Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Weird Weather and a Better Back

Greetings!  My back is better.  Happy I am about this. Sunday I did another flat short ride in Carnation Valley, and then waited for Jim as he went out and rode without me.  The sunflowers were very attractive.
Yesterday we took the mountain bikes up the East Lake Sammamish bike trail (also flat) and managed 17 miles, which was pain free.  So there is hope that this will be over soon.


The weather has taken a turn for the weird.  The Seattle area is not known for thunder and lightning.  We've had a fair amount of this.


It rained like hell all last night.  This is just down the hill from where we are staying.  Factoria had 4 feet of water in some of their parking lots and streets, probably a combination of much rain and blocked storm drains.


Water has not fallen from the sky today, but look at the humidity.  98% is also not usual for the area.  Today is supposed to be the last bad day.  I'm really hoping the forecast models are correct.  It's only  been a couple of bad days, but it's aggravating.


Since the trails are full of mud and the streets are full of wet leaves and road gunk, there was no riding today.  We walked over to Costco to pick up my new contacts.  One of the things that was really good on the trip to Vienna was disposable contact lenses.  Instead of taking a pound of solutions, I got by on less than two ounces of liquid for the entire month.  They don't correct my astigmatism, but since it's not that bad it wasn't a problem.  After I use up my current supply of monthlies, I may convert to the single use lenses; I'm thinking they will be better during the season of steeeenking blooming yellow trees in Tucson.
So - nothing much is going on here.  We're departing September 8, and I am looking forward to being somewhere different.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Walking in Magnolia

Today was another perfect day in the neighborhood.  I decided not to push my luck with the bike two days in a row, we decided strolling would be in order.  Where best to stroll?  How about Discovery Park?  Never mind the fact that it's geographically undesirable, or that the 520 bridge is closed - we'll go to Magnolia.  Yay.  Traffic westbound on I90 was predictably terrible, we were able to use the HOV lanes so it wasn't too bad.
We went north on 99, past the construction for the new tunnel.  Have I mentioned the tunnel?  Currently highway 99 is an elevated freeway, with 3 lanes in either direction, carrying 100,000 people a day.  The plan is to replace the elevated freeway with the tunnel, which will be 2 lanes in each direction.  Unfortunately, things are not going well with the tunnel boring machine.  Here is the latest update.  Short story, the machine moved 1,000 feet, threw up in its socks and died.  They're having to dig a giant pit to get to it, hoist it up and fix it. 



This view will be lost to Seattle drivers once the Viaduct (highway 99) is gone.  I personally am not a fan of the tunnel.


We made it to Discovery Park.  Couldn't find a place to park.  We drove down to West Point and took a picture of the lighthouse and the water.  Then we left.  It's an old army base, it seems like there could be more parking than there is.


You can sort of see Mt. Rainier behind the point.  The uber wealthy live there at the water's edge.


After giving up on Discovery park, we went into Magnolia Village where they were having a car show and farmer's market.  Here we see Jim reliving his early days.  This is a 1969 Corvette Roadster like the one he used to have.


Dogs.


This is a Auburn Boattail Speedster.  It was designed by Gordon Buehrig in the 1930s, who also designed the Cord.  Unfortunately they left before we could go look at it closely. Jim thinks it might be a replica.



This is a 1938 Ford Business Coupe.


Check out the interior.  The steering wheel is out of a 1959 Impala SuperSport.  This was a really good restoration.


1957 Ford Country Squire.  The back window is so cool.  Do you not think it is amazing that Jim can remember all of these names and dates?  I default to "it's an old car."


We had lunch at the Crepe Caravan.  Good, really good.


This is why people want to live on Magnolia.  They want this view of the water.


Isn't this a cute house?  He has a great view of the water.


Coming back, we went by Pier 91.  These are cruise ships.  This is why Pike Place Market is so crowded - all those people from the boats head for the market.


The Frank Gehry designed Seattle public library.


This was taken from the I90 floating bridge.  The mountain was sort of out.


We got exercise today - Magnolia is really hilly. Up, down.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Beautiful Day in the Western Cascade Foothills

Today was a halcyon day in the GPNW.  We took the bikes out to Fall City to do the first part of the ride we always do because it is flat.  It takes us through many corn fields and really big country yards.  You know, the kind of yard that people mow with tractors.  Anyway, this is new.  Someone built a very nice pad for the travel trailer, put up steps and two out buildings. Notice that the travel trailer and the big outbuilding are raised up above the level of the field.  That's for when the flooding starts.  It would be kind of cool to own a chunk of land with a place to park the RV.


After the first flat segment of the ride, my back sent me a message that I should stop riding immediately.  So we went back to the truck and Jim loaded my bike for me.  Then he set off to do another lap so he could ride hard and break a sweat.  I took pictures of the stunning scenery while waiting for him.  I don't know what these are, they're sort of bristly.


One of my favorite barns.


The blackberries are getting ripe.  There are many people out picking them, some bushes have nothing left on them.  They're not very good; they're sour and are mostly seeds.  We always wonder what people do with them.


After Jim got back, we went for a drive.  This is an old grove of Sycamore trees.  People used to live in houses along this road.  I think it was a company town which ceased to be.  The people left, but the trees remain.


The always lovely Mt. Si.  There is a four mile trail (with 3,500 feet of elevation) up the side of it.  I've never done it. 


This is a former mill pond.  Logs were floated in here, and then sent to the saw mill.  It is not lovely?



We pressed on with the driving.  These are all roads that we used to bicycle, back when we were doing more mileage.  We went over a bridge to see where it would go, and ended up in the outskirts of North Bend.  These are elk.  Elk!  Who would have expected elk so close to town?  It was really cool, we didn't see this big of a herd in Yellowstone.



Eventually we ended up on the other side of the mill pond.  The road down to the old sawmill was open, this has never happened before.  So we went down the hill.  Here is the old power plant.   It would have burned sawdust, wood chips and debris to run the mill.


Dirtfish has bought the old facility and turned it into rally driving school and a competition track.  Redbull is affiliated with it.  It's pretty cool. They have dirt and mud and stuff to drive through.
This quote is from the three day course description.  "With new found skills in hand, drivers negotiate a course through trees and solid objects which simulate an actual rally stage."  I want to learn how to drive through sold objects!  Check out the website, it's interesting.


These are cars waiting to go out on the track again.


They get to drive through the old mill.  This would be fun.


It was a good day.  I got to ride a little, Jim got to ride more, and we saw elk. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Attack of Back Pain

Greetings Earthlings.  How is your summer progressing?  We have hit somewhat of a rough patch, or at least I have.  About two weeks ago my lower back started hurting.  Then it hurt more, and then it got worse.  It reached the point of hurting enough that I'm yelping, and scaring the crap out of Jim.  Apparently I have strained the right side paraspinal muscles.  It hurts like holy hell.  So, there is physical therapy twice a week while we are still here.  It's really aggravating, there will be no hiking or strenuous biking until this resolves.  Of course this has coincided with perfect summer weather.

This morning we got new neighbors.  They have a highly decorated RV.  He is the Wandering Author.


Their first task was to unload the motorcycle.  The back of the pick up truck was uphill, making it difficult.  We were very happy that they didn't drop it.


I looked up his book on Amazon - his name is Roan Poulter.    I don't understand the economics of  selling e-books for $3.  How much money do people make on these books? 


They have been many places.


This is the creek that runs behind the building that houses my dentist and the physical therapist.  It used to flood regularly until it was dredged and the banks were armored.


Nothing much is happening other than this. 

I do have a question for the audience.  Where is a good place to go in mid-September?  We had been thinking Utah, until it was pointed out to me that it's pretty dang hot then.  Who has good destination tips for September?  We were thinking Breckenridge, CO until we noticed that it's at 9,600 feet.  Our last attempt to mountain bike at 9,000 was not all that much fun due to lack of oxygen, so maybe not.