"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Friday, August 31, 2007

a week ago today

Can hardly bemoan my fate, since I'm leaving on vacation today and will be back at the coast by Monday...but it's hot as hell in Chico this week. At midnight last night it was still like 85 degrees or something. Or 80 at least. Bloody hot. I'd rather be where I was in this photo. Doing what I was doing, for that matter. So it's nice that more or less I will be, in a fairly short time from now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

a little sleep + a little chain = big difference

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a drivetrain! The bar-end shifters have an indexed or a friction setting, and the index doesn't seem to line up all that well, but in friction mode the derailleur shifts to all nine cogs in the cassette. Translation: it works. I think I'll be able to bring this bike on the trip after all. Left to do:
1. adjust front derailleur (cable still too long, won't shift into largest chainring)
2. adjust brakes
3. attach bottle cages, toe clips, pump, and (oh yeah) a saddle
4. put on fenders and headlight
5. attach rear rack
6. install computer
7. test drive

The brake adjusting can take a little time but all the hard stuff is done. Now it's basically a matter of turning little bolts.

And here are my pretty handlebars (tried to find an angle where it isn't obvious that I messed up one end of them).


Hmm. Working on the new bike with the idea of taking it on my vacation, realizing that I'm a bit short on time what with it being late Wednesday night and leaving Friday. Concerned that the top little black cog of my derailleur seems to be touching my cassette. I don't think it will work so well if it's doing that. Though the chain isn't on yet [come to think of it, won't work so well without the chain on either]. If I weren't so busy troubling myself about it I'd take a picture so that the problem would be more apparent even to those readers who may not really have a good idea about whatever it was I just said. Maybe putting on the chain will help, at least then the derailleur cogs will be in their right places to know if they're touching things they ought not to be touching.

I may have begun this phase of the project a bit too late. Might need to bring the old bike on the trip instead.

The handlebar tape looks really cool except for where I kind of botched it on one side. First attempt at wrapping handlebars, didn't expect it to be perfect.

On a totally different subject, I went outside on my balcony a few minutes ago and now have about five mosquito bites, basically one or more per appendage. I'd better let the cat back in before they carry him away.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Also not shown...

...are the curious tan lines on my right leg from wearing my knee brace hiking and in the kayak. I was hoping this would happen by the end of the summer. Mission accomplished.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Juniper Lake

Went camping here last weekend.
Climbed Mt. Harkness and turned around. [When you click this link, Mt. Shasta appears in the photo.]

Made new friends. (Well, I didn't catch her name, exactly...but she was such a dear.)

On Saturday night,
watched the sun set behind Mt. Lassen.

Paid attention to detail. (Really, click on that link, I had no idea the picture was that big.)

Not shown: the sky full of stars, or the view from the middle of the lake as I paddled across in the neighbors' kayak (a couple from Marin County who go camping at this lake every year around this time), or those neighbors and their exclamations of delight over the smoked sturgeon and brie with green peppercorns I shared with them, or the beautiful guitar playing and singing of neighbors on the other side of my campsite. Just all around a nice place to live (but for the lack of any kind of modern plumbing) for two days. Far enough up a washboard road from town that I felt quite motivated to eat whatever it was I brought and / or participate in community cooking ventures. On Saturday night I contributed Annie's Shells & Cheddar and a pot of fresh broccoli simmered with garlic, and the kayak neighbors had hotdogs and grilled chicken and chocolate chip cookies. Good deal all-around. Later I went over to play some music with the other neighbors, who seemed not so much the hotdog eating types, but they were adventurous and willing to try the fair trade organic coconut curry chocolate bar I bought at the Co-op. It helps to speak a couple different languages when one goes camping. I speak hotdog, vegetarian, and numerous dialects of chocolate. To name a few.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

More bike miles

18.5 miles on Sunday in Folsom on paths of the lovely American River Parkway, and 17.6 this morning up a ratty godforsaken stretch of road that parallels Highway 32 east into the hills above Chico. Humboldt Road. So many potholes and cracks that kids don't even seem to want to spray paint it very much (unlike Honey Run Road, which reads like a yearbook). But I made it to the end where it joins Hwy 32, took this photo, then came down on the highway to avoid serious teeth-clattering. Notice our lovely Sacramento Valley air in the distance. Thought about the itsy-bitsy bits of rubber to which I was commending all my health and well-being as I watched my speedometer climb to 31 mph. I've been down this road before and don't remember it feeling quite as scary as it did. I think there was a headwind that made me feel like I was going faster than I really was. Maybe I'll get some new fresh brakes anyway.