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July 22, 2005

Reno, NV (summer trip ends)


Back in Reno, after hard, sad times in SF before we left, but good times also riding bikes and showing Mikey the city. My trip is ending, and i return to SF next week to look for a job and re-enter my life there for a while. been thinking too much, having 7 months away from work leaves so very much time, part of me will be happy to go back to working and with luck attending classes for the first time in years. the other part of me will look at photos of different countries and feel the old urge to get on a plane. not for a while though.

i paid for a flickr pro account, but it won't be available to me until my electronic check clears. kind of annoying, but for now i've uploaded some more images. when my account kicks in i'll upload a ton of images and seperate all the summer trip stuff. Andrew is a good influence for organization of photos, i'm gonna try and stay up on it.

be well everyone, wish i was in more of a mood to write.


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July 15, 2005

San Francisco, CA (with amazing news this time)

So i'm all set to catch up our travels, from olympia we returned to Portland, had 2 excellent days of riding, and now we're in SF. but then i think about the news i get last Saturday, when Mikey and i were driving back out to ride the Lewis Creek trail again. Mikey checked the messages on his celly, and there was this garbled message from some bike store. it took me a minute or two to recognize the area code, but it turned out to be a bike store in philly right near kelsey's house. they were calling to tell me that they had recovered my favorite mountain bike, the one that was stolen at the beginning of our trip, a month and a half ago.
now, i've had bikes stolen before, and i've had tons of friends who've had bikes stolen, so i know it's a rare thing to ever get them back. i was so thrilled, and with the kind help of kelsy quickly made plans to have it shipped back to me. so i'm meeting up with my bike in reno on wednesday.
i'll write more about sf tomorrow, it's good to be back, the fog is thick as cotton out the window on my street and it feels so refreshing to ride through. we saw jolie holland tonight at this warehouse full of my friends, and tomorrow we're gonna go ride mt tam. i'm feeling very pleased to get to show mikey my city, it always makes me appreciate it more when i get to think of how it must appear to a newcomer's eyes.

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July 08, 2005

Olympia, Washington

Traveling around the U.S. is something i've always wanted to do, and it's interesting to compare how i perceive somewhere that is inherently familar compared to taking in new cultures and societies from the perspective of an outsider. For one thing, it's very much easier to bond with strangers when there isn't the cultural bridge to gap, though at times i've been in parts of this country that felt more foreign to me then say, Mexico.
During many of my travels in foreign lands, i sometimes get this urge to continually move from place to place, never staying more then a few days anywhere. On one hand this is smart, because you get to see more places and experience more of the country, but you also never roost anywhere enough to meet a lot of people and get a more profound understanding of the town or city you are in.
Lately I've had a similar feeling here, that my time to drive around is limited, and that i would prefer to buzz around and try out many different places and also mountain biking spots instead of concentrating out time in one area for a week or two. from the beginning, my cousin mikey was of a mind to find somewhere really good and just stay there for a while, and it's been interesting trying to find a happy medium between my incessant need for movement and his desire to dig into some trails. this hasn't caused us any arguments or problems, it's just been enlightening to see how our different personalities work out a plan.
So since the trails in Canada were disappointing, we decided, on the afternoon of July the 4th, to return to the U.S. and try some trails in northern Washington. we caught a ferry back to the mainland, and managed to cross the U.S.-Canadian border around 10 at night, right as the fireworks of many U.S. towns were being shot off. it was one of the best fourth of July's in recent memory, because as we drove down Interstate 5, we kept passing through towns and seeing the fireworks displays. We must have seen at least 6 different small town send offs, which i always enjoy better anyways then what a big city like SF has to offer. The other great small-town fireworks that come to mind are when i was up in Seward, Alaska, and my friends and i watched the small explosions over Resurrection Bay. The whole town was out there, and even though it didn't hold a candle (haha) to what you see in SF or even Reno, everyone was so excited that it always sticks with me.
Northern Central Washington was beautiful, we spent 2 nights in the Methow Valley area, which is full of sweeping views of mountains and rolling hills. The riding there was varied, but few of the trails were single track, and riding jeep trails after tearing through single track gets boring quick. So after failing to find anything spectacular, we decided to head out, towards south-western Washington. I rang up my old friend Bob, who i'd met and become good friends with 4 years ago when we were living in Spain, and he invited us to stay at his house.
One really fun thing about getting to see the U.S. by car is visiting friends i haven't seen in years. the last time Bob and i hung out was when he was living in Reno, at the Katherine house. it's great to see him up here, recently graduated from Evergren College, tons of friends, and excited about his new passion, audio recording. You always expect your friends to be doing well when you visit after not having seen them for a long while, but it's even better if they are thriving.
Olympia has a really good feel to it so far. another liberal bubble, it's teeming with vegetarian restaurants, record stores, and concert venues. tonight after Mikey and i go ride we're gonna watch Bob play a show at some cafe, i've never seen him play before a crowd, and i'm looking forward to it. funny to think that 4 years ago i found a small guitar in a dumpster behind the Bukowski Bar in San Sebastian and gave it to Bob, and now he has a band and is recording and playing shows.
I'm going to put all the photos in the Extended Entry section, click here or below where it says "Continue reading "Olympia, Washington" to check them out. I'm especially proud of Mikey posing with the purple police camaro.











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July 04, 2005

Cumberland, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, Eh!

Ah, Canada. We arrived on Friday, which coincided with Canada Day. Everywhere we looked, there were Canadian flags, Canada pins, Canada temporary tattoos, it was ridiculous.


We took the ferry over, it was beautiful, and very cold. i have this tendency to be in cold places during the summer and warm places during the winter, i'm very contrary.

IMG_0772 IMG_0775

unfortunately, pretty much all of the trails we have been riding since we arrived up here have been downhill trails, which is great if you have a full suspension bike, but not as fun if you have hardtails. What more, the roots situation is ridiculous. there have been some steep decents completely covered with tangly, jutting roots that are too big to ignore, and set at odd angles to the trail, necessitating many stops and carry-overs. Both of us have been longing for the smooth, cross country style single track that we have been riding up to this point, and it looks like since all of Canada caters to the downhill riders, we may nix staying up here much longer and instead shoot back down to do some riding in Eastern Washington.

All the same, it's been very fun and silly being up here. Mikey has quickly developed an incredibly accurate Canadian accent, and all the jokes about igloos, polar bears, reindeer, snowshoeing, Canadian bacon and hockey have kept us laughing to ourselves nonstop. Plus, the Canadian Public Radio stations are unintentionally hilarious, playing amazingly quaint and hokey stories about small town news at all hours of the day. it's very endearing, but at the same time we are sarcastic boys and get many good chuckles out of it. I'm still waiting for someone to call us hosers.


some very nice folks who we met in a bar have been letting us crash on their couches, it's been nice making new friends and having drinks with them in one of the 2 bars in the town of Cumberland.


They even took us to a hip hop show on Saturday night, but Mikey and I were kicked out after a priggish bouncer caught us sneaking our own beers in. We went around the corner and found a Canadian Punk band, and hung out with them skateboarding until the hip hop show was over and our ride took us home. good fun.

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