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Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

Two Years in the Saddle

June 7, 2015 Leave a comment

It’s been about two years since I decided to try my hand at riding a bike.
These days the notion of my riding my bike to work seems almost mundane.
Especially during the summer. The excuse to not ride mainly comes from having to lug a computer back and forth, or meetings, or some similar activity but the fear of doing the trip has all but disappeared.

Yet I am still no spandex wearing bike riding.
I do not feel comfortable have that sort of exposure and why I see a few larger gents wearing biking stretchy bike clothing I just don’t feel I can. Hell I still feel not fearing a jacket even on hot days. It’s a small quirk but one of my own. But recently I have had the idea of getting some bike knickers.
Which turned out to be an interesting time in trying on clothing.
I could either get a fit in the waist or the thighs. Sure there was one pair that fit pretty well in both but when I gazed into my reflection I was rewarded with moose knuckle that I would need to be lead singer in a band to pull off.
And I am no singer.
Hell I’m not even the back up tambourine player, I’m just some guy.
So I broke out a sewing machine and altered a pair of pants that I had been meaning to hem for at least 3 years.

Short pants, tall socks, and heavy boots.

Short pants, tall socks, and heavy boots.

Yesterday it was a beautiful day in the 80s and set out for my longest ride as I decided a voyage from my home in Ballard to Woodinville for a beer, a look around, and perhaps milkshake on the way back would be a good idea.
Now when I say “Longest trip” this has all the fanfare of being something for me. Sure only a few weeks ago I had done 31 miles without many issues but this was nearly 50. How near? Well 2 miles under had I gone stopped at the Sloop on the way back it would have been that magic number but considering my ride back took almost 4 hours because I putzed around it’s fine.

Around 3pm I decided to set out.
It being a hot day I put on a white linen shirt, grey undershirt, my brown knickers, tall wool socks and heavy boots, stuffed a bandanna into my pocket and filled a water bottle. First thing to note I should probably use my second water bottle. Not that I became dehydrated but I could have used more water at each stop and my 24 oz bottle just wasn’t enough. So the ride out was great. I made it past 192 Brewing in what felt like no time. I made excellent progress along this route and had no need to stop. It was sometime later when winding through Bothell that I made a minor mistake.
I should have taken the Sammamish River Trail but I kept on the Burke Gilman. Not a huge issue but the Burke suddenly dumps onto a road in Bothell.
And by road I don’t mean a nice divide one with a bike lane, well it had a bike lane for a while, but a 2 lane country road with a small shoulder. Yet it was fun.
Eventually I passed an area I recognized from Summer Concerts at San Michelle Winery but the thing is all the times I went down that road in a car it felt like nothing. On a bike it actually had some distance which makes me wonder just how long that road is and how fast I must have driven down it?

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At Redhook there were a lot of bikes. I regret not taking a picture because many had cleared out by the time I left. Yet the one thing that was really different between me and them was the clothing. Bikes, accessories, hell attitudes I’m certain were very similar but I had not gone into typical bike wear. Still as much as I judged them for their choices on what to wear I wager each bike I passed or passed me made similar judgments about me.
Or maybe they didn’t, I don’t know.

What I know is my love of Redhook is mostly over. Sure it’s not a bad beer, by any stretch but, to be frank, it is not the glorious beer it once was to me. Perhaps I am more picky or it has grown too much but the distinct lovely flavor of the ESB that I enjoyed many years ago just doesn’t thrill me as much. That being said the Apple Ale was surprising and Long Hammer is still Long Hammer. Thought about getting the Blackhook but it was warm and a lighter beer sounded good.

Then back on my bike for the return trip.

Now why did it take me hours to return?
Well I went rather slowly. The trip up had been a good trip but I really enjoyed the way back. I stopped to chat on the phone twice at different times. Stopped into Third Place Books and noticed it had both changed and not changed, had a milkshake at Kidd Valley, and looked at the same expanse of Beach on NE 130th that is trying to be saved. The way back was really about enjoying the trip while the way up had been about getting there. About proving to myself I could do that trip.
Like when I biked to Chuck’s for the first time years ago this trip was about doing something I didn’t think I could do.

Now I have one small admission.
A number of years ago a coworker told me that he would drive out to Woodinville, do a load in, bike home, hang out, bike back, load out, and drive home.
At the time this seemed like an impossible journey and I was living much closer than I am now. Had I not been so taken with had tough that seemed and really thought about it I wonder what sort of Bicycle Adventures I could have had?
I wonder what sights I could have seen and where I could have gone?
Instead I am making up for lost time and capturing these trips when I can.
Still I look forward to all of the bike adventures I will have now that I realized distance is a thing.
And soon I will try my had at Dexter Hill.

The Doppelganger on the 91

March 11, 2009 Leave a comment

It was July, boiling and no relief came from the cool breeze of the Pacific. Half awake sprawled on the double sideways seat near the rear doors of the number 91. My fedora mostly covering my eyes, my back pack as a pillow and a Hawaiian shirt toping off the outfit in a kind of mocking cool, I didn’t believe I looked good just different. After all that’s what mattered more. Not being some cookie cutter clone of a carbon image but trying for something individual.
In other words I had the look and feel of a classic dweed trying to be cool but nonchalant about it.
Didn’t really matter because at summer school. We couldn’t really be cool because there was no one to impress, just a handful of facts to be memorized and part of our freedom taken away.

That ride was my meditation. Through the kids going to the beach, or the adults going to and from work and all the rejects of other schools riding home I’d lay there listening to the road. Putting the few facts I stumbled on that day into order. Forgetting the host of people having a better time than me. The others that weren’t shackled to the bus but rather librated to go or come as they please.
In whatever form that came I’d wait out the ride and eventually get home. Disappear or hang out. It didn’t matter this was my last summer before adulthood and I tried to take some kind of advantage of it. If nothing else there was that MUD I had just found.

Then I came in.
I stopped and looked down at myself.
Electricity was in the air as I looked into my own eyes thick glasses in front of the same black brown eyes, mouths agape each of us looking for the words.

Here I way laying there I, or he, was staring down at me. We were the same but different. A different set of choices put him in a t-shirt and jeans and me in my poser cool garb. Both uncaring but for different reasons neither really confident or I don’t think he was as confident as I tried to be. I wanted to know what made him him and me me. What was the major difference but I got scared and couldn’t ask.
The bus jerked forward and he walked the couple steps to sit in the back.
I felt his eyes for the next few stops until I couldn’t take it and had to get off. I knew I fucked up but I couldn’t phrase the words right.
Couldn’t think the right way to say I knew it was me but also no me. Knew we were alike but different and that’s what haunted me. Was it just superficial or was there something more there?

Wandering over to Clark I tried to figure how the conversation would have gone. Did he have any better idea what was going on than I did or was he too trying to find that balance that I hoped existed. Did he have high hopes for the future or was it just me.
Did he have a girlfriend?
A part of me figured he must have known the answer because I didn’t.

Today over a decade after that event I still feel his wake. Coming from people who swear they know me but I figure they know him. Claiming I worked on shows that I wasn’t around for or couldn’t have done in places I’ve never heard of. Maybe if I try hard enough and go enough places I will run into him again. This time I’d like to be the cool one and him the dweeb.

Dreams of Midget Town

June 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Most kids that grew up in Long Beach, Lakewood, and other outlaying cities have heard wild tales of a town with houses meant for tiny people. Some even went looking for this place only to come back with wild tales and a night gone. My story isn’t too much different.

It began at Bolsa Chica, like a lot of summer nights, with a bonfire burning and the boredom of a night spent hanging out in a parking lot doing the usual shit that teens get up to on summer nights or perhaps back to someone’s house for a few movies and then home by the time the sun rises. When the beach patrol rolled by saying the beach was closed and to get the hell out we piled into the whale that one guy drove, chucked our cups of coke and whiskey and he started driving. Leaving the beach and turning onto PCH, we end up at a parking lot sitting on car hoods listening to Rodney on the Roq, bumming cigarettes and being bored. We get to telling ghost stories and legends and someone brings up Midget Town and says they know the way. So we follow.

Fueled by youth, excitement and black velvet we head into a wealthier part of Long Beach. With the promise of glory and midget sized town stop at the Ferris Bueller house, ring the bell and run away screaming ‘Save Ferris’. Dashing through the dark streets and back alleys, we follow our guide and his strange directions. Stopping in places to double back and finally coming to a hedge ‘On the other side’s Midget Town’ he swears and we climb the thing. On the other side is the manicured grass of a golf course. He shrugs saying him and his cousins came through and there was Midget Town.

We start to argue.
The sound of a car pulling up stops us and we take off across the grass. All swearing it’s the cops come to get us. Through another set of bushes and doubling back through the streets we pile into the whale and take off.

A bit later at Denny’s we talk about the night. Like adventurers come back from fights with head hunters and pygmies, the weird and exotic inside the boundaries of the south land. Our waitress isn’t impressed with our round of cokes and sampler, our tales of near arrest and saving Ferris. Putting down the bill she tells us in her day Midget Town was up in Hollywood.

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