Friday, April 27, 2007

Pedaling in paradise

It's been a busy, hectic week. So for mental health purposes I played hooky this morning and pedalled from McKinleyville to Patrick's Point State Park and back.


The coast was cool and foggy at first. I travelled along Scenic Drive and made my way to Trinidad. I arrived in the city 55 minutes after leaving my house. I don't know if that's making good time or not. Besides, who cares? If I was smart, I would have pedalled slowly.

Coastal monument

The fog lifted north of Trinidad. I looked for whales, but saw none. I have a theory that whales can never be seen when you're looking for them, only when you're not looking for them.

Mussel Rock

At Patrick's Point State Park I walked my bike down to something called Mussel Rock. The trail ends abruptly at the ocean. I suspect that Mussel Rock was battered to pieces and is now a pile of rubble. Nothing is permanent on the coastline, not even the rocks.


If the park would allow me, I'd pitch a tent on this trail and call it home.

Wild iris

I came across a Wild Iris...

banana slug

...and a Banana Slug...


...and a Rhodie in bloom.

Luffenholtz blue

On the way home I enjoyed blue skies. Surfers were out in force at Camel Rock, where the water, as you can see, was very blue. There were some naked surfers getting out of their wetsuits. I thought it might be funny to ring my bicycle bell but that might send the wrong message so I ignored them and kept on going.

I was back in Mack Town by 1:30 p.m. and enjoyed a mid-afternoon coffee with cream and sugar.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"New" utility bike

Earlier this year I was driving around town in the rain thinking about bicycles when I came across an old Schwinn Suburban on the side of the road with a “free” sign on it.

Naturally, I slammed on the brakes and tossed it in the trunk of my car. (This is the second Suburban in the fleet. The other one I purchased at a thrift store last year for $11.)

Over a period of several months, I disassembled the bike and went to work with a steel brush removing all the rust. I sanded everything down. The fenders were painted black, the frame cobalt blue.

Everything was greased up and I slowly put the bike back together. I found an old front rack and a rear rack. At the Arcata Recycling Center I picked up two spanking-new tires for $1 each.

The goal was to assemble a functioning commuter bike for less than $10, but due to some unforeseen technical difficulties with the derailleur, the project cost a whopping $25. That included the paint, which I had to special order at Thomas Home Center because stores in town don’t stock “metallic” paint.

utility bike

On Tuesday evening I finally figured out how to make the rear derailleur work and took the bike on a short maiden voyage around the neighborhood and down to the Mad River.

There are still some adjustments that need to be made, but today I logged 16 commuter miles on it without a hitch. When I get home from tonight’s MCSD meeting, my daily mileage will be 20.5.

utility bike front

Not bad for a free bike.

There’s only one catch – the bike is a giant, honking, heavy chunk of steel. And those thick tires I bought for a $1 each are fat and only pump up to 70 psi.

The net result: a very SLOW and HEAVY bike.

This project didn’t really make any sense, being that I’ve got nicer bikes that I could be riding.

Still, it was good practice for my next project – restoration of a fancy shmancy aluminum Cannondale road bike, which I got for free on craigslist. This project, like the utility bike, will proceed at a snail's pace. But if you devote 30 minutes once or twice a week to such a project, pretty soon you're done.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Maple Creek/Butler Valley Redux

Mileage so far in 2006: 1,055


Thursday, April 19, ride: Maple Creek/Butler Valley loop

Approx. distance: 57 miles

Elevation gain: 3,500 (not confirmed)

Route: McKinleyville to Arcata to Old Arcata Road to Kneeland to Maple Creek to Blue Lake to Valley West to Arcata Bottoms to home. (Reverse of what I did last month)

Start time: 9:40 a.m.

End time: 4:15 p.m.

Low points: South of Bayside, Old Arcata Road is NOT bicycle friendly. It’s unpleasant. When I descended down to Maple Creek, I was chased by two big, ugly mutts. I’m a dog lover, but these guys looked ferocious – at first. I couldn’t get away, so I picked up my bike and charged at them as if I were going to somehow beat them senseless with the Mighty Panasonic. I yelled and they circled. Then I realized that it was time to do some “acting” and not just yell, but yell like I meant it. So I made some homicidal threats against the dogs in the loudest voice I could muster and charged at them as if I really, really meant to kill them. They retreated and I continued my ride.


Bay from Butler Valley Rd.

This is the view of the Pacific from Butler Valley Road near Kneeland.


High points: Other than those two dogs, Maple Creek is paradise. It’s like being in a Hidden Valley Ranch commercial, minus the salad dressing. I was in no hurry to get out of there. I was also elated that it didn’t start raining until I was pedaling across the Arcata Bottoms on my way home. Sweet.

Comments: I thought this would be relatively easy after the Willow Creek ride two weeks ago. Wrong! Kneeland was difficult and so was the climb out of the valley.



Here's a view of Maple Creek.

Hollywood starlet

When I’m not riding my bicycle I hang out with beautiful Hollywood starlets.

Well, not really, But I did snap a photo of Marisa Petroro on Sunday during a benefit golf tournament in McKinleyville.


Marisa who?

According to her biography, she’s case holder No. 18 on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal.” I had never watched the show before but decided to do so after taking this photo. It took awhile, but I got a quick glimpse of her on the TV smiling and looking quite catching. Thank goodness, because once I saw her I turned the channel. “Deal or No Deal” is an awful show even by my low standards.

She also appears “regularly” in other shows I don’t watch such as ‘Scrubs,” “Las Vegas,” “According to Jim” and “Reno 911!” Apparently her biggest role is in the recently released movie “Reno 911!: Miami,” in which she plays the girlfriend of a druglord.

I didn’t get a chance to talk to her Sunday, but I was impressed by her ability to maintain a million-dollar smile in one photo after another. I also give her credit for coming all the way to our little town to help with a good cause (which you can read about in the paper.)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

'a happy idiot'

I guess when you own a paper all your work is ultimately “paperwork.”

There’s a never-ending supply, so much so that even if I were to be granted an extra week’s time every month I’d still be slightly behind.

No biggy. That’s just the way it is. And not just for me.

I doubt that ranchers ever go to sleep at night knowing that they’ve done everything that needs to be done. There’s always a fence post that needs to be replaced, or a horse that needs to be shoed.

The “to-do” list gets even longer when you take a day off every week to ride a bicycle. You postpone this, postpone that, and next thing you know you’ve got a mountain of overdue paperwork.

So this week I limited myself to commuter bicycling. I zipped around town and enjoyed the sunshine.

I sold some ads. I sent out some renewal notices. I sent out some bills. I tried to drum up some business and pay the bills.

“I’m going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender.”
– Jackson Browne

There wasn’t any ride worth mentioning, but my Bigfoot photo collection is growing.

Keep in mind that I eventually plan to purchase a corduroy sport jacket, the kind with the leather patches on the elbows. I’ll grow my beard really long, start smoking a pipe and give lectures and television interviews about Bigfoot. I’ll show off plaster casts of Bigfoot feet impressions and walk around with tufts of alleged Bigfoot hair samples.

Below is my current collection of Bigfoot faces from Humboldt and Del Norte counties. There are more to come....

bigfoot faces

Friday, April 06, 2007

In Search of Bigfoot

Really big Bigfoot

Here's a rare photo of the mighty Panasonic road bike. Behind it is a super-sized sasquatch, much larger than the ones you typically see around here in the woods or washing themselves at Stone Lagoon. Most of us are so accustomed to the sasquatches that we wouldn't bother with such statues. To paraphrase Reagan. "You've seen one sasquatch and you've seen them all."


Ride Date: Thursday, April 5

Route: McKinleyville to Willow Creek and back via Arcata Bottoms, Valley West and Highway 299

Distance: Approx. 88 miles

Elevation gain: Approx. 8,500 ft.

Start time: 7:45 a.m.

End time: 5:30 p.m.

Total trip time: 9 hours, 45 minutes

Easy part: Getting to Willow Creek

Hard part: Getting back from Willow Creek

Biggest worry: Mechanical failure

Mechanical difficulties: Flat tire while climbing out of Willow Creek

Favorite tool: CO2 tire inflator!!!

Best food: A basket of freedom fries drenched in catsup from the Raging Creek Eatery in Willow Creek.

Worst food: None. All fuel was enjoyed.

Liquids consumed: 108 fluid ounces of water (that’s about 4 1/2 extra large water bottles), 16 ounces hot tea, 16 ounces of V-8 Splash, for a total of 140 ounces.

Sweating: Profuse

Low point: Climbing out of Willow Creek through hot canyon knowing that I had many, many miles to go. Became concerned about heat stroke.

High points: Sense of accomplishment when I rolled into Willow Creek. Reaching Lord Ellis Summit on return trip. Pedalling through the fog in the Arcata Bottoms knowing that I had made it to Willow Creek and back and was almost home.

Aches and pains: Everywhere, everything


Bigfoot shoe

I compared my foot to Bigfoot's foot.


Berry Summit

Berry Summit is at 2,803 feet. But I'm in such great shape that it only felt like climbing 2,795 feet.


Entering Willow Creek

Willow Creek reminds me of the town in "Rambo, First Blood."



I looked at him, he looked at me.



Hell yeah! Two Bigfoot photos on a single trip. What more could you ask for?

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