Sunday, February 10, 2019

Vintage Motorcycle Show and a new watering hole

We took a ride today (Saturday Feb 9) a nice tour close to the homestead. I found it a little on the windy side at times and have the stiff neck to prove it this morning. But of course, worth it, time to break out the Voltaran! 

Despite the windy day the temperature was perfect, warm and sunny. We headed out towards LaBelle and took the meandering River Road along the Caloosahatchee River.

One of our favorite roads when wanting a ride that is close to home. We stopped at the Bob Mason Park, which has been nicely revamped and is a great spot to rest and stretch the legs. There was a nice little gazebo that has been recently put up and plenty of picnic tables to enjoy the view.

We continued on our way and followed North River Rd to 31. We headed towards Palm Beach Blvd to the Publix Shopping Center where there was a Vintage Motorcycle Show going on. 

It wasn’t a large show, but found it interesting to see some of the old 2-stroke motorcycles of years gone by. There was a bit of everything, from old Harleys to Kawasaki’s. I had never heard of one of the bikes we saw,  Husqvarma. My BF informed me he had a chainsaw made by them LOL.

When we were on 31 heading to the Vintage Motorcycle show we passed by the Boat House Tiki Bar and Grill. The Tiki Bar was still under construction last year and decided to stop in and check it out after we left the show.

Upon pulling in I was already impressed. Any place that caters to motorcyclists can’t be all that bad.

Mind you we just sat at the Tiki Bar for a drink. The atmosphere was awesome, and staff was very friendly. The place was packed for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Checking out the menu there was of course plenty of fish dishes offered, but for people like me who despise fish of any kind it also had burgers and wings. We certainly have plans to go for supper in the near future and test out the food. I will let you know.

On the way home we took a leisurely ride along Buckingham Road. This is always a nice ride with its meandering treed road. You can follow our route below

River Road Route / Buckingham Rd.

I must add a shout out to Lisa from (As you may know, I occasionally write for her Bling blog on her women's motorcycle gear shopping website). 

She recently sent me a beautiful gift, a Sparkle Rider Gremlin Bell . This was my first ride with my sparkly bell. Thank You Lisa, you are so generous and sweet.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Do Resolutions ever turn out, maybe

So far 2019 has started off as a slow riding season for me. My New Year’s Resolution to ride more isn’t going exactly as planned. I have been in Florida since December 27th and believe it or not I have only been on ONE ride! It certainly wasn’t from lack of trying.

We had company as soon as we got to Florida just after Christmas. Our friend and his wife from Germany stayed with us for the first fourteen days. At least they rented a motorcycle on Sunday Jan 6th  so that we could get in some riding. 

I highly recommend Haus of Trikes in Fort Myers. (Our friends rented a Harley for the day and it was much cheaper than anywhere else). When they brought the bike back, I was browsing around the store when I came across a leather vest. Wow, super soft leather and it was $79.99. I even picked up a sweet leather pouch for $20 (I had recently purchased a material Harley vest for the same price, ya always pay for the name) Suffice to say, my shopping spree is maxed out for the season now. 

Anyway, we had a wonderful ride down to Goodland Florida. 
Gassing up for the ride, the morning started off chilly but warmed up nicely.
(At least I thought it was chilly – note the additional hoodie under my jacket) 

We stopped at Gator’s Crossroads Bar & Grill. They had a live band playing outside. We stayed for a drink, and listened to a few sets. Don’t worry, I don’t drink alcohol and ride, but when I get home I certainly indulge in a glass of wine or two or three…

I don’t know what the name of the band was, but they were good. Our friends were enjoying the place too.

Then we made our way to Stan’s Idle Hour. That is one hoping place with live music and it seems to always be packed when we go there. They always give bikers the best spots to park too (and bike parking is free). We even managed to find a table to sit at and enjoyed an afternoon of music and good times. 

The guys goofing around at Stan’s Idle Hour

We made it back home just as the sun was setting, I was glad, my night vision isn’t as good as it used to be.  

I had the biggest smile on my face that day, even our friends said that was the first time they seen me smile so much the entire week. 
The saying is true, “I am a just happier person when I ride”. 

Our friends left to go back to Germany on Jan 9th.  It was awesome to have them here but having the house to ourselves again… do I really need to say more. 

The first few weeks after getting here the weather had been into the mid 80’s (26+C), but now we keep getting cold fronts and it is barley getting to 70 (21C) by late afternoon. The nights are really cold too, most hovering around the 40s (about 6-10C). It just has been a weather rollercoaster lately. I know, I shouldn’t complain, but I will anyway. I have to admit, it is still way better than the negative digits and mounds of snow back home. Even with the cooler temperatures we still could have gotten out on the bikes, but then my BF got sick with one of those “man colds”. I just don’t have the heart to take off on my motorcycle without him, at least not yet. Today is Saturday Jan 19 and it is going to be the nicest day before the weather turns to crap again. It is predicted to be that way into the middle of next week. The BF is still not well and with my luck by the time he feels better I will probably catch whatever the hell he has. Although I have it on good authority that the “female cold” is not as severe.

And yet I am optimistic, it is still early in the new year, so maybe I will be able to stick to my resolution after all. At least I sure will make that extra effort to. 

This was the route we took to get there. Went through Immokalee, along Corkscrew to Collier Rd, then onto 41. It is a fairly nice ride, although it can get busy on Collier through Naples.


Cruising through Life & Enjoying the Ride...

Monday, December 24, 2018

Hello Sunshine, Goodbye Snow!

Believe it or not, winter started in October for us. With all that white stuff that has been hanging around for that last two and a half months I am anxious to feel the sun on my face and the warmer air currents caress my skin. 

I am all packed and after Christmas we will be on our way to our home away from home in Florida, where I will also be reunited with my two-wheel therapy machine. It has been one hell of year and I will certainly need that wind therapy.

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and look forward to sharing my riding adventures with you in the new year from the sunny south.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Lost mail services in small town of Emsdale, Ontario

Canada Post has dropped us!

I live in the small town of Emsdale, Ontario (Perry Township). We really don't have much here, not even a traffic light. The main road consists of a variety store, a take out pizza place and the bank/post office combo. There is also a community center, library and museum around the corner. That pretty much sums up my town. Despite the lack of businesses I love living here because it gives me room to breathe. 

I consider the post office in my community my life line. I use it regularly, not only to post letters (yes, people still post letters, or at least I do) but because I do a lot of online shopping. Most of my purchases are delivered through Canada Post and I pick them up at the post office. Other than grocery stores in the surrounding communities there just isn't a lot of stores close enough to shop at.  (In Huntsville there is a Walmart, but doesn't count and the specialty shops there are priced out of my reach and cater more to the tourists) Bottom line, in my opinion, the post office is important to a small community.

It is not unusual in rural areas for businesses to be combined. I use to live in Novar, another small town where there is a grocery store, post office and liquor store combo. Anyway, in Emsdale the bank is the Kawartha Credit Union which also houses the post office, and the post boxes where I get my mail. Funny, until recently I never knew that it was the bank tellers who also doubled as the postal clerks.  

Photo from Google Maps

In the spring we were told that the bank was closing it's branch and consequently the post office would be closing too. So over the summer I would periodically ask the bank tellers when picking up my parcels if they knew what the plan was for our mail delivery. The answer was always the same, "When we know, we will let you know". It really wasn't the bank tellers fault that everyone was being left in the dark.

Fast forward to October. Still, no one seemed to know what plans Canada Post had for the towns people of Emsdale to collect their mail and parcels. Near the end of October we were finally told that there would be mail boxes placed outside at the Emsdale Community Center. Our own Mayor didn't even know that was the plan. Apparently Canada Post is all powerful and does not have to answer to anyone. I guess our community doesn't rate a post office anymore. At least Canada Post doesn't seem to think we matter enough because there is only approx. 2,454 people that live here. Little towns like mine are being pushed to the wayside and forgotten. 

I spoke with the mayor of Emsdale, Norm Hoffstetter, and he said that the town was trying to negotiate with Canada Post. The town offered to take over the Post Office. When Canada Post finally got back to them (8 weeks later) Canada Post offered the town a pathetic $14,000 per year for rent and utilities on the postal space, which included wages for an employee. There is no way that would cover the cost of living here for the employee, let alone the rental space. It was obvious they do not want to give us our post office back.

A couple of days ago we were handed a letter saying that any parcels would now need to be picked up at the Katrine General Store. (Katrine, Ontario is just outside of Burk's Falls).  That is okay if there was some way to know if I actually had a parcel to pick up! It also stated that on November 8th (yesterday) we are to place our mail box key and clear out any remaining mail out of our post boxes.  However, it is unclear about the new boxes as there is still no sign of them at the community center. Let alone how we get a key or maybe we provide our own lock for the non-existent new boxes.

Actual letter  - inconvenience is putting it mildly...

As of today, November 9th, the bank and the post office will close its doors at 2 pm. 
Emsdale will have no mail services and it has nothing to do with the strike. There is still no mail boxes at the community center.

I thought the Canada Post strike was inconvenient, not having a place to get my mail is down right frustrating! 

We seen the post boxes finally going up on November 11th. Still had no idea how it was all going to work and how we would get keys. 

My BF took a drive over today (November 14th) and it was lucky that he seen a woman getting her mail out of the box. Before she left in her car he flagged her down and asked how she got her keys. The woman explained that you had to pick up the keys in Burks Falls. He then asked how she knew to do that. Apparently Canada Post figures that "word of mouth" will suffice. I guess people will just have to wait around those mail boxes until someone comes by to tell them how to get their mail again...

Oh, by the way, if we happen to get a large parcel we still will be picking it up at the Katrine General Store. The woman also told my BF that when she went in she couldn't breathe because they apparently smoke weed in there. She complained to Canada Post and was told to have someone else pick up her packages then. Picking up parcels comes with a new high here...
This came to mind when picking up a parcel....

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sunny thoughts on a dreary day

The days are getting shorter and the weather has taken on a damp cooler tone that signals fall.  The dreary atmosphere always has my thoughts quickly turning to going to Florida. 

Although it won’t be for a few months yet the thought at least brightens my day. Today is a dark, blustery day that is just the beginning of crappy weather to come. Sometimes it doesn’t even really have a chance to be fall around here and I have seen winter start as early as mid-October and then linger on until sometime near the end of April!

Last year it started on October 31 and didn't leave until the end of April.
Snowing: Oct 31 2017 

 Driveway still full: April 16, 2018

This will be our 10th season retreating to our vacation home to escape the inevitable Canadian winter.  I have gotten so used to running from the bulk of the white stuff that that I can’t imagine having to put up with it for the entire season. I sure hope that I won’t have to for many years to come. My heart goes out to you all that endure winters.

I had mentioned in one of my posts that we were thinking of selling our Florida house last year. Well that is still on the table for this year. I am torn though. I love our house in Florida, and as weird as this seems out of all the places I have ever lived (I always had a tendency to move quite a bit over the years) My vacation house will be the only one that will actually sadden me to leave. If it happens, at least I will still have the pleasure of enjoying one more winter in Florida, far away from the frigid air and the mountains of white stuff. That is not to say I won’t ever not go away in the winter again, we have plans to start seeing other warm climates during that time of the year.

Florida is also where my Harley lives. After weighing the cost to import my Harley to Canada, it just isn’t feasible and better to sell it there if we sell the house. You can bet that the moment I return I plan on going right out and buying a motorcycle again. I could just not picture myself without a motorcycle. I would cease to exist without one! Even though the season will be short having a bike here, I look forward to touring the cool places that are right in my own backyard.

I had fully intended to buy a motorcycle back in May this year, but a few health issues had delayed that plan, and by the time I got myself sorted out, well our riding season has pretty much ended now. 

Before I know it, I will be back in sunny Florida and reunited with my bike. I won’t worry about selling or leaving, I will focus on riding and enjoying the warmth while I can. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Skyline Boulevard - Guest Post by Happy Wrench

With my blog and myself being on a bit of a hiatus at the moment I opened up a spot on my blog for a guest blogger. I would like to introduce to you Christopher Pumo. He has an awesome site where you can find an abundance of information on doing DIY on your motorcycle. Today he shares an awesome road to ride, definitely one for my Bike-it list.

Skyline Boulevard

When I daydream about a motorcycle road from my past, it is always Skyline Boulevard in Northern California.

Also known as State Route 35, Skyline Boulevard runs from Santa Cruz to San Francisco.  If you consider yourself a connoisseur or aficionado of motorcycle roads, I cannot emphasize how important it is not to miss this one in your lifetime.  Seriously, your credibility is lacking if you consider yourself a motorcycle road expert and you haven't ridden this magical road.

The road name is not a misnomer.  In fact, the road runs along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which separate Silicon Valley from the Pacific Ocean.  In several spots, the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean can be seen simultaneously while cruising like a badass along the mountain ridge.

All roads to the east and west climb from lower elevations (Pacific Ocean to the west; Silicon Valley to the east) in order to reach Skyline Boulevard - each side tributary is a windy and wonderful experience on its own (only rivaled by the next road over).

Road Conditions

Each road had to be carved into the hillsides through a series of cuts and fills in order to create drivable roadway surfaces.  Road surface conditions are actually pretty good considering half of each road is built over fill (minimal potholes), probably due to the fact that it "generally" does not snow here.  I saw snow once, and I was told it was a once every 5-year phenomenon.

Road debris is also not bad despite bare rock surface on the upslope side.  Car drivers in the region understand that this is a very heavy motorcycle area.  They give bikes space and are hyper aware that a motorcycle could be around the next bend.

Favorite Section

My favorite and what I consider the more remarkable section of Skyline Boulevard is the section closest to Silicon Valley, bound by Big Basin Way to the south and Kings Mountain Road to the north.  If I had to rank the streets in this region in order of greatness (east/west sections), it would be:

1. Woodside Road/La Honda Road - literally a perfect road for everyone
2. Kings Mountain Road - just as good as above, but shorter
3. Big Basin Way - amazing, just like #1 (hidden restaurant here, go find it!)
4. Page Mill Road/Alpine Road - also beautiful, but a little "tighter" turns; a little challenging on a large cruiser.
Don't get me wrong, the next roads north and south along Skyline Boulevard (92 and 17, respectively) aren't bad - they may still be some of the best roads you have ever ridden - but they are surpassed by the roads listed above.

What Makes It All So Amazing

Growing up in the Northeast, it was hard for me to imagine someplace so scenic (Skyline Boulevard) in such close driving proximity to something so congested (Silicon Valley).
To be honest, I get caught up in the hustle and bustle sometimes of life, and Skyline Boulevard was the perfect reprieve.  Leaving my office in Palo Also, I could take Woodside Road out of the valley and be atop the ridge in less than 20 minutes.  Crossing over Skyline Boulevard and heading down the other side, I could make it to the ocean in another 20-30 minutes (while passing through Redwood trees and some of the most beautiful nature, Mother Earth can provide).

As a motorcycle tourist, you could spend weeks here, because you are going to want to ride each road more than once.  Think about it like the greatest ski resort in the world - when you find a great trail, are you satisfied taking it just once?  I lived in the region for 7 years and I never got tired of these roads.  They present the very best in riding for all style of riders.
And do not forget, there is the famous Alice's Restaurant for a quick bite or meeting spot with friends.


To those you are looking for a motorcycle vacation, I think Skyline Boulevard is often overlooked.  Blue Ridge Parkway and the Tail of the Dragon are famous for their 318 tight curves in just 11 miles, but I think Skyline Boulevard along with its immediate tributaries could give the Dragon a run for its money in terms of curves and scenery.  Look it up, do your research, and make an informed decision before planning that motorcycle vacation.  

Author Bio:

Chris is a DIY Motorcycle Repair nut (pun intended).  He advocates getting to know your motorcycle and experiencing the rewarding thrill of success that can only come through picking up a wrench and working on your machine.  He is an active blogger on his website and an active member of many social media websites.  He began wrenching out of necessity at a young age and has continued to teach himself and others through his research and writing.  He believes anything is possible with a little ambition and patience.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A day in a life…

... head in the clouds

I am on my own for the next six weeks, well at least I have Fred. The BF left for Germany May 8th and at the moment I am kind of laid up due to some health issues. I won’t bore you with the details. I made up my mind that this was the year that I finally buy a bike for here. I could just see it; spending every free moment that I had exploring the twisties that run rampant around these parts where I live. 

I planned to buy it this month, alas it just isn’t going to happen, hopefully the delay will be for only  a couple of months while I sort out why my body decided to rebel against me.

I never realized how hard it is to fill up an entire day until now, especially without riding. I am also not able to work at my seasonal job for the time being, so the days seem to stretch even longer. I find I am becoming addicted to posting quirky, even frivolous stuff not related to motorcycles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I normally keep to motorcycle related posts and a “Good Morning”. Maybe a few comments here and there when a post catches my eye, but lately not so much, I have become almost chatty…maybe it’s the meds. LOL 

This week I tried something completely different. I accomplished fixing a stool my Dad had made me quite some time ago. (I love that stool, thanks Dad) Over the years it had become wobbly and I had been asking my BF for several years now if he could fix it. Well, I obviously have the time at the moment and besides I am just tired of waiting. Quite possibly being bored played a role for my enthusiasm to tackle this project. I broke out the ole jigsaw and a screw driver and got to work. I tried using the drill but found that I didn’t have the strength to get the damn screw in all the way, you would think a drill would have made it quick and easy, weird I know.  I couldn’t find a small level; the BF’s organizational skills of his tools leaves me baffled. My light bulb clicked on and I downloaded a Level app, it never ceases to amaze me what a phone can do nowadays.   I am sure it is not even close to being perfect  and I admit I shot a couple of screws through the wood a couple of times. (Warning: object only appears perfect at a distance) But I think it is at least level. No matter, I did it myself and for that I am so proud of me! <pat on the back> I suppose at some point I will get around to staining it.

Now when Fred takes over my computer chair 
I will have something sturdy to sit on.

I also decided to focus on my picture taking skills to fill some of my day. I am far from being a photographer, but I love taking pictures. At least this is something I can do seeing I am somewhat housebound. (Between us, I guess you know I would rather be taking pictures of a new motorcycle at awesome locations)

So, for your viewing pleasure I have complied a few photos that I have taken recently and I call them my Skydeck Series


May 12 – waiting for the leaves to come

May 14 – let the sprouting begin! What a difference a few days make.

I have become fascinated with clouds…

Well, really I have always enjoyed gazing at clouds. The abstract designs that frame the clear blue atmosphere; how the dark and light gives depth to the shapes that form, while the luminous rays of the sun bounces around above them making it’s own unique mark. The sheer fluffiness; wispy, translucent cotton candy in the sky has somehow always just given me a sense of calmness. Constant motion across the heavens where mystical creatures gradually appear and then along invisible currents leisurely transform into something else. Nature and life in perpetual change. 

I am just surprised that it never occurred to me until now to memorialize those magnificent creations.

I find all of this very therapeutic, the writing, the picture taking and even taking on a small project. My heart will always be with my motorcycle rides, but for now if you bear with me and you don’t mind my ramblings, I would like to share more of my mundane days of my life with you while being laid up. Yep, all this chattiness has to be the meds LOL

What do you see in the clouds?

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...