Monday, December 24, 2018

Top post for Category Links

blogging   cycling   transport   Portland   Sports   Politics   DIY   Maker   Music   Philosophy   Writing   Tech   Op-ed   Corvallis   Pacific Northwest WTF 

(On my mobile the layout doesn't include my categories widget so I would like to put that in a top post (edit: you can top post in blogger by setting the published on time in the future) so people viewing my site from their mobile can easily find the links. Funny, I thought assigning category numbers then linking the search number to the category was clever, but noticing the iphone tries to recognize the category numbers as phone numbers.. will consider changing to just keyword search links. )

Categories/Tags: 99823 99836

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A brief history of (my) time

I was born in 1976

Jimmy Carter was probably the best president in my lifetime, but I have no recollection of him.

The first president I remember is Ronald Reagan. My parents voted against him. They've always been democrats. I remember they wanted Mondale/Ferraro at one point. Rooting for Dukakis another year.

I recollect Ronnie saying 'I don't recollect' when asked about the Iran-Contra deal.

He was kind of a lovable guy. I didn't like him but I didn't hate him and he didn't screw anything up too badly. It seemed like at the end he got senile and George H.W. was running things from the VP seat.

I remember when George H.W. Bush came to Portland and made a speech holding a potted tree to convince everyone that it was okay to cut down the forests.

I didn't like him but I didn't hate him either. I never burnt a flag and protested H.W., but I remember there were protesters out in the streets whenever he came to town, and he called Portland 'Little Beirut' because of that.

I would say as a youth I didn't burn any flags, but I was more likely to burn one than go around flying one. My dad was a paramedic on a navy ship in Vietnam and when he came back he went hippie and was against war in general and specifically the first invasion of Iraq by H.W. (Kuwait) and later on he was against the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan by baby Bush.

I have marched for peace and against the Iraq wars and the Afghanistan war. I did what I could. I feel pretty defeated by it all. I think getting rid of the draft after Vietnam took the teeth out of the anti-war movement.

I still consider George W. Bush to be the worst president. He led us into a war we couldn't win and we couldn't afford. (As I recall, the oil money was supposed to pay for the war) We're gonna build a wall and Mexico will pay for it? Ya  well back then it was we're gonna have a war and Iraq is gonna pay for it. (and Hillary voted for it, my biggest beef with her)

The terrorists won. They led us into national bankruptcy after 9/11. And I consider what the U.S. is doing in the Middle East a genocide. I know of no other word to describe it.

The whole 'we have to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here' is the biggest crock of shit that was ever sold to the american people. All we had to do after 9/11 was sit back and build up our defenses. Taking the fight over there brought on the economic recession and I don't think the U.S. has ever recovered.

Yes, you can get a job now but you can't get paid enough to buy a house and raise a family anymore. Most people will probably never own a car in the clear in their lifetime, let alone a house.

Bill Clinton was okay. The economy was good back then and he didn't do anything to screw it up too badly.

Obama was okay, but he said he would get us out of Afghanistan and close Guantanamo and he didn't. In my eyes his biggest failings. At least we mostly stopped torturing people, but the war machine rolled on, and all of his pandering to the republicans did the country no good. It would have been better had he done what he said he was going to do.

Now we've got the trumpy Trump, who still isn't as bad as W in my opinion. And for all of his failings, I believe he is handling the wars pretty much exactly as Hillary would. Not losing, not winning, just keeping the war machine greased.

So my biggest issue Hillary and Trump are the same. When Trump's national security adviser, campaign manager, and lawyer / fixer all go to jail I don't yell and scream and hoot and holler and yell 'lock him up' like a rabid Trump supporter.

I mostly just feel sad.
I am relieved that Manafort was found guilty. I felt like we were entering a dangerous territory when Giuliani is saying 'truth isn't truth' etc..

At some point, if there is no such thing as truth then we have no justice system or rule of law at all. Why not just let everyone out of jail? Evidence can be faked, after all.

You can't just have justice and a rule of law for people you like, and none for everyone else. There has to be some kind of level playing field. Yes our justice system is screwed up and heavily skewed in favor of the rich, but it does sort of work most of the time.

When people talk about how they're gonna eat popcorn and watch Trump go down in flames like it's going to be fun, I shrug.

I'm a little less popcorn and a little more stockpiling canned goods

I voted for Hillary, but it was the hardest vote I ever had to cast. It was the least bad choice.

Neither one is a saint or a devil. It's not like that. Life isn't that simple.

Trump is like the used car salesman that rolled back the odometer and told you he just rebuilt the engine and sold you a lemon and the next day it broke down.

Ya he's a fraud but you also should have done your homework and realized a car salesman couldn't possibly rebuild an engine.

It would be nice for some good to come out of the whole Trump thing and one day look back on it and laugh and joke and say 'remember when we elected old Donald' that was funny.

Right this minute it's not funny. I don't watch any of the late shows anymore. Yes it's good to joke about stuff but the state of the nation is not funny to me. I do believe we're in a constitutional crisis. The country is not completely broken, but it's bent pretty far out of shape.

Hopefully we can take this opportunity to fix the broken election system, get money out of politics, and move forward. Ditching the electoral college would be great because it would give people one less reason not to vote and make our elections less hackable.

Statehood for Puerto Rico. How long must they wait for that? 100 years? 1000? I think it's time.

Statehood for D.C.

those two things alone would help equalize the unequal representation this country has by bringing in new senators.

we may have to add two more supreme court justices.

other things to look at would be a Basic Income for everyone, universal health care, and ranked choice voting.

Trump could be the low we need to reach to then go and achieve a new, stronger democracy.

I'm cautiously optimistic.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Running the man Corvallis

This little stickman has been popping out at me when I stare at the Corvallis map for a while, so I finally did the strava art of him. I think it turned out pretty well. It is a running man, so I think to be fully worthy it should be done running (I did it on a bike)

It would be a legit marathon + length run. Who wants to do it with me? We can order up some 'Running the man' Corvallis t-shirts

Monday, July 16, 2018

C2C writeup (Corvallis to Coast)

So I tried to ride from Corvallis to the coast ala c2c trail yesterday

the eastern half of the trail from big elk campground to corvallis has been completed but the western, and possibly most important and difficult part to complete, hasn't been finalized.

The possible routes are there on the website if you click 'candidate bicycle routes' in the sidebar. For some reason I can't link the 'sub-pages' directly so you will have to click-thru. 

I thought I could scout out the routes and maybe offer some thoughts on the best route to organizers, or just help other riders find a route to ride before the c2c is completed.

It could be a while until it's done, and many people like me probably don't want to wait. Also, the online instructions I could find didn't jibe with what I was seeing on google maps.

At first glance, route 1 looks the most direct and practical. The other routes seem to me to be 'just give up and ride on a road' options.

So I basically just looked at google maps and tried to find a ridable route and printed out some pages because I knew I would be out of cell signal range. I also packed a compass, not really thinking it would save me, but just to check my direction in case I got turned around.

I headed off at 7:30 am at a leisurely pace. I knew it would be a hard ride and just wanted to take it easy at first.

I rode Mary's peak in october on some of this route, and I made it to the gate at old peak road the first time I explored the c2c trail, so this would be the third time I'd ridden some of the c2c.

You basically ride old peak road for a while. When you get past the second gate, you go left up to woods creek trailhead. This is where you can hike mary's peak from the north side or you can continue on the c2c by turning right onto woods creek road.

The signage is pretty good, and I was glad because there are quite a few intersections one may otherwise be tempted to turn off on.

I had fat semi-slick tires on, and to this point the road  was pretty decent. I made it to the turnoff to mary's peak road. There was one point the road got a little overgrown, but again the signage was good and I continued, even hitting a nice singletrack descent that seemed to drop me back onto another logging road. (it's possible this was on woods creek but pretty sure it was mary's peak) 

It felt a little like I had gone off the 'cycling' route and onto the 'hiking' route when I hit the singletrack. Sometimes the routes are combined and sometimes they split off. In any case, the singletrack was quite smooth (mostly) and I made it through so I guess I was on the right track. 

The signage for what is allowed on the trail is a bit confusing. There is a crossed out cyclist on some signs but then it has dates october thru may on it.. So is cycling prohibited during that time and allowed the rest of the year? I assumed so. I wasn't turning around at this point and there was no one around to tell me to.

At some point I think around Mary's peak and nf-3015 (I'm using all road names from google maps) I saw an abandoned building that seemed cool, maybe an old forest service building? 

I got onto a proper road and saw some farms and the chapel of the valley. Saw one farmer out in his field. Other than about 8 cars at woods creek trailhead, I hadn't seen hardly anyone at this point. One hiker at the very beginning of old peak road and hwy 34 that was not packing anything, so I assumed they were just out for a walk, and I'd seen maybe two cars go by towards woods creek trailhead. I saw ZERO other cyclists.

When I got to Harlan/mary's peak road/harlan burnt woods road intersection there were three portapotties and a sign saying burnt woods was 8 miles away.

This would probably be my only chance to bail on the ride. I had a friend I was supposed to meet in Newport for a ride home, and they could easily pick me up there. 

I kept going and saw a stream (no obvious easy access, but it was hot and I was tempted to jump in) and found big elk campground. Some campers were blasting country music. This was the end of the official c2c trail. If I kept going I was on my own. I knew I could ride 8-10 miles back to burnt woods, but I figured if I rode 8-10 miles towards the coast I would be almost there.

So I checked my maps and went back to Harlan and hilltop rd. Going back to burnt woods just didn't sound satisfying. I should have tried to fill my water bottles at big elk campground, but I had brought a full camelbak bladder and two 20+ ounce water bottles, and they seemed like they were full enough, so at this point I wasn't worried.

The first turn to 'hilltop road' on google maps is actually 'grant creek' according to actual real world signage, (my printout made no mention of grants creek) but soon after the turn onto grant creek it splits, and the REAL? turnoff to hilltop is unmistakable. It goes like straight uphill. I think it also has a NF 31 sign.

It seems to me the choices in routes to the coast are as follows. Go the flattest way around the big hills (probably that's what they did when they built highways 34 and 20) or go OVER the big hills, which is more direct but more difficult.

Most of this first section of hilltop is paved, so you can creep up it, but it was steep. I saw ZERO cars on hilltop for a long time. The road was very skinny so you still have to be mindful, that one car that comes down you might not be ready for, and they might not be expecting to see you.

The fears I had of getting lost earlier were unfounded so far. Hilltop road was a genuine road, I wasn't tempted by any of the turnoffs. I saw no houses. One gate said private property. It was very green and forested, I imagine this would be a great cycling route to the coast, and maybe they could make some hiking trails that would leave, and rejoin the road when necessary.

Even though it is a monster hill, to me the lack of cars made it worth it.

But when you finally get over the hill you eventually hit some really bad, gravelly, dusty road and clear-cut.

I was hoping to get to some paved road and downhill after all the ascending, and I was rewarded with quite a bit of downhill, but the bad road took it's toll on me.

This was worse gravel than I'd ever ridden on. You couldn't ride on the side of the road because all the gravel was piled deep on the sides, so you had to ride in the wheel ruts, and I was leery of that because I saw a few pickup trucks blasting through, kicking up dust and they weren't expecting to see any cyclists. They did slow down a bit for me and a couple waved back when I gave a wave, so they were friendly enough.

I put my rear-view mirror back on, and a bandanna to cover my mouth when there was too much dust. Really I only saw about 4-5 cars, and I think they were on 1000 line road.

On my printout it looked like I was supposed to take 'Sunnyridge road' but when I got to the intersection I didn't see any signs. I think at this point I was just going by my phone map. I couldn't hardly get any data to load and my strava map was practically blank, but I zoomed out a bit and the map came up enough to show me a clear route to the beach, even though I couldn't read any road names.

It's good to know that even when my phone had 'no signal' that I could still somewhat use strava for navigation. It was tracking me fairly well. Here is my strava link to the ride

The instructions from the website on 'route 1' tell you to turn right at 'T' on 1000 line road, but my google maps call this section 'sunnyridge road'

It seems like there was some signage here but there definitely wasn't a legit street sign. I didn't realize I had turned onto 1000 line/sunnyridge until I got home and figured it out. Like I said I was just going by strava at this point.

The gravel was beating the crap out of me and I was running out of water. When a car came by I would pull over and check my phone for a signal. I wanted to text my friend so they wouldn't worry about me and tell them which route I was on in case I needed to be rescued.

At one point on Hilltop I turned a corner and actually saw a hill in the distance that looked like it had a cell tower on it. I checked my phone and it looked like I had 1 bar of 4g coverage. (NO LTE, just 4g) but I tried to send a text to my ride and it failed. Funnily enough, I had a new FaceBook notification, a friend suggestion! Effing Facebook follows you everywhere!

I couldn't get any momentum riding through the crappy gravel, a couple times the road turned to pavement for a tiny bit, but then right back to crap. Very disappointing. I kept hoping to hit a bunch of downhill and/or pavement but it never happened.

At this point I was running out of water and I hit the clear-cuts so my sun exposure increased a ton. I figured I could make it, but wasn't really sure how many miles were left so I decided to hitch a ride if possible. My spare battery was keeping my phone topped off, or my phone would have died a long time ago and I would have been SOL.

I should have chosen knobby tires, my slicks were terrible for this gravel road, but I hadn't anticipated THIS BAD of gravel road. The tires had done fine on the sections of old peak that were gravel, but this was, again, worse gravel than I'd ever ridden before.

At this point I had ridden pavement, gravel, singletrack, and the really bad gravel. For one brief section I even rode what I would describe as shale. It was very sharp rock. I felt fortunate to have made it as far as I did without flatting.

My 20 dollar craigslist cycling shoes (diadora chilis) did well but the tread started coming off one of them and I stopped to cut it off with my swiss army knife. That's when a car came by and I stuck out my thumb. A nice local fellow gave me a ride to the intersection of Elk Horn and North Beaver Creek road where I could pick up a cell signal. I forgot to turn off my strava so I probably corrupted the data a little, but glad to know what route I took..

So anyway, moral of the story is the online directions could be a lot better, I will try and write up a simple version of mine later.

As tough as this ride was, i think it would be a good c2c route, maybe parts of the gravel road could be improved a bit.

I didn't quite get my glorious jump into the ocean at the end moment, so I may have to revisit this ride. I will probably do it with front suspension fork and knobby tires and a bit more water.

It might be best to do this on weekends when there isn't any logging operations going on. Also, there are hunting seasons to think about, and I guess cougar hunting season is year round. I would suggest wearing super-bright colors. I used flashing lights and honked my clown-horn and rang my bike bell a bit, to tell hunters I was not a cougar, and to scare cougars away if there were any. I saw no cougars and no hunters this trip (i may have seen one hunter in a pickup on old peak road on a previous trip. funny because it was on old peak past the gate, he must have taken a logging road)

I would definitely not recommend this ride for everyone, even though I went less than 50 miles, it was rough road with a lot of elevation change. Pack a lunch (or three) and lots of water and have a backup plan, maybe even a sleeping bag, or go there with someone that's ridden it before.

Sunscreen and bug repellant are probably a good idea too.

Now that I've done it once, I feel like I can make it all the way to Ona Beach next time. If I do I will post about it here. Let me know if you try it! Or if you have a blog where you write about your other adventurous rides.

edit: pic added to show sunnyridge and/or 1000 line road

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Why Pacific Underland?

Some people could be familiar with the term Pacific Wonderland, which is even on some of our license plates here in Oregon.

Some people may think or have heard the Pacific Northwest is a natural wonderland filled with natural beauty and liberal thinking people, with killer green bud and dank microbrew. We have clean air, great schools, and a booming economy.

Some of that might be true, but it's not a wonderland when;

You have high rates of depression and suicide

high rates of drug addiction and homelessness

have some of the most unaffordable housing in the country.

I love the Pacific Northwest, I'm glad I was raised in Portland, but we have a lot of room for improvement. Some of the challenges we face are systemic and countrywide, they may need to be addressed on a national level. We might not be able to fix them all by ourselves.

So that's why this blog is called Pacific Underland. Plus it just sounds cool.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

maybe the coolest ride ever?

so 20 years ago I rode the Seattle to Portland bike ride 200 miles in one day.

would be kind of fun to try and do it again.

but I'm not really feeling the road riding. or doing something that i've already done.

off-road, different rides are intriguing me. I don't want to look at cars or be hit by one on a recreational ride.

like. Ride the corvallis to coast. dip your toe in the water. Then ride back in one day.

Ride the Mckenzie Pass from Belknap Springs to Sisters. Have a Sandwich. Ride back.

This one trip got put up on drunk cyclist a couple years ago and it sticks in my head. Bend to Oakridge?

I grew up in Portland, but maybe did some of my most epic rides in Bend. Century Drive I ran out of water and drank from the creek, never got sick. I didn't ride as much as some but I rode around a bit. Tumalo Falls seems to ring a bell.

But I'd never really heard of Oakridge.

but it's just a ride that's really intriguing because it's almost like trying to do something no-ones ever done. It's just seeing a couple of points on a map and trying to connect the dots.

It's like maybe taking riding to some weird art form.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Time to ride clock / kinetic art

probably harder to make than it looks. You have to take out the wheel hub and make a flat wheel somehow. Used cut and bent spokes to mount to the chain to shape the numbers, then used fishing line to hang and mount the numbers to the wheel and tie some spokes together.