Red Echo

July 26, 2009

I celebrated my birthday yesterday with a backyard barbecue at Sunrise. It was fun; people started showing up around six-thirty and the last few left at two. We drank beer, margaritas, and even some champagne; lazed around on blankets, sat around a fire, talked, caught up, enjoyed life. It was comfortable and fun, and I felt happy and grateful for the company of so many good friends.

Inspired by a backyard party at Divide & Jacqueline’s house last year, I decided to install a firepit. People will happily sit around a fire for hours doing nothing but talk and relax; a fire turns any random patch of ground into the center of a social space. So I dug out part of our sloping back yard, packed the dirt level, and built a three-foot circular brick platform, on which I placed one of those metal fire dish things. It was hard, dirty, sweaty labor – I can’t remember when I last got myself covered in so much dirt! It always feels good to build something tangible, though. And, sure enough, once we set up a bunch of folding chairs, people sat around the fire til the end of the evening, talking and drinking and laughing and enjoying the night.

Today’s project, after cleaning up from last night, was a work party for the groovik’s cube. I took my sewing machine over to G-haus and sewed strips of velcro onto white ripstop squares (the faces of the cube) and black lycra strips (covering the gaps between the faces). It was a lot of work – we have about half of the lycra strips done now, but only seven of the fifty-four ripstop panels. There will be another couple of days at it for sure. The project is going well overall, though – the power boards are all done as of yesterday, which I’d been worried about. It’s going to work.

I’m leaving Wednesday morning for a big trip to California. I’m going to ride my FJ600 down the coast to San Francisco, then hang a left on Friday and take I-80 to Sacramento. Saturday morning, my brother Andrew will fly me and his friend DJ up to Bishop, where we’ll pick up a car and drive to a trailhead, from which we’ll hike up to meet the John Muir Trail. Later that day, or the next, we’ll meet my mother, who’s been hiking down the trail for a few weeks now along with my four youngest siblings. The three of us will unload our packs to resupply theirs; then Andrew and DJ will hike back home, while I’ll continue along for the last week of the trail. At the end, we’ll climb Mt. Whitney – 14,500 feet, the tallest peak in California – and then trek back down to civilization. A day or two to rest, and I’ll get back on the bike and head home, probably the faster I-5 route this time.

I can’t wait.


  1. Aw, dammit man, for once I actually have a heads-up that you’ll be in my neighborhood, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re all leaving for Salt Lake City for a week on Wednesday… ah well, enjoy your trip, and happy (belated) B-day, man!

    Comment by Micah Cowan — July 27, 2009 @ 1:09 am

  2. Dang…….I’m jealous….your trip sounds incredible. Totally miss hiking in CA. I’m sure you’ll have a blast. Say hi to your family for me.
    BTW happy belated birthday

    Comment by Rachel — July 29, 2009 @ 12:26 pm