Daniel and I skirted the impending Seattle autumn for 5 days by heading to New Orleans, where it is still hot, humid and air conditioning is required.

Since it was meant to be a “relaxing” vacation, we didn’t make any plans. We didn’t tell anyone we knew there we were coming. We booked a room in a guest house and just wandered around for 5 days.

We did go to City Park and play mini golf, since I can’t find any in Seattle. (wtf seattle?) I beat Daniel by one par.

And we went to the Aquarium of the Americans, which was partially sponsored by BP and Shell and talked about how offshore oil rigs are great because they create coral-like environments for fish and other species. Sure, guys.

We also went to a lot of bars and saw a lot of bachelorette parties. New Orleans is kind of the Vegas of the South and everyone drinks High Life.


Daniel and I Rode Our Mountain Bikes to the Top of Mt Constitution

drove to Anacortes -> took our bikes on the ferry

We rode in pouring rain to our campsite in Moran State Park. In theory we were the only people in the hiker/biker “primitive” camp site, but some guy was living there. He was spiritual and shared his beans for our soup and we used all our camp fuel cooking them.

So the next day, instead of going mountain biking we had to ride back into town to buy more fuel. But it didn’t rain that day.

On the last day we rode to the top of Mt Constitution (highest peak in the San Juan Islands) before leaving.

Carbon River

Another two day bike trip! This time we cycled to the picturesque Carbon River campground in the foothills of Rainier and along the Wonderland Trail. According to Matt & the internet, it receives so much annual rainfall it’s consider a temperate rain forest, which is a cool thing in North America (the rain forest, not the rain.)

We took the Sounder of Seattle at a cruel 6 am and stopped in Puyallup for donuts and coffee.

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We took the Foothills Trail pretty much from the start to finish, which follows along the Carbon River for much of it. We went through the faux-Western town of Orting and South Prairie, both are pretty awesome but pretty depressing.

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We ended up in Wilkeson before our final ascent into Mt Rainier National Park.

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It was really beautiful forest in this area, which high ravines and not much traffic (see big one bridge!).

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The original road into the campsite has been washed out over the years and is now a hiker/biker rough gravel trail for about 6 miles to the Ipsut Creek Campground, which is incredibly lush with growth. We pitched near the Carbon River and hiked up to see Ipsut falls before sunset.


We had an incredibly satisfying of dinner of re-hydrated chili with field roast and veggies (please God let me never have to eat Field Roast again) and passed out pretty early considering we’d all gone only a few hours of sleep.


The next morning on the way out (through gravel…eeeeeeek) we stopped at Chenuis Falls, but my phone was nearly dead at this point. Here is a photo of Daniel putting his shoes back on:


Christmas Hike at Little Si

I had access to both a car and little dog this holiday season, so two (two and a half?) friends and I headed east towards Mt Si. Christmas week was chilly but unusually clear, which made it great for hiking! We suited Quinn up in her mini-holiday sweater and headed out.

Initially we had some trouble finding the trailhead…

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful hike, but we had a late start so we opted to do Little Si (480 m) as opposed as Mt Si (1,270 m). I suppose there is only a 2 letter difference between “wise” and “wuss”.

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Somtimes Quinn took sneaky shortcuts…

Before the summit (photo credit to Reid)

At the summit…

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Lucky Quinn got a free ride back, courtesy of Reid.

On the way home we stopped at a drive-through coffee house (probably only because we had the car) and made a lovely curry dinner back at the house! Good yule times, indeed.

Festival Season – Body & Soul

I am now reaching so far into the past that these pictures even pre-date the French cycling trip, but at the very least I’m being thorough.


Basically I wanted to go to the festival but I didn’t want to pay in, so I offered up my labour in exchange for tickets. I was contacted by the very lovely Jane Groves to help with her installations – windmills made from bicycle wheels and lace clouds suspended from the trees. I basically moved into her house and we immediately got to work.

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We arrive on site, Ballinlough Castle, about 5 days before the festival. Everyone is camping in the fields (except for the lucky few that get to sleep in the castle!) The barn area becomes a huge production zone as the tents are erected and art installed throughout the walled garden.

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Jane’s windmills are erected by the main stage:

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And the clouds are hung in the forest:
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Complete with a swing, which got a good test run of rowdy-ness by Conor and I.

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The American artist Shrine was also in attendance, whose work is all over (I even spied it on the Haight when I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago). I talked him into giving me a tattoo in, quite possibly, the least hygienic setting ever – our lunch area. On his birthday.

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Also – Conor & Emily’s ‘Dream Farm,’ a hand pumped hydroponic farm in a glasshouse! Technically I contributed because I made a replacement colored glass square from perspex and lighting gel. And probably screwed like 3 things.

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Paris & Sacy-le-Petit

So after 1 horrific train ride, I got to spend a few weeks in Paris which pretty much made up for everything because, despite cynical Sarah of yesteryear, PARIS RULES. GO PARIS.

I started/continued my now tradition of leeching off my friends. First I stayed with Alison & Ivan who had just moved to Paris. (Thanks again! You rule.) They had a flat in a beautiful building just off the canal. Their apartment, like everyone’s apartment ever, was on the 5th floor and I carried my bicycle up and down it every day.

The first thing I did in Paris, as one should, is go see the gravesite for Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise. In fact, the US embassy should really just be located here cause it was chock full of Americans, all of whom I elbowed past to get this shot, which is as close as you can get to the grave. Which I only see as more proof that Jim Morrison is not really dead.

There are some more people buried there too…

Happily I had my bicycle with me most of the time and was able to roam around the city freely without having to rely on public transportation. This photo encapsulates the best and worst things about cycling in Paris: road markings & assholes on scooters that have no respect for human life.
I spent a lot of time hanging out in Cyclofficine because everyone I knew was there and because I spend an unordinary amount of time hanging out in bike workshops. It also gave me the chance to work on my bike and help other people with theirs. Cyclofficine is a total dreamdate.

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After about a week I headed towards the Oise River region to WWOOF on a garden at a place called Chateau de Sacy. As it was towards the end of the season, there wasn’t really anyone else there, just the woman who owned the house, Hermine (an ex-actress and tightrope walker!) and a lovely English woman named Vicky that was making a film about her.

It ended up being so hot that it was nearly impossible to do real work in the garden, so I would usually pick berries in the morning, take a siesta, and then work on fixing all of her old broken French bikes (see Vicky test riding below).
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They also host art residencies at the chateau, so it was pretty mad inside. Not to mention huge! I think this is how it would’ve felt to be in The Sound of Music, minus the 7 siblings and a governess. And that whole Nazi thing.

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