Monday, October 12, 2009

and I bike some more

Since my last post, I've kept up with my biking, although I was also forced to do some non-bikey stuff. My car was significantly past due on registration because I wasn't using it at all, and I was concerned it might not pass inspection, which would cost me a bunch of money I didn't have to get it fixed and passed. Anyway, it was time to take care of all that, so I rode my bike to the least bikey place there is, the DMV, to get a trip permit to take my car around and get it up to code. I then rode over to the car parts store, and got a new air filter to pop in, hoping that would improve my testing results. Then I hopped in my car, got an oil change, put in some good gas, and went to the DEQ to get tested. Turns out I was worried over nothing; the tester said I was in terrific shape, and sent me on my way.

Friday I rode my bike to work, but ended up seeing a movie with some friends afterward, so I got dropped off at the house when we were done.

The next day I walked to work and then rode home afterward.

Again, last night, I rode to work, and then rode home, stopping at Bamboo Sushi for dinner with my sister and niece, and then Belmont Station for some beer, along the way.

In other news, I contacted the city to talk about installing a bike corral near my business. It turns out I wasn't the first business on my blog to make a similar request, so they were eager to come out and see the area and determine the best location to install one. Hopefully that will happen soon. The bike corral takes out about one parking space, and lets dozens of bikes park in the same space. I think having these all over the city really makes riding your bike a more attractive commuting option, and as a business owner, it allows a lot more customers to park by your business than you could get in cars alone.

23.27 miles
1160.25 miles cumulative
46.41 total gallons saved

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

weekly update

Last week, I walked to work and back twice. I had left my bike at a friends house the previous weekend, figured I'd get it sooner or later, and I welcomed the change. After a good time at the hood river fresh hop festival, and a literally terrible time camping on mt. hood afterwords (unexpected snow/sleet/rain storm blows in, collapses tent, dump ice water into sleeping bag), I ended up back at my friends house, and before returning home with a truck load of wet and frozen camping gear, I loaded up my bike to bring back too.

Sunday night I rode to the store so I could escort my wife back from work on bikes so I wouldn't have to use my car. Yesterday, I did the same, both in the morning on the way in and the evening on the way back. Making two round trips is always nice. It's a lot of easy miles, and gas savings. Makes you feel a little better about your day.

36 miles
1136.98 miles cumulative
45.4792 total gallons saved

Monday, September 28, 2009

still at it!

I haven't been writing here much because nothing exciting has really been happening.

Since my last post, I've ridden my bike to work and back 6 times, and I walked to work today. Last weekend I rode my bike to Biketobeerfest at Hopworks Urban Brewery. Yesterday I rode to my friend's house before driving with him out to the gorge to fish. I've been to the grocery store a few times, and also walked home from a friends house after dinner (and beer tasting), returning in the morning with my bike to pick up my car. I walked over to the hardware store from the shop to get some light bulbs too. Anything else I did I can't recall, but if I missed something, it was inconsequential.

I'm starting to think about picking up rain pants pretty soon. I'd like to keep at my walking and riding once the weather turns, but I can't be showing up everywhere all wet all the time.

69.4 miles
1100.98 miles cumulative
44.0392 total gallons saved

Friday, September 11, 2009

boring update

Since my last post, I've ridden to work and back twice, as well as to the grocery store and back twice.

18.8 miles
1031.58 miles cumulative
41.2632 total gallons saved

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

topping 1000 miles!

On Monday, I rode my bike to home depot and back, as well as a round trip to the grocery store. On tuesday, I rode to work and back. Nothing too exciting, except the mileage from these trips puts me at over 1000 miles since I started keeping this blog. It's also roughly the 6 month anniversary of starting the blog, so I guess it's a big milestone in a couple of ways right now.

1000 miles in 6 months means an average of 5.56 miles a day, every day, since I started. Figure in that I only bike about 2 out of 3 days a week, and that means an average of 8.34 miles a day on the days that I do ride. I'm pretty proud of that.

These first 6 months have been easy to walk and ride in though. The weather has mostly been nice. I hope to keep up the pace over the next 6 months once the weather turns, we'll see.

16.6 miles
1012.78 miles cumulative
40.5112 total gallons saved

Monday, August 31, 2009

wrapping up august

On Saturday, I rode my bike to work. On the way home, I stopped by the grocery store to get a couple of things. Yesterday I rode out to home depot and back, and then later I rode to Belmont station and back.

16.42 miles
996.18 miles cumulative
39.8472 total gallons saved

Thursday, August 27, 2009

another 14 miles.

After I rode down to the Holgate Channel on the springwater corridor to go fishing, I rode my bike back up to green dragon for lunch and a couple of beers. When I was done there, I head over to the shop to pop in for a visit, before riding to Belmont Station to grab a couple of more beers to go, and then returning home.

14.18 miles
979.76 miles cumulative
39.19042 total gallons saved

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Rode my bike down the springwater cooridor this afternoon to holgate channel and caught this bass on my second cast. I got a flat tire on the way down and had to pay to get it fixed, so i'm glad to see a little payoff so soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Salish pond

I took another picture of the snake a little later, I think it was better than my last one, and certainly the best I could do with my phone, which seems to be permanently set to "wide angle".

As noted in my last post, I rode my bike to Salish ponds today, between Portland and Gresham, to go fishing. I had never been there before, and had read some good things online, so I thought I'd go check it out. The DFW website said that west Salish pond was regularly stocked with rainbow trout, but that it hadn't been stocked for the last two months. I figured there must still be some fish left in it, and if not, I could at least go for some of the warm water species that live there.

I rode 19.13 miles to catch trout, and didn't.

The ponds were a big disappointment. They looked like they might have been rock quarries at one point. Whatever they were, they are now roughly round, featureless, obviously man made pits in the ground that have since been filled with water. The bank is literally the lip of a hole that drops straight down, leaving the lakes without shallows, or other natural features to hold fish. Being there 2 months since the last stocking (and one week before the next one) must have left me fishing the lakes with the least amount of fish in them that they have all year, and the results backed that up. To my credit, no one else on either lake had caught anything the entire time I was there, and there was no sign that any of them had caught anything before that either. The others surrounding the banks were mostly Mexican immigrants, with a few Ukrainians mixed in for good measure. Many of them had small children that spent the day throwing large rocks into the lakes, ensuring the few remaining fish were too spooked to feed. Bank fishing in Portland Metro is for suckers.

Lesson learned.

19.13 miles
965.58 miles cumulative
38.6232 total gallons saved

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Took my bike out to salish lakes to try to do a little fishing. Havent caught anything yet, but saw a couple frogs, two osprey, and this snake. Still hoping to hook something.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

portland adult soapbox derby day

pigs in space, immediately after this picture, they blasted me with a water cannon.

this one was my favorite that I got to see in the first couple of races. welded steel belly tanker looking thing. Fast!

mouse trap!

I started the day off right today, by biking up to the top of Mt. Tabor to check out the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby for a bit before work. The derby was a blast. My only regret was not having more time to hang out and watch the rest of the race. Biking up Tabor was a bit easier this time than the last time I did it, which was pretty gratifying after all the biking and walking and hiking I've been doing this year.

The ride up tabor and back to the house was 2.16 miles.

Afterward, I rode my bike to work, where I am now. I'll be riding home later, stopping at apizza scholls for dinner on my way.

9.36 miles today
929.85 miles cumulative
37.194 total gallons saved

Friday, August 21, 2009


yesterday I rode my bike down hawthorne to get my hair cut, before coming back to the house. Later, I walked down to the store with my wife and our friend from out of town, hitting a restaurant and a few bars on the way down there.

6 miles.

Today we're going to go into the gorge and check out the tunnel falls trail again. I've been before with a friend, but we were pressed for time, so I didn't make it to the end of the trail that trip. I thought it would be a good one to take the girls on since it's a relatively easy trail, and well maintained. Plus, there are plenty of rewards along the way.

6 miles
920.49 miles cumulative
36.8196 total gallons saved

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

tuesday and pambiche

I had off yesterday, but I still rode my bike to the shop and back to accompany my wife. I had hoped to check out a pet store in NE while I was out there, to see a bike trailer I was considering, but they were temporarily out of stock so I just rode home.

Towards the end of the work day, I rode to Pambiche to meet my wife, room mate, sister, and sister's family for dinner. It was my first time there, and the food was pretty good. We stopped by my sister's house after dinner, and then finished our ride home.

At pambiche, I had a brazilian beer that I had never had before; but yesterday, I started a blog to write just about beer, so I'll cover that there.

It can be found at
or directly at

13.6 today
914.49 miles cumulative
36.5796 total gallons saved

Monday, August 17, 2009

no case of the mondays here.

I had off of work today, and wanted to go on a long bike ride, but I got caught up with some errands, so I decided to stay close. I skipped breakfast, so come the afternoon, I found myself looking up recipes on the internet.

I decided I was going to make some traditional Hungarian chicken paprikas for dinner; so I called up Edelweiss to see if they had any imported Hungarian paprika in stock so I could do it right. Turns out they did, so I swung by on my bike and picked some up. I've read over and over that if you want to make good hungarian food, that you need to use real hungarian paprika. The spanish stuff in the grocery store just wont cut it. I've been making do with what I had, so I'm looking forward to the real thing tonight.

After Edelweiss, I cut over to new seasons for the rest of the ingredients I needed (as well as a cantillon gueze and a green flash imperial IPA), and then I came home. That will probably be the extent of my riding today. We'll see.

5.67 today
900.89 miles cumulative
36.0356 total gallons saved

Sunday, August 16, 2009

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(old rasputin on nitro at green dragon)

Today was a good day for riding bikes. I started out riding a new route to work, to take advantage of the SE edition of sunday parkways , an event that turns a course of streets into car free temporary "parks" connecting the permanent parks in the area, making one big park. The bike traffic was fantastic. Too many people to move as fast as i'd like, but the quantity really added a lot of energy to the event. Along the route, there was free water, lemonade, iced coffee, etc., as well as yard sales, performers, and festival like events in all the permanent parks. On my way home i stopped at green dragon for dinner and beer, before returning home. I had an old rasputin on nitro, and a rogue imperial porter with a buffalo chicken sandwich and fries. Delicious! Yesterday i also rode to work and back. The weather has been good, and i've really been enjoying myself. I'm off most of this week, so i hope to get a nice long ride in. We'll see.

On a side note, i noticed myself in the mirror today just before i hopped in the shower. All this walking and biking has thickened my legs quite a bit. Now I need to take up rowing or something to even everything out.

(sent from my phone from green dragon)

14.4 miles this week
895.22 miles cumulative
35.8088 total gallons saved

Sunday, August 9, 2009

another week down

Another pretty uneventful week this week. I've ridden my bike to work 6 times since my last post, and then a 7th to accompany my wife to work. I also went up to the top of Multnomah falls again with some visitors from out of town. I also took them on a walk from the house to horsebrass and back. I'm probably missing a few walks and rides here and there, but nothing significant.

Today was the Providence Bridge Pedal here in town. It's the second largest community bike ride in the country, and the third in the world. It would have been neat to check out, but I found out about it a bit too late this year. Maybe next time. I might just follow the same route myself sometime soon. There wont be the same kind of comradery, but then again, I'm not that social anyway.

I haven't been on any epic walks or rides in a few weeks. I think it was the combination of the heat and having so many visitors in town lately. I have the next few days off, and the weather is a bit cooler, so maybe I'll have to plan something good.

54.6 miles this week
880.82 miles cumulative
35.2328 total gallons saved

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the past 2 weeks.

I need to keep better care of this blog. It's getting dusty. Just because the updates haven't been coming doesn't mean the miles haven't though. Since my last post, I've worked 4 days. On each of them, I rode my bike. I also rode to home depot twice, the grocery store twice, the pet store once (and rode home with a 40 lb bag of dog food!), I walked to the grocery store once, I walked to the portland international beerfest once, then did a walking tour of breweries downtown with some friends from out of town, and walked home after. I also went on a hike on south sister.

The hike was good, but we didn't make it to the top as anticipated, due to a friends wardrobe malfunction (bad socks, HUGE blisters). I rode my bike to my friends house in the morning, we drove down to bend for the hike, and made it roughly half way up. On the way down we stopped at a lake to swim, and then drove a short ways to camp in the woods. The next day we drove back to portland, and then I rode my bike home.

I might write more about that trip soon. There was a livestock falling out of a trailer on the highway incident, and some rattlesnakes too. I took a couple pictures on my phone.

67.2 miles this week
826.22 miles cumulative
33.0488 total gallons saved

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

98 miles in one day

looking over the gorge from the vista house

the view of the bridge of the gods from a burger joint in cascade locks

vancouver point scenic view point

I've been slow to update here, but it seems like these days I want to wait for something exciting to write about before I log on.

First, I'll start with the dry stuff. Since my last post, I worked 6 days. I was forced to drive one of those, but on the rest, I took my bike. I also made a trip to the grocery store on my bike because I needed to get a few things for the house to prepare for a bridal shower that my wife was putting on. All that riding added up to 38.2 miles.

Yesterday, I wanted to go to the gorge. Specifically, I wanted to go out to Hood River, so I thought I'd give it a go on my bike. I started from the house and went up Division until 148th, then cut north, under the 30, to Sandy Blvd., and then headed east once more. On the way, I stopped when I saw Grants cheese steaks, which I had read makes the most authentic philly steaks in Portland. Since they're only open monday through friday with limited hours, I took the chance to try them out while I could. It was the real deal! Best bread I've had on the west coast, good sharp flavorful cheese, and I got the peppers and onions, which were solid. While I was finishing up, a guy asked if he could sit at my table, and I said sure. I recognized his accent immediately. I told him the steak was pretty authentic, and he agreed. He was a regular since moving from Allentown PA.

From Gran'ts, I continued east on Sandy until I got to Troutdale. Riding your bike on US 30/84 is illegal between it's junction with the 405, and 238th ave, which is exit 17. Still, I didn't take the 30 when I could have, opting to go the scenic route along the Sandy river, into the hills, using historic columbia river highway. In the past, the only time I had taken the historic route was in a car, so it hadn't been so obvious to me just how far out of the way it took you. Still, the ride was nice, the views were great, and overall, I'm glad I did it. I guess I should have realized how much climbing was involved, and if I did, I might have taken the easier route, but by the time I really started my ascent, I had too much time invested in the route, so I chose to continue.

My first real stop was at at the vista house. I stopped to take a quick picture, but my legs were already starting to burn, and the place was crammed with tourists, so I quickly got moving again. The ride down from vista house was probably the most fun leg of the trip, although with all the switchbacks, I guess you could say I was going nowhere fast (except down). I think I was able to take the turns a lot faster than the people in cars, as I never had one behind me the whole way down, which was nice because there was no shoulder, and I was taking most of the lane. At the bottom of the drop down from vista house, I continued east. Lots of short ascents and descents, but overall, the ride continued taking me higher into the gorge. I stopped at Multnomah falls to get some water, and then again further up the highway to try another fountain along the side of the road. Properly hydrated for the first time of the trip, I rode to the end of the columbia river hwy. At the end, I briefly rode the shoulder of the 30, before seeing a bikers alternative route. From my viewpoint, it appeared to run parallel to the rode, separated only by a concrete median, so I hopped on that. Unfortunately, after I had ridden on it for a bit, it began to climb away from the road, and up into the forest. Again, it was a beautiful way to take, but given the distance I was attempting, I began to regret not taking the direct route. When the biking route returned to the 30, I was surprised to see it ended in couple flights of stairs. I hopped off my bike, carried it down the steps, and followed the path under the 30 to the opposite side of the road, where it continued winding back and forth, through (mostly) climbs and (some) descents. The weaving back and forth and up and down, and under the freeway really added distance to the trip. When I finally emerged from the alternative route, I was in the town of cascade locks.

I had given myself a couple of options early in the trip for how I was going to get home. The ride to Hood River was 62 miles (if I had taken google's car directions, which would have been illegal by bike) . When I got about half way, I realized that I'd have to be crazy to try to knock out the round trip in one shot in my current condition, so I decided I'd either turn back then, or if I was guaranteed a ride home from hood river, continue on, since it would be the same distance, and I would have achieved my goal. If I could make it to hood river fast enough, I could even catch the bus back, and not have to inconvenience anyone.

I sent my wife a message, asking her if she would come meet me in Hood River if I wasn't able to catch the last bus back, and she agreed, so I continued on. After riding another hour and a half, she sent me a message saying that she had changed her mind, which left me abandoned, an hour and a half beyond what I had decided was "the point of no return". My only option was to ride my hardest, and hope to make it to Hood River in time for the last bus out. Several miles past cascade locks on the 30, I stopped to check the time, and realized there was no way I would make it in time. I wasn't sure how I'd get back, and didn't want to add the last 15 miles to my ride (30 round trip), so I reversed course and headed back to cascade locks, hoping that they had a bus station where I could intercept the west bound greyhound that I would miss in Hood River.

Turns out they didn't have a bus stop after all.

With my phone dieing, the temperature dropping, my body giving out, my spirits crushed, abandoned by my wife, screwed by the greyhound schedule, and 45 miles from home on the shortest legal route; I did what any man would do. I got the biggest cheeseburger the town had to offer. I stopped at a place at the end of town with a beautiful view of the gorge and the bridge of the gods. The entire inside was full of native american artifacts and antique guns. I got "the big chief", a 2/3 pound burger with everything you could put on it. It was delicious, and it raised my spirits some. When I left the restaurant, I realized that the cold was beginning to set in. I was in shorts and short sleeves, and I knew the sun would set before I would return home, so I was discouraged once again. With no other option, I began peddling west once again. I knew that I wouldn't be able to handle all the extra climbing on the historic hwy route, so I just stayed on the 30. I was getting very weak, but the desperation of the situation kept the adrenalin going, and I repeated the following mantra in my head: "you don't have to get there fast, you just have to get there". I found that the 30 offered a much flatter ride, and although it wasn't noticeable at the time, following the river down to Portland must have offered a slight downhill grade, which made things a bit easier on me. I had to take several breaks. There were a few times when I just didn't think I could keep going, and I had to stop a bit to rest. One of these places was a scenic turn off, at Vancouver point. The furthest up river a british ship had traveled in the 1700's, on a trip that had named the point and many other features of the river, as well as Mt. Hood itself.

I stopped again not much further up in Troutdale, were I got a redbull and some gatorade. I stopped again in the Park Rose area of portland, when I spotted a porta-potty, which I was in desperate need of. From there I peddled non-stop until I reached home. A long shower helped fix things, but my legs are still in pretty terrible shape.

I spent most of the night awake. No matter what position I placed my legs in, they would begin to cramp, and I'd have to move them to get the pain to stop. It went on for hours. Eventually sleep took hold, and I most have stopped moving my legs because they're very painful today.

I "'d" the voyage, and realized I was just short of my first century ride. 98 miles. Had I known I was that close, I would have pushed on an extra 2 miles, just to say that I rode 100 miles in a single day. Still, 98 is impressive, and by far, my personal best.

136.2 miles this week
759.02 miles cumulative
30.3608 total gallons saved

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

this week

pat by the fire

pat causing trouble

flat top beer cans near our camp

my foot by the summit marker of Mt. Bachelor

the view from the summit. from left to right: south sister, middle sister, north sister, jefferson, broken top, and then just barely visible peaking out from the right side of broken top, Mt. Hood.

pat sliding down bachelor on his butt after we began our descent

since I've been back, I've stalled from posting my recent walking activities until I was caught up on the stuff that happened while I was away. now that I'm caught up on the trip, I'll finish getting caught up, and bring this blog to the present.

The first two days that I was back, I worked. I went sans car both times. 14.4 miles.

On Saturday, I went down to Bend to go to the 21st anniversary of the Deschute's brewery with my friend. We had 07 abyss, black butte XXI, and a couple dissidents. To get there, I rode with my hiking pack to my friends house, and then we drove down together. After the Deschutes event, we drove out into the woods in search of a suitable place to camp. Everywhere we went we were swarmed by mosquitos. Finally, (counter-intuitively enough) we found a reasonably mosquito free camp sight near the "swampy lakes" trailhead. Once we set up camp, we sat around and drank too much, like we usually do. The next morning, I rose early, feeling pretty good. I walked around the area we camped, scoping everything out, and took pictures of some old beer cans we found near by. The cans were of the "flat top" variety, which required a church key to open. Flat tops were the first design ever used to can beer, and were in use from 1933 until 1970. These cans were too rusted to determine the manufacturer or age, but knowing they were between 76 and 39 years old made them a pretty neat find. I felt like a descendant in a long line of beer drinking campers to use that sight. It felt good to know that at least in some parts of the world, not much had changed.

After we broke down camp and left, we decided to go for a little hike; and by "a little" I mean summitting Mt. Bachelor off-trail. We spent several hours climbing the mountain. For the most part, the terrain was pretty easy to navigate. It was pretty steep for climbing with an empty stomach, a hangover, and shoes that had the tread worn smooth, but we made it none the less. After reaching the summit, we ran/glisaded/slid on our butts down the resort side, and then hied back around to the car. All and all, a lot of fun, and certainly a good work out.

After returning to town, I got back on my bike and rode home.

For the purpose of my mileage data, I'm only including the bike riding towards fuel savings, as it was the only part where I saved myself from driving.

18.8 miles
622.82 miles cumulative
24.9128 total gallons saved

playing catch-up EUROPE part 3

The train station in Koln

I think this roughly translates to "ass fart"

german party people

Santa in the back is backup on spoons!

river surfing in the english garden

"work will set you free" Dachau

The Munich 6

The last leg of our trip was Munich Germany. It took a looong time to get there. Although I knew rail was a better option environmentally, all other aspects of the trip would have been nicer in a plane. First, we backtracked in a train to Kortrijk, and then continued on to Brussels. In Brussels, we booked the next leg of our trip. We were traveling on a dime, so we went with the cheapest option, which was good for two reasons: 1) the trip itself cost the least of the presented options, and 2) it was an overnight train in a sleeper car, so we saved ourselves from paying an extra night in a hotel. We had to switch trains once we arrived in Koln Germany. The wait for the first train to Koln was over 4 hours. In that time we found an adapter to charge my phone, and hung out in various fast food places, poaching their electricity, and trying to avoid getting pick pocketed. The train ride was fine, and about 2 hours. In Koln, we had another 2 hour layover. The sleeper car was interesting to say the least. Our tickets were printed in Belgium in Dutch, so we didn't understand that we had assigned bunks. The German attendant was pretty impatient with us, which made this leg of the trip a little stressful. At first, we found a sleeper car that was completely vacant, this was after eveyone else boarded and found their rooms, so we thought we had scored big time. Then the attendant came, looked at our tickets and said "can't you read?!?", she walked us down to our assigned room, forced the door open, kicked two smelly half naked guys out of our bunks, telling them they were supposed to be up top, and forced us into the recently vacated spots. The car was very cramped, smelled of farts, and an empty beer bottle rolled around all night, smacking into things and keeping me awake a good portion of the evening, until I was able to locate it in the dark and arrest its movement.

When we arrived in Munich, we walked about half a mile with all of our things to Hotel Uhland, wedged on a quiet road between Marienplatz and the grounds where they hold Oktoberfest each year. It was 8am, and the earliest we could check in was noon, so we walked for the next 4 hours, exploring Munich for the first time. We checked out the grounds of Oktoberfest, and I picked up a bunch of old bottle caps to keep as souveniers. Then we walked into Marienplatz, and saw a few of the breweries, including the Hofbrauhaus. Since it was Sunday, most of the businesses were closed in town, so we didn't see or do very much interesting. The highlight of our morning stroll was when two young guys came walking up to us, shouting first in German, then in English, for us to take pictures of them. They were shirtless and barefoot, and wanted us to have a picture of them to take home with us, saying "take a picture of some german party people!" in a perfect hanz and franz accent. I of course, obliged them.

We rested the remainder of the afternoon, and then at 6:00, met up with a bunch of other tourist to take the "beer challenge" tour of Munich. We started at the Hofbrau beer garden in the english gardens, and learned the famous German drinking song "Ein Prosit!". Beers were served in mas glasses, which are a liter each. The details of the rest of the evening are cloudy.

The next day was spent touring the city a bit more with my wife's brother and his wife. We walked a good portion of the day, and then rented bikes for the rest. It was dumping rain the entire time, but we still had a good time.

The following day we did a lot less walking. We took trains and a bus to Dachau, the first and longest operating concentration camp in Germany. We watched a film about the camp when we arrived, and then took a 3 hour guided tour around the grounds. After we finished up, soaked to the bone, we returned to Munich, dried our clothes, and went back out to Marienplatz for drinks and diner. We walked a bit from restaurant to bar, and finally arrived back at the hotel later that night, in time to start packing and getting ready for the trip home the next morning.

In Munich, we drank in the following breweries: Spaten, Lowenbrau, Hofbrauhaus, Augustiner, Ayinger, and perhaps one or two others I dont recall from the "beer challenge"...

Total Munich mileage that I have a clear recollection of: 16.52

16.52 miles
604.02 miles cumulative
24.1608 total gallons saved

Monday, June 29, 2009

playing catch up EUROPE part 2

on the walk from poperinge to the westvleteren brewery

entering westvleteren

westvleteren 12 and hommelpaptart

on the road to helleketel

cafe helleketel - "the witches cauldron"

the sign outside Noel Cuvilier

wally singing elvis tunes at Wally's Farm

an antique horse drawn hop sprayer on wally's farm

The next part of our trip to Europe was one that I had arranged, since we were going to be nearby in France anyway.

I think my wife and I concur, that it turned out to be a great experience, and possible the best part of the trip.

From our hotel in Paris, we hopped on a bus with all of our luggage and went to the train station. From the train station we took high speed rail (200mph!) to Lille France, where we booked the next leg of the trip, on another train, to Kortrijk Belgium. From Kortrijk, we hopped one last train into the tiny town of Poperinge, our final destination.

One thing I was really impressed with while traveling was how much Europe seems to have embraced green technology compared to us in the US, even places like Portland, which has US street cred for sustainability. First, the intricate web of rail (including high speed) all over europe makes long distance mass transit a normal part of everyday life, and it's vastly superior to traveling by air; in most cases for the traveler, but in all cases when it comes to sustainability. Also, I noticed from the train that the parts of Europe I traveled in had lots of windfarms, a solar all over everything. Much more than I've seen here. I don't know if the routes the trains took showed me an exagerated view, but what I did see was impressive.

Anyway, once we arrived in Poperinge, we walked with all of our stuff to our hotel and checked in. From the hotel, we immediately hiked north to In de Vrede and the westvleteren brewery, the cause for our trip to such a remote part of Belgium. The walk was great, we walked through the edge of town, and then out into agricultural land, mostly used for growing hops! Eventually, we made our way out to In De Vrede, to drink the highest rated beer of all time. And it was that good. We also tried some delicious foods, including a hommelpaptart; a delicious piece of dessert, flavored with hops, and served with ice cream and whipped cream. Amazing! From In De Vrede, we returned to Poperinge the way we had come. The rest of the evening was spent near the hotel, trying more beers and eating the local foods. Great day. 8.9 miles.

The next day we checked out of our hotel and into another one down the street. After we were situated, we checked out a farmers market in the town square, had another beer or two and some food in a cafe there, and then headed west into the countryside once again. The first stop we made was Cafe Helleketel. A small pub in the middle of agricultural land. As far as the eye could see in all directions were hops and barley. We weren't sure if it was open, but the top portion of the heavy wooden door opened, and an older women beckoned us to come in. We did, and she closed (and locked!) the door behind us. The interior was old, and of stained wood and decades old portrayals of witches! We learned the Helleketel means the witch cauldron, and that our host was "the witch". Regardless, she was quite jolly, and took pride in serving us her house beers. From Helleketel, we made our way to the St. Bernardus brewery. The brewery was closed, as was the bed and breakfast they own next door, but the front door was unlocked, so we let ourselves in and helped ourselves to a free mini tour. The grounds were very beautiful, and I'd definitely consider staying there if we were to visit west flanders again. From St. Bernardus, we then walked to another bar, whose name I can't recall, then south over the border into France (a short cut!) and then east back into Belgium to Noel Cuvillier, a bottle shop I had read about online. What I didn't know was that the "bottle shop" was literally a barn on an active farm, that just happened to be full of beer. It was pretty surreal! We loaded up about 40 pounds of beer into my bag, and then hiked back out of the farm, into france and then back into belgium once again, before making our next stop; one that would prove to be the most interesting of the trip; Wally's Farm!

As with almost everything else we saw in the region, Wally's was surrounded by farmland, and infact, his own property was mostly agricultural (hops and barley). We walked down the driveway to his farmhouse, and were first greeted by rows of towering hops and a 15 foot tall replica of the statue of liberty. We walked down the hop rows, and over to the entrance to a large farm house. Every square inch of the inside was devoted to Elvis Presley! We ordered some beer and food and eventually Wally himself came out to work the crowd. Later, he took the stage and sang us 50's rock tunes. We tried to leave since we were still several miles from the hotel, it was getting dark, and we had all that beer to carry, but Wally insisted we stay and "let" him buy us beer so he could take us on a private tour of his hop museum later. As enticing as that was, we were still hesitant, but he promised to drive us home as well, so we couldn't refuse. I'm so glad we didn't. He bought us beers for the rest of the night, then showed us an amazing collection of hop growing artifacts that had been passed down through his family for over 100 years, and then as promised, drove us back to our hotel, safe and sound. What a great guy!

The next morning we were off to Munich.

20.75 miles
587.38 miles cumulative
23.4952 total gallons saved

playing catch-up - EUROPE part 1

arc de triomphe

on the grounds of the Louvre

notre dame

the eiffel tower

the columns of the pantheon

the groom with his groomsmen, the reason we were in Europe

I haven't written on this blog in quite some time. I was away in Europe, and didn't have reliable internet access. I'm going to try to catch up a little today.

The first part of the trip was Paris. I could write so much about the trip, but I intend to make a more comprehensive site devoted to it, so I'm going to just stick to the walking stuff here.

Our first full day in Paris, my wife and I saw a lot on foot. From our hotel, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe (built in the 1830's, napolean's body passed under it on the way to his final resting place/hitlers troops marched through it and up champs elyses when they took paris), from there we walked through the grounds of the Louvre (not in, we didn't have a week of spare time), then over to notre dame, which we did tour the inside of, then south to the jardins de luxembourg, and then finally over to the eiffel tower, back through the arc, and then home. Also mised in was a trip to horses tavern, a great beer bar south of notre dame, and Brasserie Lipp, another great beer bar in the same area. 10.73 miles.

The second day we walked in a lot of the same areas, but to see different things. It ended up being a bit shorter, but not by much. We walked over to see the Pantheon, then south to academie de la biere, then back to our place. 9.8 miles.

The rest of the trip in Paris had minimal walking. Not enough to add up really. The best part about the trip was that everywhere we went was either on foot or on public transportation. No rental cars here.

After a few days in Paris, plus a day south of paris for the wedding, we were off to Belgium, which I'll write about next.

20.53 miles
566.63 miles cumulative
22.6652 total gallons saved

Sunday, June 7, 2009

backpacking twin lakes

this weekend I went backpacking on Mt. Hood with my friend. Our initial intention was to hike along the timberline trail and set up camp when we got tired, and then hike back out the next day. Once we were up there we realized that the zig zag river might be flowing too high to comfortably cross because of the snow melt, so we ended up taking a much easier hike up to upper twin lake. My pack was about 30 pounds, but it had little effect on me. This hike made me realize that my pack just isn't big enough though. For anything longer than a day, or anything that would require more gear, there's just not enough space. More on that later.

After finding a suitable space to set up camp that was free from snow, we started the difficult task of starting a fire in a forest soggy with fog and snow. Once the fire was going, we drank a few beers that I had carried with me, and relaxed. It was nice camping around so much snow. We were able to put our beer and food in it to keep everything fresh and cool.

While out looking for wood, I found fresh bear droppings a few yards from camp. It seemed like animals were pretty comfortable in the area right now because no one is camping up there this early.

I also lost my wedding ring. We looked for it for a few hours, but it turns out it had fallen off with one of my gloves, and luckily I found it in the morning light. Losing it would have been crushing.

When we initially set up the tent, we didn't stake it to the ground. It also had a sleeping bag in it, and the wind wasn't strong, so we thought it would be fine. Turns out we were wrong. A sudden gust came through camp, picked up the tent, and it went tumbling towards the fire. Luckily pat sprung into action and caught it a split second before it rolled in. We staked it after that. I was about to take a photo of camp before it happened, so I caught the moment as it was about to happen.

After drinking and eating, and finally retiring to the tent, Pat woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of something rumaging through our camp. He tried to wake me, but I was in a deep slumber, so I can only recount his story second hand. He said he was concerned about it being a bear since we had seen the droppings, and had food in the snow. When he unzipped the tent to look outside he saw two big glowing eyes reflecting the light from the fire. The beast had found our hot dogs and a whole brick of smoked cheddar cheese we left in the snow. It turns out it was a DEER. Pat clapped his hands and the deer walked off a few yards, but afterwards it immediately returned and walked off with our food. We found the empty packages in the morning. I would never had thought a deer would eat hot dogs and cheese, but this one did.

In the morning we put out the fire by piling snow on top of it, then packed up our gear and hiked out. On the way to the truck, I found a newt crossing the path.

After returning to Portland, I sold my truck!

Later I went and got myself a new pack.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

After my last post, I went for an 8.2 mile walk before going to bed that night. The following day I rode to work, then back to a friends house, and finally over to belmont station and back. Today I went bike riding with my wife for her birthday. We rode to breakfast and then to the rose garden in the west hills. After we returned to the east side, I rode to pick up her birthday presents, and met her back at our friends house. From there I rode home.

37.32 miles
546.1 miles cumulative
21.844 total gallons saved

Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 30th + 31st

Yesterday I rode my bike to work and back. I also did that today. In addition, I walked to the grocery store and back after work to get some things.

may 30th + 31st

16.62 miles
508.78 miles cumulative
20.0114 total gallons saved

Friday, May 29, 2009

May 29th

I started the day out with a bike ride down to the bank and back.

After returning home, I worked on a few things around the house while I tried to motivate myself to go out and do something in the heat. Finally, I hopped on my bike and went for an 18 mile ride. With the heat, lack of water, and an empty stomach, I did pretty well until the last few miles, when my body started to shut down. When I got home, I got replenished, took a shower, and head back out, this time on foot to my friends house to take care of his cats. I tried a new route. It took me up and over Mt. Tabor, out to his house, and then onto to division to loop back to the house.

may 29th

25.02 miles
483.76 miles cumulative
19.3504 total gallons saved

May 28th

Yesterday I rode my bike to work and back.

I'm not really sure why, but lately I've been thinking about pickled eggs a lot. Which is weird, because I can't even remember the last time I ate one.

I'm competitively loosing weight right now, which means I don't get to do much cooking, so I thought it would be a perfect time to make my own pickled eggs. I get to cook them, which gives me something to do right now; but they wont even be ready until after the contest is over, so there's temptation to screw up my fast right now.

Anyway, I needed a lot of ingredients, so I also walked down to the grocery store and back last night.

When I got home I made habanero garlic pickled eggs. They should be pretty awesome, but I wont really know until I after I get back from our trip to Europe.

may 28th

9.4 miles
458.74 miles cumulative
18.3496 total gallons saved

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 27th

Today, I started the day by riding down to our friends house with my wife. We're playing "the biggest loser" to see who can lose the most weight in a set amount of time. After weighing in, we rode to Stumptown to get some coffee, and then back to the house. Later, I rode my bike out to my friends house to take care of his cats. While I was out in that direction, I went to home depot to get some things for the store, and then I rode home. After that trip, I walked to Fred Meyer and back to get a "for sale" sign to put in my truck. After I got the sign situated in my truck, I went for another bike ride with my room mate. We rode down to the spring water corridor, down to Sellwood, and then up through the Woodstock neighborhood and then back to the house.

I feel pretty good about the day. I got a lot of things done, didn't use any cars, racked up a lot of good mileage, and finally got my truck on the market. 22.63 miles by bike/2.3 on foot.

All good steps in the right direction.

may 27th

24.93 miles
449.34 miles cumulative
17.9736 total gallons saved

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 25th

Yesterday I rode my bike to work. Afterwards I stopped at green dragon for a beer, then rode back to the house. As I was turning into the driveway, I got a message saying to meet down at Dot's. I rode to Dot's for dinner before returning home, later in the evening.

may 25th

10.58 miles
424.41 miles cumulative
16.9764 total gallons saved

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24th

Today I was all over the place, and I went by bike. I think I'm going to start including bike trips on here. I still like walking, but I've finally come to terms with the fact that sometimes I need to ride my bike because otherwise I can't fit everything I need to do into one day. It's still avoiding the car, which I guess is the main point.

This morning at 8:00, I went over to a friends house to take care of his cats while he is away. Later in the morning, I took my bike on a hunt for new brake pads, which ended up seeing me to 3 different stores around SE. After I found the pads, (and got a new lock), I returned home to install everything. After that, I rode over to Belmont Station to get a couple beers for a BBQ tonight. After I returned home with those, I made one final trip to new seasons for some last minute grilling stuff, and then came back. It didn't feel like I spent too much time traveling today, since I I was able to get a lot of other things done; but reveals that I went 15.98 miles running all my errands.

may 24th

15.98 miles
413.83 miles cumulative
16.5532 total gallons saved

May 23rd

Yesterday I was busy mostly selling car stuff, but I did make it out to the grocery store and back on foot. I picked up a few things to BBQ, so I could enjoy a little more time outside last night.

Today I need to head out to a friends house to take care of his cats while he's away; and I'm working, so I should get some decent miles under my belt.

The truck is almost ready to sell. It's bittersweet. I feel like it's a step in the right direction, but I have so much time and effort and unrealized dreams tied up in that thing, that it's still sad to see it go. Not driving and having a hot rod in the driveway has been a really big conflict for me. It will be tough to see it go, but I think it will also be a lot easier to not think about driving once it's gone. I keep telling myself to think about the more positive things I can do with the money, and how I'll be able to use the driveway space in it's absence.

may 23nd

4.2 miles
397.85 miles cumulative
15.914 total gallons saved

Friday, May 22, 2009

this week

I got a little lazy posting this past week. First I had a friend in town, and then my sister and her family; so I've been pretty busy. I only worked at the store two days this week. On Sunday I finally pulled my bike down off it's hook in the garage, and rode to work and back. I would have walked, but we planned to BBQ when I got back, and I didn't want to hold everything up by walking, so I pedaled instead. Today I walked in and back. Between the two commutes, I did a little walking here and there, but not enough to keep track of. On my days off, I was pretty busy taking pictures of things I don't want, listing them for sale online, and meeting buyers to show them the goods. The big news regarding that and this blog, is that I've been selling all of my car related stuff, and that I spent a portion of the past week getting my CARS ready to sell!

may 22nd

14.4 miles
393.65 miles cumulative
15.746 total gallons saved

Friday, May 15, 2009

may 14th

Yesterday I started the day by walking in Mt. Tabor park. From there, I checked out the new Mexican place on Division, La Salsa, which was muy authentico.

After La Salsa, I hung around the house with a friend, before making our way down Hawthorne to see a movie at the bagdad.

After the movie, we made our way back home via North Bar, and I called it a night.

may 14th

7.97 miles
379.25 miles cumulative
15.17 total gallons saved

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

pub crawl

Yesterday morning I walked to work. I got a late start, so I I really pushed myself to make up some time. I was able to move a lot faster than I expected I could, and got to the store early.

After work, a friend from out of town came and met me at the store. We walked to green dragon for the walking man meet the brewer (had jay walker RIS and 2009 Sasquatch), then to Lucky Lab to have a Pavlov, then across the river to for a 2005 mirror mirror at deschutes, then to Rogue for a Charlie 1981 and an I2PA, then back across the burnside bridge and over to sassy's for a ninkasi, and finally back towards the house.

My friend doesn't walk as much as I do, and ended up hailing a cab before we reached our final destination. Still, I ended up cranking out 9.77 miles by days end.

may 11th

9.77 miles
371.28 miles cumulative
14.8512 total gallons saved

Monday, May 11, 2009

may 11th

today I had to drive my wife to work because we got new fish for the display tank at the store, and I didn't think it would be safe to walk with them for an hour in a plastic bag in the sun. Once we got to work, I floated the new fish in the tank to get them adjusted, and then walked downtown to grab some lunch to bring back to the wife. Afterwords, I let the new guys loose in the tank to get acquainted with everyone. Apparently, we made some good selections, because everyone got along just fine, and started mating immediately. That's guppies I guess. Other than walking the dog twice, that's all the walking I did, and the only walking that will count towards gas savings.

may 11th

3.38 miles
361.51 miles cumulative
14.4604 total gallons saved

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 9th

Yesterday I got up early and walked to my friends house. From there, we drove into the gorge for some hiking. We decided to check out tunnel falls trail. While it was a little too accessible and well maintained for my tastes, the trail offered some of the most beautiful views I've seen on a hike in a long time. Because we were rushed for time, we did not complete the trail, but we covered a good amount of ground. The one thing that was inspiring about this particular trail was that it's size, grade, and condition begged for it to be run on. We saw a few trail runners out there, and it was hard at times to keep myself from running too. If I was better prepared (not wearing jeans) I would have. Trail running is something I'd definitely like to get into this summer.

After returning to Portland, we parked at the house and walked to Fred Fest at the Hair of the Dog brewery. Fred Fest was easily the best beer festival I've ever been to. The crowd, the vibe, the atmosphere, and of course, THE BEER were fantastic (and the food!). Never have I been to a beer fest with a line-up of brews of that caliber. After Fred Fest, we walked home. The return trip was a bit hazy, to say the least.

may 9th

7.9 miles (not counting the 6 or 7 from the hike)
358.13 miles cumulative
14.3252 total gallons saved

Friday, May 8, 2009

may 7th

yesterday I walked to work. In the morning, there was a pretty steady rain on the way in, but I brought my jacket, so I was fine. On the way home, the sun was out and it was relatively nice outside.

Last night I decided with a friend that we should go hiking and camping up in the snow on Mt. Hood tonight, but it's looking like we'd be getting out there a little too late tonight, so we're going to do a closer hike tomorrow morning in the gorge.

may 7th

7.2 miles
350.23 miles cumulative
14.0092 total gallons saved

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

past few days

On Sunday, I walked to work in the morning, and then decided to check out a new spot after work to get a hamburger for dinner before returning home.

One of the neat things about all this walking has been that I've found it easier to try new things, and really get to know the city better. Life on four wheels found me mindlessly taking the same route everywhere I went, and I found my life getting a bit too monotonous. Possibly countering some of the calories I'm burning from all this walking, is some of the great food I've been finding along my new routes. A decent trade I think.

I haven't had to go to the store for the past few days, and I've started working on our basement remodel again, so I haven't really left the house since Sunday.

I mostly started walking to not use a car anymore, so staying home the last few days still maintains that goal. Still, it's dissatisfying to end a blog post without many new miles to report.

may 3rd

7.2 miles
343.03 miles cumulative
13.7212 total gallons saved

Sunday, May 3, 2009

may 2nd

nothing exiting, walked to work and back.

may 2nd

7.2 miles
335.83 miles cumulative
13.4332 total gallons saved

Saturday, May 2, 2009

training for belgium

In June, I'm going to be in Belgium for a few days with the family. The idea for the trip is to take the train up from Paris to a town in west flanders, called Poperinge. From there, we'll either walk, or ride bikes across the country side to visit a couple trappist breweries, which are settled among the hop fields in the region.

Yesterday, I trained for the event.

Interestingly enough, a young couple from Belgium came into the store, and we talked about the trip. He corrected me on my pronounciation (it's "pope a ring ee" not "pop err inj"). He also tried teaching me some Dutch.

After walking to work, and doing my time there, I continued on into north west portland to the NW quimby Lucky Lab location for "portland cheers to belgian beers". It was a belgian style beer festival and competition between local breweries, for charity. I tried several (too many?) really good belgian style beers there, and then walked home about 6 miles later in the night. 6 out and 6 back was pretty easy, even after liberally sampling tasty higher-abv libations.

Now I just have to learn dutch for "I'll have another" and I'll be ready for the trip.

may 1st

11.77 miles
328.63 miles cumulative
13.1452 total gallons saved

Friday, May 1, 2009

April 30th

Yesterday, I got up early and walked to the store to meet some construction guys that had to update some of our plumbing before a new city inspection. While I was hanging out, I prepared a bag full of beer to take home for what turned out to be the last Blazer game of the (post)season. Once I returned home, I did some stuff around the house, and then walked to a friends house for the game. What a disappointment!

april 30th

9.3 miles
316.86 miles cumulative
12.6744 total gallons saved

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

from the oregonian

portland drivers may face new fee

Driving is expensive.

Portland fee?

I love how the comments on the articles quickly revert to the "why don't they tax the bike riders like they tax us?" argument.

Because people should be given every incentive possible not to rely on their cars so much.

april 28th

yesterday I walked to work in pretty steady rain. again, my jacket kept me completely dry, so it wasn't a bad experience. at the store, I worked on a couple projects in down time, including trying to gain some order in our back stock room, which had fallen into severe disarray. I was rewarded by finding a chest full of hidden treasure buried deep under a pile of clothes. a cooler full of BEER! I hung around for half an hour after closing the doors and celebrated my discovery before heading out. With my newly invigorated beer muscles, and the motivation of getting back to the house in time to catch the second half of the blazers playoff game; I power walked home, and shaved nearly 10 minutes of my previous fastest time. Again, I was rewarded for my efforts, and got to catch their VICTORY.

april 27th

7.2 miles
307.56 miles cumulative
12.3024 total gallons saved

Monday, April 27, 2009

beast of burden

this morning I got up and walked to the pet store to get the cats some litter. I grabbed a 40 pound bag, shouldered it, and walked home. A little later, I walked down to new seasons and grabbed two bags full of groceries to make today's meals.

I spent most of the rest of the day reading/watching/listening to the news about the swine flu.

I'm glad I had the flu last week and not this week. Without health insurance, that could have been unnerving!

april 27th

5.92 miles
300.36 miles cumulative
12.0144 total gallons saved

Saturday, April 25, 2009

dog mountain

Today I went for my first real hike of the year. I walked 2.1 miles to a friends house, and then we went into the Columbia river gorge to hike to the summit of Dog Mountain and back. We started the hike at river level in southern Washington, and immediately began the steep ascent. There were a fair number of people on the trail, but as we climbed to higher elevations, the crowd began to taper off. At the trail head, cold winds were whipping off the Columbia, and although once we got into the trees, the conditions improved, they quickly deteriorated again as we gained some elevation. Over the last mile of the hike before reaching the summit, the trail breaks out of the trees, and without their protection, we experienced some pretty extreme winds, and at times were steadily pelted with hail. The visibility was poor at best. At times, it was difficult to see more than 30 yards or so due to heavy fog/cloud cover. Still, despite not being able to see the far off views of the gorge and the distant mountain peaks, the conditions provided a unique and enjoyable atmosphere to the trail. After reaching the summit, we chose to take a more steep descending trail than the one we took up; which completed a loop to the trail head. The first mile of the descent was similar to the last mile of the climb, in that we weren't sheltered from the elements; leaving us to deal with considerable winds and precipitation. Once we hit the tree line, things improved again, and we had a pretty easy time returning to river level. On the way back, we alternated between walking on flatter or more technical parts of the trail, and running down the steeper portions. My mr790's really got to shine on the trail running portions. It was hard to call the second half of the trip "hiking", as it felt more like controlled falling, but the constant battle against gravity and momentum proved to be quite a strain none the less. After we returned to the car, we stopped at the walking man brewery in Stevenson for lunch and beer before returning home.

this is from the first clearing. we started at river level, and by the time we reached the summit, had climbed about twice as high as we were at this vantage point.

the forest was really moist from precipitation, snow melt, and fog. there were a lot of neat mosses and lichens on the trail from start to finish.

these plants all pointed towards the sun and could have been mistaken for dead if it were not for the dense buds that tipped each.

this is just as we climbed out of the trees. the fog immediately enveloped us, and got thicker as we climbed higher.

this is the "view" from the summit. Despite the top mile of the trail being exposed, the summit is protected by a small grouping of trees. It was a nice reward to get out the high winds and hail for a few minutes. If the fog hadn't been so thick, this would have been a great view of the Columbia river gorge, with Oregon and Mt. Hood towering over it in the background. Still, the fog was neat to climb in. Every step was a surprise because you could never see far enough to know what laid ahead.

here is a photo of me at the summit. The trail appears to continue climbing from this vantage point, but the end of the trail was a few yards further from this grouping of trees.

taken just below the summit.

on the decent, a break in the fog allowed a brief view of the gorge.