curious on useful it may be...or not be. I have a 13 Ah battery that I use to recharge gadgets in the tent and can easily recharge that while riding. Love the 700+ watt alternator on the Ural.