Wednesday, February 27, 2013


This past Monday I started my new job.  I am working as a structural engineer for the U.S. Navy.  I work on the Navy base in Bremerton, WA.

I have a two-part commute to get to work.  It does not involve a bike but it also does not involve my vehicle.  When I leave my place I walk about two blocks to a bus stop.  The bus takes me right to the ferry dock.  My wait once off the bus is about ten minutes.  I take the ferry for a ten to twelve minute ride.  Then, I have about a four block walk and I'm there.

A nice perk of working at the base is my bus and ferry pass are provided to me at no charge.  I filled out a form, turned it in, and was presented my ORCA (One Regional Card for All).

Speaking of ferries, this coming weekend I've a mountain bike ride on Whidbey Island.  This will require me to drive some, including driving my vehicle on a larger, car carrying ferry.  It should be an interesting weekend.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chilly Hilly Recap

Sunday I was up early to drive to Bainbridge Island.  On the agenda was the Chilly Hilly bike ride.  I picked up my packet at B.I.Cycle, affixed my numbers, and made my way to the start.  I lingered a bit in hopes a co-worker and son would find me.  But, at 8:00 AM, I was off.  Click on the pictures for a larger image.

The ride took me from the downtown area to farther reaches of the island.  I opted for the Surly Moonlander for the day's ride.  In hindsight, not the wisest choice I've made.

It wasn't long and the cars thinned out.  The scenery was wonderful.

Unfortunately, I can't show you much.  The battery on my camera died after only seven pictures.  I'll be replacing it soon-ish.

The "Chilly" part of the ride wasn't so much.  I'd a long-sleeved jersey, a wool jersey, and a rain coat on to start.  After the first respectable hill the rain coat went in the frame bag.  The "Hilly" part of the ride, was.  The ride was comprised of rollers and four (I think) steep and long climbs.  Horsing the forty pound Moonlander up those things made for quite a workout.

I left the start at 8:00 AM and rolled into the finish almost exactly at noon.  I did make a stop at the half-way food stop thing for a baked potato, banana bread, and a banana.  My butt was telling me I'd slacked off too much over the winter.  My legs felt fatigued but not wiped.

If you squint, you can see the Seattle skyline in the above photo.

I had a great ride despite the slow, heavy bike.  For those who've not ridden this ride, put it on your "to do" list.  The nice roads, the scenery, and the support make this a great early season ride.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Banner Forest

As a reward for getting some things done around the place, Saturday I afforded myself a mountain bike ride in Banner Forest.  Click on any of the pictures for big(ger).

Banner Forest is about one mile by one mile (yes, one mile square) wooded area with a meandering trail system.

I think I found online the elevation change over the whole park is only 34 feet.  This makes for a great place for beginners, singlespeeds, and recovery rides that day after an epic.  Speaking of singlespeeds, my singlespeed Surly Karate Monkey was the bike of choice for this day.

I explored around for a bit and did find one shorter jump line.  The picture below sort of badly shows it.

Though the parking lot was pretty full, it was at least an hour before I saw another person and bit longer before I saw another rider.

When I came up on two stopped riders, I was attacked by their pack of wild Golden Retrievers.  Actually, nearly friended to death by the pooches.  They all got a pet and away I went.

Though it had been raining quite a bit the day before, the trails were damp but not muddy except for a few localized places.  Banner Forest is about five miles from where I live.  It's a great place to shoot to right after work.  I'm looking forward to going back and exploring more of the numerous trails.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bike Yoga

Uma, the mountain biker, rock climber, yogi, and yoga instructor (not necessarily in that order) could use a little support.  Before I mess things up writing about it and her, you should watch this short (2:57) video:

Her blog post regarding her ups and downs and call for assistance can be read HERE. So, if you're finding yourself financially flush, perhaps help a fellow roller out.  If you're not so able, please re-blog this or do a post directing people to her site, or similar.

I'm a past yogi and am trying to find my way back.  I'll try to attend one of her classes the first time I get to Portland, which I'm hoping is soon.  Engage in some good Karma and please spread the word.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Relocation Complete

I saddled up the 26 foot Uhaul with the tandem axle car transport attached sporting my Jeep Grand Cherokee on it and made my way to the west.  It was Sunday morning and a late breakfast with relatives and a friend made for a late start.  With very stiff headwinds I could almost watch the gas gauge move.

About dark I pulled into Belle Fourche, SD for gas and grub.  It was starting to snow/rain/hail.  You know, frozen water drops that look like beanbag pillow fill.  This was not a good omen.  As I entered Wyoming it stopped.  By the time I hit Montana, via US 212, it had started to snow.

It snowed pretty much all the way to Lame Deer.  When I was about 10 miles from there, it started to rain.  The combination of rain freezing on top of snow made for slow grinds up hills and cautious descents the other side.

By time I rejoined I-90 at the Little Big Horn, the roads were much better.  I called it a night in Billings, MT.

I was up early the next day.  Overnight it snowed maybe an inch, maybe a bit less, just enough to make the roads, well, interesting.  In about an hour I'd driven out of the snow area.  The roads were very clear until I started going up just west of Bozeman.  Where the mountains shaded the highway there were icy spots.  Nothing too major though I did crest a hill to begin a downhill section that was quite icy with a sharper than I would like to have seen curve at the bottom.  I was a poster child for the White Knuckle Society.

I stopped in Missoula to visit the Adventure Cycling Association, however, it was Monday and it was President's Day so the office was closed.  I did not linger but instead pointed the rig west.  I had very good, albeit rough, roads until about 20 miles from the Idaho border.  There was much fresh and very fluffy snow.  The roads were somewhat snow-packed.  At one point the interstate necked down to one lane westbound due to a rock slide.

Once I was on the other side of Spokane, WA, the roads were again good.  The speed limit indicated 70 MPH and trucks 60 MPH.  I justified the 60 MPH for trucks meant semi trucks and since I wasn't a semi and was pulling a vehicle that fit in the 70 MPH category, I pegged 65 MPH on the speedometer.

I cruised through Washington and only had Snoqualmie Pass left to go over.  It had clear roads and it was a non issue.  I pulled into a Motel 6 near Tacoma for the night.

The next day I made my way to Starbucks for some coffee and an egg wrap thing (that I do NOT recommend) plus some coffee cake.  By 8 AM I'd arrived at my apartment complex.  I drove the jeep off the carrier, unhitched the carrier, and backed the truck into unloading position.  It was nearly 9 AM, the office was about to open, and I made my way there for keys.

I'd hired two dudes from a local moving company to help me unload the truck.  By noon it was empty and by 1 PM I'd turned the truck and trailer in.  I'd officially arrived.

It's now Friday and I'm mostly unpacked.  I've made some shopping excursions for essentials - beer, groceries.  I've just attained internet service and thus this post.  Tomorrow, as a reward for busting my ass driving and unpacking, I'm taking a mountain bike ride.  I've not decided the "where" part yet.  But, I'll have a recap and maybe some pictures.  Now I'm going to concentrate on getting settled in and finding "normal."  I know I packed it.  I've just haven't gotten to that box yet.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Last Day

Today is my last day at my current job.  The day will be filled with actual work.  I just can't leave with any loose ends.  I'll be busting ass to get done in time to pack my crap to get out the door by 5:00 PM.  It's just the way (I'm forced) I roll (this one time).

I packed up the rest of my stuff at my apartment last night.  Tonight is a small going away thing at Monk's House of Ale Repute.  Saturday, early, I load the truck.  I've some dudes lined up to help load the heavier and/or bulkier stuff.  Then I'll do a quick apartment scrub-down and that's that.

The game plan is to start driving west fairly early Sunday morning.  I'm expecting to drive two longer days Sunday and Monday and have just a short jaunt to the new domicile on Tuesday.  That is if I don't run into not fun weather in the Rockies.

I'm not sure when the next post will be.  I need to get moved and unpacked.  Then I'll get into things like internet access and shit.  I do plan to document this whole sordid affair in pictures.  I'll post some once I have them downloaded and have a minute to breathe.

Monday, February 4, 2013


So, with the move now less than two weeks away I decided maybe it was time to start thinking about the packing aspect.  Specifically, I was thinking I probably need some boxes.

One trip to Walmart later (I know, I know) and I'm now in possession of ten 18" x 18" x 24" boxes and ten 16" x 16 x 15" boxes.  And, boy, let me tell, don't I feel special?

I have no clue if that's too many boxes, a just right amount, or severely under estimated quantity.  What I do know is I paid for, and downloaded from, the soundtrack to 180 Degrees South: Conquerors of  the Useless.  By the way, if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.  “The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong - that’s when adventure starts” -Yvon Chouinard

Friday, February 1, 2013

Found Some Rides

The first Sunday after the relocation I've a roadie type ride.  The roadie type bike club I've joined has an annual, last Sunday of February, ride around Bainbridge Island called the Chilly Hilly.

Unless it's raining buckets, I'll ride the conversation piece, AKA the Surly Moonlander.  Since this is a ride and not a race and pace lines probably won't happen, I won't mind being on a slower bike.

The following Saturday I've a mountain bike poker run lined up.  The mountain bike club I've joined referenced the Whidbey Island mountain bike club's ride called Mussels in the Kettles.

Again, this in not a race and will present a great opportunity to get on some trails and meet some bikers.  I've yet to decide to ride fully boinged, with gears Ellsworth, or hard-tail, single speed Karate Monkey.  Either way, I'm very much looking forward to getting on some trails.  Getting to this event will involve some driving and putting the vehicle on a ferry.