Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: September 2009


Rain, that drippy stuff.

Out of the near month I've been here in Ohio, I swear that it's been raining for half of it. I've probably seen more rain fall here in the last week and a half that I've seen in CA in the last two years. That could explain why everything is quite green and lush here. Hell, it's even raining right now! Most people could care less about precipitation, but the West Coast (unless you live in OR or WA) is in complete denial that it ever does rain, or have anything fall from the sky for that matter. And when it rains in Los Angeles, at least one street is completely flooded, regardless of how little it really does rain. Half an inch of rain in a day is "Flash Flood" status. I think Ohio would call that a drought.

For the motorcyclist, it's another round of puddles to play in. For me, it's a chance to do some research on better gear for the wet stuff. The motorcycle pants and gloves I wear are the biggest issue at the moment. I've been very successful with my Aerostitch Roadcrafter Jacket and I won't budge from that. However, the jacket can't stop anything else from getting flooded below the waist. It's not fun getting water in the crotch or the cold, wet paws on the handlebars. Time for some rainy day shopping!


Fuzzy the Rat

It's a Sunday night and I'm attempting to get back into some routine while I'm job searching. So, I got back to the video editing board and opened up a wedding video that I'd like to finish pretty soon. To help me with this project is my trusty, hairless, one-eyed rat named Fuzzy.

I have to put in a little blurb in the blot about Fuzzy. Matt gave him to me for Valentine's day this year and since then he's been our companion during video game sessions, late night video editing, a cross-country move, and lounging on the sofa while watching TV. He's a klepto who likes to take paper items from my desk to line his cage and will find a way to lick your hands and face clean of whatever you ate earlier. I've had quite a few rats and mice and pets, but so far, Fuzzy has been my favorite rodent of all. I'm typing this as he's curling up in a fleece-lined crinkle bag and taking a torn up piece of paper with him.

Fuzzy is hairless rat and we adopted him from a PetSmart in Tustin, CA. He was missing an eye (perhaps from a fight) and that's what put him on the adoption list. It didn't take him long to get accustomed to the house and he's always excited when he hears a door open or hears the bag of treats opening up. He'll get himself into quite a bit of trouble; I'll let the pics speak for themselves. He's been caught on camera so many times that he's earned his own album on my Facebook page.

Fuzzy recharging his batteries...

Fuzzy goes on a desk safari...

Fuzzy has a root beer!

And here's Fuzzy's helmet hotel.

Alright, that's enough cuteness for now. Going back to work. LOL


Hockey in Columbus - First Thoughts

I am glad that hockey is considered to be a sport in this part of town.

Between Matt and I, we have visited four of the five ice facilities in the Columbus area. No, that's not a typo. I'm talking eight rinks in five facilities within 45 minutes of each other. Ironically, I mentioned Ohio being a "hockey state" to one of the players at today's drop-in hockey game at the Dublin Chiller and he shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Not really." After Matt was able to get a job at the Easton Chiller rink quite easily, I began to change my own perspectives on a sport that has has further designated me as an oddball of the West Coast.

Hockey and skating is so normal here that ice time is easy to come by. Matt and I went to a public skate on Sunday and we were only two of five people skating during the slot. I don't have to fight for a space to play as a goalie; in fact, the rink's happy when goalies actually do show up. It does beat the 2-week advance notice and $100 credit card hold Anaheim Ice used to put for their players...and the pick-up slot is only on Friday nights for 59.5 minutes. The Ice Haus, the official practice facility for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is open to the public and is so spectator friendly that the rink can be seen from across the street. In contrast, just getting into Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo is like entering Fort Knox. I guess they need to hide the fact that they also house figure skaters, I mean the Manchester Kings of Los Angeles.

The Chiller Rinks also have another strange concept: women's-only locker rooms. They're also equipped with a full bathroom stall and a shower. I felt really spoiled and alone at the same time; I was the only female on the ice both days I went to drop-in hockey. Going to have to work on that.

My only critique is that there is no full-blown women's league here. The closest thing to that is a single team in the Chiller's house league called "BOB" that is completely comprised of women and two travel hockey teams, the Columbus Capitals and the Columbus Bandits. In fact, I was asked to sub in goal for team BOB in October; I'm looking forward to doing that. Going to investigate those two travel teams as well, but I can't justify the $700 price tag that the Capitals put on their entire season. For now, I'm trying to stay in shape by going to random drop-in sessions of hockey when I can. Might as well while I'm still unemployed.

I guess anything hockey related in California will always be considered a novelty. Rink rentals are upwards to $400 an hour. The ice at most facilities feels like you're skating in a lake half the time. It's a sport reserved for the "rich." It is a change of pace to hop in my car and be at any one of these Chiller rinks within 20 minutes. And when CA starts recognizing sled hockey as a sport, I will be quite surprised. I got to see my very first sled hockey practice on the other ice rink after the drop-in time was done. Hockey and skating schools are in full swing here, completely transparent and very accessible. The young players aren't required to have skated since their fetal stages to be on teams, and every high school in the area has a team.

I still believe that I was an East Coast kid switched at birth. Hockey is a sport I take pride in and one that my family scorns, along with my passion for motorcycles. I am relieved to finally be in a place where I can be free to play hockey and indulge myself in what I love the most.


Chillin' with the Ohio Riders

So a few days ago I joined this message board called the Ohio Riders to connect with other motorcyclists in the area. After perusing the board and introducing myself, I decided to bring Matt with me to one of their bike nights at the Quaker Steak & Lube at the Polaris Parkway. The meet point was across the street and we got there a little early. By about 6:45 quite a few more bikes showed up of all different types. Ironically enough, no Harleys...very strange. I got to meet another member who had a first-gen FJR so we were talking about the accessories we had on both our bikes. The entire group spent another 45 or so minutes across the street to stare at all the motorcycles at the restaurant. According to a few of the guys, the approx. 75 bikes there was considered to be an extremely low turnout. Then again the "riding season" is coming to the end. My goal is to see how far I can stretch the riding season for myself...still aiming for 10 out of 12 months at the minimum.

We all went to Hooters Polaris after that to have dinner. The Wednesday $10 unlimited wings deal was pretty cool and I could barely get through two plates of bone-in wings (everyone else had boneless so they were cheating after going for their 3rd plates). We were back home by 9:30PM; it helps when home is only 5 minutes away. It's a stark contrast from the 60+ miles I used to ride alone into Canyon Country (14 freeway past Magic Mountain) just to go to a bike night for a couple hours and then leave. This one was relaxing and the people were very nice. Matt and I are looking forward to another event like this.


How I ended up in Ohio, Part I

So why Columbus, OH of all places? I could have chosen anywhere else in the world, but the world is a nicer place when you have someone to share it with. So here enters Matt, my fiance who you'll read about in these posts every now and then.

Let me give you a bit of background on this. Back around Thanksgiving break 2007, I put up this ad on Craigslist in hopes that I'd find something to do over the weekend.


Motorcycle rider? Ever been to Palos Verdes? Here's a chance. - w4m
I'm looking for someone to take a quick loop on the motorcycle around the Palos Verdes Peninsula. If you've never been down here, it's a great place to ride - my "lunch break route" as I like to call it. Nice shoreline, some twisties, but lots of scenery and sea air.

I'm a long distance rider with nothing to do this Thanksgiving. I can't go too far thanks to my schedule, and I've taken this loop so many times by myself during the day and during the night that I might as well be a tour guide. If you're into more riding, we can also improvise a route all over the South's my home turf.

I enjoy all day rides with no destination in mind. That's where I learn the most of about the world.

Searching for a young biker (22-30) who enjoys riding for fun and is safety-oriented (i.e. wearing a REAL helmet and proper riding attire). No racing or stunts (the police love to ding riders for speeding and recklessness in PV) and I don't care what bike you ride, although you do need to have a bike - I'm not taking passengers at the moment. Perhaps a chat at the coffee shop afterwards.

Would like to ride with you sometime this weekend!


Well, to say the least, the responses started flowing in. Most of them were quite stupid. I probably went through about 25-30 e-mails. Many of them were the typical "pic for pic" BS which wasn't what I was really looking for. I scared most of them off by just mentioning what bike I was riding. (This is why I love Eleanor, my 2007 FJR1300A...she looks out for my well being and keeps the jerks away.) In case you're not aware of this, I ride the largest sportbike that Yamaha makes. So the little pussies with their 600 sportbikes stop talking to me. And then, I get this e-mail from a particular "Matt" from Orange County.


It appears I missed this weekend, but I'd love to take a nice ride somewhere. I got my M1 endorsement at in March but I haven't taken any fun trips yet - just to and from work everyday. If you're free another weekend, I'd be more than willing to go for a ride. What kind of bike(s) do you ride?



Hmm, someone who wrote more than a sentence? Quite intriguing. So I replied back and so did he, and this continued on for more than two weeks. And we talked about subjects ranging from work and random hobbies. In fact, he even stopped by the Long Beach Motorcycle Show last week looking for me at the Women on Wheels booth and missed me by about an hour. A missed connection, but we continued e-mailing each other.

So yesterday comes around. I had two parties to attend that day and a photography session at Neighborhood Church. I write to Matt that the Women On Wheels Christmas Party was at Finbar's in Long Beach and he was welcome to join. He writes back, drops is phone number in, and tells me that he'll see me there. I get a little excited because I finally get to meet the person behind these e-mails.

I'm at Finbar's with six other members and we're waiting for our food and the like. I get a call from Matt and he's telling me he's lost. I give him directions and even get to the point that I'm handing the phone over to one of the Orange County ladies to help out. (I'm trying to figure out how he's able to speak to me while riding, and I realized later he had a Bluetooth helmet piece on...LOL.) So about an hour of going in circles, he finally comes by. I'm talking to the other ladies, and turn around to see he's standing there in full BMW gear, much to my chagrin. He's in good spirits, and I'm already impressed with his patience...I figured that he would've given up and went home but he stuck around. We were done with our food by the time he arrived, but he was fair game for riding back with three of us to PV...

So we begin riding toward the PV Peninsula. Here was the proposed route:

1. PCH to CA-103 West toward Terminal Island.
2. Terminal Island to Vincent Thomas Bridge
3. Vincent Thomas Bridge back to coastline.

Well, it didn't necessarily go that way. Going down PCH I overshoot 103 and we end up just going through PCH and the ghettos of Long Beach and Wilmington. I redirect everyone down Gaffey and all the way to the end by the Korean Friendship Bell, back up Western and on PV Drive West. When we get to the 7-11 at the corner of Hawthorne and PV Drive West, we stop for gas..well everyone except me. One of the riders needed to split off and run some errands, while the other lady needed to be sent over to the intersection of Beryl and PCH (which I popped out the GPS for and complied). So with only three of us left, we take the coastal route until that intersection of PCH and Beryl where she peels off without a trace. I look in the rear view mirrors and realize that it's just me and Matt now.

We finally roll to a stop at the corner of PCH and Catalina Ave. This was my chance to really take him around town. So, the first thing I ask him is "Are you a fan of hills?" He nods with a 'yes' and I take him through Knob Hill and 190th St. With a left on Anza and another left onto Del Amo Blvd., I take Matt through one of the first of many sharp curves on our path back toward Palos Verdes. I take the twist to the point of nearly dragging my toe through the turn, thinking I'd lose him until we met back up on the straightaway.

He stays on my tail.

Impressive, I think to myself. We continue down Maple and all the way to 235th St. which loops right back onto Crenshaw. A left on Crenshaw and a right onto Narbonne Ave. and the loop is nearly complete. PV Drive East, my test for him. Could he keep up the pace. Was he really the adventurous type that he's been showing to me all day? I was to find that out soon.

Palos Verdes Drive East is a winding, six-mile course that ends in three loose hairpins and a view of the ocean and Catalina Island (on a clear day that is, we were lucky). This road is my home, so every curve is predictable, every piece of road is familar all too well to me and Eleanor. And glancing over my shoulder I could see that for him, it seemed the same way. As I tried to lose him it seemed that he was gaining on me with every twist. We stopped at the end of PV Drive East at the same time, take a couple seconds to breathe off the obstacle course, and continue back onto Portuguese Bend and the gas station where this adventure had begun. I take him to the Starbucks right above the gas station and we stop for an hour or so with coffees and chatting about this, that, and the other thing. (He pays, by the way.)

I check my watch and it's about 5:20. I have to attend the second of the two bike club parties that were slated for today. I tell him that I have to go to this party and remind him that he could split off at any time. He follows me anyway. We swing by the house so I could pick up the exchange gift, take a couple Advils (I wasn't feeling to well), and go back down the hill to Normandie Ave. I introduce him to everyone at Motorcycle Touring Assocaition 3 and he actually ends up joining the club! We have to leave at 7:45 to make it to the final stop of my day, a photo shoot at Neighborhood Church of the annual live-action Christmas pagent. (Basically, members of the church reenact scenes of the Christmas story, standing still the entire time. Cycy asked me to take pictures for her.) He stayed for that too! And the entire time we were talking about everything from religion to the story of how a drunk driver took one of my drama group kids two years ago.

For some reason, the drunk driver story got him really riled up. He's in the process of becoming a police officer and it turns out that it's one of the things he's passionate about stopping.

It seemed that religion was another basis that we had in common as well. Turns out he was one of those kids that grew up in the Catholic household. That turned out for good times on the conversation. So I snapped pictures while we chatted, and when that was all done, we stood in the parking lot by our bikes and continued to talk some more. Then I led him home via the 110, entering on Anaheim and getting off at PCH to loop on back home. All this was over by 9PM, and I went straight to sleep after that in a slight bit of pain from whatever else was attacking me at the time.

So that's my story. He didn't leave. He was with me for those eight hours of riding and adventures within my own backyard and appeared to enjoy it. No complaints, all curiosity, it was a day to remember.

Finding an Asian market in Columbus...the hard way.

Google is my friend. I have no clue what's out here in Columbus except for the areas around my current dwellings. It's been a while since I had Filipino food so I threw a search on Google and came up with this place.

Asia Market
3456 Cleveland Ave.
Columbus, OH 43224-2907

I jump on the bike and go. After a short downpour and some heavy traffic I make it to an area of town that resembles the backroads of Compton. That was a bit creepy. I walk into this place that looks like a partitioned section of a K-Mart (seems that way granting that the mini-mall where this market was located was across from another mini-mall and a Tim Hortons). The good news? They had the noodles I was looking for. I hear that there are other Asian markets around town...perhaps there's something nicer in a better area.

Returning down Cleveland Ave. was a little more challenging. With the intersection at Morse Rd. reduced to just one straight and one left turn lane, I was forced to take the left and continue down Morse until I hit I-71. Not too bad granting I discovered Skate Zone 71 on the way home...another place to skate and keep the legs moving. I haven't spent too much time on I-71 but I'm learning my way around.

A new place, a new venture.

So this begins my "blog." Actually, I've been doing this for years, but the idea of actually putting my stories and odd travels on a website that resembles more of a blog didn't come around until I decided to go for a ride to find an Asian supermarket somewhere in Columbus.

For now, I'll be reposting some old writings and some new ones. Perhaps with the amount of time some of these ramblings have simmered I will have gathered some more insight to what I thought was finite and absolute. Nevertheless, they're here for the sharing. Enjoy!