Friday, October 31, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 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.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Fine motor skills faded by climbing, or is taco shrapnel just inevitable? I found a taqueria in a cozy Mexican grocery just a couple miles from Planet Granite for a perfect post-climb fix (just be sure to lean way over the box to eat all the pieces that fall out with a fork after).
Monday, October 27, 2014
As of today, I've survived 30 revolutions of the earth around the sun. I was asked often what I had planned for this supposedly special day. I guess I spend most of my time trying to be involved with awesome, fun, engaging people and activities that this one day out of the year wasn't much different.
After all the flying trapeze the day before, I enjoyed a peaceful ride into Oakland for lunch with Lisa (California weather spoils me). I poked around the city for a chill coffee spot to draw, and followed it with some Indian street food. The evening was capped off by fancy pants cocktails at Paper Plane. I miss friends who are geographically far, but many took the chance to say hi, which surprised me and meant more to me than before I hit the road. Tomorrow, I'm excited for a new climbing partner and my second aerials class ever.
And that's all for today!
Sunday, October 26, 2014
For a while now, I've wanted to visit Portland, OR. I'd heard it described as "Seattle's punk rock younger sister" – a playground for the artsy and experimental who flee the big cities to take a risk and do their own thing, enjoying Portland's geographic advantages, lower living expenses, and more pleasant living conditions. I heard it was a foodie town (say no more), especially with the farm-to-table movement. And guess what's along the way? An active volcano, woohoo!
Saturday, October 25, 2014
I've been catching up on Anthony Bourdain's show, Parts Unknown, and it just so happened that the Spain episode was up following this fantastic tapas restaurant. Kevin, Peter, and I ended up lingering after dinner and chatting with the owners. She said they cook her mother's recipes, all traditional dishes, and she still calls her for tips on the phone. Tapa Ole indeed.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Had a nice afternoon climb, makin' friends.
Kevin and I took the flashlight tour of the Winchester Mystery House in the evening. Nothing like Victorian-era insanity coupled with massive wealth to make one batshit crazy awesome house. I didn't see any ghostly activity, but I love imagining what it was like to live in this place.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Tim has the other set of keys to my storage unit, and kindly offered to mail a care package. I was thinking heated gloves, a couple tools, and maybe some tights or one of my scarves...but it quickly became apparent this would be an exercise in tearing out my hair on Skype. I hadn't been confronted with the visage of what I'd left behind in months. All the stuff I didn't want to buy again, it's waiting for my return like a hungry lioness about to pounce.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Kungfu doesn't stop just because I'm not in class.
Soreness today. Not much riding, just catching up. I'm liking the Korean style coffeehouses for working, like Big Mug Coffee. They're usually a little more expensive, but have lots of seating and a tasteful, chill environment.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
Finally! I'd only been wishing I had signed up weeks ago, but was waiting on my cousin because he wanted to go in on a 2-person plan.
Sometimes, I feel envious of those to whom happiness seems to come so easily. In my adult life, it has always been an uphill struggle. The fight has led me to places I couldn't have predicted - a decade of martial arts experience, somersaulting and aerials on trampolines, climbing three stories high indoors, learning to ride a motorcycle. Taking a scooter across the country. I learned quickly that arranging my priorities unconventionally makes me a target for criticism or misunderstanding ("You spend so much time just playing around," "When you settle down..." or the straightforward, "You're crazy."), but for me...well, it just takes more work to keep my head above turbulent waters. It was never optional, and it is work, but it keeps me functional and contributing to the world.
Perhaps the struggle is key though. It could be fighting, riding, climbing, or whatever. It's the drive to stay engaged, improve, and retain compassion that matters. Complacency is the true enemy.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Morning ride with Joel, up to some Redwoods and a reservoir nearby. I'd been taking advantage of a walking-friendly neighborhood for most of the week, so I haven't actually scooted locally much. It was rejuvenating to ride with a buddy. The leaves are just beginning to change, and we climbed high enough to reveal a spectacular view of the Bay Bridge into San Francisco on the return trip. I completely forgot about photos.
Lisa and Erik return today and it was great to see them, but alas... it was time to relinquish their awesome, sun-filled apartment. I have a feeling I'll be back, Oakland.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Kevin and Peter drove up today, to leave the sprawl for a spell and check out the Benziger winery tour.
I think I love Oakland. Say what you will about hipsters, they come with fancy foods, drinks, and walkable neighborhoods. Hopscotch is the kind of place I would spoil myself with. Intimate and delicious, I could happily sit at the bar with a cocktail, small plate, and book. However, fried chicken came recommended and it took all three of us to kill it off.
Friday, October 17, 2014
I followed Joel (remember him?) to his curling league practice at the Oakland Ice Center. The was, of course, pre-empted with food and drink.
Foodie friends who like to share are the best, every meal or round is like a tasting menu. And then you pick favorites and talk about more food, ha! I have missed a good, lively city.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
~37 miles. App crashed and I missed the trip into SF.
Going over the Bay Bridge, the lady at the toll booth said, "I donno how long you been riding, but stay on the sides of the road. The oil from the cars in the middle, they'll mess ya up. My husband rides, he tol' me that."
Met up with Pete for Off The Grid at the Presidio, a collection of food trucks, with live music on the lawn. The libations vendor had the perfect hot spiced cider for a chilly night. I had a crazy good time following him around SF, he drives like it's SE Asia. We stopped at Treasure Island for a fantastic view of the city, before I continued the rest of the way over the bridge back to Oakland. Ahh, night rides in the city.
I'd joked that an "Italian fire drill" was putting your Vespa on its stand at a stop light to adjust gear, including sleeping bags repurposed as scooter aprons.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
The host cat, Lyapa, has been slowly getting more comfortable with me. The first night, she slept on her armchair. The second, I felt her curl up by my legs over the blanket. The third...well this is how I woke up this morning.
An aside on bedmates: Unless it's very cold, I seldom find myself wishing I had another person beside me at night. Most of the time, I prefer sleeping alone and cherish having an entire bed to myself. In the morning though, it's not bad to wake up to someone. Even an old, toothless cat on my head.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Just exploring the neighborhood cafes by foot today. Lisa had a note recommending the 'Italian croissants' at Adesso. I've never had one before, which of course meant it was bakery adventure time. On the menu they're called 'cornetti', with the option of plain or a filling (grape jelly? Sure!). Verdict? OM NOM NOM. Pillowy and subtly sweet, it shares a crescent shape but is distinct from the flaky and buttery French croissant. It was immensely satisfying sinking my teeth into its sweet, tender bread-flesh. Is that creepy? It's one of my favorite qualities in a breakfast item - breaking the soft skin of a breakfast burrito, the slight resistance of fluffy eggs sliding against teeth. Flavor is delicious, but I'm also a textural eater.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Of the US cities I know, my childhood hometown of Atlanta, GA was eerily foreign and familiar in the same breath. Madison, WI was comfortably recognizable after frequent visits to my sister's. However, if there's any city here that's like a second home for me, it would be Seattle, WA. In college years, I spent a summer here crashing with Grace in her studio apartment above Uwajimaya. From the International District, we walked everywhere or took the free bus. I was also here when Gwynne moved from Atlanta. Seattle is a place with an easy, natural history for me.
Lisa and Erik have an upright piano, which I tooled around on and felt like a kid again - stumbling on some notes, feeling other keys intuitively. It's been months since I've been in a private enough space to play music outside of earphones or helmet-phones, let alone have an instrument to play. I forget how music itself creates a space.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
I'm staying in Oakland for a while, exploring the neighborhood and house/catsitting for Lisa and Erik while they're in Istanbul. Kevin drove up with me to run some errands and haul some of my stuff, and we made a pit stop at Target for something to drink. I nearly leapt at the display for leggings and tights. Now that the weather is cooling off, I'm missing my other boots, and wishing there was room under the seat for more cute skirts.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Lower mileage than yesterday, but they were not easy. The middle of California is like the section of Connecticut between New York City and the rest of New England; you just drive and drive. They're The Betweenlands.
Friday, October 10, 2014
It. Was. Enormous. I wonder if I would have skidded out.
Going through Death Valley on the scooter felt all new. I know I must have covered some of the same roads as in the rental van (there aren't a lot of roads out here), but I don't remember them so vividly. From the seat of a bike, the valley is stunning and teeming with life. It's unfortunate its namesake comes from a dead pioneer.
I encountered one stretch of gravel in the middle of nowhere, but didn't dig into my spare gas can. The roads were wonderful, and I had enough energy I literally rode from dawn till dusk, finally setting up tent in Kernville, CA.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
66 miles. Red Rock Canyon loop, so pretty!
The Commissary has been my go-to spot for wifi, snacks, and drinks, because it's right downstairs from the Downtown Grand. Also, they do $1 tacos, a good happy hour, and the bartender doesn't mind me cracking open my laptop.
It's been great to be on the road again, over the next week or so I'll be filling in the daily drawings for the ride to Vegas and back.
In other updates, I was contacted by Dewayne Jasper from Motorcycle House for a product review! I have a feeling some new riding gloves are eagerly waiting to be broken out of their packages back in San Jose. Motorcycle House also manufactures their own line of leather saddlebags, Viking Bags, and just launched a line of leather apparel, Viking Cycle - jackets, chaps, vests, gloves, y'know... all the riding stuff.
So keep an eye out for drawings and reviews, and someday I'll be caught up on photo journal posts too.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
80 miles. Overcast today, which made for a comfy jaunt to the Hoover Dam.
Rob hooked Steve and I up with tickets to the Criss Angel magic show! Dinner was procured at the Main Street Brew Pub, which used to be a train station.
I get the feeling that "gobbled" is not how you're supposed to eat delicately marinated prime cuts of sashimi. It's just so tasty.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Low-key afternoon in the garage of Rob and Robin, super nice scooter folk I discovered at Bikefest. I forgot there must be a scene here, High Rollers Weekend happens in Vegas in March/February (yesss...planning...). It's refreshing to get away from the Strip and hang out with people who live here. Also, Blueberry Hill diner style breakfast for dinner - I am extremely sufficiently chicken and waffled. Much thanks, Rob and Robin!
Sunday, October 5, 2014
In part 2 of scenery overload, I fall into an unlikely gathering of likeminded travelers, and negotiate a state on fire to see my childhood friend.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
It was a bit sad to say goodbye to Rob and Kath, but I'm sure they'll have great adventures. Today, I rolled into Vegas to hang out with Sash and Steve and the finale of Bikefest!
Note: These red canyon rocks are crazy. And a pillowtop mattress with down comforter is glorious after camping for five days in a row. Sleeping is so good.
Friday, October 3, 2014
Thursday, October 2, 2014
No riding today. I hiked up to Angel's Landing, with Rob and Kath, whom I met when checking into this campground. Hiked is a loose term for the last half mile of it though, which was really more like precipitous climbing alongside thousand foot drops.
They are super nice and invited me for a camp cooked dinner! It was truly special to me to share a hand made hot meal with two fellow small displacement travelers far from home. Also, it was delicious, and we nerded out about extended travel until it got too chilly out. Brr.