Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fire fighting plane

HERE is a video of an airplane used to fight forest fires as scoops water out of the bay in front of our place on Flathead Lake. And HERE is the related article in the paper about it. I'm glad I wasn't out there sailing!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Get on board

There is a new skate park in Missoula. I never owned a skateboard when I was growing up. I also never thought I'd take up windsurfing, but that's something I really like now. I can relate to these guys, but I doubt they could relate to me,.. unless they saw me on my board.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

U of M

I had a great time in Missoula. Saw lots of my old friends and we really had a party. Saturday morning I went for a bike ride around town. Missoula is a bicycle town. Even when the sun is beating down you can ride under a canpoy of trees in the shade. Here is a photo from the "Oval" at the University of Montana and Main Hall. Notice the M on the hill above. There are chimes in that tower. There is a keyboard that you push with your hands to make them play. I can't remember how many octaves, only a few. I had a friend who was a music student who would play them named John. Not very many people got to play them and it was cool to hear him play. I think there must be music written just for these things but I'm not sure. I'll have to ask John the next time I see him.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wear your helmet

Before my bike ride up the Going To The Sun Road in Glacier Park last week, I stopped to use a bathroom at a boat launch along the shore of Flathead Lake. There were trucks with boat trailers but not really that many people around. So I went in and went to the bathroom. Then I washed my hands of course, and then before I walked out the door, I noticed my shoe lace was undone. So I bent over to tie it. When I did that the door flew open from an old farmer guy coming in and the door smashed right into my head! Didn't really hurt me but it did ring my bell. He felt horrible about it "Are you ok?" and I'm like "Oh no problem, not to worry". But it did hurt and gave me an instant headache. Thinking back on it I should have played it up and staggered around and then fell over just to see what he would have done. :)

I should wear a helmet when I go to the bathroom! I'm a big believer in crash helmets. They have saved me more than once both cycling and skiing. I used to wear my bike helmet only part of the time. Thankfully the time I really needed it I had it on and now I wear it all of the time, and I never ski without my ski helmet. (this is my file photo of my ski helmet and my bike helmet) Can't go too many posts without a photo here at bicycle log!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yellow Jersey Rasmussen out of the tour

Well there's just about nobody else left to kick out of the Tour de France. They got rid of Moreni and the whole Cofidis team pulled out, and before that Vinokourov and the Astana team. And also the T-Mobile rider who crashed out and it looks like T-Mobile and Adidas will pull their sponsorship when this tour is over.

But now the Yellow Jersey Rasmussen is fired from his team and kicked out of the tour. So now the race lead goes to Contador on Discovery with Evans in second and Leipheimer in 3rd. I was joking this morning that Leipheimer would get on the podium when they kicked out Rasmussen, but I didn't really expect it to happen. What a mess.

The crowds were booing Rasmussen at the sign in today and on the mountain as well. I can't help but feel a little sorry for him as he did get tested 14 times with no positive. But he broke the team rules, and said he was in Mexico when he was apparently in Italy and avoided testing before the tour. The race organizers said they wouldn't have wanted him to start had they known this before the race.

I wonder if it isn't time to let women have a chance at the spotlight in cycling and give the men a time out? I know they have a women's version of the race. I think I'd rather see that for a while.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lake McDonald Lodge

Here are some interior shots I took inside Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier Park. Every time I got to Glacier I like to spend a little time hanging out in one of the old Lodges. The Lake McDonald Lodge is the coziest and smallest of the old timber framed Lodges. There is a lodge like this in private hands on Flathead Lake. The main floor in the Lobby of these buildings are usually stone. I took this shot from the top of three levels looking down into the lobby. You can read about some of the history and renovations HERE It's a pdf file download and has old photos.

This is the balcony shown in the first photo. This would be a good place to sit and read on a rainy day in the park or write a few post cards home or just write in your journal. I don't think they have wireless internet here so you might have to use a tablet and pen. The Lodge was built in 1913 and the first electrical system was primitive. It had a generator that was water driven by a stream and provided DC electrical to the Lodge at a max of 50 watts. Kind of cool if you think about it now.

Here is a photo of the big fireplace and some of the mounted animal heads and bodies. Notice the bird in the upper left. I didn't take a close look but I think that's a golden eagle. A few years ago someone came into the park on snowmobiles in the winter, broke into the lodge and took many of the old wildlife mounts. My heart sank when I heard about it. I guess they found some of them brought them back, but I remember an old pronghorn antelope head that I don't see anymore. The old mounts were more crude and many like that antelope were actually "stuffed" with straw much like a teddy bear. So they can look kind of goofy in compairison to a modern mount in which the hide is tanned and then stretched over a plastic head. The new ones are much more lifelike. But the old ones are quaint, and shame on the people who took them.

These lanterns were originally in the Prince of Wales Hotel in Canada in Waterton Lakes Park just north of Glacier. They wanted a british theme, so in the late 1950s they moved these parchment lanterns with their native american pictograph motifs to Lake McDonald. I think they are in an arts and crafts style with perhaps a Japanese lantern/ asian influence. Something like that. I just think they are about as cool as they could be, and a couple of them would look cool hanging in my front room as I have a tall ceiling and my own hunting mounts. Of course they belong in the park for everyone to enjoy. But it does give me some ideas for my place here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The bad news

I guess in life there are good things and bad things. Of course it's nice to focus on the good things, and perhaps if you don't talk about the bad things they will go away. But sometimes they won't. So there are two things I'm thinking about tonight.

First is my blogging friend Veronica Neeka's Backlog who's father had a stroke a while back and he hasn't been the same person since. He wandered away a few days ago and they can't find him. Of course the family is frantic trying to find him. So send up a prayer for his safe return.

And then there is this closer to home. A guy I know shot himself last week. Randy was only 33 years old and leaves behind a baby boy and a wife who is expecting another. He had everything to live for as you can read at the link, and this is just tragic for the family.

It's hot out. I'll be glad when summer is over.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Glacier Park ride

I managed to get to Glacier Park and ride my bike up the Going to the Sun Highway from just past the far end of Lake McDonald to Logan Pass and then back down. When I got into the park it was really hot and the hottest I've ever been in Glacier Park. I sat here on the southeast shore of Lake McDonald in the shade at Apgar, ate my lunch under this tree, and looked at the mountains in the distance that I'd be riding up. Bicycles are restricted between 11 am and 4 pm due to car traffic. But I was wondering as I sat here with all of this heat just what I was myself geting into.

I drove my car to the other end of the lake and hung out in Lake McDonald Lodge. The lake is just on the other side of it. I'll post some interior photos of that next. It's really cool, and if you ever go to Glacier, be sure to check out the old Lodges. One time I stayed in the East Glacier Lodge. It isn't expensive to stay in one and it is so cool. One of our Artists, Laura A. worked a summer here at Lake McDonald Lodge. She told me that she was sitting on the other side of this Lodge next to the lake and a mountain lion came strolling along the path right behind her and then went up the stream to the left of this photo. She just sat there and the mountain cat just walked on by. It must not have liked her beautiful red hair.

I parked my car up the road from the Lodge and waited as long as I though I should, I wanted it to cool down. You have to ride up the river for a couple of miles. I was trying to spin easy and get used to things, but I was sucking air. Then the road turns left/ to the north, and the climb starts. That section seemed to take forever and climbs and climbs and you go through a tunnel. I took a photo that many have done of Heaven's Peak from inside of the tunnel.

Finally I came to the switchback and you can see the goal from the road. There were some hikers coming down from Granite Park as that is where the trail comes down from. They hadn't taken enough water for their hike and that is a common mistake. After the switchback you can see Logan pass up in the distance. It's that notch up in the distance.

There were some Bighorns out on the road near the top. That is kind of unusual. This photo shows how steep the climb is and how very big the mountains are. I'm still in awe of it after all of these years. You can see the road I came up as a brown scar on the sidehill in the distance below. I must admit my legs started to get tired as I got close to the top, and in the last mile or so. It didn't take them long to recover on top however and I'm pleased with my fitness.

I went as fast as possible when I got back down to the valley floor to get back to my car as it was getting dark and I didn't want to run into a grizzly bear. My car and Lake McDonald are beyond those mountains. I was a little nervous at this point as dusk is when the animals come out plus I wasn't making that much noise. I did have bear spray with me however, for what good that would do. Bear bells on a bike are well,..out of the qestion. I did see two people just starting out with touring bikes and camping gear. They were going to climb it in the night I suspect. Not something I'd do.

It's really a big climb on a bike, and the hot weather didn't help. Here is my bike back in the cabin. I used a big 28 tooth gear on the back and 39 on the front. I stayed in that gear all the way to the top. It took me 1 hour and 40 min to go up, (I did stop and take photos an cool myself off in water falls and such) and it took me 40 min to go down and get back the car. You can't go that fast down hill as you would get going too fast and the road is really rough until you get back down in the valley. One time I stopped and my rims were too hot to touch. I let some air out of my tires as I didn't want them to explode. You can only let go of the brakes for a few seconds at a time, as you will start going too fast. Your hands get tired of squeezing the brake levers, and they start to hurt.

I slept like a log in the cabin after my bike ride, and then I got up and went sailing. I wasn't prepared for how radical it would become out on the lake. The winds got high and the waves big with a long period between them and spray would wash over the boat. I had fun sailing after I got used to it, but I was freaking out a little to begin with. I looked wasted in the cycling photos people took of me on the ride. I think I look more healthy in this one after a good night's sleep!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Heart of the bike

I found a crankset for my bicycle build project. It's a Campagnolo Chorus 10 speed crank, and it's a metal one. And it was a closeout at $89. That's a pretty good deal considering that the new carbon Chorus crank is $349. (that includes the bearings and I will have to buy those seperate for another $70 or so. I've always lusted after these Chorus and Record metal cranks. This is the time to get one if I'm going to.

They've changed the technology on cranks lately and most of the new cranks are carbon fiber, or carbon fiber wrapped around a metal framework. Shimano was the last holdout and just this year brought out cranks in the Tour de France that have carbon spiders and crank arms. They maintained that they could build a lighter and stiffer crank out of metal. But now they are doing it out of carbon and those cranks will be on the market soon. So that's one thing. The other thing is that the latest cranks have "outboard" bearings. The bearings and races are outside of the bottom bracket instead of on the inside of it. And the spindle of the crank is built into the crank. This is supposed to make the crank stiffer and transmit power to the road better. I haven't ridden one yet. The other thing about these systems is that they are easier to build up.

So I thought and thought about this. Most of the new carbon cranks and even the metal Shimano ones are over $300! I could have gotten a compact Campagnolo carbon crank that doesn't have the outboard bearings and would go on my bike but they are over $300. I measured my bottom bracket and it would most likely have to be re-faced for a Campy crank with the outboard bearings. I think that might goof up the integrity of the frame as it is a fully carbon fiber frame.

The other issue I've seen now with the carbon cranks is that they get all scratched up easy by your shoes and cleats. I've seen this on really new carbon cranks that don't have much wear. I realize that racers get new bikes all the time, but I want my bike to look and work like new for many years. The Campagnolo Record and Chorus parts are just beautiful, and not only that, they are very very smooth. I've read about other systems that are rough in feel and they can't get the bearings adjusted right to make them smooth and all of that. I want smooth.

The crank is the heart of the bike. The three most important things on a bike to make it smooth and ride nice are the wheels and bearings, the crank and bottom bracket. (bearings) Those two things are really important of you want a bike that rides nice, and you need really nice tires also. You don't want to compromise in those areas. I'd compromise on the bike frame before I'd compromise on wheels tires and crank.

Tires are the easiest upgrade, and perhaps the most important. I'll talk about tires at some point.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Going to the sun

Here is a picture I took at the top of Logan Pass looking north with a disposable camera a few years ago when I rode my bike up the GOING TO THE SUN ROAD in Glacier Park. That's a cool website, and I have a friend who works to clear the snow off of it each year. Check out the snow removal photos. It's amazing what they do. (ckick on the Photo Gallery to see the more recent snow removal photos and video) Here is another website about BUILDING THE ROAD I've telemark skied down some of snow fields shown in those B&W photos back when I was in highschool, and again with my friend who does snow removal there for the park service. He used a snowboard and I used my telemark skis. I've also skied it alone. We climbed up as high as you could get where the snow stopped and the rocks begin and then skied down. It's pretty scary at the top until you get your skis on as it's really steep.

The mountains on the right are called the Garden Wall, and it's also the continental divide. That hump on the right in the sun is called Haystack, and in the center of the photo is Granite Park (the flat rocky place) There is a chalet there built out of rocks that you can hike to and stay in called GRANITE PARK CHALET It's an 8 mile hike from where this photo was taken. I stayed there once with my parents. The only way in there is to hike. It's really cool.

I want to ride my bike back up there again soon. You can only ride a bike there early in the morning and then again late in the afternoon.

Valley Girl Triathlon

I went to watch the Liberty Lake Valley Girl triathlon this morning. This gal looks nice on her Cannondale bicycle. I rode my mountain bike around and took photos.

My first spot was at an intersection. There were two volunteers and a cop stopping the car traffic. I knew one of the women as I've ridden with her before. But the other one took her responsibility a little too seriously and started to yell at people in the cars. She pounded on one car with her hand while yelling at the driver and so the cop told her to stop it. Then he had a little talk with her. I got a giggle out of that.

This runner looks like she is carrying a parasol, but actually there is a woman walking with it behind her.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Miss snow

I realize that I haven't found a July cyber tree. I'm always looking. It's so hot that I've been dreaming about snow, fresh air and skiing. So here is photo I took of some aspens when went to Park City for a ski race a couple of years ago. We don't have trees like this in the northwest were I usually ski. I miss the snow...

Landis on NPR

Today Landis was on Talk of the Nation on NPR. They talked about his case and the doping controls and the Tour de France. Most interestingly, they took questions from callers, and one caller named Gord called in. I'm pretty sure it was Canadian Gord Fraser, retired pro cyclist for Mercury but they never said this is Gord Fraser although he did say he rode for Mercury and had been a former teammate. Gord said that he had always raced clean but he knew of another pro who was caught for EPO and that guy admitted it. Fraser said that they respected the fact that he admitted it took his penalty and nobody had a problem with it after that. He went on to suggest that Landis was such a guy who would be honest about it if he got caught and then asked Landis how he felt about that. Landis responded by thanking him as if it were an endorsment. I thought it was an odd call and strange the way the question was put.

I found pictures of Landis on Fraser's '06 cycling camp website HERE Landis is in the green and yellow Phonak kit. A team that no longer exists due to the whole ordeal.

As far as the Tour goes Cancellara is in 1rst. Kloden is in 3rd :33 back Hincapie is in 5th :43 back. Vinokourov is in 12th :50 back And Leipheimer is in 34th at 1:00 back. These times are a direct result of the opening time trial results. I can't see how this puts Leipheimer in a great position. It's not out of reach yet for him yet but he can't afford to be loosing time in the Time Trials.

I've always thougth Kloden is the one to watch but he's in kind of a tough spot with Vinokourov. Kloden was free to do his own thing in the opening time trial. But in the mountains he may not be so free. The first mountains will really sort things out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Elk playing poker

My thermometer, next to my elk painting rock on my fireplace mantle, says that it is at least 80 degrees in my house. It was just a little over a week ago that I wore my ski jacket as I sat next to the fire down by the shore at the lake. I'm a cold weather person and not a big fan of summer so I hope that this hot spell ends soon or I think I'll go to Glacier and get as high up in the mountains as possible. I want to ride my bike up there anyway. I was going to head up there at the end of this week but I realized that I have a dentist appointment to get my teeth cleaned.

It's a rock with an elk painted on it. It was a gift. The thermometer was a gift too. Not things I would buy for myself. But I've been told they are both cool. What do I know? I just get these things and put them out. I must admit I like the thermometer and I guess I also like the elk rock painting. It's kind of a western thing and it's a hand painted rock by someone that someone knew. It's not like I'm really into elk or anything. But people come here and think cool. Elk. And it's not that I don't like elk. I like all animals including dogs. I'm not crazy about snakes however. Now if I only had a picture of elk playing poker,... :) Hey, I need to stop giving out all of my good ideas!

And this brings to mind a story. One time I was with one of my friends, a guy I work with and he wanted to stop at Shopko to get a new toothbrush and some toothpaste. So I went in with him and we were in the checkout line. There was this cute girl checking us out and he said to me, "boy I sure am glad to get this toothbrush. I haven't brushed my teeth in weeks!" And that girl just looked at us like,.. you filthy pigs, and then she wouldn't even look at us. Of course he was just kidding. This guy is lots of fun to go shopping with.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fireworks and bicycle cleanup

I noticed that someone did the first cleanup of the private fireworks mess at the state line of Idaho and Washington. They always do this but they fall short of hauling off the bags to the waste transfer station. That would cost them more money, and the people who do this can barely afford the fireworks. I noticed that one of the medium sized boxes was $90. Holly Cats! I wonder what this whole pile of debris represents in terms of dollars wasted?

And wouldn't you know,.. in the mess a road bike. Those darn bicycle people are just as bad as the fireworks people when it comes to litter! :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The big sky

Here is a photo of the big sky over Flathead Lake in Montana this weekend. Montana is known as the big sky country. I've added this photo to my Flathead Lake photos on the side bar. Please check that out. It's amazing how different the lake can look at different times, and it's becoming an interesting study as the photos are all so different.

There was an Adventure Cycling bike tour going past the lake today. I think it was THIS ONE . I rode into them on my morning bike ride along the shore. It got pretty hot and they were on my route home out on the prairie. They were getting blasted by hot wind out there while I was in my air conditioned car listening to music. It's one time that I'm glad I was inside the bubble, and not out there with them on my bike. I noticed Adventure Cycling had under Physical Difficulty: intermediate, it should have said Physical Difficulty: brutal/ high winds and scorching heat.
I'm sure it was better today along the Clark Fork River, at least for the riders who make it to Thompson Falls before noon. I wish I was with them for the rest of the trip.

The Tour de France is on! So I'll be interested in how things go and glued to my TV while I'm home. Good by Good Morning America! Hello TDF.

I retain all rights to my photos.  Please do not use any of my photos without permission.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


A kid sifts through the debris left by people lighting off fireworks at the state line of Idaho last night. He's looking for ones that failed to go off. He'll probably try and re-light them, and that can be dangerous. On the Wasthington side of the border fireworks are banned, so every year they set up a stand to sell them right on the other side of the border in Idaho.

Some of the people who set these off come back and make an attempt to clean this up but they never get all of the litter. This is on my bike ride to work. I'll be seeing bits and pieces for the rest of the summer. There is a $500 fine for lighting them off where I live on the Washington side of the border but that doesn't stop anyone. Not my neighbors anyway. So I had my sprinklers going around my house. There are three large city displays in the area, one only a couple of miles away, but people want to play with fire.

Every year the tent goes up to sell these fireworks. They create this mess. The tent goes away and the mess stays.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

River photos

The Spokane River near the state line of Idaho. The bike path goes for miles along this river into Spokane.

This photo is of the Spokane River looking east along the Centenial Trail . The bike path that goes through Spokane to Coeur d' Alene. My house is in the distance somewhere on the horizon. This photo will get bigger if you click on it.

The photos below are all from the Coeur d' Alene River that I took as I rode along the Trail of the Coeur D'Alenes bike path that used to be an old train track.

The photo above will get bigger if you click on it.

The water is so clear that I could see trout swimming in the river by their shadow on the bottom, then they'd dart up to the surface to get a bug. You'd see the scales on them flash in the sunlight when they turned to go back down. They swim really fast! It's a great place to fly fish.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sam on a Bianchi

Before I got a (small) digital camera I used to take a disposable camera along with me on bike tours. Then I'd get the photos on a disk. I'd try and photograph the action as seen from a bike. I've been thinking about cycling with Sam and I took some photos of him as we rode along in this group. I'd ride out of the group and take photos. Sometimes I'd sit off of the back and take photos. You have to be careful not to get dropped doing this as these 'guys' are riding fast. (There's a woman in this group also. She's up on the left front.) So here is a photo of Sam, #709. Not a bad snap for a disposable I thought. That was when he was riding a Bianchi as you can see the 'Celeste' color. Hey, it's almost green turquoise! Bianchi is an Italian bike for those who may not know. I liked that bike. It was quick. Now he's riding a Giant. This photo was in northeast Wasthington state.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blue and green

Here is a photo I took on my way home at Perma Montana looking east along the South Fork of the Flathead River. This river is always turquoise. It has to do with the minerals in the water. The water in it comes out of Flathead Lake. Just a few miles away this river merges with the Clark Fork and then it isn't turquois. Sometimes the lake is this color.

I heard on Rick Steves as he traveled in Turkey, that the BLUE MOSQUE in Istanbul is known for it's blue mosaic tiles. It was a color favored by the Turks and that's where the term turquoise comes from. I didn't know that.

When I was in highschool I had a girlfriend who worked at a jewelry store that sold turquoise and silver jewelry. A bracelet came in that she really liked. She told me about it. It was $50 and a lot of money for me back then. So one day when she wasn't working I went there and bought it for her and told the other girl not to say anything. I can't be sure if she kept the secret. But my girl got what she wanted and I was happy to give it to her. There are two colors of turquoise stones, a blue one and kind of a green one. She had green eyes and she liked the green color and this had a green stone. She was really beautiful. Then she told me that the bracelet had been sold, and I was like that's too bad. Later I gave it to her for her birthday or something and I think she was surprised. I imagine she still has it but perhaps her taste has changed. She ended up living in Kuwait. Anyway this river is always turquoise like this and I photograph it a lot.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Cool Montana morning

Here is a photo from my Sunday morning bike ride as I rode along the shore of Flathead Lake. I like to go for a bike ride before or just after breakfast. I went before breakfast today as it was nice out. First I went out on the deck and had a cup of some fresh ground, and very good I might add, coffee before I went out on my bike. It was kind of chilly at about 50 deg, so I didn't go very fast. It's going to get hot this week so I made the most of this cool weather. I'm going to add this photo to my Flathead Lake Montana photos on my side bar. (click on it to see it bigger)

I retain all rights to my photos.  Please do not use any of my photos without permission.