Sunday, May 20, 2007

Monster Sunday Post With Many Titles

Sunny Sunday #2, Ride Around The Lake #2, The Best of Independence, Best Time With Stacey, Stop and Smell the Roses, Giant Picture Dump, Ride to Fallen Leaf Lake, Three Porter Post--all could be appropriate titles for this post.

What a great day.

Through the years, I've found out that some of the most memorable days are the ones where nothing was planned--no expectations of great fun were made for the day--but through dumb luck or just getting out and DOING something, the day turns out to be memorable for years to come. I had one of those days today.

In fact, this weekend was just a great weekend all-around. I am doing what I set out to do in Tahoe finally, due in part to getting the ninja, and also the sunny weather. Any weekend where I'm out of the house more than I'm in, is almost always going to be a successful weekend in my eyes. When that includes a bike ride to a hot springs and a waterfall, and a bike ride around the lake with multiple stops, the weekend is a definite success!

This morning came sooner than anticipated, as I stayed up until 2am mostly due to the raging party going on. I didn't partake, and I wasn't really miffed by the fact there was a raging party going on, I just wasn't in the mood to get wasted. Whatever day it was last week, I think Wednesday night, when I had a few too many drinks, has me on beer-pong tilt. No more drinking lots of cheap beer for a while for me! About halfway through the party last night, Jen came and knocked on my door and asked if I had either drank or hid my Porters. I told her I hid them, and she said, "Good, because I was about to lay down the law if people had stolen your beers!" That was nice of her! I don't mean to be the dick that hides his stuff from his house mates, but when there is a party almost every night, I know that those Porters will be gone by morning unless I hide them.

So Ichi and I barricaded ourselves in my room until morning, then Ichi woke me up scratching at the door at about 8:20am. It was cool though, because I sort of wanted to get up early and make it to frisbee at 10am. I woke up, let Ichi outside, then took a nice, long shower. I meant to shower last night after my ride to Markleeville and 3mi round trip hike, but I didn't shower, and then the party started and the bathroom was in constant use. I didn't want to be aiding and abetting a puke or other bodily fluid episode in our house, so I stayed grimy. I told myself it was practice for my 4-night hike in the Sierras with my Dad in a few months!

I got all the grime off, then figured out what calls I needed to make from the fields before pickup began. I keep forgetting to get my insurance updated with the motorcycle, so that was the top priority. Secondary was to call the bike shop and see if I could schedule my 500 mile maintenance check up.

With some great advice from my Uncle John, I got Nikki started up before 10am for the first time. The problem I was having had to do with having the choke open and the throttle going. I guess I'm supposed to close the throttle when the choke is open to start things out. I was giving the bike too much gas, which killed it. I'm not sure if that is "flooding" it, but to my surprise this morning, not giving it gas made it start up. The true test will be tomorrow, at 7:30am.

Made it to Kahle for frisbee before anyone else showed up, and I gave Progressive a call to add the bike to my insurance. Surprisingly, my insurance ended on April 5th! They failed to notify me of this until I tried adding my bike to the insurance, and the lady said, "Hmm, I don't see that you have any active insurance plans with us."

WHAT?! So apparently I've been riding around for the last six weeks with no car insurance. That could have been very, very bad. The weird thing is that they sent a piece of mail on April 19th to my old address in Nevada City, which got to me--but the notification about my insurance ending I never received. So they had my correct address, but one piece of mail got to me and the other didn't. The lady I talked with on the phone said that since I changed states (from Oregon to CA), the insurance doesn't automatically renew. Would have been nice if I was told that earlier, but ah well. I let loose a miniature shit storm, but I was more interested in getting both the Exploder and Ninja insured.

As researched, the Ninja ended up being super-cheap to insure, at just over a dollar a day. The insurance I have just safeguards me from wrecking other people's stuff, or if an uninsured motorist crashes into my bike, but I'm not too worried about screwing my own stuff up. If that happens, it's my own damn fault, and I'll have to pay for it or figure out a way to fix it.

The insurance call ended up taking a good 30mins, and about halfway through Dirk and his German Shepard "Gellert" showed up. Gellert is a cool dog. He's being trained for Search and Rescue, and is one of those dogs with an Energizer battery strapped to his back. He does not stop running. We tossed the disc for a good hour (sadly, no one else showed up), and Gellert would race from person to person as we tossed the disc. He only showed signs of fatigue after Dirk and I were sitting down getting ready to leave.

Turns out Dirk has a free membership to Kahle Community Center through his work, so we hit the gym for a bit after getting bored tossing the disc. I wasn't in a big workout mood, and only lifted for about 10 minutes before investigating the basketball court--turned indoor soccer arena! A guy had put up little foot-high padded walls in an oval around the basketball court, making an indoor soccer field. Made me wish I was on an indoor soccer team. I played one round of IM indoor soccer at UPS and we got absolutely schooled--but I had a blast. I'm no good at soccer--terrible, in fact, but it is probably the one sport I am most interested in for the worldly aspect. I ended up spending a good 20 minutes hacking around a soccer ball, trying to kick it into the basketball hoop... with no success.

Cracks open Porter#2

After Kahle, I came back home for lunch and ran into Jen and George walking down to the beach on my way up the hill. Not really a blog-worthy run in, but just now as I went to go get my second Porter, I saw them out in the living room. They are burned to a crisp. Sunny and cloudy off and on all day--best time to get the WORST sunburns. Their faces really look like they might blister. Ouch!

I realized I hadn't called the Kawasaki dealership about the 500mi checkup, and I wanted to go for a ride, but I wasn't really sure where I wanted to go. I wanted to avoid the big hill down to Carson if at all possible, then I remembered that I still hadn't replaced my iPod earphones that Stacey cruelly broke while borrowing my iPod. Hah, jk, I pretty much ruined them, then she used my iPod and they finally snapped :) So, I headed to the Radioshack down in SLT. I found some cheapo ear phones. The reason being to listen to music while riding the ninja, I only have one of the ear pieces in while riding--and I can barely hear the music over the street noise, but it is nice to have something to listen to while I'm stuck behind a string of cars. Motorcycling with no music is a little bit like driving a car with no music--kind of odd--so I'm glad to have the tunes going.

I remembered to call the Kawasaki dealership after the purchase at Radioshack, and they are closed on Sundays, so I'll have to give them a buzz tomorrow or Tuesday.

I didn't have any plans for the rest of the day, so I decided to head up to Emerald Bay to test out the ear phones. I nodded my head to some Blackalicious while zooming up the road to the Bay. On the way, I decided to hang a left onto Fallen Leaf Road, which leads to Fallen Leaf Lake. It looked a lot like a road Stacey and I took a few years back for a day hike. The road was a bit bumpier on a bike than I remembered, but it was a good experience to see how Nikki handled the rougher road. And she did great!

Lots of cars along the road, and lots of hairpin turns, so it was good riding practice for me. I didn't have to worry about anyone on my ass, because when it comes to slow speeds and sharp turns, Nikki trumps all else! I passed a side-road that went off to the left that looked eerily familiar, but I stayed on Fallen Leaf Road. After a couple of miles, it came to the gorgeous (and relatively large) lake, and wound around the southern edge of the lake. The road was pretty cool, because there were houses up on the hill, then little docks on the lake-side of the road. There wasn't enough room for houses on the lake-side of the road, because the road was placed so close to the lake. Sucks for the home-owners, but great for me, because I had an amazing view of the lake for the entire time I roamed around the lake!

I crossed a bridge, and that is when it finally hit me that this WAS the place Stacey and I hiked down to on a day-hike. When I realized where I was, I just had to go the extra half-mile or so to the docks Stacey and I jumped into Fallen Leaf Lake at:

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Not an amazing spot or anything, but I can honestly say that at the time she I jumped in the lake, then sunbathed on that further of the two floating docks--that just might have been the high-point in our relationship. For me, it'd be a toss-up between then, and our move to Portland. The Saturday we drove up to Tahoe from Sacramento marked the day after our week break from each other. What set off the week break was me being a very stupid me.

Stacey was living at the downtown house with Jeff, Joe and Amanda. There was a party going on, and I think Stacey was in her room (not sure if I had moved in yet--I don't think so) possibly steaming about something stupid Amanda was doing. Stacey also wasn't happy with me at the time (possibly because I just wanted to have fun and didn't want to deal with any drama--it has been a while, so I could be way off here). We had all been drinking a bit, not enough to go crazy or anything, but enough to turn the "good judgment" lever to OFF in my head. I'm not really sure what the conversation was, but I remember saying something along the lines of, "Oh boy, you don't want to tell Stacey anything, because she'll just use it against you later in a fight." Again, I'm pretty sure this quote isn't 100% correct, but that isn't terribly important. What was important, was Stacey standing in the doorway with steam rising from her head and eyes like the evil Bilbo Baggins when he wants his ring back from Frodo. She was not happy. She said something along the lines of "Thanks, that was nice." Then slammed the door to her room and locked it.

Oooooops. No point in making excuses, but in all honesty, the stupid remark was really just made out of spite for her being mad at me (and I'm sure it tied into the conversation somehow). At this point in our relationship, I still didn't understand why the hell she would get mad at me for apparently no reason--when in fact she was just angry with someone else. I didn't see the "I'm mad at Jane Doe, thus I am mad at everyone, including Chris" connection. I saw that as "I'm mad at Chris, and Chris has no clue why" and at the time, my silly logic would tell me "I shouldn't be treated like this, screw this, if she wants to be pissed at me, let her be pissed!"

Ah, learning!

Of course, once I am in that state of mind, taking jabs at her isn't far away. Of course, looking back, and looking at the situation from Stacey's perspective--it probably goes something like this: "Stacey pissed at Jane Doe//Stacey wants to stew by herself for a bit before talking about it//Chris figures something is wrong//Stacey doesn't want to talk about it//Chris leaves//Stacey wants to talk about it now//Chris is mad because he think Stacey is mad at him and won't tell him why//Chris says something stupid//Stacey is now mad at Chris"

I was terrible at alleviating any stress for Stacey during our first six months or so. The only serious relationship I had before Stacey was with Sara, who, completely unlike Stacey, didn't show her emotions. I had absolutely no clue how to deal with emotions. (dramatization) Before Stacey, if I ran over a dog, I'd think "Stupid slow dog," (/dramatization) I rarely ever cried (which hasn't changed much), and I generally was a very emotionless person. After Stacey, I realize that there is a place for emotion, and sort of like love, I feel like although both love and emotion can bring some very heavy bouts of depression, they are both worth it. When Ichi passes away, I will shed a tear. I'm not sure if I've ever cried for a cat's passing since I was a young kid. I didn't shed a tear when Tyke passed away, who was the first cat I'd known from birth to death, but while I was with Stacey I mistakenly found a picture my dad had sent me of Tyke, and I just bawled. It was sad, she was an amazing cat and I grew up with her. From the chest rubbing that made her shake her head like Ray Charles to her senility once Watson came around--she had a personality, and now that personality is gone.

Anywho, back to the stupid comment and Stacey locking herself in her room. I knocked for a while, said I was sorry. I wanted to talk about it. She (for obvious reasons) didn't. I can't recall what my line of thinking was, but it basically centered around "I must get in that room." So, what do you do when you want to get into a room and aren't big enough to bust down the door? That's right, you pick the lock. I attempted to pick the lock with a paper-clip, and was failing miserably. At this point, if I was Stacey, I might have kicked me out of the house and dumped me right there on the spot, in front of everyone at the party. She might not have been able to hear the door rattling because of the loud music.

Joe and Sean's friend (petite Asian who I can't remember her name for the life of me) saw me trying to pick the lock, and said, "need some help?" She ended up picking the lock for me, and I went into the room and laid down on the floor next to the bed. Stacey and I had a pretty interesting conversation after that! The conclusion we (she?) came to is that we should spend a week apart--no contact, and at the end of that week, see if we want to keep the relationship going or not.

That week took forever. I remember just being consumed with thoughts of Stacey from my dreams, to waking up, to all day at work, to going to bed. I wanted to make everything right, and I realized how much better my life was with Stacey in it. I really wanted to talk with her, but also wanted to respect her week--but I wanted to show her someway how much I was thinking of her. I think maybe Wednesday while she was at work I went to Home Depot and picked up a bathtub plug and a faucet handle for the bathroom sink--both things she didn't have and wanted. I didn't leave a note or anything. I didn't want extra credit, I just wanted to show that I was thinking about her.

On Thursday or Friday, I got a note from Stacey--I forget how long it was, and how much detail the note got into, but it basically said, "I planned a weekend, be ready to leave early on Saturday." So now, I might be confusing this fight with another, but I do remember not really being sure where we were at relationship-wise when we drove off on Saturday. I have a very selective memory, and most of the thoughts that got recollected today were from the actual hike, so forgive me if I butchered the part leading up to the hike, Stacey (or feel free to clue me in if you remember better?).

Porter #3

Stacey drove us towards Tahoe, and I remember feeling a bit awkward at the start of the trip, but we eventually got to talking about how much I hurt her by saying what I said. I was one of the few people she trusted, and by me saying, "Oh, you don't want to tell Stacey any secrets, she'll stab you in the back!" The trust started to vanish. She drove us to the Fallen Leaf Road, and we did, in fact, take that left that I thought looked familiar today. I think we did a mile or so hike up to Aloha Lake, smiling, talking, and feeding chipmunks. It was beautiful, and we were getting a lot off our chest. What we liked about our relationship; what we didn't. Why we should keep the relationship going; why we shouldn't.

I'm pretty sure Stacey had another hike planned out, but we saw a lake maybe 800 feet below us that looked really nice, and we saw a trail that led down to it--so we took it. We talked some more on the way down, and although there were a lot of things we needed to work on, it seemed like we both were willing to work for our relationship, because we both felt much better together than apart--evidenced by the week apart. I'm not when exactly we decided to keep the relationship going, but I want to say it was right around the point we crossed the bridge. I remember taking a few pictures there, and I'm pretty sure we were smiling.

By then, the narrow dirt trail we had been descending turned into a paved road with cars all over the place. And houses. I don't think either of us really expected houses on this lake out in the middle of nowhere (but we didn't come from the direction everyone else came from). We walked down a street that said "private" and saw an immaculate tennis court on the right, and a beach below on the lake, with plenty of "private" signs, and pine trees shading most of the picnic benches. We walked down onto the beach, but didn't really think that would be a good place to swim, so we walked further down the street along the lake. One of us saw the little floating docks, and egged the other to go down and jump in. Shortly thereafter, we were both in the lake, and it seemed like everything was going to work out. The feeling was quite amazing. We took a few pictures on the dock, each of us had a myspace or livejournal icon from that spot for a while.

A very memorable spot, without even realizing where I was until the bridge :) I took another picture of the ninja and the lake, just to the right of the dock area:

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After strolling down mental memory lane, I buzzed away and decided to make loop number two around the lake. I have yet to get a picture of my favorite spot on the lake (or my second favorite), but after passing by both spots, I'm not sure it is possible to capture either spot going clockwise around the lake. Next time I'll go counter-clockwise, and be sure to stop at the two spots--and hike if necessary to get the shots.

That is another thing I learned today while on my trip around the lake. STOP. I want to abide by this motto all summer: if there is something I think might be worth stopping for, stop and check it out. It won't hurt to spend a few minutes to check it out, and it might develop into something amazing--like the Fallen Leaf Lake trip.

After zooming through Emerald Bay, I tried to adhere to my STOP motto, and stopped along the lake to snap a few pictures at lake-level:

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OK, not every stop is equal! But still, even if all I get is one crappy photo of my bike, a tree, a lake, and some guard rails--that is better than nothing!

My next stop came after actually passing through most of Tahoe City, then remembering my motto, turning around and parking to check out the town. It is way too easy for me to get stubborn and think, "Gotta get home and upload these photos and write about Fallen Leaf Lake before I forget!" But, I did stop, and I saw a happy hour sign outside the River Grill. I didn't really know what to expect. The highway was groomed nicely and watered around the area, so I thought it might be a little too haughty-taughty for my tastes (and wallet)--and it was--but the happy hour special was amazing! Half-off appetizers, and $3.50 huge margaritas.

Now, let me tell you... I have been craving a margarita for literally MONTHS. Once I saw "Margar..." on the happy hour special on the menu outside, I just walked in. I was hungry, but didn't really care about the food prices once I saw the margarita on the menu. The 1/2 price appetizer menu reminded me of the Greenlake Bar and Grill happy hour special that Tyler and I always hit--I think they have a very similar happy hour deal. At the River Grill though, the happy hour special is only good if you sit at the bar. Kind of quirky, but it was kind of neat to have everyone sitting up at the bar--mostly all strangers to one another.

In case you can't figure it out, I haven't done much bar-hopping, or sitting at the bar for that matter. I'm usually with a few people at a booth. But I couldn't have had a better time. The two guys next to me were Harley owners from Tuscon, AZ, up here on a road trip. The bartender and waitress were joking around, and there was a baseball game and a soccer game on the two TVs (yay soccer!). I ended up ordering Smoked Salmon on Focaccia bread, for $6. It was amazing. Smoked salmon was another craving I've had for what seems like at least a year. I swapped stories with the two Harley guys for about 30minutes before I polished off the margarita and the smoked salmon, then headed out.

I walked around a bit to clear my head from the strong margarita, and snapped a few pictures:

1) River Grill, and a car which apparently has a forcefield of some sort
2) Zoomed out Tahoe Dam and little shack
3) Shack, NW corner of Lake Tahoe

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The sun was going down, and it was probably around 7pm when I left Tahoe City, but I made a couple more stops on my way back to Zephyr Cove to shoot some photos of my bike and the lake: (sorry in advance if you have a slow connection, or hate pictures)

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And to top off a great weekend, I'm sitting in bed with my laptop, a Black Butte Porter, and an Ichi cuddled at my feet. Finishing up this monster of a post and watching Hoy try to take down the FTOPS Main Event. Top prize is $336,000! I'll even do a little time table for my fellow poker blogger in hopes that it boosts his luck in the tourney:

9:00pm -- 79,215 chips; 83rd out of 264 remaining
9:01pm -- 108,415; 51 out of 251 (it's working!!)
9:20pm -- 115,565; 54 out of 201
9:35pm -- 98,665; 80 out of 163 (at the seven and a half hour mark--seventh break!)
9:50pm -- 121,915; 69 out of 142
10:10pm -- 97,455; 78 out of 114 (SHOWED THE HAMMER BLUFF!!!)
10:19pm -- OUT! aw nuts. 101st place out of 3,798 for a cool $1,899--not bad for a night of poker! 88 no good vs. QcJc Q spiked on the turn.

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Blogger staceyface said...

that was definitely one of the most beautiful days ever. i'm glad you found that again.

you sure like taking pictures with the ninja in it :D
i guess i would too if i had something so pretty. or hot. which does she prefer?

1:06 PM  
Blogger meanhappyguy said...

I'm hoping to save the pictures I take now for when I sell the bike ten years from now--mwah ah ah!

And she prefers "Deadly"

1:35 PM  

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