The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

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Scott Jaster and Williwaw – An Artist’s Bike Shop

My old red Schwinn, I call her Ruby, started riding like one of those clown bikes you see with  wheels of unequal sizes.  Not pleasant.

A friend suggested I visit Scott Jaster’s bike repair shop.  It’s more than a bike repair shop, folks.  Scott creates sculptures using wood and old bikes/bike parts.

Peruse photos of his sculptures, hand-crafted furniture and other wood pieces and read more about Scott at his website, Williwaw.  Looks like he does commissioned work as well.

Ruby’s back.  Much more fun to ride, she is freshly tuned-up and sports new tires.  I over-inflated the rear tire the other day.  Nearly jumped out of my skin when it exploded.  Bang!  Prompted the neighbor to step out and check on me.  I survived changing the rear tire out. Lesson learned.


Stepping into Scott’s shop, I was drawn to the hand-crafted pieces of furniture. I remember some are from oak from the Midwest.  He’s from Illinois. A fellow Midwesterner,  this oak reminds me of oak antiques and their distinctive warm, red color.

These certainly aren’t antique bureaus and wardrobes!


I sat in all the chairs.  A tactile person, I couldn’t stop touching them – the smoothness, the way the pieces are fluidly shaped, and the way the chairs fit the way the body is shaped.  Fascinating.  Woodworking is something I’ve  associated with symmetry and pre-determined dimension.

That thought’s been challenged.

Sculptures.  Check ’em out.

Enter the driveway here:


A group ride meets you outside the front door:


The group leader is having bike fit issues. This one I find humorous:



Grand in scale:


Off to the side yard this caught my eye:


I nearly didn’t post this photo because the beauty of the suspended forms, hinged, moving, and organic is just not fully realized in this photo.  I could stare at this installment for ages – kind of like the kelp bed tank and jellyfish tanks at the Monterey Aquarium.  Mesmerizing.

Consider a stop in at Scott’s  place if you’re in or visiting Port Townsend.  Just off the Larry Scott trail, I’d like to pop in to see his pieces some more.  That will make a fun errand out of getting a kick stand for my other bike.


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A Chilly Bike Ride on Whidbey Island

I’d like to be less dependent on my car and move by foot and bike more often.  Today I defied cold weather. My friend Scott is a dedicated bicyclist. Weather does not stop him. He joined  me on an excursion I may not have taken solo.

We met at the Port Townsend/Keystone Ferry on bikes.  The 45 minute ride across to Whidbey Island is much cheaper by bike, $3.65 vs. $13.45 each way for a vehicle and car.

A cold, clear day revealed Mt. Baker behind town:





Last trip on Whidbey the Olympic Mtns. were cloaked in clouds. Today the silhouette showed.  These are the mountains that stretch down the Olympic Peninsula high above my little town.



We passed Ebey’s Prarie, the stretch of farmland that nudges up to the bluffs of Ebey’s Landing State Park.  This is where I hiked last time here.


Four miles on Engle Rd. took us to Coupeville.


Knead and Feed’s  homemade soup and sandwich’s fueled our fires for the cold day.  

Found the Kettle’s Trail, a paved multi-use path that parallels Hwy 20, and followed it a mile or so into Kettles Recreation Area. I unlocked my front fork for some trail riding.  It was pretty mellow with just a few STEEP downhills that made me nervous. I am not a talented, technical bike rider.


A tightly twisted network of trails wind through the Rec.  area and into Fort Ebey State Park.  This park protects the land between Penn Cove and Partridge Point, which marks the Strait of Juan de Fuca’s bend off Admiralty Inlet.

Returned to the Ferry via Cook and Ebey’s Landing beach.




A brilliant sunset washed the ocean in pink and orange during the Ferry ride back home.  Photo didn’t turn out. Mt. Baker lit up pink as well, fading to match the blue horizon. Was a beautiful end to a day.

I stayed surprisingly warm today, something I was dubious of.  Helped me realize I can comfortable ride my bike in cold weather.  Great lesson learned!

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Karen Comes to Town – A Sister Staycation

I have three sisters. Yep…that made for an intense, estrogen-fueled household growing up. My dad is a saint! Karen, 6 years younger than I, came out in May for a week. A grand stay-cation we had.

One day we went out to Point Reyes National Seashore and took a trail ride. I hadn’t been on a horse for almost 20 years. Karen’s horse had a total attitude, not letting mine pass her.  This prompted some laughs.  A pretty trail along Inverness Ridge made for a shady ride. The next couple days, though, I ached in places I didn’t know existed! To think I rode numerous times per week in Jr. and Sr. High. How did I do that?

After the ride we took our sore, bowlegged selves to Drakes Beach for some R&R. Nothing beats a beach picnic/nap/book session. Several commercial fishing boats in Drake’s Bay as well as fishing Osprey kept us entertained. I counted a minimum of 8 Osprey. While leaving, a dolphin cruised past along the surf. How special!

Once our butts were less tender from the horse ride we took bikes over to Angel Island.

Sitting in the middle of the bay, off the Tiburon Peninsula, Angel Island State Park gives non-stop 360 views of the Marin Headlands, Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo and the East Bay, San Francisco and the Golden Gate. Coastal Miwok Indians used the island for fishing and hunting 3,000 years ago. Other uses included a cattle ranch and a US Army Post. A darker part of its history, US immigrants, many from China, were detained here. Some stayed for months on end in locked, cramped quarters. The island also held Japanese and German POW’s and a Nike Missile Base.

Hiking, biking and camping opportunities abound.

Karen and I rode the perimeter trail checking out exhibits and poking around crumbling remains of the military base. 5 miles of mostly paved trail (a little crumbly and gravelly in places) pass by ruins, the Point Blunt Coast Guard station and the intact museums. We gaped at the views the whole time.

Looking towards the city on the left, GGB in the middle and the Marin Headlands on the right:

Looking towards Tiburon with Mt. Tamalpais in the background:

Karen pedaling away:

Inside the Immigration Station:

A room of bunks. Rooms were divided by nationality and people were crammed in like sardines. Bathroom facilities were antiquated and inadequate lacking any privacy. Mesh covered the windows. What a dark time for those detained.

Poetry, carved into walls, provided expression.

Here is a translation of the above writing:

Several buildings, some fenced off, sit crumbling away.

Karen passing through some buildings:

A former hospital. Can you imagine nursing back then?

Pretty, restored buildings we didn’t have time to check out.

Karen and I had the perfect balance of rest and activity. We visited farmers markets, went wine tasting and had quality time just reading and relaxing on the couch.

I look forward to more family and friends’ visits! There’s much to share.

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What a Weekend!

It all started with John, Becky and Cara.  Friends from Golden, they were in the area for a wedding.  We met for breakfast. So glad to catch up and hold that wee 6 week old little girl.  Someday, Cara will grow into the sweater I sent them.


Then, I headed up to Sacramento for Drew and Amy’s wedding.  Amy and I met a few years back in a knitting group.  She’s a true friend. The venue: Scribner Bend Vineyards. She was beautiful. Period.  (And rocked a pair of red heels under that dress.)

This AM I took a bike ride along the American River bike path in SAC.  Fall’s made things crunchy and brown but the sky and river sparkled blue. It was a great ride.


Fishing in Sausilito wrapped up the day.  Imagine my surprise when I reeled up this little bugger. My first crab!




I took the little Dungeness home and cooked it.  Made me feel a little bad.  Not sure I’ll do that again.  Man, was it tasty, though.


Adam hooked a Batray.  It gave us both a long, strenuous workout.  I’ll bet it weighted 50#.  We sent it back into the water just after the click of the camera.  Incredible critter.   See the bump on the long, whip like tail just after it meets the body?  That’s the part that stings.



Whew!  I am worked. Packed a lot in this weekend, happily I’ll add.

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Pedaling Around UC Davis-One cool city!

Davis was on my list of places to see while out here in CA.  I’ve heard tales of how the city and school promote bicycle-friendly culture.  Headed there with my bike to check it out yesterday. 

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Wow! I have never seen a more bike-friendly city. Bike lanes are everywhere.  The campus had seemingly thousands and thousands of bike racks. (With bikes to fill them!)  Rows of bikes stretched on to the horizon.

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Sitting on a chair eating a so-so sandwich from a delicatessen (because I’m a sucker for nostalgia-filled places like delicatessens with rows of tomato cans on teh shelves and salami’s hanging from the ceiling) I noted all sorts of folks on bikes.

There were students (some on cell phones, sketchy!)  There were commuters, kids, parents, people on BMX’s, Townie Cruiser-bikes, slick single-speed bikes with tiny handlebars, (why are they so short?  Is it to protect the rider from the handlebars from catching on cars?)   I, personally, don’t like to be that close and intimate with a car, thank you! 

There were two bikes made of bamboo:

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Rode around campus, then circumnavigated it, went past the cow and horse barns.  (I think I may have been a livestock farmer in another life since I love such critters and still find myself wanting a hobby farm someday.  I’ll snap out of it.)  CU Davis is a big agriculture school.

Many fields/gardens. HUGE rabbits in this one.  What do they put in those greens?

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A more formal garden with the best smelling flowering tree.  There was no sign to tell me what it was. Dogwood perhaps? Intoxicating.

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The arboretum stretches along a creek with areas designed to teach the observer about various ecosystems, such as the Mediterranean, the CA foothills, Redwoods, etc.  Lots of ducks, some waddling across the paths. Others lazing about the creek. Many squirrels with black triangles on tier backs I have yet to look up.

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Threatened to rain, never did. Glad I got in to see Davis. I’d live there!  Anyone readers ever try it?


An Odd Day – Fresh Air and a $20 movie – Slumdog Millionaire

Woke at 2ish this afternoon after a night of work.  I’m an 8 hour of sleep kind of girl.  These 5 -6 hr sleeps are not cutting the mustard.  I can’t wait to be done with nights.  They’re wrecking me!

Floating around in that half-asleep state, I made coffee, eval’d the sky, noticed blue skies and dry (ish), calm air.  Didn’t trust myself on my bike, not coherent enough.  Desperate to prove to myself I’m not turning into a mole (it’s a challenge most days) I went for a walk on the American River, next to the bike path.


A flyfisherman. Looked like fun:

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Pretty and smelly, too:

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After, saw a treat of a movie, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.  Became a $20 treat after one ticket and the “matinee bargain special” of popcorn and a small coke.  Worth it.  Went to the Tower theater, blogged about earlier after seeing MILK.  (A masterpiece, in my mind.)  I’d much rather give this theater my $20 than the giant big-box theaters.

Stashed the trusty camera in my bag and got a pic of the Tower  lit up in all it’s art-deco splendor. It’s dark, but you can get an idea of the fountain, palm trees and garden in front of it.  A special place.

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I watched the Oscars on Sunday.  I’ll admit, I love oogling the gowns as much as the talent.  This flick has been on my “to watch” list for some time.  It earned numerous Oscars.


It’ s splendid. It is disturbing. It is real.  You may cry and ask often, “Why?”

A  2 min. trailer.  Like usual, they don’t do the film justice:

Tommorow, a long bike ride if Mother Nature cooperates?  If not, lots of knitting to catch up on.

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Evil-Kneevil Squirrels and Bambi…

Despite CA’s budget swimming in red ink (locals have interesting things to say about gross misspending) they were pretty darn smart to invest in the AMERICAN RIVER PARKWAY.  Today I found it, with it’s bike path, and got out and stretched the legs.  (Left knee’s been getting fussy.  Not enough exercise.)  After four days off, I felt awake enough to safely pedal my bike along.  Bummer since I go back to work tonight. 

Was just what I needed. Warm in the sun (too much for jacket) but cool enough with the breeze and air movement while biking, the sun was on my face, the sky perfectly clear.  Houses were nearly completely shielded from view by old oaks and distance.  There were shady parts, grassy meadows, the pavement is smooth. 

Rode for a couple hours then said Uncle.  Need to nap this afternoon (if I can). 

The bike path runs for 23 miles along the American River which runs through SAC.  I stuck to the safer section, up around Carmichael.  Aparently, the trail by downtown is less safe.  Hoping to hook up with locals to ride with.  (Mental note…stop in bike shop for info/groups/ride schedules.)

The highlights of the day:

  • Karen booked us a room for our Tahoe ski trip in March. Woo hoo!  Now I’m REALLY motivated to get left knee into shape so I can at least attempt to keep with her.  (Though I never can!  She kicks my butt.)
  • Saw a doe and three fawns (with faint spots) on the trail.
  • Saw kayakers on the river, looked so peaceful, them being nose to beak level with the herons and other birds.
  • Watched an acrobatic squirrel bank off tree trunks while running alongside me.
  • Met a nice fellow that recommended a reputable bike shop and local rides.
  • Nothing like the wind on your face when spinning a bike along. 
  • Stopped at Trader Joes (how I love that store) for one bag of groceries and left with two.  (Dreamy-creamy Greek style yogurt included.)

The only bummer of the day:

  • Have to try to nap before work tonight.  I’m not a good napper, esp when I want to be doing other things.

I’ll bring my camera next time I ride the bike path and share pics.