Thursday, August 30, 2012

Last Day of August

Greetings Earthlings!  Have you missed me?  It's been a slow news week, with not too much worth blogging about.  Actually, nothing much has changed, but I felt I should say something.  Summer is on the wane, we're having to close the door at night after it cools down.  I think the 5 plant food spikes I put in my ivy geranium have provoked a late season blooming, so that plant is still with us. 

We were not in the mood to ride today.  I'm not sure what is going on with me and the bike.  I think part of my reluctance to saddle up is that I am just sick of everywhere we ride.  So, we decided to hike.  We walked up the old Preston trail in to the woods.  We got a good 2.5 hours on our feet and it was enough.  It's a steep up and then a steep down.  It's not as terrible as Chirico, but it's bad enough.  Several little streams are running on the side of the hill, this is one of them.

Other than this pitiful offering, I have nothing of any interest to report.  We're leaving for Italy September 12, so there will be photos of new horizons.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Riding the South End of Lake Washington

Today was a spectacular fall day in the GPNW.  We did have a frisky northerly, which generally signals increasing pressure which gives us good weather.  We like good weather.  We rode the south end of Lake Washington, it's a 25 mile ride with a fair number of hills.  This is the airport at the south end of the lake.  Planes leaving the Boeing plant leave from here.  It was recently renamed to the Clayton Scott airfield.  He died in 2006 at the age of 100, after 80 years in aviation.  The man was an aviation trail blazer.  A write up of his life can be found here, and is well worth reading.

This is the view from the overlook at I90.  Again, the mountain is trying to be out.

This is the I90 floating bridge.  There is a good bike path along the left most bridge.  Often, the bicyclists travel faster than the cars.

Today was a aggravating day for Jim and me.  We understand Lance Armstrong's decision to not fight USADA anymore.  It's a witch hunt and he can't win.  It's just sad that it has come to this.  One wonders exactly what evidence was so compelling that USADA feels justified in taking all of Lance's victories dating back to 1998 and imposing a lifetime ban on all competition.  I personally can not think of a cyclist who has received a lifetime ban for anything, much less never failing a drug test.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Trip to the Rock With Furniture

Oy!  Long day today.  However, after reading this article about how complaining makes people stupid, I shall refrain.  We went down to Renton to pick up my re-done orthotic, and then over to Ikea.  I love Ikea.  When Jim was still in the wheel chair after the crash, that was an outing we could do.  It was all flat and there was stuff to look at.  The new kitchens are almost enough to make me buy a house.  We bought this chair in black leather for May's room at assisted living.  Her wheel chair has been serving as a guest chair, so now she has this.  It's small, and is actually fairly comfortable.

Then it was up to Seattle, to the ferry dock.  This is Obsession returning from a cruise, heading for the dock.

This a bush in front of assisted living.  I think it's some sort of fuschia.  The blossoms are really attractive.  We delivered the chair, took the old incredibly uncomfortable chair to the dump, got toilet paper and chocolate at Walmart, delivered same back to May, and then headed back to the ferry.  Jim grew up on Bainbridge Island, he is always astonished at how many people live there and how bad the traffic has gotten.

Seattle from the ferry.  Look at the top of the Space Needle.  They painted it orange this year.

We ordered the new door for the fridge.  We're hopeful that it will arrive before we depart for the continent.  Ken of Cameron's Reliable confirmed that you really can not just order a hinge, you must order a door.  Modern manufacturing is like that.  Other than that, we have nothing to report.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Summer of my Discontent

We rode around Lake Sammamish again today.  While out at the velodrome we heard a bird crying.  I think it was this guy.  He's definitely an osprey, and I think it's a juvenile hollering for food.

Today is the summer of my discontent.  I have something wrong with my neck that causes my shoulder muscles to spasm; to the point where the top of my forearm hurts (as well as my shoulders) and my two outboard fingers go numb.  It has been treated with botox injections in my shoulders for about 6 years.  I started the process to get approval from the insurance company June 11.  It has taken 2.5 months just to get the request to my insurance company.  There's now at least a 30 day process on their part.  I am beyond aggravated, and I'm in pain.  I mention this so that next year, I'll remember to start the process earlier, and to ping the staff for status on a weekly basis.
My other source of annoyance is the refrigerator.  When we were having work done on the RV in Tucson, the hinge on one of the doors was broken while at the repair facility.  We did not notice it at the time.  It has deteriorated to the point that when the door is opened, it drops on the hinge.  Soon it will break, maybe the door will fall off.  We called the mobile RV people to come out to replace the hinge.  No.  We shall not replace the hinge.  We shall replace the entire door.  Parts alone will be $500.  Can you tell how annoyed I am?  I am HUGELY annoyed by this. 
Blogger is annoying me.  One is supposed to be able to upload photos from Picasa in to Blogspot.  It's not working.  I realize it's free software, but dang it, they should keep it working.
Annoyance is my middle name.  I absolutely need a change of scenery.  This is our third year of spending summers in the GPNW, and I think we're done.  New vistas will be required.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back in Carnation Valley

Another Sunday, another ride in the Carnation Valley.  It was a dark and gloomy day today.  We had a marine push, and it did not burn off until about 3 in the afternoon.  However, it was a great temperature for riding.  Here are more flower fields.

The road construction is just about done.  This is the new culvert that was installed.  It's quite lovely.

The valley is truly cow heaven.  It's not too hot, its not too cold.

Jim is still restricted to using an old bath towel after showering, so he doesn't get wound goo on the towel; but other than that he's recovering nicely.  That's about it for today's reportage.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Walking in Seattle

We wimped out on riding today.  Jim felt a little creaky and I was just being lazy.  We decided to go in to Seattle and walk around.  The first place we went was to the Westlake Center for lunch.  It's a 4 story shopping mall in the middle of the downtown shopping core.

There's a food court on the top floor.  We decided to try Yummy Crepe.  If you're in the area, we strongly suggest giving this place a miss.

After what seemed like forever, I got my lunch.  Jim's identical order took even more time.  They truly are a single threaded process.  This is a ham and veggie crepe.  The veggies are lettuce and corn, with cheese sauce and mayo.  It was pretty unimpressive.

Thus fortified with a mediocre lunch, we struck out for the Pike Place Market.  At one time this was an actual farmer's market, selling vegetables, seafood and meat.

It's becoming a tourist thing.  More and more of the booths are being taken by the flower sellers.  The flowers come from out in the Carnation Valley.

They're really nice flowers.

However, the vendors who are actually selling food are suffering.  This was taken at the fish monger that does not throw fish.  One of his guys was trolling for business by asking if there was anyone in the crowd actually shopping, instead of taking pictures.  It's tough to get to the counter with all of the people off the cruise ships.  These are half cup servings of dungeness crab cocktails.  Should have gotten a couple of those!

This is out in front of the fish monger who does throw the fish.  It's packed!  It's always packed.  Apparently throwing the fish creates business or they wouldn't do it, but if was me looking for fish, I'd go elsewhere rather than wading through that.  Anyway, the point of my kvetching is that it pains me to see a genuine farmer's market being turned in to yet another Disney-fied tourist trap.

After fleeing the market, we walked down Pike Place for a bit.  In my humble opinion, these hot dogs are some of the best on the planet.  If you find yourself in the area, go eat one.

We managed to get out of City Kitchens (the annual sale is on) without buying another knife.  My utensil crock is officially full.  Nothing can come in unless something goes out.  Of course, that is true for most of the RV.
It's 91.9 in the shade here.  Our outdoor temperature probe is on top of the front wheel of the RV, in the very deep shade, and it's that hot.  We're not used to these temperatures.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Return of Summer

Well!  That faint first hint of fall we thought we were detecting has been incinerated by the return of summer.  It's supposed to hit 95 tomorrow.  Most people in the GPNW do not have air conditioning in their homes, so 95 is really uncomfortable.  We rode today and I just died, apparently I no longer can cope with heat and humidity.
This is the tree next to our site, those are mushrooms growing on the bark.  We have not seen that before.

My geranium is still blooming.  Is it not lovely?  I'm using the grill cover as a backdrop.

We saw this car coming back from the grocery store.  It's a Fisker Karma.  It's a high zoot hybrid sports car.  About 50 of them have been sold in the US.  It's a nice looking car.  It's interesting, we could not see a tail pipe anywhere.  Apparently they've had some issues with battery fires.

Other than wilting in the GPNW, not too much is happening here.  Jim is recovering well from his fall.  We're postponing the ride up Mt. Rainier to Paradise until it cools off.  It's too dang hot!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jim Fails to Keep the Rubber Side Down

Yesterday we rode around Lake Sammamish.  It was a very expensive ride.  We were almost home, when Jim reached down for a water bottle, rode over a reflective dot on the road way, and slammed to the pavement in a split second.  Remember Arte Johnson on Laugh-In falling over with the tricycle?  It was sort of like that.  Anyone under 45 will probably not get the reference.  Go Google it, it was funny television.
Anyway, here is the broken helmet that had to be replaced.  Notice the vertical crack where the arrow is pointing.  It goes all the way through.

Additionally, the sun glasses, the bike shorts and the carbon fiber handlebars had to be replaced.  We took the bike in to get the handlebar tape replaced, and they uncovered the crack in the carbon fiber.  I'm glad it was discovered before they broke on a ride. 
This is a shop dog in one of the stores we visited yesterday.  Is he not adorable?  He's Chihuahua and Jack Russell.

We saw this on the way home.  It's a motorcycle with a mountain bike rack on the back.  Pretty cool.

Sorry about the back picture quality, I took this through the window.  The dog wanted to eat that hamburger really badly.

So, how is Jim, you wonder?  He's banged up some.  This was the major point of impact on his hip.  There's also road rash on his shoulder, elbow, knee and calf.  All damage is on the left, which is not the side of his pelvis he broke in 2006.  He didn't feel too awful this morning. 

Jim spent the day on The Rock, taking May back to the dentist.  I had an appointment with the podiatrist, and then I did the 5 mile walk with the giant hill.  Tomorrow we'll try riding again, hopefully with a better outcome.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Another Ride in Carnation Valley

As expected, I woke up this morning virtually crippled from the Chirico trail hike.  My muscles really hurt!  Stairs in particular are a problem.  We did the Carnation Valley ride to loosen things up.
This weekend is the Evergreen Classic Benefit Horse Show.  The number of temporary buildings, trailers, and porta potties is just amazing.  Horse events require infrastructure.

A big honking horse trailer.  Note the lift gate in the back.  We were somewhat surprised it's not air conditioned.

Then it was time to check on progress at the road closure.  A concrete thing that funnels water (what would you call that?) has been put in place.  The lids for it can be seen behind it.

This is a very large back hoe.  Note how tiny Jim looks next to it.

The flower fields are in full bloom.  There are many sun flowers.

Other than that, we have zippity doo-dah all to report.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chirico Trail to Poo-Poo Point

We have had to be up early more often than not this week, so it was nice to sleep late today.  After a leisurely morning we met Pat and Clark for a delightful lunch in Issaquah.  Food was good, the company was better.
After lunch we decided it would be good to hike the Chirico trail to see how my new orthotics are doing.  It's 2 miles and 1,700 feet up, the grade is fairly relentless.
This is Mr. Rainier from the south launching point for the paragliders.  I have not taken one good picture of the mountain this summer due to persistent haze from fires in Asia and humidity.  It's SO annoying.

This is the north launch, aka Poo-Poo Pont.  It was windy at the top. From eavesdropping on the guys flying we learned that there is a pattern to the wind; they wait for it to be favorable and then turn around and run off the launching area, into the wind.

There were many tandem jumps.  The instructor was giving the woman instructions on when to run straight, when to run to the side, and what to do once in the air.

There they go, they're leaning forward and leaving the ground.  Notice the orange piece of tape is horizontal to the ground.

This guy was just magic.  He's flying a smaller wing than the tandems.  He basically got it filled out, turned around and stepped off the ground.  Really pretty to watch.

This woman was not paying enough attention to the instructor.  She had a video camera on a stick and was paying attention to the camera, and not what he was telling her to do.  Eventually they launched, but it wasn't pretty.

This was really not pretty, a strong gust went through and just picked them up.  The instructor was able to get his weight shifted back onto the seat in the harness, but she's pretty much along for the ride.

This is the guy I'm going up with, if we ever do a tandem jump.  His name is Todd Henningsen (253.226.3357).  He's really good, and eavesdropping revealed that he is well respected in the paragliding community.  This is his wing, beautifully shaped in the wind.


 And this is him, on the ground, getting his parasail up in air while he watches it.  None of the other tandem jumps did that, as soon as the wing left the ground, they were running.  The two of them calmly turned into the wind, and stepped in to the air.

We got back to the truck in the parking lot about 4:45, and the shuttle was on its way back up to the launch zone with more people and more kit.  Some people hike up and fly down.

Today drove home the point that I am not in good enough shape to do this hike.  The descent was very painful, putting a lot of strain on my knees and hips.  I think we should ease in to this one a little.

The First Faint Hint of Fall

I went for a walk yesterday with my new shoes and new foot beds.  It's amazing how uncomfortable a new pair of the same shoes I have been wearing for the past 4 years can be.  It's also terrifying since I only have one pair left in the shoe hoard.  It's all a by-product of the Accursed Bony Feet From the 7th Circle of Hell.  However, as interesting as I find my feet, I'm certain no one else does.  So I will talk about Fall.

While walking, I detected that first faint change in the air that signals Autumn.  Today I read in the Seattle Times, that "... summer is almost outta here."   Yep, we had our two days of 90's, and now we are done.

I see people out with buckets, picking the blackberries, and for the life of me I do not understand why.  They're terrible!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Tragedy in One Act

Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak.   Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak.

"Jim, what's that noise?" an agitated Allison asks.
"It's the ice maker." Jim replies, cooly.

Allison and Jim wonder why it's making that noise.

Holy Crap!  The dynamic duo realizes they have once again allowed the frost in the freezer to grow thick enough so that the ice cube ejector can't rotate freely and eject ice.  Breakage will ensue.  Fortunately the blow dryer frees the mechanism quickly.

Note to self!  Stop letting the frost build up on the ice maker.

The End.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hot in the City

We had summer this past weekend.  It hit 93 (33.8C) yesterday, and to us pale northwesterners, it felt pretty dang hot!  Yes, I know, everyone else sneers at our complaints of being too warm.  However, today we have the on shore flow and a significant temperature drop.
We did our favorite ride in Carnation Valley Saturday.  We left WAY too late in the day.  I ended up overheating, and had to sit in the shade and pour water on my head.

A significant water control project is being done.  The fields in the background almost always flood in the winter.  

Yesterday we were up and out earlier.  We did the 5 mile walk with the giant hill.  We're getting faster on the hill, and I no longer have to stop for a breather.  So there is progress on that fitness frontier.

This is what we're doing today.  Jim's going in for a screening tomorrow morning, so he's spending the day drinking gatorade and chicken broth, eating jello and generally starving to death. Note to self in the future; Campbell's is the least disgusting chicken broth.

Other than this maties, I have zippity doo-dah all to report.