Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: June 2011


An actor finally gets long-awaited recognition from the public...

I was musing about this after reading several articles published lately about world-renowned Canadian actor, Christopher Plummer who is currently acting in several films and just completed a 30-show engagement in Toronto two months ago. One notable article is NPR's "Christopher Plummer: After 81 Years, A 'Beginner'."

Here's the amazing part: He's still keeping up a full traveling and acting schedule despite the fact that he's 81 years old!

I've been a long-time Christopher Plummer fan for nearly 15 years, and like almost every young person in this generation, it was his role as Captain von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" that first won me over. And as I grew up and began to watch many more of his other films he's performed in and animated movies that he's voiced-over I realized very quickly that his versatility as both a film actor and a stage performer was unmatched. He's played everything from a Klingon ("Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), Sherlock Holmes ("Murder by Decree"), the Incan king/god Athualpa ("Royal Hunt of the Sun"), Mike Wallace ("The Insider"), John Barrymore ("Barrymore" - stage performance), to multiple Shakespearean characters, and the list goes on and on. His voice has been lent to animated movies and given life to characters such as the Grand Duke from MGM's "Rock-a-Doodle" and most recently, the conniving Charles Muntz from Pixar's "Up."

I've had the chance to accumulate memorabilia from many parts of his storied career, collecting VHS and DVD copies of his more popular films, 8mm transfers of his early work, and unique artifacts such as original costume test shots and one of my favorites, an autographed poster done for the Stratford Public Library in Canada which is only one of 30 known that Plummer has signed.

My set of original costume test shots from "The Sound of Music."  These were shipped from France with photocopies of the original paperwork accompanying the photos from 20th Century Fox.
Yeah, I was the weird one. When kids my age were having obnoxious crushes over Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Leonardo di Caprio, I was the one watching Christopher Plummer in throwback films and enjoying the sheer talent and grace on stage that has kept him going for decades. That longevity has been rewarding, and he's still entertaining another generation of movie and theatre-goers.

According to the Stratford Public library, Christopher Plummer only signed 30 of these posters. I entered a charity drawing with the library to win one of these and my name was drawn. Not bad for sending $10 to Canada!
A little over 11 years ago, I began an online unofficial fan club on Yahoo! Groups dedicated to Christopher Plummer to teach myself the ins and outs of moderating online groups and message boards. Currently it's well over 200 members and has continued to have some level of activity over the last few years. Users have contributed many photos and articles to its archive, and it still ranks as one of the largest Christopher Plummer-related message boards on the Internet. It's a strange accomplishment that I forget about at times but it's a unique project that's lingered on for so long.

So there's my story on how I've admired my favorite actor. He's living proof that there's no school like the old school.

To visit the fan club, visit


Updated Itinerary: Trip to San Jose, CA

About two weeks left until departure! Eleanor's just needs an oil change and another driving light installed and she's ready to go.

This is version 6 of the ride route. It's pretty much the same as the first route, except that the destination cities have been changed. Due to an event being rescheduled, I will be staying in northern CA for an additional day and as a result, will have to extend my daily miles to make up for lost time on the return back (average about 625 miles per day). This shouldn't change much barring any technical difficulties during the trip.

6/30 - Depart from Columbus, OH
7/1-7/2 - Green River, WY (BunBurner Gold 1500 7/1, BunBurner 1500 7/2)
7/3 - Reno, NV
7/3 or 7/4-7/8 - San Jose/Oakland, CA
7/9 - Navarro Redwoods State Park, then ride to Eugene, OR
7/10 - Missoula, MT
7/11 - Spearfish, SD
7/12 - LaCrosse, WI
7/13 - Columbus, OH

View Larger Map


Food Review: Taste of Thai (Columbus, OH - Polaris)

As my way to celebrate completing the MSF Basic Rider Course last weekend, I decided to eat at a brand new Thai restaurant that's located near the Polaris shopping area that I noticed while I was riding down the street. It's called Taste of Thai and it's a small, family owned venue that is conveniently near Chase Bank's main headquarters and several other office buildings in the area.

Yep, another food stop for me and Eleanor!
When I walked in, I was immediately greeted by the hostess wearing traditional Thai clothing. It was pretty slow for a Sunday (I was the only customer in the store). The restaurant's interior is a very simple and quaint atmosphere with traditional Thai art. There was also a TV screen playing various videos on Thai food and Thailand tourism.

I ordered an appetizer and a noodle plate for my main course. For the appetizer, I requested their crab rangoons. I was quite surprised by their take on this entree that's often seen on many a Chinese restaurant menu; it was spiked with curry! That along with the sweet sauce was definitely a great first impression to what ended up becoming a great meal. I accompanied this dish with delicious tall glass of Thai iced tea.

Extremely light and flavorful interpretation of an Asian snack!
The main course was a very unique take at Pad See Ew, a noodle dish with sweet sauce, beef, and carrots. This is one of my favorite Thai foods and one I used to indulge on during those boring weekly teacher meetings I had at my old job. This rendition used the same thin, flat noodles used in Pad Thai instead of the traditional wide flat rice noodles that I've always seen in Pad See Ew. The gamble surely paid off, and the dish was delicious and extremely flavorful.

Very tasty and quite filling!
For those looking for a spicy kick, all of these dishes can be made to "Thai spec" with the extra heat. For me, I requested the mild version of all these dishes, and all were very tasty.

I highly recommend this restaurant if you're looking for a diverse menu of REAL Thai food made by native Thai people. This is one of the better Thai restaurant that I've eaten at and one of the tastier ones in Columbus. I'd like to return to sample more of their dishes.

Taste of Thai is located at 8489 Sancus Blvd, Columbus, OH 43240, behind City Barbecue.

UPDATE (9/11/12): It appears this restaurant is permanently closed.


Trip Draft: Columbus to San Jose, CA (6/30-7/13/11)

All right folks, it's June and that means it's less than a month to my annual ride to the Women On Wheels® International Ride-In, wherever the heck it is.

This year, I get to ride west back to my home state of CA to the northern coast of San Jose. It'll be my chance to return to the Golden State for the first time since February and it'll be the first trip home for Eleanor since she left in late August 2009.

I don't have a lot of time to take off for this journey, and with this year's Ride-In being clear across the country I have to cover a lot of ground and attempt to get to the West Coast in four days or less. I have covered this distance before (in reverse from Los Angeles to Columbus), taking a little over four days so this won't be too much of a stretch. To try to make the push a little more rewarding, I will attempt a second Iron Butt run, either a BunBurner 1500 (1500 miles in 36 hours), BunBurner Gold 1500 (1500 miles in 24 hours), or a SaddleSore 2000 (2000 miles in 48 hours). After my successful SaddleSore 1000 in August 2010, I know that I am capable of this task, and I think the comfort adjustments I made to Eleanor will be a huge advantage in eating up the distance.

On the return, I will be crossing through several states I have not ridden a motorcycle through (or been): Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Wisconsin. This trip will bring my total number of states crossed with Eleanor to 43, leaving Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to finish the Continental 48 states on the same motorcycle.

Here's the current itinerary:
6/30 - Depart from Columbus, OH
7/1-7/2 - Green River, WY (BunBurner Gold 1500 7/1, BunBurner 1500 7/2)
7/3 - Reno, NV
7/3 or 7/4-7/7 - San Jose, CA
7/8 - Navarro Redwoods State Park, then ride to Portland, OR (or as far as I can in that direction)
7/9 - somewhere between Spokane, WA and Billings, MT
7/10 - Chamberlain, SD
7/12 - Milwaukee, WI
7/13 - Return to Columbus, OH

Approximate distance (assuming no by-ways or tourist-like stops...yeah, right) = 5700 miles

View Larger Map

More to come soon as plans develop. This year's ride will be a doozy, but it'll be lots of fun!


My experience with the MSF Basic Rider Course (Range Portion) - Part 2 of 2

Continued from Part 1 (Classroom Portion)

Yesterday (Saturday) and today were the two sections of range exercises for the MSF Basic Rider Course. During this time, the class is on actual motorcycles practicing the fundamentals of basic operation and maneuvering.

Time to choose your ride! Lucky for us, the rain subsided right before class began today.
For the first day, I got to the practice area around 8AM. There were 24 students that reported for this session to be split into two sections of 12 riders each, divided by which classroom session we took earlier that week. The bikes were all lined up in rows and all the students were instructed to select a motorcycle that fits them the best. At this course venue, we had the ability to choose from four models of bikes: Suzuki GN125, Suzuki GZ250, Yamaha TW200, and the Honda Rebel 250.
Suzuki GN125
Suzuki GZ250
Yamaha TW200
Honda Rebel 250
For my bike, I went with the Yamaha TW200, a dual-sport motorcycle with wide tires and a very upright, dirtbike-like posture. I was tempted to the Suzuki GZ250 as it had been bike I used in my basic rider course many years ago (and became my first owned motorcycle), but with noticing the number of (short) women that were choosing their motorcycles, I went for the taller bike. It was a little tall so backing up and pushing it forward was a bit taxing in the early exercises, but its nimbleness made it so easy to maneuver it in the later drills.

Here's "my" bike for the weekend, a 2009 Yamaha TW200


My experience with the MSF Basic Rider Course (Classroom Portion) - Part 1 of 2

After riding for many years and finally having an opportunity to pursue the possibility of becoming a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) instructor, I've finally decided to start the process. So, part of the prerequisites to become an MSF instructor in Ohio, I'm taking the Basic Rider Course (BRC) as to complete it for my instructor application.

For those who haven't heard about the Basic Rider Course, here's a little bit about it:
In the state of Ohio, the BRC course is required for riders under the age of 18 and can be taken in lieu of the on-the-motorcycle test given by the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) to receive the full motorcycle endorsement. You do NOT have to own a motorcycle or have had experience on a bike to take the course; it is designed to teach those who have NEVER ridden a motorcycle before.

Changes to Two-Wheeled Tourist...Prepping for Long-Distance Coverage!

This blog just keeps getting bigger and better!!!

Over the last few years I've kept track of my journeys on the motorcycles with blogs and websites. For 2011, I'm now going to take full advantage of the speed of social networking (and my Android phone) to connect more of my online friends to my adventures across the country on two wheels. Please check out my updates listed below!

URL: Two-Wheeled Tourist is now For those traditionalists out there, you can still access the page through

Facebook: Two-Wheeled Tourist now has a Facebook page! Visit and hit "Like" to receive updates on your News Feed! There's also a clickable window on the right side of the page that will connect you to the Facebook page.

Twitter: In the spirit of micro-blogging and frequent updates, I now have a Twitter account! Follow me @2wheeledtourist. Tweets will be sent to the Facebook page and if you're a friend, to my main wall. If you don't have a Twitter account, you can also follow along with Twitter updates on the right side of the page.

E-mail: For those who don't work with social networking sites, you can follow along by traditional e-mail. Standard blog posts will be e-mailed to you as soon as they're published!


The Subaru's got a new lease on life!

I got a rare opportunity to see my old Subaru post-mortem last week. As I mentioned in a previous blog post "In Memoriam," I sold the insurance totaled car to Mullins Body Shop to save it from a future in a scrap yard. After visiting its repair in progress, I was reassured even further that it'll see the road once again.

After work on Friday, I rode the FJR over to the body shop to swap out my locking trailer hitch pin on the car and replace it with the original standard one; this was the last part that I needed to provide the body shop so they could remove the hitch if necessary. Here's some pics of the awesome job that's been done to get this car working again.

The entire right front panel was removed to be repainted and replaced. Replacement suspension was installed and the wheel will be swapped out with a new one.
Closeup of the repaired front end. 
Front passenger door was partially primed for a repaint and the gold side panels removed for additional repair.
Currently, the car's been deemed parking lot worthy and is expected to make it to ODOT inspection this week to be certified ready for the road. As a request from Ronnie (the guy who's fixing it), he asked me to turn on the car and listen to the engine to make sure it sounded just as it did before the accident. I turned the key and it roared back to life just as it did before this entire mess happened.

The "taxi" lives again...I'm still going to miss it, though. :(


Rider Review: Firstgear Women's Mojave Gloves

I had the opportunity to test the Firstgear Women's Mojave Gloves for the last 1000 miles and they've earned a spot in my normal lineup of hot-weather gloves. I picked up this pair from my friends at MOTOHIO European Motorbikes in Columbus.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the fit of these gloves. Firstgear has created a glove that actually fits a real woman's hand that doesn't bind or squeeze the fingers when grabbing the controls. I would highly recommend this pair for both cruiser and touring riders alike, especially those who want more low-key reinforced knuckle protection.
My only real qualms with these gloves was that some of the stitching in the thumb bothered me a bit until I really broke it in. Additionally, the wrist closure still leaves a hole when velcroed shut that'll leave a nice spot tan if you're out in the sun long enough (pic of gap below). Other than that, it's a glove that'll go the distance and keep your hands cool and comfortable for those long rides.

The opening at the bottom of the wrist does add to comfort, but don't be surprised if you get a tan spot.
- gel palm for those longer rides
- pre-curved fingers that are meant to grab onto handlebars
- perforated leather that's tough as well as breathable
- easy fit in the hands thanks to squared-off finger stalls

- considerably longer break-in time, but worth the wait
- hole in wrist can leave a nice glove tan

MSRP for the Firstgear Mojave gloves is $59.95 and available in both men's and women's sizes. More information available @