Runkle enjoying one of the many covered bridges around Lowell, OR
Have you heard the news?  Gas prices are going through the SKY!  Heading to the MOON!!!! RUN!  RUN!!  ARGGG!!! The TERROR!!!

Whatever. I'm not worried.  I've got a backup plan: my BMW G650 GS (aka Runkle).   I scored Runkle a year ago from BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon (http://www.bmwor.com/).  We've been pretty close since we hooked up, although this year we are hoping to do more, go more, see more.   Last year we went to Texas and this year we are hoping to do something equally exciting...but I'm not sure how much time we'll have together for extended periods.  May have to make due with long weekends and one week long camping trip.  First, Runkle needs a tune up...and since I'm in Eugene now, we're going to head on over to BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon's sister company,
European Motorcycles of Western Oregon (http://www.emcwor.com/).

Runkle gets great gas mileage and Runkle carries a big load...especially with my Giant Loop (http://www.giantloopmoto.com/products/great-basin-dry-bag) dry bag on the back.  Seriously, this bag is awesome.  It is just the right size for my camping pad and my tent.  I'm sure I could get more into it, but I travel with a two man tent...and a fluffy camping pad...comfort is my top priority.  Comfort and keeping my stuff dry... which the dry bag and tank bag really do.  It's a nice change to actually have some gear that does what it claims.

Runkle at Valley of Fires Recreation Area, near Rosewell, NM 
Most the time I don't need to carry a big load and instead my awesome Giant Loop tank bag (http://www.giantloopmoto.com/collections/giant-loop-gear-collection/products/fandango-tank-bag) provides me more than enough room.  I LOVE LOVE the map pocket and the fact that it keeps things dry because there is a zipper on the inside to keep the map secure.  And, guess what?  My personal protection device (aka Glock) fits snuggly inside as well.

Giant Loop tank bag...one sweet bag!!!
My year with Runkle wouldn't have been complete without the goods I was sporting from Giant Loop.  Bonus:  they are an Oregon company...in Bend....and these guys know their riding.  They've actually got an awesome BMW G800GS that makes me jealous every time I see it.

Runkle hanging out at Big Fall Creek, OR

This last year wouldn't have been as swell without my Aerostich AD-1 pants (http://www.aerostich.com/ad1-motorcycle-pants.html).  I wore these pants in 109 degree temperatures and through storms that would have made a lesser bike stop and wait it out.   Not once was I disappointed...I love these pants like I love my dog.  (And I really LOVE my dog!)


Near Lake Powell...with the blue ribbon from the 2011 Kilcullen Memorial Ride.   
My shameless plugs are a way for me to say "THANK YOU" to those who supported Runkle and I through the last year.  Giant Loop, Aerostich, and BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon all helped make my first year with Runkle be one of my best.

Here's to many more wonderful years together.  Happy Birthday, Runkle!!!!


EPD Bikes at the Kilcullen Highway Sign Dedication in 2011.
The Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride is currently  in the planning phase.  After a few false starts, we have worked around the other various motorcycle and summer events (Dierks Bentley coming to Oregon!) and have concluded that the last Sunday in July will be the ride date from this point forward.  So, check your calendars and save July 29, 2012 for the Second Annual Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride.  

This year's ride will feature a trip to the coast for 248 (Chris's badge number) miles of scenic roads.  The exact route is still being determined, as are the stops, but our faithful leader is working on the specifics.

The proceeds from this year's ride will go toward the Officer Chris Kilcullen Memorial Scholarship.

YOU can help make this event a success by showing up and riding with us!  Last year around 200 riders participated, riding from Eugene, OR to Sisters, OR, 248 miles roundtrip.   To help get you motivated, here are some photos from last year's ride!  Stay tuned for more information and keep an eye on the Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride website (http://www.chriskilcullenmemorialride.webs.com/) for upcoming registration specifics.  You can also follow the ride on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Kilcullen-Memorial-Motorcycle-Ride/149231638477260.


At the pitstop in Sweet Home some of the riders and volunteers stop for a photo op.  



Some of the group in Sisters...

One of the coolest bikes there last year...oh wait, that's MINE!  How did that get there???  :)   


  
Just home from Scotland and Ireland a mere two months earlier, I didn't have high hopes for Cabo.  I mean, how could a week long vacation to Mexico even compare to the three weeks of touring through the Isles and the scenery?  Negative Nelly (apparently me) had doubts.  However, Cabo turned out to be a blissful surprise.  The highlights:

One night Irish Jay was bragging about being in the National Guard and being trained to RUN into danger, and the next morning, Irish Jay was scurrying like a scared little bunny away from an opportunity to prove his manliness.  

We woke up around 5 am and walked the half an hour around the docks to our boat, a tiny little 23 foot skiff with a Captain who clearly needed this excursion to be a win.  We were all tucked rather sheepishly into the boat as we were motored over to the Policia who do a preliminary inspection of paperwork and ensure the tourists have paid for their fishing.  Not our lucky morning (which was evident when we saw the boat), we were turned away and back to the dock where we were to exchange boats for one that had the proper up to date safety protocols.  I'd been making comments about the throttle on the boat, how it seemed to have a gas issue, but I felt confident our Captain knew what he was doing.  I mean, maybe that's how things were done in Mexico!  About twenty feet from a dock there was a loud bang and I looked up in time to see Irish Jay rushing away from the area like he'd just been attacked by a pack of wild bees.

The boat motor apparently had an issue as flames were shooting out!!!  Jenn and Irish Jay rushed to the front of the boat while the Captain slipped past them and took the cover off the motor. He proceeded to dip the cover into the water and try to put out the flames.  Meanwhile, I'm in my spot, snapping photos and being encouraging, while Jenn and Jay were contemplating jumping off the boat but wondering how to save their previous electronics.  Other boaters were snapping photos but no one came to help.  Finally I decided it was maybe time to unhook the gas line since the red can of gas was sitting rather close to the flames which appeared to continuing upward and around the motor.  Jay was kind enough to hand us his knife to cut the cord which held the can on, but he was not about to come any closer.  I think I remember him saying repeatedly, "It's gonna blow!"  (Tough guy, right)   I unhooked the gas line as a boat finally came over with a fire extinguisher to help and the 15 year old kid on the boat put out the flames.  What did I learn?  Spend the extra dinero to go fishing on a good, big, well equipped and safe boat.  And leave the chickens on the shore.

Mango Deck Nachos, Tortilla Soup and Wings...yeah baby!
Cabo has some wonderful bars.  For you drinking peeps (and those who just want to havea fun time) I have three that you must take the time to visit if ever in Cabo.  One of which is the Mango Deck (http://www.mangodeckcabo.com/).  It has bright tables and umbrellas and is right on the beach.  There are two for one drinks ALL day long and the margaritas are actually GOOD, which I have found is RARE at the bars in Cabo (ask for the good tequilla).  The people watching is the best thing about the Mango Deck but if it's too busy, walk a step down the beach and hit The Office and Billygan's Island.  Of the two, Billygan's was my favorite.  There are lounging chairs with umbrellas that can occupy half your day as you watch the people, enjoy some great food, and some terrific strawberry margaritas.   Of course, it probably didn't help The Office that one of their white coat clad "doctors' asked us to leave after we paid and were waiting for a local vendor to finish making a custom bracelet.  And, of course, if you enjoy being punished you should slink over to Cabo Wabo Cantina because that's where everyone thinks is cool.  Myself, I don't like the taste of Cabo Wabo Tequilla and think their prices are inflated.  It is truly a tourist trap but where else can you go to experience Sammy Hagar's finest attempt at restauranteering?   (If you don't know who Sammy Hagar is, please stop reading and go play with your iPad.)  

View from our Booze Cruise
Let's talk briefly about the Booze Cruise.  Prior to Cabo when I heard someone talk about going on a Booze Cruise two words came to mind:  OLD and LAME.  Perhaps I've hit an all time low or I've just matured enough to admit that those old folks know their stuff.   The booze cruise is the best bang for your buck.  Get it for free by checking out a timeshare and you can't go wrong.  Our booze cruise had a great Tequilla Sunrise, a lot of beautiful views, and so much laughter you'd think we were on a comedy channel.  Seriously.  Give it a go.  Just don't hook up with the photographer (hmmmmm is there a story behind that? Sorry, what happens in Cabo didn't happen.)
BMW I spotted along the Marina...what fun I could have on that!!!
Cabo has some great views.  At practically any time of the day, the beaches around Cabo are wondrous.  The famed "Arch" is photographed over and over.  Cabo itself, well, not so much.  There were numerous trip hazards along the streets and garbage was everywhere once you got away from the main tourist drag, which was the waterfront.  Perhaps the best thing about Cabo is the possibilities.  You can do so much there...from lounging by the pool, to fishing, shopping, parasailing, ATV rides, hiking, and even exploring.  Cabo has something for everyone.

What did I learn from Cabo?  The sun, margaritas, and a lot of free time are all good things!  

Thanks to Jenn for planning the trip and for buying a timeshare.  Mexico just moved up to become one of my new favorite places!!!



January is behind us and in front, Valentine's Day.  Thank goodness.  I was just starting to feel good about myself again.  Nothing like a holiday for love to knock a single chick back a few paces.  Bitterness isn't pretty but I wear it well.

Seriously though, February has been a good month thus far.  I've seen the blue peeking through the clouds and despite the frosty mornings, the days have been warmer than ever.   The other day a friend and I went to a high school basketball game at the tiny school in Lowell, OR that we graduated from.  The years haven't  been kind to our alma mater.   Or perhaps it is just that time has given us both different expectations and now we see flaws where once we only saw the coveted senior lockers, glass plated award cabinets, and friendships we thought we'd have forever.  

We reacquainted with old friends, caught up on all the gossip, and marveled at how some of the kids playing were (shockingly) the children of classmates.  Wow, Valentines Day and a two hour reminder that time continues to move even if you don't.   (Thank you, February!)  And to think, some people say you can never go back.  We did.  We saw our old basketball coach, still coaching.  We walked through the locker room that hasn't changed a bit.  The showers have the same tile, the lockers have the same baskets, and the floor...the same cold cement that made you rush from the shower to your shoes.   

Still, Lowell High was lovely.  Walking along the breezeway like we'd done a thousand times before brought back memories long forgotten.  Like the time one precious person grabbed my hands and threatened to break all my fingers if I ever called her brother again (over protective much??) .  I remember the boys who stood by the heaters...in the lone hallway that left us no option but to pass.  I don't even recall if they ever said anything but over the years my mind has convinced myself that they were cruel and taunting.    Today those boys are grown and not at all intimidating...just 40 something year old guys whose glory days have passed, much like us all.   Don't get me wrong, my friends and I did our share of cruelty.  The most horrific I still pay for today....saying my friend had a marshmellow butt in her white basketball shorts.  Of course, the thing she forgets is WE ALL had the same shorts and thus, we ALL looked like marshmellows.   She's as skinny as a rail now and my butt is twice or three times as large as hers.  I've gone past marshmellow butt and gone right to train ass.   

In today's world we could have been arrested for some of the things we did (and probably back then as well but we won't leave a paper trail).  Surely the heater boys would have been brought up on harassment charges.   Time has changed not only us, but our outlook on things.  I don't remember thinking anyone was a bully per se, but maybe they were.  Maybe we all were.  Maybe that's why the past is better left in the past...because if we stop to evaluate what we've done we will slowly pick away at who we are.   

It's good to go back to where you came from.  At least once.  But, it's much safer to get on the moto and just ride.