Christmas – Baby Please Come Home

Just wanted to share a little Christmas fun with all my friends on WordPress.  Susan and I are blessed to have these beautiful girls in our lives.

… in case you missed it, 7 year old Kingston was running one of the video cameras for this production… and of course, his footage turned out to be the best shots of the night!

Yikes, I am “so five minutes ago”.  Merry Christmas everybody.  Kat

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The Handcrafted Canoe Paddle

A cedar log in the marsh

A cedar log in the marsh

So along with the restoration of our 40 year old canoe I wanted to make some Jr. sized canoe paddles for when my grandsons get to go out “messing about” in the canoe.

I had a notion that I would just go out in the Snohomish River Delta and find a cedar log in one of the marshes and chop off a little piece, then bring it home and carve out a pint sized canoe paddle.

Have a look at the video:

How about a couple more photos:

Splitting with wedges

Splitting with wedges

Nice detail on the palm (the handle)

Nice detail on the palm (the handle)

Final stages - varnishing

Final stages – varnishing

This sure does look a lot like me

This sure does look a lot like me

After the deed was done I learned that it may not have been totally legal for a person to just go out and cut a chunk off a floating log… So, if this is the case, and any of my LEO pals are reading this… I’d like to say officially I was kidnapped by aliens and held on their space ship while the spacemen created a robotic clone of me and sent it to earth to shoot this video.  Yeah, that’s pretty much the way it happened.

Kat

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Restoring Our 40 Year Old Canoe

 

The Frontiersman Canoe

The Frontiersman Canoe

Way back in about 1975 or so I bought this wonderful little canoe.  It was a 15′-3″ fiberglass boat called a Frontiersman.  They were made in New Westminster BC at the time.

After many years of faithful service and numerous epic voyages the canoe migrated to my mom’s house on Spring Lake.  We had a small fleet of sea kayaks keeping us very busy at the time, and the canoe was the perfect craft for her small wooded lake… and there it lived (and almost died)… for years.

So maybe I watched one too many Ray Mears wilderness canoe journey videos, or maybe I just needed another project, but whatever the reason I decided it was time to drag that baby home and see about restoring it.  As you’ll see in the video, it’s going to be a massive undertaking.

The Boat House

The Boat House

So thats where the canoe is gonna live for the next few months.  I’ll keep you posted with some updates as the project continues.

Suzie in the canoe circa 1977

Suzie in the canoe circa 1977

Here is a classic photo of Suzie in the Frontiersman canoe on the Skykomish River from years ago.

Maybe next summer we’ll have it seaworthy and be back on the river.

That’s it for now, thanks for following along.

Kat

 

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International Coffeeneuring – The Bonus Round

Peace Arch Park

Peace Arch Park

So… I’ve been having so much fun seeing all the great coffeeneuring stories and photos from around the globe that I thought I would go for another coffeeneuring adventure… A bonus round if you like.

I launched from Peace Arch Park, near Blaine, WA and rode across to White Rock BC, Canada.  The overall distance was only about 8-9 miles.  Oh wait a minute that should read 12.8 to 14.4 kilometers.

 

The obligatory border image

The obligatory border image

Rolling down the footpath from the parking area, across the lawns to the arch, insured that I’d have wet socks for the rest of the day.  But other than that the weather was fabulous.  Of course I had to stop for the mandatory Rockhopper straddling the international border image… Even if it was USA and Canada, not North and South Korea.

Haida Totems

Haida Totems

So just a word about how simple and bicycle friendly the Canadian crossing was.  I walked my bike right into a small glassed in hallway, showed my passport to the friendly customs agent and I was rolling again in about two minutes… What a breeze!

I’d scouted out a route through the Semiahmoo First Nation Reserve, that bordered Boundary Bay and crossed the Little Campbell River on a small foot bridge.  Brilliant! Almost zero cars.  Although when I got to the foot bridge I had to wait for a guy driving a riding lawn mower across the bridge… “Rush Hour”!

This was my first visit to the town of White Rock.  We’d passed by several times on the Amtrak train, and I always thought it had sort of a West Seattle vibe to it.  Lots of stylish condos overlooking a waterfront walking path.  The town was actually named for a large “white rock”.  A glacial erratic deposited on the beach during the last ice age.  In years past it was covered with bird guano, and served as a navigational beacon for sailors.  These days its just given a fresh coat of white paint every month.

White Rock pier

White Rock pier

I asked a local worker, “where’s the best place to get a cup of tea”.  He suggested, “Charlie Don’t Surf”, and pointed to a sidewalk cafe’ a block down the street.

Table side bike parking

Table side bike parking

I plopped in to a sun drenched chair and ordered a cup of English breakfast tea.  Although the chair was “sun drenched” I was still wearing my fleece and jacket.  It was November after all.

Tea Time at White Rock

Tea Time at White Rock

Before long I was back on the bike and headed for the border.  There was a slight delay however when I heard, above the tin of the traffic and construction noise, the unmistakeable sound of a bald eagle.  Scanning the treetops I spotted his nest and then the bird.  I paused to film the eagle from about five different places.

Eagle nest

Eagle nest

 

 

 

 

 

Here, have a look at the video:

Headed for home

Headed for home

Well that’s about it.  I’m gonna leave out the part about what a total Goat Rope it was to get back into the USA as a bicycle traveler.  And how I ended up in a confusing mass of humanity with several hundred other confused people being funneled through an unmarked, never moving queue at the CBP station.  Yikes!

Let’s just say, that part… Not a breeze!

Thanks for following along, till next time.

Kat

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Coffeeneuring Challenge

Coffee Shop Without Walls

Coffee Shop Without Walls

“Coffeeneuring” is that even a real word?  I guess to understand what this post is all about I should begin by discussing the century old sport of Randonneuring, or long distance cycling.  A typical randonee or brevet would be a 200 to 1400 km ride.  Often times an out and back route, and it would be absolultely dripping in tradition, protocol, and etiquette.

In a past life jumping on my bicycle and taking off for a hundred or more miles was a common occurrence.  But these days jumping on my bike and heading for a coffee shop is way more likely to happen.  So when I read about the “Fourth Annual Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge”  I thought it was the perfect fit for a retired guy that likes to go out noodleing around on his mountain bike.

Stop #1 on the Coffeeneuring Challenge

Stop #1 on the Coffeeneuring Challenge

So, just for the record, here are the details for Ride No. 1  of the 7 required coffee shop stops:

Date: Oct 7th, 2014  -Time 1400 hours.  As a retired guy I get to designate my weekends to be any day I choose (how cool is that?) so I picked a Tuesday.

Place: The Rotary Park bike trail along the Snohomish River.  I stopped at a cool little bridge over a marsh so I could do some birding with my coffee.  I made my own coffee with my JetBoil stove and  Nescafe’ 3-in-1 packs, taking advantage of the “Coffee Shop Without Walls” rule.  Round trip milage was about 6 miles…

Bike:  Specialized Rockhopper 29er’ hardtail.

Ride No. 2 – I thought I would go for a real coffee shop (sort of).  I chose Thursday as an official weekend and waited till about 1100 hours for the morning fog to burn off a little.

Harbor Marine - 10th Street at the Everett Marina

Harbor Marine – 10th Street at the Everett Marina

Yep, they have a little mocha stand inside.  I grabbed a mocha and rolled over to the Fisherman’s Memorial to share a cup with this hardy man of the sea.

Fisherman's Memorial

Fisherman’s Memorial

I was referring to the bronzed statue guy, not that other dude in the photo.

I pedaled around the marina for a bit, visited with some of my police pals, and then, just as the sun was clawing its way through the grey skies, I took off for home.  Round trip about 8-9 miles.

Man you got to love these beautiful fall colors.

 

Rockhopper in the red

Rockhopper in the red

Ride No. 3  How about a nice cup of tea, freshly brewed on a cedar fire, while sitting next to a quiet mountain pond.

Everything Tea - Snohomish WA

Everything Tea – Snohomish WA

Everything Tea in Snohomish WA is my favorite tea store, and Irish Breakfast Tea is my go to loose leaf tea of choice.

Conveniently, it is right along the route from my house to Lord Hill Regional Park.  Mitchell Lord homesteaded his  dairy farm here, in the forest high above the Snohomish River, back in 1878.  These days the park is managed by Snohomish County Parks and maintained mostly by volunteers.  It is a favorite place for equestrians, mountain bike riders, and hikers.

Temple Pond - near the center

Temple Pond – near the center

Stats for the ride:  Oct 13, 2014 – 1100 hours, Mileage about 10, its hard to say, but everything was either going up or going down.  Bike – the Rockhopper.  The beverage: Freshly brewed Irish Breakfast tea (with a dash of honey).

Here is a little video from the ride:

Thanks to Jimi Hendrix for letting me do a ukulele cover of his song Little Wing.

Coffeeneuring and Bushcraft an interesting combination

Coffeeneuring and Bushcraft an interesting combination

Buck-a-roo

Buck-a-roo

On top of all that fun, I also met this cool duo along the trail.

Mountain bike riders remember – its best to get off your bike, on the lower side of the trail, and talk as horses approach.  That minimizes the chances a horse will spook…

Of course this steady mount was not the least bit concerned about me or my “ride”.  He even stopped to pose for this picture.

Ride No. 4 – This was an actual coffee shop ride to one of my favorite places: Under The Red Umbrella, 1520 Rucker Ave. in Everett, WA.

Under The Red Umbrella

Under The Red Umbrella

Mocha Time

Mocha Time

I rolled out on Monday Oct 20th at about 1100 hours.  The ride was about 10 or 11 miles round trip.  Of course I was mounted on the Rockhopper, the true Urban Assault Vehicle.

This fun little cafe also has music on most Friday nights, so if your ever in the neighborhood give em a try.

 

 

 

 

Ride No. 5 – Bam, The next day.  Tuesday Oct 21 found me pedaling up to Karl’s Bakery to link up with my pal Thomas.

A faint rainbow in the distance

A faint rainbow in the distance

I waited out a rain shower and was treated with a faint rainbow off in the distance.  The end of this trail dumped me off at the railroad crossing at the foot of Pacific Ave.

Waiting......

Waiting……

When I arrived this train was parked and gave no indication that it was ever gonna move.  I debated turning around and retracing my route… But just about then I heard some rumblings and the monster woke up.

Karl’s Bakery at 2814 Wetmore Ave. has been a favorite destination for my cycling trips you many years, so when Thomas said “pick a place”… I didn’t have to think too hard about it.

Karl's Bakery

Karl’s Bakery

 

 

 

Here are the stats:

Round trip about 5 miles

No real bike rack, so the Rockhopper just got locked to a light post in front of the bakery.

Coffee – old school, fresh, delicious, cheap

Maple bar !  The best!

Ride #6 Wow, this thing is speeding by…

Tea Time

Tea Time

On Oct 28th I took advantage of a slight break in the weather and hatched a quick plan for the next ride.  I brewed up a thermos of Licorice Spice tea at home and then headed for the bay.  I was delighted to find out that my old beat up thermos (ok, not actually a Thermos brand, as it came from REI) fit perfectly into my Kleen Kanteen water bottle cage on the Rockhopper.

I made my way through the numerous construction zones in the city to the Pigeon Creek Trail, and followed that down to the shore of Port Gardner Bay.

Cheers Coffeeuring Mates

Cheers Coffeeuring Mates

Here are the stats:

Bike friendly – Yes!  I had the beach to myself, the weather was fine and the view was wonderful.

Round trip on the Rockhopper – about 7 miles.

Drink – Stash brand Licorice Spice tea…. delicious!

From my waterfront table I pondered the question… What to do for ride number seven?  Or should I just knock out a couple of additional Coffeeneuring Challenge rides just to make sure I had the basics covered.  With all this rules listed in the challenge I must have missed  something.  What if the “judges” disallow one of my rides for some type of technical violation or a wardrobe malfunction?  Um’

Ride No. 7  Nov 1, 2014 Ok, here we go BIG finish.  For this ride I enlisted the help of some of my favorite ridding partners, my son Travis and his two boys Booker and Remington (Remy).  Once again we opted for a coffee shop without walls, and our brew of choice this time – hot cocoa – with marshmallows – of course.  Our route was a 5 ‘ish mile loop around Smith Island at the mouth of the Snohomish River.

Working boats in the river

Working boats in the river

For bike friendliness I would rate this ride as top notch.  No cars, just a couple people walking dogs, and lots of birds, boats, “sea monsters”, and rocks that demand to be thrown.  Travis was rolling on his Novara Safari bicycle, pulling the double Burley trailer.  It’s called a Burley because you got be be pretty “burley” to muscle that big Buick up a hill. I was following and filming from my trusty steed – the Rockhopper.

We decided to make a little movie of Ride No. 7 to cap off the Coffeeneuring Challenge in a big way.  That’s Travis and me strumming the 1957 Bo Diddley blues classic, Before You Accuse Me in the background.

Travis - Remy - Booker

Travis – Remy – Booker

We had a marvelous cocoa break, made even yummier with the addition of Suzie’s home made banana bread.

Well, there you go.  I hope you enjoys this story as much as I enjoyed the rides.  Special thanks to MG for ramrodding this wonderful adventure.

 

I’ll certainly be looking forward to next year.  Kat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leef Peeping VanSlam

Fall colors along the Old Blewett Pass Hwy.

For anyone even remotely interested in photography, the beginning of autumn in the Cascade mountains means the start of a glorious feast for the eyes.  The rich warm saturated colors, the cobalt blue skies, and the cool nights, signal its time to go camping.

Ok, we really didn’t get those cobalt blue skies until the last day… but everything else was right on track.

Peshastin Creek

Peshastin Creek

Susan and I picked up Duke and headed out ahead of the rest of the campers for this adventure.  I wanted to include a trip across the Old Blewett Pass Highway as part of the route to our weekend camp at the Blu-Shastin RV park.  I’d ridden my motorbike over this crumbled, unused, historic stretch of “road” last summer and I had pegged it as a great place for a return visit to enjoy the fall colors.  You can read more about that ride here: WABDR

Since there was NO traffic on this old road and since Duke was 4 years old, it seemed like the perfect place to let him drive.  Let’s have a look at a little highlight reel:

The theme of the weekend was just “chill”.  Once the rain stopped on Saturday morning we   spent hours sitting around the campfire telling stories, playing music, and playing with the dudes.

Home Sweet Campsite

Home Sweet Campsite

As a special treat we had a couple of honored guests camping with us this time.  The Great Aunties, Lona and Vicky (Richie’s aunties) pulled their chairs up to the campfire with us this time… and what a delightful pair of campers they were.  Oh, and if you’re one of the little dudes, and you are camping with your grandma and grandpa, as well as your two great aunties, well… Let’s just say you are pretty much SET!  Nuff said.

The warm glow of a comfy camp

The warm glow of a comfy camp

Happy camper

Happy camper

We didn’t get too far from the campfire or the creek.  Those two places provided all the entertainment we needed.

As the fire died down we all scrambled to the warmth of our camper vans and got tucked in for the night.  The two eldest dudes bunked in with the aunties in their RV, and had, I’m sure, a wonderful little slumber party.

Sunday morning had the aunties breaking camp early, and headed to watch a football game.  While we were on our way up Stevens Pass for a hike along the Iron Goat Trail.

Wellington Trailhead

Wellington Trailhead

Duke and Suzie

Duke and Suzie

Well that’s about it for this edition of the Adventure Journal.  We certainly had a marvelous time.  The fall colors were spectacular, the aunties were delightful, and the dudes… Well they’re just the happiest little campers ever.

Thanks for following along.  Kat

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Evergreen Mountain Lookout

Evergreen Mt. Lookout

Evergreen Mt. Lookout

A beautiful fall day, 5000 feet up in the Wild Sky Wilderness.  Washington’s Cascade mountains put on a wonderful show.  Here are a few photos and a video highlight reel.

The newest wilderness area

The newest wilderness area

Peek-a-Boo

Peek-a-Boo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hike up was fairly short but pretty steep!

Looking SE

Looking SE

The last little scramble to the top

The last little scramble to the top

360 degree views

360 degree views

Inside the lookout

Inside the lookout

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous Views

Fabulous Views

Blazing red fall colors

Blazing red fall colors

Spend a minute with The Allman Brothers Band as they take us through this video:

GoPro on the Strike Force Moto

GoPro on the Strike Force Moto

 

DCIM999GOPRO

So with my Ribz front pack stuffed with camera gear and a few snacks, I spent a wonderful afternoon wandering around the mile-high alpine meadows.

Thanks for following along.

Kat

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