poem 26 2017

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the icEing

back to the vowels project, with the final thing cherry on the top accent somehow ties it all together what is it – the contrast maybe, in the size, the style, the ink – silver + copper + the orange whip mix used for one of the layers (I think – getting quite the collection in the mixed ink bag) – which still looks pretty silvery except for compared to some silver straight out of the can… and all the Es from the 84 point Century, which this time I didn’t just put up or down since somehow the capitals seemed to need the letter part to be lined up so had some extra space to fill in for that to happen and then a line from ha! Goudy Lanston and a few different ways set up on the press as I went along how close they were to each other and parallel or perpendicular and still even though I could set the paper any way I want with this press I stick with orthogonal what’s that about really the layering of it maybe I’m flogging the proverbial dead horse at this point but I just can’t get over it away from it whatever so far still fascinates me how the one over the other and chance alignments the new relationships more is more

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2015 Humboldt Express 400k (Extra Express Version) perm

photo tour version

The theme for 2015 was riding new routes and new places, so when this e-mail came on the SFR list..

Hi all,

I recently got approved permanent # 2761 – Humboldt Express 400k and would like to invite you for an inaugural ride on August 15. I am very excited about this ride, I believe it is a great showcase of what is like to ride in Humboldt and will also ease some pain of not going to Paris this time around 🙂 (Note: 2015 was a PBP year.)

The route is a challenging mixed-terrain 400k that goes through most of Humboldt beautiful scenery. It starts in Arcata and quickly climbs through redwoods into pasture land. After that you get back to the Eel River plain, pass Ferndale and start your way along the Lost Coast. Tail winds should be your friends. You then go through Kings Range and by sunset most of the climbing and all the gravel will be done. It is similar to Kings Ridge 400k in terms of climbing and gravel sections, and similarly, the last 90 miles or so are a quite pleasant ride back home through the Avenue of the Giants.


There is also its little sister (or brother) #2762 – Centerville Express 200k. But you really want to do the 400k 😉


I hope to see many SFRs up in Humboldt and please feel free to share the word to other random groups.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Best, Andrea

… I couldn’t resist. I’d never ridden in the Humboldt area, although I’d heard good things about the Tour of the Unknown Coast. In fact, it had been years since I’d been to that part of the world even in a car, so I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but at least I had some company – Sherry gamely joined me, and we had a pleasant drive up on the Friday afternoon before the ride.

We met Andrea and the three other locals, who were doing the 200k, and Brian and Roy, SFRians doing the 400k, at a brewpub for a bit of a pre-ride briefing. I had been wondering about the use of “Express” and “400k” in the route title – and by Andrea, who has a ridiculous, bordering on criminal power to weight ratio. The fact that the locals were doing the 200k made me ask whether I should be worried that they knew something that we didn’t. (Knew better?) Andrea’s response, in his lovely Italian accent, “the locals are a bunch of wusses.” Well alrighty then! (I really shouldn’t get suckered in by those accents…) (Max, of the SFR Adventure Series, is also Italian.) (Must be something in the water.)

That soon had competition for quote of the ride when another local came over to chat. He asked about the ride, Grant (one of the locals doing the 200k) described that route, then mentioned the 400k and translated that to miles. The other fellow asked, “Really? They’re riding 250 miles?” (pause) “On purpose????”

Saturday morning we rolled out at ohdarkhundred from Safeway on the first loop to the east. After a few flat miles and start of ride chit-chat got to the first climb of the day, which was never to steep but did seem to go on for quite a while. The sun rose, there was a bit of a ridge run with splendid views, and we eventually reached the first control at Kneeland School. There was a lovely swoopy descent off the ridge, another climb and descent, and another – some of it gravel, all very quiet roads and beautiful scenery. At one point the lead riders spooked some cows, who ran along the road but they didn’t seem to get mixed up, so that was good, although a bit dusty for those of us coming behind.

Eventually we dropped bad into so-called civilization in Bridgeville, where they were having their annual UFO Fest. From there it was a less climby section along Highway 36 to Hydesville. Rollery and overall downhill back toward the coast, much of this was in redwoods and along a river, very pretty.

From the stop at Hydesville we continued on to Fortuna, a brief jaunt on 101 and out to Ferndale for the second loop. Here the 200k route returned to Arcata, the 400k had a burly climb out the Mattole Road, eventually zooming down the Wall to the Lost Coast, where we enjoyed a flat stretch along the ocean with a screaming tailwind which pushed us to Petrolia, where there is a restroomless store.

After Petrolia was a slightly upwardly trending rollery bit headed slightly inland through coastal farm land. There was some concern about getting to the Honeydew store while it was still open, so the guys zoomed ahead. It was getting on in the day and there was still a burly gravel section ahead, with a part that Andrea said made him want to cry whenever he rode it, which made the minute voice of reason I actually do have in a small corner of my mind start to wonder if the 24 hours I’d budgeted for the ride – to give time to shower and nap at the hotel before checkout time and the drive home – was anything resembling realistic.

Fortunately, in Honeydew there was an option to foreshorten the ride! It was still another climb, but on pavement, and it also cut off some of the “flat” run along the 101 corridor back to Arcata. This option went over Panther Gap, so we got to ride through Humboldt Redwoods Park at dusk. In a day filled with varied and amazing scenery, that was truly magical, and an excellent way to cap the daylight hours. That brought us on to the Avenue of the Giants, which we followed to the end, then rode 101 back to Arcata.

The actual route takes more back roads, but neither of us were feeling like navigating, and it was after dark at that point, so I don’t feel like I missed seeing anything. The shoulder was quite ample and in good condition almost the whole way. In some places we even rode 2-up and felt there was still plenty of room to the traffic lane. Also there was not much traffic, and what did pass us was generally very courteous. Almost everyone moved over to the left lane when going by. Which reminds me! – during the day most of the roads we traveled were very quiet, but it felt like I got more friendly waves from motorists than I had the whole rest of the year riding in the Bay Area.

The day of the ride also had the benefits of pleasant riding temperatures – turned out to be an excellent weekend to be away from the Bay Area! (100+ degrees temperatures) – and any winds for the most part in the favorable direction. It was a bit hazy from fires, but I didn’t seem to notice smoke smell or anything causing breathing problems (besides the hills). And there were tasty roadside blackberries!

With the detour at Honeydew we ended up with a solid 200 miles, definitely got our money’s worth! I was totally happy with my decision for the shorter loop, especially when we were back to Arcata just after midnight. It was still plenty challenging, but left me super stoked about riding in the area again, without having to have a randonesia period. I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

In fact – part of what reminded me that I’d never written this up – Andrea is RBA, starting a new Humboldt region this year. He is hosting 2 brevets, one of them a 200k this weekend, April 29. Bear River Ridge 200k – Starts and ends at Mad River Brewery! and the Unknown Coast 300k on June 10.

Brian’s pictures

Ride date: August 15, 2015

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As the sign also said: The Museum of everyday life in Roman Britain, it showcases artifacts from the third largest Roman settlement in Britain. The Romans established themselves there in AD 50 and lasted until somewhere between 400 and 450. In contrast to many other locations, the subsequent town was not built directly atop the Roman location, but arose around what eventually became St. Albans Cathedral, leaving relatively more of an archeological record – or at least a more accessible record. The first major excavations were done in the 1930s, and the results of this and later digs are on display in the museum. Despite not being built on top of, many of the large monuments were destroyed by medieval builders for building materials – bricks and limestone to make mortar. However, there is a great variety of objects of daily life – pots, jars, cooking and eating utensils (no forks – forks were not used in the Roman period), money, writing implements and many beautiful mosaics. They are well displayed with informative text. Beautiful and educational! Our visit was sadly marred by the presence of an obnoxiously loud school group. Fortunately I had ear plugs. In addition to the museum there is an intact mosaic floor and hypocaust, sections of wall, and a theatre. We did not get to the theatre, but did visit the other sites. Most of the area is a park now, so it was hard to imagine it as a bustling Roman city, but along the walls one could get the faintest sense of what it might have been like.

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Euroadventure 2016! Day 16

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There was an afternoon departure to our Aunt and Uncle’s house on the itinerary, but that left the morning for a bit more exploring in London. I’d read about the Type Archive – known as the Type Museum at the time – in Simon Garfield’s Just My Type and of course had been intrigued to see it. By the time I made it to London it still did not seem to be open to the public on a regular basis, but I’d hoped to make arrangements for a visit. I had e-mailed before we left the States, and did not get a response. Then once we were in London I tried calling. No answer, and no machine for leaving a message. Hmn.

I almost just left it, but then figured I’d be kicking myself for being so close and not even trying, and so I just went. I was going to say showed up on the doorstep, except the doorstep was behind a locked gate and no intercom or way to communicate past the gate that I could tell. So I hung around. Finally someone drove up, and I started on my plea to see the type and it turned out they were from one of the other properties behind the gate. But they thought someone from the Type Archive would be along shortly. Which, they were. A bit surprised to be greeted by a random American, but too polite (as I hoped – playing the “I came all this way and this is my last day in London card”) to turn me away.

It turned out that there’s only a few employees, and they aren’t there every day, so I was quite fortunate with my timing. The older gentleman who was kind enough to let me and and give me a brief tour had been an engineer at Monotype – not a printer – interested in “the making of things, and making things work – it might as well have been bicycles” – but it sounded as if he had had a long and rewarding career in the industry, and was getting some sort of satisfaction in this continuation, preservation and passing along of his knowledge, at the same time acknowledging that technology and much of the world has long since moved on.

Besides all the Monotype equipment the Archive has patterns and matrices for untold numbers of metal type faces, and a large wood type and pattern collection as well. In the wood I saw some non-English faces which were just spectacular. There are molds that are hundreds of years old. It was overwhelming. Mind-boggling. One could spend a lifetime there. But my guide had his usual work day to get to, and he’d been so kind to let me in at all I didn’t want to impose on him more, so I went on my way.

I took the scenic route back to the flat from the tube station, seeing more sights along the canal, including a boat going through the locks at Camden! And of course there was trying to, and getting, a treat. We had another nice lunch at the Italian place, and then were about to leave when it turned out that no, we were not going to be coming back to the flat. Oops. Miscommunication. We commenced speed packing of the rest of our things.

We took the Underground to Euston, and then the Overground – I would have called it a train, but there’s the fun of English as a common language. I was nice being above ground and getting to see the sights. One of the stations was “where you alight for Harry Potter” – alight… more of that language fun.

There was a school in between the station and our Aunt and Uncle’s house, and we had the unfortunate timing to be trying to pass by on the not much more than one lane road when alltheparents were there to pick up their offspring. Not so much different from the States in that, or the person who was trying to squeeze in oncoming although there was no place for her to go rather than letting us continue on and get out of everyone’s way. But of course we eventually made it, and unloaded and settled in while my Aunt took my Uncle to an appointment.

When they got back we watched some tennis – Wimbledon was in progress – and there was the underdog match of British player Marcus Willis, ranked No 772 in the world, playing against Roger Federer on Centre Court in the second round. Good times. Dinner was Chinese take away, again with the language, and then we watched Belle, a movie inspired by a mixed race girl who had been brought up at Kenwood House in London in the 18th century. My Aunt and Sister had visited Kenwood House on the day WCN and I were off Tank Festing. It was one of those movies that I never would have heard of otherwise, but I quite enjoyed. It’s a beautiful period piece, and fascinating story. Although I’m sure they took some liberties, it is based on real people and events.

June 29, 2016

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Sweet Things

After being denied at the nitro, I remembered there was a bakery just around the corner that I’d always been to early or late for, so I went and checked it out! Yes! OPEN!!! Super cute shop, and they did have ice cream, and I got a flapjack for later. Which was a little different from the not-a-pancake flapjack I’d had previously, but still super tasty.

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IONTW – April 23, 2017

Art is part of the world it is made in – reflection, reaction, documenting or commenting – and receives meaning from both the maker and the viewer, and there’s often more than two sides to the story.

Finding art in the world – printing from urban objects. Some manhole covers have always made me think of waffles, but I’ll look at them a little differently now!

Automatically generated maps of imaginary worlds.

Fantabulous contraptions by, of all people, John Muir!

And a plane chair. OK, part of a plane.

North Bay peeps mark your calendars! The film of George Takei’s Allegiance will be at the Rialto in Sebastopol on May 9.

Another edition of Rhythms of Cuba, the tour I went on, will be going in November.

Manzanar Pilgrimage this coming Saturday, April 29.

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