Sunday, April 22, 2007

Santa Fe Vacation, Day 1

iced bikes

Ice build-up on all the leading edges

Recently T and I took a little vacation to Santa Fe. We couldn't decide which bikes to bring so we brought all of them, hoping to get a good road ride in together with our road bikes and the other two bikes for cruising around town and maybe a mountain bike ride when we got sick of each other. I went out and got two more bike carriers for my rooftop rack so we could bring the four bikes.

The drive down featured rain, freezing rain, sleet, and more rain. As we made our way out of Colorado the ice was building up so thick on the bikes that anytime we slowed down it sounded like the sky was falling as big chunks of ice broke off from the bikes and landed on the Jetta's roof. When we stopped for fuel (The Jetta doesn't take gas), I snapped this picture of all the ice that had built up on all the leading edges. Carrying four ice-covered bicycles on the roof absolutely slaughtered the Jetta's fuel economy. I'm used to getting well over 50 mpg highway, but with the fully loaded roof rack I got about 25 mpg on the trip down.

thawed bikes

Upon Arrival in Santa Fe

The skies started to clear as we approached Santa Fe. Instead of the cloudy gray rain we had all day, Santa Fe was sunny, warm, and very inviting. In this picture you can see the bikes are now clear of ice but there's still big chunks of ice melting off the rack. On the windshield wiper is a huge chunk that was attached to my mountain bike tire.

we're here!

Casita Chiquita

We unpacked the car under the waning light of the setting sun. Here you can see the casita we rented for the week; ours was named Casita Chiquita. More pictures of the casita are available in my Flickr account. After unpacking the car we walked downtown to find something to eat. We were hungry, tired, and cranky by the time we found a good eatery called Mucho Gusto. It had one of my favorite food innovations from the entire trip; refried beans made with black beans instead of the more traditional pinto beans! Hallelujah!! Black beans are so infinitely superior to pinto beans, and finally here was a restaurant that saw the light! The salsas were delicious, too! I love me that southwestern food!

Monday, April 16, 2007

How many words do the eskimos have for "hydrography"?

Found out my next assignment is going to be in Alaska. More on this breaking development later.

Update: The title of this post is a nod to the original snowclone. I'm a big fan those wacky linguists over at Language Log and had to throw it in.

I finally talked to CDR Glang last friday after playing phone tag for a couple of weeks. He's the technical liaison officer to the assignment board for NOAA's National Ocean Service. I believe he was gearing up to sell me on the idea of going to Alaska to be FOO on NOAA Ship Fairweather when I politely interrupted him by saying that I want to go to Alaska. He said it could be a done deal but they're going to have me go through a newly formed official process in which I get vetted by a board of "Senior Hydrographers", in other words, the proverbial smoke-filled room.

NOAA Ship Fairweather is based in Ketchikan, Alaska, a city reachable only by sea or air. Or maybe doglsed. The ship conducts hydrographic surveys all throughout Alaskan waters.

I'm looking forward to my new adventure.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

We're in the news!

Space storm disrupted GPS, experts say - Yahoo! News

This news article, about how intense solar flares in December were observed to disrupt GPS service, briefly mentions NOAA with regard to our Space Environment Center. I'm now signing autographs.

Edit: The story is now on CNN here with a little more information.

Edit 2: And now listen to the podcast!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

All the way, baby!

I just got back from riding all the way up flagstaff. I hadn't gone all the way in a really long time. Georgia and I used to go all the way all the time, but this time I had to go all the way solo. It's sunny, but rather chilly outside, so the descent was freezing. My hands, arms, and legs were all numb from the cold. I got passed by five people on the way up, but two of those don't count because they stopped and turned around just after passing me at the turn-off for flagstaff summit road while I kept going all the way to the top. Wusses.

Here's a neat website that shows some of the views from flagstaff.

My kickball team suffered a demoralizing defeat last night. The final score was 18 to 17. The opposition went up by 11 runs in the first inning! We came back to tie it up at 15 each, but then they scored three runs in the top of the last inning and we could only muster two. We fought valiantly and it was an exciting game, but alas the kickball gods were not smiling upon us.

In other news, I might find out soon where I'm going for my next assignment. When I came into the office yesterday I had a message from the liaison officer who deals with hydro assignments. He said he had an assignment that may interest me. So now I'm going nuts wondering what it is. I tried calling him back yesterday but ended up leaving a message for him, and he hasn't called me back yet. I'm pretty sure I'll be going to Alaska on the Fairweather for my next assignment, which I'm honestly pretty excited about. I'm starting to get anxious to go back to sea, even though it means less road biking. When I find out anything I'll post it here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Black20 Trailer Park: 300 - PG Version

This is the trailer for the PG version of "300".


Andrew I rode a portion of the way up Flagstaff today. As much as we could in our lunch hour, anyway. We prolly got about 3/4 of the way up, just before the insanely steep part, before turning around. It was good to get out on the bike again after working forecaster shift all weekend last weekend and the snow storm we had just before this weekend. I did try to ride up Sunshine on Sunday, but I only had an hour before Scotty was supposed to show up and I wasted half an hour of that hooking up my new bike computer, totally incorrectly, it turns out. And then when I finally did get out on the mountain it looked like some weather was moving in. So I cut the ride way short. But I did see an indeterminate number of deer on the way down. I was going too fast to count. I hit 47 mph on that descent.

So yeah, I'm an idiot. I installed the bike computer sensor in such a way that turning the handle bars put too much stress on the cord and I severed it on the way up. Then, like an idiot, I didn't really fix it properly for the descent, so I was cruising down a mountain with a wire potentially flopping around right next to my front spokes. I'm lucky I didn't catch it and get ejected down the side of the mountain.

In other news, my kickball team has another game at 9:00 tonight. So far we're 0-2, but we're a young, hungry team. Expect to see great things from us any time now. Yup, any second now we'll do something really cool...