Monday, September 26, 2016

Parting is such Sweet Sorrow...Leaving Mexico

Back in February...shortly after "The Last Ride"...we started doing the things that we had to do to move out of La Paz and get ourselves moved to our new home in Longview, Washington. One of the first steps (at least from my point of view) was to move the motorcycles up to the new home. I was very lucky to have a good friend with a good truck and a good trailer to take it all up. Johnny Johnson got it done in about a week. He just happens to be...probably...the most experienced guy in the world at driving the Baja Peninsula. Check out his racing resume by clicking on his name...amazing!

We had to be ready to vacate our La Paz home by March 1, 2016...actually we left a couple of days later. Just before we left, a Mexican moving company picked up the stuff that we were taking North and departed for the Border. United States laws will not allow a Mexican moving company to move beyond the Border region, so a California moving company picked up our load from just across the Border and drove it North to Longview. Catherine and I just drove ourselves up in our Nissan Xterra..a perfect car for the rain and snow of the Pacific Northwest. On the trip, we were well protected by Paco...our middle aged Weimaraner. As you can well imagine, none of this was cheap. Which certainly raises the question...Why bother? Why not just stay in beautiful tropical Mexico?

Many reasons spring to mind starting with the fact that medical care for aging United States citizens is paid for by the government (Medicare) but this advantage of citizenship is not available unless you are actually in the United States. There is no coverage for procedures performed outside the United States. I am well, but I am also 73 years it is only prudent to position myself to take advantage of this benefit. My wife, being essentially a child bride, is not eligible for Medicare for another year. So, she will be ready to take advantage when the time comes.

A second reason is weather related. It has been our experience that hurricanes are unpleasant events...not to be repeated if possible. Two years ago Catherine and I  went through a Category 5 hurricane at our home in La Paz and I believe that as a consequence of that event we made an unspoken agreement to leave as soon as it became convenient. Up here in Washington, there is also a distinct lack of widow spiders...rattlesnakes...mosquitos and millepedes. These are creatures that we can all do without. Up here in Washington our biggest problems are the giant slugs that wander out of the forest at night. Some people do not like our squirrels. From my point of view, they are massively preferable to the scorpions of La Paz.

So...what about Washington? It is very different from anyplace that I have ever lived before. Catherine has been around cold weather, rain, snow and tall green trees for at least some of her life...Me, not so much.

This is what the new place looks like from one of the game trails that surround the property. It did not take us long before we were hiking around the area. Below are a couple of shots from the game trail that is just south of the house.

I am not a fan of spiders and this one looks like something out of s Sy Fy movie!

In La Paz I had a spacious workshop where I could conduct my experiments on unsuspecting motorcycles. Here I am suffering. We have a nice (and even spacious) two car garage. But we also have three cars and way too many motorcycles. So, my search began for a local builder. I am happy to report that I am now awaiting the construction of a decent size (700+ sq.ft.) shop. Once that is up, I will be ready to start bringing back to life my bikes which have been suffering in the cold and damp weather. Below is a shot of the building pad under construction.

So, what else is new? Actually we re-stocked our weimaraner population. Two girl dogs from Kentucky arrived in early June. They are sisters from the same litter and they are growing like weeds. I expect that they will be keep us safe from the slugs and squirrels and letter carriers as well as the Fed Ex visitors. I'll have some more up-dates when construction begins on the shop.

The puppies at eleven weeks

The puppies at three months

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Last Ride

When I started writing this blog...a year or so ago...I intended to simply record my processes and thoughts while I gradually brought back to life a very sadly neglected TY 175. I bought that bike for my then 10 tear old son back in the middle 1990's. It took a while and it turns out that I enjoyed the process so much that I started working on some other bikes that found their way into my garage. That process...that mechanical and mental exercise... is now at an least until my wife and I complete our relocation further North.

There are a lot of feelings associated with this relocation. One of my strongest feelings is one of loss...the loss of this place. It just so happens that we live a few steps from the beach and in just about five minutes I can be in a perfectly quiet...sandy...rocky...and utterly undeveloped desert landscape which abuts the Sea of Cortez. Where we are moving that particular adventure is not possible.

I am presently in the middle of a series of "Last Rides". A couple of months ago my son (in whom I am well pleased...) came down to visit with his faithful companion "Tamale"...a Mexican street dog. We took a couple of days to take all of the bikes out to visit riding areas which we both knew very well. The picture above was taken in front of a sand dune...on the other side of that dune is the Sea of Cortez. Erin had been up that dune a number of time on the old Honda XR 600. That old and heavy beast is no longer with us...but I digress. On this occasion Erin easily rode to the top on the CR 250...but he had to go faster than he did on the XR because the CR is a peaky...nervous and demanding bike to ride. I think that he liked the old XR better. I would not even attempt the climb on the little Bultaco Campera. That would have been asking a lot given the size of the Bully's engine...the size of the rear tire...and the load that it would have been carrying.

On the last afternoon before Erin headed back North for a bit more surfing, we rode the trials bikes around the property. I think that Erin particularly enjoyed the TY. It had been his second motorcycle about 20 years ago. It appears, in this photo, that he inadvertently disabled the anti-wheelie software. We both rode the TLR quite a bit and agreed that it was a easier and more comfortable bike to ride around. These bikes will see a lot of action on the Northwest. There are logging trails all around our new house and thousands and thousands acres of Federally protected land which should be available for riding. We will see.

Tamale did not seem to mind, but I think that she was pleased that her mealticket survived with nothing more than a little sunburn.

Over the past week or so, I have gone on a couple more "Last Rides". About a week ago I went off on the CR250...the one in the photo above. It is a "busy" bike. It is easy to start and, for a racing bike, it has a fairly forgiving spread of power. It does not like low revs. Once you are up into the powerband you need to pay strict attention to where you are going.

My usual choice for a gentle and relaxing ride is the Bully. It makes enough noise to irritate my neighbors...but not so much noise that it interferes with the ride. It is comfortable...the carburetion is perfect and thanks to my electronic ignition the bike starts immediately every time.

I will be sad to be leaving my riding area, but I am anxiously looking forward to setting up a new shop at our new home and then exploring the riding opportunities in the State of Washington.

Stay tuned...more adventures to come.