Wednesday, April 30, 2014

30DOB - Day 29/30 s24o

I took the afternoon off from work, loaded my camping gear on the bike, and rode over to the Bowl and Pitcher at Riverside State Park. Fifteen bucks got me a "primitive hiker/biker site" in the overflow area. There are no sites marked as such but I was told I could pitch my tent pretty much anywhere near a fire pit. I found a spot overlooking the river. 

I was the only occupant of the overflow area so it felt like I had the whole park to myself. I spent a relaxing afternoon taking photos and enjoying the quiet solitude. Well, I wouldn't call the rushing river quiet. But it was a soothing white noise.

Osprey flew overhead and called to each other. Ducks and geese flew low over the water. Bumble bees lumbered awkwardly just above ground level, stopping to investigate in between fallen pine needles. Butterflies decorated the flora. Rafters and kayakers went by with big smiles on there faces. 

I had the best night's sleep. I can't remember the last time I slept for nine hours.

I woke up to the cold morning with only my face exposed to the air. Condensation had collected on my mustache. I got out of bed reluctantly. After all, I had to go to work. There's something about being cold and having to go to the bathroom that makes you walk with a purpose when the bathroom is 100 yards away. Back at camp I fired up my little stove and had water boiling for tea in a few minutes. I put a Clif bar in my pocket to warm it up so it would soften up and be easier to eat.

After my small breakfast, I packed everything up and pedaled into town, feeling great and with a big smile on my face.
Base camp.

 Walking bridge across the Spokane River.

 An osprey nest two trees away and way up high.

 My amateur rock balancing.

 Sunrise this morning.

It's like I was never there.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Proving George Carlin Right

In one of his later routines, the late George Carlin talked about who is really in charge of our country. Bad language alert!

Because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners, now. The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying,­ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. 

But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.

Proving Carlin's point, The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that helped the Philip Morris tobacco company question the risks associated with second hand smoke and now is heavily funded by oil and gas companies and promotes studies and conferences that dispute man-made climate change, changed George Carlin's words just a bit and posted them with a photo on their Facebook page.

Do you see what is different? "Governments" replaced "They", which changes the entire meaning. The "they" that George Carlin referenced is the owners. The big wealthy business interests. They are the ones who don't want well-informed, well educated people capable of critical thought.

And if you did your homework you'd find that in this case, George Carlin was right.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

30DOB - Day 26

Late post. Yesterday was maintenance day. I got my new wheels from Matthew Larsen. Those went on my commuter bike. My commuter was filthy so I gave it a good cleaning. Actually, I cleaned and tweaked three bikes. My riding consisted of going up and down the block testing the shifting and braking to make sure I didn't make anything worse.

I had to break out the book my brother John got me so I could some brake adjustments.

Unrelated to the topic but I thought it was funny.

Bike To Work Week Is Coming Soon

Plan ahead for the events being held the week of May 12-16. This is a great opportunity to meet other cyclists and get free pancakes, free coffee, and free beer. First of all, go to Spokane Bikes and register (registration opening soon). How can they keep track of participation numbers without creating a list somewhere?

The kickoff breakfast from 7:00-9:00 am, Monday, May 12 in Riverfront Park right across the street from City Hall. Pancakes by served up hot Mountain Gear and coffee by Roast House Coffee.

 On Wednesday morning stop by one of the Energizer Stations for free snacks and drinks. There will be a map of station locations posted on Spokane Bikes.

 At 6:00 pm, Wednesday, May 14, meet just west of the Rotary Water Fountain at Riverfront Park for the Ride of Silence.

The wrap up party is at a new location this year. Our gracious host, River City Red Brew Pub, is donating two kegs of beer. The party starts at 5:30 pm, Friday, May 16. River City Red is at 121 South Cedar in downtown Spokane.

The City of Spokane is also offering Commute of the Century rides every day that week. These are supported, extended lunch hour rides that follow many of the bike lanes in Spokane. But you don't have to ride the routes that week to become a Centurion. You have until July 31 to ride the routes and give the city feedback on the bike lane infrastructure to help with transportation planning. Here's your chance to be heard. Let's see how well it works the first time out of the chute.

The Spokane Law Enforcement and Police Museum is presenting a talk at the downtown Spokane Library called Then and Now: Spokane Police Bicycle Patrol. It's at noon on Wednesday, May 14.

Friday, April 25, 2014

30DOB - Day 25

The parts of the Children of the Sun Trail that run next to the North-South Corridor (freeway) have collected lots of traction gravel/sand tossed over the barriers by vehicles. Last year the state ran a sweeper and cleaned it up. I hope they do so again soon.

Going home I found the state added orange cones on the shoulder to reinforce the fact that parking is not allowed on Highway 2 especially during the giant Camelot neighborhood yard sale this weekend. I thought the cones made a great slalom course. I only took out one.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Even Mo' Money!

There was another full page ad in the Spokesman Review this time for vault bags of government issued notes. $99 gets you a bag with 11 bills. Not the five hundred or fifty dollar bills in the photo. The ones with red stars. Yeah, the $1 and $2 bills. Instead of 48 hours you have 3 days. But people in Garfield and Columbia counties are safe again since their counties are not eligible.

The captain gets hold the big gun. 

30DOB - Day 24

I had heavy rain on the way to the dentist this morning and plenty of puddles to splash through on the way to work. Quite the contrast with the ride home after work.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

30DOB - Day 23

A cold, rainy morning with a head wind and a warmer, sunny ride home with the wind pushing me.

These signs were put up yesterday on Highway 2. Why? Because the last weekend of April is the annual humongous Camelot neighborhood yard sale. For years, people parked on the highway and walked in because it's so crowded. Now the state puts these signs up every year and the WSP gets their citation pads ready.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mo' Money! Mo' Money!

There was a full page advertisement in today's Spokesman Review where you could buy up to 10 "vault bags" of "Indian Head coins." One vault bag would run you $59.00 plus shipping. By four or more vault bags and shipping is free. To apply a little pressure the ad says you only have 48 hours to take advantage of this offer.

A vault bag sounds like something big. And the photo of boxes holding vaults bags containing rarely seen U.S. coins contributes to that impression. So this sounds like a good deal, right? But then the article says each bag weighs nearly a quarter pound. Nearly four ounces of coins. That's about 110 grams. Old pennies weigh a little over three grams and a nickel weighs about five grams. Hmmmm.

One thing I found puzzling is that this offer is only available to 37 counties in Washington. Are there just not enough suckers in Columbia and Garfield counties to even bother?

And there's the small print--"nearly quarter pound eighteen coin bag." That means over $60 for 18 of the most worn "Indian Head coins" you'll ever see. The people in Columbia and Garfield counties never had it so good. Although if anyone living there phoned in an order I bet the World Reserve Monetary Exchange would happily take their money just like they do everyone else's.

30DOB - Day 22

"Smell that? You smell that?" 


"Traffic, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that." 

Today was fashion statement day. I forgot to bring a full complement of clothing so I ended up wearing my low cut bike socks with my dress pants. Luckily they were black. But I was showing a hint of ankle all day long. Also, Arnold Schwarzennegger starred in a movie whose title need be the only other detail I provide.

Monday, April 21, 2014

30DOB - Day 21

A very disappointing day for riding. I was barely three miles into my commute to work when I caught a bent, rusty nail in my rear tire. I swapped out the tube but my Pocket Rocket wouldn't get a good seal on the valve stem so I couldn't air it up. I walked to the nearest bus stop and rode STA to work and then back home again.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

30DOB - Day 20

I had another training day at Riverside State Park today. The morning got off to a fine start as I found the Wilber Trailhead almost completely full at 10:00 am. There was a slot open on the edge of the circular parking and there was a spot in the gravel. I thought I'd take the first spot since it would be more difficult to get into. But after I backed into a tree, I said, "Screw it," and took the easy spot in the gravel. The group of bikers who witnessed my lack of backing prowess didn't say anything, but I'm sure they had a story to share later.

I intended to ride for four hours but went ahead and stretched it to five. About an hour and a-half in I found myself at Five Minute Hill. I decided to tire my legs out a bit to see how well they would take the rest of the 24-hour race course so I did five back-to-back climbs. The things we do for fun, right? I was feeling it each time I got to that last part of the climb at Devil's Up. More than once I had to use the Barbara Woodhouse way. Walkies!

During my last lap I was going up Five Minute Hill one last (eighth) time when another cyclist overtook me and he calls me by name. It's a little unsettling for me when someone recognizes me and I only have a vague notion that I've met them before. Eric Ross, who tore up the Midnight Century last year, introduced himself--again since we met at the Midnight Century--and says he reads this blog. Cool. What are the odds of running across one of my tens of readers?

Along with training for the 24 Hour Race, I have another bike-related thing going on. Kathy's not too thrilled about it. It's definitely a work in progress.

Oh, and my ears are burning.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

30DOB - Day 19

I rode to work early this morning under a bright sun and in cool air. (We migrated our mission-critical, bread-and-butter server from local hardware to a data center. Fun times.) I rode home in the warm afternoon and caught up on the around-the-house chores. Tomorrow will be a long day of trails.

Friday, April 18, 2014

30DOB - Day 18

Forgot to post this. Fortunately, blogger let's you back date. I had a cold, stiff headwind this morning talking to me.

"Chill. Take your time."  

You know, like I had a choice.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


30DOB - Day 17

Whoo-hoo! Rode home in the rain and let the five-year-old in me come out and play in the puddles. My jacket, on the other hand, thinks I should put the fenders on. My jacket is a fuddy duddy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

30DOB - Day 16

I had a relatively uneventful bike commute to work. I have two wheels that need new rims so I dropped them off with Matthew Larsen, a good friend and wheel man. Later on a woman driver stopped me and complimented my seizure-inducing blinking headlight. She said she saw me coming from wayyyyy off.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Look What Kathy Bought For Me

What's up with that?

30DOB - Day 15

I ate a smaller than usual dinner last night. I didn't get a good night's sleep. I sucked down a cup of tea and ate a Clif bar for breakfast. Then I headed out for my longest commute taking me across Rutter Parkway to Nine Mile Dam and following the Centennial Trail into town. I started seeing spots while going up the short steep climbs so I know I wasn't well hydrated. It did not help that I didn't bring a water bottle. You would think I would be smarter than that.

You would think.

I was starving by the time I got to work. I ate my bagel like a dog eats pancakes. If I tasted it, it was purely by accident.
No traffic light for 27 miles until Main and Monroe.

 Deer at the Little Spokane River.

 The calm water above Nine Mile Dam.

Ducks at Deep Creek.

 The top of Pettet Drive.

 My last climb--Main Street in Peaceful Valley.

Monday, April 14, 2014

30DOB - Day 14

It felt great to be back on the road bike. There's something to be said for a fast, smooth ride. So I took an extra one at work during lunch.

 A touch of morning fog.

 Bright sun during lunchtime.

Blossoms on the way home.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

30DOB - Day 13

I spent most of the day at the Bike Swap working at the Spokefest booth, telling people about Bike to Work Week, Spokefest, Summer Parkways, and Kidical Mass. How cool it is that Spokane has so much bicycle-related activities.

I did get a 1-1/2 hour trail ride in at Riverside State Park during the late afternoon. Rumor has it I was seen escorting a new bike from the swap. No comment on the rumor. But I did have a very comfortable ride through the rock gardens today.
 A place where I was actually useful.

 Not many bikes were left today. About 650 were sold yesterday.

Pat was trying to sell his epic bike that did epic rides.
Laminated proof of epicness included.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

30DOB - Day 12

It was a beautiful, calm, and sunny morning and a great day to get 3-1/2 hours of trail riding in. This must be what retirement will be like--in five years maybe?