The last few weeks have been the melange of wintery weather: Pineapple Express, snow, ice, snow, travel to Florida (well, that was okay), and Pineapple Express: The Empire Strikes Back. In short, terrible for biking. The lack of recurring, physical outlet has not been good on my physique… or psyche. A forecast of “overcast and freezing fog” was a delightful improvement. Let’s bike.
To that end, I lined up a set of errands:
Errand #1: Drop off my car for recall work. Apparently my Subaru needed a new grommet to keep the flux capacitor from degaussing the muffler bearings. For the inconvenience, they’ll wash the car for me. So I was like, “No problem, I’ll pick it up at 4pm.”
(Kiri saw my car last year when I was still measuring the tenacity and layering of single-celled organisms on my car roof. My car is apparently *white* underneath all that. 🙂
Errand #2: Bike to Lake Sammamish State Park to place my geocache – To place a geocache in the nearby state park, I needed a permit. The process was easy-peasy — once I identified the correct person to contact; however, the three holidays/bad weather (see above) prolonged its processing enough that I reconsidered the theme. It was serendipitous I received September’s Annals of Improbable Research (sponsors of the Ig Nobel awards – awesome stuff like this).
The result this: puzzle cache. Go on, you know you want to click.
Update: shortly after the cache went live, one of the Jedi cachers contacted me because he was having some difficulty. Much to my chagrin, “Boy Howdy” is both a top-water fishing lure (as I’d intended for the puzzle) and a country music band, confusing several people. Country music != Rock, but as my intent wasn’t to nit-pick, I posted a correction.
Errand #3: Meet up with Claire Petersky for biking and lunch.
After hiding the cache, I took the East Lake Sammamish Trail up to the busy intersection of 43rd Street. It’s a busy street, but the most direct route if her office was on 228th (not anymore!). Much to my delight, the city of Issaquah installed a bike lane! There were orange cones where a crew was working further up the hill. Scooting over to the “open” lane didn’t make any sense on a long, steep hill like that, so I kept to the bike lane, anticipating cutting around when I caught up with the construction.
But then, as I was starting up the hill, I biked through some freshly goopy, vision-inducing white muck: fresh paint from the universal “bike lane symbol” icon. The crew, seeing there were cyclists on the lane, started putting small cones on in front of the painted areas. Self-guilt peaked as the white paint made annoying “chhh chhh chhh” sound as the glop rubbed against my bike’s fenders.
Claire and I rode through Sammamish to Duvall, where the main artery (SR 202) was half-closed from flooding damage caused by Pineapple Express VI. This was a good time to stop for lunch.
The falafal and hummus at Zazynia Mediterranean Grill hit the spot, but it was really hard to motivate myself to go back outside in the cold mist. Claire suggested we take the hilly route back to give us an opportunity to become “less clammy.”
Errand #4: Fix someone else’s geocache. Earlier in the month, a cache I found wasn’t fully closed by the previous cacher. Water got in and its log was a pulpy mush. The cache owner isn’t living around here. So, to build caching karma, I offered to put a dry log in for him. On the way back, I found a nifty pocket park right off the SR 520 bike trail.
(One awesome benefit of all the local geocaching is it’s given me more affinity for the nooks and crannies. I’d never appreciated how well-connected Bellevue can be for pedestrians. The Issaquah/Sammammish plateau is very Balkanized.)
Errand #5: Pick up bread. I (heart) my cavernous handlebar bag’s capacity to function as my man-purse.
Errand #6: Pick up the car. Alas, it’s dark at 4:30.