Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's Worth It

My hands and legs are splotched with mean looking burn-ish marks from riding through fields of cow parsnip and Devil's Club on last Friday's Johnson Pass ride. The trail was overgrown so badly, there were times I totally entombed, couldn't see the trail or more than 2 feet in front of me, just followed the less dense area ahead of me and hoped it was the trail. The splotches are worth it, even when they blistered 3 days after the ride. Johnson Pass is on my top 5 list of places in Alaska to be. The black flies were exceedingly bad also, we had to keep moving to keep from being swarmed. Can you see Capt'n Balance riding through the vegetation?

We then spent the night at

Hope and partied all night on the deck of the Seaview Bar, dancing to the music of the Denali Cooks. The bike boys went fishing, both caught salmon, which they released.

We then moved on to Whitter, through the single lane tunnel which is shared with the trains. It was rainy, we toured the harbor, fished (kept 2 salmon this time) and rode around the micro-town that it is. Most residents of Whitter all live in 1 big building as land is not available. It's a neat little fishing town surrounded by glaciers.

I'm tired, so no more writing for tonight.
Take care, everyone!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I'm Hip, Not a Hippy

My daughter calls me a hippy. I'm not sure why, I shave my armpits and I don't wear Birkenstocks or whatever. However, I have been comtemplating soy burgers recently...

I found a podcast/website that describes what I am..I'm more Hip than Hippie. I'm not sure how accurate their tips are, but they are environment friendly tips and certainly can't hurt. This week is on reducing pollution from letting your vehicle idle. They get a little "soccermom-ish" and I am no longer in that stage of my life, but I still like them. They also feature a different BEER weekly! My kind of girls :).

My dad was standing in line behind a guy wearing a biking event t-shirt. My dad asked him about it, the guy rode in it. My dad then told the guy that his daughter (me) was an addict. The guy was a little confused, topic jumping from bikes to drugs, so my dad explained I was a "bike addict" and had at least 5 bikes and a shop. The guy agreed, I'm addicted.

So I have been "labeled" twice this past week: hippy and addict. I don't mind, as long as it's kept in the correct context. And no, I DON'T need an intervention.

China is trying to clean it's air for the Olympics by banning a million cars. It's just a test. It worked before, the air was cleaner and congestion was down, maybe it will work again....doya think??

My commute this moring was pretty good, except for sucking in exhaust from dump trucks at the construction site which dug up my bike path. They just spew gross, black exhaust. I was wishing I had a mask. I think this was the 1st "warm" morning, 55 degrees at departure. Short sleeves and shorts temps! WaaaaaHOOOO!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My 1st Day as a 40 Yr Old

Has been rather mundane, but that's ok, we are all recovering from the past week.

The backpacking trip down the Iditarod trail in the Eagle River Valley was good. I really love it back there, it is SOO BEAUTIFUL! It's different than the valleys here, more wet, different vegetation. We saw only 1 black bear on the hike in, it scampered away quickly when we started telling it to go away.

It was gently raining on the hike in, which was fine because it helped keep us cool. Muddy trail in spots and slick rocks, I was glad I had my new hiking poles (an early birthday gift from Capt'n Balance). After settling into the Yurt, we continued on a nice 5 mile hike down the trail, we decided to go off the main trail onto some smaller trails and found some really beautiful spots along the Eagle River. I didn't get may pictures because I forgot to put the memory card back into my camera before leaving, I only had room for 12 pictures on the camera's internal memory. I bought myself an REI Venus backpack, it's great! Much better than the pack I used last year. I think I could get into backpacking a bit more but Capt'n Balance isn't for it. Why walk and carry a load when we can ride? This trail doesn't allow bikes so hoofing it is the only way.

Friday night we went into Anchorage and had dinner with my parents at the Snow Goose Restaurant and Sleeping Lady Brewery. Good food, beer, views of Cook Inlet and wonderful Alaska themed quilts and stained glass.

After dinner, we are driving down 9th Ave and we see a guy walking is reindeer. Yep, a reindeer, that's life in Alaska

We stayed at my parents house that night and after breakfast we went for a ride at Hillside park. The bears and spruce hen's are out and about

Last night after getting home we started finishing up Capt'n Balance's new road bike. He found a pretty nice road bike in the dumpster where he works, he got it out and it looks exactly like Bike Boy's Navara. This bike didn't have any labels on it so we don't know what the brand is but it has all top quality components for it's day. It also had tubeless, sewn tires. I got new rims as we just didn't want to mess with sewn tires and the freewheel was seized up anyway. Capt'n Balance stripped it all down, it had red paint flaking off, underneath it on the fork and chain and seat stays were nice, shiny chromed metal. He then repainted the frame using a paint that looks purple or green, depending on the angle you look at it. Really pretty. He then had a friend make him some label. He has named the bike after his favorite drink. It is now the Crown Royal Duck Fart Limited Edition. I got it all back together last night and all that is left is to wrap the bars. He couldn't wait until the bars were taped to test ride it. He's happy with it! I have 2 new commuters in my family, Bike Boy rides his Navara road bike to work at the golf course and Capt'n Balance plans on riding the Duck Fart to work. I knew I would get them into it sooner or later. They are both new to road bikes and are amazed at how fast road bikes are compared to mountain bikes on pavement. Yeah, baby!

And if you are interested in trying a Duck Fart, this is how to make one. It is a layered drink, in a big shot glass, gulp down as a shot.

1st layer: Kahlua 1/3 of shot glass
2nd layer: Bailey's Irish Cream. Pour slowly over the back of a spoon to layer it on top of the Kahlua
3rd layer: top with Crown Royal whisky. Again, pour slowly over the back of a spoon to layer on top of the Bailey's.

The best thing about my actual birth day was spending it with my family (minus my daughter in Montana, of course - I miss her greatly!). Capt'n Balance, Bike Boy and myself spent the evening hours in my bike shop, all of us working on one bike or another, talking and joking, then all going out together for the Crown Royal test ride. I thought to myself that biking is such a great family activity and thank God that cycling came into my life or none of the day's events would have happened.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Eric and the Broken Chain
Kincaid Park/Coastal Trail Ride Photos
Sleeping Lady Mountain

Recent Rides

Good rides last weekend and this weekend.

We have a friend, Eric, who is visiting on 2 week off hitch on the North Slope. He works 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off and lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. Eric bought my 1st mountain bike from me last year, a Cannondale F300 hardtail. He keeps his Cannondale here in Alaska and when he is here, off we all go.

Last weekend we took the motorhome to S. Rolly Lake campground and spent the night there. As there were wildfires in the surrounding area, we weren't sure if there would be a lot of smoke but the air was clear. Next morning we headed out to Red Shirt Lake. It's a nice trail with lots of ups or downs, not too far but a nice workout. The day warmed up and became humid, by Alaskan standards.

Eric ended up snapping his chain power shifting up a big hill about a mile away from the trailhead, it was mostly downhill from there so he was able to coast most of the way back.

We loaded up and continued on to Talkeetna, the town that the TV show Northern Exposure was rumored to be modeled after. We had a good time like always. There was a church group with a guy dressed up as a cow, he didn't seem to know what to do with his udders.

We were planning a overnight mountain bike/camping ride to Snowbird Mine and then hike to Reed Lakes but it started raining down here in the Valley and looked rather stormy up there in the mountains so we loaded up and headed into Anchorage to ride the trails at Kincaid Park, an old Cold War Nike missile base, converted into trails for cross-country skiing and riding in the summer. I had never been there before, even though I was raised 2 miles from it, it was still a missile site back then. We let Eric take the lead, the map was just a mess of trails, unreadable. We ended up on the Coastal Trail and just kept going. I don't think my mountain bike has ever ridden so much pavement before. We ended up stopping about 9 miles down the trail, were the Anchorage International Airport runways are, giant jets taking off overhead, really pretty cool to watch them as they are pretty low still. It can get pretty loud though. Everyone was hungry by this time and the wind was picking up, rain moving in, so we headed back to Kincaid. We will need to research the trail system at Kincaid better, the trails we were on were mostly grass with occasional tiny narrow strips of hardpack.

Eric wanted to ride again today, but we just have to get some everyday living stuff done before the work week starts, thinks like paying bills, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. It's raining again anyway. We also have to start shopping and packing for our 4th of July hiking trip to the yurt in Eagle River. Then on the 7th I turn 40!!! I'm not yet sure what I want to do to make it a memorable day. 40 on 07/07/07...can't beat that. I know a lot of people are getting married on that day but it's a heck of a lot harder to turn 40 on that day than get married.

I'm watching a show on the history channel right now on Alaska and the 1964 earthquake. My mom, dad and oldest brother were in Anchorage when it hit. Quite devastating. I grew up with the stories of the quake and the ruins. It's interesting the comparing the stories my family tells of living through it and seeing it on TV.

Bike boy got his 1st job! He will be on the grounds crew at the local golf course a mile down the road. 40 hours a week of yard work. He's going to be tired for the 1st week or so until he adjusts. My daughter has finally found a job down in Montana with the Parks Service, making reservations for the National Park Lodges. Full-time, year-round with benefits. She's happy about it. Now if I could only figure out how to retire....

Hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe 4th of July!