Friday, March 29, 2013

No Problem

Just yesterday I was lamenting my earth shaking problem of thee Universe was trying to decide which activity to do this coming predicted great weather weekend.  Problem solved!

On Saturday I shall depart my domicile on a roadie type bike down the hill to the foot ferry.  I shall board said ferry and take it to Bremerton.  Upon arrival I'll make my way to the big ferry that will be bound for Seattle.

A co-worker and I plan to do some urban riding in and around the greater Seattle area.  Supposedly, or the rumor is, or my co-worker eluded to, riding some bike friendly streets and some paved, no vehicles allowed, trails.  I've been promised bakeries and delis and a bike friendly tour of Seattle.

Sunday, a different co-worker and I will load up mountain bikes and venture north to Port Gamble.  A different rumor has it there will be a 24 hour race there this summer.  I may, or may not, be on a team of four for this.  I say may or may not because the details are a bit fuzzy.

Anyway, I'm headed up there to check out the trails.  I've got a map but no experienced on these trails trail guide.  We'll be finding out way.  I'm hopeful we'll get to check out the proposed 24 hour race course while we're there.

My goal is to take lots of pictures both Saturday and Sunday.  I'll have a recap post likely Monday morning with what went down complete with visual aids.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Non Problem, Problem

OK, I've only been living in the Pacific Northwest for about six weeks.  Most people who've been here considerably longer have indicated this is (normally) the monsoon season.  Except for this week and the upcoming weekend.

The forecast for this coming weekend is for not only no rain, but actual sunshine.  AND, warm temperatures - like mid 60's temperatures.  The debate that's raging between my ears is, "What am I going to do this weekend?"

I'm contemplating two scenarios.  Scenario one is to take my mountain bike somewhere on Saturday.  I am sort of thinking either Grand Ridge trail with Duthie Hill thrown in, or, just Duthie Hill.  I'd follow that up with hitting Tractor again on the evening.  And I'd follow that up with a trip to Mt. Rainier National Park on Sunday.

My other choice is to load the Long Haul Trucker

up with gear and ride somewhere for an overnight camping excursion.  I've not researched campsites yet, but bet I can come up with some good options.

So my problem, or more accurately non problem, is deciding which to do this weekend.  With an expected reprieve from the rain and very nice temperatures, I'll be outside doing one or the other or something completely different.

So many social engagements, so little time.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Playing Tourist

I had a visitor from Thee Olde Country here for four days this past extended weekend.  I needed to act as tour guide even though I've only lived here for just over a month.

To get things kicked off in the right direction breakfast was had which included a Bloody Mary for each of us.

I must say, the Bloody Mary was quite good.  There's nothing I like to do more than drink and drive.  (disclaimer, I had ONE Bloody Mary and a long walk before departing and it wasn't very strong, though quite tasty)  We made our way North to Port Townsend for some funky store shopping and a ferry ride to Whidbey Island.

The next day there was a much shorter drive to a different ferry and a boat ride to Seattle.  After checking out some public transportation options, it was time to do the most touristy thing of all - The Space Needle!

There are quite good views from up there including Mt. Rainier (which is sort of faint in the picture below - click for big, it might show up better).

A building down below had two spiders painted all 3-D like on the roof.

After a very good dinner we were off to Tractor for some live music.

A late night at Tractor made for a late morning getting asses out of bed.  The weather was very nice so we opted for 18 holes of disc golf.  Sorry, but I forgot to take the camera.

It was a fun weekend looking around, eating and drinking some the area's finest, and taking it somewhat easy.  The long-term forecast is for nice weather again this coming weekend.  I'll be getting some riding in for sure.  I might even elect to get up close and personal with Mt. Rainier. There's still snow, but still, it will be fun.  Plus, I need to get my annual National Park pass.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Unique

One of the reasons I took my current paying job is the location.  I'm loving the Pacific Northwest and the many outdoor recreational opportunities.  Another reason I took my current paying job is the unique work schedule.

In a two week pay period - ten work days - I work five 9 hour days during week one, three 9 hour days during week two, and one 8 hour day during week two.  Doing the math 5 x 9 hours = 45 hours.  3 x 9 = 27 hours.  1 x 8 = 8 hours.  45 + 27 + 8 = 80 hours.  I have my 80 hours in at the end of the second Thursday.  What this means is every other weekend is a three day weekend!

Not only do I have many outdoor things to choose from, I have time to do them!  And, this has nothing to do with my actual vacation time.  That's in addition to this cool work schedule.  Tomorrow starts my first three day weekend.

Technically it's still monsoon season here.  And, I've a friend coming in from out of town to hang with me this three-day weekend.  So, I'll not be wandering around in the woods this particular weekend.  However, I am making plans to do just that during subsequent weekends.  Sometimes with bike and sometimes without.  Variety is the spice of life!

Just because you're comfortable doesn't mean you're happy.  Though I miss friends from "thee olde country," I'm very glad I've moved here.  And, as I've read somewhere, "Dreams don't come true.  You have to force the issue."  I take that to mean grow a pair and go where happiness is.  Even if that means getting out of your comfort zone for a bit.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Grand Ridge Trail(s)

I originally planned on riding this past Saturday.  The weather did not cooperate so I ended up at REI in Seattle - imagine that.   Several hundred dollars later I walked out with a new bike rack, headlamp, and a guide book for the Washington parts of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Sunday I was picked up by a co-worker, we rendezvoused with another dude, and made our way to Issaquah to meet some more dudes, and then to ride the Grand Ridge trails.  We left the parking area promptly at noon.

We left Central Park (not THAT Central Park) via a paved trail.  After about 400 hundred yards it turned to gravel.  In about that much more distance we were on the singletrack.  The Grand Ridge trail(s) are nice and wide.  I'd estimate about thirty-six inches in most places.  In some lower lying areas there was some nifty board walk.

If you've not caught on by now, click a picture for a larger view.

Unfortunately, the dudes we were riding with pressed the pace.  I was not able to take many pictures of the Grand Ridge trails.  But, when we were at the end of the Grand Ridge trail, we were very conveniently at an entrance to Duthie Hill.

Duthie Hill is a wonderful mountain bike park.  It's got bermed trails, log skinnies, jump lines galore, wood structures big and small, and pump tracks.  Our group spent quite a bit of time trying all we'd dare.

When we'd had enough playing at Duthie, we took the remaining section of Boot Camp trail back to the Grand Ridge trail and backtracked to the vehicles.  A nice three hour adventure exploring some more nice Pacific Northwest trails.

The one  downside to the Grand Ridge trail, it's two way traffic.  Though the fact it's wide saves some head-on encounters, there are some places where visibility is not so good and bumping helmets it possible.  Oh well, looks like a great opportunity for MORE trails to turn it into a loop!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Update

I did some riding this past weekend on a trail I've not been on yet.  Due to getting back late on Sunday, needing to shower (trail was a bit muddy), needing to get groceries, and eat, I've not had a chance to download the pictures.  Once I've downloaded them I'll give the report and post some pictures.  Until then, enjoy this rather weird video.


I'm aiming to download so I can have the recap proper on Wednesday.  But, as they say in SCUBA school, don't hold your breath.

Friday, March 15, 2013


So, I've been hitting the gym every workday evening right after work.  I'm trying to get my ass back into condition.  So far, so good.  As the weekend approaches there are riding plans being hatched.

One or more co-workers and I are planning an assault on Green Mountain this coming Saturday.  If you recall I rode there last Saturday.  This coming Saturday I'll get there earlier in the day and daylight savings time has fully engaged.  This should make for plenty of daylight for exploring.

I'm hopeful for somewhat sunny weather.  I've heard the views from on top are outstanding.  I'll have the camera and will take as many pictures as I can or the weather will allow.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Green Mountain

This past Saturday I'd threatened to go to Seattle for the day.  Saturday the sun was shining, temperatures were in the mid 50's, and I just couldn't bring myself to spend lots of the day in the car and inside at the bike expo.  So, I opted to do a mountain bike ride at Green Mountain.  Click on the pictures for bigger views.

Green mountain trails are open to ATV's, motor-sickles, horses, hikers, and yes, mountain bikes.  Because of the (extreme) multi-use, the trails are not always friendly though they are quite wide.  I started at the Wildcat Trailhead and made way up.  I notice a few lesser trails going this way and that.  I did not take any of them today.  I'll explore those another time.

Though the trails are open to ATV's and motor-sickles, they are not in poor shape.  I saw one motor-sickle as I was getting on the trail.  I heard them as I rode, but did not see another one all day.  I was happy for this.  I did see one other mountain biker and several hikers, with and without dogs.

The trailheads at Green mountain are pretty much at the lowest elevation.  I spend about 2 1/2 hours (mostly) climbing.  I did do some hike-a-bike climbs today.  Those climbs were steep and had several water bars to contend with.  When I get my fat ass back into physical condition, I expect I'll be riding those areas.

I set 4 PM as my turn-around time.  This was my first time at Green Mountain and didn't want to make a navigational error and be out in the woods after dark.  I spun the bike around and headed (mostly) downhill back to the parking lot.  It took me 40 minutes.

Though Green mountain has some steeper sections and is open to more users groups than I prefer, it is a nice place to ride and an excellent place to train.  I've made a mental note to return often to get myself into condition.  The downhill reward for the effort required to climb is a blast!  If you're interested, you can see all the pictures HERE.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


This coming weekend is the Seattle Bike Expo.  I'll be attending on Saturday.  And, as long as I'm headed over the Seattle, I'll be hitting up my favorite store - Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI).  I seem to have misplaced my headlamp.  I'll be looking to replace it and check out gear.  I'm going to need a water filter thing for backpacking and maybe a bear keg.  I'm also thinking another sleeping bag rated for colder weather.

And, as long as I'm headed over there I'll be seeking a new place to dine.  A co-worker said there's a smaller Cuban restaurant I should try.  I'll see if I can find it.  I've some Google research to try and figure out what he eluded to.  He couldn't remember the name but knew generally where it is located.

And again, as long as I'm there, I just as well stay for some live music - no?  I'll be heading to Tractor where I'll be listening to Sugarcane and Assembly of Dust.

I'll have my camera with (battery fully charged) and hope to provide some pictures of Seattle and the stuff I'd mentioned I'm headed for in a recap post maybe on Monday.  The weather is here, wish you were beautiful.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mussels in the Kettles

Saturday I was up early and on the road to make the 8:00 AM ferry from Port Townsend to Coupeville.  On the agenda was the Mussels in the Kettles mountain bike poker run.

I made the ferry and loaded.

The crossing took about 30 minutes.  I quick drive to Coupeville and I checked in and received my swag.  Two co-workers joined me and we were off to the trail head.

At open intersections we stopped to get playing cards for the poker run.  That was fun but what I was really there for was to check out the trails on Whidbey Island.

At one point the course took us to a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or more specifically, the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Though there was no fog on the ferry trip, there was when we got to this overlook.  Oh well, it's all good.

We completed the poker run ( I had a pair of five and a pair of sixes - out of the money) and loaded up to head more into town and the annual Mussel Festival.

I bought a glass cup and a "passport" which entitled me to six samples of mussel chowder from various eating establishments.  I was supposed to go to each one, sample, and then vote for the one I liked best.  I must say, this was great fun.  Coupeville is an old town and the downtown is turn of the 19th to 20th century wood structures.

Though you can't tell it from the pictures, the town was mobbed with people attending the event.

When we were done mussel-ing around we headed back to the ferry terminal.  A weather front had moved in the and wind had come up considerably.  We could see the ferry making some maneuvers as it came in about 20 minutes late.  The high winds and high seas were making ferry travel, well, interesting.

We loaded and were underway.  Once clear of a protective point the boat starting rocking.  When we were well clear of the point the captain swung the ferry into the wind, and toward the Port Townsend ferry terminal, and that's when the boat starting pitching quite a bit.

We did land safely and I drove the remaining miles home.  I've put all the pictures I took HERE.

I enjoyed Whidbey Island a lot.  I'll be going back to explore more of the island and revisit the trails I rode.  I'll definitely be back for the 2014 version of Mussels in the Kettles.  The trip Saturday is exactly why I relocated to the Pacific Northwest.  If you're an outdoor type like I am, this is a great part of the country to be living in.