Wednesday, February 27, 2013


This past Sunday I made the annual trip to Montreal for the motorcycle show, this time accompanied by Sandy, Hannah and her b/f Charlie. It has become a fairly anticipated event, a nice way to see and sit on all the bikes you could ask for, and get thinking about the riding season. Occasionally I'll find a deal on gear, this year I bought some gloves since my racing gloves are starting to come apart.

An opportunity to sit on a full dress H-D without a salesman hovering nearby. Definitely the largest bike Hannah has handled.

Hannah had to get a picture of Charlie lusting after this "Sporty".

Hannah has been on a mission to decide what her next bike will be. I think she had pretty well made up her mind on the Triumph Daytona 675R, but I wanted her to at least consider the Street Triple, as well as some of the Ducati line up. Tough choices.

After the bike show, we had a quick lunch, then drove up to the Botanical Gardens. This has been a popular place to visit, especially in the winter, they have an extensive greenhouse complex. A pleasant way to spend a couple hours in a controlled environment.

The latest attraction for the greenhouses is a section that has butterflies and silk moths flying freely through the greenhouse.

Monday, February 11, 2013

But I'll still ride...

Sunday was a beautiful day to be out on the ice again, the sun was out and temps got into the teens or better. We'd got about 7 or 8 inches of snow on Friday night, so Matt stepped up with his yard truck to plow us an oval. The ice was in great condition under the snow, so we had a smooth 5th mile oval to run around on. As usual in Milton a few quads showed up and joined us on the track.

These photos were taken by Brett Macy, a super nice guy and avid photographer who happened to be driving by and saw us getting ready to go out. Thanks to Brett for sharing these on facebook.

Matt in his classic form, stretching that throttle cable.

Mike Kuebler on his air-cooled Suzuki 250.

Rees chasing me down.

Seamus threw some ice tires on this 2003 CRF450, said it was a blast to ride. I didn't get a chance on it.

Clean ice...

Rees was pushing pretty hard. Ultimately crashing a few laps after this photo. Unfortunately I was right behind him and couldn't avoid hitting his bike as it spun back across the track. We both walked away, but both bikes suffered some damage and were unrideable after the crash. His sub-frame, exhaust and rear fender took the hit and were mangled beyond repair, my handlebar hit the ice so hard it bent, and I've never seen a Renthal Fat-bar bend. My exhaust also got punched in.

The aftermath. Rees's bike doesn't look so good, I haven't even gotten up, Seamus arrives.

Unidentified quad rider. He was the first out on the track and thought he was running pretty fast. Till we all roosted him.

This photo shows all the ice chipped up from our tires. It gets deep enough that we have to plow it off...

or this happens...

Although to be fair, Matt was also pushing pretty hard, if he dialed it back a notch he wouldn't have crashed, but Matt doesn't dial it back on the ice very often, if ever.

Monday, February 4, 2013


This year I decided I need to get back into bird watching. I've been doing the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count for about the past 15 years, and the most recent one was pretty great, with some ducks that I haven't seen in awhile, as well as some unusual "land birds" for our count area. Anyway, it inspired me to start paying attention, and to finally replace the spotting scope that disappeared from my truck about 5 years ago.

So now I've got a new scope and tripod, and I intend to put them to good use this year. Sandy and I have already been out a few times, but the circumstances have not been favorable for using the scope. I've started a year list, and I'm looking forward to doing some trips around the state and beyond. I don't really know what to expect for a total species tally, but I'm thinking 250 should be realistic, maybe close to 300 if I do some travel out of New England.

I need to update my camera as well, because I think I'll try to take some photos through the scope, but that may have to wait for the bank account to get a little fatter.

Anyway, I had a nice afternoon of birding near the lake (Champlain, that is). I was near Button Bay and spotted a bald eagle sitting in a tree on an island, and below him on the lake were several hundred Canada geese, with lots of diving ducks mixed in among them. I decided to get a better (closer) vantage point, which meant getting back in the truck, parking a few hundred yards up the road and walking about a half mile down to the lake. By the time I reached the position, the eagle had apparently taken wing and scattered all the geese and was perched on the ice near a duck that been partially eaten. Don't know if it was his kill or not.

While I was scoping the rest of the ducks, the eagle took off and headed north, and I think he re-scattered the geese, 'cause they all started heading back a few minutes later.

I like the "sun dog" in this image. The ice was extending well off the shore, and we have another week of single digit nights ahead. These are Canada geese flying over, but I noticed an odd couple pull out of one group and fly off in a slightly different direction, it was a snow goose paired with a Canada.