Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Prophecy Fulfilled!!

When the oncoming shift asked why we put the stuffed penguin onto an icicle, we replied, "So the Spokesman-Review will come take a picture of it."

Just another Christmas Miracle. My Gawd, they are stacking up.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Hey, a Hawaiian warrior helmet:

has formed upon the head of one of our tikis:

There has to be a Hallmark Christmas Special in this somehow. Something involving a volcano and Wilfred Brimley? I'm just spitballin' here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Walk home yesterday...

Was up all night at work. I think some people were just lonely, and dialing 9-1-1 will always get them a visitor. The walk home was right purdy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Not all who walk arrive.

Spotted this on my walk to work, this morning. It was in the middle of the street.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Hiked Downtown. Just about everything is closed. The streets were empty except for a car or two stuck in a crevasse.

Once again, human-powered transportation triumphs!

Not looking so good for the bike tomorrow. I will probably head to work on foot. I am looking forward to enjoying the luxury of two-wheeled transport once again.

The snow looks really good through this window...

Tried biking this morning in the 24 inches of snow in the street. For some reason it didn't work very well. I think I have found an alternate activity for today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Record snowfall "impacts" tikis!

Man, I hate when the TV news uses the word "impact/s" like I just did. Although, this isn't as bad as the other night when they were devoting every minute of the news to tell us how to survive when there is snow on the ground. The term "wintry mix" was used a lot. What the hell is a wintry mix? Chex Mix? Remember the old "snow event" term that the TV news would use, instead of just saying "snow" a few years back? I guess that's out of fashion... for now.

Well, after devoting an entire week's worth of news telling us to carry a blanket in our car or how pets' water can freeze when it's cold, the TV news' valiant efforts were wasted, when Saturday's eleven inches of snow didn't arrive. I wonder what local news we were deprived of due to their courageous efforts to prepare us for the megastorm. Perhaps a shampoo comparison or a puppies-are-cute segment.

They hedged their bets this time ( one to three inches)and we got clobbered today with ten inches (so far) of snow. I don't blame the weather people. Spokane is a pretty tough call. But, when the weather (no matter what it is) becomes the lead story night after night... arggggghhh!!

All to say - The tikis in my backyard are being buried! The tiki pond is still functioning (kind of). I don't know how long it will last. It's looking grim. Please send media coverage immediately! I also have a mini dachshund that doesn't like to shit in snow over her head, a cat that is mean and a parrot that is very nice. It sounds like some on-going coverage to me.

Some years ago, one of the local stations reviewed some office Christmas Party tips. There were slick graphics and funky music too. The tips you ask?

1. Remember to mingle.

2. Dress appropriately.

3. Don't drink too much.

I'm not kidding.

And there you have it. Now you don't need to watch this segment, when they re-invent it again this year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Icy, cold and fun...

Went to work yesterday at the usual 6:45, and came back this morning at about 8:30. The only place where the bike started to come out from under me was on 15th - both days.

It was the usual core temperature overheating but the appendages numb from cold.

I had to peddle up Monroe this morning. On Friday, I took the usual route home after a pediatric advanced life support class (which was really good by the way). I started spinning out where Lincoln hits Cliff. So I figured it was time to start the winter route up the hill.

It was about 7 degrees this morning. The river looked great. It is frosting up a lot of stuff. And it is certainly worth it to take a look. You can go to Riverfront Park and see what's left of the old light display from Qualchan - just the waving snowman up against the west end of the Imax. It always greets me, in its defunct and lit-up way, on my way to work. Thank you. I salute YOU. You are a survivor. Namaste.

I could've taken some great pictures. But, I didn't. I was pretty much fixated upon my home coming and the pre-heated sauna (thanks Sarah) which awaited. So instead, here's a picture of me at journey's end. Whooptyfriggendo!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A good compromise!

Last week, Sarah and I were walking downtown and noticed that the stairs at Lincoln and Summit were "closed." Every winter the city does this. I would imagine it's a liability issue they think they are avoiding by hanging up the sign. As usual, we wondered how many people every winter, trip over the cable that is "closing" the stairs and actually take a tumble - thanks to the city trying to avoid liability. Sort of like when I witnessed a Spokane police officer on TV muse that the city should stop painting crosswalk lines because this opens the city up for liability, when someone uses a well-marked crosswalk, and they get hit by a car. His thinking was that the city guarantees safety in a designated crosswalk and when that safety is violated, the city is responsible.


The picture above is of the Perry stairs. Yesterday, I discovered that the city has found an interesting compromise - just close half the width of the stairs.

The right side must be the down side, so no one will fall down the stairs - only up - on the left side if they slip on ice.

Sounds good to me!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My favorite hill.

John, in his always-excellent Cycling Spokane blog, recently wrote about his favorite hill .

That got me to thinking about my favorite hill. I rode up it, as usual, coming home from work yesterday. When the snow gets too deep, I will have to switch to going straight up Monroe.

When spring rolls around, I am always happy to be back on my usual route.

The usual route is to go up the hill on Wall St. between Deaconess and LC. When it dead ends, hang a right on the brick street which takes you up onto the parking lot. The trees smell very good on this brick-lined street - like pepper trees. Once you're in the parking lot, keep heading south and up. When you get to the street, turn right and head down the hill toward the stop sign. This is where all the Lincoln Streets and Lincoln Places and Monroe Streets funkify.

Take an immediate left at the stop sign - up Lincoln (trust me, it's Lincoln). It is one steep mofo. In the summer, the shade is fantastic though. Soon you peak out and, again, head down the hill. Lincoln splits up into 9th and Lincoln. Go left (Lincoln) - it's downhill and then back uphill, where you will see the stairs in front of you at Cliff Drive. Go right, at the stop sign, downhill and then, almost immediately, hairpin left up the hill. Turn right at the top of the hill and, guess what, you are back on Lincoln. Lincoln ends at Wall. That's right. You won't see Lincoln again for a while. Stay on Wall until it goes downhill and then hits 14th Ave. If you want, you can take a right on 14th and say hello again to Lincoln, where it seems to have jumped a couple of blocks to the west and is perpendicular to its former self. In fact, you really should. Me, I'll take a little jog to the west, and continue down and then up Wall.

Either way, you have to head up the hill some more.

I like this route because of the immediate and continual losses of hard-won gains in elevation. It is very cleansing - penitential if you will - after a night at work seeing some (and hopefully alleviating some) very strange, and often sad, problems. No matter how tired or cranky I am after work, this hill wakes me up and makes me happy.

As a bonus, I can always deviate a little and pay my respects to where all the street name weirdness comes to a head.

Here are some somewhat useless pictures of what I have been trying to say. The elevation is to 14th. I don't know if I believe the chart. I will have to GPS it someday.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mister Yuke's Christmas In the Zone...

Apparently, there is a Christmas album in the works... Knowing Mister Yuke, it should be released December 26th.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's Back!

Back by popular demand, the Santa Sleigh video. I hope it enhances your enjoyment of the holiday season. The music is Sleigh Ride performed by Flatulina - on one of my favorite Christmas albums. The new Colbert Christmas album is pretty darned good too. Here's a link to more Flatulinaness:

Monday, December 01, 2008

Where is this timely warning?

I always enjoy when the "Where is it?" question is asked at the Cycling Spokane Blog.
So, I thought I would take a shot. There may be more of these signs out there, but this one is on the South Hill placarded to an, obviously, secret and secure structure. Where is it?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nasty Rumor - ExMayor Hession and family to move to Campbell House...

My family and I paid a visit to the Campbell House at the MAC today. Always a treat. We did so, this year, because Dennis Hession, now CEO of MAC, announced that, because of budget constraints, MAC would soon be closing Campbell House to the public.

During this time of year, "they" like to involve the public in a "living history" motif throughout the mansion. It's fun (except for the witchcraft trial thing, I never understood this connection) and you learn a lot.

We "overheard" this sotto voce exchange between the hunchback butler (nice job by the way) and the Pakistani maid/burlesque dancer as they were fluffing Mr. Campbell's (RIP) pillow.

Butler: 'Tis a shame that the olde mansion will be closing soon.

Maid: Aye. I only hope that Mr and Mrs Hession will be as benevolent as our current employer who died 100 years or so ago.

Butler: All I know is that the shag carpeting that is waiting to be installed is surely most foul.

And on and on. I don't think this is funny. It is legendary how much time that Mayor Hession devoted to his duties at city hall. If it is true that he and the missus are moving to the exhibit, it only makes sense because he is probably working there 24/7, anyway.

I would certainly can the hunchback. The maid made very good hot chocolate however. Yum.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Trot!

A perfect day for running! The Turkey Trot is the funnest thing about Thanksgiving since Squanto convinced the Puritans that popping kernels of corn were actually demons which would possess their children if they did not worship satan.

It's a mighty melange of walkers and runners of all stripes. Strollers abound and so do dogs on leashes. Money and food is hauled in for Second Harvest. Everybody is in a festive mood. No registration. No official times. For some, no official course.

It's another great Spokane tradition!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Remembering the Sock Monkey...

We were doing some remembering of a fire we had on the east side of town, years ago. It was mostly in the attic above a garage. I got up into the scuttle hole and was crawling around, putting it out. Someone above me was cutting a hole inches above my head to ventilate. It was really hot, but became much hotter as burning pieces of freshly chainsawed roof were falling on the back of my turnout coat. Ouch.

But, I was the lucky one. This little fellow didn't have a chance. Imagine if there were feet in those socks.

For the rest of that summer, it seems like sock monkeys, as well as stuffed animals of the plush variety were turning up at almost every house fire.

Sock Monkey R.I.P. We'll always remember you with a smile on your face.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cork & Keg

Went to the Cork and Keg Festival last night. We hadn't done that in five years or so. Last time, Sarah and I walked to it, but this year's was in the valley, so we had to drive. Our friend was in from D.C., and he is a Washington wine fan. In fact, I don't know anyone who is a bigger cheerleader for WA wines than him. It borders upon obsession, me thinks. It worked out well that he was here for Cork and Keg... kind of.

Spokane has great wineries. We usually visit them all at least a couple of times a year. We always drink WA wines at our home and many are from Spokane wineries.

This was a short midweek visit from my friend, so we were only able to hit a few wineries before the festival. We had to drive up to Green Bluff and visit Townshend yesterday because we knew they weren't going to be at the Cork and Keg. As always, this winery visit was great. Jill is consistently a great host. The atmosphere is relaxed but not sleepy. It's a fun place. Townshend has a nice selection of gizmos and trinkets, but it isn't a gift shop that moonlights as a winery. Some places are. Townshend has a great variety of wines too. All are very good to excellent (in my opinion). You will buy at least one bottle there. The wine is that good. Most walk out with a case.

The majority of Spokane wineries are like Townshend - great places to visit - comfortable, friendly, relaxed and educational.

The Cork and Keg is what it is. It is almost the opposite of visiting a Spokane winery.

It's not really the festival's fault. It's just that there's a loud multitude of people - all scrambling to get their $40 worth of wine, beer and food. The vendors are friendly, but it's a frenzy - a packed frenzy.

I think it takes me five years to forget what bugs me about this wine (and beer) fest. I'll be back in 2013.

Monday, November 03, 2008

No Obama Equals Socialism!

Ah, Spokane Valley, you truly are not in the control group. This was by the Lowes on Sprague. Or maybe Obama isn't a socialist in the a.m. That must be it. Don't forget to send in your Haiku (see post below).

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Spotted this at the McDonalds on Third. There is something about the restaurants on Third. They all have a dirty, desperate feel to them. Yet, the Taco Bell has tolled for me, many a time. I don't know if this "Easy Cheese" container is some sort of smear against the mayor of McDonalds. There is some cheese remaining in an ejaculated state right at the tip of the actuator/nozzle.

This snapshot reminds me of something you might see as a prompt for a creative writing exercise. So how about this. Let's keep it simple. Haiku. 5, 7, 5. Submit your Haiku as a comment and I will post it to the body of this text, as well. Or you can email me directly. Either way, I'll put it here:

Extreme Haiku Poetry Corner Place

Compressed curds and whey
Squirts puddles of pleasure and
Makes my smile orange.

Cold crusty ending
A dying breath calls out for
Its quarter-pound love

Mayor McCheese weeps
A Fillet O Fish was his
Was burgled, instead

arches of gold lure me in
canned cheese seduces
but would you like fries with that?
Steve G.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Great weekend!

I can't remember a nicer weekend. Lots of visits from family and friends. Watched the cyclocross races at Liberty Lake. Walked up to The Scoop for ice cream and coffee. Nice runs and rides. Homebrew after the ride. All the while, the fall foliage provided an unbelievable backdrop!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kendall Yards' First Residents!

Years ago when the Kendall Yard project was announced, and the city couldn't move fast enough to remove tax impediments for the struggling developer, so this great thing could rise out of the superfund site, I told friends, "I'll believe it when I see it." Well, last week I was proved wrong.

Carnies have moved into Kendall Yards. Unfortunately, they only stayed a couple of days, and now it looks like they are moving out.

Actually, the carnival was set up for a movie they are making in Spokane, Give 'em Abalone, Mahoney! They needed a bleak backdrop for a haunted carnival set.

Spoiler alert - Mr. Withers, final act.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Strange copy on a billboard.

"Todd is a single parent and proud father of his daughter, Ciara."

I don't know what this has to do with his work as a county commissioner. Maybe the wheat ties it all together in some subliminal message. I don't know.

The strangest thing about the line is that it mentions three times in one sentence that Mr. Mielke has fathered a child - single parent, proud father, his daughter. They really want to drive the point home - in a very over-the-top fashion. Why?

Is there some doubt that Todd could not procreate? Ciara looks like she is related to her dad.

The intent of this sign always leaves me flummoxed. Am I missing something here?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Very Sad...

Woke up this rainy, dreary morning to a heart-breaking sight on our kitchen window.

People, remember it's time to bring those yellow jackets (and their nests) inside for the winter. And let's not forget the black widow spiders and, their larger cousins, the venerable seagulls. Pest ownership has its responsibilities.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

South Ben Burr Trail is all paved up... How about you?

They've built a lake next to it. It looks like they have put some sweet jet ski jumps in, as well.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Turmoil in their political home, I would imagine...

Observers of this yard have seen an escalation. A flag and garland for Obama. McCain got a bigger sign and a bigger pole (He probably needed it).

What's more telling is the back side of this sign. There's nothing behind McCain. Well, there you have it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The music will be loud, out of necessity.

Back when mullets were first sprouting, I would cruise Riverside in my Chevy Vega, singing along with Foreigner on the radio. Back then, I never would have imagined that 1. we would have a casino in Spokane. 2. That FOREIGNER would be coming to it. 3. That the concert would be presented by the American Association of Retired Persons.

I suppose songs like: Urgent, Head Games, Cold as Ice, Double Vision and Died in Your Arms Tonight have taken on a whole new meaning with this concert. Rumor is that they have rewritten Blue Morning, Blue Day into Blue Morning, Blue Hair. I look forward to hearing their GILF take on that.

I might go. Although, I really don't like to drive at night, especially after the Dulcolax kicks in. PARTY ON!!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Spokefest - a huge success! And a side of rant...

Congratulations to the organizers and volunteers of Spokefest. Yesterday was a great day. The ride was beautiful. I couldn't believe how many people turned out. The newspaper said there were over 1200. Bikes ran the gamut - from tricked out Stingrays to some beautiful racing machines. It was fun running into old friends and meeting some new ones. A lot of folks had questions about the Xtracycle.

Anytime we can get a lot of bikes on the road, it's good for us cyclists. Also, it's good for Spokane's drivers. They get used to having to share the road, and the sight of a bicycle not on a sidewalk doesn't freak them out.

Which leads me to my rant. I've been seeing more and more nice bikes riding on sidewalks. We've all become long accustomed to the indigent, transient population wobbling around on sidewalks, but lately there have been well-dressed, obviously well-off bicyclists on their fancy cruisers blasting down the sidewalks downtown.

It really gets your attention when they use the crosswalk at about 15 MPH. Hey NumbNuts, no driver (or cyclist) is expecting a speeding bicyclist in a crosswalk. They expect a slow moving pedestrian. As a driver/rider checks to his left, you are not there. When he finishes his left hand turn, your bike is on his front bumper or wheel. And, it's your fault.

Stay on the street. There are times in the winter, or maybe during some road construction where you may be forced to to briefly get up on a sidewalk. Don't ride any faster than you can walk. It's your responsibility to not hit a pedestrian and to make sure cars see you. Get back on the street ASAP. Your best bet (and the legal thing to do) is to walk your bike, if you are forced onto a sidewalk.

If you are too frightened to ride your bike on the streets downtown, don't ride downtown. Better yet, conquer your fear and ride on some of the less busier routes and work your way up. Remember to claim the lane as your own. Watch for people pulling out of parking spots or those in zombie-mode looking for parking. Stay clear of opening car doors that will clothesline you. Generally, drivers are very courteous and will give you a wide berth. But, don't let down your guard.

Seeing all the cyclists yesterday leads me to believe that we are really on the verge of a cycling revolution in our town. Thanks to all who are making it happen!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I-Home 2Go - a sound system for your bike!

I've been using this for the past 3 or 4 months. Rechargeable batteries seem to last a very long time.

The remote attached to the stem is simple - volume, pause/play, F, R, but it works very well.

The whole thing comes with a charger, a carrying bag and the cage-esque device in which the device sits.

I try to keep it turned fairly low. It's far too easy to become obnoxious with it. And you can turn it up pretty loud. My youngest son and I went out late at night, this summer, and played old French songs softly while slowly pedaling about. I wonder what dreams were spurned as Charles Trenet drifted into the open windows of those who slumbered.

Here is the link to the manufacturer

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A much nicer ride to Deep Creek!

Last year Sarah and I rode out to Deep Creek and the weather was inclement. 45 MPH winds and freezing rain.

This is the first time we we've ridden together there since then. Last year, I took the XtraCycle. This year, Sarah and I have faster rides. I am savoring these last hot days. It could stay like this for a very long time, as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The bees are back!! Swarm now to protect Mayor Verner from nincompoops!!

For the past seven or eight years, we've had a vegetable garden in our front yard. It's a practicality issue - the backyard is far too shady. In the last few years, I've made a truce with the many flowers that sprout up and intermingle with the eggplant, beets and beans. Flowers are now very welcome. They also attract bees of all varieties that seem to enjoy pollinating my vegetables as much as they do the flowers.

Besides attracting honeybees, the conversations that you have while weeding, with walkers and cyclists who stop to chat, are great. Also, many of them don't mind taking a zucchini or some beets home with them. Fantastic!

Lately, there seems to be a new push for an "urban homestead" mentality. I like it. The rising price of fuel, scarcity of water and disconnect from where we get our food has driven much of this. It would be cool to have some bee hives in our yard, and more fruit trees.

Mayor Verner has been taking a lot of heat for her water conservation platform. I don't think the Spokesman-Review did her any favors in the way they framed her stance. But hey, they have never really liked Mary and that's how they do business. The letters to the editor have been especially angry. Cha ching!

Rumor is Mary has received some telephone threats against her person regarding her desire to move Spokane toward common sense in its water usage. I am sure the threats have been anonymous. Oh well, I am sure these irrational bullies are a miserable lot - no matter what.

All to say, putting in a vegetable/flower garden in your front yard is a great way to meet neighbors, save water, enjoy good food and do something "commonsensical" in a society that has, for a long time, favored the detrimental "nonsensical." Our dwindling bee population will thank you too.

If some of these anonymous cowards spent more time pulling weeds in their own garden - making it a better place, maybe they would think twice before threatening people who want to make Spokane a better place.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's Back...

Well, whatever it is, it's back for Hoopfest weekend. I think the cement blocks for the guy wires holding up the mast is a change from last year. I will have to go back and look at old pictures. The whole thing is still unmarked. Definitely cell phone looking antennae.

A nice juxtaposition with the Vietnam War Memorial.

If it is a Homeland Security thing for Hoopfest, Evildoers may have found its weak link, as it appears to be unplugged.

I have never seen a receptacle like this at Miller's Hardware. It looks like you would have to special order it from Homeland Depot.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back from vacation...

Took a great trip down the coast to San Francisco and back up through Sacramento and the interior of Oregon. My family and I had a great time.

Used to be that going to places like Eugene or SF would make me think about moving there. Not anymore. Instead, this trip has renewed my belief that Spokane is a great place to live.

Every town in Oregon and CA that we visited had dedicated bike lanes and most had plenty of bicyclists on them. With gasoline costing $4.80 per gallon (NoCal), it's no wonder.

California was hot - really hot - pushing 100 in the city. It was also very smoky from all the fires. Lake Shasta is almost dry and there isn't much snow left on Mt. Shasta. I've never seen more people in the Bay Area. It is packed. One local writer stated that San Francisco is now just a playground for the Uber-Rich. There's not much of a middle-class there anymore because of the high cost of housing. There are plenty of street people, however.

Having spent my youth in this area, I don't think it would be possible to have the kind of outdoor, neighborhood and cultural experiences that were there in the 60s and 70s. When you have the richest one-percent owning over 50% of the stuff in the world, the Bay Area is all bought up. For sure, the economics of this disparity even effects the housing market here in Spokane.

Spokane is a great place, with great people and a great future. It is truly good to be back!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Morning - Always a great time to ride a bike in Spokane!

When I go to work or come home from work on Sunday mornings, I sometimes like to pick a route that is usually jammed with cars on a weekday. Bicyclists own the streets on Sunday mornings. The trick is to be on the road before the church-goers (usually running late or pressured for a prime pentecostal parking place) start their engines, squeeze behind the steering wheel and careen to worship.

They are sincere in their desire to slip the surly bonds of this earthly plane, and sometimes that sincerity can't help but spill into a desire to send pedestrians or bicyclists to see Jesus in a very real, immediate and violent fashion. Maybe it's like sending an advance person. I'm sure one would be in their prayers after one became one with their mini van.

Anyhow, the streets were clear this morning. Broadway, in front of the court house, was abandoned. It's hard to think of a more emotion-packed, life-changing place as this court house. It is always interesting to be there when court is in session. The place is packed. You can see the tension, the sadness, the relief and anger on people's faces as they stream in and out of the place. This morning - nothing - just peace and sunshine.

When the street is empty of parked cars, another little story gets told. What looks like grease spots on the pavement, under each parked car's engine, is more than just a spot. The multitude of hot engines, leaking oil and other precious automobiley fluids has, over time, eroded the asphalt into evenly-spaced craters - sometimes right down to the old brick.

Cars, judgment, oil, time, destruction, habit, Sunday, church, and the indestructible brick underneath it all. Somebody wiser than me can tie this whole thing together in a nice philosophical package. As for me, I am heading out for a Fathers Day bike ride with my boys!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hints about the disappearance of Camrytron...

No longer seen in the neighborhood, but perhaps this footage sheds some light...

Short survey on walking in Spokane.

This is from the SRTC to help Spokane walkers. I think the results will be similar to the work being done on the bicycle end of things. If you want to make Spokane a better place to walk, please click the link above to take the 5 minute survey.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Don't Forget Cereal Sale At Rosauers!

This is not a paid endorsement of Rosauers or of cereal. But, if you have big kids in your house, you need big cereal (with a big, big bite). Not enough of our reusable shopping bags for this trip, so I opted for paper, with the usual big plastic thing to protect the goods from rain. This plastic wrapper dealio makes Fun Unit Two (FU2) even more durable.

Years ago, when we bought our home, location was key. It was nice that we were close to a grocery store. Now, I think it's more than nice.

If I had a choice, I would never live farther than a comfortable walking distance from a grocery store. It's like having a pantry and deep freeze that takes up no room in your home. You can decide what you want to make for dinner every day by walking down and seeing what looks good or is on sale. I can't think of the last time I had to get in my car and drive to a grocery store. Before we moved here, a lot of time and fuel was spent "going to the store." And that's back when gas was around a buck a gallon.

When S gets off work, we walk down, talk about the day and walk back with groceries. It's a great part of the day. But for the cereal sale, you need FU2.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Jesus likes new bike...

Well, why wouldn't he, with its Italian heritage?

Took a little shakedown cruise up to Immaculate Heart Retreat Center. It's quite a different ride than the XtraCycle (which weighs close to 60 lbs). Clipless pedals are new to me as well, so there were some exciting moments along the way.

Thanks to Tomas at Two Wheel Transit for getting me all set up with this very sweet ride (Masi Speciale CX).

Now I have to hook up FUN UNIT 3 to the XtraCycle and go buy some manure and stuff.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Bike Ride and Memories of My Dad.

We all headed out to Fish Lake yesterday. It was a great bike ride (about 26 miles roundtrip from the house). The weather was perfect. The picnic at Fish Lake was great in so many ways. Even ran into a friend on the lonely trail, where running into anyone is a major event.

Ike rode the XtraCycle for quite a ways. He and Aidan are both in need of new bikes. They have outgrown them, for sure. So when Ike wasn’t riding the XtraCycle, he was on my mt. bike.

My first bike was one that I couldn’t ride. My dad was in between flying jobs and was working as a cop. I think we were in Colorado. He brought home a bike from the police station that had gone unclaimed long enough that he could lay claim with good conscience.

To a 3 or 4 year-old, the bike was a colossus. The top tube loomed over my head. My dad picked me up and placed me on the seat. While he held me, I looked at the pedals below. My legs would never be long enough. The bicycle hung around for a couple of weeks and then it was gone. I don’t know if he sold it.

My first real bike was a Super Spyder 500 – a Sears Stingray, basically. It had a silver metal flake banana seat, shining chrome and a gnarly five-speed shifter. With its green flake paint, it was a beauty.

My sisters received Spyderette bicycles and my parents each received a three-speed from Santa that year too. Not bad, considering the financial straits we were in.

There were occasional family forays around the block, but mostly it was me pretending my bike was an airplane, a race car or a spaceship while tooling around the neighborhood.

Later, as a teen, when I went through flying lessons to earn my pilot’s license, I was surprised at how unlike bike riding flying is. You are pretty busy all the time, and if you’re daydreaming when you’re flying, you are probably screwing up.

Yesterday, I was doing a lot of daydreaming about my dad while riding. He always had a soft spot for bicycles. I think part of it was he really liked gadgets (yes, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree). He would never admit it, but he was an environmentalist who always drove the smallest cars he could find. He owned one of the first Honda automobiles in the US. I remember him buying it at a motorcycle dealership.

My dad was the one who introduced me to science fiction. Later in life, fueled by an unfortunate religiosity, he denounced science fiction. He had come to believe that UFOs and so many other things were “demonic.” Very sad.

Dad had come from very humble, very heartbreaking circumstances. His dad was taken away from him (due to mental illness) at a very young age, and his family remained very poor. He did a very good job as a father considering what he had.

My dad and I also shared a passion for politics. Unfortunately, later in life, we were at opposite ends of the spectrum on most issues. But, sometimes we would both surprise ourselves at having gone so far to each end, we were both in the same place.

Dad often talked of opening up a bike shop on the Newport Highway, not too far from where we lived. I would tell him that no one bicycles the Newport Highway. His response was that people would if they had a reason – his bike shop.

Dad was a veteran of the Hiawatha Trail and he enjoyed the Centennial Trail. He was always geared up to the max – spare tires, tubes, lights, cell phone, first-aid kit. He needed an XtraCycle. Too bad he never got a chance to see one.

After Dad retired from being an airline pilot, he tried selling Dahon folding bikes. I don’t think he sold any, but he really liked talking to people at trade shows and on the phone. And he bought a few to give away. He was a generous guy to very many.

He never really liked riding in traffic of any sort. I really do. But when I am riding on a trail, I can let my mind wander a bit, and I always think of my dad. I think about how much he would have enjoyed the scenery. I wonder about the advice he would dish out and what plans were in the works. We would have argued about politics for sure – proclaiming each other – CRAZY.

Mostly, I would’ve liked to ask him about the flying and bicycle thing. Isn’t riding a bicycle more like what you would have thought flying would've been like? Hoped it would be like? Carefree, fast, elegant and natural. I really don’t know how he would’ve answered.

I do know that I felt pretty close to my dad while my family and I pedaled our way to Fish Lake and back. Later in the day, we went to visit his grave like you’re supposed to do on Memorial Day. He couldn’t have been further away.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I emailed this to the Spokane Waste to Energy Plant today...

"Hello, I dropped off some stuff to be recycled and also some stuff for the tipping floor today. First, let me say what a great job your staff does. They are always friendly and helpful. But there is, as usual, one "downer" about the waste to energy plant. The dozens of bicycles that are in the appliance area, waiting to be disposed of, is an appalling sight. Some of these bicycles look almost new. The rest have salvageable parts.

With the price of gasoline being what it is, there are many folks who could use a bicycle at little or no cost. There are some organizations that are trying to help put bicycles into people's hands. One that comes to mind is Pedals 2 People in Spokane.

Is there any chance of having a recycling spot where people could drop their bikes off? It could be much like the household chemicals thing, where if someone needs a product that someone has left at the recycling table they take it. If too many bicycles stacked up in your recycling area, they could be brought into town - the West Central, East Central or Hillyard neighborhoods, where they could be put to good use.

I am sure you see a lot of good items go to waste out there, but for some reason the mound of bicycles always gets me!

Thank you!"

This picture is NOT of the bicycles, but it is rather nifty. Also, if you want to contact the waste to energy plant, here is their email:
Or click here!

Pedals 2 People Link