Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year's End & St. Bernardus Abt 12

Trying to set up our new house and celebrate the holidays pushes updating the website down the list of priorities each evening.  Sarah has been bloggin' away, though; you can follow her iPhone photos of our recent event over on From the Desk.  More to come here, though; prepare for Motorcycle Mondays to resume with gusto.

Sarah and I went to a friend's house to watch the Lesnar/Overeem fight.  It was a BYOB sort of gathering and I brought St. Bernadus Abt 12 because a] it's a Belgian abbey ale I've never had that turned up on-post and b] it looks strange enough that no-one would "accidentally" mistake it for something they brought.
Photo from Ryan Conklin at Tasty Daze
When I got it, I had no idea how much Beer Advocate loves this one. I had it chilled on ice with the lagers that other folks brought and I think that was a mistake. At first I thought it might not be cold enough. It poured with a big root beer float head and tasted over-roasted for an abbey ale. As it warmed up, it got better, but I don't think my choice in glassware helped either.  Probably one I'll have to try again.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Busy times and I'm trying not to be tied up on the computer.  Sarah and I are finally cooking our first meal in the house!  Angel hair with vodka sauce.  It's gonna be a cozy Christmas at home for us.  Look for me tomorrow on Skype.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Back in Texas, at least.  The traveling was rather tiring with customs inspections through the night and flights all day.  At least I can say I've been to Ireland now.  The arrival ceremony was thankfully brief and I found Sarah in the crowd right away.  I know some of you wanted to be there, but it was rather anticlimactic in the middle of the night.  You can see some of what we did in the first 48 hours of alternating giddyness and fatigue on Sarah's blogger page.

We have no internet or furniture in the house yet, but hopefully that will change soon and I can resume semi-regular posts.  With luck we'll be set up to Skype on Christmas day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Progress in Kuwait and one that got away

Turning in more equipment here in Kuwait.  We had a bit of a dust storm yesterday; nothing like the big summer ones back in Iraq, but it still cut down visibility and put grit in my teeth.

As some of you may know, earlier this week I made a deposit on a used motorcycle for sale in Texas. I’m not going to post it here yet because the deal is not finished, but they are going to hold it until I return to America and I’m excited to inspect the bike in person. Independent of that potential sale, my Army Basic Riders Course will begin the week after Christmas. It feels good to be making real progress on my desire to ride after months of shopping/anticipation.

However, this is not the first bike I’ve started to pursue while still deployed. Back in October I came across this beautiful 2005 Bonneville T100 on the Austin, Texas Craigslist page.
More photos at this Picasa page
I thought it was overpriced, but worth a chance to find out more and maybe haggle.  The seller never wrote back to me and the listing has since been taken down; I imagine it was on its way to a new home before I ever inquired. Still, I’ve kept one picture in rotation as my desktop background because a) it’s eye-candy but also b) it’s a reminder that such used gems do come up in classified ads if you keep an eye out.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Royal Enfield G5

There are several of us in the platoon that have motorcycle aspirations for when we return to the states (soon!).  Getting housing in order for Sarah and I will be a much greater priority once I'm finally on US soil, but browsing houses and apartments doesn't have the same effect as motorcycle shopping.  We can talk among ourselves about the qualities and values of different bikes and tease each other over our tastes for hours.  I'm still most interested in a Triumph Bonneville, T100, or Scrambler, but they're kinda rare to come upon used.  I've been entertaining different manufacturers and options.

Today I stumbled upon a new Royal Enfield G5 at a dealership up in the Dallas area.  Royal Enfield is another British marque with a long history that eventually entwined with Triumph's.  The companies' operations on English soil were sold to Triumph in the 60s and shortly after dismantled, but their manufacturing facilities in India continued with largely unchanged simple designs for decades.  In the ninties, Enfield of India bought the rights to the Royal Enfield marque and updated their engines to compete in the export market.  Comically, their biggest market is now selling these classically designed bikes back to the British Isles.
Photo from
This G5 is only a 500cc thumper, but it's been brought into this century with electronic fuel injection, softer suspension, and disk brakes.  I think the styling is cool, but it's pricey for a 500 single-cylinder and doesn't have near the service network/parts availability that the Triumph twins do.  Still, it's a cool bike and that English Racing Green with gold does look classy.
Photo from