Sometimes things just pile up and contrive to drive you down.

Everything is great in many ways and I was feeling fine until last week. I had a slow buildup of stress around some outreach for work. Nothing was going wrong, it’s just the party you agree to go to but you can’t cancel on because you aren’t feeling social. And a lot of work goes into outreach and programs, but that’s not a big deal because I could do that in my sleep. And sometimes I do! Stress dreams. I even enjoy outreach. I get to see what my community is up to and interact with people for a short time about something I love. But it’s still a stressor.

Add to that a possible health issue that I went to the doctor for and have to go back because of software failure, wasting both work and personal time.

A person biking was hit by a car driver on 35th, where our illustrious mayor decided that we don’t need bike lanes after a long advocacy fight.

I just want to go ride my bike in the country without any cars around me. Will someone tell me where I can do that?

Vacation starts in 12 days! :)

Here are a few fun things from hiking and biking that I’ve seen lately. Life really isn’t so bad.

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Dear 35th Ave NW, you could have been so much more. I know you feel shiny with your new asphalt and your bright yellow and white striping. It must feel great to have those car tires rushing over you smoothly at high speeds, the rumble of a disused muffler punctuating the sunny summer day.

But think of all the people walking and riding who would have graced your surface if only we’d designed you differently. Those streamlined lanes encourage high speeds and make the street feel unfriendly to those souls not wearing 2 tons of steel. The heady speeds dissuades the jockeys of the majestic automobile from interrupting their frolic with the need to stop at cross walks, intent on their next destination. Purposeful or lazy walks and rides will not travel your road, replaced by revving motors and the honks of the entitled.

Can you picture this? A vibrant community of neighbors and businesses united by walkability. Shopping and conversing, the voices of children raised in laughter are just a few of the activities that would happen. Our lovely canopy of trees sheltering your new pavement as families bike to shops and say hello to friends and neighbors.

Now the shops will be limited to customers who will drive and park in the cracked parking lots available at every business. People walking and biking will avoid the noisy, dangerous, and polluted area, taking their hard earned dollars with them. Especially knowing that many of these businesses wanted this dark, barren landscape, despite the voices of their neighbors. I hope there are enough people dedicated to their cars who will sustain those businesses.

Actually, I hope they all fall to dust.

I had a very good day off yesterday. I spent the morning tiding up a few ends and pieces, then went out to the garage and worked on the derailleurs on Stella, the Kona Sutra. My front has been traveling too far–and I didn’t get that fixed, so I will need to take another look at it on Monday. My rear has been skipping and making noise, but still mostly shifted okay. Once I started in on it, things seemed a little more messed up. I realized I didn’t have the full range and that shifting was off by at least one ring. I ended up having to adjust the cable, and since I don’t have a tensioner, I had to push the derailleur to where I thought it should be, hold the cable and bolt in place while turning the allen wrench, then try again over and over until I finally got it. The cable end was pretty frayed by the time I was done. I then realized I was late and couldn’t test it.

So I took Dark Star out for a ride instead. That bike is just so delightful after riding my Kona fully loaded with commute gear for weeks on end. It’s just always ready to go with minimal worry. The brakes are always perfect, things shift just right, it’s light and fast. Add a little air to the tires or lube to the chain and off I go. The frustration of working on the derailleurs drifted away.

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I rode up to Kite Hill at Gas Works Park and met a friend. We sat and watched the people. Someone walked by below with a huge hundred dollar bill under their arm. Someone else had a picture taken in front of the chain link fence.  A young couple with kids argued about their destination, top of the hill or the playground with broad gestures.

We had lunch at the Pacific Inn and then I left him to ride up Stone Way. I had tickets for the Tilth Edible Plant Pre-sale, but that didn’t start for an hour, so I stopped for gelato and socks on the way. I do love socks.

At the plant sale, I met my best friend and we followed each other around to the different areas and chose just a few plants. I got sweet basil, mojito mint, and a variety of tomato called pineapple which is supposed to grow large yellowish orange tomatoes with a sweet flavor. These plants should compliment the seedlings I have popping up in the planters now. More tomatoes, a variety of peppers, lettuces, cucumbers, carrots, green onions and lemon balm. It’s fun seeing their little green heads pushing out of the soil.

I finished off the evening watching Star Trek: Discovery with my roommate.

The best thing is, when I rode Stella to work this morning, my rear derailleur worked like a dream.

I’m a little bit exhausted. I ran a half marathon on Sunday and I haven’t stopped to breathe yet. Strava tells me that I haven’t slowed much on my rides and I was able to go almost 20 miles yesterday. But man, I am tired. I have another 20 mile day tomorrow.

I do love riding though. When I think about busing, I just don’t want to. I can get there faster and happier when I bike. Then again, a little recovery is good. Getting home is a chore though. Over an hour from my main work location to home. My ride takes less than 30 minutes.

Tonight when I got home, my bike parts had come from the Blue Sky Cycling sale. It energized me to install my new pedals on Stella the Kona Sutra–Welgo Platform Pedals with leather toe straps. I also adjusted my manual disc breaks. Then I took a little test ride and realized that riding with toe straps is going to be a learning curve. I’ve done it before, but it’s been years. Hopefully I don’t end up on the ground like I did with clipless shoes the first few times. Maybe I’ll end up removing the straps sometime during the day.

Sleep is calling. See you on the flip side. Here’s a photo from the Seattle Public Library to keep you company. Don’t let the tentacles get you…

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If I don’t ride today, that makes 3 days in a row that I haven’t biked. Throw that goal out the window. But I was talking to my friend about it and she asked me why I wanted to do it anyway. I ride more than anyone she knows. I realized that it was just another popular thing to do. I do want to encourage others to ride more–I don’t have to ride more to do that.

On Sunday, I ran 3 miles, then went with my brother to Marble Mountain Sno-Park to hike Mount Saint Helens on Sunday. We got up at 3am, started up the mountain at 4:15, but turned around by 7am just past the permit point (4800 ft) when it was obvious that the rain was not going to let up. We returned to the parking lot at 9 am with every piece of clothing we were wearing totally soaked. I stayed warm in my ski clothes, but my brother was really cold by then–he’d only worn rain gear and a puffy jacket.

It wasn’t that disappointing not to make it all the way up. It was cloudy enough that there wouldn’t be any views and we made it last year, so I have that summit under my belt.

I didn’t take any pictures up there, but I did take a few of the new day use lodge. It really improves the place.

I’m not as good about posting daily on social media, so I’m just going to have a periodic check in here for #30daysofbiking

I always have a few days that I miss, so this might be* my first successful year.

  • April 1: Rode home from Kitsap Memorial State Park, then again up to Capitol Hill
  • April 2: Cap Hill to City Hall for bike advocacy, then a failed shopping attempt at Macy’s and Westlake Center (fire alarm on the second stop)
  • April 3: Bartell Drugs for an immunization and Stone Hardware for plant seeds and tools

*I have a couple of overnight trips that don’t include biking, so if I can’t muster up the energy to bike around the block after climbing Mount Saint Helens, I could fail this year as well.

I’m going to go out and plant some of those seeds now. I hope I don’t blow away!

I watched the weather and waited, and finally it was close enough to my vacation to call it. We were going bike camping!

It’s barely spring in the Pacific Northwest, so the weather could have been torrential rain–and it’s supposed to be starting tomorrow–but we got our window of partly sunny, highs in the upper 60s.

I’d some some research where I wanted to go. I eliminated two places I’d gone before; Fay Bainbridge and Manchester State Park. The first was too close and would be more crowded. The second I’ve been to 3 times now and I’m ready for something different and a little further away.

Looking at Marley Blonsky’s post, A Non-definative Guide to Bike Overnighters Within an Hour-ish of Seattle, I settled on Kitsap Memorial State Park. A coworker seconded my choice–it was nice to talk to someone I know who’s been there. It’s a 20 mile ride with lots of other options for exploring. A grocery 5 miles away and a convenience store nearby. The hiker biker sites have tables and a fire ring, which isn’t always the case at other places.

We ended up leaving at around noon on Saturday to get there.

The timing was good because the ferry was easy and check in time was 2:30–no problems checking in early, but there was no camp host, so no on site firewood. We got some the second night from the convenience store.

It was hard to find the entrance to the hiker biker sites, but they were nicely secluded from the car sites. They were hidden down an unmarked trail directly to the left at the entrance to the parking lot.

We spent some time at the beach and exploring the park. It’s really small, but the view was nice. We got some camp neighbors that night who were biking around the peninsula, and this was the last night out. We went to bed early, but they stayed up late, chatting by their fire.

The second day we explored by bike, taking a round about way back to Poulsbo for groceries. I do love the Central Market.

We got back, bought wood, enjoyed the beach some more, took a shower (tokens purchased from a vending machine with $1 bills) and made a fire.

The next day we had a leisurely breakfast by the fire and rolled out around noon again.

We rode back through Port Gamble and Kingston. After the ferry, we stopped at Walnut Street Coffee for a caffeine and cookie pick me up, but still the hills in Edmonds almost kicked our ass. We persevered and made it to The Yard for celebratory tacos, and then it was only a few miles home.

A really great weekend. Here are a few more photos.

Things go around. I have been micro-blogging on Google+ for the last two years. I really enjoyed the interaction there and made a few really good friends, several of whom I’ve met in real life.

Google+ is going away in a week. I’ve had a lot of time to mourn it’s passing, so it will be anticlimactic when the date finally comes. I’m not porting my posts.

I’m not sure if I’ll start blogging here again. I feel like a blog is just yelling into the void these days. Does anyone read these anymore? I don’t want to return to Facebook, and while Twitter and Instagram are fun, they really aren’t a place to post personal stories.

I’m still biking and hiking and now I’m skiing and dating. Everything is going really well and my anxiety is mostly under control. Exercise has always helped, but things I’d like to do, like meditation, I have a hard time concentrating on…because anxiety. So I started taking CBD oil, and it could be a placebo affect, but I’m sleeping better, I’m not letting things bother me as much, everything is so much easier. I still get anxious, but a manageable and maybe even a normal amount.

Photo from bike camping last summer. I finally found my way! ;)

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I finally have a floor, and it’s a seriously nice floor. There are a few uneven spots due to the unevenness of the old concrete floor and the large crack that ran through it, but the flooring adapts to it well, and hopefully will continue to.

My couch and chair don’t come until December, so for right now I’m making do with a kitchen island and stools and a camp chair. It’s actually pretty comfy, but definitely doesn’t look finished.

Click here to see an album with photos that range from October 1 until now.

There’s a rather yucky looking picture of the storage/garage space. I intend to spend some time today cleaning it up and making it serviceable as an exercise room. Wish me luck!

I’m moving into my new place. Part of me wonders if it’s really as good as I remember. It’s been almost a month since I’ve seen it.

Actually, I’m only moving in the few things that I still own, probably 2-3 car loads of stuff. There’s new flooring going in on Monday, so anything new has to wait until after that. I can put stuff in the bedroom and storage room. I mostly have camping equipment, clothing and bike stuff. I’ll be sleeping on a twin blow up mattress until I have time to get a real bed delivered. At least I have cool sheets for it.

My real move in date is October 4th.

I’ve been doing a lot of hiking lately, going mostly with my good friend and once with my brother and cousin. On Tuesday, my friend and I did a bus hike bus trip from Seattle to Coal Creek, hiking from there to Cougar Mountain, then across Cougar Mountain to Issaquah, then taking the bus back to Seattle and home. We didn’t take as many pictures as we should have, but it was a good 12.5 mile hike.

Click here for more pictures of that adventure. You can get some nature right in the city(ish area). I hope to check out more Seattle parks (like Discovery Park) and bus out to the North Bend/Snoqualmie Falls area on my weekdays off. I know the weather will turn at some point, but I want to continue to be prepared for it as it comes.

I’m still having trouble sleeping (I’m writing this at 1:20 am, but will schedule for morning so that more of my friends will see it), but I think that will pass when I have my own place.

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