Sunday, August 10, 2008

Summer Break - Week 1

My first week of break started out with a bang. Monday I met up with a few classmates and we headed up to Lake Wenatchee for a couple nights of camping out under the stars. There were so many stars at night we had to turn on a light to make out the constellations. The lake was amazing and the weather was beautiful. We cooked steaks, played board games and even got in some Asshole (a drinking game where my true colors shine).

From Lake Wenatchee, I ditched my camping gear with one of my very awesome classmates and continued on to Winthrop, WA, where I met up with my parents at Sun Mountain Lodge. It is as swanky as it sounds. The motorcycle ride from Lake Wenatchee to Winthrop was a lot of fun because I had eight hours to travel what amounted to a four-hour trek. I stopped in the bustling town of Entiat for a big breakfast. I stopped at Lake Chelan for an hour of reading in the shade by the lake, which turned out to be 30 minutes of reading transformed into a 30 minute nap.

The nap recharged my batteries and I rode in to Winthrop with two hours until check-in time, so I stopped at the ice cream parlor in the middle of town. My family usually eats there whenever we go to Sun Mountain, and we usually get a round of putt-putt golf in, and my Mom usually wins. Unfortunately, we didn't make the putt-putt round this year, but I at least got to have some ice cream before their arrival (picture below). Winthropians know how to do ice cream. I spent another 45 minutes there eating ice cream and reading. From Winthrop, I rode nine miles to Patterson Lake, just below Sun Mountain Lodge. It was still sunny and 85 degrees when I jumped in the lake, but when I left the lake an hour later (more reading), clouds appeared out of nowhere, which made for my first arrival at Sun Mountain not in the sun.

Sun Mountain consisted of fine dining, deer 10ft from our back door, gin & tonic drinking, reading, pinnochle with the parents, sun bathing, billiards, ping pong and... golf! Golf with my parents is amazingly fun, and even giving my Dad three extra strokes each hole this year, I still retain the title as best male golfer in my family. I actually beat my Mom this year too, but that was a fluke.

You may be asking what has got me all wound up in a book. To my knowledge I haven't mentioned any books on this blog for years. I stumbled upon Clifford Simak's "City" last Friday at the library and picked it up. It had me hooked all last week until I finished it this morning. It won the 1953 International Fantasy Award for Best Novel. It is about Man, Dogs, Robots, the past, present and future. It is a great book, and although I have not read much science fiction, after seeing some of the author's who praised this book (Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Gene Wolfe, Allen Steele), and actually recognizing a few of the names--I think I might check out Simak's "Way Station" next.

Friday morning I took off early from Sun Mountain and experienced quite possibly my most enjoyable motorcycle ride to date. It is hard to top a few of my rides around Tahoe in the first months of motorcycle ownership, but my ride on Saturday comes as close as possible. From Winthrop, I rode West across the North Cascades Highway, then up to Vancouver, B.C. for the World Ultimate and Guts Championships. I had been looking forward to riding the North Cascades on my motorcycle from before I bought it over a year ago. When I was in my teens, I dreamed of renting a fast sports car and driving the North Cascades Highway for a birthday. Doing it on a motorcycle did not creep into my mind back then, but now that I have done it, I can't imagine a more fun way to experience that road. The weather was perfect and I never got stuck behind any slow vehicles in the 100 miles from Winthrop to just outside Burlington. The North Cascades Highway itself is a beautiful 2 to 4 lane highway which is the north-most passage across the Cascades in Washington. The road is closed during the winter and the speed limit varies between 50-70mph, but the majority of the ride seemed to be on 35-45mph advised turns. 35-45mph advisory signs are aimed at semi-trucks, but on a Kawasaki Ninja 250, with a little leaning, I can take those turns at 60-70. The ride was everything I hoped it would be, in fact, I was not even listening to music as I made the ride. I've become accustomed to listening to my iPod on any ride longer than 20 minutes or so, but I wanted to take this ride in with all my senses, and I'm glad I went with the music of the road instead of the iPod for this section of highway.

Customs was slow. Why don't they have an HOV/Motorcycle lane at customs? I guess it might take just as long, with the additional passports to check, but I waited about an hour getting into Canada at noon on a Friday. I also thought the speed limit in Canada was extra slow prior to this trip, but I was averaging 70mph on Canada 1, heading West into Vancouver. The km/h meter on my bike is cut off by the mileage ticker, so I know I was going somewhere between 40km/h and 140km/h, but I'm not sure what 70mph translates to.

I got a bit lost in Vancouver, trying to find University of British Columbia solely on my memory of a googlemap I scouted out the night before. I crossed a couple of bridges and was stuck in traffic on the second bridge when a guy on a scooter zipped past me and barely missed smacking into the stopped truck in front of me. Guy turns around and says, "Nice day for a ride!" The guy turns out to be an 80-year old dude with a white mustache and decked out in full leathers--riding on a scooter with flame decals. We rode together for a while along the coast, chatting at stop lights, until I finally asked him where the hell UBC is! He said he was actually heading there too, but just taking the scenic route, he'd be glad to show me the way. Sweet!

Then another image popped into my head. The old guy in Family Guy who is on Chris's paper route. "Hey there, muscley-arm! Why the long face? Do you like popsicles? There's a freezer full of them in my basement! Why don't you run down and grab a few?"

It freaked me out. But, true to his word, he showed me the way, which involved crossing another bridge. I made it to UBC just in time to see my friends play against Japan in the semi-finals of the World Ultimate Frisbee Championships. Those Japan guys are speedy, but they just could not match the skill and intensity of the USA team. Not to mention the height difference--that didn't help Japan one bit. I got a couple sweet shots of Sam catching the game-winning score at the end of this post. We went out to an all you can eat sushi place after their game and we ate so much sushi they eventually booted us out, taking a loss I'm quite sure of.

I was tired, full of food, and no place to sleep. Room at the Sockeye house was full, but I knew a handful of other people in town for the tournament, but had no way of getting in touch with them. I made sure I got a room number for Will before I left the fields. He was staying in the UBC dorms, so I made my way to The Rits and found the place with some help. I walked around the building a few times with no way of entering until I spied some people coming down the stairwell and I rushed to the entry, getting there just before the door closed behind them. I made my way up to 209, knocked--no answer. Balls. Walked around some more, scouting out the dorm, looking for a lobby or a place I could catch some Z's... when I ran across a magical dojo in the middle of the dormitory.

It was crazy. There were sliding paper-pane doors, just like the ones you see in Japan, or at least in movies about Japan. The "please remove shoes" sign was posted outside, so I slipped off my motorcycle shoes, slid the screen to the side and walked into the dimly lit, matted room. The low table occupied the middle of the room, but nobody else was in the room and although the mats were hard, I slid the screen closed behind me and used my towel as a pillow.

I woke up the next morning with the sun and walked over to the ultimate field. The clock outside a coffee shop said 6:45am, and the first round wasn't until 9am. The guys final game wasn't until 4pm, but I lasted the entire day at the field to see them lose to Canada 15-17. It was an amazing day of ultimate, and although I considered leaving earlier in the day for Seattle, I enjoyed the gratuitous amounts of ultimate watching.

It would have been a perfect weekend if not for one thing...

the ride back to Seattle last night was horrible. Wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt and a motorcycle jacket without the rain liner, I rode the 150+ miles from Vancouver to Seattle in a rain storm, half of it in the dark. I didn't think I would make it, especially after taking a wrong turn at the US border and heading East for 15 unnecessary minutes. I stopped in Bellingham drenched to the core, hands frozen. I sat in a booth at Denny's, knowing that if I took any of my clothes off, putting them back on would be 10x worse. I ordered a cup of hot chocolate, a bowl of vegetable-beef soup, in attempt to warm up my core before another 80 miles on the highway. I felt great leaving Bellingham, it wasn't raining and I was warm. Before I made it to the freeway, the skies closed at it poured--just POURED. I gritted my teeth, breathed through my nose to keep as much warm air in my mouth, and tried to think warm thoughts as I froze my way home.

I crawled up the back steps in Seattle, teeth chattering and skin blue. I stripped down and rolled into the hot tub. It stung at first, and then I realized I still had goosebumps. I was in 100 degree water and had goose bumps... that's not right. After soaking for a good 45 minutes I felt like slush and zonked as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Week 2 Outline:

Bachelor Party Tuesday night at Lake Tapps.
Camping Possibly?
Lake Cavanaugh party on Saturday.

I don't think it will beat week 1, but I'm going to have fun trying :)

Photos from week 1 (chronological order):

2008-08-10- Sun Mtn Week 027

2008-08-10- Sun Mtn Week 032

2008-08-10- Sun Mtn Week 037

2008-08-10- Sun Mtn Week 038

2008-08-10- Sun Mtn Week 064

2008-08-10- Sun Mtn Week 103

2008-08-10- Sun Mtn Week 139

2008-08-10- Sun Mtn Week 142

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Blogger BWoP said...

Ahhhhhhhhh . . . Worlds.

Do you know Mike Jaeger?

He used to play on the east coast. Fun guy.

8:37 PM  
Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Looks like a good time... sorry to hear of the poor weather for the return trip.

9:06 AM  

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