Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Whistler BC Trip Report

So, we went to Whistler, BC for mountain biking and sight seeing. This is the view from our hotel room. It's at the base of the Whistler mountain bike park. They have a huge number of trails for those who partake in down hilling. Lessons are available, but we didn't take one. It's a spandex free zone, so much shopping would have had to occur to kit out for the event. It does look like fun, but it's a type of riding that would require travel (to the mtb park) to do.

The ski area has put much money into infrastructure for winter sports as well as bringing people in for the summer. One of their nifty new things is the Peak to Peak gondola. One can now ride to the top of Whistler and take the gondola to Blackcomb. It's the longest unsupported stretch of gondola cable on the planet. It's pretty dang impressive.

The view from the gondola.

The view from the top of Blackcomb.

What's wrong with this picture? It's 12 degrees C! I do not know what we were thinking when we put clothes on. More would have been better. After a brief, brisk hike we headed back down to Whistler Village.

There are many sports done in the area. These people were marching off to kayak, in wet suits.

Guy on stilts in the Village.

Part of the mountain bike trail system we did not ride.

Whistler is a some what frustrating place to ride cross country. For you non-MTBers, cross country people are the ones who ride trails and do not down hill. Down hillers are a breed unto themselves. Anyway, the trails are nice and beautifully groomed, but there was no skill building on them. The single track was plentiful, but too difficult for Jim and me. Skill building on the single track looked like it would be really painful due steepness, rocks and roots.

It was a fun weekend. The area is just stupendously beautiful.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Whistler BC

Sea to Sky Highway in beautiful British Columbia.

We're in Whistler BC, we'll be back Monday. We have a dishwasher in the hotel room (they call it a suite). We are in hog heaven.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Existentialist Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Why, we just have to ask why. Why does anyone need to tow a 5th wheel with a truck this big? Why does the truck need a "private RV" sign on it that's this large? Why.

Look at the burgundy rails on the back of the truck. We haven't seen it, but our neighbor Mel says the rails rotate 90 degrees (with a Jeep on them) and then ramps are extended to the ground. Their Jeep then winches itself down the the ramp. This allows them to offload the car without unhooking the RV from the truck. This has got to be one of those things that you do, to prove you can do it. The 5th wheel looks to be about a 40 footer, with 8 wheels on two axles.

We are so depressed. Jim walked out this morning to dump the kitchen grey tank. It's leaking again, big time. I can't stand it.

Note to self: Somewhere in this time frame was another right ear infection.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Return of Summer to the GPNW

Summer is back! We've had 3 days of temps in the 90s. It's newsworthy, the evening news is dedicating a lot of air time to the fact that it's hot. Fear not, brave north westerners, highs will drop back into the upper 60s in a couple of days.
I found this on the web the other day. It's a cool shot of the Blue Angels over Lake Washington.

We went back to see the cardiac electrophysiologist after the treadmill stress test. As we thought, it provided no new diagnostic data. He had my LifeWatch monitor tracing from April 18 up on the computer screen. I thought it was pretty interesting. Not being a trained cardiologist, it looks irregular as all get out to me, but he thinks it's organized. So, there you go. I'm going to have the EP study August 31 unless I chicken out. The idea is still weirding me out pretty much. Just writing this paragraph makes me short of breath due to apprehension. We'll move on to a different topic now.

Saturday we rode up to Snoqualmie Falls and out into the hinterlands. It's a nice ride. This is one of the prettiest stretches of the route. This area used to be a mill town, and the former residents planted sycamore trees along the road. The houses are gone, but the trees remain.

Going back to the car, we passed a stretch on a side road where there must have been a mile of parked cars. Saturday was the day to float on the river. It's really shallow, we watched a guy step out of his tube, and it was only up to his knees.

There is nothing much else to report. Thursday we are driving up to Whistler BC to go mountain biking at the ski area there. A road trip will be good, it should provide more interesting blog content.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Notes from the Frontier

If you follow Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Twitter, you may already know this. For those of you who don't, here is a very interesting report on Alzheimers detection. Apparently there is a marker in your cerebral spinal fluid that correlates very highly with the future development of Alzheimers. Thus, one could conceivably have a diagnosis prior to becoming symptomatic. So, if the testing were widely available, would you find out? I'd have to think about that one for awhile.

On a different thought, does everyone know about Free shipping, free returns. I ordered yesterday, and the first pair showed up today. There are two more pairs winging their way to me. I should have done them all at once, but I didn't. Anyway, I have feet from hell to buy shoes for; not an A width, not a B width, somewhere in between, and they're bony and they pronate and the orthotics must fit in there. I could go on and on, but I'll spare you that. Anyway, it's a very good site, I generally order up everything that even looks promising, bracket my size on either side, and wait for UPS to bring me shoes. So there is no exasperated salesman wishing I would just buy something and leave, it's a much better process.

Since 1949, Seattle has had a summer festival called Seafair. They have pirates, hydroplane races, and the Blue Angels do an airshow over Lake Washington. This year it rained and was cold and very cloudy. Saturday they did the flat show, and Sunday they did the low show, so it was a muted event. But the brave Northwesterners were out there wearing big plastic garbage bags to stay dry and enjoying it anyway.
This is an F-18 flying just below Mach1. It's too bad they won't let them go supersonic, I love that sound.

Fat Albert - he carries support staff and and stuff for the show.

Not too much to report from the GPNW. Summer is supposed to return later this week, we're looking forward to that. Jim went to see his Mom today, so I guess I will try to accomplish some of those pesky errands we don't seem to get around to doing. Hope you are all well and happy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Long Range Weather Forecast

From the weather blogs: the West is probably looking at a moderately strong or stronger La Nina-type winter. This means warmer- and much drier-than-normal conditions in the Southwest and a stormy, wet weather pattern in the Northwest.

Yeeeeeeeeee HAH!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Treadmill Stress Test Results

Nothing happened!
My heart rate went up to 152 bpm by walking 4.25 miles per hour on a 20% incline, but it remained steady. I do have a substantial case of shin splints, but that's about it. So, I guess the next step is an EP study.
That is all.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A birthday, riding, and a trip into Seattle

Wednesday of last week was a very full day here in the GPNW. I spent another hour in the dentist's chair having my new gold onlays installed. It was a laborious process. Although they're fabricated from an impression of one's teeth, final adjustments must be made by grinding on the surface. One of them is in the way back and it was very tedious. My dentist loves doing gold work, he was very happy about the project; me, not so much.
Meanwhile, Jim was taking his bicycle in to the shop because the back wheel was making a funny noise. Turns out his Bontrager wheels have a design flaw that makes the spokes loosen up. Previous incarnations of that wheel have had catastrophic failures, so Jim decided new wheels would be in order. Happy birthday to him!
The day ended on a very pleasant note with dinner at the Calcutta grill. It's on the top of a landfill that has been converted to a golf course. The view from the deck is just spectacular. We went with my Step-Mom, her husband and daughter and had a delightful time. Good food, good friends, good fellowship. What more could you ask for? Oh yes, a spectacular sunset.

In early July, I had an appointment with a cardiac electrophysiologist at Swedish medical center in Seattle. He looked at my Life Watch recordings from the big cardiac event of April 18. The monitors are only a 3 lead recording and so do not provide a ton of detailed information. His put was that he was not convinced that it's atrial fib, that atrial flutter is not contra-indicated. Flutter is better than fib, in that it's easier to treat. I'm going in this Tuesday for another stress test while hooked up to a 12 lead EKG. He's hoping to provoke another arrhythmia event on the treadmill. So, I'm not taking Flecainide for a few days. It's very unnerving. As much as I don't like the drug, after stopping it I realized what a security blanket it has become. We rode yesterday out in the Carnation Valley, and I have to say I tip-toed up the hills with a close eye on the heart rate monitor.
These are escapees from the Party Pony company. Someone left the back gate open. Shortly after I took this, they headed out for greener pastures down the road. Jim went back to tell someone at the party place that they were gone. The woman working there seemed to be more upset that Jim had opened her gate, than the fact that her ponies had gone on walk about. People!

Another view of the river in Carnation Valley, this time with geese.

Friday we had Vicki and Dave over for dinner. I made this. It was a new recipe for me, and I was stressing over it, so much so that I forgot half the meal which was the salad. Fortunately Vicki and my sous chef, Jim, bailed me out on that one. Next time, sticky notes!

Today we had a tenacious marine layer move in. The idea of hiking was just not that appealing so we decided to go into downtown Seattle and walk around. This is 6th Avenue on the way to the exorbitantly priced parking garage.

As all tourists must, we walked down to the Pike Place Market.

The fruits and vegetables are always so lovely to regard.

This is City Fish.

Flowers from the Carnation valley.

This is the Pike Place Fish Market, these are the people who throw the fish. See the young woman on the right? She's a guest fish catcher. She looked pretty dang thrilled about the whole thing.

Donut robot. It automatically puts batter into the fat, flips them over and dumps them out at the end of the conveyor.

Hammering Man. He's a kinetic sculpture in front of the Seattle Art Museum.

We had a pretty interesting sky. It does not appear that the clouds are going to burn off today.

So that's been the latter half of last week and today. We're down to 6% on the truck's oil, so tomorrow there must be an oil change. Diesel engines are very adamant about having clean oil.