Friday, January 31, 2014

Cabin Fever Event

Be there, you shan't be reason to let a little winter prevent it!

Cabin Fever Open House at Scooterville

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Snow, A Weekend Of

The snow is one thing.......the blowing during and after the storm is what gets us.

Thursday evening and Friday evening started everything off, about 3" of the fluffy moisture combined and it was pretty when seen through the right eyes and from the proper perspective.  I've got to be careful because I'm getting perilously close to losing proper perspective.

We all met in Red Wing for dinner after work on Friday and since no plans had been made for the hopefully lazy weekend other than getting Lauren to the airport so that she could get back to USC after her holiday break, we sat around all Friday evening and watched videos in the 'nice and warm'.  I wasn't feeling the best anyway, so some hot tea and quietly watching the flat screen made for a comfortable evening.

There was talk of going out for lunch on Saturday to one of our favorite places down the river a ways, so by 9AM I was outside and had the plow truck warming up to open up our parking area and driveway.  I was only on my 2nd (of very many) passes when the front wheels dropped over a substantial edge into some very solid, icy snow, the front blade hung up on a couple feet of previously plowed drift with my rear tires on the very icy driveway.

I was stuck.  I was really very stuck.

The '46 Ford 9N wouldn't start, even with lots of prodding, the first time THAT's happened so I shoveled.......and shoveled......and shoveled.  NPR's Car Talk was on in the truck and they were just finishing up their 11-12 show when the truck finally extricated itself.  I spent another 45 minutes getting the rest of the parking area and the long driveway clean, tired but very relieved to have it all over with.

Saturday's version anyway.

We had another couple of inches last night with weather warnings of bitter cold and of course my nemesis, blizzardy winds for this evening and Monday.  Those winds started late morning and I was out with a nice cushion of time to get the area cleaned once again before Peg and Ben took Lauren to the airport.  Much of the driveway was level full of snow with the blowing and getting everything ready so that they could 'escape' proved to be another big task.  Originally planning to be part of the send-off party, I elected to stay home so that with a half hour of warning, I'd be able to once again remove the drifts so that Peg and Ben could get back IN the driveway.

The large 'disturbed' area in the shadow between my hips and shoulders is where the truck was over the edge yesterday morning.

This is what 3 hours of blowing left us; the entire driveway was bare, side to side when they left.

Here's the Action shot.......

From inside The Beast up on the road, ready for another up-to-the-hood push of snow.  Those spots on the windshield are mud from yesterday's stuckness.  There are huge drifts on the lee side of the snowfence, again affirmation as to the fence's utility.  The low spot (ditch) actually has remained drift-free this winter.  If we get too much more snow, the fence will not be tall enough to do much good for the small area it covers.

I am feeling better today but not looking forward to tomorrow.  Weather predictions for the day are dismal, both the temperature and the winds. But, tomorrow is tomorrow.

This evening I made reservations for a weekend riding trip.....that will happen in late August and mapped out some Routes on roads I've not ridden before.

Spring will arrive, hopefully in time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Working The Booth

This year for the first time, I volunteered to help in the VJMC (Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club) booth at the International Motorcycle Show.  Various cities around the USA host the show and ours is in nearby Minneapolis and it always happens in January or February.  It's a time of year many of us need some two-wheeled inspiration.

Our son Ben is home from Camp LeJuene for a couple of weeks and I was happy to have his company on Saturday.  We drove up a couple of hours early, stopped for breakfast and still had almost enough time to wander the show floor before my 1PM-4PM shift.

Progressive Insurance hosts the show and always has a prominent display just inside.  Just inside is where the Progressive bags are freely given out for swag collection; the very popular Flo is seen everywhere.  Last year she was represented by a 112.5% lifesize cardboard cutout but this year she was seen in much smaller versions.

Here she is on a billboard, roadside on the slot car track.

There were a couple of bikes I wanted to see at the show, both of them only discovered by me within the last week or so and by accident really.  I've let all of my subscriptions go and since I hang around so many old men interested in old motorcycles, the new stuff isn't exactly front and center in my world.

Two years ago, I was very excited about the then new Honda 700 and last year, it was the Honda 500's.  No surprise to anyone that pays attention here, I'm a big fan of bikes that don't necessarily make 150hp.  This year's announcement about Honda's 300, competition for the Kawasaki Ninja 300 was something I really wanted to see.  I looked and looked again, so if it was there, I missed it.  The "full line" brochure didn't mention it either.  It was my understanding that it was to be imported here though maybe it's still just too early.

The other machines I heard about only a week ago were the new 500 and 750 Vtwin Harley Davidsons.  They weren't at the show either but I did pick up a very short and sweet brochure playing on the smaller Milwaukee machines' "heritage".

Another surprise, something I did manage to see and take a good look at was the CFMoto 650's.  I'll be paying attention and watching what develops there.

Still pretty......

I wouldn't own it but again, pretty in my eyes........

The last few years, our local and very long running Viking Chapter of the AMCA has been joining together with the VJMC to display older bikes at this New Bikes Featured show.  This years' display by both clubs was bigger and better than ever.

This says it all........

A couple of old Yamaha roadracing bikes, capable of speeds (and performance) that belie their size.  I had a Sportster not that different than Todd's here at the Antique display that was across the aisle from us.

You may be able to imagine how many times I heard ...."I had one..."  or ...."my brother had one..." or...."the kid across the street had one...."

They were there; flat fours, a rotary, two sixes (one turbo'd), some singles that were supposed to smoke and some that were not, twins as well and a very fine 400 triple.

The School of Rock was there (right next to us) and I thought they did a particularly good job with Journey and Lights Going Down.

Based on some very unscientific extrapolation, the majority of early '70's Honda 350's produced seem to still be in garages, basements and barns in Minnesota.

A wide RE5 on the stand and a wide, turbo'd KZ1300 in the distance.  It took 4 men and a boy to get the Suzuki up on this pedestal stand......16 ounces in every one of these pounds.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Morning On The Couch

Today's Post was supposed to be about the visit son Ben and I enjoyed at the IMS motorcycle event in Minneapolis yesterday but that was trumped by my time on the couch this morning.

That time was so very fine so as a result, a motorcycle themed post will have to wait until mid-week.  No photos today (sorry Bob).

I slept in this morning until a very late 5:30AM.  The house was quiet, 3 of our 4 kids are home (the Marine FINALly here) they and Mrs. C still asleep after a late evening of movie watching, the moonlight outside brilliant and my pot of fresh hot coffee brewed quickly.

Our house and farm buildings nestle against the base of the hill behind and our large windows on 3 sides at the rear of the house face a lot of (now) very wintry landscape.  I found the nicest end of the sofa, grabbed my Kindle Fire, plugged the headphones in and thanks to TuneIn, began listening to "The Weekend" on CBC out of Winnipeg.  I learned that Winnipeg was -10, Flin Flon was -20 and Thompson was -30 pre-dawn this morning.  The Canadians really DO seem to have those decimal metric system numbers nailed down, the rule of 10's seeming especially easy.

As I warmed my hands on the too-hot-to-drink coffee cup, my lap hosted 1 1/2 cats and news from the north started streaming through my headphones.  As my eyelids may have or may not have been completely open, I suddenly noticed what appeared to be a bit of movement in the moonlight up on the old hillroad.  Not more than 20 yards, ~20 meters beyond the garden, there was a brown, horizontal 'something' that seemed to have moved.  The key words here are "horizontal", "moved" and "brown".  Looking into the woods behind the house, in the dim light most brown somethings are vertical and ANYthing horizontal should have been white after Friday night's new 4" of fresh snow.

There was a deer sleeping up against the slope and the only brown that wasn't horizontal were two very tiny eartips that poked above.  For the longest time, there was no more movement.  As the sky got bright pink in the East, the head poked up and I could detect some very busy ears, focusing on the quiet stillness outside, quiet to me at least.  I heard nothing from my comfortable perch but what I then knew to be a doe out there in the snow was picking up signals, or thought she was.  I heard a sound in the bedroom and one of the showers start to flow.  Those signals weren't missed, the ears got wide and turned ahead towards the house.  A few short minutes later, the ears went back, the head went down and then only the tips were visible again above her body as the sky brightened and her form became more pronounced.

With the attention I was affording the doe, I then noticed that further up the hillroad, another horizontal chunk of brown was stirring and no longer completely still.  It was getting easier and easier to see the trail of tracks connecting both resting deer; the path of prints following the least resistant line between the two.

The 7:30 Manitoba and National news complete, an interview was held with the artist that this week would be performing Leonard Cohen songs in Winnipeg.  The interview complete, our radio host played The Good Lovelies' version of Cohen's "Hallelujah" and for a bit my eyes were forced to close, my breathing slowed.  At 7:47, most of the big sun popped over the Wisconsin bluffs across the river and flooded me as well as the deep snow around the snoozing doe; the mix of blue/white snow and orange more colorful than most would imagine a snowy landscape could possibly be.  It was just after 8 when her head came up and while I watched that lovely face and the twitching ears connecting to sounds I noticed a tongue come out and little puffs of snow were witness to the doe gathering some available moisture, or so I guessed.

By 8:20, the doe did her impression of a camel, stretching her back and shaking off the frozen snow from her thick body.  After some licking of the ice crystals from her rear haunches, her head went down and the wandering for some browse began.

Do early Sunday mornings get any better?

Friday, January 17, 2014

More Of The Fluffy

We did receive more snow in Tuesday's storm though what's here wasn't necessarily fluffy.  Fluffy is how it does come down for the most part.  However, once it starts blowing, fluffy quickly morphs into hard and crusty......and the resulting deep is what follows in sometimes very random locations.

Once our cornfields were bared last fall, I followed the harvest with only one of the two snowfence/windbreak sections of bright orange netting that normally get erected to resist the wind.  The low section of the driveway was relatively drift-free but the upper end up here by the house had some drifts that were headlight deep.

I stopped at the mailbox up on the road just in case there was still mail in the box.  It was empty as I'd expected and then I crossed the road to get a read on the driveway's condition, at least the part of it that is visible from the road.  I expected worse and was pleased to see that the erected fence had done a very good job of controlling the drifting.  I knew, or anticipated with confidence that the section of the driveway right up near the house (w/o snowfence) would most likely be the challenging part.

It was......but I made it through.  Speed, momentum and aggressive snow tires can make up for conditions that are less than ideal.  I even made it past the section that turned me sideways last winter.

This was after I spent 2 hours with the shovel, broom and plow truck removing the "official" 6" of new snow.

This car hasn't been used since Tuesday so all of that packed snow remains beneath and up into the engine compartment.  Wheels out of balance are the worst part so tomorrow I'll attempt to loosen the ice that was formed on the warm metal

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Yes, it's cold......

It truly is though we've seen as well as felt all of this before.  The State's schools are closed tomorrow, some businesses already advising their employees to "call in" their work functions.  At least the news reports are saying....."we haven't seen this for almost 20 years".....Actually it's 17 but why quibble?

Far too often, accompanied with a large sigh from me upon hearing the reports saying......"we haven't seen anything like this since 2011".......I simply have to roll my eyes.  How can anyone not wonder about our short attention spans?
-8.5 °F
Feels Like -18 °F

So, it's established that it's cold outside.  It is a beautiful day here, the sun is bright and the blue above doesn't even hint at clouds being present.   As far as I'm concerned, that gives me all of the license I need to remember warmer days in warmer places.

A number of years ago, I drove to central Colorado to retrieve our daughter who'd spent the summer at a Music Festival high in the Rockies.  The direct route, good ol' I-70 is very well known to me and that was the reason I followed only part of its route and added to it with side trips and variations.  Those variations included Nebraska #91 and #2 into Alliance.

An August day, east of Cheyenne, WY, this on I-80.....that 'other' Big Road.

Steamboat Mountain, CO.....

Near Toponas, Colorado......

What it may look like today, though this photo was from February, 2011, photo courtesy of Jeffrey Beall

Coal, lots of it, from the Powder River Basin

Glenwood Canyon, a section of I-70 that I've always enjoyed, old 2-lane or new 4, the mighty CO River adjacent looks peaceful right here.

My overnight room at Snowmass, which was then quietly waiting for colder temps and piled moisture.