Monday, September 30, 2013

Return to Stehekin

I took myself and my bicycle up to the remote village of Stehekin, Washington a week ago.  The main purposes were to see some nature and spend some time alone.  As far those were concerned, the trip was a resounding success.

I spent Saturday and Wednesday at my aunt's house at Wenatchee and the four days in the middle were spent in the Stehekin Valley.

The only ways to reach the valley are via boat or float plane as there are no outside roads that reach it. I used the Lady of the Lake boat service that runs 50 miles from the city of Chelan across Lake Chelan to Stehekin. The basin in which Lake Chelan resides was carved by glaciers.  The lowest point of the lake is a few hundred feet below sea level while the highest ridges are over 6,000 ft.  That vertical distance eclipses the Grand Canyon in depth from bottom to top.  The boat ride is about 4 hours with a number of stops in between.

The weather was cool and the clouds threatening when I disembarked in Stehekin on Sunday.  Even so, I checked in and rode about 5 miles in the rain to get warmed up and into the mood.

On Monday, I rode about 24 miles from the landing up past high bridge with a couple of small side trips.  The weather basically held out with a number of short rounds of light rain.  Only 10 miles were paved, so I had to negotiate mud puddles, washboards, and other pitfalls for the other 14 miles.

On Tuesday, I visited the "tourist spots" including Rainbows Falls (twice!), Buckner Orchard, the Stehekin Pastry Company, the airstrip, Company Creek road, Harlequin Camp, and a few other things.  I think the highlight was watching the Kokanee salmon (which is a landlocked version of the Sockeye salmon) spawning in the river.  If you go to the gallery below, there is some footage of the fish spawning.  Bicycling accounted for about 14 miles this day.

On Wednesday, I woke up early and caught breakfast.  I then took myself and my bike back up to High Bridge via the local shuttle service.  I rode back the 11 miles just in time to pack up and check out of the North Cascades Lodge.

All in all, it was a great battery recharging trip.  All told, I biked 54 miles with about half on paved road.  I highly recommend this destination.

Here are some pictures and short videos of the trip...

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Ride Before the Storm

I woke up with a sore lower back...a sign of advancing age and, sadly, weight.  Nonetheless, I was able to motivate myself to ride my bike after popping 3 Advil and pumping up the tires.  The total trip ended up being 16 miles (26km).  I wanted to ride tomorrow instead but there was still a risk of major windstorm at that time (which the computer models abandoned by the time I got home),

Thanks to fairly brisk winds (20 - 30 mph/ 17-26 knots/32-48 kph), it seemed more like 30 miles (48km) after fighting headwinds and lateral winds.  Sometimes I felt like the sail on Sweet Bluesette.

Here are some pics:

The Oregon Coast range kept us in sunshine for the morning.

Stay on the sunny side, always on the sunny side.
The leading edge of the oncoming front with cirrus clouds followed by cumulus and cirrostratus.
Farewell sun, we hardly knew ye.
Some mushroom activity next in a grass sidewalk strip next to a non-descript industrial building.
The larger stools were close to 12 inches (30cm) in width.
Drink from the cup and you could wind up in the land of Willy Wonka.  Or dead.
The state and national flags were at constant attention on this ride.
Rock creek always floods early and often during the winter.

Rose hips and snowy berries with a man made pond beyond.

Goodbye, Mr. Blue Sky...those E.L.O lyrics went through my head as I saw the last of our blue sky off to the east.

I came home a bit chilled about 30 minutes before the rain started.  I took an afternoon nap with a nice warm blanket to get part way back to normal.  My lower back is still complaining, but it was a nice ride nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Few Tweets to Check Out

These tweets are of the American Goldfinch (in winter plumage) variety.  I saw them today in my back yard and snuck out to take pictures.  Enjoy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

About that Twitter Feed to the right

Ladybug took over the SnabbyCat Twitter feed since my tweeting was minimal and she pretty much tells me if any interesting tweets come up thus relieving me of yet another onerous task.  Anything before August is my fault and anything after is hers.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Two more dinners

As it likes to do, real life provided some interruptions to our 5 weekday dinner shopping week.  I also wanted to break up any food blogging with non-food blogging which met with only partial success.

Up first was Lamb Chops with Pistachio Sauce and Vegetable Sauté.  This meal had the distinction of being, by far, the most expensive dinner of this series.  The lamb chops were $28 alone and you can't buy a small bag of pistachios, so more $$$ all for that little cup of sauce and a bunch of pistachios nobody wants to eat.  This is not likely a repeat meal.  I bought a Widmer Marionberry Hibuscus Gose beer to go along with it.  It had a reddish hue to it, and was pretty good, though not as good as their Hefeweizen.

On the plus side, the recipe yielded so much that I was able to eat lamb chops and veggies for the next two lunches.

Minor chaos and leftovers ensued for a couple of days, then I got a chance again today to continue the meal plan.  This dinner was London Broil with Crispy Potatoes and Peppers.  Unlike Martha Stewart, we don't consider potatoes to be a viable vegetable, so I harvested some unknown variety of lettuce from our garden (it was a sample pack) and prepared it with a balsamic vinegar with a sprinkle of an Italian cheese blend.  I also added a pepperoncini (also from the garden) to the potato mixture.

It turned out fabulous and it went well with a can of Fort George 1811 lager from Astoria, Oregon.  It was gratifying to see Ladybug devour a full plate of food (sans beer).  Chemotherapy makes enjoying a lot of things difficult, so when it happens it is a small treasure.  She is even laying claim to the leftovers!

We still have one more dish on this 5 day plan, then we are going to scale it back a bit both in terms of calories and preparation time.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wenatchee Complex Fires

People tend to think of Portland and Seattle as havens as rain and, for 9 months of the year, they are correct. However, the entire region goes quite dry in July, August, and September.  Seattle missed their dry spell record by 3 days this year and Portland has had just 0.04" since July 20th.

On the day Portland had 0.04", it was due to a line of north-south thunderstorms that were not forecast but popped up anyway.  We were at the Audubon Society of Portland with our little pal, Nicholas, who we were giving a birthday hangout day to (middle child syndrome can be a pain).  It got a bit dark and gray here with thunder, lightning, and a bit of rain in Portland for about an hour.

By the time it reached central Washington and Chelan County, the moisture was not reaching the ground but the lightning was.  In the rain shadow of the Cascades, it was the perfect storm for grass and forest fires.  Hundreds of lightning strikes with wind and no moisture dotted the area with fires.  As they coalesced, the Wenatchee Complex fires were the result.  The picture below was taken at the top of Badger Mountain in East Wenatchee looking west towards downtown Wenatchee and the hills the surround it and beyond.

For more brilliant pictures from the area, check out Landon Michaelson's blog right here.

I found a blog on the current conditions right here.

I would like to thank my cousin and my aunt for the updates and I hope for the best for their friends in the area.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What IS the deal?

Well, there is a LOT that is the deal.  I will get more into it over time.  Suffice it to say it takes me a while to really, really think about things.  I can never tell when something is going to finally click but, when it does, I do have some things to say about life, the universe, and that thing over there hiding between the news and reality.

More importantly, I hope this blog finds you moving generally where you want and need to be.

Pasta with goat cheese and roasted asparagus

This was okay...I am not sure it was much of an improvement over Mac & Cheese, though the fresh chives made a difference.  We were supposed to chop the asparagus and embed it with the pasta, but I honestly liked it better on the side.  Luckily it called for such massive amounts of asparagus that I've been snacking on it all evening.  I am looking forward to aromatic output. :D

Here is the recipe.