Seattle to Portland 2010

Books I've read tell me to tell you. Choose a race - tell your friends, tell family and coworkers.

Consider this your telling. I am telling you that on the evening of July 17th I will arrive at Holladay Park. Tired. Exhausted. You'll be smiling. I'll be sore, chaffed, and smelly. You'll want to talk. I'll want to sleep. My back will ache. My hands, arms and shoulders will be stiff. I'll hobble from the grass where I have collapsed to the car. From the car to a house where I'll shower off the grime of miles.

Then I'll sleep soundly for hours, and rise to a hearty breakfast and Sunday well spent in the company of friends.

Consider yourselves told. If you're planning a fun weekend in mid July just know I'm busy on the 17th - I'll be busy riding the 200+ miles from Seattle to Portland.

Training starts as soon as I get settled in Yakima.

This blog will keep it's reflection's on life mixed with photography air - but it will also become a training journal of sorts as well. I'll make sure it's not a boring over-share of a fat man with a mad dream but rather tales of lessons learned and humorous story's. Things I learn while pushing myself farther then I thought I could and the humor that is found when you fall down and get back up again.

Every Sunday night I'll post that weeks distances and times. I'll post that morning's weight, and the next week's mileage, but hopefully in a way that is entertaining to the reader. By keeping you interested in my progress I'll have something to carry me thru those weeks I want to give up and quit.

That's is where the next 23 weeks are headed - 23 weeks - 23 posts. 23 weigh-ins. 23 weeks of flat tires, rain, sun, hills, and powerbars.

Only 23 weeks away.

See you in Portland.


Among the forests

Is there somewhere
a little lonesome cabin

lost among the forests

on a wild, deserted shore;

an empty little cabin:
rough hewn, worn, and solid
with a dandy drawing chimney,
books, and windows--nothing more?

I'm tired of noise and traffic,
people pushing, phones and letters,

dates and deadlines, styles and headlines,

pride and pretense, nothing more;

and I'm needing such a cabin,
near God's masterpiece of mountains--

such a lost and lonesome cabin

where a tired soul can adore.

~ Ruth Bell Graham

Was sent the above poem a few days ago.

. . . and you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD . . .

Read the above passage a few days ago.

Led in the desert, fed in the desert - no distraction in the desert - here with every thing stripped away here I see what it is which sustains when everything else is gone. Here I find fresh grace daily.

I'm thankful such a cabin,
near God's masterpiece of mountains--
such a lost and lonesome cabin
where a tired soul can adore.


The restraints of modern civilization irke me

 Unconscious of these eulogies which, coming from one whose judgment he respected, might have cheered him up, George wandered down Shaftesbury Avenue, feeling more depressed than ever. The sun had gone in for the time being, and the east wind was frolicking round him like a playful puppy patting him with a cold paw, nuzzling his ankles, bounding away and bounding back again, and behaving generally as east winds do when they discover a victim who has come out without his spring overcoat. It was plain to George now that the sun and the wind were a couple of confidence tricksters, working together as a team. The sun had disarmed him with specious promises and an air of cheery goodfellowship and had delivered him into the hands of the wind which was now going through him with the swift thoroughness of the professional hold-up artist. He quickened his steps and began to wonder if he was so sunk in senile decay as to have acquired a liver.

He discarded the theory as repellent. And yet there must be a reason for his depression. Today off all days, as Mac had pointed out, he had everything to make him happy. Popular as he was in America, this was the first piece of his to be produced in London, and there was no doubt that it was a success of unusual dimensions. And yet he felt no elation.

He reached Picadilly and turned westward. And then, as he passed the gates of the In and Out Club, he had a moment of clear vision and understood everything. He was depressed because he was bored and he was bored because he was lonely. Mac, that solid thinker, had been right. The solution of the problem of life was to get hold of the right girl and have a home to go back to at night. He was mildly surprised that he had tried in any other direction for an explanation of his gloom. It was all the more inexplicable in that fully eighty per cent of the lyrics which he had set in the course of his musical comedy career had had that thought at the back of them.

George gave himself up to an orgy of sentimentality. He seemed to be alone in the world which had paired itself off into a sort of seething welter of happy couples. Taxicabs full of happy couples rolled by every minute. Passing omnibuses creaked beneath the weight of happy couples. The very policeman across the street had just grinned at a flitting shopgirl, and she had smiled back at him. The only female in London who did not appear to be attached was a girl in brown who was coming along the sidewalk at a leisurely pace, looking about her in a manner that suggested that she found Piccadilly a new and stimulating spectacle.

As far as George could see she was an extremely pretty girl, small and dainty, with a proud little tilt to her head and the jaunty walk that spoke of perfect health. She was, in fact, precisely the sort of girl that George felt he could love with all the stored-up devotion of an old buffer of twenty-seven who had squandered none of his rich nature in foolish flirtations. He had just begun to weave a rose-tinted romance about their two selves, when a cold reaction set in. Even as he paused to watch the girl threading her way through the crowd, the east wind jabbed an icy finger down the back of his neck and the chill of it sobered him. After all, he reflected bitterly, this girl was only alone because she was on her way somewhere to meet some confounded man. Besides, there was no earthly chance of getting to know her. You can't rush up to pretty girls in the street and tell them you are lonely. At least you can, but it doesn't get you anywhere except the police station. George's gloom deepened, a thing he would not have believed possible a moment before. He felt that he had been born too late. The restraints of modern civilization irked him. It was not, he told himself, like this in the good old days.

In the Middle Ages, for example, this girl would have been a damsel; and in that happy time practically everybody whose technical rating was that of damsel was in distress and only too willing to waive the formalities in return for services rendered by the casual passer-by. But the twentieth century is a prosaic age, when girls are merely girls and have no troubles at all. Were he to stop this girl in brown and assure her that his aid and comfort were at her disposal, she would undoubtedly call that large policeman from across the way, and the romance would begin and end within the space of thirty seconds or, if the policeman were a quick mover, rather less.

Better to dismiss dreams and return to the practical side of life by buying the evening papers from the shabby individual beside him who had just thrust an early edition in his face. After all notices are notices, even when the heart is aching. George felt in his pocket for the necessary money, found emptiness, and remembered that he had left all his ready funds at his hotel. It was just one of the things he might have expected on a day like this.

The man with the papers had the air of one whose business is conducted on purely cash principles. There was only one thing to be done, return to the hotel, retrieve his money, and try to forget the weight of the world and its cares in lunch. And from the hotel he could dispatch the two or three cables which he wanted to send to New York.

The girl in brown was quite close now, and George was enabled to get a clearer glimpse of her. She more than fulfilled the promise she had given at a distance. Had she been constructed to his own specifications, she could not have been more acceptable in George's sight. And now she was going out of his life forever. With an overwhelming sense of pathos, for there is no pathos more bitter than that of parting from someone we have never met, George hailed a taxicab which crawled at the side of the road and, with all the refrains of all the sentimental song hits he had ever composed ringing in his ears, got in and passed away.

"A rotten world," he mused, as the cab, after proceeding a couple of yards, came to a standstill in a block of the traffic. "A dull, flat bore of a world, in which nothing happens or ever will happen. Even when you take a cab, it just sticks and doesn't move.

At this point, the door of the cab opened and the girl in brown jumped in.
"I'm so sorry," she said breathlessly, "but would you mind hiding me, please!"

 ~ ~ ~

George Bevan has it tough - you may think you have it tough but look at George . . .

What I mean to say is, you are on the map. You have a sporting chance. Whereas George... Well, just go over to England and try wooing an earl's daughter whom you have only met once--and then without an introduction; whose brother's hat you have smashed beyond repair; whose family wishes her to marry some other man: who wants to marry some other man herself--and not the same other man, but another other man; who is closely immured in a mediaeval castle . . . Well, all I say is--try it. And then go back to your porch with a chastened spirit and admit that you might be a whole lot worse off.


What can I say - Wodehouse is amazing!

Read it again, read it out loud. It only gets better.


Yakima - 2nd life & Old Men

Went to Yakima today.  I had a second interview for a possible job.  Got there early and went to a Starbucks to kill some time. 

Ordered a 12oz Americano. 

 - and that's where the fun began. 

I stood there fiddling with expensive mugs and marveling at the prices some people will pay for graham crackers when I noticed a group of old men sitting in the corner near the door.  Why do old people seem to haunt coffee houses early in the morning?  I never see them anywhere near a coffee house after 11, but the seem to flock in droves to coffee places, even those fake coffee shops in grocery stores.

Well anyways - Starbucks, Yakima - old men in the corner.  All drip coffee's I'm sure.  There seemed to be a leader of this pack.  A younger fellow in a sporty pastel orange sweater vest, I say younger in that his hair was a darker gray then the rest of his fellow octogenarians.  He was telling them about Second life.

Second life.

Old guy in pastels - on Second Life.  Married on Second Life.  Building a house on a lake in Second Life.

Attending classes and lectures in Second Life.

Giving lectures in Second Life.

And as he spoke from the chair in the center of this aged circle, as he spoke the rest of them nodded their heads, every now and then a grunted mmmmm.  No questions, just rapt attention - and monosyllabic grunts. 

He was telling them that they needed to get on to cyBERspace, really putting a lot of emphasis on the "BER", that cyBERspace (one word) was where the world was going.

I did not know what to think - I laughed to myself, knowing that I really admired his determination to not be technologically left behind - I can only hope to be as mentally active, and inquisitive at his age.

But more than that I hope I'm not wearing pastel sweater vests. 

Argyle yes - pastel no.


Hmmm . . .

I've made some changes and I need some input.

I do not plan on keeping them all but am interested in what you dear reader think.

Changes so far:

Header Gif -

Side Panel Gif's

Footer Gif

Tracking Software

Search Bar


I'm most up in the air about the gif's.  It's really nice to be able to have the pictures cycle but their quality is limited to 256 color and it is also a distraction from the reading - which not everybody does so maybe that's not a big deal.  I'm also worried that it might take to long to load.

But please, take a minute or two and tell me what you like, tell me what you don't - and really I'm more interested in what you don't like - so if need be please be cruel.



I remember the first time it happened.  I can't describe it well enough to make you feel the terror.  The panic and frustration.  Waking up from a deep sleep and being unable to move.  At all.  At first you are confused, somethings not quite the same. You try an arm, a hand, you can't blink, you can't talk, you can't yell out.  It's so so so close. Try harder.  And you try and you're frantic now.   You can not see, you can not move you can not speak.  Inside you are tugging, pulling, pushing, stomping - or at least trying to will all that is within you.  And it feels like all you need to do is try a little harder, just a little bit.

In the Hmong culture it is called "dab tsog" or  the crushing demon.  The Korean's call it "gawee nulim" which literally means being pressed down by scissors.  The Maltese thought a knife placed beneath the pillow would ward off attacks from Haddiela - the wives of the Hare's.

It is sleep paralysis.  And the only way I know to beat it is to stop, relax and fall back asleep.  Letting my addled brain wake up all the parts in the right order.

It seems to be the case for lots of things when I loose traction.  When my car slips on ice I know to stop I must stop stopping.  And then and only then can I start stopping.  Stop fighting so that you can win the fight.  Don't flail.  Focus.

Trying to get some sleep

Unplanned adventure this afternoon.  Well not totally. Here's the planning I did -

Unplanned Adventure:
Take half a tank of gas, Ipod, Rebel XSi and mix.

Very "third star to the right and straight on till morning"  

I got on the road and started with Ingrid Michaelson - yes Ingrid Michaelson, found her thur Pandora - and I think she's great.

She got me past Seattle, I then switched to sermons from the Village Church.  I've been working thru a three sermon set Matt did on the games people play with God.  There is a section in the third sermon around the 27 minute mark Matt totally goes on what seems like a tangent.  Been processing that for a while.  What it calls me to do now.  How it calls me to live in the future.   How it reveals the depth of what has been done for me.

See a sign for the North Cascade Scenic Highway and on an impulse I'm off  I-5 and headed eastward.

Driving in silence now.

Then on to the Mountain Loop Highway.

Mt. Baker is well worth the drive.

I apologize for the lack of photos - I don't have an multi purpose adventure kit in my Dad's car so I was ill equipped.  Poor shoes coupled with a thin jacket and dimming light and no tripod ment few pictures were taken during my 230 mile ramble.

I like to drive and think.

I need to learn to like running and thinking.

- Sorry -

It breaks all the rules of good photography - but to my credit I was standing in the middle of a bridge bounded on both sides by blind corners.  I was able to get four good shots that I could stitch together.

 Secret Swimming Hole


Early morning interviews

A few weeks ago I opened up Craigslist, I then opened up pages for every state and commonwealth in the US.  I then opened up pages Engineering jobs posted for each city listed in each state.  In the end I had a collection of 419 bookmarks. 

I check them daily along with about thirty others. 

Some days I find two jobs, some days I find six, some days I find none.

I applied to a job in Yakima last night. 

I got a call this morning.

Nobody ever calls.


The unplanned, off the cuff, early morning interview went really really well. 

I'm excited and I'm trying not to be.

Trying not to build my hopes up. 

And yet every part of me wants to hope.



Walked around Ballard - could not find anything, could not see anything.  Maybe it's cause I'm to chicken to lie on the ground, maybe it's cause I have not been out taking pictures for quite a while.  Whatever the reason Federal Way, Ballard, Kent, Auburn, Tacoma just seem to be miles and miles of houses and yards and parked cars and busy streets.  There is no space, no small and forgotten areas.  Trash everywhere.  Puddles and rain - can't get the camera wet.  Can't go out.  It takes hours to get away.  Away from people and traffic.  There is no stillness.  Just wet pavement and city lights.


Taken at the Flood


Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe:
The enemy increaseth every day;
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Where will the currents serve?

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out
to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.
And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.


Getting Started

Drove around some today, drove up north, drove down south. Drove and drove and drove. Traffic and lights and nowhere to go. Short on ingredients. Wanted to take pictures - could not get started.

I have a car that won't start. An old trooper. I love that thing. I used to drive around with a sleeping bag and a change of clothes in the back - hoping, waiting for adventure to strike. Took it over Steven Pass once - one of the last cars over before they closed it that weekend. The heater was dying - glass was fogging real bad, had to rub my hands against the glass to keep sleet from turning to ice. I have always wanted to put a bike rack on the top of this vehicle. Drive as deep as I can drive then ride till I can ride no further. Then start setting up a base camp for hikes and pictures.

But it does not start these days. Something is broken deep in the block - I've heard rumors that it could be the spring that maintains tension on the timing chain. So it sits. 300 miles away.

Won't go.

I can want it to go - but all the want in the world can't make that car go.

I could sit in it and pretend that it works. I could close my eyes and dream of far off adventures. I could sell it - I could go out and try to find one just like it. Red with dinged up doors, new seats, a shift knob I made from a chunk of Madrona, and a Maglite holster. I could search in junk yards and used car lots and find something close, 1990 Isuzu Troopers are not hard to find these days - they are not the easiest cars to own.

I could sell it, I could give it away, or . . . . or I could drag it out of Karl's driveway - park it, and start saving the 2,000+ dollars I'll need to get it repaired. It could take a while. It could take a very long while. I may find a year from now that I no longer am so attached to it. But in the meantime I'm saving up looking forward to all of the hard work that engine repair entails.

It will take lots of hard work someday, and some planning on my part now. I don't know if I'll ever get it started again.

I hope it will, but even if it never does, all those places I wanted to visit - they aren't going anywhere soon.


2009 in 13 minutes

2009 from Neil Jeffers on Vimeo.

2009 - A year I won't soon forget.

The year in pictures - most all the pictures I have (about 1000 were misfiled and did not make it in). Sorry none of them are photo shopped, lots of them are of people I don't know. There are some from a few jobs, a few taken while I was working for the city. The weird thing is that I can tell you where each shot was taken, all 8,891 of them. It took forever to piece them all together as the file sizes were starting to get huge, even longer to upload. It's a long piece - 13 minuets so I don't expect many hits. Each shot is only on screen for .125 of a second - so if something seems paused - it's not - it's just several shots in a row.

If you get tired of trying to let it stream - you can download it here