Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12/31 - Bring it on, 2015.

Happily counted down till midnight amongst people I love. Also, watching the season one finale of The Borgais, and curling up with Matt for Dumb & Dumber. Bring it, new year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

12/30 - In the Hoodies

A bit of walking around in the city, and shopping for a hoodie for Matt. Somehow, I also have a new one too. For what it's worth, my current hoodie is faded like crazy from riding in the sun...

Monday, December 29, 2014

12/29 - Spare Helmet

Lots of freeway scooting today, including by Vespa SF where I picked up a loaner helmet for my visitor, Matt!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

12/28 - End Of Loaf

We finally killed the homemade Dutch holiday bread that Roger's sister in law baked. It was a most delicious ending. I love the heels of loaves, and this one in particular had that slight crunchy resistance that can only be created by the specific structure of sugar.

That is all.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

12/27 - Family is Family

When unexpectedly whisked away to a wedding, I really appreciate someone like my sister in my life. So grateful to have a sister like Moni.

Aliens, Canyons, and Campmates. Sept 29 - Oct 4, 2014.

Aliens, Canyons, and Campmates. Sept 29 - Oct 4, 2014.

In just a few short weeks of San Jose, I was already restless for the open road. Being semi-settled allowed me some mental space to process memories of the beautiful land and amazing, kind people I've met on this trip to so far (truly mind blowing), but was also sanitized just enough that I forgot the kind of misadventures one can get into when scooter-camping across the country. This particular loop has been a doozy – personal to share, and lots of photos.

Friday, December 26, 2014

12/26 - Relaxing with Attenborough

After the cooking and baking marathon the day before, the four of us wiled away the day with such TV series as The Borgais, Planet Earth, and No Game No Life. Ahhhh.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

12/25 - Pipette Dreams

I like to brag that my sister is the fastest pipette hand in the Midwest. The entirety of today was spent cooking, baking, and cocktail making. And then eating all our delicious creations. I feel fortunate for my wonderful family and friends today.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12/24 - Christmas Tea and Sugar Rush

A quick morning baking session and it's off to San Francisco for 'Christmas tea' with Kendall's mom's side of the family. So many sweets! I think I've had enough sugar until at least 2015.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

12/23 - Gather the Raw Ingredients

Christmas in Bay Area with Kendall means a ravioli pilgrimage to Molinari Delicatessen. Also, some handmade fettuccine and salami for meals and snacking surrounding the main event. Also also, a 17 pound turkey, enough cooking supplies for the family sauce and sides, and supplies for three kinds of cookies, not to mention pie, and... well, let's just say the shopping cart was well loaded.

We forgot shopping bags, but not to worry; a fireman chain efficiently ferried everything to the kitchen.

Monday, December 22, 2014

12/22 - Hatoful Boyfriend

Just another day at Kendall's family home.

Depending on how you look at it, there are either few places in the world I feel at home, or many places. The Palo Alto home of Kendall's family is one of them. I have happy memories of Christmas in the past, and feel extraordinarily lucky to be able to spend the holidays with them again. Videogames, TV series, epic cooking, and Roger's unbeatable taste in wine, all under one roof with some of the most interesting people I know. I cannot be grateful enough.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

12/21 - Dimsum Fugue

It's good to have friends who know how to eat, especially six of them together. Joy Luck Palace is inevitable.

Also, another year at the Dickens Fair!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

12/20 - Dressing Up for the Nutcracker

It's Kendall's family tradition to attend the Nutcracker for Christmas. Formal wear doesn't pack well, thankfully I have a stylin' sister and friend to borrow from. I feel like a chameleon lately.

Friday, December 19, 2014

12/19 - Holidays Begin with a Storm

I don't know if I'm a badass or an idiot, but I left Pete and SF in blinding rain and rode to Sunnyvale to go climbing with Dmitry one more time before he went home for the holidays. Half an hour late, I was soaked down to my underwear and it was several climbs in before I could feel my fingers again. Definitely tackled those walls with a little extra adrenaline.

Still in climbing clothes, I hurried after to Palo Alto to meet up with my sister and Kendall, and was immediately whisked to Pampas for a Brazilian BBQ reservation. After eating an entire barnyard on skewers, we mixed cocktails with Kendall's dad into the evening.

The holidays are well under way.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

12/18 - Dapper Do

A much needed hair trimming in Oakland with the talented KC of Manifesta, and trying on Pete's 'motorcycle dandy' look for the night. Happy happy to be in San Francisco.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12/17 - Apple Gifts

Kevin's very kind neighbors shared her extra apples. I ended up passing some along to my climbing partner when I headed over for apartment walkthrough (future housesitting gig). Also, learning about self-rescue and knots. Something as simple as rope can keep me entertained for hours, apparently.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12/16 - Canine Welcome

Addy surprised me with extra affectionate welcoming back from my weekend in San Francisco.

Monday, December 15, 2014

12/15 - Like New

Pete from Vespa SF helped me address the battery issues from previous winterizing attempts, and hooked me up with new accessories! Plus, scooter finally got a much needed bath – only a few thousand miles of bugs and road dirt were blasted off. She's so shiny now I don't recognize her. Huge and heartfelt thanks, I cannot say thank you enough!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

12/14 - Festive Scooters Night Ride

43 mile loop with the fine folks from Vespa SF.

We decorated our bikes with lights, antlers, and gift wrapping, and crossed the Golden Gate (a first for me!). When I could take my eyes off the dark twisty road, I'd catch a glimpse of other scooters, lit up and floating between the shapes of trees.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12/13 - Birthday for Lisa!

I love an excuse to visit Lisa, Erik, and all their cool friends in Oakland. Also, I discovered I can tolerate Bailey's, which is exceptionally fragrant in coffee.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

12/11 - Indoor Life

It's cookie season, and my favorite part is squeezing the dough with my hand.

There's been a pleasant, steady thrum of raindrops on the roof all day. It's no nor'easter, but I'll stay indoors anyway.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12/10 - Rain is Coming

A California storm is forecasted tomorrow. Some gusts blew me around a bit after climbing today (ahh, good to be back, I didn't forget as much as I feared), but I'm prepared.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12/9 - Nevermind, Winterize

Yeaaah, so the plug for the heated gloves seems to be causing battery problems, even without anything plugged in. Darn, I was hoping to have toasty hands for the evening aerials class, and also to leave the cable there in case I find myself in Colorado in March...

Will investigate further tomorrow.

Monday, December 8, 2014

12/8 - Project: Winterize (hah!)

I'm back from vacation! I thought I'd be productive and put some of cold weather gear on the scoot. This is, of course, slightly hilarious in California, but maybe there will be a couple chilly nights.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Let's Get Reacquainted, Bay Area. Sept 8-28, 2014.

Let's Get Reacquainted, Bay Area. Sept 8-28, 2014.

Just to clear up any confusion: Fear not! This is not the end of my trip. The Bay Area is a convenient place to pause to finish leftover illustration work for a chapter book (ah, remember that?) and maybe rest up a bit. Much of my extended family on both sides calls the Bay Area home, and I have disjointed childhood memories of shivering at Fisherman's Wharf and driving through the dry hills of Fremont. Actually, most of my memories of the Bay are of being ferried around in family cars, often heading to or coming from Costco.

I'm pretty sure there's more to the Bay than Costco, so let's check it out.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Car Detouring and San Francisco. Sept 2-7, 2014.

Back on Scoot

This map isn't actually representative of places traveled in this post, I just wasn't able to keep my GPS tracker plugged in for the rental van because there was only one jack. So, this map only tracks scooted territory.

When I heard Tim would be in the area for vacation and he invited me to join him, I succumbed to the call of car camping. We tried to plan a route for the van remotely, but I was occupied carrying out my own scooter travels. I'd have to ride hard to make it anyhow, so for a change I asked him to plan the entire route. The Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite, Lake Mono, and Death Valley were floated about in email exchanges, so these locations will probably appear further down. All I had to do was arrive at his childhood best friend, John's, home in Gardnerville, NV by September 2.

And you know I can scoot hard.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

11/20 - Intermission

I'm going on vacation with my family, and taking a break from daily drawings. Drawings with resume on Monday, December 8. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

11/19 - Stormy

Lonely heart today, missing people who are not near. Maybe it's the rain. Not every day can be exciting, sometimes you just catch up on things...or perhaps things catch up to you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

11/18 - Progress

One of the most satisfying feelings in the world is seeing improvement. This aerials thing has been an uphill challenge, but today we reviewed a move I attempted in maybe my second class ever. I was surprised to realize I found it much more easily this time around, and perhaps even with a hint of grace. This is why I hang around (pun intended)!

Monday, November 17, 2014

11/17 - Perfect Cap to a Cool Ride

Long ride back to SJ today, via the ever lovely Skyline Boulevard. I wondered whether my scoot would feel lacking, after spending all day holding back the beast of a Triumph. It was certainly not the case. Scoot was comfortable as ever, even the little plastic rattling parts it's developed over the miles. Switching back to twist and go was a bit of a relief in the city, though I did miss that feeling of immediate connection from a shifter. However, I'm used to my tiny wheels and short, flickable wheelbase. After so many miles together, I have a connection to my Vespa. Twist and go or not, I know exactly how it sounds, where it picks up, how to make her move with me.

Also, soondubu, a delicious spitting cauldron of savory lava, is the perfect warm-up meal after a cool ride. The roads don't get old, but (even in California) they can get kind of cold.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

11/16 - Bonnie Bonneville and the Dirtbags

Pete offered to let me take his Bonneville today to check out the Dirtbag Challenge. He took my Vespa just in case I didn't like the Triumph, but no worries there.

What a blast! It took a few blocks to reacquaint myself with motorcycle mechanics, but after that I think I was riding around with a huge grin the whole time. That is one hot bike, way overkill for the city, and conspicuous in a way I'm completely unused to. It purrs beautifully. And it was surreal to pull up alongside my own Vespa and hear the familiar turn signal beep...coming from next to me.

Also, Dirtbag Challenge? My love for ratty bikes is reignited, and I've never seen so many burnouts in one place. Just follow the plumes of smoke and smell of burning rubber. Lots of fun today!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

11/15 - Crashing the Party

After some PK gym time, I hightailed to SF to meet Pete for a fundraiser. As of this trip, I've become much more well practiced at crashing any given event knowing only one person – surely a master level skill for Class: Introvert. Much fun was had, I even 'helped' him move a Vespa around on the floor. It is weird riding indoors.

Friday, November 14, 2014

11/14 - I can tell we're going to get along

Toni from San Jose BMW and Vespa invited me to her family's home for dinner, and I was all too happy to accept. She's a firecracker, and we could have talked stories and bikes all night! I even got to try on the custom super low Corbin seat on her Yamaha (aw yeah, short world problems... I like to maintain that we're just more concentrated doses of awesome).

I had such a fantastic evening with their super nice family, I can't say thank you enough!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

10/13 - Passive Socializing

I've come to realize some of my favorite atmospheres are places like cafes and bars, where I can be surrounded by the buzz of people but still do my own thing. It sounds like a contradictory dynamic, but for me it's a respite from active interaction (I'm an introvert and need to recharge often) while not being entirely solitary. I like being able to look up from reading or blogging to spy on people, watch the bartender/barista do his/her thing, or ogle a well-dressed hipster. I like picking different cafes when I feel like a different mood or soundtrack. These are my kinds of places to unwind, and I can spend a whole day scooting from one to another.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11/12 - Mystery and Intrigue

Kevin had tickets to what I can only describe as an immersive game experience, Escape the Auction House. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it would be good when I walked into a velvet lined ballroom to find 25 red covered tables, on which identical clipboards, pencils, and puzzles were arranged neatly.

We did not escape, but it was a fantastic game!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

11/11 - Little Fixes

One of the first things I installed on the scoot was a hose clamp, to go over the ineffective stock plastic hook to hold the rear rack in the down position. When scoot's rear end started getting a bit bouncy, I knew it had finally rusted through. Nothing a little break in the parking lot of a hardware store couldn't fix.

Monday, November 10, 2014

11/10 - I Swear, It Helps

As I'm progressing to more difficult routes at the climbing gym, I need all the help I can get. I know I'm in the moment when the F-bombs start dropping.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

11/9 - Found Lost With Mike

71 miles.

Mike, waving enthusiastically, was easy to pick out from the forest of bikes in front of Alice's Restaurant. Background story: I ran into him several months ago in Shady Valley, TN, and kept in touch though we were going separate ways. He was headed to the Arctic Circle on his 50cc Ruckus, I was on a faster track across the Midwest. We finally caught up as he's passing through the Bay Area, and eagerly exchanged stories over lunch. Stories continue to spill out into the parking lot, where many passerby paused to ask him about his proudly stickered scoot.

For me, there was an element of relief to share insights with another person about moving through the world solo on another 'underboner.' As it turned out, Mike and I started our journeys at roughly the same time (May 5th for me, May 8th for him) and our mileage is also similar (20k vs my 19k). Are we also driven by similar things?  I could have spent the entire evening going back and forth with tales, but eventually we're both moving parts to some larger drive train. It was a happy afternoon to be able to catch a fellow traveler for a few hours, and hopefully we'll find our paths intersecting again in the future. In case you didn't check it out already, you can follow his ride on Mike's blog!

Riding often inspires introspection and as I rode back, I pondered the motives of the solo rider. For me, there was never a question of who I would take off with; it was always going to be me and the bike (perhaps to the disappointment of romantic partners at the time). In my scooter, I’d found a partner that would push me as hard as I pushed her, and perhaps that's why riding took hold so well for me. Much of my life in Providence was solitary, but my bike was always there, rain or shine, ready to connect me to the outside if I just gave her the time. My bike could simultaneously challenge me and put me at ease, a treasure in any relationship.

Together, maybe we could go farther than most people would believe.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

11/7 - Beer Flight with Carrie

Carrie and I share the same literary agent, and met at the agency retreat in Connecticut last year. Super great to be in her backyard and catch her for some beer! We make awkward faces for food photos, because food is great. Also we shared disappointment that 'yogalates' doesn't involve sitting around in tights sipping espresso drinks.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

11/6 - Popular

36 miles.

Host dogs are super friendly all of a sudden...when I'm eating an apple.

I ended up staying a night at Jim's place. Took a lovely ride along Summit Road, which runs alongside the main drag, CA-17.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

11/5 - Jim and Quin Lin

56 miles.

Met up with Jim (hdawg on ADV) today! His younger daughter came along to meet me. At first I thought she was merely embodying the typical highschool sophomore aloofness, but it turns out she had just completed an 8 mile run and was hungry. Well now, I totally get it. I am beyond unsociable when I'm hungry.

I had a fantastic time talking rides and bikes and travel with him, Margaret, and their older daughter Tai Lee. She's already considering her first bike (currently she takes the Vespa around). I can only imagine how my parents would have reacted if I even had an interest in a motorcycle license at that age... I hope they know how cool their parents are, though I understand it's the way of things to find your parents the least cool people in the world. We had a fantastic roasted chicken dinner and chatted into the night. I had a great time poking around Santa Cruz and meeting Jim's family!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

11/4 - The Long Way Back

Sorry, only a tiny drawing today. The loveliness of the ride is impossible to capture.

127 miles, plus the 56 miles to aerials class and back.

I took an exceptionally scenic route to San Jose, via the summit of Mount Diablo, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve (lonely single lane road!), and the Calaveras Reservoir. It was beautiful, took only one tank of gas, and about 5 hours including rest stops. Mileage was low but the day was long. I was beat, but refueled and went to aerials class.

Monday, November 3, 2014

11/3 - Lunch with Lisa

A chill day in Oakland, cat sitting another cat. Lisa fixed a delicious lunch and we sat in her sunny apartment working quietly through the afternoon. Except for those kneadable erasers, they were having a crazy party.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

11/2 - Goaty Roads

224 miles.

Whoops I forgot to write the location here. Rod and I met up with Joel to ride some "goaty roads" (as he described them) and part of CA-128. The leaves were changing and we hit plenty of twisties. A fantastic day indeed.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

11/1 - Trying on Bikes

123 miles.

Met up with Peter to poke around the IMS. Alas, the bikes I had interest in did not have a demo fleet. Many drool-worthy motos, though. It was amazing to be able to "try on" so many bikes back to back; you get an immediate sense of contrast between various seat heights, weight distributions, handle bars styles, and positions for foot pegs. I feel like in a way, a bike should fit like clothes – comfortable, tailor for small things, but definitely has to work with your body much more than with a car. I wouldn't want to ride a bike with (figuratively) sleeves too long or a permanent wedgie.

A quick stop in Oakland to feed and water Clover the cat, and I was off to Fairfield to meet up with Rod (rodr on ADV) for the evening. He and his wife, Lucy, are a riot! Tomorrow is a big day of riding.

Friday, October 31, 2014

10/31 - What is this, weather?

It feels like forever since I've been riding in rain. I'd nearly come to believe California doesn't experience weather at all.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Craters, Mountains, and Giants. Aug 29 - Sept 2, 2014.

Craters, Mountains, and Giants. Aug 29 - Sept 2, 2014.

By the looks of this map, I'm making tracks. I suppose after the easy idleness of Seattle and Portland, I was ready to cover some distance. In this installment: Crater Lake, the Oregon coast, the beginning of the Pacific Coast Highway, a left turn for Sequoias, and twisty twisties.

10/30 - Insomnia and the Indoor Life

Perhaps my sleep patterns are disrupted by so much indoor time? Is it possible that I need to *gasp* go camping again? In the meantime, I'll binge watch Anthony Bourdain's series, Parts Unknown.