Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

With only two weeks of summer remaining it’s high time I updated you about what’s been happening in the Ring household.

For the second year Troop 820 (Thomas’ Boy Scout troop) held an unofficial “family camp” in June. If you recall, last year we went to Idaho for three days of biking. This year we drove to La Pine, OR, where we camped in the “high desert” at 4100 feet. I was huffing and puffing there for two days before I realized that the altitude was the problem. During a bike ride to the shower I figured out that deep breaths counteract the lack of oxygen. Once I knew that, I no longer dreaded getting off my ass and walking to the next campsite. While we were there, the boys enjoyed a long bike ride and floating down the Deschutes River. It wasn’t really that warm but I think the altitude made it feel warm.
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Best Tornado Footage I’ve Ever Seen

Shot near Austin, MN on June 17, 2009.

Morning Bike Ride

Distance: 4.8 miles
Riding time: 32 minutes
Max speed: 23.8 mph
Average speed: 9.0 mph
Temperature: 64º
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Sunday morning, 2 am

Somebody said they saw me, swinging the world by the tail
Bouncing over a white cloud, killing the blues

Wait? What’s that? Someone is spraying me with water.

“What the hell!?!?!”

I think I just woke up Tina. She asks me what’s going on.

“The wind blew the fly off the tent.”
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Memorial Day Family Bike Ride

Distance: 11.8 miles
Riding time: 98 minutes
Max speed: 20.3 mph
Average speed: 7.2 mph
Temperature: 70º
Soundtrack: n/a

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Evening Bike Commute

Distance: 13.5 miles
Riding time: 90 minutes
Max speed: 20.4 mph
Average speed: 8.9 mph
Temperature: 45º
Soundtrack: none
Route:

  • 164th to Old Evergreen Highway
  • Old Evergreen Highway to Interstate 205
  • Interstate 205 bike path to Airport Way
  • Airport Way to 158th Ave
  • 158th through subdivision to Fremont
  • Fremont to 156th Ave
  • 156th to home via “the private drive”
This was my first ride since mid-December and, more notably, the first ride from my new job. Although the route seems straightforward, I did not note all the sidetracking and goose chasing I did because of my unfamiliarity with the route. At one point the bike route sign pointed to a road that was marked “Dead End” with another sign. Since there was a bike path only yards away, I took that instead. 10 minutes later, I’m on a freeway ramp getting onto Interstate 205. I had to turn around and ride the shoulder in the wrong direction in order to get back to the aforementioned “dead end.” It did, however, lead me to the Glenn Jackson Bridge which has a bike path that runs down the middle of the bridge between the 8 lanes of auto traffic. The bridge spans about 2 miles and over a mile of that is downhill. Still, when I reached Airport Way I was pretty exhausted and limped home the rest of the way.

Holiday Road: Day 13

Wednesday, January 2

Tina’s only “must-see” in southern California was the La Brea Tar Pits in the middle of Los Angeles. La Brea was closed on New Year’s Day so we visited it on our way out of town. Despite the fact that their gift shop is full of dinosaur memorabilia, nobody has ever found dinosaur bones at La Brea. In fact nothing older than 60,000 years has been found there.

Outside the museum we watched the methane gas bubble up in the little lake and marveled at tar pits that had only recently appeared in the grass. As I repacked our luggage in the roof rack, I asked Tina if we should use the tarp. A passerby in the parking lot asked where were going. When we told him “Oregon”, he said that we were headed into a big storm and that we should definitely use the tarp.

It took forever to get back onto the freeway but we did finally see that elusive “Hollywood” sign. After grabbing some Thai food, we finally found the freeway and began the long drive to Redwood City in the Silicon Valley to visit my friend, Rob, whom I’ve known since my first day as a freshman at Wartburg College.

Predictably, we were behind schedule and the drive took longer than expected, so we didn’t arrive at Rob’s until evening. Even so, we spent several hours with him playing on his PS3 (Ratchet & Clank, Guitar Hero 3), watching David Letterman’s first show since the writer’s strike started and just talking. Finally, at 3:00 AM, Rob, Thomas and I retired because at least two of us had a long drive ahead of us the next day.

Evening Bike Commute

Distance: 19.3 miles
Riding time: 109 minutes
Max speed: 32.6 mph
Average speed: 10.6 mph
Temperature: 75º
Soundtrack: Science Friday
Route:

  • Alder to 1st
  • 1st to Salmon
  • Salmon to Hawthorne Bridge
  • Hawthorne Bridge to Springwater Corridor
  • Springwater Corridor to Powell Butte
  • Various trails over Powell Butte to 162nd
  • 162nd to home

What a glorious sunny afternoon to ride my bike the long way home. It was a tremendous effort to climb Powell Butte – one that found me laying down, gasping for breath on the side of the trail at one point – but it was well worth it. On my way down the north side of the Butte, I wondered how hot my brake pads were getting. My rims were plenty hot when I got to the bottom and as I touched the front rim, I heard the distinct sound of air leaking from the front tire. At least it didn’t blow out when I was flying down the hill at 35 mph.

It took me about 15 minutes to pull the tube out and install my spare. I was actually pretty refreshed when I got back on and pedaled towards home. How surprised was I when I came upon this at 162nd and Division:

The picture is pretty blurry (you can click on it to get the full-size version), but it’s a car that had run up a telephone pole and came to rest in a vertical position. Somebody at the scene reckoned he must have been going 100 mph or better. I asked around and they said it had happened about 15 minutes before.

Now picture this: me in the bike lane at that moment had my bike tire not gone flat 15 minutes before. Freaky, huh? More pictures on my Flickr page.

Morning Bike Commute

Distance: 11.0 miles
Riding time: 55 minutes
Max speed: 27.2 mph
Average speed: 11.8 mph
Temperature: 72º
Route:

  • 162nd to Halsey
  • Halsey past I-84 overpass
  • 80th to Glisan
  • Glisan to 76th
  • 76th to Everett
  • Everett/Davis to Floral Place
  • Floral Place across Burnside to Ankeny
  • Ankeny to Grand
  • Grand to Burnside
  • Burnside to Broadway
  • Broadway to office

This was the second morning in a row that I took this route (instead of jumping on the Max). I mostly felt good but lagged on some of the hills. All the aches and pains from the weekend are gone and it was much cooler than yesterday (when I looked down to see 93º on the bike computer). Overall, a beautiful ride.

Vital Statistics

Hours of sleep last night: 8
Hours billed last week: 0
Cobs of corn eaten: 12 (approximate)
Aches & pains: none
Current reading:: Metal Cowboy by Joe Kurmaskie
Recent weather: hot, cold, wet, dry (no lightning or thunder)
Recently accomplished: picked and shucked corn, skeet shooting, swimming at Lake Hendricks, water park supervision, visited with various relatives, camping, shopping at Cabella’s
Upcoming To Do: return rental car, shopping at Mall of America, airplane to Portland, drive home from Seattle