Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Springtime in Bismarck

A co-worker has a friend that lives in Bismarck, North Dakota and they sent this photo taken recently...

From here on out, I'm gonna do my best not to complain about Ohio's spring weather.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Update - Alexandra's Heart Poker Run

Reveived the following email message today from a fellow rider, blogger, and all around good guy, Micah from Lucas County Choppers:
= = = = = =

I wanted to update you all on the status of our charity poker run, the"Ride for Alexandra's Heart".

All of our stops have confirmed, and I am happy to provide you with the flyer and press release for the event. If you have trouble downloading the files, they are available on the event Web site
http://alexandrasheart.com.

Please help spread the word through your clubs, organizations, websites, podcasts, or any other means that you have available.

Thank you for your support of the event, and I hope to see you there!

Sincerely,
Micah


Lucas County Choppers
http://lcchoppers.com

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Fortune Cookie Rule

I was reminded by a co-worker of what he called The Fortune Cookie Rule. I'm going to have to rename his rule and call it the O'Brien Fortune Cookie Rule, his name being O'Brien, because this pilgrim is modifying the rule a bit.

I mentioned to my co-worker that my fortune cookie fortune didn't make sense. That's when he explained his fortune cookie rule: always add the words "in bed" to the end of the fortune "and it makes sense every time," he says.

My modified rule would add the words, "on two wheels" to every fortune cookie fortune. I don't know if it makes sense every time or not. We can try it out on some of my fortune cookie favs...


* If at first you do succeed, try something harder. (on two wheels)
* Compliment 3 people everyday. (on two wheels)
* A great vacation is awaiting you. (on two wheels) [Yeah!!!]
* Many admire your social and physical appearance. (on two wheels) [well, of course]
*A kind heart always does a little bit extra. (on two wheels) [?????}
* A bold attempt is half of success. (on two wheels) [I knew it]
* Don't spend your time stringing and tuning your instrument. Start making music now. (on two wheels) [?????]

Hey, this might just work! (on two wheels)

Ride Safe


I love coffee. Not to the point of being a coffee snob. In fact, I'll down all kinds of black swill but it's only the good brews that I drink to the dregs.
Back in December 2008 I wrote (but never posted) an article about my love of coffee and the caffeine addiction I have carefully developed and continue to foster. My intention when writing was to detail a ride I took earlier in the fall through south central Ohio.

But the words I wrote sort of took off on their own and the piece became a lament about how difficult it is to find a good cup of coffee when you're riding in rural areas. And while I enjoy a little whine now and then, there 's no need to share it excessively. So the work remains in draft form, perhaps for another venue and perhaps forever.

It is true that while rural Ohio is a great place to ride there are better places to find good coffee. My solution, I think, will be this:

That way, if I have a bad cup of joe I have only myself to blame.
Teresa, who can't stand coffee, gets her caffeine from cola products, with a preference towards Pepsi. Unfortunately for her, we found out last year that due to vibrations while riding, plastic bottles of carbonated beverages do not travel well. Good thing there are always one of these around every corner:



These containers are conveniently located but don't fit in the saddle bags.















Ride Safe!


Doug C

Monday, March 23, 2009

First Spring Ride - 2 Up, that is

We left the house around 1:00pm after I got home from Sunday services. Our destination? Cracker Barrel in Zanesville.

The sun was shinning brightly and the morning temps were warming nicely. It was about 45ºF when we left. The most direct route to Zanesville follows SR 16 east from Newark, a four lane freeway, to SR 146, a two lane arterial highway. The trip isusually a 25 minute run. However, regardless of my hunger, I decided to take the less traveled path.


We followed county roads half of the way there, through Marne and Hanover and then finally traveled SR 146 east the rest of the way. The current incarnation of State Route 146 took the place of the old Newark Road when the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers rebuilt the Dillon Reservoir Dam back in the 1950s and 60s, I think. So this route rides high and fairly straight and overlooks Dillon Lake on the south.



At least I was expecting to see Dillon Lake. The water level was lower than I ever remember it being. The level is controlled by the Corps and I suppose it is low right now anticipating the spring rains.

At the Cracker Barrel, I parked Lady in the front row of the parking lot and we were seated next to the windows looking at the bike. Well, Teresa was looking at the bike. I sat with my back to the window.



Sitting where you can see your bike used to be a requirement for me when we would eat out. I was always afraid that someone would steal something from the luggage - no luggage locks here.



Anymore, I just make sure nothing of value is in the bags. So when we do sit where we can watch the bike, we don't watch the bike per say. We watch people.

And that's the draw: watching people looking at the bike. Lady is nothing really special. There hasn't been a lot of added bling or customizing. But people always look. I'm sure they do the same thing with all two wheeled Beasts.

Most of the time its the men that linger a moment or two and it's their female partners that grab their hands and pull them along, as if they might catch something if they get too close. Well, like I said, I didn't watch this time, Teresa did. And every time someone would stop or pause she would say, "There's another one." I'd smile and take another sip of my coffee.

After lunch we headed towards home but decided to take a detour to visit my mom. Again, we took an indirect route. We passed through places like Toboso, Brushy Fork, and Chickenville, all of them found on county or township roads.


Twenty years ago, my father used to pastor this church...



When we arrived at Mom's we spent several minutes looking through photo albums that she had been working on over the winter. Mom is in her 70s now and after a request I made of her last fall about some photos of her mom (the one that grew up in the Ohio State Penn) she started sorting and cataloguing some of her old photographs and snap shots. She says if she doesn't do it, nobody will be able to after she's gone.

Teresa and I also had to provide some dates for family photos. You know, stuff like, "Christmas of 1986" and "Vacation of 1980" or "Easter 1982".

One of the photographs we stumbled upon had already been sorted and identified. When Maggie Lee, a 16 year old grand daughter saw this picture she said, "Boy, Grandma. It's easy to see why Grandpa was so hot for you!"


Marjorie Dill circa 1947 (Mom)


Teresa and I finally returned home after about 6 hours and somewhere between 150 and 175 miles. It was a good start to the riding season and just about perfect for March in Ohio.


The group of riders we hang with will start their monthly rides April 4th with a trip Waldo, Ohio. Waldo may be famous for a multitude of things, but the only thing on our mind is the fried bologna sandwich and the home made cream pies at G & R Tavern. I'm not a fan of bologna but as you can tell from my photo above, I don't pass up too many chances at cream pies.



Ride Safe.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

The past 10 days or so have been hectic at work and home. I knew I was busy and there just didn't seem like there was enough time in the day. I always blamed that on my poor time management skills or my incredible ability to focus intently on a task causing me to lose track of time.


One sign I was busy was my lack of post to this blog. I try to post something every two or three days. That fell by the wayside...


The other sign that I've been busy was my reading list in my Google Reader. Friday I had 182 unread articles! I follow or subscribe to 25 or 30 sites and those sites, with the exception of prolific writers like Conchscooter of Key West Diaries or prolific posters like Baron's Life in BC, Canada, usually post once or twice a week.


The list is a good variety of interesting people with tales to tell, news to share, or commentaries to put forth. I can usually clear out the unread list of 20 or so articles in about 30 minutes each day. But 182 posts is a chunk to chew on.


So now that the Boss/Owner at work has returned to his Bonita Springs hideaway and many of my projects seem to have settle into there own rhythm, I might be able to return to my slower paced work flow. Which allows me a few minutes each day to read articles.


That is unless the Boss/Spouse has a project or two for me. I try to entice her to forget about my honey-do list by suggesting a ride somewhere, but it doesn't always work.

That was the case Saturday, so in between chores I whittled my unread post list down to a manageable dozen.

Sunday we rode and I'll have a post about it soon.


Ride Safe!


Doug C

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It is not the way to end any St. Patrick's Day. A car/motorcycle crash last night took the life of one rider last night. A witness at the scene said it looked like 2 riders were racing.

Here's a link to the story [Link]. Too sad.

The weather is central Ohio has been gorgeous. Yesterday the temps reached close to 70ºF and I was able to ride to and from work.

Today promises to be even better but no riding for me. I have to install two monsters at the data center: a UPS (about 40 pounds) and a server (about the size of a suit case and 80 pounds). So while I could probably balance make the trip with the UPS, the server is just too cumbersome.

Drive time for me...

Ride.



Doug C

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Taste of Good Things to Come


When I was young, there were times when I would come home from playing in the neighborhood and as soon as my feet hit the back porch steps I knew that Mom had been baking cookies. If the air was moving a certain direction, I might even smell the baking goodness before I got the to the steps.

It was always a disappointment when I would find out that the cookies were promised for some other event besides dinner or a snack; maybe a church bake sale or a care package for a friend. Mom would sometimes take pity on me (or just wanted me to stop whining) and let me have one delectable treasure, but not always. When the baked bootie was bound for somewhere else my sweet hopes would evaporate faster than early morning dew in the desert.

In some ways, the warm temperatures central Ohio embraced last weekend were a lot like finding out that Mom's cookies were for someone else - disappointing. The few days of above average temps were quickly yanked away as more seasonal temperatures returned and riders of all persuasions walked away from their garages with disappointment perched on their pouting lips.

Mother Nature is teasing us, I tell myself, giving us a glimpse of things to come. And the warmer weather will come. As D. Brent Miller reminded us on Sojourn Chronicles, it is after all, still winter. For a few more days, anyway.


Doug C

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The local news programs all reminded viewers in the area of what a difference a year can make. Last year on March 7, 2008 this was the scene outside my front door...








Yesterday the weather was a little more temperate...








Springtime in Ohio. Always an adventure!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

First 70ºF Day of the Year





Saturday was a great day for a ride - the first 70ºF day of the year - so several of us decided to do just that. Five bikes left Newark headed for Iron Pony Motor Sports in Columbus. On the way we picked up two more riders in Granville.






One of the riders that joined our group was Nancy. Nancy is a special kind of rider. She's been riding for a long time. The vest that she is wearing in the photo is covered with pins. She has several vests, each of them covered with pins.
But the fact that she has pin covered vests does not make her special. What makes her special is the fact that she has been sticking pins to vest for 50 years. You see, Nancy recently celebrated her 70th birthday.
I'm not sure if she bought her new HD Low Rider to celebrate her birthday or she just wanted to do her part in stimulating the economy.




When I spoke with her outside of the Iron Pony she was lamenting the fact that since her bike was so new, it looked like everyone else's bike. She has plans to customize everything and especially add a few more pounds of chrome.
Nancy used to ride with her husband but he passed away several months ago at the age of 80. His last ride was when he was 78. So, now she keeps the riding tradition going with her daughter, Kelly and son-in-law, Don.
Nancy was a wonderful lady whose energy, enthusiasm, and spirit for both riding and life is an inspiration. I can only hope that I am able to be as active as she is when I'm her age.

Kudos, Nancy!

Ride well.






Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's Alright

I turn onto my side in bed. The clock radio had been playing for several minutes. I know this because the alarm is set for 4:40am and I can see through one squinting eye that it is now 4:48am and I just turned it off.

I get out from under the covers and put my feet on the floor. I'm still tired though I've been asleep for 6+ hours. I stand and shuffle my way to the shower trying my best to ignore the siren's song calling me back to bed.

I get about half way to my destination and stop. My mind has instantly cleared. All my priorities have aligned themselves. My fatigue, that a moment ago was as tangible as it was frustrating, is now a fleeting memory. I find myself standing more erect, a little taller. I move with determination.

The challenges that I know await my attention at the office are no longer daunting and seem inconsequential, even trivial. This day has purpose. I have purpose. I am mildly irritated at myself for oversleeping, wasting 8 precious minutes of this purposeful day.

All of this focus, this redirection, this... what's the word? Invigoration? All of this takes place in a second. Less than a second, actually. It takes just a moment. Because in that moment just prior to my transformation, my metamorphosis, my epiphany, I have a moment of mental clarity and I realize that today is Thursday. Today I ride.

It's alright if my fingers get a little cold during my hour long commute in the 21ºF air today. (They did.) Because today, I ride.

It's alright if I have a user call complaining that they can't print and when I investigate, I discover that they have 27 print jobs in the queue - all the same document, because if it doesn't print after the first try, hitting the Print button 26 more times will make it work. (She will.) It's alright because today, I ride.

The day is starting out cold but my personal television weather guy (he never lies to me) says the sun will shine and temps will reach 60ºF. But even if the sun doesn't shine, it's alright.

I will leave the office today as the clock approaches 4:00pm and I will share highway space with some of the nation's worst drivers. I will probably take a detour on my homeward bound commute and add another 45 to 60 minutes to my already hour long drive. It's alright.

Because today, I ride.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Motorcycle Safety News

Jeff Cobb is a rider with a passion for safety. He's doing his part to encourage the use of safety equipment for riders and awareness for rider and non-riders alike.

Jeff is the force behind "Motorcycle Safety News", a site that offers both news article with in-depth reporting and commentary.

Check out his site, . If you like what you see and read, show him some love. If you really like what you see, send him some coin.

I've included a link to his site above and also in the Riding Blogs section on the right.

Look, we can't always be safe and sound. But we can be educated, minimize the risks, and then make our choice.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Odd and Ends

When it comes to interior painting, I have always been in the DIY camp and I think I'm pretty good at it. I've learned that the right tools make all the difference and practice makes perfect.

So this past weekend even though the weather was sunny and dry (although a little cool for riding) the missus and I spent the weekend painting the bathroom. Did I tell you I HATE painting? I may be good at it, but it is not my favorite pass time.

______________________________

There is something to be said about the ability to work from home. Tele-commuting is the buzz word. In my work as a network administrator I support users in 5 time zones and those users access information and applications housed in a data center in central Ohio. So having remote access from home is a requirement and it allows me to not spend 12 hours a day at the office.

But like many things in life, remote access is a 2 edged sword. Even when you're home, sometimes you're not really home, you're working. And you never know when someone is going to need help. But I am thankful to be working at a job I enjoy.

______________________________

In a moment of boredom I wandered onto twitter.com the other day. Twitter seems like a very popular site/activity/whatever??? so I thought I'd find out what all the fuss was about.

Well, after being on Twitter for about a week now let me just say, it's interesting. It's a huge online community with as many interests as there are departments in a Wal-Mart Super Center.
It's kinda like listening and responding to 5 second snippets of conversation from those few dozen/hundred/thousand users that you've decided to follow. Like I said, it's interesting.

______________________________


Received this in my Inbox today:

(Here's the reply the teacher received the following day)


Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.

From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Smith



____________________________


Spring is just 3 weeks away!