Monday, December 31, 2007

45 minutes from Downtown - without a North-South Freeway...

Near nature? Near perfect? On a day like this, you can almost believe the slogan. Mt. Spokane is an amazing spectacle today. How many cities have such a great destination right in their backyard?

This may seem like I am changing the subject, but bear with me. How's about we 86 the North-South Freeway and build a North-South lightrail instead? You could run it right through the abandoned switchyards in Hillyard. Put bike and pedestrian paths in too. How far could you take it? Why not to the base of Mt. Spokane? Have a shuttle bus service, maybe even a tram, to the the top.

A skier/tourist could stay in Spokane and get to the top of the mountain in less than an hour. In the fall, Greenbluff would be a destination. Everyday commuting would be a snap. Less pollution. Less upkeep. Spokane would be a destination for skiers. Mt bikers would dig it in the summer.

Now, I know we're not Aspen or Sun Valley. But, hey most of the country doesn't have anything like we have. And we could be a very economical, yet very cool place for bicyclists, skiers and kayakers to visit.

I mean there are commercials everyday for BRANSON! How did that happen?

On the way home from skiing, we put our car in the grooves of I-90 and let the autopilot take over. That's right - the grooves they fixed a couple of years ago.

I think freeways are necessary, but do we ever sit down and think about the toll they extract? For whatever reason, they just don't stay repaired for very long (unlike the freeways in Europe). Scam? Poor workmanship? Overuse? Studded tires? Built-in work forever? I don't know. But a North-South freeway is going to cost a lot to keep up.

And the costs in other ways are pretty substantial too. Look at beautiful LC High School standing in the shadow of the concrete. Visualize how the South Hill once flowed into Brown's Addition. What freeways touch they kill.

Lastly, it is proven that freeways enable urban sprawl. What if you had to choose between living in Spokane, close to where you work or living in Mead or Elk. Would a North-South freeway encourage you to live further away? You bet it would. Why are my tax dollars going to be spent so you don't have to contribute your property tax dollars to my city? Why will I have to pay so you can pump carbon monoxide into my lungs? Again, I realize that there is a need for freeways, but urban sprawl is a consequence of fulfilling that need.

Anyway, the point is probably moot, now that it looks like we east-siders will have to foot the bill for the freeway. We're not very good about that. Hoorah!!!

Anyway, all to say, a North-South choo choo would be very cool, and a North-South Freeway is a bad idea. Oh yeah - And Mt Spokane rocks!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What I did with those lights...

After I took off the LED Christmas lights from the bicycle, I really felt bummed to put them away. So instead it was a pretty easy job to cut out a small rectangle from a campaign sign, drill some holes, get out the bungee chords and go to town. I've got my eyes open for all blue lights. I think that would look keen.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mister Yuke's tribute to his favorite Spokesman-Review columnist!

Click on the link above to listen. It's obvious he is dealing with some sort of infatuation with Ms Milsap. He says the work is cathartic, but I swear I hear him sobbing at the end. Maybe not... And where's the ukulele music, Mister Yuke, eh?

Here's a link to the lyrics.

Thanks Mister Yuke, and I hope you get feeling better.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Great Ride Home This Morning

Originally uploaded by Griffith Family

I almost forgot again to take a picture of the tires, but here they are. I will quit with the glowing recommendations. I am beginning to sound like a commercial.

Suffice it to say, after a night of some firefighting and medical calls, they helped this old man get up a very big hill!

I am also posting a picture of E-3 in its holiday finery. I will try to get a better picture. This one is from KREM 2 and you really can't make out the fancy work with medical tape and holiday garland. But, look for it around the city - and feel the magic!

Hope it enhances your enjoyment of the holiday season.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Reporting live from the Tiki Pond!

Man, the cell phone sure does a wacky job of "vidya-makin'."

Put studded tires on the bike a couple of weeks ago. They make a difference. I was going to take some pictures, but I leave really early (in the dark) when I go to work, and always forget.

Coming home, it's uphill, and the tires have done great, especially when it's icy or compact snow. If you've been thinking about putting on studded tires (for your bicycle), I recommend it. I ordered mine from Bike Tires Direct.

They're the Tundra Wolf tires. I received them less than 24 hours after I ordered them - with just regular shipping. They have worked just fine on dry pavement too.

I haven't had to use the car yet to get to work and back. The gasoline in the Geo's tank has greatly appreciated in value. Too bad it can only hold 8 gallons or so.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tis the season!

Originally uploaded by Griffith Family
Wouldn't it be nice if the city celebrated the last day of legalized walking every year?

Soon, the sidewalks will be covered in snow from plows that have cleared the roads for Spokane's official mode of transportation. A clearer message has never been transmitted concerning walkers vs. drivers.

How about a parade every autumn to celebrate the legal closing of stairs and the anticipation of the unofficial closing of sidewalks? Perhaps a choreographed arresting of all who dared walk in the parade!

I'm not bitter.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Deep Creek Adventure...

Originally uploaded by Griffith Family
We started out with a few sprinkles and no wind. About 2 miles into it, the rain really started coming down.

Deep Creek is as beautiful as ever. Sarah and I had a nice cup of tea and some snacks before we turned around. It was a little over 30 miles round trip. We had a good gust of wind as we came back home through Riverfront Park. It pretty much stopped us cold in our tracks. Gusts are supposed to be around 50 today. I wouldn't be surprised if this one came close.

We were gone about 3 hours. The temp was in the lower 40s.

Saw a bald eagle on the river. I didn't think they would be around this time of year. The big white tail and huge size were unmistakable. Although I wish I could've taken a picture for all you osprey fans!

The basalt at Deep Creek is unique and staggering to look upon. And there is no one else there. You feel like you could be deep in the wilderness or transported to a prehistoric time. Or it could just be hypothermia.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloweenies Beware!

Friends of mine have a couple of these signs up at their front door. Sorry about cutting off the bottom of the picture, The sign reads: "Halloweenies Beware! (and then the descriptive list) Grandparents reside on the premises.

This is fair warning to all trick-or-treaters that they are receiving candy from:

Left wing, flaming liberal, bleeding heart, one worlding, government trusting, union supporting, peace marching, patriotic, tree hugging, PBS and NPR belonging, citzen activist, pointy-headed, neighborly, long memoried, radically Catholic


Scary! Sends chills down my spine!

I would suspect liberal amounts of candy from these folks...

Handouts, handouts, handouts. When will it end? Probably around 9 pm on October 31st.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fish Lake Trail in Fall...

Promised Aidan last week that we would do the Fish Lake Trail this weekend. This morning, he stumbled out of bed, looked out the window and scratched himself. It looked like it would either rain or snow. I thought to myself - I'm off the hook. He won't want to bike in this! Was I wrong. "We're still doing Fish Lake, right Dad?" He would have none of it. I even offered a different shorter ride.

The Rosauer's billboard read 42 degrees. Luckily, we were well provisioned with hot tea and chocolate. We rode through Vinegar Flats across 195, Marshall Road and then on to the trail. This was Aidan's first time on the Fish Lake Trail.

We went 10 miles past Marshall and the "tunnel." A little tea and hot chocolate and we turned around and headed home, up the hill and back home.

It seems to me that there is more pavement on the trail than last year, but it could just be my imagination. I kinda like the different toppings. There aren't very many people on the trail.

Maybe one more (trip out to Cheney have a couple of beers and turn around) before the snow flies.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rockin' Roller Derby! Lilac City Roller Girls last night....

You knew there was going to be trouble. There has always been bad blood between the Toothless Annies and the Pretty Deads. Everyone knows that. And last night, that bad blood was spilled - on both sides. This is one sports team that I can get behind.

Forget THE SHOCK. Forget THE CHIEFS. Forget THE INDIANS. Spokane has been gifted with these wheeled vixens and we need to acknowledge that. Elbows and fists were flying, and so were the skaters themselves - right into the fans! Think of NASCAR without the cars and you're heading in the right direction.

November 16th is the next derby. Tickets are on sale at Boo Radleys.

The only downer was that the convention center ran out of beer before the event even started. There must have been 10 convention center people working it, so it must have cost a lot to have it there. No beer? OK, make that two iced teas. Here's a 20. Oh you don't haver change?!?! Come on convention center. You better do better than that!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Autumn does Spokane!

Originally uploaded by Griffith Family
I am really beginning to believe that the best way to come to appreciate our town is on bicycle.

I've been commuting by bicycle in Spokane (sometimes more fervently than others) since 1982. But, it's just been the past 10 years or so that I have felt comfortable to "mix it up" in traffic. Also with aging knees, I find I am more inclined to get on my bike for exercise than to run some days. And the payoff is a scene like this. Throw in the smells and sounds that you can only obtain on a bike and it's simply the best.

Talk to someone from Portland. They gush about their town. Visit Portland, you will too. I wonder how much if this appreciation is due to the evangelizing power of the bicycle. I would suspect quite a bit.

Riders come to appreciate their town, and by riding in auto traffic, they show others that they aren't tied to the car. You can get fresh air, exercise, adventure and a healthy dose of beauty - simply by going to work or the store in a more fun fashion.

All to say, if you're so inclined. Dust that bike off. Pump up the tires and go for a short ride in your neighborhood. You might be surprised at what's out there!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Unfortunate signage.

These signs are plastered on Spokane fire stations and other official "safe places." I will admit that perhaps I am reading more into this, but everyone I've talked to who have seen these signs, see "it" too. There has been much pondering of the image juxtaposed with the words "safe" and "place." What and where?

At least it shows that Spokane has become a more accepting, tolerant (safe?) place in terms of interracial relationships and apparently all relationships for that matter.

Anyway, hats off to the designer of the logo. You pulled it off. People bought it and there it is. The arrow may have been a little over the top.

Et tu, McGruff?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Feeling Strong Now

Saw this weight bench in an alley. I had just watched the movie Rocky Balboa.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Spokane Street Basketball - Formal Attire Required!

Originally uploaded by Griffith Family
So much for Spokane's reputation as a laidback berg. Caught these two gentlemen engaged in sport. The sweat-soaked polyester was a powder blue blur at times. One more nod to this gentlemen's game - as one player pulled another down from a layin - by his cummerbund, no less, his opponent allowed him a freethrow as an apologetic compensation. Here here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

XtraCycle participates in motored bicycle gathering...

Opportunity knocked again!

Hey, the masts are up this morning on the white truck in Riverfront Park!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Better pictures of truck.

Coming home this morning, I made sure my camera setting was correct and took a couple more pictures. The masts are still down (it is the weekend). I hadn't noticed the concrete barriers before. Also, there is some kind of dish antenna in the front of the truck. You can click on the picture to get a larger file.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Things you see while biking around Spokane...

Sorry about the low-res image. I also took a picture of the Xtra-cylce parked next to 3 motorcycles and the fire engine in my station when I got to work this morning. Very cool. But, I didn't realize my cellphone camera had flipped into low-res mode. Argggh.

Anyway, I digress. I saw this truck parked at Riverfront Park, kind of hidden in some trees the other day whilst biking home form CompUSA. So I stopped by on my way to work this morning to take the picture. The other afternoon, the antennae were extended and they blended in to the multiple flag poles there. They looked a little thicker than flag poles, more like a ship's masts. There's a generator behind the truck and the whole thing is fenced off.

Anybody know what the story is?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mega-addition to nursing home!

This was always a somewhat small building. One story. Now there are girders in place to envelope the original strucuture and take it up two or three stories. It looks like it will be at least 10 times the size of before, and will spread out across the whole block. A neat idea in that the residents won't have to move during the remodel.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

As seen in Auntie's Bookstore...

No matter what you think of Dan Quayle, you have to admire the title of his autobigraphy! it's even marked down!!!! And yes, this is a hardback.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Shrinking, icy Manito Pond makes it easier to feed the ducks.

Originally uploaded by Griffith Family.
A couple more days of this cold and the ducks will have to stack themselves in what's left of the pond.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Elite Traveler Magazine - as found in Spokane's Hotel Lusso...

Hotel Lusso - a great place! Beautiful big rooms. Tasteful decor. An awesome restaurant. And in every room a $35 magazine. It was a little larger than most magazines, but a ton more ads. Nothing from the Franklin Mint or Sea Monkeys, however.

If you are looking for a bargain, you can subscribe and get a year's worth (6 issues) for less than $200.

"Elite Traveler is the essence of luxury." When you think of it that way, it almost seems too cheap.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

You drive over it a lot...

Some cellphone video of the Monroe Street Bridge and falls. There are some new viewing areas (at least new to me) off the north bank, right at the foot of the bridge and smack-dab over the river. Well worth checking out! This is January 6th. It should even be more impressive in a couple of months.