The weekend…

In other news, I’ve practically sold my Icon red and white Tuscadero jacket to another woman at work who just bought a spanking new SV. And I bought the Teknic Violator jacket from Seattle Cycle last Saturday. They need to order it for me and hopefully I can go pick it up this weekend and drop it off at Eugene’s who will zip it up with the pants for me.

Last Sunday I went on a loooong ride by myself on the SV. It was the first time I took her out on the freeway and I was amazed at how well she handles as compared to my Virago. So stable and hardly any vibration. Of course, the first plunge on the freeway on a motorbike is always scary to me as I feel the wind blasts on my helmet from both sides. I try to crouch down as much as possible, but that feeling of utter panic carries itself into my handling of the bike as well.

In any case, about my route – I took the ferry frm Edmonds to Kingston on Sunday morning and rode on WA-101 along Hood Canal. From there I turned back up north to the other side of the canal to the little town called Tahuya.

My intention was to do the Destination Highway from Tahuya to Gorst, but I think I missed the turn someplace and got in North Shore Rd. instead that goes by the water.  It was gorgeous and twisty and there was hardly any traffic!! Don’t get me wrong – it was lovely to see so many bikers out there, but after a while I got tired of waving. :P

I rode as far as I could, but it ended in a rather steep, un-engineered, uphill, one lane route and I stopped and turned around. I don’t like heights, and I wasn’t keen on turning a corner to see a car directly in my face.

From there I rode back to WA-3 and took it all the way north back to Kingston. There were almost 20+ bikers on the 5:45 ferry back to Edmonds! I think I rode almost 250 miles in one day! Suffice to say, I’ve broken the SV in! :) The curious thing is that I was having so much fun riding that I never actually wanted to stop and take pictures! So not much of a photo record this time.


Today has been the most splendid weather we’ve had for a long time. It was bright and sunny, and even a little bit warm if you were wearing three layers. I took off early from work to ride over to main campus for a brownbag on Windows Vista globalization, which was suprisingly good (compared to the last dismal seminar I attended on Software Design Patterns). I got to see sneak peaks of Vista, plus heard a little about their globalization strategy, and got links to some good resources, all of which I am going to need seeing as I am responsible for i18n quality for a brand new product for Windows Live.

Incidentally, I had one of the hairiest moments of my riding life trying to find Building 26, when I turned into what looked like a freshly tarred driveway, but was a gravelly death-trap instead. I skidded and wobbled before my brain worked out the details, and it was a miracle that I didn’t crash. I suppose it’s a good sign that my sub-conscious instincts kicked in and I resisted the panic-stricken urge to stick my foot out and balance, rather just kept my eyes straight ahead and braked gently. I managed to back out slowly and get back on the street and rode all the way round the building to find the parking lot.

The brownbag ended at 5 and I went on home rather than going back to work. It’s the first time in months that I have ridden back home under a sunny sky. Speaking of which, how crazy is it to see motorcyclists back on the street and waving to them and then pulling into the motorcyclists’ area in the parking lot and finding it *full* of bikes, rather than just the forlorn one or two faithful regulars? :) I don’t even wave these days – more like punch the air with my fist. I think the sentiment is echoed by my fellow riders as well. ;)

The Harley Riders at Microsoft are having a ride meet tomorrow and they have kindly invited all other bikers as well. ;) I’d go, only we’re celebrating another team mates’ birthday and am already booked. I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty amusing to ride with the Harley guys sometime on my naked Suzuki. :)

When I got home, I tried starting up the Suzuki again, this time leaning on the start button like my life depended on it, and it responded and started up! :D I let it warm up for a bit and then took it out for a first ginger trail run. It’s a good thing nobody was out watching, because they would have busted a gut at the sight of the bike and I fighting each other, with the bike clearly winning. :P It seemed surprisingly lighter than I had expected, but clearly looked like it would throw me off and kick me in the shins if I took it for granted even for a fleeting moment. By the time I rolled it back into the carport (5 minutes later *ahem*), my fingers hurt from clamping down onto the clutch for dear life, and my legs were cramped from the unnatural position and scrapping around desperately to find the damn rear brake! :P So – not a very pleasant first experience, but even so, my heart beats just a little faster at the thought of riding it again.

Later on in the evening, as I was driving to Starbucks to catch up on reading some specs, I pondered on the irony in the fact that I never wanted to own a cruiser again as I did not like shiny chrome, but my new bike is a big, flashy, mid-life-crisis-red machine. *sigh* I mean, the Virago looks exactly like what a bike should look like – used, dirty, mud-splattered, old and dependable. I suppose that given time the Suzuki will take on that appearance, but right now it looks exactly like the bikes I see in the Microsoft parking lots and cringe at – expensive toys owned by rich yuppies with too much money to spend. Guess their ranks are going to be inflated by one more when I ride it to work. Some sort of poetic justice? :P

Or how I spent my vacation…

Motorcycle Diary 1: Olympic Peninsula, WA


Motorcycle: Virago 250
Days travelled: 4
Miles covered: ~550 mi
Destination Highways ridden: 6

Detailed breakdown:

Bellevue – Edmonds – 23.4 mi
Kingston – Port Gambol – 8 mi
Port Gambol – Port Ludlow – 11.6 mi
Port Ludlow – Port Townsend – 18.2 mi
Port Townsend – Sequim – 31.2 mi
Sequim – Dungeness Spit – Back – 7.4 mi one way = 14.8 mi
Sequim – Port Angeles – 16.8 mi
Port Angeles – Fairholm – Back – 27 miles one way = 54 mi
Joyce – Sekiu – 36.8 mi
Sekiu – Neah Bay – Back – 18.9 mi one way = 37.8 mi
Sekiu – Ozette – Back – 24.6 mi
Clallam Bay – Forks – 31.3 mi
Forks – Kalaloch – 36.1 mi
Kalaloch – Hoquiam – 70.7 mi
Hoquiam – Aberdeen – 5.2 mi
Aberdeen – Olympia – 50 mi
Olympia – Bellevue – 63.7 mi

Click to read the entire account and see lots of better resolution pictures on my homepage: