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.

Feb 18, 2015


Fuyu kaki - Japanese fuyu persimmon

One of my favorite Autumn fruit is the Japanese Fuyu persimmon, Although autumn has gone months ago, and I took this persimmon photo years ago, I am ressurecting it here for the orange gallery over at 52 photos.

winter ride

This winter has not been as cold as the previous winter, so I've been out on bike rides more often than last winter. It was warm enough last month to even ride without my orange jacket. I finally decided to explore the bike route in the photo which will be a wonderful way to get from my house to the Ferry! The fence is ugly but it's there to prevent cars from using this route.

joining 52 photos

Jan 16, 2015

my collections

sumi brushes - gallery juana
sumi brushes

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.
When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
― Ansel Adams

I've had my Sumi brushes for over 10 years. I bought some when living in Sendai and others when living in Sapporo. They've travelled with me from Japan to Mexico to The States several times. These are the only expensive brushes I have and the only brushes that I take care of habitually.

On the other hand, my mixed media brushes are cheap, often abused and easily thrown away when damaged. I often return to my art table to find I've forgotten to wash off the glue or gesso.

So why are my sumi brushes different? Possibly because they are expensive, I am more apt to take care of them. Still, there is a certain quietude that comes when I use my sumi brushes for painting with sumi ink. I am more present in the moment. And when I have finished painting, cleaning up is not a task but the ending to a ritual.

I've collected rocks and shells since I was a first grader. My first trip to the ocean was in first grade, and I remember being on the beach content and collecting odds and bits. Everytime I move, I return my collection to the earth and start again in my new digs.

... for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea.
― E.E. Cummings, 100 Selected Poems

joining 52 photos

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Jan 9, 2015

Nature's Gifts

I've talked about how I look out a large window when I am at my art table. I watch the birds, squirrels and rabbits visit below this window. And some days the deer come by. Every now and then a buck will visit.

There are two bucks that come by. One is younger then the other. The younger one with short spikes is usually with a deer.

Last December 2014, the older buck came by and stayed a good while just beyond my window. It had snowed a few days earlier.

There is a small forest and brook just beyond my window. And I often see the deer traveling through there. So when they come out of it to graze, I stop, watch and appreciate the beauty of my world.

joining 52 photos

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