Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Commuting by bike

Not me, but Michele. She's on her second rotation at the main hospital much closer to home. Yesterday she rode in but wasn't feeling the ride home at 1am so after work and the Simpsons movie I dropped the Element a couple blocks away so she could just load up her bike and drive home.

Today she's riding both ways, I rode in with her at 5 and she ride home alone at 5 tomorrow morning. After getting her to the hospital I rode back home by way of Burke-Gilman to Fremont then up to Phinney Ridge.

Me and my lady.

Bye, bye lady.

Doesn't seem like a good thing.

Fremont Troll.

Almost home.

Starting to put together the weekend plans. I'll be headed South to hit a trail that's been on the top of my to do list for a long time. Any guesses?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Snoqualmie Middle Fork

Hit the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River today. Great trail that only a few years ago was opened up to mountain bikes. The trailhead is nine miles down a gravel road just East of North Bend. I think bringing the camera along was a big mistake, the hardest part of the ride was resisting the temptation to stop and take pictures every two minutes.

Beautiful suspension bridge right out of the parking lot.

Sweet, sweet single track.

Loads of these little waterbars scattered all over the place. Very fun part of the ride, I love going up and down these things.

I'd guess there's a good tenth of a mile of boardwalk along the trail, nice and smooth.

Except of course where damaged by last winters storms.

Do I look completely tanked?

I rode 11.5 miles and somewhere between 2700 and 3900 vertical feet depending on the data source. Definitely a place I need to return to before it gets shut down for the year.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Michele hirts dirt

We went out to Saint Edward Park this afternoon for a little ride, Michele's first mountain bike ride since we got here. Michele enjoyed the new terrain, much more forgiving than the 'nix. We rode for a couple miles until Michele broke one of her toeclips. 3 miles is what we had according to the GPS I'm guessing there's another half mile in the twists and turns that don't get picked up. Short but still fun.

On a different note there's been some recent changes to the Volpe. Moved Michele's ill fitting rack over from the Smoke and got her a better one. Added a little something to give other path users a little heads up and some new pads for the brakes. BTW the brakes still suck bad, I think it's going to take new rims to actually make this bike stop.

The Letter

Last night Michele, Rachel, and I went out to a couple of bars so the ladies could get shitty drunk, oh so very shitty. When we got home there was a long message from our landlord on my work phone, one of the things that she mentioned was that Hugh, our downstairs neighbor, was happy to have us living upstairs. When I relayed this to the ladies Rachel was so moved she decided to pen Hugh a letter. I present to you that letter word for word:


We also love having you as a neighbor. We enjoy dancing and listening to music. I hope that we can become very close friends. Life is too short to have boundaries that mean nothing. Your son is probably the spring of your life. We know what that is because we have Rachel who is the sun of our sky. Please come up and celebrate music with our family. We also love food.

Forever yours,

Michele and Sean and Rachel

We honor you as a man of wisdom and love.

It has not been delivered yet.

*Late Edit*
It should be noted that we know very little about our neighbor and and only spoken to him in passing a few times.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


As promised here's my impressions so far of the Element. First off I should say that when they first came out I thought Honda made a huge mistake. It's kind of ugly and what the hell was it supposed to be? Station wagon, SUV, minivan, Jeepish thing, VW Thing thing? Who the fuck knows. What I do know is that I immediately liked it first time I actually sat in one a couple years back.

When we got up here and I started looking for a vehicle to replace my pickup I had a couple very simple criteria, 4wd/awd, 4 cyl, manual transmission, decent fuel economy, and plenty of room for tools and toys. Most construction companies require employees to drive pickups and when I found out that wasn't the case where I now work I immediately thought of the Element.

So far it's worked out quite nicely. It's a little louder than I expected on the freeway, but no worse that the 14 year old truck that it replaces. The fuel economy has been decent, I got 27 mpg on the drive up from Portland and I've been getting 23 around town. It's plenty comfortable and has lots of room for everyone inside. The stereo is surprisingly good with a small but quite effective sub directly below the shifter. I really like the fact that the rear seats fold up making enough room in the back for bikes with the wheels on. Rubber floors mean I won't be ruining any carpets with Pac-NW mud and any that makes it into the car is easily cleaned out.

As far as using the Element for work, so far it's working out quite well. There's enough room behind the rear seats for the majority of the tools I use in a given day and with the seats up I can easily get a six foot ladder back there. The best work related thing I discovered is that I've got a ton of room to stretch out in the back and eat lunch or do all that paperwork that must be done at the end of every day.

Staged photo, not at work or doing actual paperwork.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Getting Lost, Twice.

Not long ago I was planning big for this weekend, I was going to be finishing my day Friday in North Bend and could just jump on the 90 after work and head straight to Spokane for some riding with old friends. Michele had call Friday so she wouldn't even miss me(not that I've seen much of her the last month anyway). Well, my work schedule changed putting me in town Friday longer than I wanted to be and Michele was going to have today off so I decided to stay in town.

Yesterday I decided to go and scout places that Michele and I could ride together so I loaded up the Element in the morning and caught an early ferry to Southworth. Banner Forest is only a few short miles from the ferry terminal and easy enough to find. Without a map or a local guide I took off into the single square mile of forest looking for some fun, I'll be damned if the ride didn't deliver. I've heard reports that Banner has anywhere from 10 to 20 miles of trail within it's borders and I'm guessing I covered a good portion of those trails. The forest is pretty dense and with yesterday's heavy cloud cover after the first hundred twists and turns I had no idea which way I was headed. Occasionally I would cross the wide main trail that runs from one entrance to the other guaranteeing that no matter how lost I was I could still easily get out at anytime. The trail weren't tough for the most part, I had to deal with the normal regional hazards such as the wet roots but nothing to technically challenging. My bigger issue was that I've done very little riding the last few weeks so I was tiring quickly on the numerous short little climbs that encountered along the way. After about an hour and a half or so I popped out at the parking lot still wanting more. Rather than head back into the forest I caught the return ferry looking for another ride.

Once across the sound again I drove to Renton in search of the infamous Tapeworm trail. I found the park easy enough, finding the right trail on the other was not so easy. For this trail I actually had a map in a guide book, a guide book I left in the car. I rode all over the place without actually hitting the correct trail. The GPS shows that I rode all around Tapeworm but never on it. I hit Mr. DNA and Parasite, part of Crop Circles, and all sorts of service roads but never the right trail. The trails I did hit were among the twistiest, tightest trail I've ever seen. Definitely a great place to hone low speed bike handling skills. I'm certainly going to head back soon and see if I can figure it out a little better.

As for today, Michele had to work after all so I'm all alone doing a little around the house work and maybe I'll get out on the Volpe a little bit this afternoon.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bye Bye Beast

I threw the Volpe in the back of the beast this morning and headed out towards Monroe so that I could return the truck to it's rightful owner. I told Will I'd take him out to breakfast as a small token of my appreciation for lending me his truck. We drove all the way back into Woodinville to go to one of Will's favorite breakfast places. After eating way too heavy a pre-ride breakfast I hit the Sammamish Trail to the Burke-Gilman back towards home. Like the idiot I am I forgot my water bottle at home but I did remember to adequately pre-funk at the breakfast joint so I figured I'd be ok. The trail was pretty crowded and I started out in a pretty stiff head wind once I hit the lake but the trails pretty flat and I was making pretty good time. With all the people on the trail I got a good chance to think abut my bell location and I think it's gotta change a little bit. Just about the time my thirst started to come on strong I came across some kids selling lemonade, at $.50 a glass I couldn't afford not to stop. I handed over my dollar and was quickly on my way again. I was was planning on taking Burke-Gilman all the way to Ravenna and then head towards Green Lake from there minimizing my climbing, instead I bailed at 70th thinking that the hills would be a decent trade off for the distance saved. No such luck, the extra couple of climbs were pretty brutal.

These pictures don't do the hills justice.

If anybody can explain this sign to me I'd appreciate it. What is so special about these days? I mean beside the fact that the list contains my birthday(and SuLing's if I remember correctly).

I figure I rode about 18 miles or so today and 90% of my elevation gain was in the last few miles.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

STP and back

The annual STP ride was today and I forgot all about it until just a couple days ago. I've always wanted to do the STP, I'm just not sure I want to do it with 9,000 other riders. That's all beside the point because my Portland trip was going to be a little different. I got up at 5:30 and rolled out towards the STP start and downtown.

Do I look wide awake?

Traffic jam at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, notice how everybody's got a bike.

Looks like a train station and the cheaters way to Portland.

Yup, it's a train station.

And a train with a special place for the Volpe.

City of Roses.

The purpose of my visit.

Also with a special place for the Volpe.

Do I look happy, tired, or just hungry.

Now I can return the free beast to Will which is a good thing because I'm really tired of watching the gas gauge drop like a rock at 8 mpg. That will be tomorrow's project.