We moved into our current house 17 years ago. Steph was a little over 1-1/2 years old. Josh was 5-1/2. Geoff was 12. Geoff left for college 11 years ago. Josh made his exit four years ago. And today Kathy and I took Steph to the University of Montana in Missoula. After hauling her belongings up to her dorm room, we left to pick up a few more things and get something to eat. Returning to her dorm, we said our goodbyes.
Now I will pass by three empty bedrooms when I go to bed at night and get up in the morning. Rooms I used to sneak into late at night and put money in place of the tooth under the pillow. Rooms I barged into on Saturday mornings, like a cheerful alarm clock, loudly strumming my guitar. Rooms I painted as the occupants shifted. Rooms still bearing the scars of a child's decorating skills. Rooms that echoed with laughter and occasional crying. Rooms from which thunderstorms and sunsets were held in awe. Where pale night lights made the late night trip to the bathroom a breeze.
As I left Stephanie in her dorm room today, I hugged her and told her I love her. My voice quavered just a bit, almost betraying the emotion I was keeping at bay. This evening, as I pass by three empty bedrooms, I do not feel the need for such restraint.
The view from her room.
She has this whole side of the room all to herself.
Yesterday afternoon the River Park Square Mall closed off the area at their Main Street entrance to allow bee keepers to remove a swarm of bees that had collected there the day before. The bees were not pleased at being disturbed but fortunately they'll live to pollinate another day.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers's town hall meeting was civil and lacking in substance. Pretty much what I expected. Everyone got two tickets with matching numbers. If you wanted to ask a question you put one ticket in the barrel. Quite a few people put their tickets in but didn't ask a question so there were some long pauses as we waited to see if anyone would come to the microphone.
Cathy's supporters on one end of the street.
Joe Pakootas supporters were just down the road.
Security and staff were very polite.
I figured my odds were between slim and none but I decided I would ask about climate change if my number was drawn. And since one woman was allowed to go on at length about how much she loved Cathy, I decided I would do the same but in the opposite vein.
Danged if my number wasn't the last one drawn.
Surprised, and now nervous, I came to the mike and started telling Cathy what a disappointment she was to me, how she looked out for corporate interests, didn't really care about her constituents, and was unable to answer any of the questions posed this evening. That got both sides of the crowd excited.
Then I asked her about climate change. "Regardless that 97% of climate scientists says climate change is manmade, even if it wasn't, if we can take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate the effects, should we be taking them?" Something like that. Like I said, I was nervous.
That got the crowd riled up. Her supporters yelled it wasn't science and those who don't support her cheered. She rambled on about cap and trade legislation, CO2 levels, and the State of Washington being required to reduce carbon by 73%. She also said she believed in being a good steward. But then she said, "I am not a scientist."
If an oncologist says you have 6 months to live and you go to another one and she says the same thing, how many do you go to before you face reality? Or do you say, "I'm not a doctor," and ignore it? If climate change was a cancer, Cathy McMorris Rodgers is killing T cells.
*** Update: I almost forgot. When the town hall was over, some guy in a ball cap that said "Veteran" came up to me.
"I got a question for ya."
"What's that?" I asked.
"How come they haven't outlawed dihydrogen monoxide?"
"You're a funny guy," I said. But I was thinking, "You're a dick."
"Most of those tree huggers don't know what the fuck it is."
He should drink some dihydrogen monoxide from a source polluted by fracking. Then he'd learn a lot more impressive scientific names. And he could rave on about keeping government regulation to a minimum.
A friend took a chance on me and hired me to shoot cyclists taking part in the WunderWoman Triathlon this morning. It was a fun, yet nerve wracking experience. It's one thing to shoot for yourself, but it's a whole different deal when someone is paying you and expecting results. Hopefully, I did okay.
When I got my orange vest I was told to expect questions from people. Sure enough, not ten seconds later a woman asked me where the bike checkin is. Then she saw the camera. "Oh, you're the photographer."
My brother John came over for the weekend and he brought his single speed along. He's thinking about racing cyclocross single speed only this year just to see how it goes. This morning we headed over to Riverside State Park and had a blast riding the trails. There were a couple of hills that were pretty challenging. We had to start walking about three minutes into Five Minute Hill. We're both looking forward to a fun 'cross season, his on the west side and mine mostly here.
We ran across a guy riding a 29er who was carrying a small sidearm. What's up with that? Afraid of being waylaid?
There was a little excitement during lunch downtown today. Some kid stole an Elephant bike from inside the owner's house. The owner gave chase and apparently called the cops. The kid made for the center of downtown where was was quickly surrounded. I don't know how it happened but from the condition of the bike and his face he went down hard.
It's election season again. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is holding her Spokane town hall meeting at the Lincoln Center on Monday from 5:00-6:00 pm. What are her town hall meetings like? Here's a look at 2010, 2011, and 2013.
Unfortunately, my brother John was unable to come over for the ride. As a result, I thought I'd try riding my single speed and seeing how that went. I heard there was a group that planned to take it slow, connected with them, and was invited to ride with them. Last Thursday and Friday I took the single speed out on some hills. That forced a change in plans. The gearing I have is for cyclocross racing, not for climbing Midnight Century hills. So for the sake of doing something different I put cyclocross tires on my commuter bike and went with that. I wasn't going for a PR, but I wanted to finish in about 8 hours.
I didn't get much rest before the ride. The afternoon thunderstorm knocked out the power while I was sleeping. With no air and no fan I heated up quickly and woke up in a sweat. My planned three hour snooze ended up being a 45-minute cat nap. I was not feeling optimum.
By my probably-nowhere-close-to-reality estimation, 40-45 people showed up for the ride. David Blaine, Midnight Century maker and Central Food proprietor and chef, was there to take on the course with his newly refurbished single speed. Five or six of the Jimmie John's bicycle delivery crew were there to tackle the course. (The young lady from the store would become, I think, the second solo female to ever complete the MC.) There were a lot of first timers, which is cool. I forgot my cue sheet at home so I downloaded the PDF to my phone. It came in handy several times later on, but never before I misdirected. Funny how that works.
I wasn't with a group but I wasn't too worried about it because grouping tends to flesh out after a while. I thought I'd stick close to David since I forgot my cue sheet. He being the course creator, I assumed I would take fewer wrong turns if I was somewhere near him. And I was right. Unfortunately, when I wasn't around him I took several wrong turns and, once I checked my phone, had to backtrack to the course proper.
The thunderstorm had blown down lots of branches on the Centennial Trail, which made riding in a group a bit precarious. Branches and twigs would snap under tires, fly up, and threaten spokes and derailleurs. We had to dodge fallen wires and a tree on Upriver Drive.
Around the 45-mile mark, my friend Brian Johnson and his crew caught up to me while I was double checking to make sure I hadn't taken a wrong turn. Brian invited me to join them. They seemed to appreciate my cranking tunes on a Bluetooth speaker system and they were shooting for a sub 8-hour finish. Nice. We ground our way up the hills, over the gravel, through the washboards, and up more hills. I was really feeling the climbs. Each time I'd fall back while mostly everyone else seemed to ascend without much effort.
We had a couple of treats along the way. David had prepositioned some gallon jugs of water and a large bottle of Coke on the bridge in the gated off section of Dunn Road. Everyone got to fill their bottles and get a shot of caffeine if they so desired. About a mile after the brutal climb up Spangle Creek Road we rolled up on a strange sight. A gentleman had a table set up and was offering water, cookies, and bananas. Art Thayer said he had read about the ride and is inspired to get in shape and do it. He lives near the route and on this night he got up at 3:00 am, drove to this part of the course, and waited for passing riders. I scarfed down a banana and split a delicious home-made maple oatmeal cookie.
We finished up the last of the gravel going to Spangle, decided not to stop in Spangle, and then shook our bones loose on the washboard gravel on Jennings until we arrived at the Cheney-Spangle Road. From there we lined up and made our speed a minimum of 18 mph. The whole time we were on Fish Lake Trail all I could think of was that this would soon be over. We pulled into Central Food at 7:57, achieving our sub 8-hour goal. Whoo-hoo! I ate a great breakfast and washed it down with a large bottle of hard apple cider. Another great ride with some great people.
Taking a short break. Chris Walmsley (L) rockin' a single speed and Brian Johnson (R).
Finished the Spangle Creek Road climb and on the way to Spangle.
(photo courtesy of Brian Johnson)
Art Thayer (light blue shirt), oh-dark-thirty angel of mercy.