reBertha: What To Do With Our Very Large Hole

photo modified under Creative Commons. Original available on flickr from the WaDOT (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/8260834957/in/set-72157631880763139)
As you’ve probably heard, our tortured tunneling titan, Bertha “the world’s largest and most expensive tunneling machine,” hasn’t moved in more than a month.

Armchair speculation says she’s likely over budget and certainly behind schedule.

I think it’s safe to say things are a mess.  Many of us alternative transportation nerds advocates have been against this mega project debacle since the beginning.  A mere $2.8B to move some cars at roughly the same speed and efficiency as if we tore down the doomed Alaska Way Viaduct and did nothing? “Sure that sounds like a great investment (air quotes over the great),” was my reaction all along.

Tweet: Bertha's Budget Busted

Nobody official wants to speak publicly about the growing quagmire, probably because the State and the contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, are busy lining up their litigation teams for the lawsuit(s) of the century.

Meanwhile the same state leaders glady supporting the motor-vehicle-only tunnel also think that investing in bike and transit infrastructure is too expensive and/or too socialist. Right….

So it’s tempting (oh so tempting!) to play I-told-you-so and draft an initiative to require all State Legislators to write suitably conciliatory, daisy-scented, “I’m sorry” notes to hero tunnel obstructionist/former Mayor McGuin.

Bertha's Junk. A creative commons photo from the Washington State Department of Transportation http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/11828410274/in/set-72157631880763139/lightbox/

Bertha’s Junk

As much as I’d like to see how a liberal Tim Eyeman-style effort would play out in Ephrata, we’re instead going to join the moral-high ground freshly shoveled in by Tom over at the Seattle Bike Blog. In a post Thursday morning entitled “We can do better things with our new downtown tunnel,” he’s calling for a positive spin to install on our sinking Titantic. Continue reading

Tree Hauling, Year 7: Kids Hauling Trees

Xtracycle Tree Hauling (year 7)
Happy Holidays! It’s time for our seventh-annual Christmas-tree hauling post. You’re probably bored of our tree-hauling exploits at this point. But it’s a tradition so we’re sharing anyway!

Last year our friend, Charlotte, suggested that the kids need to start hauling the tree. And since our daughter now fits Anne’s bikes, Tim floated the idea by her a couple of weeks ago. As a new 13 year old, she’s lukewarm about even riding bikes, let alone hauling trees on bikes in public, where, you know, like, her friends and, like, the whole world might see her!

So we weren’t surprised then with her less-than-enthusiastic response.

Continue reading

Bike Lights that Last Forever, a Kickstarter Campaign

Can you believe it’s already fall? Seattle has been hit by some nasty weather this fall: rain, clouds and wind storms. And most disturbing of all, darkness! Time to start pulling out our bike lights.

What type of lights do you use?

Anne's got the cinder block

Even though we talk about upgrading to generator lights, we haven’t made the leap yet. We’re still using battery-powered lights. And not even bike-specific battery-powered lights, we use a variety of AA flashlights that we connect to our handlebars with DIY guy’s signature re-used/re-purposed inner tube mounts.

Bike Light Kickstarter

We’re not serial product testers and endorsers here at Car Free Days. We don’t blindly endorse every Kickstarter campaign that shows up in our inbox. In fact, the last time we got excited about a Kickstarter campaign, we were emotionally attached (a documentary by one of the Xtracycle founders). It’s been two years already and so far, the promised movie has yet to materialize.

That said, the latest Kickstarter campaign we’ve been asked to review looks pretty good. These guys have a track record for delivering on time and as promised. Continue reading

Hotel Sidewalk Bike Disassembly (Packing and Shipping Two Tandems)

2013 Pacific Coast Bike Tour
If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you probably know that Tim is DIY guy. From customizing bikes to making stoves to making a camera stick, Tim likes to make and do things himself. He rarely hires out work that he knows how to do himself. Because he’s a perfectionist. And he’s cheap. And he likes DIY projects. And I love those qualities in him. Continue reading

Day 26: Last Day! Downtown San Diego to Border Field State Park (and back)

previous post: Day 26 in a San Diego Hotel (Neuroses of a Bike Touring Mom)

Day 26: Downtown San Diego to Border Field State Park (and back)

san diego to border field

Since I already shared my early morning neuroses, you know that I did not wake up feeling relaxed on the final day of the trip. Who has time to relax at the end of a long adventure?

Still so much to do:

  1. Ride 17 miles to the border to “finish” our tour
  2. Get a bike box
  3. Pick up a rental car
  4. Take apart a couple of large bikes
  5. Wrestle two large bikes into a box and pack/protect them for a long journey
  6. Load the rental car with bike parts that are not going in the box along with all of our panniers etc
  7. Drop huge bike box at the shipper
  8. Do laundry
  9. Take the kids to the San Diego Zoo
  10. Take the girl shopping for some normal (non-bike-touring) clothes

The largest and most daunting task: all of the steps involving prepping and shipping two large tandems to Seattle. Continue reading

Day 26 in a San Diego Hotel (Neuroses of a Bike Touring Mom)

Previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 25: San Elijo to San Diego

Day 26: Waking up in a plush San Diego Hotel

IMG_2024

I woke up on Day 26 of our tour at 7:00 AM. Bing. I was instantly awake. And everyone else was asleep. I was alone with my thoughts. And my brain started buzzing right away with so many random thoughts about all that we needed to take care of:

Where am I? Oh, right, I’m here in this plush hotel room. 

We made it. I can’t believe we made it. Tim’s knees survived. 850+ miles in 3 weeks. With our kids! We really did it. The Pacific Coast in two summers.  We’re finally here.

These sheets are nice. I’m so glad I’m not in a tent right now. No more stinky tent. No more skanky campground showers. I really hate showering at campgrounds. The dampness. The dirty floors. The gross shower curtains. Where do I hang my clothes? The quarters. I hate wearing flip-flops in the shower.  I can’t wait to take another shower in this nice bathroom. It’s luxurious. And the water doesn’t turn off after 3 minutes. It’s clean. I really do like these sheets, I should get new sheets when we get home. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 25: San Elijo State Beach to San Diego

Previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 24: Doheny State Beach to San Elijo

Day 25: San Elijo State Beach to San Diego

San Elijo to San DiegoFourth of July, what better day to finish our tour? We certainly didn’t plan to arrive in San Diego on the quintessential American summer holiday, it just worked out that way.

Fourth of July meant a festive mood in the campground. The beach (just beyond the chain-link fence separating our campsite from the ocean) was hopping by 6:30 AM. Early morning surfers, campers staking out their Fourth of July beach spots and passing trains made it difficult to catch morning shut-eye. No snoozing for us! It was time to get up and finish this tour. Continue reading