Brian's Journal - Winter 2008

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2/19/2008 Lucas/Salmon Creek Pat retired last week, two months earlier than he'd originally planned and just in time to hit the creeks in the Centralia area as dropping water levels began to expose gravel bars re-created by the big flood earlier this winter. Hearing his accounts of all the agate lying around waiting to be picked up I had to take a day of vacation and get down there. Pat wanted to go up Ceres Creek but I talked him into another trip up to Lucas Creek in the morning, then over to Salmon Creek in the afternoon. We started down the more northerly fork and despite the beaten track along the bank, I found several smallish agates right away. That was encouraging but then we didn't find much more
Cut and Polished
Big Agate Closeup
Pat's Big Agate
all the way down to the junction with the south fork. Not far up the south fork, Pat pulled a spectacular banded red agate out of three feet of water. I took photos (the photo of "Luke" polished and dressed up is from a couple of weeks later.
After lunch we got tired of trekking up the brushy stream and cut back across a clearcut to the pickup. I prevailed on Pat to head over to Salmon Creek. He'd been over there a few days earlier and done well hiking down from the wooden bridge to the cement bridge. We found a big gravel bar, pretty well picked over, where the river makes a big bend against a high bluff about a third of a mile beyond the wooden bridge. From there up though, we were the first rockhounds on the river. We found red agate (the largest 4" long) on all the little gravel bars along the stream until we ran out of time about a mile and a half upstream.
Salmon Creek
Gravel Bar Closeup
2/28/2008 Salmon Creek Pat and another member of the rock club were heading up to Ceres Creek today but I was itching to explore farther up Salmon Creek so I went off by myself. I followed logging roads from the wooden bridge up to the upstream side of the big horseshoe bend, about 2 miles by my GPS, then dropped down a high bluff right at a big gravel bar. A big picked-over gravel bar. I found almost no agate there and very little in the next quarter mile upstream, so I headed downstream, where I found some smaller gravel bars rich in agate (including some of cuttable size) on both sides of the horseshoe bend. Noone had been there yet though I did start seeing tracks, and somewhat fewer agates, as I continued downstream.
Tree Frog and Agate
Salmon Creek Carnelian
Agate in the Stream
Beautiful blue sky, birds calling in the woods, new grass poking up through the flood-matted straw along the river banks and bright yellow and red agates glowing in the sun on the gravel bars. I filled a two gallon bucket with the agate I picked up along about three miles of river.
Over Mt Jefferson
Vineyard near Petaluma
3/2/2008 Napa Marathon We flew down to Sacramento Friday morning, rented an electric blue PT Cruiser and drove to Santa Rosa, then through the hills via Occidental to the Bodega Bay lodge and spa. Large but quiet and comfortable place overlooking the salt marsh and beach at Doran State Park. Susan loved it which was my objective when I booked it a couple of months ago. We ate dinner at the "slow food" Seaweed Restaurant, worth a second visit. In the morning we ate breakfast and Susan stretched in the sunshine on the patio outside our room. I jogged down to the state park in search of birds and found about two dozen species. When I returned it was already time to check out. It took us another hour and a half to shower and pack up and though I was quite anxious about it the front desk didn't seem to mind. I chilled out during our picnic lunch at Salmon Beach just north of town then headed back to Napa by way of Petaluma Took a few photos on the way. The hills
Bodega Bay Lodge
Flowers at the Lodge
Doran State Park Beach
are velvety green and the innumerable vineyards aglow with yellow mustard flowers. The couple from Denver with whom we sat at dinner at the Seaweed had come to Bodega Bay primarily to savor the green. Denver won't begin to turn green for another two months. No problem finding the packet pickup hotel this time; I'd written down directions. We drove the course in reverse - more green hills and yellow vineyards glowing in the afternoon sunshine - then ate at a Mexican restaurant in Calistoga and browsed in an art gallery and a bookstore before heading over to the Clarion Collection Motel less than a half-mile from the start.
Massed at the Start
First half Course
The marathon itself was very pleasant. We started at sunrise, a big crowd streaming down the road with a brisk breeze behind us and a clear sky growing brighter overhead. Uncertain about my recovery from IT band irritation below my left knee last weekend I had already decided not to try for a fast time so I carried binoculars and camera, as well as my cell phone in case I had to call Susan for assistance, so I started out at about a 9 minute pace. Met up with another Maniac early on and ran with him until we caught up to Little Leslie, then ran with her until Melissa from work caught up to us. That was about mile 4 I think. I ran with Melissa for the next ten miles or
At Finish w/ Melissa (Jeff Poppe photo)
Second half Scenery
so. She felt great at first, then began to look a little strained around mile 10 but hung on for a 1:57 half. I picked up with a couple from Ventura around mile 14 who introduced themselves after they saw me stop for a photo. I'd seen them stopping for a photo in front of the sign for Frank Winery so I asked if their last name was Frank but no, they'd stopped because it was her mother's favorite wine. We ran together and talked for about 5 miles. They'd met at a race three years ago, been just running partners for a couple of years and now will be getting married in August. We shared the excitement of qualifying for Boston and the pleasure of running marathons at a comfortable pace instead of trying to run hard all the time. She'd completed 20 marathons; they were both fairly impressed when I told them that Napa was my 60th. When they stopped for a potty break around mile 20 I continued on and soon met up with a woman named Angie whose husband was a birder. When they go to races together he birds while she runs. I guess he has quite a bit of time for birding because she does 50 and 100 mile races as well as marathons. I ran with her to the finish. Picked up red-winged and Brewer's blackbirds, a golden eagle, house sparrows and ring-billed gulls to make 28 bird species overall, one short of Orange County. Jeff Poppe met me at the finish. We hung around for a while, ate hot soup and visited with Little Leslie and with Melissa (who had a much better run than she expected, finishing under 4:02), then walked over to the Marriott where Susan picked me up. We drove back up to Santa Rosa for a big picnic lunch with her poet friend Don Emblen before driving back to Sacramento.
3/4/2008 David's Senior Art Show
Daniel in the Gallery
David's Artwork
Swee's Cupcakes
David and Anna
David and Andy Deem shared the CWA gallery space for the second Senior Art Show of the season. The mothers brought food. Anna served the sandwiches and the rest of the Jeesh (David's group of friends) generally helped out. I printed out about 40 of David's drawings and photos and Susan bought a pile of inexpensive frames. Daniel borrowed Cody's amp and provided live music in the gallery with his acoustic electric guitar. Although we arrived too late to put up the labels and price list, David did sell one piece and gave away others to several of his teachers. Anna thought that the show was very well attended and people seemed impressed with David's work.
3/9/2008 Mercer Island Half Marathon Five and a half years after my last half marathon PR, I did it again today, running the new and hillier course of the Mercer Island half marathon in 1:38:05. I've run a half a dozen half marathons since I ran the hilly Kirkland half in 1:38:54 a month before my first failed Boston attempt at the Portland OR marathon in 2002. I usually run them fairly hard and finish in the 1:40's. Today was a hard effort, perhaps harder than it should have been since my heart rate was a few bpm higher than usual for the pace I was running. According to my heart rate I was ran miles 4-12 at 92-95% of my max; my pace and hr were the same as for miles 22-26 of the Valentine marathon a few weeks ago. I haven't slept enough the past week or so and didn't eat supper last night because I ate so much at the Pabla Indian Cuisine buffet in Renton with Daniel yesterday so I think I might be able to break 1:35 on an easier course on a better day. Nonetheless, I'm delighted to set a new half marathon PR. Running lots of marathons gives you a different perspective; despite the hard pace I never worried about falling apart in the last few miles. I knew that if I needed to I could recover just by slowing down a few seconds a mile for a minute or so. I ate a gu at mile 4-5 and another before mile 10; the boost wasn't as noticeable at somewhat faster pace of the half marathon but they still helped.
Jeff and Anita invited me along with another couple over to their house after the race. Jeff had a good run and achieved a new half-marathon PR today too. Anita ran her first 10K despite pain from bursitis in her hip. We sat around for a couple hours over coffee, bagels and an omelette, talking about running and kids going off to college and our escapades when we were their ages. It was alot of fun.

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