Hawkes Bay NZ Water trail

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lined up for the Alaska Marine Highway

Ticketed for Haines, AK. Just me and my road bike, in case I find some decent biking. Fingers crossed.

Day 0 enroute to Fairhaven

My favorite stop on the Chuckanut Drive bike loop. But no ride today.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June's bounty

Despite the clouds the roses are on time.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Port Orchard Saturday farmers' market

Destination for a pleasant 30 mile outing with Cascade Bicycle Club. Started at Fauntleroy dock and ferry to Southworth. I've been seeing many ride announcements via Meetup, so I finally made the time to ride with the group. A nice way to spend another cloudy weekend. It'll be great once we're finished with "June u ary".

Monday, June 12, 2017

Waiting for windshield replacement in Sodo


My share of the replacement cost is $100. It feels good to have it fixed, but I know I'll be dealing with little shards of glass in the car for a while. The shattered bits fell into all the nooks and crannies.
Fingers crossed I won't have to deal with anymore loutish behavior for a good long while.

Waiting for windshield replacement in Sodo

Saturday, June 10, 2017

What to say



While parked off Hwy 970 east of Cle Elum today at 4pm while taking a phone call some a-hole shot out my rear widescreen. Likely an air gun but it was loud and frightening, and it still was an assault, a drive by shooting by some local yahoo. Gives me a bad taste and I quit my planned camping and bike on Sunday. I called the cops and now I have to get it fixed. What a thing to happen. I hope the culprits get picked up soon and my police report helps nail them. I'd love to shoot out their car window in return but you rarely get the chance to give it right back. At least it wasn't worse and I wasn't killed. No bullet found so wasn't a rifle or shotgun. Yup out here in make America great again country. SOBs

Monday, May 29, 2017

9:30 to Anacortes from Lopez Island

Woke to cool misty grey so I'm happy to be heading back to Seattle. It is likely sunnier and warmer for the Monday holiday, so that's motivation. Here are the last of the bike packers, with a crazy assortment of camping gear lashed into beaten up Bob trailer and child buggies, trundling up the ramp at the Anacortes ferry dock. The guy on the right has a unicorn mask on the left side and a rubber chicken bungeed on the rear. No doubt there was a limited amount of riding and a whole lot of drinking last night at Spencer Spit.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Shark Reef

People were harvesting kelp from the rocks at 11am today.

Lunch stop near Agate Beach

Super low tides this weekend make for good beachcombing, and plenty of sea worms for sharp eyed gulls.

On Lopez Island

An exquisitely located farm off Burt Road, looks out over Davis Bay towards the Olympic National Park.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Anacortes ferry dock

Taking the 6pm to Friday Harbor via Lopez Island for some bike packing in paradise.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A little bit of Nepal I Ashford

A mango lassi among the prayer flags decorating the Wildberry Restaurant, a place run by some Nepalis. I wonder if they have any familial relationship to Whittaker's Bunkhouse up the road a bit, also decorated with thanka and other things that mountain climbers would pick up in Kathmandu. I like Nepal. I must go back.

Big Boom Boom

Oh oh forgot the sun block

I'm "breaking in" a new car so I haven't got the provisioning figured out. Oh well I've had a lifetime of sun, and I'm not about to stop now.

Snow camping at Mt Rainier

Didn't get here until a month later than my custom, due to lousy rainy winter weather but it always delivers.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Poetry in an unexpected place

I stopped at Whittaker's Bunkhouse in Ashford, enroute to Mount Rainier National Park. This rather lovely quote is on the verso of a sculpture that I don't remember being here last year.
To my mind it's about a lot more in life than peak bagging.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Start of Centennial Trail in Snohomish

Today I started out in 75 degrees and highly anticipated sun at 2pm. Still, I swear that traffic on I-5 north seems much worse than May 2014 when I did a bunch of rides after my Friday class had ended. I wonder if this is a permanent change in a once quiet rural place. The last thing I want to do is drive 35 miles in city traffic to bike in Snohomish County. It destroys the relaxation I get. I'm going to have to go further out I suppose.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Enchantments from Ellensburg

From a drive East of the Cascades in search of better weather.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday with this week's free paper

Reading something well-written every day is the way I use to balance the challenges of teaching ESL writing classes. The VR piece is good. The comment on POTUS after yet another week of disheartening news is also helpful.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

29 Pines on the West Teanaway road for Sat night

Camping used to be free here but now you need a Discover Pass. Don't have one but too early for anyone to collect anyway. Was mid-30s last night so my sun shower froze. Couldn't heat it properly yesterday on car top anyway due to ferocious wind. I ended up skipping the up and over via 97 as the wind gusts were brutal and there was a lot of traffic going the same way. I didn't want to be blown into an RV. So I rode Hwy 10 all the way back. Lightly trafficked but it still 3 hours, 1 hour longer than the outbound with the tailwind, and I had to walk a few hills as the wind gusts were just too scary and blowing the bike over. I ate left overs for dinner and slept warm because I'd cleverly remembered to pack in a sleeping bag liner. I set up a tent as I figured it would be warmer than simply kipping in the back of the Honda. Got warm by about 9am plus I'd brought wood for a morning campfire.

Trillium at Standup Creek trailhead

I went for a short walk up a very familiar forest service road after breaking camp at 29 Pines in the Teanaway. The hills are snow covered and spring is easily a month later this year. These flowers are usually spent by May.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Getting back via 970 into a full force headwind

I've decided to dig in and ride back on the high route. Usually I loop back south of I-90 through Thorpe, or even up and over the windmills. Today, its windmills on the northern mesa tops, via 970, with what I know will be a grand summit descent to Hwy 97. Any route back will be a battle into the winds. I flew out for the first 20 miles with a tailwind in low 50s. Now it's time to pay it back. I've had lunch, with good American-style chai. I'm taking half this excellent chocolate cake which I just can't finish, from the Yellow Church Cafe in E'burg, back with me. This is really the only justification for eating something like this. I expect I'll burn up the 700+ calories from this treat by trundling up and over. I was introduced to this place last month, during a Meetup hike up to the nearby Yakima skyline trail. My goal on any 40 mile ride like this one is calorie intake = calorie expenditure.

Robyn meets Woman on her Bike

Well, at least the bike. I've come over to the Teanaway with the idea of riding a loop from Cle Elum to Ellensburg and back, and, despite the blue blue sky it's barely hit 50. The high today will be a balmy 55 degrees. Tonight I plan to camp and test out my first overnight camping trip with Robyn. I didn't plan for it, but it turns out I'm commemorating an anniversary. Not celebrating, but marking an unwanted milestone. It's bittersweet riding this familiar route and parking in this same spot off Hwy 10.
Speak, memory.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Robyn on the Icicle Creek Road

I've not been here since a weeklong hike in the Enchantments in 2009. I'm reminding myself why it's so worth it. This is the view not too far from the Snow Lakes trailhead, on the grounds of Sleeping Lady. I unsuccessfully entered this year's trail pass lottery this past February. It doesn't matter. I have a lot of conditioning to accomplish if I ever want to successfully do that hike again. Perhaps I'll manage it. Part of the reason I bought this Element is so I can use it for car camping and hauling my bikes. I'll be selling my Corolla in the next few months and I've given away my old Chevy camper. It's part of a bittersweet but necessary downsizing from my old life. Here's to the past disappearing in the rear vision mirror of my new rig.

Pear and apples in bloom

Near Peshastin, off Highway 2. Splendid and so promising.

Ravens at Sleeping Lady Resort

It's sunny, if still chilly East of the Cascades, so I'm taking my new old car on a 3-pass drive. I stopped to check out this lovely resort in Leavenworth, and found this great bronze on the grounds.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Break in the weather at Golden Gardens Park

A few hours of late afternoon Spring sunshine brings out the yachts, releasing their spinnakers, as they round a buoy and head back to the clubhouse at Shilshole. It's been a rather frustrating and cold spring and I'm still using a winter liner under my bike helmet for my daily commute. But at least I'm bike commuting again because my teaching schedule is a day class for once, and I'm making the most of the change.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Outside Suzzallo Library

The cherries in the quad are done, but some late bloomers are delighting visitors to the UW campus on Easter Sunday.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Are you tourists or archaeologists?

Now that I'm home and sleeping off ferocious jet lag, I find myself mulling over this comment, the parting question from a disappointed guardian in the Valley of the Nobles. Instead of racing through the dusty and claustrophobic tombs in 10 minutes like most tour bus visitors, then quickly pressing a thin and grubby E£5 of baksheesh into the outstretched hand of the attendant, in one particularly richly decorated tomb my daughter and I had spent an hour and a half taking turns to read aloud from our American University of Cairo archaeological guidebook. One of us sat on the stoop of a stone false ba door, reading aloud from the book, while the other studied the wall paintings and hieroglyphics, register by register. Then we switched. It was a fascinating way to visit this archeological treasure. It is the reason why we'd made the long and challenging trip to Egypt in the first place. The attendant was quickly bored, gave up, and disappeared outside for a smoke. Ironically if he'd bothered to come back as we were leaving we'd have given him a tip because he'd been observant enough to realize that hassle-free time was what we wanted and would willingly pay for.
This is the irony of Luxor. Keep out of our face and it's win win. The old ways of aggressive hassle don't work with the ever-shrinking group of western visitors who bring the most needed foreign currency with them. But old ways are so hard to release. What's the definition of insanity? Keep on doing the same thing but expect a different result?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

BBC News: Is it foolish for a woman to cycle alone across the Middle East?

I saw this on the BBC News App and thought you should see it:

Is it foolish for a woman to cycle alone across the Middle East?
When Rebecca Lowe set off solo from the UK for Iran by bicycle, friends thought she had taken leave of her senses.
Disclaimer: The BBC is not responsible for the content of this email, and anything written in this email does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the email address nor name of the sender have been verified.

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Book review

Cancer political consultant NPR
A short history Lauren...

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Elegance wasted on smokers at CDG M gates

This is a gorgeous vertical garden that complements both sides of a rest room in the terminal. Unfortunately, the one on the right is locked, while the one on the right (not shown) is for smokers. What a waste of resources to appease those who still don't get it. I am returning to the US with a bronchial infection caused by Egypt's smoking culture. Hotels stink, archeological resources stink, and the hookah bars are just nasty. It's a pity that smoking is ingrained as another example of Egyptian male bonding. Hookah bars for women aren't a strike for women's rights. Personally I prefer the disgusting opaque smokers' rooms that still fit airports outside the US. Stigmatizing smokers is an effective way to drive home the message that smoking is pollution and hurts everyone.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


We've been passing the same group of village ladies all week as we've come and gone from the guesthouse in Luxor. These kind women invited us for lunch. It's our last day here but this is a top 10 activity. Money can't buy it, only friendliness across a huge cultural and language divide. Thank you to the ladies of the village of Al-Awamiya. Shukran!

Dahibbiyya being towed upstream

Today, our last in Egypt, means we'll fly from Luxor to Cairo at 5:30pm and at 12:30am Friday (ye gods!) pick up a flight to Paris and then home to the US. The best thing to do is settle the bill at the guesthouse using a big wad of Egyptian pounds and some Euros, then hang out at the former Sheraton, now Achti Resort in the Nile. Our guesthouse's mudbrick walled garden adjoins the resort, so close we could hear 2 Egyptian buskers sawing away on traditional instruments for tips from departing resort guests.
So we're enjoying the view across the Nile towards the West Bank and Valleys of Kings, Queens and Nobles beyond. We also are watching tenders tow feluccas upstream. It's ferociously hot now at noon, in the lower 80s, and there is no wind. The sailboats will ride the current back to Luxor, with hoisted sails only for tourists.
I'm guessing that this splendid overnight cruiser is being repositioned to Aswan for a Nile Cruise. It would be a splendid, expensive way to see a bit of Egypt.
Perhaps on a return trip, when I'm older and much wealthier🙂

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nefertari's tomb

Colossal Osiris Statues

On the upper terrace. This temple has been extensively restored by a Polish-Egyptian team. It was once buried under aeons of limestone rubble from the cliffs above.

Angry Bird

Maybe once upon a time

Hathor Chapel at Temple of Hatshepsut

Entrance to Nefertari's tomb in the Valley of the Queens

We paid an additional E£1,000 ($US 55.35) on top of the regular E£100 admission, for a 10-minute visit to this extraordinary tomb. A worthwhile visit but sadly, marred by the aggressive tomb "guard" who tried to bully us into paying baksheesh for the pleasure of having him stop following us around. The extra charge to enter the tomb is astronomical in Egyptian terms, marking us as rich Americans. I suspect he decided 2 women were fair game for a shake down.
He miscalculated. He did not expect both of us to shout back, calling his bluff. You want a piece o' me, punk, do ya?
Some days you just run out of patience with this crap.
However, after this downer on an otherwise fascinating trip, I think it's time to sign up for a self defense class. I want to learn kneeing any future bozos like this in the nuts. It's no wonder Luxor has a dubious reputation as "hassle capital" of Egypt. The desperate economic times is being used as an excuse to fleece tourists by whatever method works.
Too many touts are demanding money for absolutely no service beyond annoying us. We've been told that it's "only a dollar" and constantly met with whines of "Why you no buy?" The typical crap you face in countries where a woman saying no politely means so little. So I eventually stopped being polite and just told one guy that it was none of his business. I also wanted to tell him, for good measure, to go to hell, but I didn't. This is my vacation. I don't need to explain anything to intrusive men. You don't see them trying this tactic with the large tour groups of Chinese tourists. I guess the Chinese don't take kindly to touts, nor do many speak Chinese.
It's been great to have a traveling companion on this trip. Doing this trip as a solo woman traveler would've worn me out a lot faster. However two independent women travelers can tag team the irritant and neutralize him.

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Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut

A big tourist draw and hot as hell.

Snack at Sharia-as-Souk

Kunafa, vermicelli-like pastry soaked in syrup(l) and also rolled and stuffed with nuts or clotted cream (r). Not as sweet as I'd expected.