Monday, August 30, 2010

Garden & Giants & Finally the Top of the Muir De Crockett

Odds and ends (or odds and odds) A few posts ago I whined how summer never arrived for good in the San Francisco Bay Area. Well, Tuesday and Wednesday we finally got back to back days of 100 degrees--PERFECT for riding down Mt. Diablo without lugging up numerous layers of extra clothes. One little problem


which closed Mt. Diablo for the week. And so it goes.
On the gardening front...which has been neglected due to cycling...
Redwood box had been filled with burnt out horsetail rush--can't get enough water. Pulled out and azaleas/ camillas put in. Burma cast statue by David Jaap who does a great job running aid/ supplies and education for the poor over there.

Trim back hedges that were growing over the bbq area--at least they are alive despite neglect.
Lots of dead plants next to walk under Raywood Ash/ Cork Oak trees. I vowed not to plant anything new and was looking for statuary and pots--what do you know--when I pulled up the dead stuff (drip line clogged) I had a bunch of ceramic pots. OK--new drip line and 1 gallon shrubs.

Far corner of yard was supposed to be veggie garden but I'm too lazy to go downstairs and walk to the back when I needed something. Lots of weeds and crap were growing out of them. Weeded area. Don't know what to put in Half Barrel's, just threw some sunflower seeds in for now--hopefully they'll come up in a couple of weeks.
Giant weed had grown in the center/ rear of yard--and set out bamboo like stalks before dying back--sawzall is great.

My wife points out that after neglecting the yard for 3 years (probably more like 5) I've done my usual maniac thing and did a few years of yard work in one month--probably a result of seeing my brother in law and neighbors yard last month--though the deck is stacked as they all have gardeners. Straight back from the fountain was a 30' weed clump that had died years ago with thick stalks--it was one of the many things I sawzalled out (I have a huge pile ready to fill up the green can on the bi-weekly recycling pickup, that may go on until New Years.) I patched up the drip line and planted a few 1 gallon plants in containers that had been holding dead stuff, and I remembered my promise to put more statuary in the yard, as I can't kill statuary, with the latest addition being the carbon fibre fu dog to the right of the fountain.

Chicken rooster finally gone, not before I wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper after they ran an article about how Antioch Animal Control is underfunded and split from the County years ago--my letter cc'd to the city council--Antioch Animal Control is USELESS.

Meanwhile Jessie came home and we finally hit another Giants game--the last one being the evening before Donna flew back when her mom went into intensive care. Giants going down the toilet quickly--last season fans expected 75 wins so 86 was positive--this year they expected 90 so 86 will be a disappointment. Starting pitching, after losing so many 3-2 games at the beginning of the season, are now getting shelled in 9-7 losses. Earlier in the week the Giants had pounded first place Cincinnati in 2 games and a sweep would have been a big accomplishment. In the final game they got behind 1-10 and then CAME BACK to lead 11-10 in the last inning. In a pennant winning year this would be a game that would become a legend, alas the Giants lost the game in the final inning 11-12. The announcers played it up as a great comeback but this team is very short on magic, regardless of what their ad campaign pimps out.

Thing weird about the game was that it honored (complete with bobblehead) hated Yankee Joe DiMaggio. When I was growing up whitebread Yankee fans would whine away that Mickey Mantle was better than Willie Mays. When it was clearly shown how absurd that position was the Yankee crowd would suddenly flip the argument and say "Well, forget about Mantle, DiMaggio was better than Mays!" So DiMaggio was never a favorite of mine, and strange the Giants honoring him. Well, if they honor Jackie Robinson who went out of his way to hate the Giants and put down Willie Mays, anything is possible. One day the DNC may honor Sarah Palin.
Two who flunked Camp Panda weight reduction training. Hopefully Pablo will work harder in the offseason.

Donnie cracks up when I say "Lets Go Giants" in the 9th inning. I'm not that funny.
*** Jessie with her first ballpark beer--though I didn't raise her well as its a Bud Light.

Giants were blown out but good time at the game. We sat in Row 41--last row of lower deck but behind us was back of food booths so seats were warm, and could stand without blocking anyone. One guy spent 7 innings yelling "LETS GO GIANTS" and clapping at the top of his lungs, finally woman in front of him asked him nicely to tone it down--and he stops. We're 6 seats away but Donna relieved--it sounded like guy was next to her. So we get to 9th inning, 1 out, and I yell "LETS GO GIANTS" to start uo the guy, Donna doubles over laughing. Meanwhile Jessie proud that she bought her own ball park beer--until a peanut shell flys into the cup and she's done drinking for the night.

I signed up for my first and only "Double" of the year--Knoxville, though afraid to sign up in this year of everything going down the toilet. We did the Crockett Loop and I again attempted the Muir De Crockett with the steep 1/2 block turn which I could never do. (If the Mt. Diablo ramp is 17-18% the straight 3-4 block part of the Muir De Crockett must be 19-20% and the 1/2 block turn must be 21-25%.) I FINALLY DID IT--YIPPIE!! After the turn almost fell over half way up so stomping on the pedals even harder to make it was a survival technique.

Two photos from last year when I first stalled on "the turn"--come up 2nd street wall and a steeper wall lurks beyond the turn.

Looking back at the final 1/2 block--its so steep you can't see 2nd Avenue or the intersection we turned on.

Great view of the old Crockett Bridge and the new Frank Zappa Bridge. Now how the hell do I get down.

Jack, Ward, Don and Brian come around a turn on a road closed to cars because of major disrepair.

Later Ward and I do bonus miles on "de Bears"--never saw this fence topped with shells on the approach to the Bears--the shells are actually white--but somehow I got a vision of Jason Hockey Masks...
Postscript-It was finally 100 on a club Wednesday night Mt. Diablo time trial--which goes 6 1/2 miles, half way up the mountain. Well, it was 95 but that is as good as it will get. My chance to beat the racers who have been zooming up ahead of me all year--a group of nice guys who are 20 years younger and incredibly fast. On most Wednesdays I'll usually pick up the slowest one while 2-3 finish ahead of me. On the last Wednesday the two best climbers showed up and they set an incredible pace. I was behind by 100' when we started the steep climb to the 1000' level--I went as hard as I could up it, passed them and hit the 1000' sign at 14:30. I can't go any faster. From then on I thought they were on my ass, and I hit the steeper hairpins as hard as I could. I was slowed in the heat but usually everyone else is slowed down more. I pulled into the junction, threw Christine some reflective tape, and continued to the summit-half dead. Christine later told me that I got there about a minute ahead of the two chasing racers. It felt good and I guarantee with cooler weather coming in I wouldn't be close to them the rest of the year. It was worth $1,000,000,000 riding down with no need for a vest or arm warmers.

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