Esther and I got some practice at being grandparents this week. (Not that anything is happening soon, nor are we anxious) Conner and Collin Snell have been staying with us the last part of this week, as their parents are with the youth trip to Salt Lake City. Today we decided to include them in our new biking hobby. We checked out the 'foothills trail' that passes through Orting and several other rural communities in the Puyallip River valley. It was a hot day and one of our young riders got overheated, so we just got a taste of this wonderful trail. The 30 mile trail is impressive, and we plan to explore it some more later. We enjoyed an hour in Orting City Park watching the boys play on the Big Toy. It brought back lots of fond memories:)
The last two weeks of 'summer break' have found me working hard! I poured a retaining wall using fifty 60 lbs. bags of concrete mix, poured a slab of concrete (4 yds.) and power washed a neighbor's roof for two days. The change of pace from the classroom is invigorating and I enjoy working outside in reasonably nice weather. However, when the end of August comes, I will be ready to get back in the classroom. Calvin left for Challenge (church youth conference) in Salt Lake City and Esther finally got to start her 'summer break' on Thursday.
Jenny dropped by last night and this morning we brought her to the airport for her flight to Atlanta to visit her sister. We had time in the evening for a quick sail. The wind has alluded previous attempts at taking Jenny sailing; and it looked like it was going to again. When we left the house the wind was lively, but by the time we got the sails up it had died. To complicate matters, my safety cord fell off my outboard, rendering it inoperable. Not a problem, unless your becalmed in front of a ferry! After a little sweat and ingenuity, I jerry rigged a solution with popsicle sticks. The motor sputtered to life and we were off. In a few minutes the wind picked up nicely and we had a great sail. Jenny learned how cold it can get on the Sound on a hot day. But that was only minor discomfort compared to the headache she got after I dropped the boom on her while taking down the sails:(
For our Sunday afternoon bike ride Esther and I rode the Scott Pierson bike trail in Tacoma. We started just on the Gig Harbor side of the bridge and followed the trail to its east terminus near Sprague Ave. The paved trail skirts Hwy 16 and only crosses a couple of streets. The weather was great and we really enjoyed the ride. Surprisingly, there were very few people on the trail, despite it being a sunny Sunday June afternoon in the middle of the city. The trail is named after a Tacoma city planner who was passionate about cycling and making Tacoma bicycle friendly. It's really quite amazing. Using the Cushman trail in Gig Harbor and the Scott Pierson trail, bicycle commuters can easily commute from Gig Harbor to downtown Tacoma or Tacoma Community College. With rising fuel prices and bridge tolls maybe it will become more popular.
After a week of manual labor, this old body needed a restful day of sailing. I don't think I have ever sailed into Elliott Bay from my home port of Southworth. So, since I had the time for a long day sail, I ventured north to the bustling bay and got a look of the city by sail. It was an overcast sky, so everything had a grey look to it. The emerald city was still impressive. The homeward leg brought a freshening wind, so it was an exhilarating, though chilly ride home.
Do I really need another recreational hobby? With some hesitation as to whether it will 'stick', I have begun an interest in cycling. With the gas crisis, I longingly considered the motorcycle option, but my loving wife poured a huge bucket of cold water on that idea. I have decided to give bicycling a try. We don't live in a setting conducive to bicycle commuting, but I enjoy a long ride for recreational purposes. I have been combing craigslist for the past couple of weeks, and last night I went down to Olympia and bought a nice used bike in great condition. It even came with clip-in shoes that are my size. I took my first ride to Manchester this evening-everything works great. On a more domestic note, I completed a small carpentry job for a neighbor and received my first summer pay check.
This father's day I chose to do something separate with each family member. Since I share certain pleasures with each, which are not necessarily shared by all, I broke up my day. I played basketball and watched the NBA finals with Markus. I played tennis with Calvin; and I went for a bike ride with Esther. It worked great, and every one enjoyed their day without having to spend the whole with me. Yesterday I dusted off the our bikes and fixed some leaky tires. I convinced Esther to do Beach Drive for our ride today. At first she was reluctant because of the traffic, but it turned out to be manageable. The weather was great and we had a great ride. Tomorrow is the last day of school!
Last weekend we took a quick getaway trip to Walla Walla in search of sun and warmth; instead, we found cloud and wind. We had heard a lot about Walla Walla recently as an up and coming destination, and we wanted to check it out. The town has definitely been influenced by the influx of wineries in the valley. There are lots of Bed and Breakfasts and a really cool renovated downtown hotel, called the Marcus Whitman. We enjoyed a self-guided stroll past turn of the century homes under a canopy of wonderful shade trees. The downtown shops are starting to come, but still have a ways to go. We explored the Whitman Mission grounds and some of the history of this unique town. We would give the place a four out of five stars as a getaway destination.