Monday, January 19, 2009

Off the Grid

Well, not exactly but, pretty much as out of touch as you want to be.

Friday we loaded the ‘old dog’ and the ‘new pup’ (Gunnar is a shop dog at Waterford), and headed west.

When we left Olympia on Friday it was about 43 dgrees and cloudy. I checked the NWS and the forecast was for an inversion inland. That means that, while it was 45 degrees or so and overcast in Olympia, at Paradise on Mt Rainier is was in the high 60's and sunny. The forcast showed that the inversion conditons were not predicted for the coast and there was a strong high offshore. We stood a good chance of some very nice weather! Great because we were hoping to ride our bikes and no rain would be a blessing.

A hard left turn off the info superhighway took us to a little place north of Copalis and south of Pacific Beach for some R&R. The two rides would get plenty of time for mutual butt sniffing, and the new pup would get an inaugural ride and some gentle break in. While in the hinterlands we would again become acquainted with the ancient ways: ‘Pen and Paper two point oh’, and ‘Book, one point oh’. If you can let go of ‘being connected’ you find it can be very liberating.

We got there too late for a ride, but not too late for a few more glam shots: (Love that low, late afternoon sun coming in off the ocean!)

Hey, look at those spokes! Enlarge this photo: see something funny going on there? First person to correctly identify and explain the significance in a comment to this blog wins the contest! (Thanks again for the attention to detail Cory, ... a fifth of Ol' Stump Blower coming your way!)

Once all the gear was stowed, there was nothing to do … but watch the Blue Pacific swallow the big orange sun.

There were indeed walks on the beach,

and plenty of riding up and down the coast. The Gunnar behaved perfectly for Mrs. C. Though it is easy to place way too much significance on how a bike feels or performs in the first 50 miles or so, it is not unreasonable to take some degree of satisfaction, or to build some hope if those first 50 miles or so are exceedingly enjoyable. And they were.

I took a little time apart to contemplate Martin, all he gives us and all he gave up. I often wonder how my opinion of Martin might have been shaped if he had not been murdered in 1968. What would his legacy have been if he had lived to be an old man? What would Martin say about Mr Obama being sworn in as President of the United States. Asked once if he thought a black man would ever be elected president, he said that he thought this could happen within 20 or 25 years. Martin was an optimist.

We were blessed with amazing sunny weather for the duration. A little chill (it is January after all) and of course wind at least one day, but the sky so achingly bright it would make a northwest boy’s eyes hurt. Even the early morning moon rise was a show stopper.

The waves, though not too big were pretty all the same and the beach patterns could mesmerize.

In no time at all it seemed three days had slipped by. The new bike passed with flying colors, and both seemed to play well together. We loaded the bikes back up and headed home.

We got home and unpacked in short order. It was still pretty chill both outside and in the house. You know how sometimes getting home from a vacation is sort of a downer and you find yourself sitting in the old man chair, sorting through the bills and flyers feeling a little empty, just sort of waiting, ... for darkness to descend, begin sliding back into the grind or something? Once we had all the dirty socks stowed, the smelly sand dollars soaking in a bucket of bleach, and the cat fed and ruffed up, Mrs C said .... “lets go for a ride.”

Man that sounded good to me! No loafing on the couch, watching the peace melt into a puddle on the floor that reflected the puple glow of the boob tube. The dope scope, the email, the blog posts, all could wait a little longer.

In no time at all we were back in riding togs, and out the door. I left the camera at home, thus ensuring that we would encounter many wonderous Kodak moments out on the South Bank road. There were swans gliding on flooded pastures, impressive flood damage to the road, red tail hawks PERCHED RIGHT ON FENCE POSTS! (I think I heard that Red Tailed Hawk taunting me “neener, neener, neener”, TAUNTING ME!) The Buffalo herd were right out next to the road complete with too cute buff babies (they are usually at least a 12X telephoto away). A couple fresh Holstein calves, bug eyed and running to mamma at the sight of geeks on bikes (is there anything in this world more clean than a fresh baby calf?)

I missed all these pics and I really didn’t mind. I know it was Gods way of telling me to be thankful for what I have, and I am, er, … was: It was a sunny day and we were out riding our bikes, .... a head wind on the return leg notwithstanding.

Hope you had as much pleasure this weekend as we did.


  1. Spokes are tied and, presumably, soldered where they cross.

  2. Yep, I agree with Steve. Tied + soldered.. looks like they're straight gauge spokes as well.

    Very nice post. After the flooding you've written about, you guys deserved a weekend like that.


  3. Nope, not straight guage. DT Revolution 2.0-1.5-2.0 on the front and th nondrive side of the rear, DT Competiion 2.0-1.8-2.0 on the drive side.


  4. This wouldn't have to do with the difference in cross patterns, hmm?
    (2x front, 3x rear I believe)

  5. NAh, I was just trying to bring attention to the elegant (but of debatable effectiveness) soldered and tied spokes.

    It's probably dry straw for you, and Jobst Brandt has nothing good to say about the practice, but I have ridden wheels with this special touch since about 2002 I think.

    I'm no bike wizard and I have all the sensitivity of a rhino, so it would be a stretch for me to say something so arcane as "Laterally stiff while vertically compliant" or similar blather. I can't say these wheels feel any different than "non-tied" wheels, but I like the look, I like the extra effort, the classic sense of this element ... and I just wanted to share a little peek at crafsmanship with the common people.