Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Marzo, März, Mars, Marts, martie, Maart

I thought the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics was HILARIOUS. Leave it to the Canadians to make fun of themselves better than anyone. Imagine if other countries did something similar at their closing ceremonies... I'm re-envisioning the closing ceremonies for Torino, Italy...

I'm sad the Winter games are over. I prefer the Winter Olympics because most events are the result of drunken bets long ago during snowy, icy winters. Canada should be *very* proud of great games - congrats on your incredible Hockey Win. My favorite Olympic moment? That's tough... probably the woman German speed skater who "swam" over the finish line, thought she'd lost her team the gold medal, then realized they had still won. Awesome. And, in a way, the moment when that Dutch guy lost his gold medal because of his coach's foul-up -- losing when everyone thinks you will win is part of sport. Sports isn't just winning, and we forget that sometimes.

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Remember when I asked if you knew anyone who ran a cleaning company? I volunteer with a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs in Afghanistan, and I was trying to find someone to answer questions for an Afghan wanting to start a cleaning company in Kabul. Have you ever wondered what happened? Now you can know (and maybe you will want to get involved as well?).

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And speaking of volunteering, I recently blogged on my professional blog about why I volunteer with the Girl Scouts. I wanted to show why Girl Scouts, as an organization, is not what you probably think it is -- and that's a good thing! And on a related note, I found some of my patches from my own Girl Scout days, which is amazing, given how many times I've moved since those days (more than 10 times just in the USA). One is for day camp -- my favorite Girl Scouts experience -- two are for cookie sales, and one is a mystery patch -- I have no idea what it's for. Sadly, my Girl Scout badges are long gone -- I guess I threw away my Girl Scout sash in a moment of pre-teen I'm-too-cool-for-this-stuff phase. Stupid me. The patches never got sewn on the sash, which is why I still have them.

I also found my patch from my days as a teenage hospital volunteer. In those days, we were called candy stripers, because of our adorable red-and-white-striped uniforms; now, that term is passé. I guess Mom never got around to sewing it on my uniform (and who knows where that ended up). I worked primarily for the radiology department, wheeling patients to and from x-rays. It was a great experience in that I learned that I absolutely, positively did not want to work in a hosptial or provide health care, and that nurses are amazing and doctors could learn a lot from them. Funny that I'm now so interested in health-related communications and health education.

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Stefan got Friday and Monday off as comp days, so we spent Sunday and Monday riding. I put 100 miles on the motorcycle on Sunday and 200 on Wednesday.

Saturday, we went to Silver Falls State Park, then pushed on to Mill City. We took Lyons Mill City Drive back, then across 22 to Old Mehama Road (sadly, Gene's Meat Market, featuring "German sausages", was closed on Sunday). We need a better map -- the GPS isn't great for picking roads, and the map we have doesn't show if a road is gravel, dirt or paved (something Stefan doesn't have to worry about, but I do (I don't have a bike for off-roading).

Sunday, we road to various back roads to Newberg, passing a lot of signs for B & Bs and wineries -- it reminded me of Poland or Hungary for that reason (as well as the landscape). From there, we took 240 through Carlton (cute little town) and then all the way through the mountains and Siuslaw National Forest to Beaver. Attention motorcyclists: Siuslaw NF has a lot of very simple tent camping sites along the way. The road is a biker's dream except for 2.7 miles of well-packed dirt. Yes, I've now had an off-pavement experience. It's all I want for now... It's my first winding road experience as well, which was fun but scary. I go the suggested speed limits in turns, and that's not something driver's behind me like.

In Beaver, Stefan got to experience his first every general store/restaurant/fish & tackle/movie rental/post office. Yes, Beaver is a small town. Stefan had a pulled pork sandwich, and wondered allowed why, amid the myriad of types of pork dishes offered in Germany, pulled pork is not one of them. I decided we should move back to Germany and open a barbecue hut.

We drove 101 North a bit (and finally saw some other bikers), then took SandLake road, with massive amounts of sand on either side of us, to the cliffs over-looking the coast. It was my favorite weather for an ocean view -- overcast and just a little chilly. We had a nice view of Three Arch Rocks, and I think we saw a bald eagle, maybe two. We drove to Oceanside and then head back to Beaver, then took 22 to 18 and then various roads home. And by the end, my brain and hands were mush. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I am so out of shape. I had no idea traveling by motorcycle is so mentally and physically taxing! I am even more in awe of my motorcycle traveling husband.

My goal is to travel at least 1500 miles on my own bike by the end of 2010. I've put around 600 miles on the bike already!

For now, we're just looking at day trips and weekend trips by bike amid all our travel for work, but we have got to have a long, real trip this year, before summer ends, visiting somewhere interesting, or we'll pull our hair out. Destination suggestions welcomed (we love beautiful, remote places with good roads and plenty of places to camp).

We also need a camping trip for Albi. She misses camping.

A side note: we sure have met a lot of people who are taking months or a year off to ride from Canada to Mexico, or even all the way to South America, and coming through Oregon. I knew a lot of people did that, but I'm stunned at just how many do it! Hurrah for people who understand the joys of travel and make it a priority! We love being a part of this "club"!

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No, Stefan is still not a volunteer firefighter in the USA. Oregon, if you don't have enough volunteer firefighters, it is your OWN fault!

But Stefan is a booth babe & trucker now.

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I've said it before, I'll say it again: I want to be able to see CNN International on my TV. I do not want to have to watch it on my computer. I want to know what is happening in the world, and to hear world news from journalists who actually know what they are talking about. CNN USA is a joke. The latest case in point: during the Chilé coverage, when a scientist said something was five meters, the CNN guy said, "Now, what is that in English?" ARGH!!! Sigh.

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