Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Longer Ride

It may be noticed that I am having some challenges in getting my conditioning and distance back.  Super frustrating, I must say.

So anyway, on Sunday, I asked Susan O if she wanted to ride one of the local 100k perm pop routes.  She instead offered up riding from their house out to Jeff's property in Willamina - 72+ miles, not very climby.  I'd finally get to see the property (I've been hearing about it for years), and Jeff would drive us all back in his Sprinter Van (now THERE'S a project), with a dinner stop.

Yes.  Sure. (No, not a RUSA-sanctioned route, but they don't all have to be!)  Fortunately, the bike was all back together; I filled some bottles, grabbed a sandwich out of the fridge and a few other food items, a change of clothes, and drove over to Susan's.

She was doing something with her bike, and then, a bit after 11am, we started out.  The route was roughly Hillsboro-Cornelius-Lafayette-Dayton-Sheridan-Willamina, and I am entirely clear on the obvious and common way to get there.

NotSoFast.  Susan had plotted a route that didn't quite do that.  The route through Hillsboro was mostly off the main streets, and very quiet.  We did have a stretch on TV Highway to Cornelius (at some point it just cannot be escaped).

I came up with a rear flat, of course, on TV Highway, when one cannot hear oneself even THINK.  I was carrying a spare tire, as I always do, so replaced the tire and tube.  Susan noted the extreme amount of wear on the discarded rear tire.  Oops.  Got my money's worth on that one.

Then another non-standard route through Cornelius, dropping us eventually on LaFollett, which then became the standard Geiger-Fern Hill (new chipseal)-Spring Hill-North Valley-Ribbon Ridge-Kuehne (where did all that traffic come from???)-Abbey(ditto) through Lafayette, thence to Dayton.

We discussed stopping in Dayton.  There is the Blockhouse Cafe, with same-day-service, but I knew that Susan wanted to finish before dark so she could show me around the property, and I also knew that she'd be getting there a lot quicker without me.  So I suggested the Center Market (prime randonneur stop), and we got more things to drink and eat.  I had a V-8 and a banana, and added a Kind Bar for later consumption.

Then we stopped and tweaked my seat adjustment.

Many years ago, Susan said that she was going to find a route between Dayton and Amity that didn't follow the infinity road ("Amity - 5 miles".  Further along: "Amity - 5 miles").  Well the new route gave Amity a miss altogether, but it was on blissfully smooth pavement (until DeJong Rd to Ballston Rd at the end), with no traffic whatsoever.  Nice scenery, too.  I think parts of it have been featured on the middle loop of the Grab Bag brevets.

My fender developed an annoying rattle.  It turned out both fenders had annoying rattles - the front had a bolt which needed tightening, the rear had rattled out the teeny little bolts on the L-bracket.  No way to fix that; I'd just live with it until I could get to a hardware store and buy more teeny little nuts and bolts.

So, after Dayton we just had scenery for miles and miles and miles.  Eventually we popped out in the former town of Ballston (General Store sign still there; building replaced with some metal garage-y thing), and Sheridan (last town before Willamina) wasn't TOO far away.

By now we were riding into a rather strong headwind.  The terrain wasn't particularly challenging, but the wind was not helping my forward motion.  I suppose I'd say that both the warp and impulse engines had malfunctions, and I just stopped and stood for a moment.  I could see the turn up ahead where we'd transition to a crosswind, but it took some effort to get there.

Susan was waiting, and told me that I'd ridden 100 km in 5:47 total elapsed time.  Given the past year, that wasn't bad at all.

Finally the turn, and a pretty special crosswind.  As I was descending into Sheridan, it took some effort to move forward in a straight line.

From Sheridan to Willamina, it was pretty much dead flat, wonderfully freshly paved, and rather more sheltered from the wind.

And finally there we were (although not quite finished).  We stopped in the "new" market in Willamina (there are now 4!), and perused the beer selection for a bottle for each of us.  Best I could find for me was a Widmer Hefeweizen, which isn't bad at all, there are just other beer styles I prefer more.

Stocking up in town

Now the last 3+ miles out to the property, gently rolling road (and more gloriously smooth pavement) past a lumber mill, and several farms.

I saw a sign up ahead that was probably a good indication of our turn, and indeed, Susan turned in.  At this point the driveway/road was gravel, but not bad at all.  We did walk the last pitch up; Jeff came out to greet us.

Destination.  Sweetpea and Thompson on the porch.

Susan and I, photo by Jeff (in the reflection!)

Dropped the bikes, opened the beers, and got a full tour.

Chair in the woods

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Details on the New Michigan Perm Pop

When I packed for the trip, I optimistically included cue sheets for both 1603 and 2390, as well as perm cards and a registration form.  All my riding this calendar year has been the North Plains Banks Vernonia Perm Pop, and not a whole lot of that.

So there we were, and I was looking at the perm pop and "nah, not this time.  Don't want to face those climbs..."

Revisiting the 200k (really 218k), I thought I might find a good 100k in there, to Glen Arbor and back.  And, pulling the route west between Empire and Glen Arbor, I was able to do just that, plus get to ride the brand new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

Mapping out a route with RWGPS on an iPad is a little tricky.  And I couldn't download the cue sheet and edit it - I had to write it out and type it into Google Sheets.

Crista promptly approved the route.  Then the weather went slightly disagreeable for a few days.

When the weather improved, my husband basically ejected me out of the cottage and onto my bike.  He doesn't usually do that.

So I rode into town to the Crescent Bakery, and started the ride at 1pm.  Rode back out of town (brief pause to start RWGPS), then up and over Sutter Road (OMG the new pavement!), and points north.  It was all good until I passed the canoe outfitters at the Platte River (11.7 miles), and then entered into the "nothing to see here" for the next 11 miles to Empire.  Well, lots of trees.  Some cornfields. Climbing. Need to work on my mental state for that stretch.

After winching myself back out of Empire, turned onto M-109 and started looking for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.  M-109 may be USBR-35, but it was also prime trailer and boat season.  Also, every camp and summer program in the area does a day trip to the dune climb, and M-109 is how one gets there.  The trail parallels the road, and I hopped on at Pierce Stocking Drive.  It was nice and shady, if a little bit more rolling that the road.

Rode by the Dune Climb, and was getting pretty excited about going through Glen Haven - it is a restored village with a General Store (no food/water), a Maritime Museum (the old Coast Guard station), a restored cannery, and other things.  Also nice clean bathrooms and water.

Moving along, the trail goes through a campsite and then the original routing had continuing straight on Pine Haven.  Nope.  Sand road.  The reroute goes right on Pine Haven, and returns to M-109 a long block or so sooner.

Glen Arbor doesn't really start until the intersection with M-22, so it seems like a longer ride into town than it is.

But anyway, I found myself some expedient ice cream, and sat outside the shop chatting with the proprietor.  Glen Arbor has many opportunities for food.

The return is a reverse of the route, and fairly uneventful.  I did stop in Empire for many things to drink, because it was humid.  I'd been drinking all afternoon, and needed more.  An older guy was returning empties, and the clerk asked for his birthday.  Something-something-1980.  I was looking at him thinking "wow, hard life."  The clerk was more forthright - "my son was born in 81, and you weren't born in 1980".  He finally coughed up a plausible birth year, finished his transaction and left.  The clerk and I looked at each other and cracked up.

Fitz was heading home from a golf outing, and passed me on the road just after the climb out of Empire.

More slogging along, although Empire to the Platte River is easier than the other way.  A pause on the Sutter Rd climb. A pause at the cottage to establish a meetup spot in town, and, finally the last couple of rollers (one pause) and done.

Stormcloud Brewing is my finish location of choice; they even have a cool rubber stamp, although if they are busy it might not be a good idea to send the bartender looking for it.

And hey, RWGPS in offline mode worked great!  Didn't hardly drain the battery at all!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Permanent Populaire #3164: Frankfort - Sleeping Bear - Glen Arbor 102km

Sleeping Bear Dune Climb

Cue sheet
Registration Form

Note: while I charge no fee for this perm, you MUST purchase a park pass to ride through the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.  The fee was $7.00 in 2016.

This route takes you from Frankfort, through the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, into Glen Arbor, and back again.

Starting at 4th and Main in Frankfort, your options for a control are Crescent Bakery, L'Chayim Delicatessen and maybe the coffee shop across the street whose name I do not remember.

Frittering (or more specifically Lemon Bismarcking) away the time before the start

You head east on Main Street, away from Lake Michigan, turn left onto 7th Street, which rapidly becomes M-22, heading north.

Three rollers out of town, and then you ride along Crystal Lake until the left turn onto Sutter Rd.  I am ever so pleased to report that Sutter Rd has been repaved!  It hasn't gotten any flatter, though.

The deer statues seen by the side of the road and in yards are not statues.  You might also spot a flock of wild turkeys.

At the end of Sutter Rd you turn left onto M-22 again, and there's minimal navigation for miles and miles and miles.  You'll pass the Platte Lake store (Riverside Canoe Trips, mi 11.7) if you need anything; there's nothing for the next 10 miles.  Well, lots of trees, as this is Up North.  Eventually the terrain starts rolling.

Heading north on M-22/USBR-35

When you see the Radome up ahead, Empire isn't far away.  You'll drop 200 feet into town.

The Empire Radome

Right at the intersection of M-22 and M-72 (traffic light), there is an EZ-Mart, which may be more interesting on your return.

But, more importantly, you can turn right onto M-72, go a block, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore office on the left will sell you that park pass.

Continuing north on M-22, you'll climb up a bit, and then turn left onto M-109.

You'll see the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail on your left, and you may prefer to cut over to it when you get a chance.  I hopped on at Pierce Stocking Drive.  There are driveways, and eventually, the Duneswood Resort.  It is a lot nicer riding on the trail - shaded and no RVs or pickups hauling boats!

If you did not get your park pass in Empire, you must buy one in the parking lot just past Hunter Rd, mi 27.3.

On your left is the famous Dune Climb, where people (mostly children) scramble up and down for hours.  There is also hiking at the top.  This is not to be confused with the EPIC dune climb at the end of the Pierce Stocking Drive, where the dune plunges precipitously down to Lake Michigan, and there are signs warning that you must pay for your own rescue if you can't climb back up.  Good times.

So, continuing along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail - there are a few steep bits, but they are all short - you'll eventually come to the first info control.  The sign is on the right, and it is the second sand turnaround.

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

By now the trees have receded into dune scrub foliage, and a mile or so later, you will arrive in the restored historic town of Glen Haven.  There's another info control here, or you can buy something in the General Store.  Note: they DO NOT sell anything to drink, but there is a water fountain outside, as well as very nice restrooms.

Glen Haven General Store

Continue on the path between the store and the restrooms, heading to and straight through the D. H. Day Campground.  The trail pops out the other side, ending at Pine Haven Drive.  Turn right, and then left on M-109, for a short couple of miles into Glen Arbor.

Ice Cream in Glen Arbor

Glen Arbor is the turnaround control.  You'll find a market on the corner of M-22 and M-109, and continuing straight (M-109 merges into M-22 North), you'll find ice cream places and a coffee shop.  There is also Art's, with their famous pool table on hydraulics, but service might be slow.

And then you turn around and retrace the route back to Frankfort.  By then, Crescent Bakery is probably closed, but Stormcloud Brewing will be open, as will The Cool Spot (ice cream!) as well as many other places to get something to eat and/or drink.

Fini, Stormcloud Brewery

Monday, July 11, 2016

In Support of Local Minor Transportation Betterments

This post is mostly for readers in Washington County, Oregon.  I've collected all the links and information here for easy access.

July 2016

Washington County Land Use and Transportation is collecting proposals for "small road improvements" - pedestrian sidepaths, better striping, etc.

Last year I submitted a proposal for a pedestrian facility on SW Walker Rd, from Hwy 217 to SW Canyon road.  Amazingly enough, it is on the map of candidates.

There are also proposals for a pedestrian facility on SW 107th from SW Walker to SW Hawthorne, and others throughout the neighborhood.

Small Road Improvements in Our Neighborhood
The county considers comments from the public.  I can't help but think that comments from our neighborhood would only be for the good.

From Victoria Saager, the Urban Road Maintenance District Program Manager:

"... if you would like to submit comments on an identified candidate, you can send them in an email to with the candidate number and road name identified in the subject line. Your comments will be retained and, if the candidate is a finalist for funding and public comments are requested, your comments will be shared with the project selection committee along with other comments received during the public comment period."

The candidates I am lobbying for are:

Candidate #430
Pedestrian walkway has been proposed on Walker Rd from Canyon Rd to 108th Av.

Candidate #476
Pedestrian walkway has been proposed on 107th Av from Walker Rd to Hawthorne Ln.


Candidate #306
Pedestrian Path has been proposed on Walker Rd from 108th Av to Hwy 217 (n-bnd Ramps).

Please fire off an email to: supporting any or all of these local improvement candidates.  They will collect comments all through the comment period, but getting your input in by Friday July 15 may improve the chances of any or all of these projects going forward this year.

Please note that while we pay taxes for our transportation system, our end of the county has not been getting much love from the transportation department.

Points I intend to make:

  • Improves safety for pedestrians along SW Walker Rd; currently there aren't viable places to walk, traffic exceeds the posted speed limit, and sightlines are bad.
  • Improves safety AND provides a way to walk along SW 107th to access SW Walker Rd, which does not impinge on private property.  The steepness and narrowness of SW 107th at SW Walker makes it precariously dangerous for pedestrians.
  • Will encourage more walking for short errands, such as to businesses and the library, all of which are in a 2 mile radius of SW Walker and SW 107th Ave, which will subsequently reduce motor vehicle traffic.

Please join me in supporting these local improvement candidates!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Lily Quilt

My nephew and his wife had a daughter, and I was trying to decide on what to give them for a baby present.  I've given up on knitting baby things - they are outgrown too quickly.

On the other hand, a quilt can last a very long time.  I used to make baby quilts - well, I'd make proper pieced quilts in a smaller size :-) - but when nieces and nephews stopped arriving, it fell by the wayside.

The first of those quilts is now 20 years old, the fabric is shredding, and it is still in use.

Given that this little girl is named Lily, I started hunting around for a Lily-themed quilt block.  I found this one, and thought it would work out.

Rummaged through the fabric stash and drew up the pattern.  It had lots of half-square triangles, which are kind of fussy.  The seams have to be perfect for the little points to come out correctly, and it is easy to make a mistake getting all the little bits assembled.


I pulled out all my pinks/purples for the flower and the greens for the stem and leaves.  I was trying to not repeat the flower color combination in any block, so eventually I raided another stash for more pinks and purples.  (What?  Buy fabric?  I have too much already!)

The original quilt plan looked like this (yay Visio!):

I was planning to have the blocks go from light flowers in the upper right corner to dark flowers in the lower left corner.  After making up all the blocks, I thought the pink blocks in the sashing and binding might be a little much, so went with solid green.  I did have to buy green fabric for the sashing, borders, and backing.

There was not quite enough green for the back, so I pieced it out with a few more quilt blocks.

Then there was the question of how to quilt it.  The design didn't lend itself to straight diagonals; sewing through the centers of the lily blocks wouldn't go well.

I started researching free-motion machine quilting, bought the 505 Basting Spray and sticky gloves, and took a side trip making a few potholders, which also meant buying some Insul-Bright batting for heat shielding.

Potholders - front view

Potholders - back view

So, after all this procrastination, I spent some quality time on the living room floor getting the backing/batting/quilt top ready for quilting.  That 505 Basting Spray is excellent stuff - no need to pin or baste at all.


First I quilted each block, then the sashing strips, then each border.  While it worked out, it did leave a lot of threads to hide afterward. (my sewing table surface has not been this uncluttered in years.)

After that I bound the edges with 200+ inches of binding (one side machine sewn, then the other side finished by hand).

200+ inches of binding to be sewn

And here it is:

Front of quilt

Back of quilt

Lily block quilting detail

Block and corner quilting detail

(this isn't a surprise; they know it is coming)

Learnings (a project should always have learnings):

  • Half-square triangles.  Probably more practice needed for absolute perfection.
  • Non-skid fabric rulers.  I had purchased one in a useful size I did not have, and then discovered aftermarket non-skid film for my existing quilting rulers.  Discovery: I have many quilting rulers, because I finally collected them into one drawer.
  • Used my aftermarket 1/4" presser foot.  Maybe my needle is off-center a bit.  Maybe I need the Bernina 1/4" presser foot with the fabric guide (#57).  Or I could wing it with my #030, which accepts a fabric guide (which I have).  Oops, presser foot shopping happening.  Also succumbed to the siren call of the button foot (#18) and the upgraded basic foot (#1), which will also accept the fabric guide. In case anyone is wondering, I have a Bernina 930 sewing machine.  Old.  Solid.  Dependable.
  • Free-motion machine quilting.  This is fun.  Purchased the 505 basting adhesive spray, which meant that when I got it all together, the layers of fabric stuck together in a unit, no matter how much I scrunched it all around to quilt.  Also got the sticky fingertip gloves, so as to be able to move the fabric around.  This also lead to...
  • Insul-Brite batting, which I used for the potholders I made for free-motion quilting practice.  I used one layer of the Insul-Brite and one layer of cotton batting.  Next time, maybe I'll up that to two layers of cotton batting.  And make slightly smaller potholders.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Well, I Got In A Couple More Rides

and then had some (planned) minor surgery which had been postponed due to the unplanned major surgery at the beginning of the year.  So, off the bike for three weeks, which just ended today.

Two more outings on the NP-Banks Vernonia Trail perm pop (read all about how very cool this route is in your most recent American Randonneur!), once with Ray and Steve, and once with Ray and Susan.

Ray and Steve

Great weather both times, and, for the June outing, my quickest time since last July.  Not clear if it is because I am feeling better, or because the Lake Vernonia detour is finally finished, but I'll take it.

Susan and Ray

On June outing, there was also a bike swap around Lake Vernonia, because I wanted to give Susan's Wicked a spin.  We are just about the same height, and wear the same size shoes, so it is easy to do that.  I was also trying out a new saddle, and stopped to adjust it a couple of times.  It wants more setback than my current seatpost, so today I got another seatpost out of the parts bin and installed it (see also: couldn't lift heavy things until today either).

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Adding another Hobby

Because I don't have enough of them!  One of my fiber group (mostly knitting, but we've got quilters and embroiderers in the group) is destashing, and besides ending up with more yarn, fiber, and fabric, I also got her 4 harness table loom.

Restored Leclerc Dorothy table loom

After careful examination, it appeared that the reed was rusted beyond recovery, plus it had no lease sticks, shuttles, or a raddle (you get to look up all these terms).

While I had to buy a new reed, all the other pieces are fairly basic rectangular/oblong pieces of wood, some with openings at each end, some with nails spaced every inch.  After consultation with the resident woodworker, and researching what each piece should look like, he found some nice scraps in the garage (fir, oak, and black walnut), and cut everything out.

Raddle and lease sticks - random fir scraps, I think

Stick shuttles, rough sanded.  Oak and black walnut

I sanded and finished (Deft spray on laquer.  Quick drying, looks nice).  Then holes were drilled for the nails on the raddle (nails in drawer in shop area), a bit more sanding and finishing, nail installation, and I had all the pieces for successful loom use.

In the time it took to get to this place, my SIL's friend told me I should take the scarf weaving class at Multnomah Arts Center.  It appears that one does not need to be a Portland resident, so I signed up.

Weaving class - sleying the reed

Weaving class - threading the heddles.

It was great fun!  We learned how to make a warp, dress the loom, and then, finally after all that (it took almost 2 3-hour classes to get there), weave!  The scarf is really a sampler, 9 inches wide, with different threadings for each 3 inches.  We'd weave for three inches, and then change to a different treadle order, so we could see the different weave structures.

First Weaving!

Moving along, first 15 inches

I had to go in a couple extra times to keep up - here I was thinking I was the slowest weaver ever, but it turned out my weft was thinner than everyone else's.  So I had to weave longer to get the same length of cloth done.

Playing Warp Chicken in weaving class

Woven sampler scarf

(Bicycle tie-in - I'd ride over to the Multnomah Art Center.  It is a fairly straightforward route, at least for me.  The center is a couple of blocks from the start of the Solstice Ride.  Multnomah Blvd is trivial to ride up when one doesn't have 200k ridden through the night, first.)

Now I am trying to figure out what to weave on the loom at home.  Dishtowels seem a good exercise, although my maximum weaving width is 15.75".  I think it will work.