Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blogger Stats

After about a year and a half of blogging, I admit that I had hardly ever looked at the Google Stats in the blogger program. I was amazed. First surprise: One of my posts last year around Thanksgiving, regarding Native American Spirituality, is the most viewed, by far, of the more than 100 posts I have done. And that post is not even about scootering, the primary theme of my blog. Second surprise: Where the viewers are coming from. The USA and Canada does not surprise me. The United Kingdom is a distant third, but many of the other countries surprised me. Oh, it's just a few from other countries, but was interesting. Russia? ..... Really? South Korea? VietNam? A few european countries were represented. Spain, The Netherlands, Germany. I found the statistics on page hits to be very interesting. I guess that I always assumed that the number of comments received was a good indicator of how much my blog was read. And I guess I always knew that some people read it, but didn't leave comments. I faithfully read a lot of blogs, but do not always leave comments. But now I realize, even more so, that number of comments is not really very indicative of readership. I love comments on my blog. Sometimes they are just as much fun as the post itself. And I like to pester people by commenting on their blogs. But sometimes it just becomes a matter of available time, not enough of it. Then another question is raised. How many if those page hits are my own? I frequently look at my own blog to check for comments. Some days I will do this many times, other days not at all. I guess I could click on my blog more often and artificially increase my own hits, but what's the point of that. Back to that Native American Spirituality post, though. I suspect that a reference or link in Google Images might have something to do with the number of hits to my blog. I had 'borrowed' a few images from there to use in the post. I am guessing that somewhere in Google Images that there may be a link to my blog. I really have no idea how this might work, and don't really care, but to me it is the only possible reason why that post has had so many hits. It certainly can't be from motorcycle or scooter enthusiasts. The number of hits is more than 4 times the number on the next highest post. Go figure. What this all means? I haven't a clue! I had a very excellent Statistics professor in college that said on the first day of class, "You can make statistics say anything you want them to if you just play around with the numbers long enough." I have never forgotten what he said and I think about that statement a lot, particularly when looking at television or other advertisements. Sometimes numbers can be very misleading. So maybe the Blogger Stats aren't that important. There may be certain interesting results, but in the long run I don't think it will change whatever modus operandi I have for the blog. I just enjoy blogging.

Monday, December 27, 2010

8,000 Miles Later

It's not a monumental feat, but in a little more than 2 years, I now have 8,000 miles on that scooter I call Max. Being sort of a numbers guy, I decided to do a little math, just for fun.
To be somewhat accurate, I need to make a few assumptions.
Average gas price: $2.80
That's a guess. It has probably ranged from $2.55 to almost $4.55 per gallon.
Average miles per gallon:
Max: 70
Subaru: 22
I tracked the mileage pretty close on Max for the first 8 or 9 months. In town, where I do most of my riding, I consistently got 75 mpg. On a highway, if riding hard, I'll get about 60 mpg. For the Subaru I used what I get in town for comparison.
Max: Total gallons used: 8,000 miles / 70 mpg = 114 gallons
I recall that I used to have a pickup that had a 30 gal main tank and a 20 gal reserve tank.
Total cost for gas: 114 * $2.80 = $319
That seems pretty low, but then I remember that a fill up is usually only about $4.
Gallons used if I had driven the Subaru: 8,000 / 22 mpg = 364
Cost for gas: 364 * $2.80 = $1,019
Okay, I saved about $700 in gasoline over the last 2 1/2 years. Maybe not quite a boatload, but.....
Consider the difference if my car was only able to get 15 mpg, or 10 mpg. .
There are many other differences in cost. The initial purchase for Max was just a little more than half of what I paid for the Subaru. Max was brand new, the Subaru was well used. Taxes are less. Insurance is less.
. Lots of other differences as well. I can't carry as much with Max. The wagon holds a lot more. And the Subaru has heated seats. And I love the Subaru almost as much as Max.
. But do you want to know the real reason I prefer taking Max to work each day?
. It's a whole lot more fun!
. But I bet you already knew that.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Just a Wonderful Little Holiday Story

My wife looked like she might have had some tears in her eyes when she came to work today. Cathy and I were wondering what was up. We sometimes donate goods to a local Disabled American Veterans Thrift store near our home. They have a drive-thru dropoff dock at the back of the store. We had this old cuckoo clock that we retired from use in our home recently and Jayna wanted to drop it by the store on her way to work this morning. She had a busy morning with a couple of extra errands and was anxious to get to the office. When she arrived at the store, she realized it was a few minutes before 9:00 and she would have to wait a bit for the store to open and drop off the clock. Not only that, but in front of her in the lineup of cars was a pickup truck with a topper that had smoked glass that you couldn't see through. Feeling some impatience, she was feeling a bit frustrated at having to wait, especially because the truck in front of her looked like it might take awhile to unload. Eventually someone came out of the store and they opened up the back of the pickup truck in front of her. It was full of presents. Jam packed from top to bottom. Balls, bats, games and everything imaginable for kids. Some Santa had just done a very wonderful thing. The people at the store were very excited to receive the gifts, that they knew would fly off the shelves and make for a wonderful Christmas for somebody somewhere. Jayna watched all of this as she sat in the car and shed a few tears as she thought to herself, "And all I have is this silly old cuckoo clock". Her feelngs of impatience disappeared immediately. There was something much more important going on here. Ahhh......... It's the Season ! Stuff like this happens all over the place this time of year. It's really special when you can be on hand to see some of it happen.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Few Holiday Decorations

Our Santa Claus got a new place to reside this year. Right by the front door so all could see that he was keeping an eye on things around our house.
Inside the house a series of figurines take their usual place on the mantel. A lady that lives near Wichita designed these. We have a few of her creations.
Some of them may be more Winter themed than Christmas themed, but we like them.
After all, isn't it the memories what it is all about.
Our climate is not real conducive to ice skating, but we can still dream.
Back outside, just after Thanksgiving, we work on the fir tree in the front yard. We have close to 450 lights and "balls" we hang each year. The neighbors will begin hounding us to get the lights up if we delay even a day or two. Each year this darn tree gets a little taller and a little harder to manage. We enlisted the help of our son this year to help put up the lights.
And a night shot.
Hope everybody has a safe and wonderful holiday season. Spend time with your families. Maybe drink a little, but certainly laugh a lot.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Two Wheeler at the Tax Seminar

Thursday, December 9 I was putting on my gear while people were sort of chatting and milling around at the end of an all day tax seminar. One of the people saw me putting on my gear pants and commented to me that my ride home ought to be warmer than my ride that morning to the seminar. I said I was looking forward to the ride home, but the ride that morning really wasn't all that unpleasant. It was 33 degrees as I left the house this morning, about 50 degrees for the ride home. It was almost 15 degrees colder for the morning ride to work yesterday. Then the same person said "I don't know how you do it!" I wasn't all that sure how to respond, but said something about just being properly dressed and let it go at that. Then I wondered, am I really that weird to ride in cold weather? I don't see as many motorcycles out on the streets this time of year, but there are some and I know that I'm not the only one who rides at this time of year. I am sure of one thing though. I was the only person that arrived at the seminar that morning on two wheels. So maybe I am a bit unusual. Does that bother me? Naaaah! Let them think what they want to think. If they admire it, fine. If not, fine. I am mostly indifferent as to what they think. I just know how I feel about it. Maybe I am proud of being a bit "greener" than other people. After all, I probably got about 75 mpg getting to and from the seminar that day. Few others, if any, could claim that, and then only if they car-pooled. Maybe I like the challenge of riding in colder weather. Maybe I am secretly looking for admiration and respect from others. I do get a chuckle when I pull up next to someone in a car at a stoplight and they look over at me with this look on their face that tells me they are sure I am crazy. But that isn't it either. I just prefer not giving people the knowledge that one of the reasons I do it is because I enjoy the hell out of it. Now, as you might imagine, tax seminars for CPA's are not renowned for being very exciting. There was one sort of cool thing (I think) that happened that day. Most of the time we get a big notebook full of reference materials at these events. Sometimes there is a lot of paper and my office is full of old notebooks from past seminars I have attended. But just recently they started emailing the materials to us in a .pdf format. If we want to we can print off our own "book", or as an alternative bring a laptop or e-reader with the .pdf file already saved. I think this is a great idea. I brought the laptop and was able to read along as the instructor spoke. Some people brought I-pods, I-pads and other devices. A lot of CPA firms are going "paperless" and we will start that effort ourselves next year. We'll be trying to kill even fewer trees. The day was spent with much thought about changes in tax laws. I also thought about "green" things today. I barely even gave any thought to the temperatures today. The seminar was at a hotel on the opposite side of town. As a result, I had two really nice rides today.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A New Glove Set-up

A lot of people have told me that after I acquire my first set of heated gloves or grips, that I will want to kick myself for not having done so sooner. And No, I haven't done it (yet). My reasons, all with various levels of invalidity are as follows: 1) I am Cheap! The grips or gloves are expensive. 2) If I ask Jayna to spend more money on "scootering", she is liable to have a different idea or suggestion. And she is frequently right! 3) I am a bit afraid of messing with the electronics on Max. It would probably be fine, but I sure wouldn't want to screw something up. I am a firm believer in the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". 4) I really do not need them very often. I have survived quite well in temperatures down to freezing. Below that, I have had some issues. 5) My commute only takes me about 15 minutes. I figure I can stand cold fingers for at least that amount of time. The rest of me stays mostly comfortable. 6) I have a level of insecurity about fiddling with the electronics. I would want to do it very right the first time. Ideally, I would want a device where I might want to plug in various devices. Maybe heated grips, maybe heated clothing, maybe a GPS, maybe a Christmas tree, maybe a Blaupunkt. And I am certainly too cheap to pay someone to do this for me (reason #1). But recently I found an old pair of gloves with a fleece liner. I removed the liner and am now using the liner with my regular winter gloves and it has resulted in a vast improvement. It is sort of a tight fit, and maybe a little less feeling on the controls, but much better than what I was doing last winter. I laugh sometimes about the clothing and gear I used that first winter. It was a process of experimentation as I discovered what did and didn't work very well. The 2nd winter was better and the clothing and gear experiments are ongoing. Two years from now maybe I'll look back and think about what an idiot I must have been. Live and Learn, I guess. I keep telling myself that someday I'll be really smart.

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Family, a Rider and a Brewery

Some more relatives recently came to town to attend another wedding. They didn't want to make two trips for two different weddings, but part of the reason for the trip was to help celebrate our daughter's wedding last month. One evening we met them at a local brewery/restaurant for dinner and fun. The brewery has been here for many years, but I admit that it had been a long time since I had eaten (or drank) there. They make various types of beers of their own and you can easily find something to your liking anywhere from a pale wheat beer to some ales and a stout. I am not a big beer drinker, but have been known to imbibe on occasion. With relatives in town, the celebration was on.
They usually have 6 kinds of beer available. Each production run is a little bit different to make it interesting. You can order samples of each beer, which I did, so we could decide which one we liked. Here they are lined up in order of darkness, the stout at the left, the wheat pale ale at the right. There were only a couple I didn't really like and it was difficult to decide which one to order. Of course I felt it necessary to finish off most of the samples first.
These relatives were from Jayna's side of the family, had previously lived in the Wichita area, but now live in the Vancouver WA area. They want us to visit out there next summer. My threat is that maybe I should venture northward to Vancouver BC so I could bother Bobskoot. We'll see. You never know.
One of the relatives is also a rider, owning both a Ninja and a Honda. We didn't have a lot of time to chat about riding, but he told me a funny story about his first bike. He traded an old Chevy El Camino for the bike. He rides with a couple of different groups, one with mostly sport bikes and the other is more of a cruiser group. He likes riding with both groups for different reasons. It was fun chatting and getting to know him a little better.
Some people opted for pizza to eat, others for quesidillas and sandwiches. I, in a supposed health kick, opted for a soup and salad combination. All the food was good and we talked, laughed and drank for some time.
Jayna and I both ended up ordering the stout which was quite good. It had been a long time since I had a beer like that. It was somewhat mellow and very tasty.
Should I call this "beer porn"?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Just a Little Observation About Street Planning

I was thinking the other day, (seldom a good omen). As I rode east out of town on my ride to what is known locally as "Thunder Road", I noticed some significant improvements to some of the streets between Wichita and Andover, a "burb" about 10 miles east of Wichita. I remembered that 13th Street was a dirt road for part of the way. It is now paved, and not only that, it's 4 lanes wide with new trees and a bicycle path on the side. A very nice road it is. But the radical in me is thinking, "Do we really need all of this?". Yeah, it's nice, but did we really need a 45mph tree lined thoroughfare? It did need to be paved, but I find it hard to imagine that the traffic on this road is all that significant. It sure wasn't on a Sunday morning as I rode through here. Andover is a growing community with many sort of typical suburban housing developments with catchy names like "Quail Ridge" or "Sienna" or some other name that makes you want to live there. And a lot of people that live in Andover work in Wichita and need a good road to get back and forth in their, mostly huge, urban assault vehicles. But just a mile to the north is an excellent road going the same direction. There's another good road just a mile to the south, and 2 miles south, still another even faster road. So now the residents in Andover have 4 possible and comfortable routes to Wichita for their 15 mile commutes to work. I suppose I shouldn't pick on Andover residents. The same thing occurs in other places around the city of Wichita in other similar bedroom communities. This process is likely repeated all over the country. Hell, what is happening here in Wichita is peanuts compared to cities in California and many other places where commuting can be a much worse nightmare than it is around here. As I rode, in my mind, I was wondering if we really had our priorities where they needed to be. Roads are expensive. Our taxes help pay for them. We seem to try and make it easy for longer distance commuters. Is this right? If you consider our dependence as a nation on foreign oil, does this make any sense? Everyone says we use too much of that "black gold" from the Middle East, and have said that for a long time. But I am thinking that we are not doing much, if anything, to help ourselves out. We live near a major 4 lane street here in Wichita. A few years ago the city had a proposal to "improve" the street by widening it to 5 lanes (the 5th lane for a turn lane) and widen the lanes themselves. Their theory for all of this is that they were predicting that daily traffic on the street would increase from approximately 12,000 cars per day to over 20,000 cars per day in the next couple of decades. We attended a planning meeting along with a few neighbors so we could find out more. We had trouble believing that the traffic could ever really increase that drastically. To make the improvements they would have to suck up a lot of additional ground on either side of the existing street. Fully mature trees would have to be cut down. Some residents would lose a significant part of their already short driveways. There were some very concerned residents, some even a bit angry. Long story short, the proposal was defeated at a subsequent city commission meeting, but the process was a bit revealing in some ways. What bothered many of us was the attitude that the city planners "knew all about what was best for us". Our concerns were heard, but sort of shrugged off and almost ignored in some cases. The cancellation was, in my opinion, largely because one of the nearby residents was a state legislator and maybe "had some power" to influence the city planners decision. The planning process for that road to Andover may have been very similar. Andover is a growing community and is growing faster than Wichita. I am sure that over time the traffic on that road will increase, but Andover is not a big town. The traffic between here and there is not overwhelming and I can't imagine that it will be anytime soon. I bet the traffic planners aimed pretty high on their estimates of future traffic. It seems like the planners think that road budgets should have a very high priority and we have to spend a bunch of money whether the needs are really there or not. As a taxpayer, it seems a grossly inefficient way to spend money. I think that the millions of dollars they spent on that road and others could be spent a little more wisely. It's a really nice road, but Jeez! What if they spent a little of that money on more efficient forms of transportation, or used some of it to educate and encourage people to find more efficient ways to get to and from work. What if they made it easier and safer for people to commute on 2 wheels (of any kind). I am all for having nice roads to ride and drive on but I'm thinking that we could be a lot more efficient and conservative with our planning and tax dollars. I am reminded of a John Mellencamp song: Oh but ain't that America, for you and me Ain't that America, we're something to see baby Ain't that America, home of the free Little pink houses for you and me Those little pink houses are sure getting more and more spread out, requiring more planning, more pavement, more taxes and more oil. And I am just getting more and more cynical.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Thunder Road" on a Sunday Morining

You might think the name "Thunder Road" would conjure up images of a Friday night where a '69 Camaro convertible might line up against a Ford Mustang, or maybe a Pontiac GTO 'Judge' against a Dodge Challenger. The girls would be in the passenger seats waving at their friends. The guys would serious have looks on their faces. The presence of beer might be there, but no cell phones in sight. This road between Wichita and Augusta Kansas. just about 25 miles in distance, has that kind of reputation. I am sure lots of memories of vehicle races, boys and girls, beer, and maybe a fight or two are present in the minds of a lot of people who grew up in Wichita and many of the small towns close to this area such as Andover, Derby, Mulvane, Augusta, Towanda, Rose Hill and many others. The road is listed as one of the favorite motorcycle roads in Kansas. Here's a link:
Can I really afford this scootering stuff?
I topped off my tank before I left town, camera in tow, on a relatively warm November day. Not much traffic on a Sunday at 9:00 am, probably most people on the roads are on their way to or from church.
A suburban church on my way out of town, with lots of cars.
I first pass through Andover Kansas, about 10 miles east of Wichita. My plan was to ride to Augusta, Kansas first and then take "Thunder Road" back toward home. You can easily do the ride in the other direction, or ride there and back on "Thunder Road". I pass by this ranch and stopped to take a picture. The airplane contrails in the sky were very noticeable. I haven't a clue why this rancher has 'metal' palm trees at the entrance to the ranch. Maybe they think they look "cool". To me, they don't quite fit in Kansas.
The entrance to the ranch
A little further down the road between Andover and Augusta there was a small quarry. I wasn't able to get a closer picture. Not even sure what they produce there.
A quarry and some now dormant wildflowers.
Not far away there is a nice view of a valley just before arriving on the north side of Augusta, Kansas.
Max in the morning sunlight looking over the valley. The bridge in the distance goes over a river that passes on the west side of Augusta. There is another river on the east side of Augusta, while the city itself is mostly on a nice hill.
I arrive in Augusta and stop for a few minutes. Across the street I see a house with Christmas decorations ready to go. I decorate a tree in my yard each year, but for me, it just doesn't seem right to do it before Thanksgiving. I'll wait to do some decorating until next weekend.
Ahhh, Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier each year.
Every town like this has a Wal Mart, or so it seems. My personal opinion is that the existence of a Wal Mart drives some local businesses out of business because they cannot compete with the prices. But that's just my opinion.
There's a pharmacy there too.
I ride around the town a bit. Some of the streets are brick and have probably been in place for many years. A few people were out mowing their lawns or raking leaves. It was a nice weekend to get outside activities done. Much colder weather is expected soon.
Brick streets in an older neighborhood in Augusta, Kansas.
I ride south a few blocks to get a picture of the downtown area, fairly typical of a lot of towns like this.
More brick streets in downtown Augusta
It would seem that the side of a building can be much like a billboard, with advertisements for various businesses. Apparently this is the "Red Brick District".
CPA's can even advertise here apparently.
From downtown, I spied the road that leads to "Thunder Road". It's easy to miss this street, and I have mised it before. There is no sign that identifies it as "Thunder Road". But now I know whre it is.
The entrance to "Thunder Road" from downtown Augusta.
Just down the road a ways would be a sign like this. The speed limit is generally 55mph, but some curves are less than that. I wouldn't call them real twisties, but they are fun and the scenery is a bit different in some areas.
Even the sign is bent.
Near the road was this oil well. After all, this is Butler County and there is a significant amount of oil production here. Some wells have been producing since the 1920's.
"Black Gold, Texas Tea"
Knowing how some bloggers are interested in railroads, I stop a few miles away to get another picture or two.
Is there an East Augusta?
When I took this shot, I didn't see the approaching train. I didn't even take my helmet off to take the picture. It was hard to read the display on my camera, but on the other side of the road I noticed some birds.
The next thing I experienced was the sound of a very loud train whistle.
I turned around and there the train was. No danger, but I would not have parked so close to the track, had I known the train was coming.
Max stood his ground.
I ride a little further down the road after the train passed by.
The train carried mostly containers of who knows what.
A few miles down the road I stopped at another intersection and took this shot of the trees, now without leaves.
Another curve
A few miles more brought me to another railroad crossing, and surprisingly, the gates were coming down for another approaching train. It seemed like less than 15 minutes since the last train had passed. I barely had time to stop, get the camera out and, without benefit of even looking at the camera display, I got this shot. I was sure at the time that it would not turn out.
Another train, more airplane contrails too.
Patiently waiting at the crossing
There are lots of ranches along the way. Some buildings and homes looked new, others a bit tired.
A nice looking ranch area.
I am getting closer to Wichita now.
Wichita is a straight shot west from here
A little further along I see a display of old farm equipment along the side of the road. I had to stop, if for no other reason than, you don't see this kind of thing everyday.
Old farm implements all lined up.
A couple of others And yet another combine of some sort
A little closer to Wichita, I spy a pond that looks sort of typical for Kansas. You can tell from the grasses that it was a bit breezy this day.
The water in the pond looks a bit down. Not surprising. We had a wet spring, but summer and fall have been dry.
Here is the intersection marking the other end of "Thunder Road" near the east side of Wichita.
47th Street South and Andover Road
A final shot near Wichita and typical of the clash of farming and real estate development. Suburban homes fighting with farmland for space here on the planet.
The ride was about 55 miles in total. It was a beautiful if breezy day. There are lots of stories about "Thunder Road", probably a lot of those stories are not true or highly embellished. I didn't take many pictures of the road itself, partly because the ride is so much fun and I didn't want to stop. I have actually ridden on the route 3-4 times, and this is the first time I ever took any pictures. It's not spectacular, but it doesn't need to be. It's just fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Day in The Life & That Damn Clock

I love a day where I have extra places to go. A day where there is more riding than just to and from work. I get to ride almost every day, but sometimes tire of the normal mundane route. This day was at least a little different.
Mini Max gets to go everywhere with me.
Today, my first stop was to the doctor's office. It's on the other side of town. I'm not complaining, means more riding for me. I have an annual physical later in the week and this day I was supposed to stop by and leave off some of my precious blood for the vampire at the doctor's office, so tests can be run to see if I am still alive. The primary purpose is to see what state my cholesterol is in. It has not always been good, but better than it used to be since I have lost some weight. The doctor will always have suggestions for me to lower it, all of which I will listen to, but some of which I will probably ignore. I almost steadfastly refuse to support the big drug companies and buy expensive cholesterol medications. Losing some weight, eating better and a little exercise have much better benefits than expensive drugs. (Rebel I am)
The sometimes pain in the ass clock on Max.
Why is it that my cell phone, my computers and other clocks automatically change when daylight savings time begins or ends, but the clock on Max does not? Can't they do something about that? OK, maybe I'm just lazy.
The clock on Max also gains a little time continuously, it has been almost 2 weeks since daylight savings time ended, and I hadn't gotten around to adjusting the clock on Max. Since daylight savings time started last Spring, Max has gained 7 minutes. No, lazy me, I never get around to adjusting it until I really need to. For instance, if I know I haven't adjusted the clock in awhile, then I know it is fast and take that into account.
The real pain regarding that clock is you have to find a pen or relatively narrow object to adjust the clock. For some reason it always takes me 2 or 3 attempts to get it set correctly. Maybe it is smarter than I am.
I was a little early for the doctor's office to open, so I stopped to kill a few minutes and decided that I should finally get the clock corrected.
The amazingly technical procedure to adjusting the clock on Max.
I did finally get the clock reset. I left my blood for the vampire and proceeded to the office for a day of fun and games in the accounting world.
This was also a day when I teach a class at night. Yippee, another diversion from the normal routine. The school is only a couple of miles from the office, so after work I boogie on over there, teach the class and get home about 9:00 that night. As I left the class and ventured over to Max, I noticed a lot of dew on Max and the other cars in the parking lot. A little wiping of the mirrors and guages was necessary, but at least it wasn't cold enough to freeze.
Max, all loaded up.
This is typical of what Max has to carry for me on a day where I have to teach. The backpack, full of papers and a textbook, is attached to the purse hook in front of the seat. The laptop is in a small briefcase bungeed (2 cords, in case one breaks) to the seat behind me. My "Man Bag" is in the topcase where the helmet would normally reside. Keep in mind, too, that there are tools, a rain jacket and other things under the seat. .
I used to bungee the backpack to the seat behind me, but it makes the bike a little top heavy, and handles better if I use the purse hook because the center of gravity is lower. Beats me why they have to make college textbooks so heavy, but most are ridiculous. I wish they would just replace them with CD Roms or something else.
Now I will have to make a claim that might anger some readers, but in my humble opinion (which arguably isn't worth a lot), I would say that a scooter has at least some advantage in being able to carry a bunch of "stuff", compared to a motorcycle. Okay, I may be full of crap, but that little purse hook and the shape of the frame makes the scooter pretty darn useful. Over time, I have carried a lot unusual items on Max. Pizza, chinese food, charcoal for the grill, various groceries, a coffee maker and crockpot and the list goes on. I'm not saying you can't do much the same on a motorcycle, but that little purse hook has some advantages.
Oh well, I do not mean to offend. It was just another day of commuting. And a fun one at that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Couple of Errands And the Changing Fall Colors

Last Saturday morning, I was drinking a little coffee and staring out the window of our kitchen and was greeted with the wonderful red colors of these two trees in our front yard. It had rained on Thursday and Friday and it seemed that the rain finally brought out some of the more vivid colors of Fall. These trees weren't this red the day before. It has been unseasonably warm here for the Fall season. That's been good because the riding weather has been great. We haven't even experienced a hard freeze yet, and it is already about 3 weeks beyond the normal date for our first freeze of the year. A couple of weeks ago I took a couple of pictures of leaves starting to change color. These leaves were just starting to change from green to yellow.
These were trying to change from green to red
It seems a little later this year for the leaves to change colors.
Now our front yard looks like this.
I had a couple of short errands to run today. It was the first Saturday that we have had in awhile that there wasn't some sort of wedding related task to accomplish. It was nice to sleep in a bit and not be rushed to get a bunch of things done. The errands were not far from home, nor would they take a long time and I took the camera along in order to try and get a few pictures of the finally changing colors of the trees.
I needed to stop by a couple of stores and they were both in the same shopping center. But first I rode around a bit looking for a place to get a picture or two.
I needed to stop by Barnes and Noble. I had just finished a book on my Nook, my electronic book reader. I have only the Wi-Fi version of the Nook, and I can't connect at home, so I sometimes stop by other places to shop for a new book where my Nook can connect to the Barnes and Noble website. It's easy for me just to go to the store itself since it is not real far from home. I sometimes get a cup of coffee and find an easy chair to sit in while shopping for another book.
The sun was bright after the rainy weather we had the past couple of days. It was cool when I left the house on Max, so I dressed fairly warmly. Heavy liner in the jacket, light liner in the pants, an old sweatshirt underneath the jacket. With the sun beating down, I found I was overdressed a bit.
I found a few different places to take pictures, some stops made very near the shopping center.
There were even some ducks on one of the ponds.
But for some reason I was more interested in the colors of the trees.
I stopped by Barnes and Noble and got a new book downloaded to the Nook.
My other stop was at a store called Backwoods that sells camping and hiking clothing and equipment. I don't ever spend a lot of money there, but it is a fun store with lots of interesting merchandise. I do have some long underwear from there that I sometimes wear while riding on a real cold day.
When they get you on their list, you give them your birthday, and they give you a little present each year. My birthday is coming up and I got a postcard that week that I could turn in for my present. It's usually nothing real fancy, but nice all the same, and the quality of their merchandise is always good. I picked up the present and headed for home.
As I rounded the curve to my street, which has a lot of trees, I noticed that we have the reddest trees on the block. There are lots of leaves in the street too, so have to watch out for them.
After I parked at the house, I opened up my birthday present to find a very nice little duffel bag. Not real big, but looks like I could easily strap or bungee it to Max and carry a few goodies with it.
My thanks to the Backwoods store. It was a lovely little ride.