Monday, July 26, 2010

Riding to Paradise

After a very successful ride on Sunday (meaning that I am doing less whining on the hills), yesterday we got a wild hair to ride up to Paradise on Mount Rainier. In retrospect, it would have been good to get the hair earlier, before it got so hot, but we didn't. So there you go. In November 2006, there was an amazing terrible flood in the Rainier National Park, caused by 18 inches of rain in 36 hours. It changed the face of the park forever. We had not seen the result until yesterday. Here is a PDF of the 2006 Flood. If you have a few minutes, it's interesting to look at, to see what unrestrained water can do to a landscape. It's about 7 meg.

This was our first "holy shit" reaction. There used to be a cute little camp ground, nestled in tall trees along a fairly narrow section of river. We would park there to start the ride up to Paradise. It's gone, the old road is gone.

This is from the Nisqually bridge, looking downstream. This did not used to be this wide, and it didn't have this many rocks in it.

Looking upstream from the Nisqually bridge.

Here we are at the Paradise lodge. Either, a)the economy is better, or b)we've never done this ride in July or c)we were just later in the day than we normally are - but we have never seen s0 many tourists at the lodge. The parking lot was full and there were hundreds of them milling around in the lodge. We drank some water and headed downhill.

This is a picture of the lodge from the web. It's a really pretty building. The Park Service blew up the old visitor's center and put a new one that is located directly in one's sight line when driving around the corner so that the lodge is hidden. They should have consulted me before locating that building.

We made it to the top in 1.5 hours ride time, and 2 hours wall clock time. We have had better times, but hey, it's roughly 3,000 feet over 14 miles. It's a beautiful ride. If you are ever visiting the area, a drive up to Paradise should definitely be on your to-do list. Go on a week day!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer in the GPNW

I am a hot blogger. It's warm today, as I sit in my Lazy Boy recliner with my lap top in my lap, it's pretty toasty. This was a trying week, Tuesday I had a two hour visit with the dentist and came out with two temporaries. Thursday I was back with a broken temporary and then again on Friday. Three trips to the dentist - three!
This is the Carnation Valley, it's one of the most beautiful places in the Puget Sound area, and so far has not fallen to the rapacious developers of suburbia. There used to be more cows than there are now, which may be a bad sign. There is still a lot of agriculture and growing of flowers for the Pike Place Market.

Part of the river system out in the valley.

I like this sign. I looked them up, they rescue horses.

Today Jim went over to his mother's house to visit. This is the view of Agate Pass from the back deck.

Jim's Mom with Jim.

On the way down to the ferry dock to pick up Jim, I drove by Safeco Field, where there was a Mariner's game. I was taking pictures of the crowd, these two posed for me.

This is taken from the I90 floating bridge. The mountain (Mt. Rainier) was out.

Summer in the GPNW is shaping up pretty well. We are so happy to not be on the east coast at this time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bad sites in Issaquah

Note to self. Site 36 in Issaquah is very undesirable. It's under a huge cherry tree. Our neighbor's truck and RV are getting bombed with squishy cherries and pink bird poop.

Please make a note of this.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hike up to Poo-Poo Point

Today started early with a phone call from Erik the PT, calling to advise that he has a terrible cold and asking if I'd like to reschedule today's appointment. That would be a big yes, summer colds are the worst. So we decided we would hike the Chirico trail. We have not done this hike since July 2008, when we were back in the GPNW for Vicki's retirement party. I swear I do not remember it being that steep! It's 2 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation. We made it up in 55 minutes, we used to be able to do it in 49; but we're older now.

This is so weird. We moved from Issaquah in 1996, we used to live next door to Dave, the man in the next picture. In July 2008 we saw him hiking up this trail with his paraglider so he could jump off Poo-Poo point. We saw him again today on the trail. What are the odds of that happening? That pack weighs 40 or 50 pounds. It's heavy!

And here is Dave on the ground.

Dave introduced us to a friend of his who does tandem jumps. Jim and I are seriously thinking about doing one, it looks like it would be a lot of fun.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic

This past weekend was the Seattle to Portland bicycle classic. Approximately 10,500 people rode 200 miles from here to there. We got up at oh:dark:thirty and drove over to Vicki and Dave's to drop off our luggage and ride from their house. It was 56 degrees, overcast and damp upon leaving. Seattle was experiencing a marine push which keeps it pretty dang cool in the summer. It remained cool and cloudy for the first 80 miles. After a beautiful lunch in Tenino, prepared by Beth and Vicki, the clouds finally parted and it warmed up. Jim and I got off the bikes in Chehalis - we did 100 miles and called her good. It was very nice to remove the bike shorts and get in the car.
Beth and Jim in repose on a park bench.

Vicki riding in the sun.

This is the egg co-op in Winlock.

The World's Biggest Egg.

This is the start of day two. Again we had the marine push. This is the Longview Bridge. I rode over it this year, it's kind of creepy due to large expansion joints in the concrete. We crossed it without incident.

Here we are at the Deer Island food stop for the annual eating of the hot dog. Beth, and her husband Steve are enjoying the local cuisine.

I've never seen this before, it's an elliptical trainer with wheels. So basically this guy ran all the way to Portland.

The finish is in Portland at the Holladay Park. Kim and Jim Waddle met us there. They're back in Portland, attending weddings this summer.
It's a great venue. STP gets really good bands to play at the finish. This year's band did a really good cover of Mustang Sally. I think this is the most crowded we've seen it so far.

People tend to dress for the event.

More elliptical trainers with wheels.

Sunday night we had dinner at the Veritable Quandary. It's a really good restaurant in downtown Portland. This is my salad, is it not lovely?

So, Jim and I did 130 miles this weekend. At the end of the ride I felt like my posterior had been sand papered, but overall I rode better than I anticipated. Jim rode well, and did 90% of the work towing me southward.
We're home now and tired. Tomorrow we will sleep late and set no alarm clocks!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Freezing in the GPNW

All politics are local. All local politics (and politicians) are idiots. I know that everyone thinks that their local politicos are the worst, but no, I think Seattle wins. The Seattle City Council has approved a contract to allow the State of Washington to bore a 54 foot wide tunnel under the water front to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The estimated cost is $4.2 billion. This will be the largest tunnel boring project in the history of the world on the entire planet. Approval has been given despite the fact that there are no bids from contractors and no environmental impact statements. This is particularly important since the city of Seattle will be responsible for any cost over runs occurring during the replacement of a state highway. Consider the Big Dig in Boston, originally estimated at $2.8B, which eventually came in at $14.6B. No tunnel project in the history of forever has ever come in on time or on budget. Cost considerations aside, the tunnel will reduce current carrying capacity by 50%. The other cars will spill over onto surface streets and the already full I5. It simply boggles the mind. I am so happy that we sold the West Seattle house when we did.

Speaking of the West Seattle house, we drove by it today to see how it looks. There's another remodel going on. The previous owner bumped out the second story to enlarge the bedroom, now it appears that the roof is being raised over what used to be a big closet.

This is the other side of the house, where more roof raising is going on. This is in the area of what we used to call the "Lear Jet bathroom" because it was necessary to lean to the right (like the Captain often had to do on the early Lears) when sitting on the toilet, due to the sloping roof. The front yard still looks like crap, compared to when we owned it. I can't believe people spend that much for a house and let the yard go.

Then it was on to the Jack Block park down by the waterfront. It was a cold gloomy day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better, gotta get those bottoms back on the bicycle seats.

In the middle of the photo is a ferry in dry dock.

After touring the water front we went up to the Metropolitan Market to get something for dinner. We splurged on Dungeness crab meat and cooked shrimp. Making a salad is about all I'm up for doing tonight. I need a personal chef.

So, all in all, a very low key day. We got the freezer defrosted so that was good. The ice cube trays had started taking forever to freeze so it was time. I miss the dishwasher and the frost free freezer. Why can't RVs have frost free freezers? I think that is an idea whose time is here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Melting in the GPNW

It has really warmed up here in the GPNW. Today was a record setting 95 degrees. We left on the bicycles at 9:30 (which is early for us) and set out to spend time on the bikes. We have not been doing long rides of late, and since we have signed up to do some of the Seattle to Portland ride, we need to toughen up our bottoms. So, we rode from Issaquah, across Lake Washington and around the north end of the lake. I have to tell you, the last hour was trying, I have not been that hot in since I can remember. We got 60 miles, so now we know we can go that far.
This is a marina on Lake Washington at Leschi.

While riding through Lake Forest Park we heard the sound of locked up truck tires sliding down the road. A fence company truck hit the back of this poor Honda so hard he went through the intersection. I feel so sorry for the kid, he was moving and had a car full of stuff, much of which was broken in the crash. They insurance company will probably total his car and give him no money. For an economically precarious person, something like this can just be the end. There was a police officer on scene who saw it all, so at least he has a good witness.

Yesterday's visit to Erik the physical therapist was good, he worked on loosening up my left shoulder and gently chided me for not using the stability ball to keep my core strong. I think that will be my biggest problem on STP, my back gets tired, and then too much weight goes on to my hands which kills my shoulder. It's going to be a storage issue, but we're going to get another ball and use it.
So, we'll be riding up until STP and trying to convince our bottoms to stay on the bike.

Update to post: Tyler (kid in the Honda) was moving back in to his parents' house when he was hit, so he's not going to be rendered homeless by this. It was not his week, he'd broken his arm two days before the car accident.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer arrives in the GPNW

Summer arrived today in Seattle. It was glorious. The natives are delirious with joy that the high pressure system has finally established itself. We rode on Mercer Island today. This is the Luther Burbank park. It used to be a school for delinquent boys. Jim's Mom was the Vice-Principal there in the 60's. Today it is a huge park on the the shores of Lake Washington.

Honestly, is there any place as lovely as the GPNW when the sun is out?

After riding we went by a vegetable/fruit stand/nursery for stuff for dinner. They have a lot of nice looking food and flowers.

Then it was off to REI to look at heart rate monitors. This is so weird, when I ride with my heart rate monitor on the mountain bike, it works fine. Today it spent about 30% of the ride showing zero. What is up with that? I really like the one I have now, it has one button. All of the newer ones have 5 buttons, this is bad. I'm not good with small electronics, 5 buttons are going to be a problem for me. Jim has to re-set my bike computer as it is, if I have 5 buttons, I'll never be able to touch the heart rate monitor.

Tomorrow we're off to the physical therapist to see if he can do something with my pesky left shoulder that is so troublesome.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Greetings from the GPNW

Greetings from the Great Pacific North West. We arrived July 1, and started reminding ourselves that summer does not start until after July 4. Lots and lots of reminding. Vicki and Dave fed us wonderfully our first night here. They bought an entire Coho salmon at Costco and filleted it. I do not know how to do that. It was just yummy, cooked on a cedar plank with a really good fish sauce.

Friday the weather was abysmal. Jim went to visit his Mom and I did hardly anything at all. Saturday was much improved so we went for a short bike ride up and down hills. We were climbing up Newport, which is not a steep grade, but it's noticeable, and I was riding well and feeling good about my fitness level in general, when my beloved husband brought it to my attention that we are once again at sea level. Bend is 3,500 to 4,000 feet. I think we still have extra red blood cells which are making us feel young. Wonder how long they will stick around?
These are salmon sculptures at the Issaquah fish hatchery.

Saturday evening we had dinner with Naomi and Touf. Touf's Mom is visiting from Morocco. It was a very fun evening. This is their view off the deck.

Today was a big ride - 47 miles, the longest ride we've done all year. I know, how pitiful is that? It was the Black Diamond bakery ride. It goes out into the toolies, and is a very pleasant ride.

The Green River Gorge.

Vicki and Dave admiring the Gorge.

After the ride, we went back to the bakery and had meatloaf sandwiches as big as our heads, and those are the half sizes. I'm feeling like a python that swallowed a pig even after several hours have passed.
Remember, summer does not start until after July 4 - this is the weather we had on the way home.

So, here we are in the Issaquah RV Village park, waiting for it to be summer. Any day now, I'm certain of that.

Happy Fourth of July!