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Dec 31, 2015

Thank you 2015

It's been an incredible year! There have been some rough times, but the brilliant moments have kept me going and continue to shine brightly.  Here's a look at some of those bright moments:

woodland critters visited

june 2015, coyote

hummingbird in the garden, June 2015

fawn, july 2015

two bucks, august 2015

took some bicycle adventures

solo return on bike overnighter, may 2015

visited with the community kitties

There are three stray cats that the community takes care of throughout the year.  They have been spayed, get meals delivered daily, and just about whatever they need.  They seek shelter in the nearby homes during winter.  I've been walking this route for two years now and the cats always greet me.  

Tabby cat

grey whales

grey whale feeding near shoreline, april 2015

watched a neighbor's fireworks

July 4, 2015

summer eclipse, sunsets and sunrises

eclipse, september 2015

sunset, december 30, 2015

sunrise, december 31, 2015

We haven't gotten any snow yet, but the mornings have been frosty.  
I look back at the year with gratitude and I am looking forward to the New Year.
Wishing everyone all the best in 2016.

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Dec 13, 2015

anniversary day trip two

view from pike place market

After arriving early a.m. in Seattle, we got some coffee to go in pike's market place and sat in a public patio overlooking the waterfront.  We watched the ferries and cargo ships come and go.

arriving at Bainbridge

Just before we got off the ferry at Bainbridge, it started to rain.  We had raincoats, but those would not be enough for this downpour.

It poured rain the entire day. That didn't stop us from exploring the town for a few hours.

subi japanese restaurant in Bainbridge

As we were soaked from head to toe, we didn't go into many shops or galleries. We did visit the bicycle shop and had lunch at  SuBi Japanese restaurant. We hope to return again to explore the island on bicycles.

arriving at Seattle by Bainbridge Ferry

arriving at Seattle by Bainbridge Ferry

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joining our beautiful world

Dec 3, 2015

bicycles, trains and ships for our 30 year anniversary

elliott bay trail, pronto bikes
Elliott Bay Trail, Mt. Rainer and Seattle scape

It doesn't seem like 30 years. Looking back, we were in Sendai, Japan for our 20th, and in Sapporo, Japan for our 10th.

This year we travelled to Seattle for the day. The alarm went off at 4 a.m. After breakfast, we got ready and headed out to catch the 5:37 bus to the ferry. The bus arrived with plenty of time to catch the 6 a.m. ferry to Mukilteo.

clinton - mukilteo ferry

From the Mukilteo ferry dock, it's a short walk to the sounder train stop, and after about a 5 minute wait, the 6:26 a.m.train arrived. It's still dark and just as we're arriving in Seattle, the sun started to rise.
A short walk from the King street train station to the light rail station, and we caught the light rail into downtown.

seattle light rail station

artwork, light rail station, westlake

I love how we can get into Seattle without needing a car! The public transportation all runs smoothly and is pleasant to ride.

After breakfast downtown, we walked to the waterfront and rented some Pronto bikes and helmets near Pier 69 (Pier 69 / Alaskan Way and Clay St) close to the Elliot Bay trail and rode to the Elliot Bay marina.

It was an easy ride - 3.7 miles each way. The trail is a no car trail, so no worries about car traffic.

elliott bay trail, pronto bikes
Elliot Bay Trail, tugboats and fishing trawlers

We passed more ports with fun ships on the waterside and trains on the opposite side. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather and clear skies with Mt. Rainer on the horizon.

tanker and Mt. Rainer off of Elliott bay trail

We took a short break at the marina and then headed back to the beginning of the trail. After returning the bicycles, we headed downtown and had sushi for lunch.

elliott bay trail, elliott bay marina
Elliott bay marina with space needle and seattle cityscape

elliott bay trail, elliott bay marina
leaving marina with view of ports and seattle

heading home on  the sounder train

After window shopping, a gelato and expresso break and then more shopping, we headed home on the 4:05 train. I did some people sketching, while husband read his Barron's.

Happy 30th!

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Nov 3, 2015

day trips on a bicycle

Maxwelton Valley

Autumn is my favorite season. There are cooler days filled with color. Some days are grey, but on those days, the autumn colors really stand out. Other days are sunny and the falling leaves glisten in the sun.

Last weekend, we took a bike ride to our favourite Mexican restaurant on the island, and we took the long way there. Along the way, we passed Maxwelton Valley with the farm lands and green fields.

snailmail happiness in Maxwelton Valley

I often see the mailboxes decorated in fun themes. I finally got a photo of one! If my place wasn't a rental, I'd have my mailbox decorated too.

got my riding socks on!

Today is sunny and I'll be riding to the grocery store. And I won't be taking the direct route either. There are days when taking the long way to your destination makes the journey even better!

joining our beautiful world

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Sep 6, 2015


saratoga woods dnr on whidbey island
saratoga woods dnr on whidbey island

The rain has been here for the past couple of weeks. I love the rain with its sounds and smells. And in between the power going out with the last storm, the days of hail, pitter patter, and drizzle, we've had some crisp, autumn mornings. These are all the reasons that I'm jumping:)

 joining jump at our beautiful world

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Aug 16, 2015

august bicycle overnight tour

morning, leaving camp

We got lucky and got our overnight bicycle trip in before the impressive thunder and lightening storm passed our island. Last year, we weren't so lucky and rode the whole way back in the rain. That's o.k. I'm always happiest when we're on a bike tour.

view from inside the tent

What I like most about riding is how my mind clears, especially, on the long rides. Knowing I need to ride 35 miles or more to my destination, leaves me thinking more about just pedaling. All my worries slough off with each mile.

joining our beautiful world for vacant

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May 7, 2015

Fort Ebey State Park Bicycle Tour

all packed up

Five years ago when my husband talked about doing bike tours, I was all in. I love the excitement that comes with planning a trip, the challenges that come with the adventure and the satisfaction of completing one. Last Sunday, we got in our first bike tour of the season.

The morning we were to leave, I checked the Ferry times to see which times were cancelled due to low tides. To my surprise, they were all cancelled for the day because the Ferry dock was being repaired. So last minute change of plans! We would stay on the island and ride to Fort Ebey State Park at the Northern end of Whidbey Island. It would be about a 40 mile one- way trip which was longer than we wanted to do for the "warm up" tour, but I really wanted to take a trip!

Engle road past Coupeville Ferry

We left around 11:00 a.m. and before we had even covered one mile, my husband's bike chain split. He found all the pieces to the connector link, put the chain back on, and we were on our way. This would happen three more times on the road. The third time being when we had entered the Park. The forth time was just before we reached the campground and we couldn't find all the needed pieces. Without the "chain connector" tool, there was no way to take out the bad link. The only option was for him to return by bus.

I can't believe we had made it to the destination!

kettles trail heading North from Coupeville

So how did we get there?  From Bayview Road, we got on the highway until Newman road.  Newman road took us into Freeland from which we caught Fish road.  Fish Road connects to Mutiny Bay road then onto Bush Point road which turns into smuggler's cove road.  There is only one long section of highway that is unavoidable between smugglers cove road and Wanamaker road(#20).  We continue on 20 until it meets up with Engle road which takes us into Coupeville.  

Heading North from Coupeville to Fort Ebey State Park, there is a dedicated bike/pedestrian trail that takes you all the way into the park. How amazing is that! Once you get to Kettles Gate, kettles trail continues into the park all the way to the car campgrounds.

kettles trail, Fort Ebey State Park map, expand for larger version

checking the park map at kettles gate

my bike on the park trail 

hiker/biker campsite, Fort Ebey State Park

The hiker/biker campground has three spots and one communal campfire pit. We were the only ones there. I rode over to the car camping area and bought some wood from the camp hosts. They were really kind and even delivered it for me. Evidently, I had overpaid for our camping spot, so the kind Ranger came by in the evening to return what I had overpaid.

As we sat by the campfire talking, I thought what if I return by bicycle solo? It has been ages since I took a long ride by myself.

So after some discussion of how we'd handle communicating with each other and if my bike breaks down, we decided he'd return by bus and I'd return by bicycle.

I was pretty tired coming back and walked the bike up nearly every hill, so it took me 7.5 hours to cover the 40 miles.  That time includes two 40 minute breaks for breakfast and lunch.

Returning south on kettle's trail affords an expansive view of the Ebey fields in full color of yellows and greens and browns with the sky capping them.

blurry and bright

amphitheater at South Whidbey State Park

My second, long break was at South Whidbey State park. From there I was half way home.   I am ready for the next tour!

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Apr 4, 2015

open spaces

Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.
― John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

I love that I can ride my bicycle for 20 minutes and be deep in a forest with hiking trails! Sometimes I'm hiking and other times I am jogging. I am grateful to be near such beautiful nature.
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