Sunday, July 28, 2013

Walking in Seattle

We decided to go downtown and walk around today.  I'm still too cranky for my shorts so we decided that walking would be good.  The first thing we saw was a protest action at Westlake Center.  It involved Bulgaria, but the crucial parts of the posters people were holding up were not in English.  I must confess I'm not up to speed on what's up with Bulgaria, so I can't even speculate as to what the issues are.

See the red sign in the window?  It's advertising space for lease. This was the former home of City Kitchens, one of the premier kitchen stores in the north west.  We are absolutely heart sick that this store is gone.  Walking through the shelves full of cool stuff was one of our favorite things to do in Seattle.  Plus, they did a really good job on knife sharpening. 

This is Seattle's heart of darkness.  The homeless are on too many street corners.

Pike Place Market.  See how cloudy it is out over the sound?  Classic marine push.

In the market there is a cheese maker.  The man is dragging some sort of blade through what ever that is.  It was taking a fair amount of effort to do it, so I surmise that it's heavy and not light and fluffy.

Every time we have been downtown for the last five years, the man in the hat and the woman in the visor have been on that hill protesting the Chinese government's persecution of Falun Gong.  I admire their tenacity.

Looking down toward Harbor Island.

It was cruise ship day. They have changed the Pike Place Market.  Vegetable stalls have been crowded out in favor of flower sales, because that's what the people from the boats purchase.  That has not pleased the people who actually live downtown or the veggie growers.

Look at all the dang people in the street.

Look at all the dang people in the market.

These three young women were singing close harmony, like the Andrews sisters used to do.  They were really good.  It takes a lot of gumption to stand on the sidewalk and sing.

There is a military surplus store close to the Patagonia store.  They have a lot of cool stuff.  This is a late 40's/early 50's pressure suit.

We obtained much walking, so it was not a totally wasted day from an exercise perspective.  Seattle is known for its hills, so there was a fair amount of up down.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


No one was in the mood to ride this morning.  We didn't sleep well and I, at least, was too cranky for my shorts.  There was an RV show at the Tacoma Dome so we decided to go down and look at that.  One of the things about this area that just irritates the living snot out of me is the traffic.  You just can't get in the car and go somewhere.  Traffic was backed up for miles in both directions, in the north bound lane (we were heading south) there was a wrecked car and a police unit well off to the side, but people in the south bound lane had to gawk at it, as well as the north bound.  The north bound people had it way worse.  Just so aggravating.

Anyway, the RV show was pitiful.  They were mainly used, a lot of them came from the FMCA rally in Gillete, WY.  We wonder how that many RVs are transported across the country.  Apparently, they follow a circuit with this RV show.
We left and headed down toward the water looking for food.  We found a hot dog stand and decided to partake.  It's the first hotdog in about 18 months.  The waterfront used to be covered in lumber mills and pulp mills.  Most of them are gone now, which has significantly lowered "the aroma of Tacoma."  Much of the former industrial zone has been converted to public space.  It was just a spectacular day today.

Remnants of the Dickman lumber mill.


The base of the old Wigwam as it was called.  Back in the day, scrap lumber was burned in a tower.  After trees became scarce, they quit burning the scrap and started recycling it into products like plywood.

Bees on a rose.

The mountain was out in Tacoma.

It was also out on the I90 floating bridge.

Tomorrow we must ride, so we shall.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cascade Diesel

Today was air conditioning day.  One of these days, we will learn that no maintenance will be "routine."   The air conditioning compressor is leaking refrigerant through a fitting.  Monaco, of course, does not offer that part.  The techs at Cascade are borrowing a crimping tool so they can put a new fitting on it.  We'll have to go back next Wednesday to get that completed.  We'll also be having brake shoes installed.  For whatever reason, when the brake drums were installed, they did not replace the shoes.  When Jim backs the RV, it's making that groaning noise again.  The tech could feel a vibration with his hand on the right front wheel when Jim was driving (very slowly).

This is an old snow plow on the yard.  It would be bad to become entangled in that machinery.

There is a shop dog.  He has a good life.  For much of the day he was sleeping in the back 2/3 of the seat of the office chair, and the woman who works there was perched on the front of the seat.  He's a demanding little dog.  Anytime he was left alone in the office he would bark and howl.

So tiring, being a shop dog.

Four more pairs of shoes arrived yesterday.  No decisions have been made yet.  Hopefully something will work out. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Trip to Bainbridge Island

Yesterday we took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island.  We needed to empty out May's safe deposit box at the bank, as well as close out her accounts there.  This is the view from the ferry in Seattle.


The tide was way out.  Jim said it was the lowest tide he had seen in quite some time.  That's Agate Pass, May's house is not visible from the bridge but it's farther down the beach.

So, while emptying the safe deposit box, we discovered another deceased sibling of May's.  We knew about Olga who died under mysterious circumstances,  and Herbert who died of an intestinal blockage, but we did not know know about William Otto.  He died before May's parents immigrated to Canada. 

Yesterday is probably the last time we'll be on Bainbridge.  It's just weird to have the "last time" thoughts.  Now that May is gone, there's no reason to go back.  Unless, of course, Jim goes to another high school reunion, which I will NEVER do again.

Today we did an out and back ride on East Lake Sammamish.  I rode really hard.  My climbing is somewhat better.  See the green stuff in the water?  Lily pads, acres of them. Talk about about a hazard to navigation.

So that's the last couple of days.  Tomorrow we are up and out to take the RV in to get the dash air conditioning either fixed or recharged or both.  Unfortunately the mobile guy would never call us back, so we have to drive out to North Bend with the bus.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Neighbors in the RV Park

This morning, while we were oohing and ahhing over the beauty of Paris as the peloton entered the Champs Elysee, this drove by.  Actually it was towed past our front window, but it was an odd thing to see in an RV park.  It's a Ranger Tug.  It's a really pretty little boat.  The owners are sleeping aboard, on their way to somewhere. 

We did a short ride today, with a couple of respectable hills, one of them has some 10% grade on it.  My cardio and strength are still pathetic, but I'm working on it.  I am, however, staying in normal sinus rhythm.  Today's max HR was 156.

Mount Tahoma Veteran's Cemetery

Cranky! Cranky I am.  So cranky.  I'm too cranky for my shorts, too cranky for my shorts.  Oh wait, that was too sexy for my shorts.  What has me in such a maladjusted frame of mind, you wonder?  It's the feet.  I am zero for six on shoes.  All of my previous orders have been sent back whence they originated.  This is getting serious.  I have about 12 months worth of shoe left (the last pair of La Sportivas) and then there is nothing.   It's just aggravating for so much of my consciousness to be consumed by my damn feet!  Jim and I like to walk.  We enjoy going downtown and hiking here and there for hours at a whack.  That past time is at serious risk if I don't find something that my feet will tolerate.  I ordered another four pairs today from Zappos.  Hopefully something in the next box will prevent my metatarsal heads from trapping a sensory nerve when I walk.  I have to tell you, that will bring a person to their knees.
In other news, we went out to the Mount Tahoma Veteran's Cemetery yesterday to visit the burial sites of May and Pierce and my Dad.  It's a beautiful facility.  If you stand in the middle of the main road, Mt. Rainier is perfectly framed in the distance.

The Native Americans called this mountain Tahoma.  It was subsequently renamed by the northern Europeans who came later.
Today is the last day of the TdF.  That will free up our mornings, since we will no longer be glued to the television watching the day's DVRed stage.  The struggle for the 2nd and 3rd podium finishes has been epic.  Chris Froome and his team have done a masterful job of taking and controlling the lead.  It's always sad when it's over, now we must wait until the Vuelta d'Espana.
Other that this pitiful reporting, maties, I have zippity doo-dah all to relay to you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Dreaded Marine Push

This was taken early afternoon at Lake Samammish.  This is a classic marine push.  We woke up to clouds, and they stayed around all day.  It never did clear.  Gloomy!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ablation Follow Up and Shoes

Today was my three month follow-up after April's ablation.  When research is done on the outcomes of various ablation techniques, the first 6 to 12 weeks are tossed out in a "blanking period."  So, I'm out of the blanking period, anything that happens now is significant.  In the last 90 days, I have had zip, zero, nada, niente events.  The EP I saw today was pleased about the fact that I haven't had any activity since the the surgery.  The procedure is 80% successful.  If you make it for 12 months with no arrhythnias, the odds go up to a 95% chance of success.  So, at this point I am free to eat chocolate, exceed 130 beats per minutes while riding, and start suffering on the climbs.  Yee hah!  One side effect of the procedure is that my resting heart rate has gone from 52 to 64.  It's actually a good thing since it indicates that the ablation has changed the way my heart works.  It's very common and nothing to worry about. 
The mountain was out today.  None of my pictures were any good (taken from a moving vehicle with a dirty wind shield) so I stole this from the internet.  This is pretty cool.  The arches foreground are the baseball and football stadia, and those are lenticulars on top of the mountain.

In other news, four pairs of shoes have arrived at the bus.  Two of them are definitely possible keepers.  As of this moment, I am leaning towards the pair on the left.

Jim also received a pair of shoes, which he will hoard.  He got a pair of La Sportivas at REI and likes them so much, we bought another pair on Zappos.  Have you tried Zappos?  Free shipping, free returns.  Order one of everything, then drop the unloved shoes off at UPS.  So much better than going to the store.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Did you all watch today's stage (13) of the TdF?  It was a barn burner.  We could not tear our eyes away from it.  For what should have been a boring transitional stage, it was not.   Anyway, after sitting around watching events unfold, it was pretty late in the day for a ride, so we did the killer 5 mile walk.  It's killer because it's a) 5 miles, and b) there is about a mile of a 12% climb.
Many years ago, I bought a pair of La Sportiva Imogene trail running shoes.  I liked them so much that when I realized they had been discontinued, I got on the internet and bought 5 more pairs of them.  Tomorrow is the day I have been dreading, when I bring out the last pair.  After that, I do not know what I will be putting on my feet.  Long time readers will know that I have the feet from hell.  Low volume, bony narrow feet, with missing fat pads on the right foot and metatarsalgia in the left foot.  Buying shoes is not a trivial exercise for me.

I have just completed the acquisition of a new pair of hiking shoes. After buying and returning three pairs of Lowas and one pair of Garmonts, I finally found a winner in the clearance bin at Marmot in Bellevue.  That never happens!  I never get to buy shoes on sale.
Anyway, we've been busy buying and returning shoes, riding, and walking.  When we're not traveling, blogging becomes difficult.  You can tell, since I am talking about buying shoes.
This was taken several years ago.  It's a water bird on a decomposing dock on Lake Sammamish.  It's one of my favorite photos.

Other than this pitiful accounting of our recent activities, I have zippity doo-dah all to report.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Riding and Car Accidents (Not Ours)

Friday we rode up to Marymoor Park.  On the way out of the park we stopped to look at the radio controlled airplane field.  It's quite the operation.  The area is run by the Marymoor R/C Club and only members are allowed on.  They have taxiways, runways and places to put the planes while waiting to fly. 
Friday night we had a delightful dinner at the Carlson/O'briant's and their other guest happened to be an R/C pilot.  It's an interesting hobby.  One does not have to crash one's plane while learning to fly.  There are instructors who can over ride your controller if you're about to do something stupid with the plane.  This is good because there are literally hundreds of hours tied up in making these planes, not to mention mass quantities of money.  Who knew?

Today we did the Fall City ride out to Carnation.  This is the pit toilet that I did not use today.  It was full of angry bees. I hate bees!  After departing the pit toilet, a black mustang went by us at a high rate of speed.  We estimated he was doing 70 in a 35 mph zone.

Have you been to the Pike Place Market?  They are known for the fish, the produce and the flowers.  This is where the flowers are grown.  It is just delightful to ride by the fields and enjoy the colors of what is blooming.
Remember the black Mustang that was traveling at a high rate of speed?  Well here he is again.  It's astounding to me that no one was hurt.  All airbags deployed, but the people involved were walking around talking on the phone and taking pictures of the carnage,

The woman in the long pink dress and the man on the right side with the hat and black T shirt came out of the Mustang.  The woman in the white shirt with her arm raised is from the Jeep.  She was on the phone calling a towing company.  We didn't see it so we don't know what happened.

So that's what we have seen and done lately.  Tomorrow we go to the podiatrist for new orthotics and then the mobile RV tech comes to recharge the dash air conditioning.  Yay for freon, or what ever they're using these days.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth!

It was a low key Fourth for us.  We decided against riding on the road since there were parades and many people out in their cars.  More cars equals more opportunities for being run over. 
I love a good grocery store.  We went by the Metropolitan Market looking for brand of Spice Hunter garlic pepper we like.  There was no joy to be had.   Looks like we'll be buying it in bulk from Amazon.  The market has a beautiful floral department.

This is the olive bar.  We got garlic giant lima beans in olive oil and cornichons.  Vampires need not visit us tonight, we are well protected at this point.

Mmmmmm, ground up liver.  My favorite.

After returning home, we went for a walk.  It was about 3 miles.  Jim has shin splints from yesterday, I have sore quads.  Today we strolled.  This is historic downtown Issaquah.  It's just cuter than a bug.  Growth has come to the surrounding areas in the form of massive housing developments.  Unfortunately, road construction has not kept pace with the number of people who have come to the area.

If you're in the Seattle area, try to visit a Metropolitan Market.  They really are a destination grocery store.