Friday, February 26, 2016

Saddle Up!

My schedule has been a bit FUBAR since New Years...-
I've either been out of town, initially in Sydney, slow-roasting, and lately at a rather cold locations, like Nashville or Toronto and last week, Minnesota.
This week it's Hector the Connector's turn in the barrel out in Denver at the second NHL Stadium Series game.
Have fun out there ese.
I'm fixin to do a little attitude adjustment myself today...

On the books: Ride To Eat, attempt #2.
The scrubbed attempt a couple months back almost a year ago was a disappointment...
The Plan - The Reality
*le sigh*

Today, after I beat a few NBA details and a few issues from A Nice Golf Course into submission, The Bug and I are going to head north to St Simon's Island and hit my favorite BBQ place in the North Florida and South Georgia - Southern Soul BBQ.

(Not knocking 4 Rivers Smokehouse, but Southern Soul is f'ing awesome.)
I was there back in August- swinging by after a trip to South Carolina- on an insanely hot afternoon in the middle of a really taxing ride... Today's trip should be a little better.
Ben has been itching for a nice long ride on his Japanese Space Vehicle (a blinding white Honda Goldwing) and my little horse has just had a complete fluid flush-and-fill on all systems, so while it's still cool enough we're hitting the road. At least for one afternoon...

At the end of the rainbow:

(pic lifted from Some Kinda Good)

On the menu:

Constant Readers have heard me extoll the virtues of SSBBQ before.
I've had the Barbecuban, I have been here for Hammertime Tuesday, and indulged in their brisket and burnt ends...I have even taken home pulled pork,chicken, ribs and pimento cheese for the family when I was feeling benevolent and kind-hearted (a rare occurrence).

This is the Thursday daily special - house-cured pastrami:

(Pic by SSBBQ)If that doesn't inspire you, take your vegan ass down the street and go nibble on the crabgrass and acorns.

Today being a Friday, it's Pit-Fired Prime Rib day...

(pic by SSBBQ)
And there is a side mission:
Over dinner with The Woman and the Perfect Child last night I was gloating over my plan and was asked  requested  demanded commanded to bring some smoked turkey home for them.

We'll see.
I'll definitely get some take out...
Whether it makes it all the way back to the Humble Abode is another story entirely.


Monday, February 22, 2016

I Have A Filthy Mind surprise there, eh?

But...seriously, what did YOU think it was when you first saw it?

(Sir Mix-A-Lot is in negotiations, I hear...)

Another angle...not quite so prevocative.

TBG - my anaconda don't want none, Hun.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Every. Fucking. Time.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Turning Ugly in Toronto

....And we have 10,000 gallons pounds (thanks Jim) too much on fuel on the plane.
Looks like there will be a delay.
We only have a 40 minute connection time in DC...
I have a bad feeling about this.

Observations: Toronto

Lester Pearson sucks.
(The airport, not Lester himself. At least I assume. I've never met him.)
Canada C&I - Nexus is awesome.
Jeebus it's COLD!!
Downtown Toronto has some great undergound passages to get from one place to another... I assume some Torontonians don't see the sky between November and April.
If you're looking for good Chinese food downtown, Hong Shing on Dundas is a good place to go. If time and travel are not an issue, head out to Markham or Richmond Hill. Tell 'em Uncle Jay sent you.
In Toronto, even if you have a rental car, Uber is your friend. (At least for the moment.) Taxis and parking are stupid expensive.
There is a preponderance of Bernie '16, Feel the Bern, and Hillary! bumper stickers on Ontario-tagged cars.
Too many for my taste...
Tells me everything I want to know about the average Canadian's  Socialist/Progressive leanings.
Stay in your lane, assholes. We're trying to run and election down here south of 48 degrees. If you want a say in our politics, pony up, immigrate legally, and pay your fucking share of taxes down here.
Otherwise, STFU.
Did I mention it's fucking COLD here?
Good poutine is pretty good.
Bad poutine is fucking awful.
For a red meat fix downtown, Copacabana Rodizio on Adelaide St. can put you in a meat coma in short order.
The parmesan sirloin is amazing. And the cinnamon pineapple is to die for.
There is a dearth of signage at Lester Pearson... Hey airport authority, how about some signage on the train, the parking garages, and some of the smaller access roads.
F this place. I'm outta here.
It's too fucking cold.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Tires, Weather & Conditions

I had been having a little issue with air pressure in the FJR in November and early December.
Before I went to Australia, the back tire would lose about 10lbs of air overnight.
Somehow the problem spread to the front tire over the holiday and on my return both tires were flat.

I keep a mini compressor in one of the panniers and was quickly back to pressure, but the front tire would drop 20 lbs in just a couple hours.

 Did you know you can buy motorcycle tires on Amazon for about 30% off what the dealers charge? Yeah-
One dealership said they install their tires free, but the same model tires were almost twice as expensive as the ones I had shipped in.
One wouldn't install customer-supplied tires on a bike at all, the third place I called said they'd do it but it would be $140/tire (basically 2 hours labor per tire).

 I rang up the guy who hunted down my electrical problem last year- He quoted me a flat $120 to do both including new stems.
Sold American!
So now the FJR has new shoes, and I don't spend 30 minutes pumping up my tires in the morning and before I head home from the office.

 Last week the temps were pretty moderate here in North Florida...
Highs were topping out in the high 70s- and surprisingly, all the two-wheeled SMTers had the same thought...
Yeah- love to see all the different bike styles lined up in front of the building...

Weather has deteriorated some this week-
Pretty cold this AM...
Constant Reader & proofreader-from-a-distance Luc shot me a note with a spelling correction (thanks dude) and we touched on my travel for this week as part of the conversation.
Luc's from Canuckistan, where he last saw his lawn in October and won't see real (local) dirt again until April.
I was lamenting that I was heading to Toronto in the AM which he found amusing.

Having just rode in from the Beaches in high 30-degree temps, I really didn't see how a couple days in Toronto would be any different that just staying in Jax.
I'm not sure he believed me...


Sydney - Neglected Point of Interest

I forgot one point of interest in old Sydney that would be of interest to one or two Constant Readers.
OldNFO and Brigid would most likely really enjoy the bookstore I found up in Millers Point...
On Argyle Place, just up from Lord Nelson's is an itty bitty specialty bookshop...

Sadly, when The Woman and I swept past, the "Out for Tucker" sign was up, and I never got back during business hours...
Next December I will visit again and try to get some interior shots...


Australia Items - 2015-2016 - Part 5

For the last 3 years I have assiduously avoided the big New Year's Eve show in Sydney...
This year needed to be different since The Woman was in town.
YOLO and all that.

We had access to the Royal Botanic Garden for the New Year's Eve fireworks show... The problem is that you have to get your spot early, and stay in it through the evening. It's first come, first served, and if you snooze, you lose (your spot).

Lots of folks on their blankets as we wait for sundown and the early fireworks at 9:00.

The fired up the projectors on the bridge pylons as the harbour darkened.

If you look in the foreground you can see the crowds along the shore near the Opera House.

No one can convert money into smoke and noise like Sydney - $7 Million in fireworks blown off in 12 minutes.

It's pretty impressive.

I shot a little video of the finale...


Saturday, February 06, 2016

Australia Items 2015-2016 - Part 4

Australia with The Woman Who Knows Most Things - 2015-2016

We headed back down to Darlington Harbour and the downtown area-
Lord Nelson's was our fisrt stop after a quick walkaround of the Barangaroo Reserve.

A Three Sheets ale for The Woman, and a nice cider for me, then we walked around downtown for a bit, doing a recon for New Year's Eve, then headed to yet another microbrewery-

Young Henry Brewery.

The Woman picking out her flight of beers...

Mmmm. Tasty ales!

They had some great artwork on the walls of the brewery and tasting room.

I like a good skull-motif mural.

Next - a visit with some locals- a mob of gray 'roos enjoying a lazy afternoon...

We walked around Taronga Zoo to wile away the afternoon, enjoying some of the local fauna.

A pensive wallaby and some uninterested quokkas just hanging out...

After the Zoo we headed to Manly to check out the beach and (quelle surprise) another brewery-
4 Pines.

Jen and her flight...

...And a ginger beer for The Big Guy.



Friday, February 05, 2016

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

(I know - the pics are not coming up correctly...)

Please stand by....


Australia Items 2015-2016 - Part 3

Continuing our excursion around Sydney...

We headed out to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.
Our first stop was near Wentworth Falls near Katoomba.

The walk we took was amazing- the trails were lots of fun...
We stuck to the cliffs... Much better than hiking down to the bottom of the falls, then back up again.

Thanks Captain Obvious-

The Woman really had fun on this hike-

Waiting out the rain under the cliffs.

There were several spots where modern-day aboriginals (other hikers) did some finger-painting...

Other hikers would get their hands in the white clay along the trail and make their mark.

Next stop was out at Echo Point, a rock formation called Three Sisters...

We were a little famished on our way back.
The Woman had asked about native Australian cuisine and it took me a bit of imagination to
come up with a proper Aussie meal. I took her to Harry's Cafe de Wheels-a local landmark for
pies and mushy peas...

In the evening we had been enjoying the Australia vs West Indies cricket test on the TV.
The KFC Big Bash  T-20 cricket was playing in the Sydney Olympic Park, so we got tickets to go see a match in person...
The Big Bash is Short Attention Span Cricket- 20 overs (6 legal deliveries per over), and plays in about 3 to 4 hours. Much better than the 5-full day regular matches.

It's a fun time for the spectators- lots of pyro, easy to follow play, cheerleaders, lots of noise and music.
And- as this is Australia- don't even think about trying to get a beer in a reasonable amount of time.
The lines for beer were the longest wait- food & snacks were relatively short- took me 35 minutes to get some refreshing beverages for The Woman and I.



Thursday, February 04, 2016

Australia Items 2015-2016 - Part 2

Continuing - The Woman and I spent several lovely days in and around Sydney...

We spent a day downtown enjoying the sights near The Rocks and Circular Quay.

Up in the Royal Botanic Park, the views are pretty amazing.

We also took a walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
We didn't do the walk over the upper steel. Just the regular bridge deck was high enough.

Plenty high.

One of The Woman's favorite things in indulging in craft beers, so I made it a point to know the locations of several microbreweries around Sydney.

We hit this one kind of by accident, and it was one of the best. If you visit Sydney and like beers-
make sure you go to Wayward Brewing Co.

Seize the beer, indeed!


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Australia Items 2015-2016 - Part 1

Yeah- I know - It's been quiet. Too quiet.
Time for a photo review review from my stint Down Under.
2015-2016 was my fourth year spending the holidays in Sydney.
Due to the way the holidays fell, I basically had the week between Christmas and New Year's Day off...
So THIS year I was able to plan ahead and got The Woman a ticket to Sydney on points.
(After missing Christmas at home for three years, I needed to do something to assure Domestic Tranquility-
-And let me tell you, a rewards ticket over the Christmas and New Years holiday was really expensive, points-wise.)

Lots of people were traveling on Christmas Eve-

I did manage to get spotted easily (duh) and we were on our way-
The Woman had been traveling for 20+ hours, so the only thing she wanted to do after arriving was to relax and recover from the flight.

Christmas morning over Olympic Park-

She was up at 4am (as most US travelers are on the first day or so...)

We headed out to Royal National Park and went on a nice hike out in the Wattamolla area.

Last year I about killed myself out here by overestimating my stamina.
(Read the tale HERE)

I saw great locations during my hike last year but the clock was running so I didn't have time to stop. This year we were able to take our time out at Wattamolla Falls.
We were the first ones into the park that morning, and took advantage of the peace and quiet...

Beautiful place. We really enjoyed it...

- More -