Cape Lookout Campout in May

Last week, the 1st-3rd grade classes at Ella’s school did a field trip campout at Cape Lookout as a wrap-up to their habitat study. Michelle and I went as chaperones and Maddie tagged along as well. The campout was just an overnight trip, so we tacked on a couple extra days and stayed through the weekend. Best choice ever.

The school part was a lot of fun. As chaotic as you’d expect 30-ish 6-8 year olds to be, but fun. There was a scavenger hunt, lots of activity time, beach time, a boat sailing event (they made boats in class), and a lot of exploring. The kids seem to have had a blast, and Ella was particularly bummed when it was bedtime on Thursday night. A large group of students had devised a forest fort, set up guard posts, and worked to fend of other groups, spies (me), and do catch & release with prisoners (including me). But eventually, that group had to go home.

Which left us in a beautifully sunny, nearly empty campsite. The girls and I made several rounds about the campsite, peaking in to yurts, climbing nurse logs and stumps, and hitting things with sticks. Then, with no fanfare at all, Madeline started riding a bike without any training wheels. Once she got going, there was no stopping her. At first, she needed help getting started, but after a good half-dozen loops, Ella showed her how to start herself. The riding went on and on.

Then, our friends Eric, Erin and Remi arrived from Portland (beating back traffic and construction), just in time to see the sunset. We had a lovely fiesta meal and enjoyed some s’mores and beers by the fire before the kids needed to crash. The next morning, we headed to the beach after some pancakes and spent several hours in the sand. Digging, cross-word puzzling, and daring each other in to the cold Pacific. We returned later that evening to build a fire on the beach and make dinner over the fire. It was spectacular and no one got burned.

All told, it was a fantastic weekend. The coast was gorgeous (70-80F) and sunny with very little wind. We stopped by Tillamook and got some ice cream for the ride home. More camping to come.

Ella Rides

Ella Anne now rides on her own. She just started a few weeks ago. She’s more comfortable on a smaller bike which make the riding a little awkward for her long legs, but she’s working on her bigger bike as well. She’s not yet gung ho about riding, but now there’s a moment of consideration about which method of locomotion to use when we go to the park. I’m so pleased.

New Commuter

On a Sunday morning in early September, we found an abandoned bike leaning against the tree in our front yard. It was in wretched shape. The frame was mangled as if hit by a car, the brakes missing, the bottom bracket shot, the wheels out of true, the seat post was duct-taped in place, and it smelled weird. Still, it held promise as a commuter bike. But first, I had to clear it with karma.

I posted about the bike on and craigslist on the off chance that someone had it stolen or lost it. Bike thieves are among my most hated kinds of people, so I didn’t want any guilt by association. After 2 weeks, I decided that the posts and the wretched shape were enough that I could adopt it and return it to usable condition. However, I didn’t want to spend much money because the idea was to have a bike I could ride to work and leave parked outside. So, for a minimal investment, I returned it to working order. Brake pads, a spoke wrench to true the wheels, and a seat post that was the correct diameter. I have two spare saddles, so I put the lamer of the two on (again, minimizing my potential loss). After a small investment of time and money, I had a commuter. Here’s the Smoke in its current incarnation.


I love bikes, and I love tinkering, so even after 2 weeks of use, it has been difficult to not make any more changes. It will need a few fixes eventually, like that whack bottom bracket and some back brakes, but for the most part, it’ll do. I really need to replace the saddle though. The current one is a triathlon seat that is so hard that feels like someone is punching me in the perineum when I ride. 2 weeks hasn’t really improved that either, so I think it’s time to switch before it does any damage to my… bike seat area.

Still, its a perfectly good machine again and I’m pleased to have it. Thanks mystery bike santa.

Sunday Parkway

One upside to Ella having croup and our camping trip getting cut short is that we were able to take part in the Sunday Parkway event in North Portland today. After some early morning errands, we got on bikes and rode over to Peninsula park to meet for a led “family ride.”

The park was chaos, in the good way. Bicyclists and pedestrians were everywhere, and despite the early morning drizzle, people were out and enjoying themselves. We followed the led ride for about 3/4 of a mile before realizing the slow pace and the volatile nature of a sick daughter meant we wouldn’t finish the ride before nap time. Michelle and I sped up and enjoyed the route with other random people, all of whom seemed rather happy.

Seeing so many people on bikes warms my heart. This was the biggest crowd I’d seen since STP, but without all the stupid outfits and misplaced competitiveness. We wound through NoPo on many of the same streets I’ve been riding with Ella the past few weeks, but she didn’t mind because she’d fallen asleep. We cut the route a bit short though and retired home for lunch and a proper nap.

I really enjoyed the event, but I’m not sure how it worked for other folks. One of the ideas was to get folks out on the street who were otherwise intimidated by traffic. I never get tired of cars having to wait for me while I cross major arterials, but I’ll be interested to see how other folks felt about the event.

Michelle on the Family Ride Cooped up with Croup Interstate Bridge crossing