Saturday, August 30, 2014

Back on the Rock

Aaargh.  The weather is changing.  That translates to it's raining..... 
Yesterday we had dinner with the couple who bought May's house.  They have very strong design and construction skills and are fans of mid-century modern.  It's good to know the house is in good hands.
A ferry trip across on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend can be nightmarish.  We decided to go early, rather than get into the two boat wait cycle.  With ferries it's often a question of where do you want to wait.

Once on the island, we went by the Japanese Exclusion Memorial.  The Japanese on Bainbridge were the first to be removed from their homes after the start of WWII.  The curving structure on the right symbolizes the path they took to the ferry which would take them from their homes and farms.  The families' names are written on the wall.

Mrs. Hayashida was at the opening of the memorial.  We think she's close to 100 years old.  Post update - Jim checked on the internet, as of January she was 103.  Go here and read an article about her life.

Bainbridge was the exception in that many of the neighbors took custody of the farms and houses and returned them to the families when they were allowed to come home.  There were also many large Japanese farms in Bellevue and the Kent Valley.  Those properties migrated into the hands of local developers, especially the Freeman family; local movers and shakers who own the much of the retail core in Bellevue.  Bellevue Square stands on land which used to be strawberry farms.  How title transferred from the farmers to the Freeman family is somewhat murky.  You can read more about it here if you're interested.

We walked around Poulsbo for a bit.  It's an old small town which used to be a functioning downtown.  Big box stores and spreading development forced the city to reinvent itself as a tourist trap.

It's very cute, with a Scandanavian vibe.

This is my favorite view off the deck of the house.  Eventually the clouds cleared and the afternoon sunshine lit up the house on the spit.  It's really pretty there.  When the sun is out we have a pang about leaving the house and not living there.  However, then we think about September through June and the incessant gray and the rain and we return to our senses.

Dinner was delightful, really good food and beautifully presented.  I do not have the design eye.  The new owners do.  It's very interesting how people with the eye can make stuff look good.  If we ever have a stick frame house again, I may call them in for a consult.  Unfortunately, the ferry schedule made us do the abrupt departure that those who live behind a ferry are familiar with.  You'll be mid-conversation, really enjoying yourself, and then you leap up and say "gotta go."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Skin, Fish, Dogs, Bikes and More Carmageddon

Greetings Earthlings.  We haven't fallen off the edge of the earth, there just hasn't been much to write about.  But now I have a few things to report.
Yesterday I went with Jim to see his dermatologist.  Jim has extensive sun damage from years spent water skiing, sailing and flying airplanes.  Just that morning I found a little crusty thing at my hairline and asked Dr. Master if it was something I needed to see him about.  Why yes, yes it was.  It was a squamous cell carcinoma, also brought about by exposure to sun.  I'm really good about putting a lot of sun screen on lower part of my face and neck, but I wasn't using much on my forehead because when I bike I always wear a helmet with a visor, and I figured the helmet was stopping the sun.  Nope.  Put your helmet on, look through the vents in the front of your helmet.  If you can see skin, you should be putting sun screen there.  I sort of feel like an idiot, but I will share my dumbness so that you can protect your skin.  Anyway, he numbed up the site and scooped it out with a grapefruit spoon.  Kidding, just kidding, it only sounded like a grapefruit spoon.
We had dinner with Justin and Brit a couple of days ago.  While we were there, they made these for dinner for the kids.  They are really good and you can buy them at Costco.  There's not a lot of breading, and they're good.  I will probably eat more fish now.

Today we rode around Lake Sammamish.  It's been about a week since we've ridden, due to one thing or the other.  It was a busy day at Marymoor.  The velodrome is hosting the National Masters' competitions.  Right next door is the Seattle Kennel Club competition.  This is the dog washing stand.

Dog transportation.  People use these carts to transport the dogs and their kit.  Dogs need a lot of stuff, apparently.

Dog show people.

Tonight starts Carmageddon Part Deux.  WSDOT is closing both directions of highway 99 north of the West Seattle Freeway for four days.  When the Nisqually earthquake closed the viaduct while we lived there, we could not get out of West Seattle.  It will be interesting to see if enough people leave the area or telecommute to mitigate the loss of carrying capacity for 100,000 cars.
My back remains better.  Jim has been a little tender, hopefully we'll both get back on even keel so we can get back on our bikes.  I need to ride more.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Weird Weather and a Better Back

Greetings!  My back is better.  Happy I am about this. Sunday I did another flat short ride in Carnation Valley, and then waited for Jim as he went out and rode without me.  The sunflowers were very attractive.
Yesterday we took the mountain bikes up the East Lake Sammamish bike trail (also flat) and managed 17 miles, which was pain free.  So there is hope that this will be over soon.

The weather has taken a turn for the weird.  The Seattle area is not known for thunder and lightning.  We've had a fair amount of this.

It rained like hell all last night.  This is just down the hill from where we are staying.  Factoria had 4 feet of water in some of their parking lots and streets, probably a combination of much rain and blocked storm drains.

Water has not fallen from the sky today, but look at the humidity.  98% is also not usual for the area.  Today is supposed to be the last bad day.  I'm really hoping the forecast models are correct.  It's only  been a couple of bad days, but it's aggravating.

Since the trails are full of mud and the streets are full of wet leaves and road gunk, there was no riding today.  We walked over to Costco to pick up my new contacts.  One of the things that was really good on the trip to Vienna was disposable contact lenses.  Instead of taking a pound of solutions, I got by on less than two ounces of liquid for the entire month.  They don't correct my astigmatism, but since it's not that bad it wasn't a problem.  After I use up my current supply of monthlies, I may convert to the single use lenses; I'm thinking they will be better during the season of steeeenking blooming yellow trees in Tucson.
So - nothing much is going on here.  We're departing September 8, and I am looking forward to being somewhere different.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Walking in Magnolia

Today was another perfect day in the neighborhood.  I decided not to push my luck with the bike two days in a row, we decided strolling would be in order.  Where best to stroll?  How about Discovery Park?  Never mind the fact that it's geographically undesirable, or that the 520 bridge is closed - we'll go to Magnolia.  Yay.  Traffic westbound on I90 was predictably terrible, we were able to use the HOV lanes so it wasn't too bad.
We went north on 99, past the construction for the new tunnel.  Have I mentioned the tunnel?  Currently highway 99 is an elevated freeway, with 3 lanes in either direction, carrying 100,000 people a day.  The plan is to replace the elevated freeway with the tunnel, which will be 2 lanes in each direction.  Unfortunately, things are not going well with the tunnel boring machine.  Here is the latest update.  Short story, the machine moved 1,000 feet, threw up in its socks and died.  They're having to dig a giant pit to get to it, hoist it up and fix it. 

This view will be lost to Seattle drivers once the Viaduct (highway 99) is gone.  I personally am not a fan of the tunnel.

We made it to Discovery Park.  Couldn't find a place to park.  We drove down to West Point and took a picture of the lighthouse and the water.  Then we left.  It's an old army base, it seems like there could be more parking than there is.

You can sort of see Mt. Rainier behind the point.  The uber wealthy live there at the water's edge.

After giving up on Discovery park, we went into Magnolia Village where they were having a car show and farmer's market.  Here we see Jim reliving his early days.  This is a 1969 Corvette Roadster like the one he used to have.


This is a Auburn Boattail Speedster.  It was designed by Gordon Buehrig in the 1930s, who also designed the Cord.  Unfortunately they left before we could go look at it closely. Jim thinks it might be a replica.

This is a 1938 Ford Business Coupe.

Check out the interior.  The steering wheel is out of a 1959 Impala SuperSport.  This was a really good restoration.

1957 Ford Country Squire.  The back window is so cool.  Do you not think it is amazing that Jim can remember all of these names and dates?  I default to "it's an old car."

We had lunch at the Crepe Caravan.  Good, really good.

This is why people want to live on Magnolia.  They want this view of the water.

Isn't this a cute house?  He has a great view of the water.

Coming back, we went by Pier 91.  These are cruise ships.  This is why Pike Place Market is so crowded - all those people from the boats head for the market.

The Frank Gehry designed Seattle public library.

This was taken from the I90 floating bridge.  The mountain was sort of out.

We got exercise today - Magnolia is really hilly. Up, down.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Beautiful Day in the Western Cascade Foothills

Today was a halcyon day in the GPNW.  We took the bikes out to Fall City to do the first part of the ride we always do because it is flat.  It takes us through many corn fields and really big country yards.  You know, the kind of yard that people mow with tractors.  Anyway, this is new.  Someone built a very nice pad for the travel trailer, put up steps and two out buildings. Notice that the travel trailer and the big outbuilding are raised up above the level of the field.  That's for when the flooding starts.  It would be kind of cool to own a chunk of land with a place to park the RV.

After the first flat segment of the ride, my back sent me a message that I should stop riding immediately.  So we went back to the truck and Jim loaded my bike for me.  Then he set off to do another lap so he could ride hard and break a sweat.  I took pictures of the stunning scenery while waiting for him.  I don't know what these are, they're sort of bristly.

One of my favorite barns.

The blackberries are getting ripe.  There are many people out picking them, some bushes have nothing left on them.  They're not very good; they're sour and are mostly seeds.  We always wonder what people do with them.

After Jim got back, we went for a drive.  This is an old grove of Sycamore trees.  People used to live in houses along this road.  I think it was a company town which ceased to be.  The people left, but the trees remain.

The always lovely Mt. Si.  There is a four mile trail (with 3,500 feet of elevation) up the side of it.  I've never done it. 

This is a former mill pond.  Logs were floated in here, and then sent to the saw mill.  It is not lovely?

We pressed on with the driving.  These are all roads that we used to bicycle, back when we were doing more mileage.  We went over a bridge to see where it would go, and ended up in the outskirts of North Bend.  These are elk.  Elk!  Who would have expected elk so close to town?  It was really cool, we didn't see this big of a herd in Yellowstone.

Eventually we ended up on the other side of the mill pond.  The road down to the old sawmill was open, this has never happened before.  So we went down the hill.  Here is the old power plant.   It would have burned sawdust, wood chips and debris to run the mill.

Dirtfish has bought the old facility and turned it into rally driving school and a competition track.  Redbull is affiliated with it.  It's pretty cool. They have dirt and mud and stuff to drive through.
This quote is from the three day course description.  "With new found skills in hand, drivers negotiate a course through trees and solid objects which simulate an actual rally stage."  I want to learn how to drive through sold objects!  Check out the website, it's interesting.

These are cars waiting to go out on the track again.

They get to drive through the old mill.  This would be fun.

It was a good day.  I got to ride a little, Jim got to ride more, and we saw elk. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Attack of Back Pain

Greetings Earthlings.  How is your summer progressing?  We have hit somewhat of a rough patch, or at least I have.  About two weeks ago my lower back started hurting.  Then it hurt more, and then it got worse.  It reached the point of hurting enough that I'm yelping, and scaring the crap out of Jim.  Apparently I have strained the right side paraspinal muscles.  It hurts like holy hell.  So, there is physical therapy twice a week while we are still here.  It's really aggravating, there will be no hiking or strenuous biking until this resolves.  Of course this has coincided with perfect summer weather.

This morning we got new neighbors.  They have a highly decorated RV.  He is the Wandering Author.

Their first task was to unload the motorcycle.  The back of the pick up truck was uphill, making it difficult.  We were very happy that they didn't drop it.

I looked up his book on Amazon - his name is Roan Poulter.    I don't understand the economics of  selling e-books for $3.  How much money do people make on these books? 

They have been many places.

This is the creek that runs behind the building that houses my dentist and the physical therapist.  It used to flood regularly until it was dredged and the banks were armored.

Nothing much is happening other than this. 

I do have a question for the audience.  Where is a good place to go in mid-September?  We had been thinking Utah, until it was pointed out to me that it's pretty dang hot then.  Who has good destination tips for September?  We were thinking Breckenridge, CO until we noticed that it's at 9,600 feet.  Our last attempt to mountain bike at 9,000 was not all that much fun due to lack of oxygen, so maybe not.