Sunday, July 30, 2006

Birthday Ride

Yesterday was my birthday. Tina and I decided to do a trip up to Estes Park. We left Friday and got back Saturday at 5:00. I didn't want to be gone all day, because I wanted to spend some time with Jaime on my birthday.

It was a beautiful trip. We took 105, to Santa Fe, hit 470 and then 70 for a bit up to the Black Hawk turn (went past the EMF camp), and then up to Estes. Pretty much the "back way" - off-road. We really like riding the small/back roads and staying off the interstate. Much more relaxing, scenary is better, hit some small stores/places-to-eat.

Hot afternoon, walk into a small general store, golden lab laying on a piece of carpet right in front of the door, looks up with one eye, acknowledges your presence and then closes the eye. We step over him and walk in. Yeah, its just that kind of lazy day. As we head toward the 2 soda display cases, the owner says, "We just installed the 2nd one, soda probably isn't cold yet, you might want to try the other". He's right, so I look at the display of Stewarts - picking a lime. "Hey Tina, what do you want?" - "Whatever". Owner's wife says, "The Black Cherry seems to be our most popular". So, grabbing two cold Stewarts and the obiligatory cinnamon roll that Tina grabs at every stop, we head out and sit on a couple of milk crates. Watching the few travellers and locals heading in and out. Just gazing around at the mountains and watching a dog in a far off pasture chasing something only he sees back and forth. Its a great day.

That kind of thing is great about back-roads and not something you usually find on the main highway!

Anyway - it was a beautiful trip. Ate at the Big Horn Restaurant. We headed west out of town a bit, say a place to stay that looked not too expensive (it wasn't cheap - but when they said they had a room with a hot-tub - well my back was hurting a bit and I just had to do it!). We asked where was a good place to eat and the owner said "Right next door". "What kind of food do they have?" - "Well the smoker is going, so they will have BBQ today" - and she could have stopped talking right then, because I was sold. But they also had Italian and Salad Bar. I got the ribs (ate 1/2 of them - I'm less hungry when traveling) and Tina got fish and chips and we both had salad bar. Their sign outside said "Grits" and inside they had a review of "Voted best breakfast in Estes Park" - Yup - we were back the next morning for breakfast. The grits were probably the best I've had. Yum.

Went to the Safeway to get some soda and snacks. Long line. Woman behind me (maybe in her mid 50s or so?) asks me, "So what model to you ride?" - "Excuse me?" - "What model of Harley do you ride?" - Guess the dew rag, vest, t-shirt and chaps - all with Harley Davidson plasterd all over them was a dead give away. ;) We ended up having about a 15 minute conversation about how her and her husband used to live in the Springs, built customer Harleys, her son races high performance bikes for Harley now. Very cool stuff. Like they say "Its a brotherhood". :)

Next morning we headed into the park, taking the road across to Grand Lake, Granby and back to Idaho Springs, were we hit I-70 and back the way we came. It was awesome. I have a picture (which I'll post later) that shows Tina and I on the bike with a 12,750 ft peak in the background. Tina was pretty nervous. We are both nervous on high Mt roads (yes, the kids can tell you great stories of us going up to Pikes Peak) - but I'm not so nervous when I'm on the inside and on a bike. Much better a bike than a car! In any case, it was a great ride - really beautiful country.

We were pretty spent when we got home. We plan on probably going down and seeing Tif in AZ in the fall... But so far we've only covered about 200 miles in one day. We tend to just enjoy riding - and stop very seldom, and then only for a few minutes. Because I had a head-ache (I think I need to do some glasses adjustments) - we stopped at Starbucks when we hit I-70 and sat there for probably 15 minutes, watching the Big Horn Sheep. I think we need to do that more. I think the trick is to stop more often, and more longer periods of time. I can usually feel pretty fatigued, and after 30 minutes I'm ready to go again. We usually eat breakfast before we hit the road. I think riding for an hour or so, then doing breakfast, then riding, do lunch, etc. will let us go further in a day. But we haven't gotten into the swing of that yet. Usually we are a) excited to go and just want to grab something and hit the road, b) love to ride and so don't stop often or for long, c) not all that hungry when we are riding. But I think if we can make this adjustment it will really work out for us.

Plus last night I was watching a few Food TV shows about guys on the road looking for the cool dinner, backroads place to eat, etc. Yeah... I need to do that. Not just hit the fast-food joint, eat the same-ol/same-ol food, and hit the road... But make it an adventure. Look for the small town place with good reviews, lots of cars, whatever. A "Hey - hows it going. Where you heading" type place. That will make trips more of an adventure and more fun. And should break up the ride some.

Anyway - it was a great birthday and one I won't forget. And I wore my new vest (birthday present) - as it was way to hot for the jacket. And when I got home I put my first pin on in - a HOG pin. :)

So its all good... now just have to figure out where we are going next weekend... There's always Sturgis. ;) - Nah, not this year... but maybe next. :)

There are a couple of Pikes Peak Chapter or just HOG in general rides this coming month. Some folks have said the Cripple Creek run is a bit of a pain. 40K bikes riding to Cripple Creek. Lots of stop and go... but we might do it anyway. Just to do it.

Anyway - its an adventure and one we are totally into. We've literally seen more of CO in the past month than we've seen the entire time we've been here. 365 miles this weekend, and 1635 total this month. :)

See ya on the rode! :)

Tri-Lakes Poker Run update

The Poker run was great. Our first poker run! I think the best part of the run, from a motorcycle ride point of view, was the first part. We left and there were probably 50 bikes all together. Pretty cool.

Because a poker run has multiple stops - and because those stops are very organized, at least on this run, folks pretty much leave when they want to. So at each stop the "group" gets smaller and smaller, until the last leg there was just our party of about 4 bikes. This was still fun, especially riding with Steve and Robert, but it didn't have the whole "run" feel.

Tina asked later what I liked best, doing a group ride or going "lone wolf". I like them both - they are just very different. In a group ride you ride in staggered formation. Reading one of the HOG newsletters they have definte rules about this - how far apart, handle signals, etc. It has the "thrill" of being in a large pack, which is very cool, but I'm new enough to it that I'm really paying attention to the people in front of me and concentrating more than just riding. So pros and cons. But I think most of the cons will go away as I get more used to it.

All in all, it was a great day. Great company, great ride - just a real fun time.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Our first "run"

Today is the Tri-Lakes Fire Department Poker Run. A Poker Run is an organized ride where you stop at 5 different locations and pick up a playing-card. When you get to the final destination, you play Texas Holdem with the 5 cards. Someone wins - something. Its not really about the cards, its about the ride. But it gives you a goal. And besides, as they say "Its not the destination, its the journey".

We really don't know much about it. Steve went before and said it was fun, so we are going with him and a few of his friends. It should be a blast. Its our first organized ride with a group, and we are totally psyched. We were both up off and on all night. Like Tina said, "Its like Christmas". "Is it morning yet?". :)

Looks like the weather should be good for it.

All we know at this point is that registration starts at 8:00, first bike out at 9:30, last at 10:30. Steve said he thinks it finishes between 4:00 and 5:00. You get a map, your 5 destinations, and how long you can stop at each. Last year it went up through Evergreen. So - some mountain riding, having to make 5 stops (so not all straight riding). We plan on leaving here about 8 - so we aren't the first ones there. Get there about 8:30 - plenty of time to get registered and eat free breakfast, and then leave hopefully in one of the earlier groups. There is a BBQ when we return - not sure how late we'll be staying... we like to kind of avoid the late afternoon storms that are happening this time of the year - but we'll see.

Will post on how it went. Hopefully with some pictures. You can see the 3 of us: me, Tina and Cap'n Jack. :)

Cap'n Jack

Tina has named the bike. Since its color is Black Perl, she decided to name "him" Captain Jack. It seems to fit.

He was in the shop for 3 days for the 1000 mile tuneup. Not that it takes that long, but the shop was heavily booked and squeezed it in where possible. He came back in great shape. The loaner bike I had was a single-seat. More of a street bike. It was fun... but it wasn't Cap'n Jack. I've ridden to work every day this week - some coming home in slight rain. I just like big ol' Cap'n Jack. I like the feel of riding a bigger bike through the rain. (Picture "us" on a ship riding the storm out... yeah something like that :)). It just sturdy and already "my" bike. I know the feel. I'm really happy we decided to get the Ultra. Its a great bike.


Just journalling...

Work is going well. Agile/XP is working very well for us. When we were in Vail, Bec asked how work was going and I talked to her about XP some. She was very interested. I need to pursue that - would help bring XP into another organization.

Anyway... I worked as the lead on an implementation for 3 releases now. Whereas there were quite a few defects, slips, etc. under the waterfall process; we have been able to use XP and have minimal defects (maybe 2 - 4) come out of system test. The releases have been on time as well, and I have done some major refactoring. One that allowed me to suggest a better algorithm for fraud detection to the user. They liked the idea and it took me less than a few hours to implement. Excellent. :)

Going out to DC Monday/Tuesday. A *very* fast trip. Leave here at 6 in the morning, get to DC around 2 - head to work, do some catching up and go over a few things; then out for dinner. One of our customers there is leaving Verizon so we are going out to do a brain dump, say good-bye, etc. So - may be out late for dinner. Than start at 7 the next morning, meetings all day with aout 10 people (the participants are expanding as folks learn we are coming out and meeting with the customer), and then make Dulles around 6:30. Back home around 10:30 or so. Will make for a long two days... and no Harley. But its all good stuff.

So - all good stuff at work. Interesting, getting things fixed, etc.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Time for 1000 mile tune-up

First tune-up on the bike is 1000 miles - and we are at 997 right now. :)

Went up to Vail on Friday (going over 3 mountain passes), then round-trip to Grand Junction on Saturday, and then back from Vail on Sunday.

Grand Junction was very brown and HOT. It was 103 there. We *thought* about checking out the area, but by the time we got there we just went to GJHD, bought some shirts, and headed back to the cooler mountains.

It was a great trip. Stopped in Breck for lunch with the Ts and Jaime, then hung out with Becky and Rich on Saturday night. Ate at an AWESOME place. The Duck Confit was my favorite.

All the riding was great. No rain. Nice rides. And we found out we can do that much traveling and not get sore, still wake up the next day with a "lets go!" attitude, etc. Now have to start looking into Cody, WY and Tuscon, AZ for our next big trips. :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Patrick's Two-bit ride

Patrick posted this as a comment to one of my posts, but because of its length or content, it "broke" my blog - nothing displayed after it. I deleted it and am reposting it here as a normal entry


You made the wise decision on not attending the rally.

The rally in a word was: WET! It was just a 6 hour, 230'ish mile (thus the name Two-Bit) Rally, that went from Morrison CO. to Frisco via Pine->Manitou Springs->Buena Vista->Leadville.

I don't know if it was tenacity, or stupidity, when I made the decision to go ahead and run this. It rained the entire 290+ miles (this included the trip from Frisco back to Morrison).

It started out as a comfortable ride, as I had waterproof gear on, until I got to Fairplay, and realized that my water proof pants had a single spot that was not water proof. The water had pooled on the seat, and had leaked in thru the crotch area of the pants and had gathered in all the loose spots, and when I stood up, all that water went into ... you guessed it ... my water proof boots.

At this point, I was done. The problem was that it was raining hard, and I was just shy of what I thought was the mid point of the trip (I need to learn to read maps better :) ).

Well, being the trooper that I am, I decided to continue to the finish. Not a wise decision, but it was the one that I made.

The ride continued on through Buena Vista (interesting folk live there), and went on up to Leadville. You don't want to speed in Leadville... trust me. Almost all of the 30+ bikers that I saw there were observing the posted limits.

From Leadville, the ride continued on into Frisco via 91. This was probably the worst part of it, as I had to bring the speed back to around 45-50 and even 30 at some points because of water pooling on the highway. The water had found it's way into the liner of my helmet and I was unable to keep warm at all.. Frequent stopping to squeeze the water out of my gloves did not help much, but it was enough :)

When I finally reached Frisco, to meet the very concerned rally organizer and his wife, I had discovered that I had posted dead last in my very first rally, but not by much :)

I was able to get phone service in Frisco, so I called Elizabeth to let her know that I was wet, but alive. I spent a little time getting myself warm, and had considered getting a room to spend the night there as it was still raining. I had a good 60+ miles still to go before I got home, and decided that since I was already soaked through, that I might as well continue on home.

I have to say, that even with the rain issue, I had a blast. I saw at least 200+ bikers that day, and of the ones that I had conversations with, nobody ever complained much about the rain. Comments ranged from "It's a scosh wet" to "Man we really need this rain"! These people are hard core.

I will very definitly do this rally again next year, but will be much better prepaired for weather. Kenosha Pass was very cold. One addition to the bike that I will be making, even though it looks silly on a crusier, is a full police style windscreen. I believe that this is an absolute must when riding in rain.

I'm still a beginning rider, but have learned a lot about riding in the rain. I have also discovered a way to really appreciate what God has given us who live here in Colorado :)

For anybody who would be interested in going on a shorter rally... take a look at TwoBits for more information about this annual rally. Pay special attention to the logo that they are using this year. I know the designer of this, and she is one awesome lady!


Although wet - it *does* sound like a blast. I haven't ridden much for 10 years, so consider myself a "beginner" at this point as well. We weren't really up for the weather or for mountain roads in a group. But we'll probably do it next year!

BTW: Palmer Lake FD is doing a Poker Run on the 22nd and we plan on doing that. We are going with several folks that we know. Should be fun. Our first "organized" outting with a group of bikers. :)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Corn Chowder

Yesterday was pretty raining and just kind of drery out.

So, after I got done shopping, I came home and threw some corn chowder together. Then put it in the crock pot to keep it warm.

Tina and I went riding for about an hour. A little cold and a little rain here and there, but still very fun.

And then we got home and had rolls and hot corn chowder waiting for us.

YUM. :)

I'm thinking its not that big of a deal

Backround: I'm at the store doing some grocery shopping. There is a mom there with two little kids. One pretty small. We are going up and down the same aisles, but in opposite directions, so pass each other every now and then. The little one is staring to cry and she says something to it about getting tired of shopping or something. All in all pretty good kids; but obviously not having that fun of a time.

Anyway - I get all done and head up front to check out. There are about 4 cashiers, but I notice only two have lights on (meaning that the other two are going on break or whatever). I notice the mom is standing in the line with the light off, and figure she must have been the last person in line before the light went off. I look at the two available cashiers and pick the one with the hopefully shortest line. I'm about two checkout stands away from the mom.

Cashier: finishes with a customer, starts to checkout the next one, the one in front of the mom, and looks up noticing the mom. Excuse me mame, but I'm closed.
Mom: in a very irritated and loud voice. Well you could have told me that before I spent all this time waiting in line! by my accounts, all of 3 minutes or so
C: Oh, I'm sorry. I'll go ahead and take you.
M: NO. THATS OK. and turns and moves to another line
M: now on the other side of me, and mumbling to self. She picks her kids up out of the cart If there is one thing I hate... come on


Lady behind me: What was she so upset about?
Me: The cashiers light was off and she got in line and the cashier told her she was closed so she went to the other line.
Lady: Yeah I know... but I mean, what was she so mad about?
Me: That was it!
Lady: Just looks at me and shakes her head Oh...
Me: Yeah, some folks. Doesn't take much

And so it rains every day

Buy a motorcycle and it rains every day. :( - Oh well, the lawn is very green and I'm not having to water, which is saving some $$.

We have been able to ride it a bit. I took it to work on Friday and left a little early to beat the storms. Was still ok when I got home, so took Jaime for a ride. They got me a Harley "Ride" CD - which has some cool tunes on it, so that was very fun.

Then yesterday Tina and I took it out for an hour or so. Hit a few drizzles, but not bad. And we managed to miss some good rain storms, judging by all the water on the road. We were going to go do a rally with Patrick, but it was raining when we got up, and we just aren't into doing that kind of thing in the rain yet.

All it all its very fun, but just not the right weather right now. Hoping for some good weather next weekend, because Tina has off starting Thur afternoon and I might take Friday off - so we'd get a good 3 day weekend. Maybe go up to the mountains or something.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

We did it

Thur: Tried out 3 Harleys. Several folks said to look at some other brands, but I just kind of had my heart set on a Harley. If you're going to do it... do it. :)

Heritage Softail Classic: Sits low. Nice handlebar placement. Very nice ride. Went up to Tina's work, then down through Garden of the Gods, up 24 to I-25, Fillmore back to the dealer. Nice.

Road King: Didn't really like how it sat or the handlebar placement. Was definately sold on the Softail. Took it to Tina's work. As I pulled in, two other bikes pulled in behind me. One of the guys was a client of Tina's and one was his friend up from San Fransico. We probably talked for 30 minutes. All kind of info, how they love their bikes, how great Harleys are, etc. One had a Softail and a Electra or Ultra Glide. Said if we were going to tour (and we are) then a touring bike is the way to go. One had a Road King - about $1500 to $2000 cheaper than the other bike, but had thousands of upgrades in it. Said if he had it to do over, he'd go for the dressed out bike.

Electra Glide: Based on their recommendation, I took out an Electra Glide. I liked the ride. Took it up to Castle Rock to show Jaime. Pretty sweet.

Fri: We already had a Heritage Softail Classic reserved. Would have liked to take out a touring bike, but like the one guy said, "Take out the Softail. You'll end up getting a touring bike - but at least you'll know and not wonder - did I make the right choice, what if, etc."

We had a blast.

Fri: Left at 4:00, up the pass to Woodland Park and out to Buena Vista. Hit a bit of rain on the way, but not bad. Got to Buena Vista pretty early. Checked into a motel and got dinner. Cyrgio (? - something like that). Excellent food. Very good. Then headed north and then west toward Cottonwood pass. Got back and went to bed pretty early.

Sat: Up early and back riding. We were going to go up to Aspen, Carbondale and then down to Gunnison, but we were worried about the weather. So went south to Gunnison and over Monarch Pass. Fun ride and got into Gunnison by about 10:30 or so. Wandered around for a bit and were going to go to Salida, but we had reservations and couldn't cancel them. So headed west for a ride. Down towards Lake City for about 20 miles, then back and out to Blue Mesa Dam. Very cool area and nice ride. Then back to the hotel at 2:00 and checked in. Took a nap and then out for dinner and to bed early.

Sun: Up early, out to Salida, then on to Canyon City and up 115 back home. Home by 2:00. Another beautiful ride.

Getting the feel of the bike. Tina's butt was very sore, so definately need a touring bike - but still a great ride. We both loved it. So peaceful. Didn't want to stop. Just touring w/o hotel reservations would be great. Ride till the weather gets bad or we get tired and stop for the night. Just hard to do on 4th of July weekend.

I'm still going pretty slow on corners and a bit worried about rain, but getting the feel for it.

Monday, returned the bike first thing in the morning... and went back to buy one that night. :) Got an Ultra Classic. Yup - the one with everything. Cost a pretty penny, but it will be worth it. Its something that both of us really enjoy... and we really don't do anything else. So we figure we'll do a lot of day trips, I'll ride it to work, and we plan on doing some tours. Probably down to AZ to see Tif, etc. Maybe out to MI in 2009.

Today put about 100 miles on it. Just mostly riding around. Went up to Larkspur to show Steve and Lana. Robert was working so he came over. Told us about the Palmer Lake Poker Run on the 22nd (something like that - a week from Saturday). We might do that. It would be fun.

Also reading the manual, the HOG member's manual, etc. Some cool stuff.

So anyway... mid-life crisis or whatever. We now have a Harley and are HOG members. :)

Its Black Pearl. Very sweet. :)

Monday, July 03, 2006

1 in 3 chance...

I drink quite a bit of Diet Mt Dew at work. So they have this contest where you enter the code from your bottle cap and you have a 1 in 3 chance of winning a ring tone. I have no ring tones on my phone, I drink a lot of Mt Dew. So... I've been throwing the lids in my laptop bad and figured I'd enter them at some point.

Been messing around not working this morning (taking the day off), and figured I'd do it. I've got 15 lids... so I should win about 5 ring tones. Cool.

So I have to sign up for Yahoo (who runs this) because I've forgotten all my yahoo info. Then I have to register with Pepsi. I get all that done, and how many ringtones do I win, given there is a 1 in 3 chance and I have 15 chances...

New math. Zero. :(