Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekend in San Diego, CA

Back in late winter when Seattle was consistently dark and rainy, Craig and I were California dreamin'. Needing some sunshine to look forward to, we booked a weekend trip to a place with arguably some of the best weather in the country--San Diego!

Who is that fly girl with the cool sunglasses and animal cookies?

Although we only had a few days, it was enough time to get a lot of sun, beaches, and a glimpse of the southern California state of mind. The people watching was priceless. It was not uncommon to see a group of girls dressed to the nines with high heels and expensive clothes only to be followed up by shoeless, shirtless skateboarders. The contrasts were extreme.

Speaking of extreme, the bluff erosion was the worst I've seen. In contrast to many of the common basalt cliffs in the Pacific Northwest, San Diego's bluffs are composed of soft sedimentary rock. The deep scours on the bluff face and along the toe was a strong reminder that these landforms are being attacked from many fronts. Rain, wind, and waves carve away little bits of the cliff every day. The imminent danger posed to the quickly approaching homes, roads, and infrastructure is an obvious and loud reminder of how dynamic this environment truly is.

Getting a first glimpse of the rapidly eroding cliffs.

The sea and me

Wave undercutting

Craig is like a sedimentary rock--he's got a lot of layers. Get it? Get it?!

The lonely boulder

San Diego coastline near Point Loma

While at Point Loma, we unexpectedly walked through the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. With over 100,000 gravesites overlooking the sea, it was a quite a spectacle

Sunset Cliffs living up to its name.

 Sunset Cliffs living up to its name. Oh, and check out all that erosion!

Sunset Cliffs living up to its name.

The Jenga master. Other things I am include the palest person in the room. 

 Craig getting defeated!

 Drinking beers and listening to Coachella streamed live at Culture Brewing

I think the dogs might have outnumbered the people at the dog beach section of Ocean Beach.


Big waves trying to take out some not-so-very-smart-spectators.

Well done, San Diego. You provided just the change in scenery (and weather) we needed for the weekend!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Weekend in Spokane, WA

When we found out Craig would be visiting a job site in Spokane and that my company has an office nearby, we loaded up the bikes and made a weekend out it! As a first-timer in Spokane, I didn't have many expectations, but with a motto of, 'Near Nature, Near Perfect,' how could I not get excited?!

We were, admittedly, off to a rough start when we made the 4.5 hour commute out east riding in a F350 diesel work truck. As a tip, those trucks are not meant for highway travel! I imagine it having a similar bounciness as trotting on a horse.

The city of Spokane was very industrial, but had a vibe of revitalization with new breweries and small businesses popping up regularly. We both really enjoyed the size of the city and its proximity to outdoor recreation, Idaho, and the Palouse. The Palouse is a hilly, agricultural area that owes its fertile soil to wind-blown organic sediment that blew east for thousands of years. It creates a unique landscape perfect for a challenging cycling experience!

Craig riding on a gravel road the Palouse 

Same 'ol scenery as far as the eyes can see.

Glacial loess turned to agriculture land


One of the few buildings along the ride.

Roadside yellow flowers.

The castle we stayed in

Did I mention that there was a massive river (the Spokane River) flowing through the middle of the city??! At times it is a slow trickle, but we were in luck! With fresh snow melt, the dams had recently opened the floodgates and to say that it was an impressive flow was an understatement! 

The river was running!

So much river!

On the drive home, we made a quick stop at the Columbia River. The Spokane flows into this river where it eventually discharges into the Pacific Ocean.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Afternoon on Vashon Island

One of my favorite things about living in West Seattle is the easy access to Vashon Island. It's a piece of rural paradise just west of Seattle that is only accessible by ferry. Fortunately for us, we're about 1.5 miles from the ferry station so we can easily hop on our bikes and be on the island within 30-40 minutes. Every time I visit, I find something different. With distilleries, wineries, coffee roasters, strawberry festivals, cideries, a lighthouse, and beautiful small farm landscapes backed by volcano views, it's hard not to find something to love.

After a long, rainy winter, spring is finally starting to arrive in Seattle, allowing the perfect opportunity for an afternoon bike ride on the island. Ah, how I've missed this place!

Ferrying to Vashon

 Biking on the rural roads

Chocolate cupcakes at Snapdragon

East Indian pancakes, pupusas, and local ciders at Snapdragon! 

 More views along the ride.

Tying up the steads on the ferry ride home.

Beautiful spring day in Seattle

Me with Mt. Rainier in the background

Looking down from the 2nd deck of the ferry

West Seattle ferry station

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Emerald City Bike Ride

For a few hours this weekend, two Seattle freeways were open to bikes only! As a part of the first time-offered Emerald City Bike Ride, 7,000 riders gathered to ride the 21-mile urban loop over the new SR-520 floating bridge, the I-5 Express Lane, and around Seattle. 

Bikers at the turn-around point of the ride on the floating bridge.

Biker gang on the SF-520 floating bridge

Lower deck of the I-5 Expressway 

The view from the I-5 Expressway is much easier to appreciate from a bike.

Just the early morning downtown commute.