Winter Solstice again, and not many posts this past year. I celebrated the solstice with David Buesch and friends at his house in the evening.
The big themes of the year have been transportation, hiking and dancing, not to anyone’s surprise. I said last year one of my long-term goals was to live without a car. I drove my car 5000 miles this year, and I’m glad to be down to such low numbers, but I feel as though that last little bit is going to be quite difficult to eliminate so long as I’m living in Carson City. I use my car (or go with friends) to get to Reno to connect to Amtrak or plane travel, to get to Incline Village and Lake Tahoe for hiking and meetings, and to get to dances. If I give up that last bit of flexibility, I’ll feel stuck in Carson City, and I don’t want that. So I’ll keep my car for as long as I’m in Carson, and continue to keep the driving down as much as I can. On the plus side, I did ride my bike more than I drove, and that feels good. I don’t have an odometer on my bicycles, but figuring a common daily mileage plus other trips works out to about 6000 miles a year.
I now have two bikes, my old Motobecane road bike and The Brompton folding bike I got in October. I’m riding the Brompton more than the road bike because it is workable in more situations. It is a bit less efficient, but not much. It does well in rain, as it has fenders and some tire tread, but I discovered during our recent storms that it doesn’t do well in sticky snow. The clearance between wheel and frame is not enough to clear the snow, and the two-speed external derailleur gets sticky. The three-speed internal hub, of course, works great, and I think that is the best solution for snowy climates. I’ve realized I will have to get a used mountain bike, to effectively get around on snowy days. Three bikes, in a studio apartment, rather a squeeze, but what other possessions do I need?
This week I flew with my Brompton from Reno to Las Vegas on Southwest, which did not charge me or give me hard time, or make me sign anything. I love Southwest. I have a travel bag for the bike that seems to work well, or at least did on this trip. There are also hard shell cases available, but then I’d have something at the destination that won’t fold down.
This last summer I led a five-weekend series of day hikes and backpack trips around the Tahoe Rim Trail. It was a wonderful experience, due to the trail of course, but equally due to the great people I had along. Five finished the loop of 165+ miles, and remarkably, they were nearly able to keep up with my hiking pace, which few people can. The five were Hugh, Vickie, Brian, Key, and Cecily, plus the dog Watson. The day hikes were long, especially doing them back to back, but by the end of the series we were all cruising. Having now done the Desolation Wilderness section of 36 miles as an overnight, I feel strongly that this is the way to do it. Not that it isn’t worth spending more time in the Desolation, but if the goal is to make it through, two days is much better and easier than three. We hiked Echo Summit to Dicks Lake, including over Dicks Pass, the first day, and then the second out to Barker Pass.
In addition to the Five Weekends program, I did quite a bit more backpacking, with my favorite trip into my favorite place, the Granite Chief Wilderness. I explored along the Rubicon River canyon to see if I could make a transit of it, which was not possible, but the attempt was wonderful.
As always, dancing and music are a big part of my life. I won’t repeat the events I listed in my Busy Fall post. I was talking to Danita about the best weekends this year, and after looking back over the year, can say that most have been dancing and/or music related. Listed in order, my best weekends were:
- Pickin’ in the Pines, music and contra dance weekend, September
- Gaskell Ball & Dickens Fair, dances, December
- Dance Awakening, contra dance weekend, April
- Fall Has Sprung, 12-hour contra dance, November
- Fautline Frolic, contra dance weekend, June
- Gathering of the Tribe & Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, dancing and music, October
Which leads me to wonder what I was doing the other six months!
The most recent weekend was the Gaskell Ball, which is a Victorian era formal ball in Oakland, and going to the Dickens Fair in San Francisco, which also included quite a bit of Victorian era dancing – waltz, schottische, polka, mazurka, and English Country Dances. Danita and I went, stayed with our friend Nancy, and had a most magical time. Danita had a beautiful Victorian period dress that her mom made, and received compliments on it from many many people. I was wearing Victorian clothing loaned to me by her dad. More on this later when I have some photos to share.
This was also the year of my 40th high school reunion. I went to Western HS in Las Vegas. The entire weekend was a lot of fun, but probably the most fun was dancing the evening to old music played by Jim Sevy and others. The people who came seem well adjusted and pretty happy, and mostly healthy. I hung out mostly with JoEllen and Alaina, but saw and enjoyed conversations with a lot of other people.
I also attended the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael in October, the first time I’ve been in years.
It has been a busy and enjoyable year. My online calendar looks like it has been hit by splatter paint (look at the month view), and somehow I even managed to fit in my Safe Routes to School work and advocacy work for Muscle Powered. Wow!
This coming year I will post more frequently. I’m no longer using Facebook, it struck me as so inane, but for the friends who’d like to keep up with what I’m doing, this blog will be the best place.