Welcome to carbonstories.org. On this site you can learn about Michael Johnson-Chase and follow my blogs. With some exceptions, this site follows "theme based" cycling tours focusing on social and climate related issues. Slowed down observations of the world over days, weeks and months at 10 to 15 miles an hour can reveal a depth and quality of understanding about our environment often missed by faster modes of travel.

Portland to Seattle on an ultralight folding bike, Post 3

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Nero fiddles while Rome burns. What happened in Texas is catastrophic and many people are suffering. It's not hard to predict that Harvey's impact will involve a recovery period that will last years. Let's hope FEMA, Congress and the White House have the staying power and focus to help with the real job of recovery and reconstruction because the most difficult part of recovery is only beginning. Things will probably get much harder before they get easier. A visit by Trump and/or other congressional leaders in several months will mean much more to the citizens on the Gulf Coast than one now. But most likely, if the media has gone elsewhere, so will have the politicians... 

In the meantime Irma is bearing down on Florida, and she may be close to landfall when you read this. Two 500 year storms in two weeks? What is happening here? Well, this is no surprise to climate scientists - they've been warning us for quite a few years that extreme weather events are likely to intensify as the atmosphere warms up.

By the way, a 500 year storm literally means a 1 in 500 chance of occurring any year, and not a storm that is so severe it only happens every 500 years; someone needs to explain that to Trump. 

In the meantime last week, 1000 people died in Mumbai because of severe flooding from monsoon rains; over 41 families were displaced, and multiple roads and bridges destroyed by flooding in Donegal County, Ireland; and 12 people died and millions of dollars of damage happened as a result of Typhoon Hato in Macaou and on the Chinese mainland.

As for me and my current trip on a folding bike, I enjoyed beautiful weather in Seattle for the past five days straight, although I could not stop thinking that as I was playing "Rome" was burning elsewhere.

But it's not all copacetic in the Northwest. In addition to a summer of large forest fires burning across British Columbia and then Montana, there are now forest fires burning across large sections of western Oregon - a few of which are still uncontained. The smoke, haze and acrid smells made biking today somewhat challenging. By the end of the day, my eyes were stinging and the idea of camping outside had lost all appeal. I needed, and wanted, to be in conditioned air overnight, so I found a Motel 6 in Kelso, about 40 miles north of Portland. That said, I made decent, although relative, time on my increasingly intrepid Brompton. 

Check out my road cycling activity on Garmin Connect. 

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1961055920

Here's a link to the above.

And here are some pictures of my time in Edmonds, Washington - a small town on Puget Sound north of Seattle.  

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Jeff Hart's boat docked in Edmonds, Washington. 

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On a dinghy with my friend Jeff after taking nine male dungess crabs out of cages in the Sound.

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The view of the Olympic Peninsula from Edmonds across the Sound.   

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Just starting out on a late afternoon sail. 

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The view of Mt Baker to the northeast of Edmonds. 

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Sunset over the Olympic Peninsula. 

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I traded in my bivouac at REI in Seattle for this Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1. Some of you told me my bivouac would make you claustrophobic - that wasn't my problem but I didn't like the condensation at all. I know this tent will work out just fine, although it's several ounces heavier and bulkier to pack... 

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Haze in the distance as I passed into southern Washington today. 

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Haze hangs over the Cowlitz River. The smell of smoke and the haze made me think of towns in Asia (most notably Jakarta) where huge numbers of people cook meals over wood, charcoal and cooking fuel outside, making the smell of smoke and haze permanent.  

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The sun hangs in smokey haze in Kelso, Washington, about 40 miles north of Portland on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at about 5 pm. 

Thanks for reading my blog. 

More to come, 

Michael 

 

Portland to Seattle on an ultralight folding bike, Post 2