Leaf Peeping in Shenandoah National Park

I got the chance to escape the city for the weekend for a visit to Shenandoah National Park, just hours outside of D.C. The park was packed with fellow leaf peepers*. We camped, roasted hot dogs, corn, and sneakers over an open fire, hiked, peeped, and just enjoyed the beauty of the famous Shenandoah National Park. They don't make autumn scenes like this back in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday October 20 2008File under: travel, pics

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Soap Box Derby

This weekend, I competed* in the first annual Lookout Arts Center's Off-Road Soap Box Derby near Alger, WA. (Info here.) The whole experience was a hoot – from the dunk tanks and live music, to gravity fueled mayhem, to cliff diving and berry picking*.

My entry was easily the weakest of the 5 derby racers. Everyone else had contraptions either welded together by someone who obviously knew what they were doing, or a converted/modified vehicle of some sort. Me, I had a couple wheels and assorted parts and came up with this beauty. Brakes were a piece of 1x that rubbed up against the wheels and steering was by loose bolts on the front wheel that allowed you to wiggle it from side to side (which is much harder to do while cruising down the course than you might imagine).

By vote of the racers, the course was lengthened to include a gnarly stretch of trail that my horse wasn't build for, so it was no surprise that I didn't even complete the full first run. I did, however, almost make to the bottom, which is much more than I expected. What eventually did me in was a weak axle in the right wheel. The others, however gave us quite a show.

The whole thing was good fun with lots of creativity and enthusiasm. Hopefully next year will bring with it even more racers, more spectators, and more fun. See you there!
Sunday September 14 2008File under: misc, pics

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Sedro Frolfing

(To all of you who read the Brothers Root version of the events first, sorry for the overlap. But cross-blogination can be fun, like this counterpoint to Andrew's pic)

Summer in Anacortes means a constant flow of old friends passing through town. As a semi-full time resident*, I try to take advantage of their free time and more pressing desire to get out and enjoy what the area has to offer. The most recent case of this involved a trip up river to the NSRA Frolf Course outside of Sedro Wooley. I've been up there once before, but since the first time through a course is never ideal, I was greatly looking forward to this little excursion.

On the upside, the area of the course is gorgeous, with spectacular a backdrop of the Cascade foothills and hayfields. It is [supposedly] on the site of an old mental institution and has some old overgrown buildings to fit my creepy mental image. The course is a full 18 holes with decent terrain include varying drive lengths and a bit of vertical change. But...

On the downside, the course was overgrown to the point of being almost unplayable. The fields were covered with grass up to 7 feet tall* and the blackberries and other pricklies thankfully only claimed one disc*. In spring there is an issue with soggy ground, so when is the best time to play this course has yet to be determined. But still, tromping around with friends is always a good time.
Tuesday July 22 2008File under: misc, pics

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Oregon Country Fair 2008



The word I've most often been using to describe the Oregon Country Fair (which I attended this weekend) is "magic". Others include: body paint, juggling, dressed in drag, food(!), uninhibited (or not dressed at all), art, impossible, music, good people, harmony, fantastical, freedom, and HOT. If you've never been, you should go and experience it. Words and pictures cannot do it justice.

But the fair was only part of the adventure. Transportation for the weekend was a pop-top '77 VW bus, crammed with 2 more people than seat belts. At the first stop, 30 minutes into the long drive, we realized the starter didn't work. Luckily my childhood provided much wisdom and know-how regarding push starting a VW bus which came in handy the rest of the weekend*. Long, late-night drives, sleeping in a rest area, and running out of gas only added to the adventure of it all.
Monday July 14 2008File under: pics, misc

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Rejected Photos Slideshow

I took a bunch of photos on my latest little adventure. Some of the good ones made it into pertinent blog posts. Others, due to theme, quality, or time restraint, never made the cut. Well, here's their big chance! I've compiled all the good-but-not-good-enough photos into this fancy slideshow*. So if you are looking to kill some time, click here and enjoy.

There are 72 photos in the slideshow, so it might take a second or two to load up. I figure if my old laptop can handle it, your's should have no problem.

Oh, and it should be noted that not all the photos are mine. I stole–er, I mean reused a few photos from I Heart Jonahbees and Sir Maxalot, so there might be repeats for those of you that read those blogs*. I also snatched a picture or two from Sara's camera while she wasn't looking. You really gotta love the age of digital photography.

And second Oh: no fair making snide comments about how many self portraits there are. Being creative with picture taking while traveling is hard.
Tuesday May 6 2008File under: travel, pics

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New York New York



Cause everyone's my friend in New York City
And everything looks beautiful when you're young and pretty
The streets are paved with diamonds and there's just so much to see
But the best thing about New York City is you and me

New York, New York!
It's a hell of a town!
The schoolyard's up and the shopping mall's down!
The stray dogs go to the animal pound!
New York, New York!
New York, New York!
Springfield, Springfield!*
Thursday April 24 2008File under: travel, pics

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De Plane Boss. De Plane.

I'm here in Dayton, Ohio visiting the IHJ crew (getting in some much enjoyable baby time). But outside of just chilling around the house (I'm sure you would be ever so interested in hearing about Mario Kart battles and board games), I wanted to get the full Dayton experience.

People here love their* aviation roots. They promote it everwhere. To put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, they've got the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum. I thought I might swing by to see what it was all about*. Planes, planes, and more planes – three hangers worth. It was all very interesting, esp. the historical stuff about Orville Redenbacher* (I could have done without the exultation of the war stuff). Being able to be so close to so many full sized planes gave good perspective on this thing that we are all so familiar with, but in a distant sort of way.

Anyway, I could visit all sorts of other aviation related tourist stops here in Dayton, but I think I might just hunker down for a good old game of Guitar Hero.
Tuesday April 1 2008File under: travel, pics

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Cute Kid in a Suave Hat

Everybody loves a picture of a cute kid, right? It seems to be all the rage these days. Granted I can't claim any responsibility for this kid being as she isn't a direct descendant or anything, but I can still capitalize on the cuteness, right?

But* in hopes of making this a less blatant attempt at using a picture of a cute kid to fill an otherwise slow time here at BdW, I will say this: see that super-suave hat Punky is wearing? Yeah, I made that. Lately I've been pumping out the hats like an underemployed guy who occasionally knits to make the time pass a little more quickly, which is to say not like a factory or like my income depends on it, but more than last year.

So here's another picture. It is a little better picture of the hat but a much worse picture of Punky. She anticipates the flash when she knows she is getting her picture taken, so she kind of squints her eyes and adopts a "Dude, Where's My Car?" facial expression.
Sunday February 24 2008File under: pics, misc

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Purty Sunset

I was listening to the radio this evening and heard some talk of people complaining about the weather we have in Northwest Washington. "It is rainy, cold, gloomy, and dark", they said. The host made the good point that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and a little bit of rain and darkness is the price we pay. Well, even in this season of grey and gloominess there is extreme beauty every now and again if you keep your eyes open. I caught this sunset last week. Just beautiful! (Here's another shot that I like*.)
Monday February 11 2008File under: pics, Anacortes

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Snow Day

Wasn't it just a week ago that I was diving into the waters of the Pacific to go for a nice swim? Well, this morning I woke up to a couple inches of snow covering the ground. For those of you in Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio, you probably don't fully appreciate the way snow affects places that don't get snow very often. It is looked on as a novelty rather than a hassle. And since around here it usually doesn't last through the day, you gotta get out and take advantage of it when you can.

First thing this morning, I put on some gloves and went outside to scope the quality of the snow: decent for packing and enough to embark on a modest-sized project. After mulling it over for a bit, I came up with the idea of building an arch. It felt very Andy Goldsworthy-esque. As I worked, the snow got even better for packing which I knew meant it was melting fast. Well, I'm proud of my little arch – so proud, in fact, that I went a little crazy with the camera. Here is an attempt to make it bigger than it is and here is Tussieroo enjoying it*.

After my snow architecture session, I went up to the local sledding hill with the neighbors. (Sled technology is vastly improved since my days.) Good times in the snow. They say more snow for tomorrow. Maybe I will attempt something more ambitious like an igloo*.
Monday January 28 2008File under: misc, pics

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