Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lunch bike ride

Today I rode my bike to work, then rode it at lunch on the Centenial Trail that goes along the Spokane River, and then rode home. A total of 21 miles. There are bike paths that lead to the trail from where I work. I took a lot of photos, mostly at lunch. This photo is along the Spokane River not too far from where I work. I also live a couple of blocks away from the river and access to the trail. This bike path is really nice and an asset to the community. Most of the way it is hard to believe you are in the middle of such a populated area. When the water is high in the spring there is a lot of white water and people are on kayaks and white water canoes. The guys in the canoes are really excentric, kayaks aren't good enough for them. They are canoe snobs if you ask me. I can't stand those guys who use canoes and not kayaks. (Im just kidding!) I have nothing against people in canoes. Actually I wish I had one of those "things" to add to all of my fleet of boats.

I called my lunch order at the so called San Francisco Sourdough for when my ride would be over. This is something I do from time to time. I tell them when I'm going to be there to pick up my order and they let me use their drive through on my bike. They seem to get a kick out of a bike using it, and I think I might be the only one who does. The regular fast food chains where I work won't let people use drive throughs on bikes. So Go Sourdough!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

(Do) whatever you want

Today I had a meeting with a customer in the afternoon and my hair was looking pretty darn wierd. Plus I might have a blind date this weekend so I decided to go and get my hair cut in the morning.

So I go to my regular place which is a chain, Great Clips. At Great Clips they keep data about your hair cut on the computer so they can do it the same all the time. And for a while I had been getting decent cuts. Now and then I'd get a really bad one but then one of them would fix it and I'd ge one I liked. But each time they would add something they did to my profile on the computer and my hair cuts got worse, and worse, and worse over time until I looked like I should join the German army in WWII!

So today I went in just hoping I'd get someone who can make me at least look somewhat normal. There weren't any customers in there when I went in and there were only two girls working. The girl who took me looked like Charlotte (Kristin Davis) on the HBO series Sex and the City. A very lovely woman. Katie was her name. She walked up to the computer and read my profile of how to cut my hair. I could see her expression changing as she read this like, WTF? I could tell she read it over and over. I'm thinking, "oh crap". Finally she punched a button on the keyboard, looked at me and said "don?".

"What are we going to do today?" she asked, as I sat in her chair. "Well what WE have been doing isn't working, so why don't YOU do whatever you want." I told her that I noticed that she wasn't making sense out of my profile. We agreed to remove my profile instructions and start over. And I got a decent hair cut.

I'd show it to you,.. but just imagine Brad Pitt. :)

I think over time my profile had mophed into a conflicting mess just like my hair. I learned something from this. Perhaps the customer shouldn't tell the the pros what to do. Just let people do their jobs.

It might have just been Katie however. She was special.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Here is a detail from a photo I took today of reflections in the river. It has a little of everything,.. the trees, the sky, the water, the rocks, all blurring together like my memory of the day.

Coeur D' Alene River

Here is another photo of the Coeur D' Alene River from my bike ride today in northern Idaho.

Trail of the Coeur D' Alenes

Today I decided to go for a bike ride on the Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes.Trail of the Coeur D'Alenes Wow! what an awesome bike trail! All I could say to myself the whole time was Wow! The river was clean and pure and the woods smelled really sweet.

I rode first from Enaville to Pinehurst and back. Then I went to Bull Run Lake and back to Enaville. There is a map on the website if you want to see where I went. I got there about 10:00 am and it was still chilly. So I rode to Pinehurst first just to see if I could deal with the cold air without taking a bunch of layers. I decided I could ride with just jersey and shorts. I rode 31 miles total. I'm still 350 miles from my goal of 1500 miles. I just might make it, but no way will I get to 2000 miles.

This bike trail is right in the middle of my range, (I'm just like an animal that never leaves it's range.) and I've never ridden this bike path, so I was very glad I decided to check it out. I'll have to explore more of it at some point, perhaps in a couple of weeks when the fall colors start to pop. I took a lot of photos of the river. The water is so clear that if you look closely, you can see the trout by their shadow on the bottom. I'd watch them circle and then come up for a bug. You can see all of the rocks on the bottom of the river.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cool blog

Here is a blog you should check out. It is many things. Heartbreaking and heartwarming,. happy and sad,..hopeful and hopeless. It is the blog of a teenage girl in Mosul Iraq. I've been reading it for a long time and found it on the Guardian's blogroll, perhaps two years ago. I've never made a comment and I didn't ask if I could link to it so I hope she doesn't mind. (I don't have many readers anyway)

hnk's blog

Post Script. Wow, hnk came to my blog and made a comment. I never expected that. I really admire her. I wish the last thing I said about her blog was "hopeful." Because there is always hope. It is the thing that keeps me going. Knowing that there is such a wonderful young woman like hnk out there gives me hope in this world.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Miss Montana

My boss gave us Wal Mart gift cards last Christmas. First of all I don't shop at Wal Mart very often. Not in protest or anything. I just don't shop that much and I don't like the crowds. Anyway it's twice now that I've gotten these gift cards. The first time I used the money to purchase a little Nikon camera, a little point and shoot. So this year I didn't know what to get. I like shooting, and I didn't have a great scope on my rifle so I used the gift card to get a new Nikon rifle scope. Really nice.

Every year I go to a hunting camp way out in the mountains. We call it Hunt Club. When I first moved to Washington from Montana I started to hunt alone as I didn't know anyone to hunt with. Soon I had one of my friends going, then his dad, and it grew and grew. It is mostly for fellowship and I think a good reason for some of these guys to get time away from the family. It's kind of cool as I'm one of the founders, plus I'm from Montana and get a certain amount of respect for that reason alone.

Hunt Club draws near, so I decided to have that new scope put on my rifle. So today I took my rifle and new scope to the Gunatoriam. The place where rednecks meet. I kid you not. So I took off my liberal artist hat and put on my University of Montana hoodie. (that always works) You should have seen me. I felt like Clint Eastwood walking into a dusty old saloon. The place really looks western with old wooden floors.

The place fell silent as I pushed open the door and walked in. All eyes were on me and my Montana hoodie. I could hear my spurs, ching, ching, ching, as walked up to the bar, "What'll you have stranger?" "Whiskey." I said. "We don't have no whiskey here." was the response. "Well, beer then." "We don't have no beer." I squinted my eyes and then turned to walk out,.. and the guy behind the bar went on. "First the gold run out,.. then the whiskey run out,... Then the beer run out..." I went back out to my truck and brought back in a case of whiskey and said, " Whiskey all around!"

Well,. that isn't exactly what happened. It was kind of like that however. I have found that I do get special treatment in some situations if I wear my U of M hoodie over here. My rifle will be ready tomorrow. 1 day turnaround. Pretty good, as I'd like to shoot it this weekend. If I'd been wearing a hoodie that said California on it I'm sure I'd be waiting a few weeks to get my rifle back. When I first moved here if I wore anything that said Montana on it I'd always hear a sheep joke. I think Johnny Carson had something to do with that. Even Woody Allen made fun of Miss Montana, dressing up like an ugly Miss Montana. Here is a link to Miss Montana Teen. Miss Montana Teen So take take this Woody!

(I knew a Miss Montana,.. Miss Montana was a friend of mine... And Woody, you're no Miss Montana!.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Where's the beef?

It's already hunting season in Idaho. And probably bow season for something in Montana. I honestly don't pay that much attention. It's time for the hunters to sight in the rifles. When I was growing up hunting season was really important to my Dad and for our family. We lived on wild game and fish. Dad made sure I had decent hunting and fishing skills. I never liked killing anything. But I did like to shoot and came to understand that if you want to eat meat, as most people do then something has to die. Dad grew up on a ranch. It really was survival mode for them back then. So he also made sure I spent time on ranches in Montana. You really find out about where meat comes from on a ranch in Montana.

It is so easy to go to the market and pick out a neatly packaged piece of meat, or to go to McDonalds and order Mc meat. (whatever that grey matter is in that burger. and who knows where it comes from?) There is such a disconnect in doing that. And almost all animals are cute at some point. But in one way or another an animal died if you eat meat. It isn't pretty. I've been in a slaughter house. Have you? Another job that lots of americans won't do now.

But there is also a real disconnect in just shooting a deer or an elk, or something else, and thinking nothing of it, or getting too much enjoyment out of it. I guess this is what I'm getting at.

I've heard arguments on both sides, and I was expected to kill animals for food at a very young and tender age. I don't get any enjoyment in that. But I do like to cook. And I like to eat meat. And it is one of the harsh realities of life. My Dad made sure I understood this.

My hat is off to those who don't eat meat. However meat does make for good food. And I like to cook it. But something was having a life and had to die for that meal. I guess that is why people give thanks at meal time.

I didnt' want to post a photo of hunting season without getting these thoughts out in the open. Hunting is a tradition in Montana for both men and women, young and old. Sighting in the rifles was always my favorite part. It is the prelude to what will come.

Mule deer doe

Some mule deer came into the orchard to eat apples and pears, so I went out to get some snaps. No deer were harmed in the making of this post.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Here is a photo of a little sail boat off of the shore of Wildhorse Island. My interest in this photo is because this is a Thistle Class sail boat. (my other interest is just taking photos and it was a nice evening with the sun going down and the fire smoke in the air.) I think the Thistle is a very lovely little boat. It has a plumb bow (the front of the boat goes straight up.) That is a very modern sail boat design feature on an old one design boat. It increases the waterline of a boat and at the same time makes the boat faster by reducing overall length and overhang. Plus these boats jump out onto a plane and that is also what the modern sport sail boats do and they have pretty much the same lines.

The other thing I think is cool about this is that I've been thinking about Scottish connections to the island and the lake. And of course the thistle is a Scottish symbol. (The Lady of the Lake, my Dad, and all of that) And here is a Thistle off the shore of Wildhorse. It hasn't been there very long as I would have noticed.

I also noticed that the mast is raked too far forward. The top of the mast is tipped twards the front of the boat too much. Not good. That will give the boat a stong lee helm. (if you let go of the tiller/rudder then the boat will turn down wind.) This is not good. You want the boat to "point" up wind if you let go. Then it will come to a stop into the wind. If it sails down wind it might broach and tip over or otherwise get out of control. Most likely they bought a mast from another boat and just put it on without adjusting the forestay and shrouds. That might require some work and expense. It could be that when people get in it, the stern goes down into the water and mast goes up. But I don't think so. It is just too far forward for even that. When sailing on a plane it would really put a force on the bow and that isn't what you want. As you build speed you want the mast to rake back and put the force on the flat part of the rear of the hull. So this is just wrong. I would know for sure if I sailed it, and I admit that I don't know this class very well. Who knows, this boat might be set up exactly right, but I doubt it. The new sport boats with a very similar hull all have the masts raked back, and they have main sails with large roaches (curve to the trailing edge of the sail) that moves the center of effort farther back making the boat point up.

This is how you steer a windsurfer. If you want to go down wind you point the top of the mast twards the front of the board. The wind pushes the bow down wind (the force of the wind is on the front of the board). If you want to go up wind you rake the top of the mast to the back/ stern of the board and the will get pushed around and the board will sail up wind. Same thing on a sail boat. It's called tuning the boat.

None the less this is a very cool little boat and affordable. It's faults are that the rail is really narrow and uncomfortable to sit on when hiking the boat over. And I've heard that you tend to get wet on these boats. I've never sailed one. If I remember they are 17 feet long. I think it would be a very fun boat to sail. This one is really exposed to storm weather where it is. Here is a link to the Thistle website. Take a look at some others.

Thistle Class

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Bighorn Sheep photos

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Montana colors

I just got back from Montana. Every night I would take my boat out in the evening and watch the sun go down and the stars and moon come out. Here is a photo looking north.

Surfer girl

This girl remided me of Yulia out on her longboard. I did notice that she wasn't wearing a life vest. I'd scold her for that. It's a big cold lake and she was way out in it. If she dropped her sail she could never be found. But I can relate to the freedom she enjoyed and I admire her courage.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Down east in the west

If you have money and you come to Flathead lake, then please bring something like this with you. (forget about bronze elk) I don't mind looking at something like this. Of course only the very wealthy can afford one of these. It is a "down easter" Otherwise known as a lobster yacht. A boat design born out of the work boat of the north east coast and lobster fishing. This one is probably about 36 to 38 feet and it is probably the nicest boat I've ever seen on Flathead Lake. I've been watching the prices of these things and a 22 foot one with a small motor can set you back $45k. But this one is probably worth $250k or more. They will go over 30 knots.

It has been said that there are two things a man can love, a woman and a boat. I think this is in good taste. Unlike the bronze elk, but I'm probably blinded by love.

Monday, September 04, 2006

1000 miles from nowhere

Time don't matter to me...

Cause I'm a thousand miles from nowhere,

and there's no place I want to be.

Dwight Yoakam

Times are changing

There was a time when people only came from out of state to Flathead Lake for a summer vacation. We viewed this sort of thing as a tourist trap. I wonder how the natives viewed it? It was in bad taste, but I'm kind of nostalgic about it now. Notice the elk painting. I think it is kind of cool due to it's age and condition.

But I grew up on the lake as a kid and played on a floating stump just like these native kids were doing Sunday. What a simple pleasure. Most kids are only happy with a jet ski now.

People with too much disposable income are moving in. No doubt this bronze elk cost tens of thousands. It is kind of cool in a way, but it also kind of sucks. What is the point? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for public art, and western art. But what are these people saying? We like elk, we just don't want real ones walking across our property to get a drink at the lake. Is this really in good taste? The elk looks so natural standing in the flower bed... Perhaps it is getting ready to jump the fence? I'm kind of surprised someone hasn't taken a shot at it,.. this is Montana after all.
I used to walk a mile with Walter down to this store and buy a pop. It was owned by an old native woman. There was a smell to the place like an old grocery store. The pop machine was an old one. You had to lift the lid on it and the bottles were in cold water. You moved the one you wanted to a gate that would open when you put your money in.

Bike ride around Flathead Lake.

Sunday I rode my bike about 2/3s the way around Flathead Lake in Montana. (I avoided a high traffic section that I've ridden before.) I've been wanting to do this for several years. I've ridden all of the roads but not on the same ride. And the last time I rode down the east side of the lake I was about 14 years old and it was pouring down rain. That was on a Tour of the Swan River Valley ride. I didn't have any rain gear so I used a garbage bag as a poncho.

But Sunday the weather was beyond beautiful. The east side of the lake is at the foot of the Mission Mountains and even at this time of year there were springs coming down the slope to the lake. The forest smelled really sweet. There was very little traffic as I suspected there would/ wouldn't be on that side of the lake. The highway on that side is slow and narrow so most of the traffic going north goes up the west side of the lake.

I started at the north east end of the lake at Bigfork. Bigfork is a really cool little town, both on the lake and in the woods with a little harbor. There is a summer play house there and it is a must see if you ever go to Flathead Lake. I rode south along the mountains to Polson. Then I rode up the west side back to my place.

The first photo is looking southwest. I rode to the left of the frame. It shows how big the lake is. It's too big to get in a single photograph and looks like a sea. Later in the day I would go over those mountains in the distance where I took the second photo.

The Second photo is looking northeast. Those are the Mission Mountains on the other side of the lake that I just came down along the shore a couple of hours earlier. That little island is called Dream Island. the bigger one that looks like a mountain behind it is Wildhorse Island. I've been to the top of it on foot. I like to take the skiff over there and hike. Like I've said before there are bighorn sheep on it and I like to go there to view wildlife. There are lots of islands in Flathead Lake.
It was a great ride and gave me some perspective of the lake. You see more on a bike than you do in a car. Flathead Lake is a very big lake as you can see. It is almost like a freshwater sea. I rode 55 miles. When I started out it took me about 40 min to warm up. I could see how far I had to go along the lake and I had a head wind. I thought to myself, "this is going to be a long day!" There are lots of rollers on the east side highway, and there is a huge climb at the end on the west side. It wasn't about the distance, and it wasn't about the speed. In the end it was a pleasure.

I'll post some more photos of buildings and such later.

The north end of the lake isn't far from Glacier Park. So next week I plan to go to Glacier Park and ride my bike up the Going to the Sun Highway. I've done it before and it is a very difficult climb. The bonus is that I get to camp up there in grizzly bear country. Actually this is also. One was spotted not far from our place, and I've come face to face with black bears.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Calm morning

Here is a photo of my Hobie at dock in the morrning. It has been secured like this over the night waiting for the wind to fill in on the bay. Unless there is a storm or weather front coming in, it is always calm at night. Then the warm air of the day will create wind on the bay. A morning like this tells me it is going to be a good day for sailing. The prairie to the west will heat up and draw the cool air of the bay. That will make a nice "sea breeze" on the bay. Perfect for sailing.

Usually I'll bring the Hobie cat up onto the beach if I think there will be weather at night, as the waves coming in can be like the ocean here. But I knew it would be calm all night. I know this lake so very well.