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Prepare for the Playa

As some of you may know, I've been going to Burning Man for a long time. Actually, this will be year 9 for me (9 in a row to be specific). This year I will be riding my bicycle to the event. Yes, you read that correctly. I'm riding my bicycle TO the event. From Novato. This has been in planning for several months now, but I realized that I hadn't disclosed it to the greater blogosphere… so now the seceret is out. Whoops... just realized I mentioned the ride at the bottom of the Pink Lemonade entry, but some probably didn't catch that little bombshell *smirk*

I'll be riding the Adventure Cycling Association's Western Express from Vallejo to Carson City, following Ridgetop's Route from Carson City to Pyramid Lake and then making my way from the north end of Pyramid Lake to Gerlach on the local dirt roads.

The final leg is still in question: I'm plotting maps on Bikely and will be posting them for review as I haven't had a chance to travel the back roads from Pyramid Lake northbound, and don't know much about them except what I can see on bikely/google. There are several likely routes, but I only know one person who's passed this way before, and I happened to meet him on my birthday outside Cafe Gratitude in San Rafael. It was trippy. My wife and I rolled up (in her car... *grimace*) and got out and started to go inside. Outside is an bike w/ an older Xtracycle FreeRadical on it and there's this dude putting something in his Freeloaders. I of course roll up to him and strike up a conversation, excitement clearly in my voice. We ended up mentioning that I'm riding mine to Burning Man this year and his face lights up: he did it 2 years ago from Auburn, CA. We ended up talking for another 30 minutes or so, we exchanged cards and I told him I'd be contacting him. Evidently he returned from the event on the local dirt roads and didn't see another vehicle the whole time: that sounds GREAT to me! His name is Mike, and man did he make my birthday a cool one. Some believe in Synchronicity, some think it's nothing other than Abductive Reasoning or simple coincidence (or merely magical thinking), but fü©-q people, I BELIEVE! >8P±

WARNING: Shameless plug for my friends/campmates to follow. *blush*
Several of my campmates have put together 3 part series of events called Prepare For The Playa to bring together Burners Who Have Businesses to sell to Burners. DOH... that's a mouthful. Basically, the playa selects what works and doesn't work. All the vendors at this event are playa vets and most of the things they sell are highly "playable". Some may offer a "Burner Discount" on the wares. There's going to be music, performance artists, a bar (sweet!), a raffle for a Burning Man ticket (BONUS!) and some How-To clinics and demonstrations. It promises to be pretty cool. I'll be there... I might be teaching a "How-To", but I'm not sure yet. If you're at all interested, check out the Prepare For The Playa site.


Bicycle Lifts & CFL Misdirection

Bicycle Lift. It's a 9 MB file: for those of you on dialup, here's the smaller 1 MB version.

This is too damn cool... if America's so "innovative", why the hell did Europe come up with this first? Where the fü©k's all that American ingenuity? Hey, you could even run it off solar power in certain places (what a concept!)

If Marin county REALLY wanted to get more people out of their cars, they could install a few of these (since the Alto Tunnel and Cal Park Hill Tunnels may never get rebuilt). My vote? Going from Corte Madera to Mill Valley on Casa Buena Drive (the steepest parts) and headed up the steep sections of Merrydale road to where it meets Los Ranchitos Rd. These two hills are the sweatiest ones for me, but I think they're a big deterrent for a lot of people. I have a feeling that installing these isn't that cheap, but it's likely cheaper (and easier) than rebuilding the tunnels... just an idea.

BTW, I realized that Compact Fluorescent's aka CFL's are full of Hg aka Mercury.. which is super toxic and bad for the environment (and YOU!) in this form. Hmmm... LED's are a better option: they last longer, are solid state and don't have lead in them. I don't know about their manufacturing, so if someone knows if the manufacturing of LED's requires mercury, speak UP!

CCrane is a good source for Household LED Bulbs. Read the data at the bottom of the page: the numbers are a bit staggering. Savings of over $300 over the lifetime of the bulb... pretty impressive. Even more impressive is the power plant reduction stat. Wow. No more CFL's for us... Solar on the roof and now the upgrade to LED's... like they said in "What About Bob?"; "Baby steps bob, baby steps". Take some baby steps with me, will ya?



While over reading the latest entry at Todd's Blog, I found my way to this link about Car-Head. I've suffered from Car-head for many many many years, even when I was biking the most. It's funny; you take the way things ARE for granted: it's the "normal" way, the way it's always been done... but it's none of those things. My wife and I struggled this evening with her desire to trade in her current car for a newer one and my dogged taurean resistance to putting more money into car society. There's this war going on in my head, and it all started when I bought an Xtracycle FreeRadical Conversion Kit. My aversion to cars has been growing as my eyes have been further and further opened to the damage we've done and are continuing to inflict upon our little blue ball. While I try and remain hopeful, the recent car acquisition is causing me considerable angst. I guess you can call it growing pains, but man is it a bitch. What I can take from this experience is a stronger commitment to drive less. My hat's off to folks who are car-free: it's not easy given the pervasive and ubiquitous nature or Car-Head mentality.


No left turns

I wish I could say I found THIS one myself, but I found it at Kent Peterson's Blog. It's about a life well lived, and the danger of turning left. Like Kent said, it's not about bikes specifically, but it makes a good point that any cyclist can take to heart.

Pink Lemonade

This evening, for the second time in several days, I started crying. The first time was May 3rd. May 3rd was my uncle's birthday. He died in October 2006 from Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was not a man of many words, but he had a heart of gold and he was a wonderful listener. I spent about 4 days with him back in 2000 when my wife and I took a road trip through the southwest and for me, it was one of the highlights of the trip. I'm very thankful that I got to know him, even if it was just a little bit. My cousin's email is what set me off. She wrote a very beautiful thing about her dad on his birthday and sent it to me, and I was sobbing by the time I finished it. Somehow I wasn't surprised, because she and I simultaneously fell apart at the funeral and ended up sobbing in each others arms for several minutes. It didn't seem strange that we hadn't seen each other in at least 20 years.

Tonight I got caught up with Fatty's Blog, and the ordeal that he and his wife are going through is excruciating to read. In particular, the reaction of his 11 year old son put me in tears for the second time in 5 days; DAMN! I can only imagine the pain that Susan is going through, but to see your children in that kind of fear and pain is intolerable. The folks at Twin Six approached Fatty about making a limited edition pink version of his totally awesome jersey in a show of solidarity for his wife. If you can do it, please go to the Pink Lemonade entry and vote for the size that you would want. Most of the funds go to support breast cancer research and little goes to Susan. Twin Six won't be making a dime, and I think that's pretty damn cool of them. If they do indeed make the jersey and I can get one, I'll wear it with pride as I suffer over Carson Pass on my trip to Burning Man by bicycle. In fact, I'm dedicating my suffering first ascent of Carson Pass to Susan Nelson.


The Insanity of Vanity

Charity is my... well, I don't know how we're really related anymore. Technically we're not, but it doesn't matter.

She lives in LaLa land (aka Los Angeles) and works in the entertainment industry. She's also writing a book. Her writing is very good.. I'm very impressed. My writing feels awkward when I read her blog… DOH!

Check out her article about the Insanity of Vanity.

CURRENT MUSIC: Rush, Exit... Stage Left, Tom Sawyer