Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Home from "The Burn"!!!!

Had a fantastic time! This year was not what we expected....... as usual! This year was about the People and not the stuff. As usual, the Playa provided, even if it was not what we expected. We left early, before the Man burned on Saturday (about noon). The weather forecast was for 50 mph winds and white-out dust all day and night on Saturday. We mad it out just under the wire! The first white-outs were hitting as we made the final run out to the pavement. It sounds like the the burning of the Man and the Temple were both done in horrible white-out dust storms. Been there, done that before........ glad we opted for an early escape and a mini-vacation in the desert on the way home! More to follow...... more pictures to follow after I weed through the photo files (about 400) on the camera!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dream Wheel Update & Burning Man Countdown!

15 days 'til blast off! Just two weeks left until we pull out onto the highway and start the pilgrimage to the Playa! I've been packing and organizing all week to try and get the bulk of the "usual" items loaded and ready to go. Sweet Pea's been away all week at Lark Camp in Mendicino, California and has an art show the first weekend she's home................ maybe, if we're lucky, the final week will be relaxing :)

The Dream Wheel project's been coming right along. The main wood frame is finished up. I drilled and installed the final bolts last night. When Sweet Pea's home, we'll figure out what kind of final jazzing up we'll do on the frame. I've got a pile of ideas and sketches, but this sort of project tends to be organic in nature and just sort of unfolds as I go along, so it's always a bit of a surprise to see how it all comes out in the end. The interesting thing is that the main frame is nearly identical to a sketch that I made as we drove home from the Playa in 2005, and not much like the sketch I made just before starting this project.............

I've assembled the wheel components and painted on the "wording" around the top and bottom of the main wheel. It's looking great! Again, when Sweet Pea's home, we'll decide on any final art for the wheel. I still have to build a holder for the 3" x 5" index cards and pens that will be used for folks to write their own dreams, prayers and wishes for the wheel. I'll also do a little philosophical / descriptive sheet that I'll install under plexiglass to explain the concept behind this wheel and how it relates to the community.

This afternoon's it's out to the boat to install running gear on top of the pilot house. Burning Man and boats all week! The Bernadine will be in the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival this year, the weekend immediately after we get back from Burning Man! Hope I haven't bitten off more that I can chew this year :) Here's the link to the vessel description page for the festival:


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Burning Man Shade and Art Update

Well a heat wave finally found its way to Port Townsend and with all that heat and sun, it was tough to ignore the final countdown to the burn! A flurry of activity ensued!
I set up the new shade structure......... success! It's going to work out great, but it's definitely a two person operation to set up. Tons of room inside and with the two zippered openings, it ought to get good air flow in a breeze. I can't wait to try it on the Playa! Here are a few of the first "yard shots" of the beast. You can see our little trailer that we take to Burning Man parked in the forefront, and to the left. The trailer's 10 feet long....... for a little comparison perspective.

The art project is also coming along........ "The Dream Wheel". The main wood frame is assembled and ready for "artification". The wheel is built, painted and ready for final assembly. I have plans for quite a bit of hand painted art that will be painted on the wheel and on the wood frame as well. More to follow!

(The wheel is actually upside down in the picture..... It will be turned over when it's installed in the frame)

Work Cruiser..... Old School Style

Well I'm back to the blog........... we've had a little "internet-interuptus" at the old homestead these days, so I'm blogging in the field. So....... here's a little catch up on the bike scene.

Without getting into all of the "bullshit" politics and and arbitrary decisions at work regarding bike parking.............. suffice it to say that we are required to park outside, in the weather, on an old, outdated, and unsecured bike rack and walk into work. Year-round! Just a tad screwed up! I decided that the GT was not going to be sacrificed to the weather gods just yet, so I parked it and pulled out the Burning Man bike for the first "protest ride" to work. One day was all it took to rethink that plan! I pulled out a vintage Specialized mountain bike that dates back to the first year or two they sold them, somewhere around 1982 or so! I fitted it out with my panniers and my good Brooks saddle with springs. WAY COOL ride! It's great riding retro-style....... even though I still miss the full suspension ride of the GT. With the suspension Brooks saddle, I can keep my butt planted the saddle as I bomb down the trail. The springs do a great job sucking up the bumps.

Too bad about the bike parking situation..........Oh Well....... in this case it's not worth "fighting City Hall".....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Field Of Wild Flowers

Well now that Summer has finally found its way to the Pacific Northwest, I thought I'd give everyone a little glimpse of the gorgeous wild flowers that I ride past on my commute to and from work. The yellow lupine smells like pure sugar in the air and the wild Nootka Roses have the most amazing sharp rose scent........... When the air is still, it's like riding through a sea of scents :) These are just the "big ones", if you get down close to the ground, there are dozens more varieties!

Lupine, vetch and yarrow....

These flowers line the trail all the way from work until I hit the tree line and head up through the woods. Simply amazing!

Salmon Berry

California Poppies

And my absolute favorite, the wonderful Nootka Rose!

Bike Snob

Here are the first "DIY" stencils for my new t-shirt / punk patch designs..........
Keep your eyes peeled, these babies won't last long when they start "rolling off the press"!

Just in case you're wondering, the "C" is the Cinelli logo and the "flying wheel" is the Campagnolo logo.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An Ocean Of Dirt & Bricks

For the last couple of weeks, Sweet Pea's been excavating for a new patio addition. Today the diggings done and she has started on the brick laying...........It's looking great and it even has a fire pit! I've been standing in as support on the brick portion, hauling dirt and bricks over, but the entire excavation, design and brick laying have all been Sweet Pea's :)

In the course of the excavation, she uncovered two little boats! One is a little U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat and the other is a "Rum Runner"..............

Boats, boats, boats............even when it's bricks, bricks, bricks.

Big Bike Weekend

This last weekend we were over in Fremont-Seattle for the Solstice Festival. Sweet Pea was selling her jewelery at the street fair and and I was "support" for the weekend :)

N8 had given me his Cinelli, LOOK Team Issue road bike and I picked it up while we were over there. All I can say is WOW! After one ride on this magnificent machine, I am now officially a "Bike Snob"! Cinelli frame, Campagnolo dropouts, chromed fork and rear stays, Campagnolo drive train, Fulcrum race wheels, Nitto drop bars............... Way smooth and WAY FAST!!!

On Sunday at the fair, I needed to find a T-shirt........ I took a little trek out into the fray and found an alley around the corner next to a vintage clothing shop. They were having a bulk clothing garage sale. The alley was lined with piles of clothes with a sign that said everything was under five dollars. I found a brand new Canondale bike jersey and a LeMond bike T-shirt, both for $1.00 each. I also picked up a vintage Filson jacket from the pre-WWII era for $4.00 !!!!!!! Not bad for six bucks :)

Great weekend, great time, and to top it all off, the sun is out and shining! The weather service is calling for hot summer weather all through the week and next weekend! Wahoo!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wild Wild West.........

Yesterday we braved the weather and loaded up the bikes on the back of the Jeep and headed out to Sequim for a mountain bike ride. N8 was out for a short visit from school so we decided to show him the Sequim to Port Angeles stretch of the Olympic Discovery Trail.

We rode 14 1/2 miles to Port Angeles, had dinner at the Asian Bistro, then rode 14 1/2 miles back to the car....... not a bad way to spend an afternoon. The National Weather Service called for cloudy and dry and we ended up with drizzle on the final stretch into Port Angeles, and a bit of drizzle on the start of the ride back. Just enough to give us muddy a trail! When it rains out here, you really get the feel of riding in the rain forest, for real :)

You know you're really "Out West" when you see signs along the trail like these!

Here's a link to the Olympic Discovery Trail website. http://www.peninsulatrailcoalition.com/

We started this ride at the Robin Hill Farm Park. If you click on the Port Angeles map section on the website link above, you can view the section of the trail we rode.

Great rail-trail with smooth paved, packed dirt and a few rocky stretches........ with only a few climbs, but those are short.

You could almost do this on a road bike, but the few short stretches of rough trail would be hell on the tires and rims, so we opt for our mountain bikes.

Now that's the smile of a very happy biker!
Sweet Pea in front of a field of wild daisies.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Yesterday I had a date with the boat........regardless of weather. Good idea? Who knows, anyway, it all worked out and I got a bit of work done inside. When I got to the dock, the wind had increased to about 20+ knots and was still building. It was quickly apparent that rowing out in the dingy was out of the question. Getting out to the boat would be one thing, getting back if the wind kept building would be another! I was offered a ride out by the skipper of an old 1916 era fishing boat that anchors a bit further out, but I'd still be stuck when I had to row in.......... I remembered that Aug's Boston Whaler was at the dock with a 6hp outboard ready to go. I loaded up and out I went. The wind was out of the South, and in Mystery Bay, that means that there's not much fetch, so we only had small chop and whitecaps compared to the wind strength, but even with that, it was a fun ride out. I primed the overhead in the pilot house and salon and framed in the workbench up forward. Did a little puttering and cleaning and when the wind started to drop off, I headed for the dock.

Back at the dock, the State Park Dock Host told me that I had left my Jeep headlights on and that he had watched them slowly go dim and then out. Great. But, then he offered to give me a jump.... Now that was great! As we jump started the car, the wind went calm and then swung around and started blowing out of the North, bringing BLACK clouds with it. As I pulled out of the parking lot, the rain hit. Hail, torrential downpours, lightning.......... I think I'm ready for summer.......... Or as they say, "Just another day on the bay!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wind on the Water

Today was a boat day......... I had great plans to move the boat off of the dock and back out to the mooring buoy, but the gods were a bit uncooperative........... Wind, whitecaps and no crew. I got some great work done on board, buttoned things up, shored up the mooring lines and headed home.
Wild weather is always dramatic when you're out on the water. There's nothing like a boat moving on the water, even if it is on the dock.

I changed out the compasses. The new Wilcox Crittenden looks great and it fits in the binnacle perfectly.

Here's a comparison shot of the old Ritchie next the the new Wilcox Crittenden.

I fired up the Newport wood stove for the first time today. Lit quick and burned hot. This little stove will put off all the heat we will ever need in the pilot house.

Here's the boat on the dock, snugged up tight and dreaming of sunnier days............

Saturday, May 17, 2008

1971 Schwinn Racer

Had a great day yard "sailing" today! First sale of the day and I scored this vintage beauty......
A Schwinn Racer built in December 1971. I'll bet this baby looked great under the Christmas tree, all brand new and shiny, on Christmas morning!

Fun bike and it's all original, even has the original Schwinn tires, seat, pedals and grips.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Perfect Compass!

Well the search is finally over........ I found the perfect compass for the boat! The original compass that came with the boat was an E.S. Ritchie compass from the late 1930's. It was in need of service and in the course of having the work done on it, the repair shop ruined the original card. It was replaced with a USN card of "OK" quality............... I bought a second compass that matched the first and tried to service it myself. I made a bit of a a "technical error" in my choice of repair paint, and let's just say that that compass is shelved until a later time.
This NEW compass is what I have wanted all along! It is a Wilcox Crittenden compass that is in perfect shape and condition, like-new! It is date stamped on the bottom with the year 1943. The guy I bought it from said that it was dry, but I bought it anyway (the only bid on eBay, and a GREAT price!). I figured I'd have to have it serviced, but when it arrived, the compass was actually still full of liquid, with no bubbles, and PERFECT!
This compass will drop right in as a replacement for the original E.S. Ritchie.
It's going to look great in the binnacle!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wilcox Crittenden Bronze Head

On Sunday, after getting back from Seattle, I headed out to the boat to do a little work. As I headed out, at about 2:30 pm, I passed a pile of "stuff" with an old road bike propped up against it by the road in Port Hadlock. It looked like a pile of post-yard sale "free stuff". I made a u-turn and stopped in to check it out. It turned out that it was an impromptu yard sale and the guy who was selling it all wanted "at least $90.00" for the bike (worth maybe $25.00 tops). I visited with him a bit, passed on the bike, but then spotted an old marine head in another pile of his stuff for sale. I asked him how much and he made me the "deal of deals" :) I left with a vintage Wilcox Crittenden marine head with perfect porcelain bowl, beautiful bronze plumbing, uncracked wood seat and lid and and to top it all off, it seems to pump and work just fine. This is an old one, and I'm not sure on the exact age, but I would put it back around WWII era, just a guess for now. The new version in bronze goes for around $900 plus! Rebuild kits are still available for these as well...... another project!

Sweet Pea's Trek New & Improved!

Here's the update on the two Trek 400's.......... The red Trek is over in Seattle getting set to go through the single-speed conversion and Sweet Pea's Trek has just been updated.

I headed over to Seattle to see N8 over the weekend to see his gallery opening and to do a little visiting and "bike wrenching". His sculpture was AMAZING!!!!!!! That was worth the trip in and of itself! After we left the gallery, we hit the bike shop and picked up some parts, grabbed some fantastic (and HOT!) Tai food at Tai Tom's on University Way, and then back to his apartment to do a little bike work.Here's N8 by his sculpture............. fantastic piece!

N8 did the bike work and the pugs and I relaxed and kept him company :)

Sweet Pea's Trek has been updated with a new Truvative Rouleur crankset and external bearing bottom bracket, Salsa Cross brake levers (these are the small cyclo-cross levers on the flat part of the drop bars), a Blackburn frame pump, a little black bell, and a Sette Ryde air shock seat post, and to finish it all out, a set of Michelin Pro race tires. This bike is definitely one sweet ride now and in all actuality, it's a modern, new bike built on a quality "vintage" frame. The best of both worlds.

It sounds like the red Trek 400 may end up as N8's new single speed commuter. He traded his Bianchi Cross frame for a Cinelli-Campagnollo frame and group-set and now has a bike that's too valuable and sweet to leave locked up on the street! The red Trek would make a great commuter frame.................. stay tuned.

N8's new Cinelli frame. An original, mid-'90's LOOK Cycles team frame with Campy components.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

1984 Trek 400...... Another Trek 400!!!!!!!!!

I just happened to check the Seattle Craig's List this afternoon..... A guy just down the road in Hadlock posted an ad wanting to trade a Trek 400 road bike for a mountain bike. Well we have been storing my old Specialized mountain bike, circa mid 1980's, and it needed a new home. I made a phone call and met the guy half an hour later............... the trade was made.
We are the proud new owners of a 1984 Trek 400 !!!! It's in pretty good shape, and will probably give up a few parts to go to Kristen's Trek 400, and then it'll most likely make the single speed transition and go up for sale.
A quick check on the Vintage Trek website confirmed the age and I even had a chance to check out an online scan of the original 1984 Trek catalog!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bars and Guard

Well it is safe to say that the yard sale season is here. Saturday was warm and sunny and the yard sale signs were plentiful. At one of the last sales of the day, I found these beauties............. a vintage aluminum 1/2 chain guard, an early bar-stem combo from the days of the very first mountain bikes, a set of little track-moustache bars with stem, and a set of aluminum bar ends. I'll probably end up putting the chain guard on the retro-Raleigh single speed and hold the two bar sets in reserve for future bike restorations.

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Bike! TREK 400

Sweet Pea has a new bike!

Awhile back, one of the guys I work with told me that he had an older road bike that he hadn't ridden in years and was going to get rid of it. He asked if I wanted it and, of course, I said "Yes". He brought it into work today and and "handed over the keys" to me.

It's great! It is a 1991 Trek 400 road bike. He bought it new for around $400.00 and rode it around in North Carolina for a couple of years, mostly around town, and then parked it until now. The frame and everything on it, including the seat and tires are original and in great shape, not even any real signs of wear on the original brake pads....... not a scratch or nick on the frame! I changed out the rear shifter cable and housing, gave it a quick tune-up and service and it was back on the road. Sweet Pea loves it! We took an afternoon ride across town, rode the back roads, some trail, hills, etc. and it performed wonderfully. We ditched the aero bars and will add a second set of brake levers on the upper bar, and add a rear rack, but other than that, it's as-is and perfect.

It's a good day when the sun is shining, a new bike is added to the family, AND you get a great bike ride in :)