Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Returns - Riding and the Bellevue A&C Fair

It has been a glorious weekend in the GPNW.  Saturday the temperatures were in the mid-70's with low humidity.  It was another great day for the bicycling.  After tearing ourselves away from the TdF time trial (since when are time trials interesting?) we went out to Carnation Valley.  People were on the river recreating.

REI was out teaching the art of stand up paddle boarding. 

Today we went to the Bellevue Arts and Crafts Festival.  It's a high zoot "juried" show, with lots of stuff.  I liked this painted glass.  It was all very cheerful.  However, it's glass so we did not partake.

There was also fine art.  There was no price on this one, I think if you have to ask....  The lighter red is made of little red squares that have been randomly applied to the bigger red canvas.  It doesn't really speak to me.

This is amazing work.  The artist is David Bjurstrom.   These are done with graphite pencil.  Click through to his website, it is just phenomenal.  If we had any wall space we might have partaken in a print.

At the 4th Avenue Street Fair, as well as in Bellevue, we're seeing a trend of heavily Photoshopped, over saturated digital images blown up and printed on canvas-like material.  This does not speak to me, either.  I think as photographs they're dishonest.

This has also been run through filters, but it's interesting.

I wish I had gotten the name of the artist who took this.  He uses green or blue lighting in alleys to get the effects.  He had before and after pictures of the alleys and it was interesting how flashlights and various colored lights changed the look of the place.  We were tempted, but we still have no wall space.

I got a pair of earrings that are sparkly.  Jim got bupkis.  We're really trying to adhere to the non-acquisition fatwa we have set for ourselves.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Day in Cycling

It quit raining!  Yay for that.  We headed out to do the ride around Lake Sammamish after it warmed up some.  We've been using the electric blanket at night - in July.  When we got to Marymoor  Park we noticed people on the velodrome.  This was the coffee truck.  It's a big Mercedes of some sort.

Today's racing was pursuit.  Teams are typically four riders, but only three have to finish.  It's like a team time trial, but on a track.  The team rides around as fast as they can; at the end they all sprint and the third rider's time over the line is the team's time.

This is a different team on the track.  The woman higher up on the track just came off the lead by swinging high on the track and then waiting for the other three to come through. 

Here we see the Center Cycling team.  They dropped one of their riders, which is not unusual.  Then their lead rider dropped the other two riders for almost all of the last lap.  That's stupid tactics because they did not get the benefit of his slipstream, and his time across the line was not important.  It's the third rider.

I took this picture of the television watching today's stage in the Tour de France.  This is good bike handling.  He's riding in a peloton, at great speed and he's peeing.  As a rule, French TV doesn't show this sort of thing.

Here is more excellent bike handling.  This is Peter Sagan, who is from Slovakia.  He's a former mountain biker, and is generally acknowledged to be the best bike handler in the tour.  Here he is doing a wheelie on a road bike with no hands.   Sagan has run away with the green jersey this year, but has yet to win a stage victory.  It's a bummer, I would have liked to see him win a stage.

There are only two more days left in the TdF.  Then we'll be left to our own devices for entertainment.

I do have a laundry tip for you bicyclists.  For years we have been throwing our gloves in the washing machine.  They come out clean, but crunchy.  If you wash them by hand in Woolite, they will be soft and supple, and will smell very nice.  So there you go.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The End of Carmageddon

Greetings Earthlings!  It's been a slow week in the GPNW.  The predicted Carpocalypse caused by Carmageddon did not really come to pass.  Apparently the dire predictions of 10 mile backups were enough to get people to take vacation, work from home, or generally stay out of their cars.  The first few days there seemed to be a decrease in traffic everywhere.  Last night was bad due to rain.  Tonight it's bad due to more rain and a Mariner's game downtown.  It appears that people threw caution to the wind and headed west.

I swiped this off Facebook.  It's from Majeed Badizadegan's timeline.  The man is an amazing photographer.  This is Sparks Lake in Oregon.  He took it at sunset, the orange cloud is a lenticular  in the process of breaking down.  Pretty cool, eh?

It's been somewhat dismal and wet the last couple of days.  I think we have one more day of dismality, then the sun is supposed to come back.  Clearly we are not going to have the perfect summer we had last year.  The good news is that the rain is helping contain the fires in eastern Washington.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Party on Whidbey Island

Saturday we took the ferry over to Whidbey Island.  Friends of ours had a party.  On the way across, the ferry had a person overboard drill.  The ferry stopped and the rigid inflatable was launched.  Then one of the passengers tossed a life ring in to the water for the imaginary person who needed to be rescued.  They got the whole exercise done very quickly.  This is good to know because that water is very cold.

Photo credit:  Dave Carlson

When we got to Clinton, they hauled the inflatable and the crew back up onto the ferry.

Jeff and Barb live on 20 acres on Whidbey.

They have built a beautiful home there.  Jeff did much of the work himself.  It's a steel framed house.  Cooling is provided by geothermal tubing that goes out under their soccer field.  The floors are really cool, they're stained concrete.

On a clear day you could see the water and distant mountains.  However, this is the GPNW.

It was a great party, and we enjoyed ourselves very much.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Walking in Seattle

A front pushed in overnight, bringing clouds, much cooler air and some wind.  We decided to do our annual walk through Seattle to see what we would see.  Traffic-geddon starts Friday evening so today was a good day for it.

This is a Starbucks at Pike Place Market.

This is the line to get into that Starbucks.  This is Seattle.  There is coffee everywhere.  Why would you stand in line for an over roasted, over priced coffee?  People are so interesting.

Also down by Pike Place Market is Taxi Dogs.  They are really good.  We were weak, we didn't even split a dog, we both ate the whole thing and loved it.   Tonight we're back on the healthy eating.

There is something for everyone in Seattle.

We walked up to the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park.  I think this fountain is new, or at least I haven't seen it before.

The statue of Echo arrived last year.  Echo is from Greek mythology.  Wikipedia tells us:  Sometimes the old and beautiful nymph Echo would distract and amuse Zeus' wife, Hera, with long and entertaining stories while Zeus took advantage of the moment to ravish the other mountain nymphs. When Hera discovered the trickery, she was so annoyed she punished the talkative Echo by taking away her voice, except in foolish repetition of another's shouted words. Thus, all Echo could do was repeat the voice of another.

I like this Calder, it looks predatory.

The name of this installation is Adjacent, Against, Upon.  Look behind it at the pedestrian bridge.  This is new.  It's really cool, it gets people over the railroad tracks.

Here we have more 737 fuselages bound for the Renton plant as seen from the bridge.

A bulk transport ship is tied up receiving grain.  The tall white building is a grain elevator. There has been talk among the arts community about projecting images onto the building to make it more attractive.  What has not been mentioned is who would pay.  I personally like seeing a working waterfront, but some people who are moving into the city don't like to see evidence of Seattle's shipping industry.

This is happening everywhere downtown.  Jim and I kept asking each other "was that here before?"  Generally the answer was no.

Do you ever wonder what window washers think about all day?

It was a good walk. I like to think we walked off that hotdog.


Have I mentioned that traffic in this area is frequently terrible?  Pretty sure I have. It's about to get worse for a week, starting Friday the 18th.
There are two floating bridges that cross Lake Washington.  Seattle is on the west side and the Bellevue/Issaquah/Renton smallish megalopolis is on the east side.  Most people don't live where they work; we've noticed in recent years that traffic on I90 is terrible in both directions.  It used to have the pattern of bad west bound in the morning and then bad east bound in the evening.  Now there is no good time to go anywhere.  520, which is the northern bridge is now a toll bridge; tolling will pay for its replacement.  After the contractors sank the first I90 bridge inadvertently, 520 became the most senior bridge. It has limited carrying capacity with only four lanes, none of which are HOV lanes.
See the section of I90 between Mercer Island and Bellevue?  WSDOT is closing 3 out 4 lanes on that section of bridge for a week.  DOT is projecting 10 mile backups on I90.  This will clog up 405 in both directions as people drive around the lake, or as people head north up to 520.

Jim and I plan to spend that week either heading for the far eastern reaches of the area, walking, or riding our bikes. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Doctors and a Trip to the Cemetery

We were up and out early for physicals with blood work this morning.  Afterwards we were starving having had no food or coffee, so we went over to the re-invented part of Renton called The Landing.  Renton is one of the two major manufacturing sites in Washington for Boeing.  Over the last few years, Boeing has shrunk their foot print in Renton drastically.  Developers swooped in on all of that vacated land and built an enormous retail and residential complex. 

The plant continues to build 737s at a blistering pace across the street.  They have two moving lines in order to support the production rate.  That green thing is a fuselage just in from Wichita.  They come in via a train.

Another one of the hangars on the plant.

Since we were south, and the day was sort of shot we decided to go on out to Mt. Tahoma National Cemetery.  My Dad and both of Jim's parents are out there.  Tahoma was the name given to Mt. Rainier by the First People.  The northern europeans renamed it.
This is where Jim's parents are.

The view from the cemetery.  It's pretty stunning when the mountain is out.

It was a low key sort of day, but we have two items taken off the list of things which need to be done.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Porch Fire in the RV Park

We went out to run a few errands this afternoon.  We weren't gone for more than 90 minutes.  When we returned we saw two fire engines and a flat bed tow truck in the street in front of the RV park.

Being the gawkers that we are, we of course had to walk over to see what happened.  There were four fire trucks and a battalion chief.  They were ready for anything, I like to see that kind of a response.  Any fire around this much propane and flammable interiors can become very bad very fast.

Somehow, the porch was set on fire.

He'll probably have to have the door replaced and that side of the RV re-skinned.  The awning is toast.

So that's what's happening in our neck of the woods.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Farmer's Market, Housing and Track Racing

The Seattle heat wave continues unabated.  It's difficult for the inhabitants because very few people have air conditioning, because it's "never hot here."  Hah!  Our last summer here as residents in 2007 it was 103 several days. 
Saturday morning we walked over to the Farmer's Market.  It's a good market, there is more produce than there are crafts.  There are also food stalls which smelled wonderful, but we did not partake.

Look at the beets.  This is the only place we buy them because they are so expensive in grocery store.  Here they are $2 for a bunch of four.  Jim likes them, I have not yet acquired a taste for them.  I associate them with school lunches when they were sliced with something that left ridges.

From the Carnation Valley.

It was good. We remembered to take a shopping bag which was very helpful.  By the time we got back, it was really hot and humid; all clothing from that trip went into the laundry basket.

This is one of the dogs in the site next to us.  They have two boxers, both of whom spend a lot of time on the dashboard.  The other one is very mellow, this one is a barker and he paws frantically at the windows.  I wonder if he bites.

This is part of why traffic continues to get worse.  This is the Grand Ridge development which is east of Issaquah where we are.  I think there are 5,000 new homes up there.  They started building in 2006 or so.  While they have put in all of these homes, there are no new roads to support them. 

It's a Traditional Neighborhood Development which is new housing on previously undeveloped land.  They deliberately mix single family with multi-family housing in close proximity. 

We looked at a 2900 square foot home with four bedrooms for $725,000.  It was a nice house, but it has no yard and no privacy.  Your bedroom looks directly into the neighbors'.  It's actually more crowded feeling than an RV park.

These houses are in the at least $1.5M range.

And then there is this.  This is single family.  It is the most ostentatious and unattractive house I've seen in awhile.

We were up and out early today to ride.  We did the loop around Lake Sammamish again.  We stopped for a nosh at Marymoor park.  They were racing!  These are Washington State Track Championships.

These are masters racers.  They click in to their pedals with someone holding them up.  The first lap is slow while they engage in strategy with each other on the track.

Here they are on the back field riding fairly high on the track.  After the first lap they jockey for position some more, and then someone will jump and start the sprint.  These are the fast twitch muscle people.

I am riding well this summer.  The vacation in Europe on the very heavy hybrid bikes was a training camp for me.  Two weeks of pushing those things up and down the hills made me stronger.  My climbing is much better now, and I'm not suffering the way I did for almost all of 2013.  Life is much better with some muscle and cardio.  Riding is now fun again.