Monday, September 23, 2013

New Software

I found some new annimation software in the internets and have started to learn how to use it.  Here's my first go.  Be nice - I've much to learn with this thing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


So, a month or so ago I was thinking (and saying on here) that I was likely going to build a kayak this coming winter.  Or, to be more specific, one of these:

But, looking in my rented garage I noticed with all the bikes there won't be enough room.  I could move them around and get things done, but, the smallish garage got me thinking about other things.

First off, I'm renting.  To be more specific, I'm renting a two bedroom, cookie-cutter apartment.  Blah is the operative word.  It is OK, but nothing more than that.

Now that I've been here for some months I've had a change to look around.  I sort of know where I want to live and where I don't.  All that being said, instead of building a kayak, maybe I'll put that on hold and build one of these:

I've carpentry skills, both rough and finish.  I've been giving this some thought.  My apartment lease is up at the end of January.  Not prime build time around here.  However, from January on I could go a shorter term lease or month-to-month why I get the land lined up and wait for the end of the rainy season.  I'd hire the stuff done I don't want to do - concrete work, or are not qualified to do - plumbing and electrical.  Sweat equity would be both enjoyable and a way to get exactly what I want and at a good price.

Visiting a local lumber type store I picked up a book of home plans.  I'm not sure where this idea will end up but I am exploring it seriously.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Victoria, B.C.

Per tradition around here, clicking on the pictures does make them bigger.  It's a proven, scientific fact.  Another fact is what I type in and amongst the pictures may, or may not, have anything to do with the pictures.  Fair warning and everything.

This past Saturday I got my carcass out of bed early to drive to Port Angeles, WA.  There I parked my vehicle, yanked out my Surly Big Dummy, and loaded myself and the bike on the ferry bound for Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

I was on the first ferry of the day, the 8:15 AM departure.  Travel time was approximately 90 minutes.  As soon as I was off the ferry and through customs, I was pedaling about 8 blocks to The Peddler bike tours.  I was going on the assumption taking a guided tour, by bike, would be a great way to learn and see the city.  I was not disappointed.

There were four in our group.  There was Tour Guide Rod, Ken, Sara (Ken and Sara are from Portland, OR), and me.  It was the perfect sized group. Rod Thee Tour Guide had extensive knowledge of the city.  Though we started ten minutes late for a three hour bike tour, the tour itself only took four hours total.

No one in our group complained.  We saw many cool buildings, learned of the history of the town, British Columbia, and Vancouver Island.  A quick word about Victoria traffic - there's a lot of it.  You would sort of expect that since it is quite a tourist destination.  However, I can't think of any other place I've been that had such courteous drivers both to bikes and pedestrian.  Victoria is a VERY bike friendly city.

From downtown we cut through Chinatown.  There are many Chinese descendants from the nineteenth century living in Victoria now.  Then we headed over to the Fernwood neighbourhood.  There were farmer's markets.  There was a lady teaching a neighbourhood yoga class in her garage (big rug on the floor).  At the triple A baseball stadium, they were setting up for day two of Rifflandia.

We made a stop at Craigdarroch Castle.  Now a museum, it was once a private residence.

A bagpiper was bagpiping out front.

Stopping by Beacon Hill Park we stopped to watch a bit of an international cricket match.  Crazy game.  Fun to watch, but, not as fun as rugby.

We arrived back at the start of the tour.  I found an ATM, gathered some Canadian cabbage, tipped Rod Thee Tour Guide well and went off in search of food.  I was going to miss the 3:00 PM return ferry but that was fine.  The last of the day was to be at 7:30 PM.  That give me time to walk around a bike around more.

Though I didn't that many pictures of it, Victoria has a funky downtown with cool stores.  Cigars, Tarot cards, crystals, plus the usual stuff.

As I made my way around, I found a street art / chalk competition.  There were many artists and some very cool drawings on a blocked off street.

I found some life-sized critters here

and there.

Near Parliament, there were several totem poles.

The dude who laid out Hyde Park and Central Park also did Beacon Hill Park.  His signature was a stone arch bridge.

Since I missed the 3:00 PM ferry, I not only had extra time, but the hungries.  I remember Rod Thee Tour Guide pointing out "the best fish and chips" in Victoria.  I did not sample fish and chips from every place in Victoria, but, I did go to the one he recommended.  For those not in the know, chips in about every country except the U.S. are what Americans call "french fries."  In Canada you can get them with Poutine.  I did.  It was delicious.  Fish, chips, and Poutine - I was full.

With a full tummy and plenty of time to spare, I slowly made my way back to the ferry terminal.  I'd had a full day and had seen tons.  I have never had a bad time when visiting Canada.  This was no exception.  I'll be going back.

All of the pictures I took on Saturday are HERE.  I might make a return trip toward the end of October.  Looking ahead, that's about the soonest I can go.  It's looking like I'm getting booked up again.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Swap Meet, Sort Of

I was perusing The Mountaineers website and came across this notification (click on it for big):

I see it's on a school night, but what the heck, I dude might find a great buy.  I'm planning on attending.

Separately, my Wilderness First Responder certification is due for recertification in January.  Looking on the recert section of the website, I see there's a session very near here in November.  I'll be signing up for that one.  It's on one of my three-day weekends so I won't need to take time off to attend nor will I have any travel expenses except for gas to and from.  Sweet!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekend Miscellania

I had a standard, two-day, weekend this past.  I used it to handle some non pressing items.  Oil change, washed clothes, worked on my retirement spreadsheet, improved my workout schedule.  Just some plain Jane, quieter type activities.

From the "good news" department, my renewed passport arrived in the mail this week.  I wasn't expecting it until next week.  With Canada being so close, I plan to make some excursions there, maybe as soon as next weekend.

Speaking of next weekend, it is a three-day one for me.  It is a ways away but I'll start thinking about it and planning for it soon.  I've done zero bike camping this year.  Perhaps it's time to load up the Surly Long Haul Trucker with gear and hit the road.  Maybe even catch a ferry to Victoria, B.C. and bike camp over there.  Hmmmm...................

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tour Guiding

With visitors here this past Labour Day weekend, I was playing Tour Guide.  We found some interesting stone sculptures

on Bainbridge Island.

Having seen the movie The Mask, I didn't dare put this on.  Things are goofy enough around here.

Vashon Island had simpler things to take.

Vashon also had a nifty lighthouse with a view of Mt. Rainier (between the flagpole and lighthouse) to boot.

Of course margaritas were consumed.

A visit to Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge had wildlife posing for pictures.

Both critters were from me to you, or five feet - whichever is closer, away from me.

It was a very nice four-day weekend.  The weather cooperated nicely.

This coming weekend I'm either planning an urban bike ride in Seattle, a bike tour around most all Vashon Island, and/or a trip to Issaquah from some mountain biking on the Grand Ridge Trail and Duthie Hill.

In two weekends - by that time my renewed passport should be here - likely a trip to Victoria, B.C. via ferry from Port Angeles, WA for some sight seeing probably by bike and maybe on foot.