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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Not Dead

My absence from writing in this blog may leave the reader wondering if my injuries were fatal after all.  After 2 crashes, I must admit that I spent some time away from the bike.

But the true cyclist, like the true runner, is addicted to the sport and time off is a heavy burden to bear.  And no, my foot has not healed, so running is still not an option.

I admit that I have not sat astride my road bike since I stepped off it battered and beat and tossed it into a friends car for a short ride back to my truck.  I still have significant scars and the one last scab on my elbow just disappeared the other day after my shower.

But I have been cycling.  The cash I've been hiding for well over a year in anticipation of a new road bike got spent on a sweet mountain bike.  Yes, the GT has been relegated to a parts supplier after many miles together.

She's a Specialized Stump Jumper FSR with Fox full suspension, a mix of Shimano XTR and Sram components, dropper saddle, and more levers and adjustments than I can keep up with.  It's far more bike than I can ever do justice to, but I'm loving it anyway.

I've been out on it close to a dozen times, since my hand recovered enough to support my weight, and frankly haven't missed the road bike too much.  I still look at the roadies and shake my head thinking, "boy that looks dangerous."  I think I still have some recovering to do.

Monday, October 28, 2013

MTB Cross Training

Since my foot is taking its sweet ol' time to recover, I've ramped up my cycling to keep the legs and lungs from going into hibernation.

Here is the picture sequence I took at the top of my first climb on Saturday morning.  It's that time of year when the sun rises like a volcano between the twin Mt. Diablo peaks - as viewed from Briones.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Project Completed

The project is finally done.
Siding, Roof, Soffits, and a thousand other tangential projects that either sachet'd or shouldered themselves in alongside the big one.

Ella's new window completed

Gianna's new window completed

Re-coat on patio (because the construction work destroyed the last one), new patio step (because I got the new coating on the last one), finished siding and roof

Only 4 or 5 years later... The front porch gets stained.  That's 3 colors layered to look like a "natural" surface.

Cute huh?

What to do with those ugly pipes?

The flowers and leaves are scroll-cut out of an old aluminum street sign.  Ella, myself and finally the artist, Bec, had a hand in these details.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I've completed no additional work on the house since my last posting.  Nada.

Pinnacles National Monument

Instead, for 4 days we went... um, well we went...Away - let's just call it away.  You can't exactly call anything that happens inside the confines of a Thousand Trails "Campground" camping.  Meals prepared for you if you like, restrooms cleaned daily, multiple swimming pools, and a convenience store with not a single tent in sight aren't exactly included in the traditional definition of camping.  However, sleeping in a real bed and watching movies until early morning with my wife sure beats the inflatable mattress and fluttering tent flaps that ordinarily supplement the Family Camping routine.

**I must digress and assuage any doubt that I retain the outdoors gene.  I do.  I'm currently planning with a group of men for a 1 week assault on the 200+ mile long John Muir Trail from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney scheduled for some time next summer.  I'm fairly certain no restrooms will be found along that trail.**

But as I was saying, my family escaped the Bay Area for nearly 4 days. I slept-in every single day, upon which I found my daughters crowding Bec and I out of our own bed for possibly the first time in my life.  We swam in the pool twice, crawled around in caves, and watched a Civil War Reenactment - all spontaneously and with no great thought to schedule (other than the comment "if we don't get moving - the place will be closed before we get there").

We were south of Silicon Valley - just outside of Hollister, CA - a second choice after our Yosemite campground was closed for the Rim Fire spectacle.  The campground was in the middle of what I call the California Desert.  This corner of the Central Valley is characteristically fertile, providing spectacular yet paradoxical vistas.  The bright secondary colors of farms and vineyards are denoted and sustained by the strategic placement of one simple additive - water.

So those were my views on my Sunday morning run.  Well, actually it turned into more of a Sunday morning walk, hobble, limp, run, walk, hobble, run...you get the idea.  The Plantar Fasciitis that I've been staving off for weeks finally had its way with me.  My left foot was sore out of the gate and only grew worse as I went. I only managed 12 miles in about 2 hours and alas, even that has left me in severe pain and off my feet as much as possible for the rest of the day.  Packing the truck was interesting.  It was a bad run which probably should have been omitted.  But as usual, if nothing else, it afforded some beautiful views of California awakening.

No - you've never heard of Paicines.  There is a small store in the distance at the town intersection, which was a "short run" midpoint option for my out and back run.  I never even made it that far.  The town line was far enough for me.

Vineyards on the hillsides

Not sure what's growing here.  One of the fields was carrots.  I couldn't help pulling one of the stray plants along the road - and sure enough.  Even this city boy can identify a carrot.

The road skirts these fields all the way around to the base of the far hills.  Our campground is approx. 2 miles beyond the right side of the picture.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ahead of Schedule

September was supposed to be the month I install the roof.

Roof's done.  I'm now a month ahead of schedule.

I hired Ben's Roofing - a roofing contractor I use regularly and they did a great job.  I stopped feeling guilty on the first day they were up there.  I saw all of the things I certainly would have missed or thought of too late and was content to have taken my road less traveled.

They make it look so easy.

That was easy.

Soffits and soffit vent are going in.

Ella found a use for some of the wierd shapes dropped from the various fascia cuts.

My Sunday morning run was so beautiful - I had to take some pictures.  I got in 19 miles with 2500' of elevation gain between 5:30 and 8:30 - and then made it to church by 9:30.  But I could have run the hills all morning.  A coyote and I sized each other up as I climbed the single track.  As I got closer I realized there was a second one scouting around in a small canyon just beyond the first.  They were beautiful, large, and healthy.  These seemed a happy pair - not the scrawny sort often seen slinking across the trails.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More Roof Work - Plus a Sunday Morning Run

After a long afternoon on the roof, it's not unusual for the neighbors to look up and see me sitting on the plywood watching the stars come out.  It was during one of those tranquil moments that I finally figured out how to resolve the troublesome transition between the roof at the rear of the house, the laundry room roof, and the roof over the living room.  On Wednesday, Gary came over and helped me sort through a few roof issues, but by the end of our interview we still hadn't conceptualized a modification for this section.

Then, in the diminishing light I saw it as clearly as if it had already been built.  I stood up and climbed down off the roof.  

This was my biggest challenge of the week - How to get that transition right - because it has never been right.  The biggest problem with this configuration is - which direction to run the shingles?  If you look at the far left of the picture, you see what looks like a hip.  But if you follow that "hip" down the roof to the right, it blends back into the plane of the roof.  So which direction do you run the shingles?

Roughing in the framing

The new section looks like an airplane wing - and is now on the same "plane" as the rear roof.  Now there really will be a hip.
Compare this with the first picture above - I know, it's hard to see the difference - but this configuration can now be shingled conventionally.

It's getting to the point where there are about as many original sheets of plywood as new ones.  If you look closely you can see the small steel gussets I've conscripted into service as reinforcement between sheets - between rafters.  I installed blocks with screws between any new sheets.
Saturday's work...1x8 fascia boards.

Ella actually helped hold one end of some of those more ornery fascia boards.  

Fascias almost done.  Still missing that little triangle piece, but they are all drawn up and sitting on the table saw ready to be cut and installed some afternoon this week.

12 mile run this morning. Humid, but beautiful.
So this week should see the completion of the preparation of the roof.  All of the sheeting is now done, and I only have a couple of straight runs of fascia to install.  The small rear transition gable still needs a piece of plywood installed and I need to cut out the old step flashing, but when that's done - I should be done raining saw dust on the patio - hopefully for a very long time.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

1 Week on the Roof = No Sunday Morning Run

I didn't run my typical Sunday morning run.  I've been consoling myself with the fact that I've been getting in 15 - 20 miles each Sunday morning.  That still makes me a runner - right?

My running shoes dry out by the front door - the only evidence that there is a little athlete inside the carpenter who lives here.

But I could barely get out of bed this morning - after sleeping nearly 11 hours straight.  This is among the hardest weeks I can remember.

Last Saturday Tim, Dillon, and I spent 9+ hours tearing off shingles... Then each day this past week I worked my real construction job until around 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon and then headed up onto the roof...

Removed plywood and constructed eaves at large rear gable

Removed plywood and constructed eaves at transition gable

Same again at the small side gable

Removed approx. 5 sheets of plywood and approx. the same number of rafter tails at various locations around the roof.

Stripped plywood around the skylight to determine exactly how much damage was done by the leaks and formed a plan of attack for Saturday

In running terms - this was a double marathon.  ...shored up the dining room ceiling, remove the wiring above the light fixture, remove final sheets of plywood, remove damaged sections of rotting rafters, installed 5 new rafters, repaired various framing around skylight, installed new insulation as needed, new plywood, new skylight

I don't remember ever being as beat as I was on Saturday night.  I had been on the roof for nearly 12 hours straight.  I was blessed with cloud cover most of the day - an unexpected blessing on a day slated for 90 degree highs with clear skies.

So this week I plan to spend much less time on the roof (there are still 6 or 7 sheets to replace) and a little more time on the more artistic elements such as the "bird boxes" at the soffit corners, and paint prep.  My friend Gary comes over later in the week to help me figure out a nasty transition on the roof which is guaranteed to be problematic if we don't change something.  

Hopefully, this week, I don't put my tools away in the dark every night.  Next Sunday morning I want to hit the trails again...