Saturday, March 31, 2007

Red Shouldered Hawk

I went here to Grant Park for a hike today. It's right near Mt Hamilton and Lick Observatory in Santa Clara County.

I saw one of these -- and honestly -- I don't know what it is. Suspicion tells me that this is her kill, not road kill.

"What will I tell you when you ask, me why I am crying , will I point above at the redtail gracefuly soaring, or down below at his pray, who's quietly trembling." Good Friday, The Cowboy Junkies.

I believe that is actually back online -- but just barely ... After the crash, it appears that their are a few critical pieces that are totally gone. so it might be a while before it acheives it's former glory. Cool things like the photos that you bookmarked long ago -- should still be there.

I'll be working on it as time provides.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The 49th State

SO -- there was a point in my life when it dawned on me that I had traveled in 44 states. That's right. 44. I had actually been in 44 states. It was easy to list the missing states. Georgia, the Carolinas, Louisiana, Alaska and Hawaii.

And I devised a plan. To go to all 50 states by the time I was 50. After that I would see if I could get laid in each of the 50 states. But for now it's just enough to go there. So I started rolling the idea of Alaska around in my mind. Alaska.

And I started to collect the stuff I would need to go there.

A truck. Not any truck, a tough truck, a Kurdish tank. 4WD, raised, tough, and with a 50 caliber machine gun camera mounted on top. One that lives through floods, potholes, hurricanes, snowstorms, etc.

A bicycle. In case I want to go for a ride.

A camera. Oh you know -- to take pictures.

A chain saw.

Camping gear. For me.

Climbing gear. Just in case.



So I have these things. And a plan. The plan says jump in the truck and ferry up the passage, stop and photograph the white black bears in BC, go to Kenai and Sitka and Juneau, get out to the west coast of Alaska somewhere, drive to Anchorage, then go north to Prudhoe Bay, see the ANWR before it turns into Bakersfield, and go to the Brooks Range and climb see Denali, and visit the occasional friend and drive home through the Yukon Territory, and spend the entire summer doing it. And somehow manage a birding trip to the Aleutian Islands.

I want to see a puffin, a polar bear, a walrus, a brown bear, a dall sheep, a caribou, seals and whales. I am not so sure I want to see a wolf.

A little voice is telling me that this isn't going to happen right away. Another voice wonders, "Do I want some sort of boat?"

Lunch Time at Sally's

These photos were taken with my work cell phone, A Motorola RAZR. I think it has the worst camera ever for a cell phone.

We had Lunch at Sally's at 16th and RhodeIsland in San Francisco.

Pasta with chicken and a cream sauce, and pasta on the side. Eat up.

After lunch we walked over to 18th to use the foot bridge over the freeway to get back to work. This climb up 18th at DeHaro street is well over an 18% grade.

I was a Bit Bored on the Train, and I said ...

There's that little freeway crossing at 18th and it's just a few blocks to work from there and HowBadCanItBe?, after all. And I got off the train at 22nd street, which is basically a hole in the ground. From there I looked up at a sign that said steep grade ahead, so I turned right on Pennsylvania, and proceeded to climb a fairly steep grade for a long block or two.

It wasn't too bad. Coast all downhill from there to 15th and Utah. 1.4 miles, with a short, but steep hill.
If you can find a better route, I'd be glad to here about it, the start and end points are marked with a green dot. Notice that the route map is marked in three kinds of red to indicate how (incredibly ^&%#ing) steep the hills are.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Saturday Morning Coffee

Well, I've been over to the new Cafe of the Beautiful People, for my standard "Tall Coffee with 2 extra shots." In Pullman, WA at the Cafe of the Beautiful, everyone was college aged and the Barista gave out heart shaped love on valentine's day. In Mesa AZ, every one was wearing athletic wear, or race gear, all fit and healthy, and i.e. beautiful. Here in Bahgdad by the Bay (thanks Herb), it's much more interesting. There always is a crowd, and today's crowd was mostly pre-teen girls wearing make-up. There must be a school-sized event over at the Performing Arts Center.

But it is Saturday Morning. Last time I sat down on Saturday morning to write I was sitting at my desk in Mesa, Staring out at the Superstition Wilderness. Today, I am at my desk in California, reviewing the past.
Here's another shot from America's Loneliest Highway.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sobriety Checkpoint

Last night at about 10:50, I spun through the Burlingame PD's sobriety checkpoint on California Ave. at about 18 miles an hour. It was strange and odd. They didn't stop me or even seem to notice me.

This afternoon I rode out to San Carlos Airport and back on the Bay Trail and it was about 30 miles round trip. On the way back we took the frontage road from the Airport to Oracle and my Red-Headed Riding Buddy blew a tire. I had a spare that was not right, that bought him an additional 10 miles. At the bridge my Presta tube on his Schrader rim gave out at the valve, leaving him on foot. I rode to get a car and came back for him, cutting his trip down to about 23 for the day, and leaving me with about 28 all day.

Site of the Blowout.

The interesting bit is this; from my house the bridge is five miles, Oracle is ten, Holly street is fifteen, and where is twenty? Round trip, these are 10, 20, and 30 miles respectively.

Date: 17 March 2007
Mileage for the week: 85.54
March total: 245.23
Max: 29.8
On the Ipod: Neil Young: Rockin' the Free World

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Commute to Work

This is an image of coyote point. It's rediculously small for whatever reason. My commute is 22.61 miles and took me 2 hours. There are three hills, these being my first hill climbing in quite some time.

It wasn't the most pleasant ride, as a lot of it is industrial.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I set the alarm for 6 AM, and I laid out the riding clothes for the morning. Padded shorts, tights, a jersey, and some warmers.

I went to the doctor today to tell her that I was coughing in unbelievable fits at night like I had Pertussis (whooping cough), and that I was afraid I was going to break my ribs or something, and that I usually wanted to vomit after I was done turning blue, and she said, oh -- I think you have post nasal drip, take this phergain (sp -- an anti-nausea medication) with codiene (a pint of it, no less), that should help. Sure, narcotics usually help. "You'll be fine."

As long as I don't choke to death on my own phlegm while unable to wake up, cough, or puke.

I said, "Really?, I'll never take it."

I'll be up in the morning, on my bike, trying to navigate 16 miles of unknown urban paradise. Sans codiene. Paroxysms or not.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A long way ...

I am somewhat inspired by Lauren's post describing her commute to work. Did I mention I was jealous, too. It's a very nice ride. For some time now I have been contemplating riding (all the way) to work one day morning a week, in an effort to get my weekly base up to about 125 miles. Currently, if I push it, I can break 100 a week, but even if I am busy, I usually end up at about 75. Adding 15-20 miles will help.

I washed all my riding clothes, especially the padded ones. I never wear the ride specific clothing, but rising temps combined with longer rides seem to imply occasional showers and a change of clothes, and my saddle has been asking me for a little cushioning against my sit bones. So tomorrow I will pack up a shower bag and haul it into work. I have a shower at work.

In trying to plan a route through 17 miles of the SF Peninsula, I discovered several things.

1. There's a bike route map of San Francisco from the SF Bike Coalition
2. San Mateo County has this, which looks like a scary route. I don't like two lane roads with street parking and no bike lane.
3. There are other maps, too, here.
4. It ain't easy to get there from here
5. This is a very nice article (dated) about the progress made in San Francisco for cyclists in recent years.

Maybe this week I will try the full commute. I have something that looks like a route, thanks to mapquest's (thanks fritz, for sharing) "avoid freeways" option. I run the Bay Front trail out to the Airport and then ride Bayshore into South City, and on past Potrero Hill. With an occasional deviation that I'll need to navigate when I get there.

If I can get to work it will mean I can get across the GG bridge which will mean I can get to Alaska... it's all in the journey ...Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Date: 11 March 2007
Mileage for the week: 112.43
March total: 159.69
Max: 29.2
Time in the Saddle: 10:15
On the Ipod: Jackson Browne, Farther On


Behind the Scenes

A bike race seems to leave spectators standing around looking at each other as much as watching the race. Here are a few shots from behind the scenes at the Velogirls Menlo Park Grand Prix . Enjoy.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Velogirls Menlo Park Grand Prix

Is that the leader? I never know.

I started out today with a crazy idea I was going to go get coffee, photograph a womens bike race, have dinner with my folks and be in bed by ten. It all workd out ok except for turning the clock forward. Which meant it was 11:00.

That's Mount Diablo, which I think is about 35 miles away. It was definitely a nice day for a ride so I rode home to an ice pack and a hot tub. The extra ten pounds of camera gear made the long ride more fun.

I took about 100 photos during the CAT 5 mens race, the only race I saw. I'll be looking those over for the next few days to cultivate out a few more good shots, but for now, enjoy these. If you recognise anyone -- I'd like to know so I can add their name to the credit.

Hard to say it Better than this.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

5 Miles Out

At about Chestnut and Embarcadero I turned back. For a total of 8.8 miles. That is Coit Tower.

Hi Dive

Lunch Ride

I have an appointment at 11:00 down near the Moscone center, so I am going to take a lunch time ride after that. If I can make it this far, it will be 17.6 miles out to Chrissy Field and Back. It's glorious out. The actual map.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Closed up shop. That, makes me sad. I'll miss you, Gilby. Good luck to you. I'll keep a place in my heart for you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Flat Tire Paradise

Somewhat as a result of some self reflection, over the past few weeks, I changed the name of my blog. When I started this endeavor almost two years ago, my entire life was revolving around cameras, pictures, photography, and travel -- primarily in the desert Southwest. I am really unsure of the new name, since the old one was just simply descriptive, and the new one is ... well, slightly more philosophical.

Today, my life revolves around ... and around. If I have a camera these days, it's incidental, and more often than not, it's a cell phone and not a 4x5" film camera. Occasionally, I will throw my digital into my bike bag (and go to a bike race in Menlo Park on Saturday). It's a lot more likely I am carrying a spare tube. And some tubes of gu.

My blogging and reading the blogs of cyclists has led me to be back on a bike. Why I was drawn to the cycling blogs, or they drawn to me is a subject needing academic study by someone like Studs Terkel. But the truth is, reading about cycling put me back on a bike. On January 26 last year, I got back on a bike and rode 6 broken miles. I never should have quit in the first place. Those of you that inspired me, I should live longer because of it.

I live in a major metropolitan area -- a gorgeous city -- with a fairly poor transit system, and I rarely drive. My life is much more defined by a bike, my family, caring for my aging parents, and contemplating a haircut, than it is by 30,000 annual miles of desert driving, to get a camera into some crowded backcountry paradise. There's a strong community in my life today, and I haven't driven my own car this year. I live a much different life today, then I did two years ago in Mesa. When I cut my hair my friends said, "Was this ponytail longer than the last one?" and not, "Wow, I didn't recognize you."

When I look to what defines my life today, it's a gritty, joyous ride through wet manhole covers, potholes the size of a basketball, and an endless stream of broken green and brown bottles. Steep little hills that kick the crap outta Arizona. Horns honking, adrenaline pumping, lunchtime brawls into downtown for szechuan. Me dodging hazards and taxicabs to dine at one of 4000 restaurants, each with a Gypsy folk band. Or it's the meal I cook at home, the same one my mother cooked for me twice a month for the last so many years.

It's friendly cafes, family rock concerts, my father's workshop. Always -- I am a mule carrying groceries and a computer, dog biscuits in my pocket, raingear, shoes, a change of clothes, the encyclopedia brittanica, and a potted plant, and Shawn, don't forget to get the milk; It's me on a bike in a flat tire paradise, pushing these yellow bars into the mist.

Ray and Nassir Checking out Boats

Near the Embarcadero.

The Bike Hut

Bike Rentals at $5 an hour. Right on the Embarcadero.

The Embarcadero at Lunch


I took this with my phone on the way to work. This is a trashed up spot adjacent to the San Mateo Caltrain Station and North Railroad Street in San Mateo. I wonder if it is the resposibility of the Caltrain or the City of San Mateo to clean this up.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Speaking of Writing ... or was I Talking to Myself

It's autocratic, much like riding a bike. You can write me a ticket(thanks for the link, fritz), sure. Provided you can ride on the sidewalk, the wrong way up alleys, through tight spaces made up by fixed objects and moving cabs, into doorways to run up staircases, all the while acting nonchalantly --like it's an everyday thing -- like, "Hey man, I'm just on my way to get some coffee," all at 20 miles an hour. I can write you a ticket -- Mr. Authority, and publish it in my blog.

Seriously. I can write publicly about anything -- I don't need Simon and Schuster. I am a published author and have the equivalent of a novel in print. I have been writing almost daily for about 2 years. About 30-100 (care to hazard a guess?) people read what I write with some regularity. I have no idea why. But, they do. I read what some of them write and I know some of them. I am getting to know some of the one's I have never met. Some of them are my friends. I have friends I have never met.

Many of us having been trying to get out of the more populated areas, and as I grow, my friends have managed to succeed, for the most part. They are spread out like the leaves of an old maple. There are about a 1000 photographs taken by me exposed (published) onto the world, in the form of a casual travelogue, helping my friends and family know what I am doing. I know you've enjoyed some of the photos and some of the stories. I can share the travels, tales and work of my life with a few friends, not to mention an occasional spattering of wisdom.

I really like to hear when you, gentle readers, tell me that you enjoy what I have done. Or that you feel my pain, sorrow, boots, pain, frostbite, glee, victories, anger, adventures, see my successes, fear, dismay, love ... beauty.

I learn and enrich my own life when I read your stories and read what you've done. Or get a happy chance to develop a real relationship via an online world. Or as I develop and craft the stories I must tell to an unseen world.

I have been meme'd (hereinafter pronounced "maimed") by fritz. Frankly, I dislike the tagging activity, but, I am a good citizen. So that's five reasons I blog.

John, Tom, Eclectchick Michelle, Joann. You've been tagged. Five reasons you blog. Since I now have tagged everyone I know. I am no longer allowing myself to be tagged -- at least not until my third bloggerbirthday, which is slightly more than a year from now.

Beef Stew with Dumplings

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Date: 25 February 2007
Mileage for the week: 82.68
February total: 286.30
March total: 47.26
Max: 28.3
On the Ipod: The Gypsy Kings, Un Amor

Saturday, March 3, 2007