Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Feeling Mouldy

August has been looking a whole lot more like October over the past week. Constant dark clouds and drizzle coupled with lower than normal temps has got me feeling the autumn blues a bit early this year. According to Mr. Weatherman, we can expect pretty much more of the same for the next week or so.

Maybe the BMW C1 wasn't such a bad idea after all. It keeps most of the rain off of you... Nah, forget that! I'm simply losing it. Guess I'll just slip into my Frogg Toggs and find a new road to explore.

Monday, August 04, 2008

That extra wheel sure ain't cheap!

Harley Davidson has introduced the Tri-Glide Ultra Classic trike. Smart move. Considering their aging demographic and how many current Harley owners are turning to Lehman for trike conversions, being able to buy one directly from the manufacturer makes sense. You get a full warranty, and service can be handled by any Harley dealer.

...then I saw the price: $30K! Oh, and that doesn't include certain options that - to me - sound more like a necessity, like a reverse gear which will cost you an extra $1,195.

Still, for those out there who can no longer handle two wheels, its an interesting option. And of course, with 185 liters of luggage capacity it can pack more gear than most full dressers.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Essential (Motorcycle) Travel Skills

Travel writer Chris Elliott has penned an excellent article on how to effectively cope with the summer travel blues. Although most of the tips are written from an airplane or automobile traveller's perspective, I've found that they're all just as handy when travelling on two wheels.

Here are the 7 skills Elliott suggests to make your summer travels more enjoyable:

  • Take care of yourself

  • Lower your expectations

  • Think of travel as an adventure

  • Pack your sense of humor

  • Role playing, anyone (read the article, you'll understand)

  • Condition yourself to think positively

  • Look inward for a solution

Most of these skills could also be summarized as "Plan ahead, take it easy, have fun".

Friday, August 01, 2008

Is this normal?

Maybe I need to see a psychologist? I've been spending way too much time on CycleTrader lately searching for that elusive "next bike". Many have caught my eye, like that pristine Ducati ST4 with no mileage going for $8,000... or maybe that ZZR1200 complete with luggage cases for a tad over $6000. Then again, there was a nice first-generation K1200GT with the flying brick engine for next to nothing including the thousands in aftermarket farkles.

Problem is, every time I find a bike that stirrs me, I start seeing all the things that I'll probably have to tweak for the bike to fit me and the missus. Then I look at the V-Strom sitting in the garage and remember all the hours spent adding this, or changing that, or modifying this, etc... That's usually the point where I stop thinking of getting another bike.

Is the V-Strom perfect? Of course not, far from it. Problem is, I don't think there is such a thing as a perfect bike, so anything I end up buying, I know I'll have to put some work into it before I'm happy with it... and I just don't want to go through all that again. At least, not yet.

But then again, that ST4 sure looks nice.


It started almost a year ago. My wife comes into the veranda with an open laptop in her hands - typical sign that she wants me to see something. "I want to show you something", she says as she's turning the laptop's screen towards me. Celebrity Cruises' 14 Night Ultimate Alaska Cruise on board the Infinity. I look at the screen and pause a few seconds, considering my reply to what I'm guessing is meant to be a proposal.

"Uhm... How much?", I ask as visions of smouldering credit cards dance in my head. "I can get a really good deal on a balcony room, less than what we paid for that last cruise in the Carribbean". OK, I'll admit that at this point she's got me curious, as the Southern cruise hadn't cost us that much. She spills the beans, and I agreed. Being an amateur photographer, Alaska is a choice destination - so how could I refuse?

Like I first said, that was almost a year ago, and now it's almost here... Finally!

We'll be leaving in mid-September for two weeks aboard a big boat and, according to what we've read, we'll be in the much younger minority as Alaska doesn't seem to be at the top of the list for younger couples looking to party. That's fine, maybe the line-ups for drinks won't be as long.