Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Bike, a Train, a Truck and an Elevator

To long has it been since I could wake up early in the morning and ride a bike with the freedom of not knowing exactly where I might sleep that night. Pack the essentials, make a reasonable plan, put a smile on your face and see what happens. With a forecast of heavy snow I set off at 6 am from Greenwood and caught the Amtrak at King Street. Hours of West Coast visual bliss landed me in Bellingham and 4 inches of snow. Looking particularly screwed on my two wheels, a local guy Mark offered an unsolicited ride. Not too proud to recognize my predicament, I accepted. Dropped off at Grossme Outlet, I rode-pushed (rushed) a grueling three blocks to my old climbing buddy Alan's house in the York Neighborhood. A hot tea and a ride in the Toyota down Chuckanut Drive to Blanchard delivered Alan and me 30 miles of pedaling snow-free 28 degree pavement. Living the dream.
Beers and booze at the bus, George's welcome home party, wood fired hot tub under a sea of stars, spoon with Mikey, 6 am alarm, spin to Mount Vernon, rails to Seattle, beer at the Dray, dinner with Jen, a warm bed.
It felt nice to just let things unfold this weekend. It may be crazy to suggest, but what if more of us simply got on a bike and rode somewhere cool next weekend? What if you figured out a way to visit an old friend without using your car? Maybe you would meet some folks along the way that restore some of your faith in humanity? Maybe you would realize that faster isn't always better? Maybe you would discover that everything you need really is just out your front door?
Hard to say not knowing?



My Mark Twight "Disaster Style" pre-adventure gear photo was sabotaged by this cute girl. Bummer.

End of the easy part, snow in B-Ham.

In the event of Nuclear Holocaust or Rapture, edible food item will be found here for approximately 1000 years.

Two wheels, small brain. Perfect combination.

Destination reached! Alan, our fearless leader's house.

Alan Kearney fits the definition of a climber. Alan has lived the life a guide/photographer while putting up first ascents in Alaska, Patagonia, and Washington for over 35 years. If I have learned anything about climbing in the past 10 years, I can count Alan as one of my mentors.
Alan suited up at a moments' notice for the 30 degree ride. We didn't see many other folks out riding that day.

Andy is a little fatter than the last time we hung out, but it's winter and all and he still seems pretty content with life. Much can be learned by observing cats.

Trouble brewing.

Another magic bus ride with the usual suspects.

Good things happen in Mt. Vernon, Wa.


The Alaskan to Pike Elevator saves folks like me a hill climb....

..and gets me closer to the celebration beer at The Dray.

This fine morsel of health food was purchased at the Calico Cupboard in Mt. Vernon. My wife is a very discerning critic of the fine American Tradition we call the Cinnamon Roll....

...she approved.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


The last four month have been pretty dormant here at Front Door Adventures. I assume much to think anyone reads blog enough to notice the absence.

The truth is that Jen and I have been working pretty hard just to get back in the Front Door. The remodel was physically, emotionally and intellectually consuming. We spent our first official night back in the house on Halloween among stacked boxes and hoards of trick or treaters. It felt wonderful for neighbor kids to come by and walk in the Front Door uninvited. It's nice to be home.

Remodling our home was not easy in any sense of the word and created friction in many areas of my life..., I cannot begin to express my gratitude for my family and friends who turned this vision into a reality.

Thank you is not enough.

My brother Jeff owns and operates Fish Creek Custom Woodworking. The best value custom cabinets in the State of Washington. From start to finish, this project never would have happened without the help of my brother.

A small sample of the work. Jeff really helped me wrap my head around the realities of designing a custom chef's kitchen in a 500 square foot home. When we put a tape measure on some of my grand ideas, they simply didn't fit the space.

Jeff talked me out of a galley style table in the corner and replaced it with a pantry and broom closet.

Granite from the boneyard and more custom cabinets by Jeff.

Smart design by Jeff here as well. I envisioned a corner vanity and sink, but I learned how much function is lost in corners due to limited drawer pull and cabinet depth.

Where the magic really happens. Jeff at the Fish Creek Shop.

My Dad Jim told me I was crazy to tile a shower. He then proceeded to plan and execute the tiling of my not-s0-standard shower stall. My dad is a craftsman in every sense of the word, (he builds Flintlock Rifles from scratch for fun) , I am not. Fortunately I paid enough attention to my Dad at work not be a complete hack. Dad came down to help out with the skilled labor at a moments notice.

Amuater hour with the Alford men.

As you may have noticed, I have a soft spot in my heart for cute girls. My niece Sadie came and visited on the night that counter tops were delivered. Buffy was a big help as well.

Although Madaline currently carries a striking resemblance to my brother, I believe that she will grow up to be cute someday as well.

A photographic history of the interior of the house over the last 5 months.....

Without Jenny, I would not have been able to pull the house project off. Nearly every night I was greeted with a smile, a beautiful meal, and more often than not a cold beer (or two). Jenny doesn't know much about swinging a hammer, but she truly held me together through this journey. We build our home together.

I'm quite eagerly anticipating a long overdue Front Door Adventure this weekend.