Saturday, December 17, 2011

Progressive International Motorcycle Show

Warning: Motorcycle content!

Today was the Progressive International Motorcycle Show. Just before I left for Seattle to go to it, I found out that it was going to be held at the Washington State Convention Center instead of the Century Link (aka Clink) Event Center where I attended last year. I have never been to the Convention Center before, so it was fun to go to a different part of Seattle. So, I caught the 0720 ferry and when I arrived in Seattle, I had a half hour hike up the hills.

The show has most of the major motorcycle manufacturers represented as well as accessory companies, insurance, ride promoters and custom and vintage motorcycles. I liked the show better than last year and some of the motorcycles that were not shown last year were present this year.

 Erik Buell Racing 1190 RS. When Harley Motorcycles shut down Buell Motorcycles a couple years ago, Erik Buell started another company and started producing race motorcycles based on the old 1125 design. When the non compete clause expired, he came out with a new design. This motorcycle is street legal, but is also a major competitor in the American Superbike Series as well as overseas. For a mere $40K, you can own a state of the art American Sportbike.
 Nice display of vintage motorcycles.
 Honda Super 90. I used to have one of these in the early 70's.
 Based loosely on the Buell XB9 chassis and engine, this bike holds a land speed record in it's class at Bonneville.
 On the way back to the ferry, I went through Pike Place Market and finally found Post Alley where the wall is covered with chewing gum. Another great Seattle attraction!
I like the gum hanging from the window sill.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lost In The Port Gamble Forest

Warning! This blog post only contains info on mountain bike riding. Some people who read my blog such as sailors, people who used to be sailors, motorheads, hard core road riders or couch potatoes may not find this interesting.

This week has been cold and gloomy in the Bremerton area. I have felt chilled and lazy. But today, I made a decision to get out of the house and ride the mountain bike. The weather showed promise of  being nice too.

Today I decided to head north to the Port Gamble Forest. This is north on the Kitsap Peninsula. So, I loaded up the mountain bike onto the Bronco and headed out at about 1100. I parked at the Stottlemeyer Rd entrance at the south end of the forest. Kitsap Mountain Bike ( maintains a very good map of the trail system in this forest. The Port Gamble Forresterrs do not object to hikers, horseriders or mountain bike riders using this land.

I rode around the gate at the first road. Soon I turned off onto a trail which turned back onto a road. This was the theme as I headed north along the east side of the forest. Eventually I rode out into the community of Port Gamble at the north end of the forest.

I turned around and headed south only this time I rode the trails and roads down the west side of the forest back to the parking area for a total ride of about 14 miles..

Even though I have known about this trail system for years, this was my first ride here. This ride was more of a reconnaissance ride to see what was there. The trails are well developed and since some did not appear on the map, I assume that new trails are being developed. I was a bit surprised of the elevation changes. I thought it would be flatter. The condition of most of the trails was very good and dry.

And sure enough, the sun was out all day making a very pleasant but somewhat cool day for riding!

Port Gamble Trail Map maintained by Kitsap Mountain Biking (

My dual suspension Cannondale mountain bike loaded up on the Bronco.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Winter Vashon Race 3 Dec 2011, Or How To Sail Half Way Around Vashon Island In The Opposite Direction

The South Sound Sailing series kicks off each year with the Winter Vashon Island Race on the first Saturday in December. This race is about 30 NM long, starts at Tacoma Yacht Club at Pt Defiance, sails around Vashon Island and finishes at Tacoma Yacht Club. As long as I can remember, the race has always been raced in a clockwise direction. This makes good sense as the current in the first part of the race heading north in Colvos Pass ALWAYS flows north. So this year, it was decided to race the race in the opposite direction so that the last half of the race would be sailed south against the prevailing north flowing current. Did not sound too fun to me. To complicate matters more, the northwest has been experiencing record  breaking high barometric  pressure. This has resulted in stagnant or very light winds.

The delivery to Tacoma Yacht Club was good with calm winds and clear skies. The yacht club puts on a great social time/dinner on Friday night and a filling breakfast Saturday morning.

The winds were light on Saturday morning and it was foggy enough to not be able to see Pt Robinson. The committee set a long line that was perpendicular to the course and parallel to the shore. But close enough to the shore that it made maneuvering interesting. Our class of six J35's and two J109's got underway at 0920 after a five minute postponement for some technical issue on the committee boat. The first leg was a close reach with the light No.1 jib. We had an excellent start and lead for several miles until the wind lightened and boats toward the south sailed high. Three past us: "Tantivy"(J109), "Melange" (J35) and "The Boss(J35). "Tantivy"  and "Melange" cracked off some and headed toward Pt Robinson as we did. "The Boss" stayed high, played Monopoly and went bankrupt in Poverty Bay.

As the winds came aft, we set a spinnaker as did the two boats that were ahead of us. After a couple of jibes, the wind came forward at Pt Robinson and we set the jib and sneaked by in 10 feet of water. We reset the spinnaker and chased puffs of wind as we headed north. We jibed a lot and sailed steep angles to keep the boat moving.

Near the north end of Vashon Island, we could see it getting lighter. We could also see the committee boat on station to shorten the race. I decided to stay close to Vashon Island and sail very high of the finish line. Remember, I told you the current always flows north in Colvos Pass? Well the flow continues for a couple of miles north of the pass and across the finish line. We ghosted along with the spinnaker on a tight reach chasing the puffs. Our instruments indicated that we were drifting as much as 50 degrees toward the right. When we finally crossed the finish line, we passed about a half boat length downstream of the mark. Not too bad of planning.

So what about the other boats? It looked like "Tantivy" finished well ahead of us. "Melange" went wide of the north end of Vashon Island, we passed them and the last I saw of them, they had a jib up and were trying to sail up river to the finish. They finished third but were almost passed by another J35 that took our route. We finished second.

We then motored home to Brownsville and I trucked the crew back to their cars at Tacoma.

Even though the winds were light and the race was shortened, it was a very fun race. The crew worked well today and stayed focused. We were missing a couple crew members because of injuries and illness. Thanks to Walter, Kathleen and Tom for helping make the day a success. At least we did not have to sail upriver against a couple of knots of adverse current in Colvos Pass!

Results when posted can be found here:
 The light winds and fog at the start.
 A log boom went by that split the fleet.
 At the north end of Vashon Island looking back at the boats behind with Mt Ranier looming over them.
Our course for the day. We only made a couple of tacks early in the day. The rest of the course changes were jibes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Who Reads Your Blog?

I have been blogging now for over three years. I have often wondered who reads this. A couple years ago I installed a tracking program. It provides some interesting data. The program will list who views by IP address, location and provider name. In addition, some data is available about how the reader got to the blog(Google Search, another blog, website, etc), how many times they visit, time of visit and where they exit to(another blog, etc).

I have had visitors from all over the world. I actually have a follower in Singapore. But many of the "visitors" may not have actually read my blog. For example, if someone does a Google search on say "Green Mountain Bremerton" or "New Manette Bridge", my blog will show up in the search since I have written about both of these subjects. But, it does not mean that the searcher visited or read my blog. The time of visit for these kind of searches is often "0". If someone does a search on "svgreatwhite", chances are that they are actually looking for my blog and I assume they probably will read it. The time of visit often reflects this. I have had some people brag about how many hits they get a day, but the reality is that maybe nobody reads or visits their blog.

Many of my regular visitors I recognize from the status counter. Friends from the SW, NW, Portland and Seattle show up occasionally. People from where I used to work are easily recognizable from the unique IP address and service provider from the workplace. Don't they ever work? One visitor is recognizable from the town that he posts from. This visitor has been hitting my blog a lot during the last month. Earlier in November the visits were averaging 9-10 a day then they dropped of to practically nothing only to ramp up to 19 visits a couple of days ago. Almost like they logged in and then hit the refresh button many times. They currently have the dubious status of being my most frequent visitor. Very strange. I might know who this is and take measures to block them.

Tear Down The Dam!

Today I took a "day off" and drove to Port Angeles. I had a few motives for going to Port Angeles. One: To drive the Bronco farther than I have since I replaced the engine. Two: View the removal of the Elwha River dam. Three: Drive up to Hurricane Ridge to check out the snow depth. 

 The Elwha Dam has been mostly removed. The river seems to be flowing down one of the old spillways. I don't know how long it will be before Lake Aldwell will be drained. I suppose that the area where the dam was  will be widened as the level of the lake drops. I was disappointed that there was not more to see. The upper dam at Lake Mills is not accessible.
 The river routed down one of the old spillways.
 There is a good snow pack already at Hurricane Ridge. I have seen more at this time of the year.
I walked across the meadow where I could see Hurricane Hill. It is covered and a few cornices are visible. I brought my snowshoes, but did not use them.
It was a warm day on the ridge. It was a nice drive and the Bronco behaved well and kept cool.