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Quickbeam in the Park

Saturday, April 4th, 2015
Quickbeam in February - Entering Seward ParkQuickbeam at Seward Park

See more Quickbeam glamour shots in my Flickr Gallery: Quickbeam

 

Pictures from First Rides 2015

Saturday, January 10th, 2015
First Rides 2015 - Atlantis Framing Mount Rainier
Atlantis framing Mount Rainier

The beginning of 2015 found me waylaid by a cold and thus I didn’t get out on my bicycle until January 5th 2015. As per my wont I didn’t get out of the house until late and I ended up doing a fairly standard ride here in the Puget Sound area: South Lake Washington Loop. I rode the anti-clockwise on the loop from the I-90 trail on the west side to the I-90 trail on the Eastside. Then I rode the south half of the loop around Mercer Island before return to the westside.  Two days later I did the North Lake Washington Loop again in between the I-90 trail and this time the north half of the Mercer Island Loop. It has been clear and cold with an inversion layer keeping in fog and smog, which presented some pretty views which I’ll present some photos of here with captions. For more pictures check out my First Rides 2015 photoset on Flickr.

First Rides 2015 - Looking down on SeattleLooking down at Beacon Hill, Seattle and in the distance the Olympics

First Rides 2015 - Atlantis on Lake WashingtonAtlantis on Lake Washington looking at the I-90 Floating bridge
First Rides 2015 - Clouds, Mountain, Lake, BeachAt Seward Park looking at Mount Rainier across Lake Washington
First Rides 2015 - Reflections in the SloughMercer Slough reflecting an overpass
First Rides 2015 - Atlantis above I-90 Floating BridgeAtlantis Above I-90 floating bridge
First Rides 2015 - Looking toward the 520 Floating bridgeAbove Lake Washington with the 520 floating bridge to the left
First Rides 2015 - Smog over BellevueSmog over Bellevue
First Rides 2015 - Finger paintingFinger paint the sky

It was two years ago today…

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Tour 2012 day 8 - Eyes

 

April 30th 2012 I left my apartment in Seattle WA and set off on the first stage of my cross country tour. I first rode to Olympia and spent a few days with friends before setting off around the Olympic Peninsula where I intersected with the Northern Tier route which I rode to Bar Harbor Maine.  Regular readers know I blogged that whole tour and initially uploaded photos to my Tour 2012 photo set on Flickr every few weeks. However as I explain in detail in this post, the little battery in my camera that maintains it’s internal settings, such as the date and time, died just after I left Glacier National Park. It took me four days to find a replacement battery in the desolation of Eastern Montana.  All the photos I took during that time are set to the same default time and date and being East Montana are rather difficult to sort. So I stopped uploading those photos and thus have only shared the one or two photo’s I uploaded with each blog post.

Tour 2012 Day 14 - Masts

 

When I returned from Maine I of course offloaded all the photos off my iPad and began the process of sorting them.  I pretty much got to the exact same point and faced with several hundred photos of East Montana I just stopped dead. Likewise with the “series” of posts I began to attempt to summarize each stage of the journey.  I of course went on to do two short tours in 2013 (the latter of which I haven’t really written up or posted photos from either).  Now that I’ve reached the two year anniversary I feel this momentous event demands it’s documentation. I’ve decided to just lump together the 3-4 days of East Montana photos I can’t resolve exactly when they were taken (the first “lost” day was crossing over Marias Pass, which is pretty obvious).  So I’m in the process of sorting later photos and will begin uploading them shortly. Hopefully I can get through them all in the new month or so. I also will try to write about the later stages of the tour and put up an index to all the posts and photos. So stay tuned!

 

Tour 2012 Day 15 - art at the batteries

Autumn ride around the sound

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
An autumn ride around the Sound - The Mountain
The Mountain as seen from Fay Bainbridge State Park

After an unseasonable cool and rainy September the first weekend in October was one of those perfect PNW Autumn days. I’d recently gotten a new camera (a Nikon 1 J2 for you trainspotters out there) and I went out for rides on both Saturday and Sunday with picture taking as a goal but taking advantage of the beautiful weather as my primary motivation.  I’ve been wanting a bit more of a “prosumer” camera for a while with a goal of note only being able to take better photos but being somewhat forced into greater deliberation. That is I’ve done a lot of shooting “from the saddle” and I’d like to think I have a certain proficiency at it. While this allows one to easily document one’s travels it tends to generate a lot of photos and frankly I think this style of documentation just isn’t all that interesting. I’ve moved away from this style of photos in the last couple of years but I felt that having a camera where I’d have to get off the bicycle and spend time on each photo would further facilitate this.

An autumn ride around the Sound - Ferris Wheel on the Seattle Waterfront
Seattle Waterfront

I initially planned to ride down to the Seattle Waterfront and meander along Elliot Bay, perhaps into Magnolia and along the Ship Canal. But as I rode down (heavily under construction) Jackson Street and then up Alaskan Way I decided instead I’d ride around Bainbridge Island.  I turned off at the Ferry Terminal and caught the ferry ten minutes later – good timing!

An autumn ride around the Sound - Seattle from the Needle to the Smith Tower
Seattle from Space Needle to Smith Tower

It was a fantastic day out on the waters and as Seattle receded in the distance our ferry was amidst countless sailboats and other recreational watercraft.  Mount Rainer, of which I would take many pictures throughout this day, was commanding to the Southeast, particularly towering above the West Seattle Bridge. Arriving at Bainbridge Island, I quickly disembarked (always nice that bicycles are first on first off) and riding into town I quickly got onto the Chilly Hilly route which circumnavigates the island anti-clockwise.  But as I was riding I began to think that I’ve done this loop plenty of times and it would actually be more fun to strike out on a more unfamiliar routes.  I began to think that I could pretty easy cross the bridge to the mainland and ride up to Kingston and take the ferry across to Edmonds and then make my way back to Seattle.

An autumn ride around the Sound - Kite
Good kite flying weather

So I pulled over at a little store and sitting on their porch consulted Google Maps and worked out a route.  It turned out to be only 15-16 miles to Kingston from here, which seemed like a perfectly reasonable Sunday afternoon ride.  That settled I continued on to Fay Bainbridge State Park where I sat on the beach, ate a sandwich and watched the sailboats, kites and beachcombers. I didn’t linger too long as there was riding to done, but it was a pleasent break on the beach.

An autumn ride around the Sound - Sailing around Bainbridge
Sailing around Bainbridge

From Fay Bainbridge I was able to stay on nice, country roads usually deep in the woods with occasional open fields of glimpses of the water, but eventually I had to take Hwy 305 off the island.  Not a bad road as hwy’s go – big shoulder and at least on a sunday afternoon, not heavily trafficked. It crosses a nice bridge over Agate Pass after which I took an immediate right and headed north. This was a pretty busy road but again with a good shoulder and among the trees.  This road brought me to Suquamish which was right on the water. I made brief stop here primarily to take pictures and consult the map, before hitting the road again.

An autumn ride around the Sound - Totem Pole
Totem Pole in Suquamish

From here the roads became particularly fine riding. Mostly in the woods a bit away from the coast, it was just ideal riding. Winding roads, a bit of up and down, brilliant colored trees amidst the evergreens all lit by the westering sun. I left the Google Maps route , following a red Dan Henry, at Indianola Road which took me a bit in the opposite direction of Kingston for a spell but was more scenic. Once again it was just perfect riding, especially once I turned onto South Kingston Road where the climbing I’d been doing turned to descending. This route descended down Appletree Cove on twisty roads through the trees. Very nice! After Appletree Cove, there was a slight climb and I turned on West Kingston road which heads straight to the ferry terminal.

An autumn ride around the Sound - Kingston
Autumn in Kingston

However I didn’t ride straight to the ferry – it being 5pm I felt a stop at the Front Street Ale house was in order. I checked on the ferry schedule and resolved to catch the 6:10 sailing and thus spent a nice hour drinking a couple of beers and eating a couple of appetizers. Fully sated I left the pub a bit before 6 and pretty much rode right onto the ferry just before the cars began loading. It was again a beautiful trip with the sun setting behind the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier, Seattle and Edmonds all glowing in magic hour light.

An autumn ride around the Sound - Mt. Rainier in the setting sun
Mount Rainier in the gloaming

It was deep twilight as I arrived in Edmonds and I had a good 20 miles or so to get home. I’d jotted down a Google Maps route from Edmonds to the Interurban Trail while on the ferry and in the dwindling light I set out on it. There was a pretty stiff headwind now and it was definitely chillier – I wish I’d brought some socks along! Google kept me mostly on the signed bicycle route and by the time I reached Shoreline I pretty much knew my way home. I took the Interurban trail – which has a nice new cycle track along Bitter lake – and then the signed Interurban route to Fremont. From there it was a short jog on the Burke Gillman Trail to the University district and then my commute route home.

An autumn ride around the Sound - Setting sun
Sun setting behind the Olympic Mountains

I made it home by 8:45 after having ridden about 48 miles all told. It was a great Sunday afternoon ride with two ferry trips and a nice loop around a good chunk of the Puget Sound.

Check out more photos in my Flickr photoset of this ride: An autumn ride around the Sound

Journey to the East: Photos

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Atlantis in East MontanaAtlantis in East Montana

Since returning from the terminus of my 2012 cross country bicycle touring I’ve been slowly (quite slowly alas) sorting through the thousands of photographs that I took. Now I was uploading photos as I went but these stopped around East Montana.  Why is that you ask? Well let me explain the setup I was using for this tour.  I had a Canon Powershop a580 Point and Shoot camera as my primary picture taking tool but also my 3rd generation iPad.  For the later I acquired a Camera Connection kit which allowed me to plug the SD cards that my Canon used for storage and transfer the photos over to it.  This I thought was an ideal system in that I didn’t need to carry lots of SD cards as the iPad with its 64GBs of storage could contain all of that. Plus I was then able to upload pictures taken from my “good” camera and didn’t need to take pictures with the iPad. The iPad itself I had protected in the toughest and best reviewed case I could find out there.  This nearly doubled it’s weight but my iPad returned from tour looking as new. However it turned out that this case had too narrow a slot for the Camera Connection adapter to fit in. I had gotten the case right before I left and hadn’t tested this (a big mistake) discovering it at camp the night after I left Olympia.  So what I ended up doing was taking a couple of pictures a day with the iPad to be used for the blog (and let me tell you there is nothing more awkward then taking pictures with a tablet) and then taking the iPad out of the case to transfer the pictures whenever I was not camping.

Looking back at GlacierLooking back at Glacier

While my iPad has a 4G connection I really didn’t want to devote time and battery to uploading photos every day (I did this on the last couple of tours and found it rather onerious). So I was uploading photos only when I had WiFi and was plugged in.  Thus I was uploading every week or so and while I’d try to do a few days worth each session, again I rarely wanted to devote tons of time to it. This worked out well enough until East Montana when the internal battery in my Canon died. It took me maybe three days to find a replacement for it as decent sized towns are pretty few and far between in East Montana.  During that time I had no time and date stamp on those photos and they all defaulted to December 31st, 1979.  While the iPhoto app on the iPad is pretty great (some aspects even better then the OS X version) it was not easy to look at things like the file number and compare it to other pictures and try to work out when it was taken. So basically I stopped uploading pictures at this point. These remain unsorted as of this post and looking at that album I can figure out where a bunch of them are taken but many shots of the endless East Montana plains all look about the same. Hopefully the file numbers will help though of course the pictures did go over two memory cards. Note that all of the pics in this post are from this set.

PelicansPelicans!

Back at home with all my photos transferred to the computer I began the process of sorting through all of my pictures. First off I wanted to get pictures from the first stage of the tour uploaded which I did pretty fast (also added blog posts for those days).  The next step was to create photosets in iPhoto for each day that would have a nice selection of photos.  These usually matched those I uploaded but might have a few extra pictures or some different ones of the same scene.  This is the process I’m in now and it is rather slow going.  I’ve made it through the first couple of stages of the tour but still have the bulk of it to go.  One thing I like to do for my tours is put up an “index” page with the days of the tour listed with links to the corresponding blog post and photos.  Well this requires the photos to be uploaded in order for this to useful. In the past it has often taken me a year or longer to do this. I’m trying to get it done faster for this tour but of course it is the longest tour I’ve done and thus requires the most work. So in a few weeks I’m going to put up the index page with however much is done and just update it as I go.  This will be a good activity to work on over the holidays and such when I’m visiting my parents but not doing blog worthy activities. Of course I do have some wrap-up posts w/r/t the tour that I want to do as well; hopefully I will get to those sooner rather then later.

All of the photos I’ve uploaded so far and all the ones to come can be found here: Tour 2012 Flickr Set

Autumn leaves

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Autumn Leaves

 

only reflections –
walking in the rain

Flowers in the rain

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Autumn Macro Flowers

 

dripping wet flowers,
shine out
under grey autumn skies

Photos from the last week of August

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Macro Flowers 1

flowers, somewhat faded
in the dwindling sunlight –
summer wanes

Macro Flowers 2

a cat
amongst the weeds
suddenly looks up

Macro Flowers 5

still sitting;
still listening to the rain

Macro Flowers 6

a cat in the alley
pauses briefly –
a soft rain begins

Macro Flowers 3

the sun shines down on me –
still strong,
but weakening

Macro Flowers 4

Macro photo set on Flickr

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Atlantis in the shower

Showers on part of this ride

I’ve been living in Seattle for about nine months now (and of course just across Lake Washington for 12+ years) and am going to at the end of this month set out on an extended bicycle tour. I’ve moved in at the tail end of summer and was here for all of autumn and winter and about half of this spring.  During this time I’ve ridden (and walked and bussed) all over the city for recreation, for utilitarian purposes and for transportation. I broke my camera on one of these rides so a lot of them went undocumented, but I got a new (used) camera for my birthday and was back to taking photos. So this post is the first of at least a couple with rides around Seattle. These posts will mainly be in the form of photo essays with pictures of sights and scenes witnessed while out riding as opposed to routes or individual rides.

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 -Ballard Locks 2

Looking toward Ballard from the Lock

This post will focus of rides taken in the winter, mostly late February and March as that is when I got my replacement camera. Some of my more regular rides took place mostly in the dark what with it being winter and all, so this is by no means total documentation of all my rides.

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks

Prior to moving to Seattle I think I’d ridden through the Ballard Locks only once or twice, but it has since become a regular part of several rides. On a warm summer day it can be packed at the locks and walking your bicycle along the thronged walkways a real trial. But in winter, even on a clear day, it is a nice route.

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Peeking between some trees at the University Bridge.

Lake Union,Fremont and Aurora Bridges as seen from Capitol Hill

One of my more frequent rides was to ride up Capitol from the U-District heading toward Beacon Hill. I did this the most in the Autumn and early winter often in the dark so never got any pictures of it. Riding up to Capitol Hill during daylight hours there are many beautiful views of Downtown and Lake Union on the west and the U-District and Lake Washington on the East.

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Montlake Bridge from Capitol Hill

Montlake Bridge, the U-District and Lake Washington as seen from Capitol Hill

As per it’s name there is a good climb up to Capitol Hill no matter which direction you come from – it is a ridge between Lakes Union and Washington. Amusingly enough it is the heart of Seattle’s hipster culture so you often get to see those fixed gear bicycles pushed up the hills. It also has some of the worst pavement I’ve encountered in the City (which is rife with bad pavement) including on the bulk of the signed bicycle routes. Still lots of great riding, good exercise with all the hills and culture rich with parks, museums and endless amounts of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and the like.

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Gasworks Park

Gasworks Park

In order to get about anywhere in the city from the U-District you either ride up into Capitol Hill or west to Fremont/Ballard and various routes to downtown. Along the Burke-Gilman Trail (a major rail-trail route) is Gasworks Park, which is built around the remains of a refinery. With it’s location, views of Seattle and Lake Union, lots of open space and of course the industrial age novelty this is always popular park.

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Boats on Lake Union

 Boats on Lake Union

Lake Union which is surrounded by Seattle and the neighborhoods of Fremont, Eastlake, U-District, Wallingford and Ballard and looked down upon from Queen Anne and Capitol Hills is clearly a central features. From water-skiers to house boats, sailors to rowers and of course the ubiquitous sea plane tours it is an active severely urban lake. It connects to Lake Washington via the Montlake Cut and to the Puget Sound via the Ballard Locks.  The sequence of the Puget Sound to Lake Washington is a major water thoroughfare.

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Golden Gardens

 The beach at Golden Gardens Park

This whole water way is lined with parks and trails with the Burke-Gilman Trail being a corridor that stretches along it all. From it’s terminus at the northern end of Lake Washington (where it connects to the Sammamish River Trail which you can take all the way to Lake Sammamish in Redmond) it follows Lake Washington to the Fremont Cut, skirts around Lake Union to the Ballard Locks and via the infamous missing link, reaches Golden Gardens Park on the Puget Sound. (check out this map for the whole route: Burke-Gilman Trail Map).

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Looking west toward the Olympics

 Looking West toward the Olympic Mountains from Golden Gardens Park

From Golden Gardens Park you can climb up a winding hill to the neighborhoods of Loyal Hights and Phinney Ridge. These are more residential neighborhoods mainly smaller houses but also the infrastructure to support that. Continuing east you reach Greenlake where the lake and its parks are a major feature attracting many people. Further easy you reach I-5 which bisects Seattle, after going under it you are in Ravenna which is north of the U-District.

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Ravenna Pea-patch Gate

 Ravenna Pea-Patch entrance

Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012 - Ravenna Pea-peatch

 Ravenna Pea-patch

All these neighborhoods are more residential with their small parks, open-spaces, shops and lots of little houses and apartment buildings. A totally different character than those areas that surround the water-ways or the dense younger demographics of Capitol Hill. From Ravenna it’s a short mile or so south back to the U-District where I live and is a good place to wrap up this post. This only scratches the surface of Seattle and it’s neighborhoods, but this is just the first post in the series.

For more photographs from this series check out my associated set on Flickr:
Seattle Rides 1: Winter 2012

Signs of Spring

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Signs of Spring 2012 - 01

 

It’s been really nice of late and I’ve been more interested in riding than writing if you catch my meaning. However the weather has turned to pretty typical Pacific NW late winter/early spring – colder with persistent rain. Of course this doesn’t deter me from riding, but things do tend to be more utilitarian in these cases. However I have built up a backlog of photographs and reports that I’ll take advantage of these dreary days to put up.

Signs of Spring 2012 - 36

 

Signs of Spring 2012 - 21All things considered it has been a mild winter. Sure we had nearly a week of snow early January, but apart from that there has not been near the amount of rain an El Nino year typically portends. There have been a number of warmer days as well, with temperatures climbing into the sixties on several days in February and over the last couple of days here in March (no lousy Smarch weather this year!). I’ve been trying to ramp up my riding quicker this year, building up my endurance for longer and more consistent riding. On the days I don’t ride I almost always go out for walks in about a 2-3 mile radius of my place near the University District. From these perspectives I’ve seen the plants and trees began to wake up from their winter slumber; first the cherry trees and dogwoods, then bulbs began to come up, buds began to appear on certain trees and in the last week or so flowers blooming all over.

 

Signs of Spring 2012 - 28

Apart from this rambling into, this post is going to be more of a photo-essay documenting this annual wellspring of life and beauty. I’ve added a new set on Flickr, Signs of Spring 2012, which I’ll keep adding to (so keep an eye on it), and I’ll post a half dozen or so here.  I’ve  been experimenting more with macro-photography and these early flowers are a fantastic subject for that.  I hope you enjoy these photos and the signs for warmer rides yet to come.

 

Signs of Spring 2012 - 31

Aloof and silent
like the Buddha, I lie still–
still troubled by flowers
-Issa

Signs of Spring 2012 - 15

Among blooming flowers
we continue our writhing–
all living beings
-Issa

Signs of Spring 2012 - 23

From among the flowers,
indifferent to the world,
foxes bark and cry.
-Issa

Signs of Spring 2012 - 02

The cherry blossom
are truly cherry blossoms
only while we wait
-Hakuhi

Again for a lot more photos, check out my Signs of Spring flickr set.