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Motorcycle

Motorcycle Sale

concourshawkAlmost exactly ten years ago, I bought my first motorcycle. Six years ago, I sold it and upgraded to the Kawasaki Concours. I loved both bikes and have a flood of good memories with them. I took Tyla for a motorcycle ride on our second date, I took a three day trip through Canada with Doug and Frank, and I saw countless beautiful sights.

As of Friday, those memories are all I have left of my motorcycle*. I sold it. The bike had been on consignment in Seattle for eight weeks but didn’t sell. After I got it back, I talked to a local Kawasaki dealer and found out they do consignment too. I should have just gone there first. After talking numbers, I decided to just sell it to them.

I told myself I couldn’t get a truck until a few things happened and one of them was selling the bike. Check.

Why sell it? I averaged about 3000 miles per year until Elijah was born but in the last two years, I’ve only managed 1000 miles total. Most of those were spent in traffic commuting to work. I just have other things to do with my free time these days.

I’d love to get another bike later in life once Elijah has other things to do with his free time, but for now, I’m going to enjoy this as one more simplification of my life.

*Not actually true. I still have to get rid of all my gear and a spare rear tire. Let me know if you’re interested.

Three Pass Blast

There’s a popular motorcycle ride in this area called the Three Pass Blast. You combine Snoqualmie, Blewett and Stevens Passes for a beautiful ~240 mile ride through the mountains. I’ve done the ride quite a few times before but I decided to give it another shot in the 80 degree weather from last Saturday morning. I went counter clockwise around the loop with an 8:15AM start to try and avoid the various traffic congestion points and it worked really well. I was home by 12:30AM and still had the rest of the afternoon to work on house projects.

With two GoPro’s, I thought I could record the whole ride. The first camera battery died just after getting through Blewett pass, but when I pulled the second camera out of the saddle bag, I noticed that the bumping around had turned the camera on and drained some of the battery. That second battery died after getting through most of Stevens Pass. I still stitched the video together and ran it at 1000% normal speed. It’s not super exciting, but if you’ve never done the loop before, flip through the various points in the video and notice how dramatically the terrain changes over those 240 miles!

Tulip Ride 2013

Approximately 3 hours after we signed up for a baby class, the annual Tulip Ride was scheduled on the same day. Thankfully we ended up taking a different class and Tyla was ok with me going on the ride without her this year.

This was my fifth time on the Tulip Ride. The first time I went it was about a dozen bikes. This year we topped 200 and raised over $5000 for charity before any company matching! There were police escorts both in Redmond and in Tulalip along with media coverage leading up to the event. It’s turned into a big production!

This was also the first year that we had some celebrities on the ride. Tricia Helfer and Katie Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame were there riding some Harleys donated by Eastside Harley and taking pictures with a bunch of motorcycle riding geeks. And yes, I asked Tyla’s permission before taking a photo with Tricia.

On a sidenote, that’s probably the first time I’ve ever had my picture taken with a celebrity, at least that I can remember. It’s weird. I’m not sure I like it. “Hi, we both know I’m here just to take my photo with you and then we’ll never talk again. We both have jobs and yours just happens to put your face on TV, but we could argue about who’s job has a bigger impact on people’s lives. There’s nothing I can say that you haven’t heard a thousand times before and given the long line of people, you must just want to get this over with.” And then seeing the photo isn’t too encouraging either. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think I’m not that ugly. But then I look at the picture and it’s not hard to figure out who gets paid to look good for a living.

But back to the ride…

We started at Blazing Bagels in Redmond. Tyla and her family surprised me by showing up to watch us all leave. They weren’t alone as we drew quite a crowd of onlookers wherever we went. About 120 bikes left Redmond and we made our way up to Tulalip without staying in a super tight group. At Tulalip we picked up about another 80 bikes and then held the pack together for most of the way to the tulip fields before a car pulled into the middle of the pack and then let enough cars get in front of them that we completely lost touch with the pack. Thankfully between the four or five of us at the front of the second pack, we were able to remember the way to the tulip fields.

It started to rain near the end and since I’ve seen the majestic tulip fields many times before, I drove right past and headed home. It was a fun day but it I missed having Tyla along!

I geeked up a perfectly good motorcycle by putting two GoPros on the bike facing forward and backward. You can see the video on YouTube or embedded below. In most places it runs at 1000% of normal speed. I posted some of my photos to Flickr to share with the other riders.

I wonder if my son will want to go on one of these rides with me in the future?

Three Day British Columbia Ride

It started as an idea to ride up my motorcycle to Whistler for lunch. Then it expanded to an overnight trip. And eventually it meant that FrankL, DougW and I headed on a three day ride through British Columbia.

We left Woodinville around 9:30 on Saturday morning and headed north on I-5. We crossed the border on Hwy 15, or rather, we tried. It took about 45 minutes of sitting in stop and go traffic to get across. We stopped for lunch right across the border at the Derby Bar and Grill which turned out to be an off track betting restaurant. We skipped the horse stuff and stuck to the food, which hopefully didn’t involve horses.

The ride through Vancouver was quite unpleasant. Most of 1 was torn up for construction and it was pretty clear that most of the construction crew didn’t ride motorcycles because it was ROUGH.

That stretch wasn’t too long though and eventually we popped out on the Sea to Sky Highway heading up to Whistler. That gorgeous rode was a real treat on the motorcycle and all too quickly we were in Whistler.

We walked around the village for a while, had a few beers at the Irish pub and then ate dinner at the brew house. We stayed at the Adara Hotel right in the village. It was nice to try a new hotel there, but I’m not itching to go back. It was VERY loud until late in the night. All the hotels in the village are loud, but this one seemed a bit excessive.

On Saturday morning on the way out of town, we parked on the side of the road to take a picture next to the big Inuksuk (one of the statues you probably saw during the Olympics.) Doug’s daughters (Frank’s granddaughters) gave them some stuffed bears to carry along on the ride and they were supposed to take photos with them. When we got back to our bikes, there was a policewoman writing us parking tickets! Frank pleaded our case by holding up the bear and saying, “I’m sorry. My granddaughter gave me this to take pictures with while we’re gone!” While she tried to keep up a tough exterior, you could see it melted her heart. After a lecture about parking, she voided the ticket and let us go. Frank later named the bear in honor of her: Canadian Bacon.

The ride from Whistler to Kamloops via Lytton was one of the most amazing roads I’ve ever ridden. It was windy, twisty, hilly, and very unpopulated. The only catch was that there was a lot of wildlife to watch out for. We stopped for some kind of quail that wouldn’t fly away, mountain goats, big horned sheep, one cow, and a deer that came a little too close for my liking.

By the time we crossed over the mountains, it was HOT. Temps were right around 100, and when that’s blowing in your face at 60mph it feels like you’re in a convection oven. We stopped often to hydrate, ate some ice cream from Dairy Queen, and soaked our shirts in sinks to keep us cool. We stayed in downtown Kamloops and wandered around to find some dinner.

Monday was the last day of our trip, but it was also the longest day. The first two days were around 210 miles but this one was 280 miles. It was all almost all interstate (interprovince?) so it went quickly. We crossed the border in Sumas which had a shorter wait, but still took us about 20 minutes in the hot sun.

By the time we got home, we were all sore, but we had big smiles on our face from the ride. We all had our little hiccups along the 710 miles whether it was a check engine light (me), dripping gas (Doug) or new rattles (Frank), but our bikes held up just fine and we all got home safely. We’ll have these great memories for a long time! A couple photos are posted below and more are in the photo gallery. I rode with a camera around my neck so many of the photos are snapped hastily without really looking at the shot. When we stopped I would sometimes take out the big camera for some nicer shots. Enjoy!

 

P.S. I think I figured out my check engine light without a trip to the dealer so that made me happy. It had something to do with the Speedohealer that I installed, but the error is cleared and hasn’t come back yet.