Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It is still HOT!

Everyday this week is a little bit hotter. 97 yesterday and 101 today here at my homebase.

Yesterday I took a 22 mile bicycle ride in the morning and thoght I would stop at the boat for a few minutes. I got sidetracked and waxed most of the starboard side of the hull. Even though that only took about an hour, I was really hot by the time I started the last 5 miles from the marina home. Someone said that I looked pale. I drank some water and started home. It was not as bad as I thought it would be except for the one mile climb. It is always nasty! I got home and hydrated well and felt a lot better.

I spent most of the morning inside today and went down to the boat for a short time. It was still hot down there even though the thermometer only said 88. Took a walk down to the state park docks tonight. A light breeze was blowing and it felt comfortable. Lots of people hanging out on the beach and in the water.

This pretty much tells it all. It has been predicting rain for several days though. Strange!

Monday, July 27, 2009

It Is Hot Out!

Warning: There is very little sailing content here.

It is 1600 and the thermometer on the shady side of the house is reading 93 degrees. It is hot out!

I just got back from the boat. I went down there to take a few measurements for a project I am working on. Then I noticed the brush I use for washing the hull. So, I washed the starboard side(the side next to the dock) in preparation for waxing. I couldn't stop there, so I scrubed the decks to clean off the dust and pollen that has accumulated. Looks nice again.

It was hot on the dock, but really hot at home. So to cool off, I made a large blended ice mocha in the blender. Later tonight I will make one of my fantastic mixed fruit smoothies! Yum.

A few times today, I wondered how my ex-coworkers were fairing in the stuffy building where we worked. But, as I sipped my cold, blended, ice mocha, I did not wonder for very long. I am glad I don't work in that building anymore. I am also glad I did not have an answer when Alan ask me "what can we do to keep you from retiring?" Maybe if I would have said "an ice mocha every day, and a window office with AC unit"..... :-)

Blended ice mocha. And a good use for those large mugs that I have been recieving lately as awards for winning sailboat races! I now have a set of four and may recieve another in August from a race I won a year ago.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Catching Up

Warning : Those looking for sailing content will probably be disappointed. There is very little sailing content here.

When I last wrote, I had just returned from Whidbey Island Race Week.

The next day I got up early(tired) and met my friend Jim to go to the drag races at Pacific Raceways in Kent. It was a hot day and the sun beat down. More than watching the races, the pits are open and the vendors have booths displaying their merchandise. I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the racing in the Top Fuel Dragster and Top Fuel Funny car classes. The quantity of cars was down(could be the economy) but it also seemed that a lot of cars had trouble pulling off a complete run. The first two dragsters did not even get off the line without launching their chutes. Strange.

Most of last week I was pretty lazy. I felt tired and weak and the weather was cold and overcast. I finally spent part of a day cleaning the motorcycle of all the bug splatter and another part of a day rebuilding the drive train of one of my bicycles. After working on the bicycle, I decided that I should ride some. So for the last three days I rode for about 22 miles each day. It was very hot yesterday and today.

A side benefit of feeling tired this week was that I got to fulfill one of my retirement goals. I got to stay home and watch the Tour de France bicycle race coverage. It was pretty exciting and the outcome was not determined until the climb of Mont Ventoux yesterday. I would rise each morning very early and catch the first coverage of the day live.

Also this week I spent some time planning out some excursions. A short list follows:

Climb Mt Rainer to Camp Muir(10000 feet)(maybe late this week)
Climb Mt St Helens
Climb Mt Ellinor
Hike Mt Jupiter
Hike the High Divide in the Olympics
Travel to Stehekin(far end of Lake Chelan) and camp and mountain bike

I also have two sailboat races in August. The most notable is the Vashon Challenge, a single handed/double handed race around Vashon Island.

Also in my plans may be another motorcycle ride to Eastern Washington over Chinook Pass and the Old Blewett Pass highway.

I have been planning a cruise this fall and then got word that the chief Handicapper has called for a meeting around the later part of September at a club up north. At first I was bummed that it might not fit into my plans. But then I thought, "the club has reciprocal moorage. Why not go on the cruise and fit the meeting in as one of my stops?" So I can probably pull that off.

Now I have to figure out if I can fit in a SW United States road trip yet this year.

I have not figured out this retirement thing yet. I still feel uncomfortable about wasting so much time and yet when I start travelling and planning for trips, I start thinking that I don't have enough time. I still have yard work and boat work to do before the weather turns this fall. I sure don't feel like working in the yard or on the boat when it is so hot.

One of the top fuel funny cars performing a burn out to clean and warm up the slicks(may be Ashley Force).
Another burn out.

John Force, 60 years old and still racing and winning in top fuel funny cars.

With the hot weather, the yard has turned into a beautiful golden brown that does not need mowing. Do need to kill the weeds.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Whidbey Island Race Week-Days 4 and 5

It is now saturday night and I finally have time to catch up on days 4 and 5 of Whidbey Island Race Week.

Thursday was day 4 and the weather was spectacular. The winds cooperated and we got 3 good races in. Our team work on "Surt" was good and we sailed with the rest of our class for much of the day. On one race we had a small infraction at the start and had to do turns. When completed, we were back in the race. Race 3 was our best showing with a 4th in class. The winds improved during the day and topped out at around 15 knots.

Part of the crew of "Dulcinea" busily at work rigging the boat before the start of racing on day 4.

And the rest of the crew of "Dulcinea" relaxing in the cockpit of "French Latte" before the start of day 4's racing.

Quiet at the docks before the crews arrive.

The parade to the starting area.

Day 5. This is the last day of racing and I have heard that it is usually a shorter day of racing, giving the crews a chance to start their deliveries home.

Also, traditionally, gremlins prowl the docks during the early mornings of day 5 and perform renaming ceremonies on many of the competing boats. while most of the new names are "R" or "X" rated, I have included a few "G" rated ones in the pictures below.

"Stupitity" is ex-Tantivity

This used to be "Delirium"

And after a competitor hit the committee boat on day 4, "YC5" got a a new name and some caution tape.

Day 5 did have only 2 races. And once again, the weather was warm and the wind steadily increased during the day, eventually topping out at around 20 knots. We had a little trouble with a couple of jibes and found ourselves again in a slight infraction at a turning mark. Once again we did turns and cleared ourselves and the other boat was extremly gracious in accepting our error. Later another boat fouled us and did not clear themselves with turns. The skipper had to take that to the protest board. Don't know the out come of that one.

I had a great week racing on "Surt" and thank Mike and Chris for having me on their boat. Also to the crew of Walter, Jeff, Lee, Jerry, Kathleen, Connie, Lezli and Dolly: It was fun sailing with all of you! And especially to Dolly: thanks for providing the great gourmet sandwiches!

The experiance of Whidbey Island Race Week was great. At times it was silly. It was fun getting to see some of my great sailing friends that I often only talk to boat to boat. It is fun to share tales of our racing and sailing exploits of over 30 years and to reconnect with my old mentors. There are so many highly experianced sailors at these events. The organizers keep the shore activities moving along nicely and the race committee does a fantastic job of keeping the 9 classes of boats organized and started.

More info and results can be found on:
Oh, yeah, the trip home turned into an odyssey. I left Oak Harbor at about 1630 and waited through three ferries from Keystone to Pt Townsend. I finally got home at about 2330. Long day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Whidbey Island Race Week-Day 3

This morning started out completly socked in with fog. But by the time we left the dock, the fog was lifting. We motored to the start and by the time of the first start at noon, the wind was blowing 10-12 knots. We had a great start and a good beat. We opted for a jibe set and had a closer line to the next mark that was waaayyy to leeward and around the bluff. Alas the wind died and the race was called.

We did three more races and bu thye third race, the wind was puffing 15 knots. Mikle performed great aggresive starts. In the second race, we rounded well up in our class and lead "What? A Tripp!"(Captain Morgan) during the run. We rounded the leeward mark inside a couple of other boats that swung wide.

The third race was four legs of of about a 3/4 miles each with two spinaker sets and a downwind finish.

Great winds today and lots of sunshine! Supossed to be more of the same tommorow.

This is one of the great things about being retired.

Captain Morgan on our tail.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Whidbey Island Rqace Week-Days 1 and 2

I am in Oak Harbor this week for the Whidbey Island Race Week. This is five days of racing in Penn Cove, often times referred as "Summer Camp For Adults". I got a ride on a C&C 41 named "Surt", owned by Mike and Chris. It is a lot of boat and not real suited for the short courses. We had a friendly crew of ten. As the new guy, I felt a little clumsy and unsure of myself. But as the races continued, we started meshing well.

The first day was a washout. We drifted around all day in grey, cool conditions. No races were run. I wondered about people who came from areas like California. I thought that they would be hating themselves by the end of the day.

Day 2 was completly differant. The sun was out and the wind came up. From the first start at noon, we ran three races between 6 and 8 miles. The winds blew as high as 12knots by the third race. We were probably had mid class finishes.

Jeff and Walter

Everyone working hard!

Kathleen relaxing after the last finish.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Columbia River Ramblings-Part5

When I last posted, I had just filled up with gas at Grand Coulee and was headed toward Bridgeport, Brewster and on to the North Cascade Highway over Washington Pass.

The road to from Grand Coulee to Bridgeport always seems lonely and long. It runs through fields, range and nothing. There was very few cars. Once again, the temp was rising. At Brewster I stopped and had Mc Breakfast. Then on to the Pateros where I turned right into the Methow Valley. I forgot how nice this road is. A good speed limit and nice sweeping curves made this road a pleasure to ride. I stopped in Winthrop and wandered through some of the shops. There are good outdoor/sporting goods stores there. Winthrop was rebuilt with a cowboy theme and has become a bit of a "destination" with the outdoor activities and lodges there. Lots of motorcyclists were there.

After Winthrop I continued on toward Washington Pass. Again the road is in great shape. And again not a lot of traffic going my way, well that was until I started down the west side. There was a lot of motorcycles heading east. The sky was clear and the mountains were spectacular. Heading down the west side, I got behind some slow trailers. After a while I found a clear section and got around them. That was when the fun started! The road gets winding above Ross Lake. Mr Ulysess does like to corner! I stopped at Newhalem for some ice cream. I was also camping in the national park campground at Newhalem. This was the only day when I felt that I could continue as it was only 1430.

On Sunday I was underway at 0700. Since it had been so hot the day before, I did not put on the leather riding pants. That was OK until I got to Burlington. Then the mist started. It continued until I got to Oak Harbor.

I stopped in Oak Harbor to try to find people I knew at the marina. Whidbey Island Race Week starts monday and I am crewing on a boat. I could not find him, but did talk to others that I know.

I continued on to the Keystone-Port Townsend ferry. While on the ferry, I put on the riding pants. Good thing I did, it started raining as soon as I got off the ferry and most of the way home.

This was the longest ride I had ever made at 1155 miles. I only averaged around 200 miles a day. Except for one day, that seemed to fill the day up. I guess I like to stop and sightsee instead of riding all day.

The "sidewalks" of Winthrop. It has been built with a cowboy theme.

Upper Methow Valley.

Mountains near Washington Pass.

Diablo Lake.

Deception Pass, Whidbey Island.

Port Townsend ferry. All the other bikes are Canadian, eh!

Columbia River Ramblings-Part 4

When you last heard from me, I was using McWIFI to post Part 3. It is still Friday.

From Mc Donalds, I went to the local Harley store to see if they had a oil dipstick for the Uly(don't ask what happened). They did not, so I headed on my way to my destination for the night, Sun Lakes State Park.

I chose to ride out thru Hanford on Hiway 240. It was HOT. The temp was somewhere in the 90's. I don't know if it was the temp, but Ms TomTom (the GPS) locked up and had to be reset to operate again. It was even hotter when I was stopped for 20 minutes in a construction zone. The ride was neat as the terrain is nothing but sand and sagebrush. I continued up the Columbia River on 243 untill I arrived at I 90. I stopped at the rest stop across the river from Vantage and then continued east on I 90. I exited and headed north to Ephrata where I stopped for lunch and some more McWIFI.

I then continued north through Soap Lake and up to Sun Lakes State Park. I had reservations there and I fortunatly had selected a shady campsite as it was very HOT by the time I arrived. That night, the park sponsored a band that played 50's and 60's rock.

I was underway at 0630 Saturday on the way to the North Cascade Highway. I stopped at Dry Falls. Interesting that this falls was 400 feet high and 1500 feet wide, dwarfing Niagra Falls. I continued to Grand Coulee, bought gas and continued on Highway 174 toward Bridgeport and beyond.

The Columbia River where I90 crosses near Vantage.

Wild horses on the bluffs above the Columbia River.*

Sun Lakes. Dry Falls

Grand Coulee Dam

* They are sillouettes on the hill side. But, you probably guessed that!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Columbia River Ramblings-Part3

When you last heard from this travller, he was in Gresham, Or borrowing Mc WIFI. Today, he is also borrowing McWIFI in Kenniwick, WA.

Yesterday on my route up the Gorge, I rode the Historic Old Columbia River Road. This is a winding two lane road than runs along the edge of the Gorge above I84 on the Oregon side. This road is the access for Multnomah Falls and many of the trailheads along this part of the gorge. The drive was slow mainly because of the tourists. I stopped at "Vista House" that had a great view looking up toward Beacon Rock. I also stopped at Multnomah Falls and hiked up to the bridge. Too many people!

From there, I rode upstream to Cascade Locks and crossed the Bridge of the Gods to the Washington side. I camped at Maryhill State Park.

I was up early this morning and got underway. I stopped at "Stonehedge". This was a replica built by the railroad tycoon, Jim Hill. It was built aqs a memorial to the lost troops from the World War(WW1). The rest of the ride to Kenniwick was spectacular, EXCEPT for the bugs. My faceshield is severly splattered.

On to Sun Lakes State Park today.

Looking up the gorge, Vista House on the right. From Vista House

Multnomah Falls


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Columbia River Ramblings-Part 2

As promised, here are some pictures.

Oregon coast.
Cape Meares

Evergreen Aviation and Aerospace Museum, McMinnville, OR. The "Spruce Goose" is in this building.

The "Goose" and I.

I will try to catch up with my journey.

Last I posted, I had left Astoria and was in Tillamook. The ride from Astoria was soggy and windy most of the way. It was still a great ride along the ocean. I camped at Cape Lookout State Park. Finally in the evening, the wind stopped blowing but it stayed cold.

This morning I was underway by 0630. The weather is dry today. I rode the back roads through Pacific Beach and then up the Little Nestucca River Road. It was a great route and a lot nicer road then the days I used to bicycle it. I rode to McMinnville to the Aviation museum. They have the Spruce Goose there although the interior tour is very limited. There are lots of airplanes on display and the second museum is all about rockets and space.

Found my way through Portland and using some McWIFI in Gresham on my way to Multnomah Falls and the Gorge. Spending the night at Maryhill State Park tonight and Sun Lakes tomorrow.

More Pics when I get a chance to download them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Columbia River Ramblings- Part 1

Well, looks like i lost the original post. So I will write it again.

I am on a five day motorcycle trip to the Columbia River, into NW Oregon and then up the Columbia River gorge to Sun Lakes and then home via North Cascades highway.

Stayed at Cape Dissapointment State Park last night. Rainy and windy today. Stopped in Astoria to go to the Maritime Museum.

Sitting in Tillamook stealing WIFI from Mc Donalds.

Well, the worlds longest beach!
North Head Light House

Columbia River Bar, the worst bar in the world.

Cape Disappointment

Maritime Museum

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bremerton's Big Dig.

WARNING: I think this whole project was an unnecessary waste of money!

Bremerton has a ferry terminal downtown where the ferry from Seattle loads and unloads. Obviously the traffic when the ferry unloads is fairly dense for the 10 minutes that it takes to unload the inbound ferry. This occurs every 1-1/2 hours. This has not changed since the ferrys started landing in Bremerton at least 75 years ago.

A few years ago, the mayor decided that he wanted the downtown to be more pedestrian friendly. The real truth is probably that when the new luxury condos were built on the waterfront along Washington Avenue, he did not want the ferry traffic to disrupt the condo dwellers. So a 950 ft tunnel was built from the ferry terminal to near the intersection of Burwell street and Park avenue. This cost the taxpayers a mear $54million of mainly federal funds. It was started two years ago today. I worked near the construction zone and it was miserable putting up with the disruption, route changes and noise. Now when I get off the ferry with one of my motor vehicles, I will exit the tunnel and be diverted many blocks therby increasing my time and distance to get home. I will still drive through town, but not by the condos. And the condos are more than half empty and are not selling. Great progress.

Today the tunnel is finished. The Governor, ex-mayor, US Congressman Dicks(who obtained the federal funds) and a lot of other dignataries cut the ribbon and us citizens got to walk through the tunnel.

The exit on Burwell Street. The dignataries are down in the opening.
The interior of the tunnel. Check out the forest design cast into the concrete walls. Painted too! Pretty nice.

This is at the ferry terminal end. The traffic exiting the ferry enters here. The road to the right is where the traffic exited before the tunnel and it was to allow the traffic that goes to East Bremerton(that's me) to drive up Washington Avenue(and by the "luxury condos"). It was estimated that 35% would go that way. A couple months ago, that descision was reversed and now ALL traffic will go through the tunnel except bicycles(sometimes that is me) and vehicles with flammable or explosive loads.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Poulsbo Fireworks-July 3rd

Poulsbo holds it's fireworks on July 3rd. Even though this seems strange, a lot of people go to this fireworks on the 3rd and then another one elsewhere on the 4th.

My yacht club usually has a cruise for the night of the 3rd and then retreats to Bremerton for the 4th. We had a light turnout with only 6 boats and rafted out in Liberty Bay. The weather was clear and HOT. I had a good sail from Brownsville to Poulsbo. The bay was filled with anchored boats, as normal. I had a little trouble finding our boats that had arrived earlier. We were very close to the "line of death" around the area where the fireworks barge was anchored. This gave us a really good view and the concussion from the bombs was outstanding.

After the show, and the boats not spending the night departed, it was quiet through the night. I motored home on Saturday.

Our small raft of boats. Notice all the anchored boats in the background.
Tom and Bob refilling at the potluck. Crab, salmon and lots of other dishes to devour! Yum!!

Sun going down, where are the fireworks?

Here they are!