Thursday, September 30, 2010

Really the Last GPNW Post

This is a leopard slug. He was heading across the gravel as we loaded the wagons.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Final Post from the GPNW

It's the end of days for us in the GPNW. We're loading the wagons tomorrow and departing Friday morning. But first, we have pictures from the last week or so. Chihuly is synonymous with glass in this area. This is one of his installations in a shopping mall in Bellevue. It's cheerful.

Last Wednesday we got to go to another interesting place for the RV. In an attempt to control costs, RV manufacturers use inexpensive foam in the dinettes. Jim spends a lot of time with his PC at the dinette and his butt was leaving prints on the cushions. So we took them down for new foam inserts at All Aboard Upholstery in Seattle. It's a big workshop - lot's of light.

We went down to Fisherman's Terminal while we waited for them to be done. It was a cool, but stunning day on the water.

This is a fishing boat. The boat on the back is a power skiff. They launch them to set the seine net to catch the fish. Many hydraulic lines are involved in putting the boat in the water, closing the purse seine and then retrieving the skiff.

Foul weather gear on the back of the boat.

Saturday was unnervingly warm. We drove out to Fall City to ride, getting out of the car it was just weird how warm it was after several wet cloudy days. I have a new bicycle saddle. It's better some places and worse others. I guess it's going to come down to which pain is more tolerable.

Which brings us to today. I picked up the second set of orthotics yesterday, and wanted to try out the hiking set. Kim and I hiked up to Poo Poo point via Chirico and then back down via the High School Trail. I am seriously kicked by this! 5.5 miles or so. Most of the hike was in the clouds. The spiders are out in force, spinning webs across the trails and catching mosquitoes. Although the views were occluded, the silence and the mist were enjoyable.

Almost at the top of the climb.

Kim and me on the bridge. We were happy to see the bridge, Kim recognized it from last year and so we knew we were on the correct trail.

Tomorrow we'll be reconfiguring the trailer and the basements for the transit to Utah. Friday we're outta here at oh:early:thirty. There's no telling how much internet we'll be having. The cell is always on, so we're still on that grid.
It's been fun to be here and see our friends, but it's time to go. A non-rolling stone in the GPNW will gather moss.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Weather Tweet

 Fourth wettest September on record...and there's still time left! Almost double the usual rainfall so far...but drier for perhaps 48 hours.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More Fall in the GPNW

Greetings Earthlings. One of the downsides of RV life, with our particular floor plan, is the lack of a desk. Recently the living trust that Jim's parents established has been amended. This has generated a flurry of documentation requirements from the financial institutions where May's accounts reside. It's interesting that every single bank and credit union has different levels of required paper. BECU has been the worst, I suspect that May's association with them will be severed at the first opportunity because they make everything more difficult than it could ever need to be. Note the electrical cord trip hazard caused by the printer.

This is Jim and Kim Waddle, I took this Thursday. Kim had a very full day. She was up at 6:30 for a 7 mile hike with 2,500 feet of climbing in a fairly short distance. After that they were up and out for wine tasting and dinner at a restaurant at the art museum.

Here we are at the Issaquah Fish Hatchery. The Chinook salmon run has just begun. The obstacle the fish are trying to jump over is called a weir, and it is designed to be impossible to jump. After awhile the fish get tired, give up, and wander over to the fish ladder.

The fish ladder is much easier for them to climb.

Eventually they reach a containment pen. Later on they'll donate their genetic material and the fertilized eggs will be transferred to trays at the hatchery. In December the eggs hatch into little fish. They leave in May and come back years later to repeat the cycle.

While we were not living here (2007 - 2010), Bellevue grew and changed to a tremendous degree. They've done a pretty good job of urban planning to become a dense city of housing, retail and places to work. One of the new developments is The Bravern. It's quite the ostentatious, over the top, gratuitously expensive shopping emporium. The Yelp reviews are not good. Apparently the parking garage is a nightmare, and even worse, there is no coffee shop. What were the developers thinking - retail with no coffee in Seattle. The original plan was retail on the lower floors, and condos in the accompanying high rises. We saw on the news that many of the condos are converting to apartments because no one is buying. Their timing was not so great what with the collapse of the planetary economy and all.

Examine these two pictures of the shopping area. What do you not see? You do not see anything to keep the rain off of the shoppers. To go from store to store you must go outside, in the rain.

I do like the gym window.

Saturday was a gift. Rain had been predicted all day, but it cleared early and was just spectacular. Highs in the low 70's with sun. We got the bikes out while the getting was good.

These are brave Northwesterners doing the Wave charity ride Sunday morning. It just poured much of the morning. We're east of Seattle, in the Cascade foothills. The mountains stop the clouds and suck them dry of water, it rains a lot more here than in Bellevue, which is not that far away. Anyway, they were out there on the trail.

Riding with a smile.

See the sun on the trail? That's a sucker hole. The sun comes out, your spirits lift, and then the hole in the clouds closes and it rains again.

Monday started with yet another visit to the podiatrist to complain about the orthotics. The arches are too high, they are too far back on my heel, they give me shin splints. After 3 months of futzing around with these things, he has decided to order new ones, which should arrive 2 days before we depart. I am not hopeful that I will leave with anything that works. It's always something.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Water Buffalo in Carnation Valley

Vicki has identified these as water buffalo. One wonders if buffalo mozzarella will be the outcome of this herd.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall in the GPNW and the EP Study Follow-Up

Greetings from the GPNW. It's fall now, it's gruesome. We had originally thought that we would be here through the end of October, but that plan is off the table. I can not take this climate for another month. Sun will be required, and that is not to be found here. The gray and the damp are just sucking the life out of me.
I titled this photo "Cranes in the Mist."

This is the Enatai beach on Lake Washington. All the kayaks and canoes that were for rent have been taken to storage, because no one in their right mind would get in that freezing cold water.

So - enough whining about the climate.

Sunday was my 3rd post EP study bike ride. It was fairly successful. I'm not in wonderful shape, but I was able to do a hilly 37 miles. I rode for about 1.5 hours at 148 - 152 bpm, and it was fairly comfortable. Previously that heart rate was unsustainable. So that was pretty good.

Monday we saw Dr. Broudy, the cardiac electrophysiologist who did my EP study. I really like him. He explains stuff thoroughly and articulately. He was instrumental in starting the electrophysiology program at Swedish. So if you need an arrhythmia specialist, he would be a good place to start. Anyway, I did have atrial flutter. He burned a strip around the right atrium to block the bad electrical pathway. He feels confident about a good outcome. There will be a wait to know if it's gone, however. The heart remains swollen for 3 months, once the swelling goes down it is possible that the pathway will reinstate itself. If it stays away for a total of 12 months, I can relax and believe it's gone. Cross your fingers!
He thinks I am an interesting case, and will be taking me to a conference soon. That would be my procedure CD, not me.

We're loading the wagons and departing October 1. We came up here with a list of things to do, many of which are going to get done between now and the end of the month. It's interesting how things just move to the right on the schedule until a hard stop is applied. So now we must seriously apply ourselves to RV maintenance, finishing up seeing the doctors, dentists and podiatrists (getting new orthotics has just been a trial this year) and all the other piddling minutia of daily life.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Riding and Avatar

Friday was my first post-EP study bike ride. We did a tiny ride, all of 14 miles with zero elevation, but it was enough. There's still some residual lumpiness at the harpoon sites, and I could feel them more after riding than before. So short was good. We were out in the Carnation Valley again, we saw some horses out standing in their field. I would like to draw your attention to the gray one, foreground. Look at his mane. It needs to be combed and it needs conditioner. Someone is not caring for this horse properly. We felt badly for them, the flies were just obnoxious and none of them had fly shields for their eyes.

We saw these guys on the way back. Anyone know what they are? Interesting horns.

Yesterday we went to see Avatar with Kim & Jim Waddle (who are here for the month). Jim and I felt like we were the only people in America to have not seen the movie. Our strategy of waiting paid off, however. We go to see the extra 9 minutes on our first viewing. IMAX is pretty cool, it's a 6 story screen. The effects in the movie are pretty dang spectacular.

This is the world famous Space Needle. It's a relic from the 1962 World's Fair.

Today, being a holiday, gave us clouds and grey skies. Kim and I walked this morning, we did the one of the big hills in Issaquah. Up was ok, down gave me shin splints. So there you go.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

End of Summer, RibFest & EP Study

Summer is trailing off to an end in fits and starts, or would that be fits and finishes. Anyway, we hiked the Chirico trail Saturday morning, it was just too gloomy to ride. Another tree has fallen across the trail. We can't tell if it's a new tree, or the uphill section of an old dead fall. What ever it is, it's large.

When we got off the trail it had started to clear, there were many people jumping off PooPoo point with their paragliders. We were watching one guy coming in for a landing, he was fairly low to the ground and his chute just quit flying. I think he dropped 20 feet or so. He got up and signaled that he was ok.

Saturday night was RibFest at the Carlson/O'Briants.

Here is Vicki in her western hat with the feather boa trim.

There was a big pile of ribs. I love the colors of the greek salad against the bowl.

Here is Dave slicing up another pile of ribs hot off the barbie.

It was a good party. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was the EP study. It was worse than I thought it would be. My expectation was that there would be mass drugs; but no, there were minimal drugs and much wakefulness. Apparently when they try to provoke the arrhythmia, if you're doped to the gills the arrhythmia often goes to sleep. Insertion of the harpoons into the veins was fairly uncomfortable. Part of the procedure is to give a drug that makes the heart beat very fast, which will possibly trigger an arrhythmia. They were able to replicate my really fast one and then burn the pathways. The burn is done with a small microwave tip. Midway through one pulse, something attached to my butt started getting really hot. I whined about it and they were right on it, and got the patch moved. They kept me overnight, which was good since there was unexpected bleeding. Today I'm tired and a little sore. The upshot is that I did not show atrial fibrillation, just flutter. So, I'm currently off heart drugs and we'll see if I stay in a regular rhythm.