Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


Weekend Update
It was a short weekend, occasioned by a long shift on Saturday at REI, made interesting primarily by my use of the unicycle to get there, thus winning the store's "creative commuter" prize for Bike Walk Bus week here in Missoula. After work, Kate and I went to she a friend who is moving away soon and spent the evening eating the bread and olives and marinated mozzarella balls we brought over to consume among the boxes. Ben is moving as well. He left Missoula behind on Sunday morning, headed back to the Cape with no definite plans to return here again.

But, the weekend rolls on and I spent the rest of Sunday setting up our hammock in the back yard and fiddling with various bike-related projects.


Seattle, Part II

Our first full day in Seattle found us taking a walk up along the waterfront past Pike Place, and to a nearby salon to get haircuts to cut down on our bumpkin-esque looks. Well, Kate anyway is convinced that every haircut she's ever gotten in Missoula has made her look like a country singer. For my part, I just hadn't had a haircut since January and was feeling conspicuous among the well dressed and coiffed of downtown Seattle.

Feeling refreshed, we walked the long-sh trudge out to the Washington Park Arboretum. I'd like to say I'm some sort of botanist, but truthfully, it was just a nice sunny day and lots of things were in bloom, like this cherry tree:
The sun trickled through the trees and it was very quiet. We passed by a group of watercolor painters, plenty of ducks, and lots of joggers, photographers and dog walkers. Cyclists zipped along the parkway that runs through the property.

We spent a few hours walking through the arboretum and eventually took a bus back into town. We walked from Pike Place back to the hotel, had a soak in the hot tub, and headed across the street to the Pyramid Brewing Alehouse for dinner. They had excellent fish and burgers and good beer. Although we did not have any on this trip. my mother has in the past expressed an affinity for their Apricot offering. I prefer the Thunderhead IPA. After a day spent mostly walking, we retired to the hotel.


Seattle, Part I

On the occasion of Kate's 30th, she and her brother and I took off for Seattle on Thursday. I'll probably split the trip report into a couple of posts. It's about a seven and a half hour drive that crosses Lookout Pass, Fourth of July Pass, the flats of Eastern Washington, the Columbia River, and Snoqualmie Pass. I didn't take any pictures of those places because I was driving. It's interesting country, and you go from hot and dry to alpine to flat and irrigated to near-desert, then to fertile farmland, alpine again, and finally cool, green Seattle with sea breezes and flowers everywhere. We used Hotwire for our hotel reservation and ended up at the Silver Cloud at Safeco Field. It's a brand new hotel, a short walk to Pike Place and a shorter walk to Pioneer Square and a walk across the street to the Pyramid Brewery and Alehouse. More on that later. We scored a room on the 9th floor, the top floor, which also housed the rooftop hot tub and the reakfast room we availed ourselves of each morning. The view from the roof: We had time upon our arrival to relax and then head downtown, where fish and chips at Ivar's served for dinner. We walked around a bit, went back for a soak on the roof at sunset, and retired for the night.


In the Mid-Week-end

So much going on this week. Work, late night meetings and late night shifts at the ever-present- credit-card-debt-inspired second job at REI- also where I spent my day today. Retail tests your faith in humanity, but I work with great people and that makes it easy. Between time before work and all of my breaks throughout the day I managed to get the studded tires off my bike, the slick tires on, fix the same flat twice because I rushed the job the first time, and get the big 46-tooth ring onto my crankset replacing the 34 I have spun on through the winter. It's all about macrodrive, baby. The bike flies now, and I fly on it. I got out a little early on Friday and managed a 6.7 mile uni ride, which took me through the UM campus quad, home to the youthful and tanned citizens of Missoula whose lives are subsidized by a student loan program that surely funds itself elsewhere. I don't like being conspicuous on the uni, but the sometimes I do. Kate would say it is my astrological destiny as a Leo to like attention. The chant of "uni-u-ni" from the frisbee-playing kids on the quad was fun, I have to admit.

I miss college sometimes, even now, almost eight years after graduation. I miss being carefree, although I certainly didn't think of myself as such at the time. I miss six hours in the library working to get a poem just right, I miss the Java House, I miss conversations that spiraled out into nowhere and terminated in decisions to order pizza or head downtown. I miss the totality of the experience. I wonder if those of use who care about writing and Lit owe it to ourselves to pursue those things at our own financial peril. I wonder if I'm really saving the world through land-use planning, or if I simply serve as handmaiden to the developer.

I've been reading about Charles Olson again, about my professor Al Glover (still stinging for the time he asked if I got "anything at all" out of Lisa Jarnot's work, and i KNEW I hadn't), about Moby Dick and King Lear and wishing I had the momentum to get one of those projects in the right margin started for real, taken beyond the status of placeholder. Collaborative poetry- Blue Hero- is it worth it? When I started it years ago I asked for poems by mail only and actually got a few, which sit in a folder in my office, refugees from when I lived in Vermont and knew I was leaving law school and had a yard sale and put tons of other stuff in the dumpster in anticipation of traveling light for the next few years. I have the poems. I have the schedule for Anatomy of a Critic, started in the first weeks of my AmeriCorps experience in 1999, fresh out of college after spending my post-degree
summer digging holes and planting trees on the campus of Middlebury and going home to write, fighting the alienation from academia that had already become so palpable. Time is such a critical resource, so critical that nearly every moment needs to be evaluated for its usefulness.

What will I do tomorrow? I have two sides, two minds, or maybe just a mind and a soul. The utilitarian side wants to clean out the garage, put the tools away,taking pleasure in the wonderful physicality of WORK, of cooking and cleaning and organizing. Some part of me wants to get the gigantic hammock (big enough for four!) I wove the winter before law school and hang it out in the yard and read all day, or tune up the guitar, play the harmonica like nobody can hear, like I'm not bitter. Like I'm not clinging to the past or to something unattainable. Like I'm Sonny Terry, whooping between the musical phrases for the sheer joy of it, or maybe just to get out the last of the breath that couldn't be used in music.



Call me late to the geek party, but I just got done watching the last episodes of Firefly. Nothing has made me want to boycott Fox more than the fact that they canceled this show. Kate was reluctant to watch at first, despite my pleas that this was Joss "Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which you liked a lot, right?" Whedon. Spaceships, horses, wild west hijinks and not an alien in sight made for one of the most creative shows I've ever seen, and it didn't even make it through the first season? George Lucas produces three phenomenal turds in the form of the Star Wars prequels, and a show with a budget that wouldn't have even animated Jar-Jar Binks' little toe gets cut? The world just isn't fair. Ben picked up Serenity last night, so we'll watch that tomorrow.


Early Spring and Welcome Creek

Kate and I have spent our last two Sundays hiking up Welcome Creek off of Rock Creek in the southeastern corner of Missoula County. Getting to the trailhead involves a 30-mile drive out of Missoula along the Clark Fork River and a 14-mile drive off the highway up Rock Creek to where Welcome Creek joins it. Rock Creek is a blue-ribbon trout stream and thus the drive is peppered with Brad Pitt- esque views of fishermen rolling their lines out in gorgeus arcs, though few seemed to have ventured more than a few hundred yards from where their pickups were parked on the side of the road. Today, we hiked up Welcome Creek to Cinnabar Cabin. The cabin is half-collapsed but I was able to get in to shoot a panorama of the remaining interior: Not visible in my photo is the shredded sleeping bag, broken cutlery, and meticulously zip-locked pamphlet titled: "The Gospel of John" that had been left in the cabin. Somebody also tore up the floor on one corner and dropped in a fire ring. Ben climbed in and took a look. Here is the outside of the cabin. It was a great hike and a nice time outside. The walk began and ended with a pretty bouncy traverse over a high suspension bridge. I put a couple of apples on ice in a small cooler in the Jeep, which tasted better than anything when we got back to the trailhead. Spring is truly upon us here in Missoula. I went to take out the garbage tonight and took in the stars. I noticed something moving up high, ghostly as it reflected the orange streetlight back at me, right at the edge of vision. It seemed like a silent helicopter at first, no lights, no whoof of the blades. Then, is started to change shape like a collapsing hot-air balloon. As I stared harder, the fading mass took the form of a V, and I heard the honking. Geese, heading north. The trash bag was low-slung by my side as they finally faded from sight completely.