Friday, October 29, 2010

Redwoods and Red Wine

I haven't had much lately to report about. I ended up getting whatever California cold is sweeping through lately, and have mostly been puttering around the apartment, watching documentaries on Hulu, and getting some shop class machining instruction from Tubalcain on YouTube.

This guy is great. I'd adopt him as my grandpa if I could. And since my high school didn't have any sort of shop class, I'm now finally starting to learn some basics. Then, it's a couple machinist books to read up on the theory behind it all. Hopefully, by the time we get settled into a house somewhere, I'll be ready to get a lathe and a mill, and at least have a good start on how to use the things. I just can't contain myself when I think of the ability to make my own dropouts, hubs, braze-ons, task-specific tools... oh man!

My sister came to visit, so I got to play tourist and explore a bit more around here. I took her to see a couple trails through the redwoods within a few miles of where we live. I don't think I could ever get tired of walking through redwoods.

This is a gnarly redwood in the local state park that they say suffers from some sort of gigantism. It barely resembles the other redwoods, but I think it's still pretty awesome.

This is inside of a redwood, that had been turned into a honeymoon suite back in the mid-late 1800's, and it's still alive. You can see where there was once a window carved out in the tree, but it has since healed back shut. These are some pretty incredible trees.

After that, we went for a little wine tasting. My sister has run various bars over the years, and has become quite the expert in cocktails, beers, and wines. She had carried one particular wine from David Bruce, and wanted to try out some of his other offerings. We of course went along, and man am I sorry I did. I don't think I can ever look at wine the same again, after having at least two of the best tasting wines that I've had in my life. I try not to be a snob, and still believe that there are great wines to be had in the $8-$12 range. But tasting a particular $55 bottle of a dry Syrah/Petit Syrah mix ... all I can say is that it blew my mind, and I didn't know wine could do what this one did. It's flavors were so pronounced, yet balanced and not overpowering... yea, all I can say is now I understand why anyone would ever want to pay that much. Not that I can/will anytime soon.

Some of David Bruce's vineyards.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Twisty Road Ahead

Now that we've been here about a month now, we're kinda settling into a routine. Most of the boxes are unpacked. (well, the ones that didn't have to go into storage) Melissae is well into her science writing program, and I'm... well I have a lot of time on my hands.

It's crazy going from trying to have two jobs and a life, to being un-employed in one week. I try to keep busy. But I don't want to get too deep in a project or hobby, as (hopefully) I'll have a job soon, and it will just be put on hold again. So what have I been up to for a month? Well after un-loading, un-packing, organizing, re-organizing, I've put in some time working on updating the old shops' website. It's needed it for a while, and now that I have the time to do it, it's a way to help out some good friends. But I tell ya, I am not cut out for the office. I can only handle a couple hours here, a few hours there, before my brain feels like it's fallen asleep in a caffeine high I can't come down from. And it's not the caffeine, as I only have a cup a day. I don't know how office people handle sitting in front of a computer screen all day, clicking on tabs, week after week... I guess I'm glad some can, as that's how people come up with, and maintain cool
sites like blogpost :) But once again, I've remembered one of the reasons that drove me into the bicycle business. Not that I'm never in front of a computer, nor am I allergic. I just can't do it all day long.

But once I've gotten my fill of that, and done at least most of the chores around the place, I've been riding or hiking in the amazing redwood mountains. The scenery is spectacular, and the huge trees aren't the only thing that'll make you feel humble out here. The climbs are (at least by my St. Louis standards) epic. There's a road just a few miles from our place that climbs nonstop for 3.7 miles and something like 1,600 vertical feet. It's the sort of climb that reminds me why people get compacts or triples for their race bikes. On my first attack, I only made it 2 miles before my heart felt like it was about to break my ribs, forcing me to turn back. But I've learned to not climb like I was used to in Missouri, but settle in for the 1/2 hour that it took me to finally make it to the top. Here's a view from one of the more photogenic turns in what we've come to call "Twisty Road":

(and the funny thing is: This isn't even one of the steeper sections.)

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