Monday, August 31, 2015

Ingredients for a Tenday

Recently, I've been noticing myself thinking: "Today is a tenday."

"What is a tenday?," you ask.

Well, for starters, I should clarify that the term is my own device. I never intended to create the word; I just started using it.

Now, imagine a scale that ranges from 1 to 10. At the far left of the scale is the 1, which represents "not-so-hot." At the far right of the scale is the 10, which represents "flippin' fantastic." Given that scale, a "tenday" is used to describe a day that is a 10.

"Today is a tenday."
Coming across the words of Mary Oliver, chalked on the front steps of a home.

For the record, I experience sevendays. And fivedays. And occasionally, though rare, onedays as well. After all, it's very much part of the human experience to have ups and downs in life.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Fuck-You Money vs. Fuck-You Time

A few days ago, I got together with a good friend of mine, Justin. We met at Caffe Ladro in Fremont, bright'n'early at 7am. We talked virtually non-stop for two and a half hours, pausing briefly only to breathe and to sip our drinks.

As we hadn't seen each other in two months, we had lots to share -- new favorite podcasts, interesting developments in the world of technology, and profound insights about early retirement. Justin also filled me in on his recent bike trip to Cuba, and I apprised Justin of my recent bike guiding experiences.

I had really been looking forward to guiding bicycle trips for a local company this summer. However, after guiding the first two trips, I realized that the company wasn't a good fit for me. The company had some business practices that I wasn't comfortable with. And so being the principled person that I am, I decided I would no longer work for the company.

"It must be nice to have fuck-you money," Justin said, with a covetous smile.


I tilted my head and raised my eyebrows: "Fuck-you money?"

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sometimes Good Things Fall Apart

As you may recall from I'm Officially Homeless, I had been waiting since October of last year to guide tours with Bicycle Adventures. My first two tours, which occurred in July, took me Bicycle Adventuring through Glacier, Banff, & Jasper National Parks.

Sadly, after leading my first two trips, I came to the conclusion that guiding for Bicycle Adventures was not a good fit for me. With all due respect to Bicycle Adventures and the guests on my trips, I'll simply say that the company had some business practices that I wasn't comfortable with. And so after returning from the trips to Glacier, Banff, & Jasper National Parks, I informed Bicycle Adventures that I would no longer guide for them.

As you can imagine, coming to this realization was quite a disappointment. After all, I had waited nine months to lead my first tours with Bicycle Adventures. Furthermore, I had made a handful of sacrifices during this time, keeping my calendar open so that I could lead as many trips as possible with Bicycle Adventures. The most notable of these sacrifices include:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bicycle Adventuring in Glacier, Banff, & Jasper National Parks

Immediately after returning from A Roadtrip Through California and Oregon in mid-July, I guided two trips for Bicycle Adventures.

The first trip was an 8-day ride from Glacier National Park (in Montana) to Banff and Jasper National Parks (in Alberta). The second trip was a 6-day ride through just Banff and Jasper National Parks. Both trips rode along The Icefields Parkway, a route I have wanted to bike for a number of years. There were two guides on the trips -- me and Laura (the head guide). We took turns every other day driving the van and riding alongside the guests.

Below are some photos from the trip:

Binoculars at Lake Louise.
This was my favorite photo from the trip.
I later saw this same image hanging in a hotel room where we stayed.
I guess I have an eye for a good photo!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Backpacking, Hunkering Down, & Bookreading

I've always wanted to backpack somewhere beautiful to hunker down and read a book.

Backpacking to somewhere beautiful and hunkering down...

...to read a book.

That's what I've wanted to do, and so that's what I did.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mechanic Dan's Bike Race

When I visited Portland for the second time on my Roadtrip Through California and Oregon, I had the opportunity to attend one of Mechanic Dan's bike races. I had never watched a bike race before. I was excited to see Mechanic Dan strut his stuff!

Dear readers, meet Team Gentle Lovers.

Team Gentle Lovers consists of Mechanic Dan and Andrew the Utzmeister.

These two guys radiate hotness: beards, tats, the ability to rock the pink, and oh my god, look at the cute little bunnies on these punks' jerseys!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Roadtrip Through California and Oregon

As you may recall, I became homeless starting in early June (see I'm Officially Homeless). My calendar had been booked back-to-back with busyness: a three-day guide training tour on the San Juan Islands for Bicycle Adventures, a tour around the Olympic Peninsula with Craig, and the Adventure Cycling tour along the Columbia River Gorge. I now had two and a half weeks to fill before my first guiding gig started with Bicycle Adventures.

There are many parts of Oregon that I have yet to explore by bicycle. As such, I had brought my bike to Oregon with me, fully anticipating that I would tour around the state during the two and a half weeks. However, by the time the Columbia River Gorge trip had ended, the Pacific Northwest had been overcome by an unusually wicked outbreak of record heat. Portland's forecast, for example, was seeing multiple days of 100+ temperatures. Yuck! Touring didn't exactly seem so appealing anymore.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Adventure Cycling Along the Columbia Gorge

In mid-June, after the 10-day bicycle ride around the Olympic Peninsula with Craig, I headed down to Oregon to assist with Adventure Cycling's Columbia River Gorge tour.

The evening before the tour began, I stayed with my friend, Robin, who lives in Portland. To keep with the Adventure Cycling theme of today's post, I should mention that I met Robin at my Adventure Cycling Leadership Training Class in Missoula in June 2013. As it turned out, Robin lived on a houseboat on Hayden Island -- just across the street from the marina where Jake and I lived! What a small world!

Robin and I spent a few hours in the early evening sailing Robin's boat, Vela. The weather was splendid, and the company was grand. I really enjoyed sailing along the Columbia River, where I had spent so much time a few summers prior.

Vela's sails, against a perfect sky.

Robin.

I loved sailing Vela, a Ranger 20. She was easy to rig, easy to launch, and easy to single-hand. I could totally see myself owning this boat. I just wish she were a bit more accommodating for a liveaboard arrangement. Although I consider myself to be a minimalist, a Ranger 20 would be extremely tight quarters for more than a night or two on the water.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Blonde Builds a Wheel

I had a "blonde moment." Yeah, I know, it's hard to believe. But it happened.

Let me back-up a bit, so as to provide context... A few years ago, I wore through my first bike part. It was a chain. I had no idea you could wear through bike parts. After all, bike parts are made of metal! They are strong! They will last forever! My bad; I was wrong. Metal eventually breaks down. Especially after miles of Sarah-abuse.

Over the last few years, as I've added more-and-more miles to my bike, I've worn through more-and-more bike parts. Case in point: the rim on my back wheel is starting to dish, fairly significantly. Rather than suffer a blow-out, I wanted to replace the rim. Entirely focused on replacing the rim, I recently placed an order for a new rim. This was, unbeknownst-to-me-at-the-time, a blonde moment.

This is what a rim looks like...

I didn't realize my blonde-ism until earlier today, when I went to pick up the rim. My plan was to pick up the rim, quickly swap over the cassette from the old wheel to the new, and then throw the new wheel on my bicycle. Ta da! I'd be able to cross "replace rim" off my to-do list.