Pass the Oyster, September 2006

All of the pictures
Yet another great weekend with WetLeather. Lucky Mileage 5850.

Friday was a good day at work. I got email at 4:45pm from a customer
informing me that my solution solved their problem. I was already
wearing my full gear sitting at my desk waiting for the clock to hit
5pm so it was a good start to the weekend.  I met Molly at 5:15pm at
the gas station by my work in Beaverton. We got on hwy 30 to avoid the
really bad I-5 portland traffic heading north. It was a good trip. We
stopped at the Toutle rest stop to put on warmer gear and headed up to

We got in around 9pm and we were both tired so decided to stay. Steve
Gross had dinner waiting for us (such a good Cabana Boy he was) and we
had a nice chat. I was asleep on the comfy air mattress by 10:30.
Molly wasn't feeling well and decided not to continue on.  I pulled
out of his garage at 7am.I had a chilly but quick ride up to
Burlington. Pulled into the Buzz inn at 8:30. Had a greasy but filling
breakfast and mostly it was nice to see everyone and finally put faces
to some names.

I was feeling pretty good and after talking about the 3 rides heading
out I decided the one up to Mt. Baker was the one for me. It was the
twistiest and I was in the mood. Pete Y. was leading that one. I
had never ridden with him before but Ive gotten used to following a
guy on a Suzuki wearing an Aerostich so it was at least familiar. The
group was Pete on his SV 650S, his friend Neal on his FZ1, me on
Lucky, Alex on his new DL1000, Phil and Deb on their DL650's. Neal had
to head back home early on so it was just the 5 of us the rest the

Pete set a fun pace (that got more fun as the day progressed). Before
the ride started I asked him if the plan was to wait at intersections.
He said he was thinking people could just keep the rider behind them
in their mirror. I decided that wouldnt work for me. He agreed we
could wait at intersections. As it was we stayed relatively close
together going up to Glacier. The town right before the road to Baker.
We had a good ride up, it was an hour or so of riding up to Glacier.
At that point we all agreed everyone is on their own and we meet at
the top. Right as I pulled out I could hear my engine too well and
realized I hadnt put my ear plugs in. So I pulled over as everyone
went ahead.

Ok. here is where I have decided to fess up. I was riding back from
Ted T.'s thinking what can I ever do to repay WL. Im no mechanic.
What I can do is this. Share my experiences and mistakes. I hope
people can learn from them. I know I do. I know Im a pretty good
rider. I can handle the bad rep I get from people who have never
ridden with me and whose only experience with me is from my reports. I
dont share all the good stuff. All I hope is people can learn from my

I was bad. I did at least two really bad passes. Alex saw the worst
one that Im lucky no one called the cops on me for (or worse). I
learned a bunch of lessons and after talking about it with Phil and
HMarc at the party have learned some things to watch out for in the
future. Basically I was impatient once the road started to tighten up.
I was passing 4 cars in a totally straight flat road with dotted
yellow on my side. As I was passing the 3rd car a subaru pulls out of
a driveway on the left and turns right in toward me. Subaru sees me
and keeps coming but pulls over a bit and I lane split between them
and the last car (the cars were all tight together). So it ended well
but I scared a few people.

Phil and Deb saw the other one. Going up the tight twisties on Baker.
It was an old truck with Phil and Deb behind. At one turn I could look
ahead and see the following two turns were empty. So I decided to
pass. I passed all three. Really it isnt my fault people freak out
when I pass them. Ok it is, but still. All ended well and I should
have been more patient cause it straightened out right after that.

Needless to say It was all fine and I had a terrific ride up Baker. It
was soo much fun. The rest the passes I thought were all safe cause I
could see all the way through two turns ahead. The road was great. It
was a little damp in spots but not slippery. I saw a lot fewer
Harley's than I expected. The top of Baker is the best part. There
were some _really_ tight 15mph switchbacks. It was fun. The gravel
could be pretty easily avoided I thought.

At the top we all hung out for a bit. There were a bunch of people up
there. One guy on a liter bike walked up to me and said he could hear
me coming all the way up.. heh. Phil took off for a while so I suspect
he got some great shots of the mountains. Then we all headed back
down. I used to not like downhill turns but for some reason I find
them a lot more fun now. After I got down to the 2nd half of Baker
where the turns are 30mphs and its a lot flatter a KTM 950 with big
side cases came up behind me. Every time I took a turn I thought there
is no way that guy can keep up. He was right on my tail the whole way
down. A few of the tighter turns he fell behind but always caught
right back up.

There was  a long straight up a head with a car going slow and a
Harley following behind. I came up behind them and passed (first I
checked the KLR guy wasnt passing too). Right as I got next to the
Harley he pulls out to pass (without checking). I swerve and hit the
gas and got around. I hope he learned to check his mirrors after that.
I figure it was karma for previous bad behavior. I also talked about
this with Hmarc and Pete and they gave me good tips for avoiding this
in the future. Basically make sure they know you are there, he didnt.
They also taught me that before passing look to the left and see if
there is a driveway or road the car could be turning left into without
signally. Hmarc also said he mentally keeps note of weather or not he
has ever seen a cars brakes lights, to check if they are even working.
All great tips. Marc also said in Britain they call the mirror check
before passing the "life saver". I wont forget it.

I pull over in Glacier to wait for everyone else. The KTM guy pulls
over too. I walked over and we talked. He said, wow you are a really
good rider. I was like, _you_ too! He said, I do alright. heh. I
commented about the Harley guy and hopefully he learns to check his
mirrors in the future. He said I dealt with it well. He is from BC
(there were a _ton_ of canadians around). He had the thickest Western
Canadian accent Ive ever heard. Pete pulls up next. Makes a joke about
me having time to change my oil. Then Alex, Phil and Deb. We all stop
and chat for a bit.

Then Maple Falls for gas. Lesson number 3. Lucky drops well. After
filling up I was pulling up to park. It was a sharp right, with a
downhill slant to the right. I was tired. I hit the front brake with
the handlebars turned to the right and my right toe couldnt touch all
the way. Down we went. No harm to me (im really good at getting out of
the way).  Lucky's brake tip broke off and is bent slightly. The right
turn signal broke in the best possibly spot and still totally works, I
just taped it up with electrical tape in case it rains. Will have to
replace both. Other than that you cant even tell. I was bummed though.

Then lunch at Frosty Inn. It was about 1:30 by then. Phil and Deb saw
their Chiropractor on a ride with a bunch of his friends there. We had
a good lunch and I felt much more refreshed and energized. We decided
to take our time and do our own lowlands tour so we didnt get back too
early. Pete and I were having too much fun together. At one point I
was setting in for a turn and I saw his brake lights go on at the
exit. So I slowed down. Sure enough we round the corner to 150 Harley
people all staring at us wide-eyed. They were at a bar at the end of a
15mph turn and we both just looked where we wanted to go and went on
our way. Of course getting stuck behind 3 _really_ slow riders soon

It was fun though. We had really good LEO luck too. Alex got a lot
better during the day too. I noticed at the beginning of the ride he
was turning in early and coming out of corners just a tad wide. I
mentioned it to him and at the end of the day at our last gas stop I
told him I noticed he had really improved. Was exiting corners well
and was keeping up much better. He said he was following my lines as
well as he could with a bike at least 2 times as big as mine. It
seemed to help. Certainly a lot better fit for him than his VTX. He
makes his DL1000 look like a normal sized bike the same way I make
Lucky look like a normal sized bike.

So on to the BBQ after that. I was staying at Bretts so we went there
and I rode in with them. The BBQ was fun. The Oysters were the best
cooked oysters Ive ever had. First steamed in the shell on the grill
then dropped in a garlic butter sauce to finish up. MMM. MMM. I
normally like them raw but these were great. The rest the food was
really good too. Ribs, beans and slaw and home made beer. WL shines
yet again.

Great company too. I got to talk about motorcycles all night which
always makes me happy. Laura has convinced me to got o Femmoto next
year. They have _catchers_ so you can ride bikes that are way too big
for you!! I wish I could go this year. Very very nice all around. We
were all home and in bed by 10:30 probably. There were comments about
us getting old but hell. It was fun.

At the top of Baker I looked at my rear tire tread and noticed it was
a lot less than even a day earlier. I was concerned about my track day
on Monday. So I told Brett in the morning as I was getting ready to go
and he checked it out. Came back and said he wouldnt let my bike on
the track. By this point they were past the wear bar. We talked and I
realized I had been really bad about air pressure. It had been low for
the whole trip. Apparently after 5k miles it degraded really quickly
with too low of pressure.

So I called out for help as I knew my tires are pretty rare. The ones
I had were the stock size, Pirelli 120/80 16" in the rear. The front
is totally fine. Jenner suggested Ted so I called him up (yay roster).
They were home and he was glad to switch out wheels to get me better
tire tread. I left Brett's at 10am. Traffic was really bad and I didnt
get to Teds (near boeing field) til 11:30.

I got to learn all about changing wheels. It was fun actually. I took
Tamera's tire since it was closest to my other one. Hers is a Dunlop
130/90 16" (on the ride home I realized this effectively raised the
rear of my bike at least 1//2"). Then they put the rear from their
spare on her bike so she can commute to school and we put my rear
wheel strapped to the back of my bike. This way I willl buy two new
tires, have them installed on the wheels and I can drive up next week
to return it. Ive been wanting to make an Ikea trip anyway so this
works out well. Ted and Tamera definitely saved the day, thank you!

Its funny what necessity does for changing ones mind. I used to think
it would be the end of the world to not change both tires always at
the same time so they are matched. Now I have two different treads,
brands, wear level and sizes and it is fine. Good lesson for me on air
pressure and tire maintenance for sure.

The ride home was good. The extra weight on the back was noticeably
but I dealt with it fine. It was strapped on tight so didnt move at
all. I left their place at 12:40 and got home at 4:15 with a few
stops. Traffic was pretty heavy in spots as well. I was taking it easy
with the new tire and extra weight. It all was fine though. I might
like the taller tire more. Not sure yet.

It was a great weekend.


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