Posts Tagged ‘Vacation’

Dan Lyons wrote a terrific analysis of Facebook’s purchase of Instagram in Newsweek.

Bottom line, we live in a mobile world.  Zuckerberg recognized that we’re moving to an access world and rather than try to convince everyone to go back to the past, to keep surfing on PCs, he bought Instagram for a billion dollars, which has a great app (even though no profits) because he didn’t want to be left out of the future.

We live in an attention economy.  Where the most important element is access.  If you’re not available to everybody at a very low price, if not free, your destined for the scrapheap.  And in an era where we’re on information overload, only the incredible takes hold and survives.

Speaking of incredible…

Summertime will be here before you know it and many of us have started planning our annual motorcycle road trip/vacations.  But, before you head out I suggest you download National Parks.  Developed by National Geographic it’s a new travel app highlighted by lush photographs from the vast National Geographic archives.

The application content spans from Maine’s Acadia to Utah’s Zion, National Parks and features information on thousands of points of interest, all tagged with GPS coordinates and complemented by recommendations from National Geographic editors.  It includes global and interactive maps enable filtering by activity and seasonality, and travelers can share experiences via Facebook, Twitter and email while collecting custom-designed stamps for each park they visit.

Best of all its FREE and available for iOS.

We all know that National Geographic projects are separated from rival efforts by the incredible photography and this app doesn’t disappoint.  Information on each park is accompanied by a photo gallery including both contemporary and vintage shots, and the images are stunning, especially on the iPad.

And if you’re like me,  you’ll want to snap some photos of your own and, National Parks also offers tips and tricks from National Geographic staff photographers to help make that motorcycle adventure a picture-perfect experience.

Facebook Mobile illustration courtesy of Kelsey Dake.  Photos courtesy of National Geographic.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Life is short.  Vacations are even shorter.

I don’t know about you, but every year I find myself running up against a shortage of vacation time.  Even if I have the budget for the motorcycle event, I don’t always have the allotted vacation time.

There’s another consideration. Riding anywhere from the Northwest during November – February isn’t like the southern California sunshine or early spring in Arizona! So, with limited time off work and riding round trip to a motorcycle rally means either you reduce the number of events you’ll attend each year or look for alternatives.

I’ve tried several alternatives.  Shipping with a professional transport company, Fly-n-Ride and friends who trailer.  It’s not that I wouldn’t love to ride the round-trip distance. I’ve just got, you know, a job.  Does this mean I’m lame?

That depends on your viewpoint.  Built vs. bought, driven vs. trailer, riding vs. shipping are all very common debates in the motorcycle community.  Individuality has been part of Harley-Davidson experience for over a hundred years and the issue of riding vs. shipping can touch off an emotional reaction for hard-core enthusiasts.  Being “authentic” some would argue, means the tires never leave the blacktop.  On the other side of the opinion page are those with an eye on their shrinking vacation balance.  They know that a journey – even with part of it in a shipping truck – is still an experience in riding, but just in a different way.

A couple of examples from my portfolio of rides.  A few years back I took advantage of a Fly-n-Ride out of Miami, FL.  Traveling 3300 miles one-way across the country is something I would only read about in the trade magazines, but the F&R program afforded me an option of enjoying the open air in a part of the country I rarely visit.  Or take the 105th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee a couple years ago.   Being limited on time I rode the 2100 miles out, but had the bike shipped back.  For both of these events I wouldn’t have been able to participate had I needed to “keep the tires on the blacktop” for the entire trip!

I was thinking about this topic after making travel plans for the so-called land of “trailer queens” – Laughlin River Run (April).  I’ve read the blogs too.  L.A. riders who take a whole day in a t-shirt to travel to Laughlin, NV.  About 366 miles and yet they trash talk anyone who arrives via an alternative method.  I say ride it, push it or trailer it is fine as long as you’re out there enjoying the sport.   My plan is to have the bike shipped to Las Vegas and our group is doing a Grand Canyon – Sedona – Laughlin loop over a 4 day period.  Start to finish will be about 1000 miles.  Sure, I’d like to have the extra 4 days to ride roundtrip Portland to Las Vegas, but it’s a question of using those 4 days later in the summer for a trip to Sturgis.

For me it’s about balance and participating in more rides/events.  The perennial debate – fewer trips with more riding miles vs. shipping – will continue as the motorcycle community questions if there is a something better.

Photo courtesy of H.O.G.

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Or_SummaryI decided to write Harley-Davidson and personally shout out that they are welcome and the state is open for business!  The letter is below.

Mr. Keith E. Wandell

President and CEO

Harley-Davidson, Inc.

Milwaukee, WI 53201


Dear Mr. Wandell:

After reading Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey letters on the potential York plant closure I wanted to let you know there is something about Oregon that ignites poetic inspiration, even among the most level-headed business types of your stature.

I could wax on about you (after you get a valid motorcycle license) and your executive team riding motorcycles in the spectacular Cascades, the dreamy coastal towns and rich farmlands of the Willamette Valley, but it’s really about America’s best kept secret…the quality of life.  Oregon has it in spades.

You may know us as the “Silicon Forest” when in the 80’s and 90’s the chip manufactures fled the high cost of California.  The state provided deep tax breaks and the suburbs were attractive to technology workers who could afford a far better quality of life in terms of schools and housing.  The tax breaks (although no longer as deep) have been extended to an increasingly dominate green movement and ever increasing public sector.  Did you know we were the first state in the union to pass a nickel “tax” on bottles and it’s been nothing but rainbows and butterflies ever since. 

Rain?  Don’t let visitors discourage you about the rain.  It’s rare, but when it occurs it’s more like mist.  And with more and more of us working in the solar panel industry we smile at the rain.  And don’t forget the trendy places like Portland’s Pearl District where the York plant management “sophistos” can sashay into all the charming restaurants from high priced condo’s.  You’ll find java beans with extra whip for the chauffer driven commutes along with Northwest brew pubs to sample the hops late into the night.

Sure we’ve been hit by the debilitating housing addiction like all other states after the California bubble collapsed and they stopped buying homes, but the best part is the spectacular vacation home market in the high-desert of Bend amid the volcanic peaks in the center of the state.  We now have record low prices and high availability where many of the H-D execs will want to relax after a long work week.

And speaking of talent, Oregonian’s are here for a reason and it’s not because of the left-leaning lifestyle.  It’s a great jump point in preparation for H-D’s future plans across the Pacific in China.  For example in the 90’s there were many manufactures that thrived in the state — printers, DVD players, digital projectors, memory chips, etc., — who moved to Asia as those sectors matured and profit margins evaporated, sending production to the places in China where labor costs are lowest.  We’re fully aware of this phenomena and would not be alarmed by such a move should H-D look to reduce the cost structure even more.

As you weigh various options and consider the long-term competitiveness of Harley-Davidson, I strongly urge you to give serious consideration to any option that will move the 2,000 jobs at stake to Oregon.  Don’t let the Governor, “Lazy-Ted”, distract you about hybrid technology.  He’s a short timer and spends much of his day looking for electrical outlets.  But, for the record here is the Oregon Economic Summary  (.pdf) for your review.  So, do the unexpected and create additional market buzz for the motorcycle company.  Create a new Harley-Davidson presence in the Northwest region….your gateway to China!


Mac — Editor, Northwest Harley Blog

I’m thinking he’ll respond.  What do you think?

Photo courtesy State of Oregon.

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santanaBefore we closed out Saturday evening we enjoyed the sounds of a Carnival/Latino band.  They played Santana down to the exact guitar note and percussion crash. Awesome group. I got a fairly good picture of the band and thought I’d post it. If anyone knows who this group is let me know and I’ll update the post. UPDATE: Band is Caravanserai. A Santana tribute band who painstakingly recreate the sound. Photo is Hank Gibson (L:Bass/Vocals) and Leo Herrera (R:Guitar/Vocals).

Sunday was our return trip to Portland.  It was going to be a very full day of riding — Reno, Susanville thru Mt Shasta to Portland via I-5.  More than 550 miles in the saddle and the weather had turned ugly.
When I tour on longer trips I bring gear for temperatures between 30°F and 100°F and assume that it could be raining continuously (as in 24 hours a day). I try and do this no matter where I’m going and no matter what the time of year. It may seem silly to bring an electrically heated vest when touring in southern Nevada in September but it’s a habit and it’s been rare where I’ve taken a trip and didn’t use every piece of riding clothing that I brought at least once.  As was the case on this trip I used every electric piece of clothing I owned.

A full face helmet was needed to avoid an “ice cream” headache. Riding in the cold isn’t really the limiting factor – it’s the lousy traction conditions when you get rain or snow on the roads. We had 40°F with rain the entire way to Susanville, CA. The mountain range got a dusting of snow and by the time we stopped, up-plugged the gear at a local McD’s, it was just down right nasty. The additional effect – called wind-chill factor has a way of cooling everything and it is significant on a bike.  It has a way of finding any itty-bitty opening in clothing and making it worse. The faster the air is moving the faster it will cool.
susanville snow
Standing in line at the Susanville McD’s a dude told us of his departure from Reno only to find himself “wheels-up” after rounding a slick corner. Nothing major was hurt other than his pride and his significant other never stopped rolling her eyes and giving him the “if looks could kill” look! We up-leveled our body temp with some hot java and sausage biscuits. While we were eating the rain stopped. We redressed and departed and by the time we made another 40 miles the roads were dry and we were making quick tracks to Mt. Shasta.
Mt Shasta
From Susanville we took CA-44 through Lassen National Forest.  We headed up toward Old Station and then took CA-89 toward the town of Mount Shasta.  This route is good and fast with varied and interesting scenery.   When we stopped in Mount Shasta for gas and started peeling off clothes as the sunshine started making the day look better.

We hit the on ramp for I-5, stopped once for a quick gas-n-go and then landed in Eugene at a local truck stop for dinner. We made it home in a little over 11 hours and only a slight ear buzz.   Another terrific and safe trip!

There is a difference between travel and a vacation. We choose the itinerary for vacations, but our motorcycle travels lead us on a journey…

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Dennis Hof Saturday morning was a total rain out. Water hose style with puddles! The casino’s were very busy with patrons waiting on weather reports. By noon the showers had cleared and we headed out on our own mini CatHouse Poker Run in Carson City. It wasn’t raining, but it looked like it wanted to and it was cold riding.

On the first stop of “Meet Famous People” tour I met Madam Suzette and Dennis Hof, owners of the Bunny Ranch and who starred in the reality TV show Cathouse: The Series on HBO. They do that “honest” living gig in the oldest profession. Watched “Air Force Amy” doing her gig with all the riders who would listen to the “give me your $$” banter. According to reports there are more than 500 women who work the ranch….all “independent contractors” who consider themselves a highly commissioned sales team!
Ranch Group
We made our way over to the tri-ranches; Sagebrush Range, Kit-Kat and Moonlite. It was just another day for these local “ho’s” I suppose…tough life in my book. There were live bands and we headed back to Reno to miss a shower ridden sky for the Harley dealership. A variety of food vendors, and race dyno’s were on hand throughout the dealer.
Chinese FoodWe ate dinner in the Eldorado Hotel at the Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant called Golden Fortune. Leo has waited on our posse for several years now, but this year he was booked. An accident or choice? We’ll never know, but he did pay us a table side visit. Excellent dinner and the service was top notch! We ate enough food to have two heart attacks, but managed to waddle down to the craps table. Mac was on a roll hitt’n the hard ways, and many sixty eights till the pit boss even started looking nervous.
Called it in early since we scheduled a 7:30am departure out of Reno on Sunday. The forecast was clear and 40 degrees so, we all had to find our winter riding gear and try and fit things back into the tour packs.

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straight roadWe departed Klamath Falls mid-morning following a major bug wash and continental breakfast that hardly deserves the name! Yogurt, fruit cups, cereal, muffins, and oatmeal. The Quality-type-Inn served us well, other than the “spank-o-vision” didn’t seem to work in our room.

We jumped on OR39 south heading toward CA-139 to Susanville, CA. Zipped and winterized to the max for all the cool weather, but it was good riding with Harley’s heading in multiple directions. The roads were good, with some very long straight stretches that lead into some very nice twisty.
Reno Group 2007
Coming down the hill into Susanville Lassen College sits off to the left. We ate lunch at the Black Bear Dinner. Hot food never tasted so good! We departed lunch ready to finish the last 80 miles for Reno. This short ride reminds me of an old tinted postcard that you might find in the bottom of a drawer at an estate sale, not written on but bought and saved because of some unremembered day.
SapphireWe arrived in Reno 268 miles later with bikes zipping everywhere and heavy traffic. The crowds were not the typical shoulder-to-shoulder mania, but large numbers and people seemed everywhere. Checked in to Harrah’s where our high floor number matched the astronomical room prices. Nice and fairly quite room. They did accommodate a hide-away bed.

That evening we met up with other members of the group who left earlier in the week than us and we had a mini birthday celebration for Eastwood. Ended the evening at Sapphire Lounge where disco tempo beat stirred or is that rattled my soul?! Loud, huh?!

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RenoMore than 30,000 motorcycle enthusiasts roar into Reno, NV in September. This was the 14th year for Street Vibrations and the event is ranked as the 6th largest (whatever!) motorcycle event in the nation.

Our posse made plans to do the 1200 mile round trip from Portland, OR. We decided on a route through/down I-5 to Eugene, OR and cross over the Cascades on Oregon 58 where we picked up US97 south to Klamath Falls.

Eugene is located at the southern end of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Its Oregon’s second largest city at 110,000 and other than the Oregon Ducks football, it has a lot of lumber and forest product focus. We arrived for lunch in Eugene then we hit OR58 eastbound to Oakridge. The highway passes several lakes, including Dexter Lake and Lookout Point Lake. We roared (literally) thru the Salt Creek Tunnel and continued on through forests of mostly lodgepole pines. Trucks heading to/from California are frequent and annoying on OR58. It seems this is the preferred route to Eugene instead of I-5 over the Siskiyou Summit. We continued over the mountains, to the summit of Willamette Pass, and then descended into central Oregon. The occasional store and lodging are about the only signs of habitat along the stretch of highway 58. It was a cloudy, cool day and we couldn’t see much of Three Sisters. OR58 ends at an interchange with U.S. Route 97 where we head south on US97.

Chinese FoodAt dusk we should have foreseen huge clouds of bugs along the edge of Klamath Lake embedded themselves in our helmet and coating the windshield. More on the bugs in a moment. The Lake is about 30 miles long, eight miles wide and has a few areas where the depth is up to 60 feet. The Upper Klamath Lake is the largest freshwater body west of the Rocky Mountains.

Now about those bugs…the Klamath Midge as locals call them, or Chironomous Utahensis for the research dudes who have thoroughly studied them. I call them a pain in the face! The Midge swarms occur every from May through September you can’t avoid them on US97 since the road follows the lake. There are 12 known species of midges in Upper Klamath Lake and I’m sure I took out my fair share.

We finally reached Klamath Falls (bug ridden) and checked-in to a “Quality-type-Inn” near the quaint old-time downtown area. Most important was the mobile room furniture to drag out and post up for a refreshment.

King Falls LoungeWe walked the quaint old town area where we came across a Chinese food restaurant. WO…ngs, as part of the neon sign was burnt out. Great food even though they didn’t have a liquor license. After dinner we headed by Taxi to the Cowgirl Lounge and then to the eclectic King Falls Lounge where a Band of sorts was getting ready to play. I’m not a restaurant/bar reviewer, but King Falls was rocking. The Klamath Blues Society (President: Phyllis) was accepting walk-on musician’s and the place had patrons (social retards) from a local mental hospital moving on the dance floor. Or at least that’s what it seemed to me.

We called it a night around midnight and I had a gut ache from laughing so hard.

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