Kicking Horse Pass, BC

Kicking Horse Pass, BC

Kicking Horse Pass, BC

Kicking Horse Pass (el. 5339 ft) is a high mountain pass across the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies lying within Banff National Park. The pass is of historical significance because the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway was constructed through this pass in 1880s. The pass was first explored in 1858 by Captain John Palliser. The pass and the adjacent Kicking Horse River were given their names after James Hector, a naturalist, geologist, and surgeon was kicked by his horse while exploring this region.

The photo is from August 23, 1982. That is my still lovely bride, horsing around for the camera and pretending to kick our two ‘horses’ back. At this point we were over 4,300 miles into a 5,000 mile, six month bicycle trip, which ended in Seattle, our great adventure. We actually got to coast across the Continental Divide, because we were coming downhill from Lake Louise. On the long decent from the divide to Yoho National Park, we had to stop to cool our brakes.


"That's What I Said, Bunny Bread" - Sometimes Hip Needs to Growup with You

“Portlandia” is an Independent Film Channel (IFC) television series that debuted last January. Its second season has begun this January on IFC and the first season is now available on Netflix online. Created by Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live (SNL) fame (he most famously portrays Barack Obama on SNL), and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, the “seminal female rock band” (her quotes). “Portlandia” pokes fun at Portland, Oregon. It pokes fun, mostly gently, but sometimes with a bit of a bite. Portland seems to take its ribbing good-naturedly; the real life mayor of Portland (Sam Adams) plays the harried assistant to the show’s caricature of the mayor (Kyle MacLachlan). Also, Brownstein and her band once hailed from Portland, so she should be able to help keep it real.

“Portlandia” is structured as a series of comic sketches, as found on SNL. About half of the sketches string together the story for each episode, while the others feel like extemporaneous adlibs. Of the later, some are just one offs, while others are recurring, from episode to episode. All of the sketches involve Armisen and/or Brownstein. Like your typical SNL show, some sketches work and some don’t. One of the best spoofs pokes fun at the city’s obsession with provenance. While ordering in a restaurant, Nance (Brownstein) asks about the chicken’s organic roots, “Is that USDA organic, or Oregon organic, or Portland organic?” The answer of course is, “Yes”. One of my favorite sketches involves Armisen as a Portland hipster. He portrays an aggressive bicyclist sporting a “tribal look” and loudly proclaiming “bicycle rights”. “Coffeeland” is the title for a sketch, where Armisen and Brownstein play Japanese tourist school girls in a coffee shop. One of the more uncomfortable sketches was the gender bending Cacao Couple. A quote that has been taken by critics to epitomize the show, is made early in the first episode. In this scene, LA residents, Jason (Armisen) tells Donnie (Brownstein) that Portland is “a city where young people go to retire.”

At Blueberry Hill, Dan quoted that line, contending that “Portlandia” was really making fun of hipsters and not Portland. I thought about that for a night and a day and concluded that he was right, but only half right. “Portlandia” is a spoof of hipsters. It is a spoof of Left Coast hipsters by East Coast hipsters. What makes the show resonate for me though, is that there is a little bit of “Portlandia” everywhere, even in Saint Louis. We dined, au provenance, last week, at Local Harvest. We bicycled there, sporting our own brother (and sister) from another planet version of the tribal look. This post isn’t even half long enough to get me talking about coffee. At Blueberry Hill, over Dan’s shoulder, I spied a hipster artifact. Tucked away in a corner of this bar’s cluttered décor, was a poster announcing Woodstock. For one weekend in August of ’69 this was the hippest place on earth to be. Hip is an ephemeral quality, for most of us even more so than youth, but there are some that can maintain hipness into old age. I find that having hipster children doesn’t help with my preservation of cool.

I’ve only been to Portland once. It was thirty years ago. It was on the tail end of our bicycle ride around the country, our great adventure. We left our jobs, place and possessions and headed out to bicycle across America. Our bike ride ended in Seattle, with my old boss calling me back. We threw the bikes onto the train and rode with them as far as Portland. Sam greeted us at the train station. We were all excited to see each other. She drove us up to some promontory, to show off the town, but between weather and evergreens there was not much to see. It was the first time I had been in a car in over a month. Afterwards, we all relaxed and enjoyed the Portland scene together. When we visited Powell’s, I felt like a Russian in my first supermarket. We have been friends with Sammy a long time, before and since. She is a fellow blogger, linked here, Archaeofacts, and always on this page. She’s one cool lady.

My Wife, the Cyclopath

Anne has bicycled more than 2,000 miles this year. This is more miles that she has ridden in any year since 1982, the year of our Great Adventure. That year we rode over 5,000 miles, but we took off from work for six months and were also about thirty years younger. Last year, she rode 1,000 miles, which begs the question of which kind of progression will she shoot for next year, arithmetic or geometric? With an arithmetic progression, her goal would be an ambitious 3,000 miles, but with a geometric progression, her goal would be a truly cyclopathic 4,000 miles. Whatever she decides on and then does, I’ll be there for her. I’ll ride with her. I’ll support her. I’ll be her domestique and she can be my peloton leader.

Throughout our life together, Anne and I have traded off the lead in our cyclogical partnership. She started it all with her ’72 bicycling vacation to Great Britain. During college, our cycling enthusiasm seemed to wane. When we moved to Saint Louis in ’80, new friends combined with organized rides culminated in the Great Adventure of ’82. Then came child rasing and another lapse. In 1996, my brother Chris sold me his old bike and I started riding again. Anne was left home with the boys, a bike widow, while I rode off to the park each day. Soon, I had bike buddies, most of them were actually old friends that had also discovered bicycling. This led to riding the MS-150, Team TWA, and finally Team Kaldi’s. When Anne started attending the team potlucks, the allure of bicycling proved too much to resist. Five years ago, most of the time that I rode, I rode alone. Now, most of the time that I ride, I ride with her.

During my years of riding alone, I developed this cyclogical test for sanity. Simply put, if I saw six or more other cyclists out on a ride, I was sane. Less than six, well then, I had cyclogical issues. Anne and I rode in the park. It had snowed overnight, but by afternoon, the roads and bike path were clear. It had turned cold and blustery, but we launched towards the park. We hadn’t seen any other cyclists, when we turned towards home. Climbing Skinker, we did see two, including one bombing crazily downhill with two blazing LED headlights. We stopped at Kaldi’s, on DeMun and saw a third rider. While we were still three under par, what had started to look like an act of insanity, had turned into a coffee shop ride. I married a cyclopath, but I am one too.

A Marl Bog


Marl is common in post glacial lake bed sediments often found underlying peat bogs.  Marls are calcium carbonate or lime rich mud which contain variable amounts of clays and calcite or aragonite.  The term is most often used to describe lake sediments, but is also used for marine deposits.  The term marl is widely used in North American geology, while the term seekreide is used in European references.

This is a remembrance post from Anne’s and mine Great Adventure.  The day was July 15, 1982, a Thursday.   We are on just our second day from out from the Cabin.  We are headed down state to the planet, which was not called that then.  We had camped the night before at the Foley Creek National Forest Service campground, just north of St. Ignace.  Yesterday we had gotten 44 miles, are first serious ride in over two weeks.  Here is the story:

Today is a tourist day.  We take the ferry from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island and play on the island all day.  First we shop and Mark discovers why tourists are called “Fudgies”.  Then we ride over the island, by Skull Cave, the battlefield, etc.  We ride back around the east half of the island and then do the fort.  We ride to the Grand Hotel, but the admission fee deters us.  Pizza before the ferry ride to Mackinac City fills us.  This is a good thing since we end up having to backtrack five miles from our planed destination at the Wilderness State Park (home of the marl bogs) to a KOA campground.

Anne always hated KOA campgrounds, but I secretively like them.  I’ve always enjoyed that rustic experience of setting your tent up on freshly mowed grass.  The back story was that before we set out from the Cabin, Anne told me that she had always assumed that I would want to end the bike trip there.  Frankly, this surprised me.  I always intended to go on.  Maybe it was the Michener novels? 

I always set the pace.  Wait, I was the accelerator and Anne was the brake.  I always tried to wait for her at the top of the hill.  Sometimes I would launch down the hill just before she could catch her breath.  That trick worked maybe once.  Usually, I pulled out the current Michener novel and read as she approached and then rested.  I read more than a few of his books.  Most times when Anne was ready to go so was I, but sometimes James A. had me in a headlock and Anne would just set off ahead.  I liked having a lot of reading material in one volume. 

When we left the Cabin we had only ridden 60% of the mileage that we eventually obtain, some 5,000 miles in total.  We only got 24 miles that day.  In the week to come, as we eventually cranked up to speed, we obtained our adventures one and only century, a hundred miles in one day.  We did this on our arrival into Ann Arbor.  There we partied with the honeymooners, Anne and Bill and our friends Alice and Chris, bumming rides or just biking around town.

My spovely louse has just researched the Great Adventure, i.e. the diary she kept and determined that these photos are from a marl bog at Macgregor Point Provincial Park, in Ontario, on the Bruce Peninsula, taken on June 22, 1982 and not of the marl bogs at Wilderness State Park, Michigan.  I say a marl bog is a marl bog and a marred blog is a marred blog.