Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Leaving This Afternoon For a MC Road Trip

I'm writing this Tuesday night at 11:30 pm to auto-post Wednesday afternoon.

The trip to Eastern Washington, Oregon and Central California will be a bit of a mini-adventure for a desk bound sort like me. I've been toying with the idea of what it would feel like to have the whole summer free - but I'm happy to have some time to get on the road and see some friends and family. This is just the beginning of summer and I have some more vacation saved up for trips later.

Looks like I'm going to be leaving in the rain today. Good thing I've got lots of practice riding in the Northwet this winter. I'm taking the scenic highways 167, 161, 7, 12 to Naches for a little different look than I-5.

High temperature Tuesday on Highway 12's White Pass was 44 degrees. Not surprising considering it's at 4500 feet. Should be about the same Wednesday with rain showers expected there and in Naches.

Naches looks pretty good for Thursday with some showers and an expected high of 67 degrees. Cools off as we go South with Klamath Falls expected high of 50-54 degrees on Thursday/Friday. Getting into central California the weather looks nice with Auburn expected to be 74-76 degrees on Sat/Sun.

I'm looking forward to seeing Tim, Tina, Jack and family in Naches and then Joe's birthday, family and friends in California. I'd like to see Pat and Charlie in Sacramento but I think they are out of town.

Should be fun, the scenic ride to Naches I'm taking will be about 210 miles on Wednesday and there shouldn't be any marathon runs to California - but I'm up for whatever turns out. The shortest route to Auburn from Naches is 700 miles which is a good two-day ride - for me anyway. Auburn to Everett shortest route is 810 miles so if I leave Sunday I may not be back until Tuesday since 400 miles in a day on a MC is probably more than I care to do. I'm sure it's possible - but I like to take breaks and not have to grind out any more miles than necessary on the super-slab. If I wanted to cover a lot of road miles per day I'd drive and if I was in a hurry I'd fly.

Originally uploaded by Jack Crossen
I've got some tools, clothes and food ready to go and whatever turns out will be just fine. I don't have any particular expectations, I don't have anything particularly pressing going on and have a bit of vacation time saved up. So I'm going to just enjoy the trip - I have my stuff laid out to pack and I'll be ready to go. I like to ride so...

Just need to gas up, kick the tires and light the fires - goin on a road trip!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Selling Cell Phones on eBay - Hassle City

I've almost never had any problems buying or selling items on eBay.

In fact no problems with anything I've bought and only two problems with items I've sold.

Both selling problems were with cell phones. The first one was several years ago when I sold a cell phone and the buyer thought I should have included a charger. The auction listing didn't say I was selling a charger with the phone but he assumed the phone would come with a charger. We eventually worked that out.

The most recent experience was selling an iPhone. What a fiasco...

The buyer sent me an email several minutes after winning the auction asking if I would wait 2 weeks until he got paid for him to pay for the item he won. That's very unusual in my experience since auctions - online or in person, only work on an immediate payment basis. Imagine how poorly an auction would work if you could bid on items you couldn't pay for.

Over the course of the next two weeks I exchanged many emails with the buyer answering questions he had about the phone. It's wasn't a good idea on his part to wait until after he won the auction to ask questions but I did my best to answer him.

He eventually sent money to PayPal but they aren't releasing the funds to me for up to 21 days "as long as the buyer doesn't report a problem".

That seems crazy to me. He's had the phone for over a week now and actually replied to my email saying he wanted to keep it for a week to see how it works. I have no way of knowing that he might drop the phone on the sidewalk or into the tub...or just decide it wasn't really what he wanted after all. The phone worked fine when I shipped it. I didn't offer any warranty and stated in the listing that I don't accept returns.

PayPal has a different policy.


I need to replace my iPhone in the not to distant future since a portion of the touch screen is failing making it challenging to dial numbers and perform other functions (like listening to voice mail). That should be another eBay/PayPal adventure when I sell that thing.

Since I'm in the market for a new phone, I'm debating if I should violate my "don't buy stuff at Wal-Mart policy" to take advantage of their $97 iPhone 3G S offer. Probably not.

I think I'll wait to see what the next gen iPhone has to offer and continue to limp along with my 2 year old 3G with the failing screen.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Competition is Good - Back to Comcast

I was happy when Verizon FIOS became available in August 2008 in my neighborhood and ours was one of the first houses to be connected. The internet speeds of FIOS were good, the connection was dependable, and the digital TV package seemed like a pretty good deal. My Verizon package included internet, three TV's and a basic copper-connected phone service with no long-distance.

Not too long after I signed up Verizon re-arranged their channel line-up and it wasn't really clear what package I had so I ended up paying a little more for HD sports channels that I wanted - and originally had. The prices continued to nudge up until I was paying $153 a month.

I tried calling Verizon to see if there was any package they would offer that could reduce my monthly bill, but all the sales person had to offer were ways for me to upgrade my existing services and save money by paying more.

A few weeks ago a Comcast sales person came to the door with what they are calling their Alchemy bundle. It includes a DVR, HBO, Encore, Starz, 16 Mbps internet, and digital phone services with caller ID and free long distance. The price is $89 a month (about $103 after taxes), there is no contract and installation is free.

We switched over on Saturday and so far I've had excellent service from Comcast. The installer told me I could get a free wireless router from Comcast for $9.99 shipping (no monthly charge) - which I ordered. I signed up for online billing and the person assisting me was very helpful. I think Comcast is really trying to compete with Verizon and that's good.

I'll keep Comcast for as long as it seems like a good deal - and if that changes there's always Verizon - maybe by that time they will be eager for more customers.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kawasaki C10 Concours Forums and a Little History

One of the nice things about the Kawasaki Concours C10 is that it had a 20 year production run (1986 to 2006) with minor changes so parts are plentiful and it has attracted a dedicated and knowledgeable group of riders. Two examples of useful sites are the ZG/GTR fanatics forum and the Concours Owners Group - Technical Pages.

It isn't the latest technology, or fastest bike, but the C10 has a reputation for dependability, long-distance touring, and being pretty easy to maintain.

Kawasaki began building the C14 Concours in 2008. The C14 has a bigger engine which is quite a bit more powerful and has more up to date styling.

For someone like me who was used to 1970's motorcycles the old C10 is just fine for now. I think it's a really good bike for distance riding with a big gas tank, side bags, fairing and windshield. Given the price of a used one you can afford to buy a couple of other bikes for what a new C14 (or a cheap used car would cost) it's waaaay more fun than any car.

Motorcycle and Bicycle Literature

I just ran across which has a nice collection of links to books related to two-wheeled transportation.

From the website -

"Most of us who love two-wheeled personal transportation, be it motor- or human-powered, have an unending curiosity about the experiences of other riders who crave the road. So we seek out the writings of those who ride: the once-in-a-lifetime adventurers, the inveterate world travelers, even those who find road-related pleasures within a few miles of home."

I'll probably have to check some of those books out next fall/winter when the rain and colder weather sets in. For now I want to spend some time on the road myself.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bling For The Concourse

I put a Kawasaki Emblem (second row from the bottom on the left side) on the Sears top case that came with the Concours tonight. The emblems come in white, chrome, green and red. I used the chrome color.

I tried to replace the reflector with the emblem but the top case is a matte material so the emblem didn't stick very well directly to the case and I ended up putting it on the reflector.

I had an extra emblem so I stuck it on the windshield.

I think they look sort of cool.

You know a motorcycle is working pretty good if the only thing you can think to do to it is stick decals on it. I still have a little painting to do when it gets hot and I'll change the oil sometime after the Cali trip...or maybe the Montana trip - since the oil/filter is a 5000 mile maintenance item for this bike.


BikeBandit 10% AMA Discount

Monday, May 17, 2010

Syttende Mai Parade Ballard 2010

The Norwegian Independence Day parade in Ballard was fun. Lots and lots of floats, bands, viking hats, traditional clothes and Norwegian flags.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lots of motorcycles in Everett today!

Bassett Hound Hanging Out

I took lots of pictures at the MC show in Everett on Sunday. It was a lot of fun. Weather was good and there were thousands of people and hundreds of bikes in the streets, as well as bands, vendors, food and drink.

I put the pictures at Everett MC Show 2010 - a set on Flickr

Friday, May 14, 2010

MC Trip Coming Up

Less than a couple of weeks until I head over to Naches for a trip south with Tim for Joe's birthday celebration in California. I'm really looking forward to the trip. It should be pretty good weather by then and we have enough time to be able to enjoy the ride.

I've been playing with Google maps thinking about the trip.

View MC Trip to Joe's Birthday in Cali in a larger map

You never know about the weather. Looking at the weather history for Bend Oregon for May 28th shows a record high of 92 and record low of 24. My guess is it will somewhere in between those two temperatures this year and maybe closer to the average daytime temperature of 68..which would be about perfect.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Motorcycle Show In Everett This Sunday May 16th

Sky Valley Antique and Classic Motorcycle Show is this Sunday.
Bike registrations start at 9 am, band at 11 am and the show ends at 4 pm.

The show is centered on Colby Avenue between Pacific Avenue and Everett Avenue.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sewing Leather

I have a pair of leather pants that I wanted to make a little longer so they go down to the top of my boots when I'm riding a motorcycle.

I ordered some scrap leather from Dangerous Threads on eBay for $11.95. I bought some Leather Hand Needles, snaps and rubber cement from Jo-Ann Fabrics. It took me about 4 hours to hand sew my pant extensions on and I was pretty pleased with the end result.

I started sometime before midnight on Saturday night and finished early in the morning. It was really relaxing - plus the PBS special The Buddha was on while I was working.

The leather needles work pretty good, they have a triangular shaped point that pierces the leather fairly easily. You need to use a strong thread, which I already had from a pickup seat upholstery do-it-yourself job I did a few years ago. You use the rubber cement to finish the seams on the inside and give them a finished look. I used a small tin can as a roller to flatten the seams while the rubber cement set up. I used a hammer and a round point chisel to attach the two snaps I added to the bottom of the pants.

These photos show what the pants ended up looking like on the inside and outside -

I like making things work and learning new things so doing some research on how to sew leather and then sewing some leather pants on a Saturday night was enjoyable. My idea of a good time on a Saturday night has changed considerably over the years.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Acme Washington

Acme is in northwest Washington on Highway 9 about 25 miles south of the Canadian border and just a little southwest of Mount Baker.

If you enlarge this photo the text on the mural is pretty interesting. The busses carried "pets at no extra compensation, please no goats". "Ladies - no travel fears - our drivers narrations shall not be infused with profanities nor will and political or religious opinions be offered."

In the middle it says, "Today, us locals still relish our splendid isolation."

It is a nice part of Washington state and the guy who's house this is painted on is really friendly. He offered to take my picture in front of it and wanted to make sure I read the text on the mural.

I got a double espresso at the store in Acme for 80 cents and learned that it's possible to drop the ignition key for a Kawasaki Concours inside the fairing if you aren't careful when you pull it out of the ignition. It took me about 20 minutes to remove enough of the fairing so I could find my key and get back on the road.

Next time I'm up that way I want to stop at Everybody's Store in Van Zandt about 5 miles up the road from Acme.