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Its not about fast

Over Labor Day weekend, Ace and I set out on a bicycle/camping adventure. We loaded my bike with panniers or “pannies” as I like to call them and Ace towed a “Bob” cart with the main essentials of our trip. Our aim was Bodega Bay, a mere 60 miles North of us. Arming ourselves with sunscreen off we went.

After at least 2 hours on the road, we were finally leaving a majority a civilization behind. The ride was still easy, affording nice views of a lake and gorgeous golden California countryside. My first real test happened about 2 hours in. The road turned right and lead up a small hill. That “small” hill kept growing and stretching out like snake. This small hill had just become daunting. Half way up, I saw this sign and had to stop for a photo op. That little break gave me the little extra oomph that I needed to continue. The best was when I finished I wasn’t huffing and puffing nor did my legs feel like Jell-O. After that I knew I could finish this trip!

Here is my reward for the climb!

Once we were about 6 miles from our destination and about five and half hours into our trip, I was done! My hands were numb, my saddle was sore, and it was beginning to get dark. We pulled away from our last rest stop and headed off me with the belief that we would soon be resting. As I was enjoying coasting downhill, I followed the road. Up, up, up. Not a hard climb, just a long slow steady one. At the top of that hill another one, and then another one and probably another one after that. Here I am slightly soggy from a day of sweating it out, cold, runny nose, tired, and sore. Can you tell that I was over it? And I swear, Bodega Bay was being moved just out of our reach. We did finally make it there an hour and a half later! Ace then suggested we try to find a hotel room. That was a really sweat gesture, but there was no way that I’d just traveled with somewhere close to an extra 15 pounds of camping gear strapped to my bike to call it quits and get a room. OOHH No! If I’d made it all that way, by god, I was going to use that stuff!

One thing that I don’t enjoy about camping is the other campers. I know that we’re all outside and generally speaking you can use your “outside voice,” but at 7:30 in the morning I want to stuff a sock in your mouth. It seems that is no longer camper etiquette. Its not just the kids. Parents are some of the worst offenders. I felt really bad for one set of kids. Their parents are really mean and loud. Poor Amanda, that kid was always in trouble and her sister just wanted to go to the bakery. 😦
Not exactly the way that I wanted to start my day. I glanced at my bike and I started trying to think of ways to get out of pedaling home. Making that trek again did not sound appealing. And my hands were perma asleep (and still are a week later.) I knew that I had to finish though, I couldn’t be a quitter. I wouldn’t be a quitter!

On the way home, we traveled along the coastline. Breathing in the ocean air and beautiful views along the bay. It was a great day and pretty much ended the same way as day one with me being tired, sore, and over it.

Traveling on bike really forced me to be in the moment of here and now. It allowed me to soak in my surroundings and enjoy scenery I might not have noticed otherwise. Along the way, we passed so much farm land that I started talking to the cows as I passed. Ok, so really I would just moo at them, hoping for some sort of reaction and I named all of them “Butter.”It allows you to have little adventures along the way like taking advantage of the blackberries along the side of the road. DELICIOUS!

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Mountain Biking-err crashing

Yesterday, I went for my second mountain biking voyage at China Camp. I’m fortunate enough to be borrowing what is apparently one of the best mountain bikes, ever. A women’s Specialized Stump Jumper. I’m not sure if its the 29er. I don’t think that it is. But I do know, that I’m a long way from being to afford such a bike. And I’ll be disappointed in any other mountain bike in the event that I decide to continue with this sport. And that’s a big if, especially after this weekend.

It’s funny, the first time you try something new sure its hard, but you push through it and are rewarded with endorphines and the satisfaction of good job well done. So why is the second time so much harder?

I’m not a great climber by any means. I huff and I puff and my quads burn. The week prior to mountain biking, I had spent road biking and running, crosstraining as I like to call it. So, why was my second trip so hard? The first part of the climb, I did really well, albeit all the while huffing and pufing. The second half of the climb was brutual. My legs became jell-o faster and I had to stop a few times on the trail in order to catch my breath and give my quivering my legs a break. Trying to stand to even make the tiniest of climbs was nearly impossible.

Then the rewardning part of the adventure began-the downhill. I should also make note that this is also the most dangerous part of the ride. The first go round I didn’t wear any protective gear other than my helmet. This time borrowing leg guards from boyfriend we began the descent. I can’t describe the feeling of ripping around corners and picking up gears as you shuffle on the rocks. The first time that I took on this adventure I had to get the feel of the bike and trust that the bike was going to be underneath me. I know that sounds weird, but sometimes after hitting loose rocks I could feel the bike shifting around under me. Not having the time to really think about it kept me calm. If I would’ve had time to think about the situation I probably would’ve freaked out and crashed. This time I was more confident. Probably going faster than I should have been going and taking a few more risks than was good for me.

My first crash was an easy one. I wasn’t going very fast at all, but my pedals clipped some rocks sending me off balance and down to the ground. I fell in a tangled heap on the side of the cliff. Ace was nice enough to disentangle me from the bike and readjust the seat which I had somehow landed on. I dusted myself off and continued downhill. I probably should’ve taken my cue to slow it down when I topped a hill a bit too fast and was faced with lots of treacherous trail. Sharp rocks, steep crevasses cut into the trail, and only a split second to choose my route. I somehow managed that one, but I was quickly about to meet my fate.

I knew the end of the hard techinical trail was coming to a close and I was getting excited. I don’t know what happened really. I was on an easy part of the trail, it was wide and nothing but dirt. I look ahead and see a tree. I knew that I needed to move to the right of the tree. But I was somehow unable to make this happen. I was breaking and trying to steer right, but nothing was happening. At the last moment, at least I think this is how it happened, I grabbed the left brake too hard and it sent me flying over the handle bars. Which scraped down the tops of my quads, which are now a lovely shade of purple. I also took a hard hit to my upper abdomen. I’ve never seen such a color before. It’s red with tinges of purple. But the worst is my shoulder. Immediately upon impact, I screamed out in the hopes of catching Ace’s attention. It didn’t work. I knew people were on the trail behind me and I couldn’t stay where I was. I somehow managed to pick myself up and move the bike out of the path. But there was no way that I would be able to finish the ride, which I was bummed about. I was doing so well. I kept apologizing for crashing because I didn’t want to be a disspointment.

I’ll get back on the bike, in a couple of weeks or more, because I can’t raise my arm past my waist at the moment. But next time, I’ll be a bit slower and go easier. Maybe, I’ll even go on a less physically demanding downhill course.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Adventure

 

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Stuff To Do, Yo!

I work from home, which as a new resident to the Bay Area provides me with a few challenges.
Challenge One, I have no reason to get dressed at all. Unless of course, I find myself with no food in the house.
Challenge Two, I have no reason to leave the house. Unless, I need food or some other household item.
Challenge Three, New friends are seldom found knocking on your door asking you to come out and play.
Challenge Four, This is a HUGE area with lots going on and even more to explore. So how do you narrow your choices down and pick the right activity? (Answer: Lots of reading and research!)

I’ll be working on compiling a list every so often of stuff that might be of interest to those of you who are of similar minds. Just to give you an idea, I love music, kitsch, food, adult beverages, the great outdoors, etc.

Let’s get started shall we? First Up:

July 7- Fun & Games Night at California Academy of Sciences. http://www.sfstation.com/7-7-fun-and-games-nightlife-e1304901
Yeah, I wanna play gigantor Jenga. Your point?

*If you’re in the North Bay area, like me, every Friday at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, food trucks are serving some of the best the city has to dish! (starts at 5 pm)

July 9 & 10 – Renegade Arts & Crafts Faire, Fort Mason Pavillion, San Francisco http://www.renegadecraft.com/san-francisco
Shut the Front Door! Its a live version of ETSY. You know you wanna geek out too!

July 19 & 20- The Avett Brothers @ The Fox Theater in Oakland

July 30 & 31 – Treasure Island Flea Market

As I uncover more events, I’ll keep you posted. One event that I’m hoping not to miss is Outside Lands in August. http://www.sfoutsidelands.com/

Also coming to the area are Jeff Bridges & The Abiders August 24 and The Kills September 9.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Adventure

 

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California Dreamin’

It was my intent to write an adventure daily. I fail. But I will vow to do better. Ok? good. Let’s Go.

So lemme tell you about my “epic” bike ride yesterday. And by bike I mean bicycle. (I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle!)
A red and white classic, she’s a beautiful bike and I call her The Little Red Rocket or Little Red. She’s a bit older, an 80’s something or another Trek. This means that she’s also a bit heavier because she a steel frame. Also something that is quite unique is that the gears aren’t round their oval. I think its called bi-pedal? I’m not sure so don’t quote me. It’s supposed to help distribute the work more evenly between your legs, but its a coin toss as to whether or not that’s true and some even believe it to be harmful. Did I mention that she has a bell?

Up until a month ago, I hadn’t been ridding in long time. But now that I’m in California and Ace doesn’t feel complete without doing serious riding at least twice a week, I’ve become a more avid rider. Small rides at first, to the grocery store, which was maybe a mile from home. And then it was roughly 5 miles. And then a little more. The first 15 mile I did was surprisingly moderate. The second time I did it, it felt super easy. I completed a couple of climbs that are normally more challenging without slowing down or losing my breath. Hu-zah! how

So when Ace said that he wanted to do a 30 mile loop, I thought that I could tackle that. And I did. Slowly, painfully and all while huffing and puffing. It wasn’t all that bad. Until I got to Lucas Valley. And then it was ALL up hill. A winding long, narrow at times hill err, mountain. As I’m working my way along oh-so-slowly a show off passed me. Ugh, she on her shiny, new, sleek, light-weight, super fast bicycle. I wanted to push her over. OK, not really, it didn’t even cross my mind. What I did think however, was that she as she was passing me she was probably thinking “Aww, look at the pudgy girl huffing and puffing, now get out of my way.” I was also sure that Ace wished I was more like her. And then I started wondering why he wasn’t with a bicycle obsessed girl. And what the hell did he see in me? And then all I could think was OMG I’m never going to make it up this damn hill!

Eventually, I did make it to a place called Big Rock. From there it was easier for a hot minute. Little Red LOVES going downhill. It’s great! You get that feeling that you had as a kid. Whoosh! Wee! And then the down was over and it became flat and my legs became cement. It felt like I was going through mud. No matter how much I exerted myself or tried to go faster, I just wasn’t moving. At least the scenery made the slow going enjoyable: golden hills, lush redwood forest, wildlife, all enjoyed at a snail’s pace.

My favorite part of the trip was the downhill decent into Fairfax. Little Red became a rocket! She really whooshed right down. I probably topped out somewhere around 45 mph. Going that speed is a nerve racking. After all, the only thing separating you from the pavement is your clothing. Fun thought, right? But I made it. Even if my legs felt like jell-o after getting home.

Will I do it again? Probably? Will it be easier? Probably not. Will I still want to push over the flashy girls on their flashy bikes? Oh yeah. The point is, I’m doing it and maybe one day I can do it without all the huffing and puffing.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Adventure

 

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Woah.

After a briefly long hiatus, I’m back and what an adventure its been. Woah became my new word of the trip. There was also something impressive looming in the distance.

After 14 days, 8 cities, and more than 4,000 miles I arrived to my new home in the Bay area. The trip was amazing. America is such a beautiful place with every changing scenery. One moment you’re in the desert, next you’re in a green valley. In the blink of an eye stone monuments are front and center. It was definitely an unforgettable journey, although, I think I would like to forget the desert. After resisting the urge to drink lotion and applying chap stick every other minute, I realized that I need more than 4% humidity in my life.

A brief synopsis of the journey:

1) Home in Arkansas: Always good to see the fam. Mom made one of my favorite dishes from childhood her lasagna and homemade french bread. She also sent us on our way with a jar of spicy crackers.

2) Houston, TX: A stop in to see some of Ace’s long time friends. A visit to the Alabama Ice House was also in order. Once an actual ice house, now converted into the host of a perpetual block party complete with Mexican fare.

3) Austin, TX: A spur of the moment decision that was all about finding bbq. Which we did, in the most unassuming store fronts for a bbq joint. Blue Ribbon BBQ in downtown has some of the best lip smackin’ bbq even if it looks like a “city slicker” kinda place. Ace also discovered and acquaintance from ages ago behind the counter, who was kind to show us around. Also upon recommendation was a stop at the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery. A community of mobile food vendors selling innovative food.

4) Carlsbad, NM: A visit to see stalactites and stalagmites. Impressive, but with so much of the cave destroyed, large paved walking paths, and with what once used to be a restaurant on the cave floor, it feels like an overdone tourist amusement park ride. Still glad that I went though.

5) Page, AZ: A stop of necessity. Loosing daylight and not wanting to continue our trip in the dark, we stumbled into this dusty little town that boasted no fewer than 10 different churches all within a 3 blocks or so. After setting up camp for night, we were off to do a little bit wondering about and discovered a forgotten fact that Page is home of the controversial Glen Canyon Dam.

6) Durango, Co: A trip down memory lane for Ace. An old mining town of the west that now plays host to those seeking recreation in her hills.

7) Mesa Verde: On the outskirts of Durango, is the former home of the Cliff Dwellers. Its mind-boggling that people would choose to live in what seems to be a completely inconvenient location. If you want to visit, I would recommend early spring before the summer masses begin to arrive.

8 ) Zion National Park: Probably the most impressive stop of the entire journey. Jaw dropping views. It didn’t take long for my neck to start hurting from looking up so much. The peaks that rise above to tower over everything in the valley are nothing short of stunning. This is also the part of the journey where I definitely had to push myself the hardest. We decided to do an overnight hiking trip into the back country and we chose Cable Mountain. I’m not how much of my stress was caused mentally and how much was physical. All I know is that at a certain point, I could no longer breathe. I had been hiking up at a moderate pace, taking time to catch my breath frequently, but then I almost collapsed. My lungs rattled and felt hollow and I struggled to take even a shallow breath. It took me some time to calm myself down and regain control of breathing. It’s what I imagine an asthma attack to feel like. It’s a terrible feeling. But I made it. Huzah!

9) Las Vegas: Another unplanned stop, but with our trip coinciding with National Parks week we were unable to stay in Zion another night due to the crowds. And since we were passing through, why not? We basically just strolled down the strip stopping when we needed another tasty beverage. In the morning all hilarity ensued. After traveling in a tiny car for 2 weeks, the thought of trying to cram ourselves back in the car for another day was all it took for us to crack. But at least we cracked with laughter and not anger.

And now I have been home for the past 23 days. Having plenty of adventures that have yet to be documented. Its my hope that I will start documenting my daily adventures, no matter how small. So stay tuned.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Adventure

 

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My Life in Boxes

Today’s adventure is about packing your life into boxes. As I am getting ready to embark on becoming a member of the west coast, I have been steadily gathering, wrapping, and stuffing my things into boxes. I sold the little bit of furniture that I possessed, sold a few odds and ends, and threw things into the garbage. I’ve tried to keep in mind my 6 month rule: If I haven’t used it, thought about it, or needed it the last 6 months then I don’t really need it.

The problem that stems from that rule is that it doesn’t allow you to keep many relics from your past. Its also hard to judge what you may or not miss in the future. To be certain, I’ve gotten rid of somethings in the past that I still wish I had. I had a rather lovely screen print on canvas of a bicycle in front of the Eiffel Tower that I set to the curb once because I was rather tired of packing and wanted to be done.

I bought 2 boxes from Fed Ex, 24″ x 24″ 24″. The weight limit for each box 150 lbs. My challenge pack as much of my 30 years into these two boxes, keeping only the most fragile and basic necessities that I will need for a 2 week road trip. I packed, unpacked, and repacked. My legs took a beating from the box flaps that I would frequently run into to. My hands dried out and all my nails broke. In the process, I became a creative master in the art of packing. Battered a bruised but not beaten, I took those 2 boxes back to be weighed and shipped. My life weighs roughly, (drum roll please…) 193 lbs. Not including the clothes and other few items that I’m taking with me on the road.

Its kind of mind blowing how little the cumulative of my life weighs. I feel almost feel like a vagabond, if I ever needed to run away quickly I could do it with few or no strings to pull along with me. It also serves as a reminder of the permanence or lack thereof, of life. Life isn’t forever. We don’t get to keep the things that we’ve worked hard at preserving.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Random Musing of Life

 

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Meeting Kate

I was out enjoying drinks with a friend last night and a girl interrupts to ask for a lighter. After lending her a lighter, she begins to profusely apologize for interrupting our conversation and I assure her that it is no big deal by uttering “no worries.”

Those two words then began a conversation that did in fact involve our new guest, Kate. She loved that I use that phrase and commented that it sounds distinguished. (I’ve been asked on occasion if I’m Canadian b/c of those words.)

We start relating stories to one another and as it turns out young Kate has an affinity for making up stories to tell randoms. I too have been known to do this on occasion. But Kate really goes above and beyond anything that I’ve told. And then she began telling us how she and her friend Paul had decided to get married not for love but to save money. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I had just read an article that made the arguement that staying single is actually cheaper. According to Kate, being married would be the perfect excuse to give someone if she wasn’t interested in that person. In the event that either of them meets someone that captures their fancy, no big thing, they’ll divorce. Ahh, Kate.

As Kate kept talking, the more I began to wonder what was, if anything, real about her.

At the time I had wished that I told more elaborate stories to others. What’s the harm right? As I’m writing this, I’m not so sure. It sounds fun, but there are consequences for everything. At least that’s what my inner Jiminy Cricket is telling me. I’m eclectic for sure and full of quirks, but I’m not so sure that I want to add full time storyteller to my list. I think that I will let Kate keep her stories.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Adventure

 

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