Friday, June 22, 2007

Wildfire Time

Several wildfires are burning around where I live in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. The skies are smokey. We live near the airport where the air tankers, which drop retardant, take off. It's quite exciting when they take off, fully loaded, over my home. Everything shakes and those tankers are SOO LOUD! It freaks my dog out, he barks and chases them through the fields. Makes him feel tough, he thinks he's chased them off.

We are at 24 hrs of daylight now. Alnight parties and BBQ's!

We had a nice bike ride, bon-fire and all-night croquet tournament for Bikeboy's 16th birthday. The fire pictures are taken sometime after midnight. The sun still shining! We saw a porcupine on the ride along the Matanuska River. They sure are cute. The river is eroding the banks and getting close to the trail at some areas. It freaks me out a little to be riding along at a good pace then coming to a corner which is just about 2 feet away from a dropoff down into the river. Go over and chances of getting out alive can be pretty low. The river is deep, super cold, fast moving and full of silt which permeates clothing and shoes and drags a person under.

We were planning on going to Whitter
this weekend and go sea kayaking but the weather is bad so it's no-go. Whitter is an interesting little town. The tunnel is pretty cool as long as you don't driving under a mountain.

I am back to commuting again, it is soo nice. The gashes will definitely be scars, pretty good ones at that. One got a little infected, no thanks to Drunk John and his medical advice (for some reason this makes me think of of Midnight Rider...:)

The bike path is still torn up in a few spots but it's fine going slow over it. It seems like I see less commuters now than I saw in the spring, which is strange. Yesterday the weather was soo warm, in the low 80's. I wore a light pink jersey rather than the hi-vis long sleeve jersey I normally wear. The drivers did not notice me as much as when I wear the hi-vis,with the exception of the guy who did a cat-call at me. 2 drivers tried turning while I was crossing, both of them were on cell phones. I have ordered some hi-vis short sleeve and sleeveless shirts so I will be visible and cool.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Scarred for Life

I was out riding my Zing last Sunday with Capt'n Balance and Drunk John. We were going along a new bike path that was just laid down. The guys were in front of me, I was just following along.

One of the guys yelled out that the bike path just ended. Sure enough, it did. I didn't see that it was ending because the guys were blocking my view and I wasn't really LOOKING for the path to end. I didn't clip out in time and wiped out.

It wasn't a bad wipeout, I was just a little suprised by it all. I had some roadrash on my left knee that hurt a little but other than that, I thought everything was OK.

The ride continued on, then Drunk John said I had blood running down my right calf. Sure enough, I had some pretty good gashes which I guess were from the Zing's chainrings.

One in particular look like it could be stitch-worthy, but it had stopped bleeding and the guys said it was fine. The gashes really didn't hurt so I figured they were right.

Monday I rode to work and was doing fine, a little sore but no big deal. I was wearing capri pants (short pants, just below the knee, for you guys that don't know) and my friend saw the gashes and immediately got me to the break room and brought out the 1st aid kit and butterfly bandaged up the gashes. Then she scolded me for listening to a guy called Drunk John regarding medical advice and there is no excuse for Capt'n Balance except he doesn't get medical help unless it's life and death.

I only rode to work on Monday, the gash tended to open from the movement of pedaling. So I am giving it time to heal. Also, a portion of the route I ride to work is under construction and all ripped up. Hopefully it will be repaired by next Monday.

Bike Boy turned 16 yesterday!!! I'm feeling old...:). Hopefully we will get a nice ride in this weekend. I got the poplock installed on his new fork and so he will be testing it out. I got new rims, tires and brake shoes on the Novara, it just needs a front derailleur adjustment and it's good to go.

The sun is shining, my leg is healing, life if good!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Beer, Hammer, Bikes, Farm Animals and Gold Mines

A few days ago, I mentioned to Capt'n Balance that I needed a bottle opener in my bike shop and kept forgetting to get one. Capt'n Balance was all excited when I got home from work the other day. He told me to go look in my shop because there was a surprise waiting for me.

Surprised and excited, I went into the shop and there it was, waiting for me on one of my work benches....The BEER HAMMER!!! Wow, every shop needs one. I didn't know what I was missing. I went to my little shop fridge, grabbed a Kona Fire Rock and went to work with the HAMMER. It works great. My beer was open in a flash with no foam from my normal decapping procedure with a screwdriver. I took a drink, sank into my chair, let out a big sigh and silently thanked the HAMMER and Capt'n Balance for making that little part of my life easier.

The HAMMER can also be used lightly as a actual hammer. Can't beat that...get it???

I am restoring another Schwinn Varsity for another friend. He is paying for all the parts and gave me a Novara road bike for my labor. Sweet deal. It's a 80's Novara but it's in new condition and just needs new tires and tubes. Bike Boy will like it.

Capt'n Balance also came home with a nice road bike that someone was throwing away. All the stickers have come off but it has a Norco seat. He wants to fix it up for himself and he might start riding it to work. He also wants to strip it and paint it. The freewheel is seized and it has sewn tires. Bike Guy can replace the tires and mount them but I don't' really want to mess with them so he gave me a good deal on some inexpensive wheels and freewheel. I will move the down tube friction shifter to the stem also.

So my boys will be riding the roads a bit. I think dirt is embedded in them and that will remain their main preference for riding but now they will have more options.

We have 5 Merino lambs on the farm now...sound familiar? The wonderful, high quality, non-itchy, non-smelly wool sports wear is made out of. They were sheared before they arrive, they are sporting pretty bad haircuts and are a little embarrassed.

We also have a new calf, born just yesterday. It was about 4 hours old in these pictures and after I took these pictures it started to jump and buck, as much as a 4 hour old calf can, which isn't much, but it's a good sign it healthy and strong.

Capt'n Balance and I went on the 1st mountain biking ride of the summer up at Hatcher's Pass. We road up to Snowbird Mine, had to hike-a-bike over the 1/4 mile rock garden. It's still winter up there, ice on the water. Marmots (ground squirrel) were screaming at us, we were getting too close to their nest in the ruins of the mine. I backed off rather than get my throat ripped out by a 15 pound squirrel.

The winds are back and stirring up so much glacier silt it's obscuring the view, can't even see the mountains to the north. Yuck.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Off She Goes

My little bird has left the nest and has taken a part of my heart with her.

She had trouble in Seattle, all of her money was stolen at her hotel, but was recovered a few hours later...I suspect it was an employee. I got a call from her crying in the middle of the night. The whole ordeal lasted until about 2:30 a.m. She had to get up at 6 a.m. so she hasn't had much sleep. The hotel did give her a free breakfast for her troubles.

The high temperatures here have been below 60 degrees, she is going into 90+ degree weather, yuck.

This is our last picture together at the airport. I miss her so much already.