Sunday, August 31, 2008

Flume Trail

Yesterday I rode the Flume Trail and it was great. In fact, it was one of the most spectacular mountain bike rides I have ever done. I found it by looking at a tail map I bought recently. The start of the trail was at Spooner Lake. According to the map, this is about 10 miles from Incline Village.

I decided I would ride along Highway 28 to Spooner Lake and then take the trail back. This was a bit of a mistake. The ride along 28 isn't fun. There is too much traffic and the altitude gain is close to 1,000 feet along route 28 between Incline Village and Spooner lake. It didn't help that I was expecting a 10 mile ride along Highway 28 and it was closer to 13.

At any rate, I finally made it to Spooner Lake. The sign above shows the distances from Spooner Lake. The 4.5 miles to Marlette Lake are almost all uphill, and pretty steep in parts. I was ready for some downhill riding by the time I got to the lake. Luckily it was almost all downhill from there.

Marlette Lake, as viewed from the head of the Flume Trail.

Head of the Flume Trail.

I'm not sure why the trail's historic, except for the fact that the sign says so. It was incredibly windy when I got to this point. I was glad to be heading downhill. Going uphill into the wind would be pretty difficult at this point.

Lake Tahoe View

Sand Harbor

The view from the trail was really amazing. My photos don't do it justice. It's difficult to get the perspective correct. I'm about 2,000 feet above the lake at this point.

Flume Trail Corner

The photo above gives you an idea of the beauty of this trail. You can also see how sandy the trail can get at certain points. The rocks are a brilliant white color, especially when contrasted against the blue water of Lake Tahoe.

At points along the trail I was reminded of Mykonos and Santorini. The brilliant whites and blues along with amazing views. The wind through the pine trees is also reminiscent of Greece.

The Flume Trail decends less than 100 feet during the entire run. At the end of the trail, there is a hair raising descent that takes you back to 28 at Hidden Beach or to Incline Village at the Ponderosa Ranch.

If you're interested in avoiding the ride along 28, I would recommend trying the Flume Trail Shuttle. Simply park at Spooner Lake and make it to Ponderosa Ranch at the end of Tunnel Creek Road between 1pm and 5pm. The shuttle leaves every hour on the hour and only costs $12. Parking at Spooner Lake is $6 per car or $2 if you bike in. For more details on the the ride, the shuttle and Spooner Lake, see Flume Trail Mountain Bikes.

For a slideshow of these photos (and a few more), click here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sand Harbor

Wow. This is the view from the Flume Trail near Incline Village.
Outstanding mountain bike ride.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pneumatic Energy Storage

I just read this article on using compressed air as a way to store energy. At first I thought it was a joke, but presumably it's feasible to use compressed air as a way to store energy on a large scale. I remember when I was back in college, I spent some time thinking about compressed air engines and that you could at least start with old steam engine designs as they were essentially engines that ran on compressed air.

I also thought that it might be possible to use the pressure differentials on my 1981 Dodge Charger to generate energy. My idea was to run a tube from somewhere on the car where there was normal air pressure, like the engine compartment or the undercarriage, to a place where there was vacuum, like around the rear license plate. This seems like a crazy idea, but so does putting big compressed air containers the size of Yankee Stadium under New York City, and apparently that's now a reasonable idea.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Paris Apartment

A number of people have asked me about our Paris apartment, so I figured I would plug it here. We have a great place in the St. Germain area. The property is handled by a management company. You can find out more and even reserve it by going to the Paris RDF site.

The last time we stayed there we were lucky enough to play tennis at Parc Luxembourg, which is about a 10 minute walk from the apartment. Luxembourg also has a great playground for kids, which gave ours something to do while we played tennis.

Of course the apartment has free WiFi and free calls to the US so you can keep up with the world between your explorations of Paris.

Demolition Derby

Front row seats. Perfect for witnessing the mayhem.

Scenic Viewpoint

Stopped here on my ride up Mount Rose Highway.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hair It Goes Again

Funky shack shop in Incline Village.

Bear Activity

Watch out!

One Week in Incline Village

View Larger Map

We've now spent a week living in Incline Village. I think I'm going to like it here. We've spent time getting the house in order but also exploring the area. I've been doing long bike rides. I did the Truckee triangle yesterday, which is a bit over 40 miles if you start and finish in Incline Village. See the map below for the route.

We've been taking the kids to the beach and short bike rides along the Lakeshore path. Jared has really learned to ride a bike this week, which is a relief. At the beginning of the week he always needed a push to get started and almost always stopped with a dramatic tossing down of the bike. Those days are over, he's semi-pro now. At least in his mind.

Yesterday we went to the Nevada State Fair. The kids had a lot of fun. A couple of the girls got sick from the rides. Not Jade, of course. She wanted to hit every crazy spinning upside down ride that she could convince her friends to go on. (And a few that they wouldn't go on). She was polite enough not to go on the ones with the really long lines, making her friends wait for her. The highlight of the evening was demolition derby. They had four heats: small trucks, big cars, women drivers, and compact cars. Cars were smashed, caught on fire, and emitted smoke of various colors. Everyone had a great time.

At the fair we met up with all the other Beguelin's in Nevada. My cousin Mark and Aunt Juana have lived in Nevada for many years. The trend continues.

The town of Incline Village is quite nice. I'm surprised at how busy it is here. I've heard that it will calm down after Labor Day Weekend. We'll have to wait and see. The people here are very nice. People spend a lot of time biking and walking the paths. They're easy to say hello and comment on the weather.

Incline Village has a few municipal beaches which are well kept but you need to pay to get in. As residents, we get a free id cards which give us access to the beaches. They also have a nice recreation center with tennis courts, an indoor pool and exercise equipment. The rec center requires an additional fee if you want to use it. The only thing missing is an indoor tennis court. Perhaps once the snow starts we'll end up spending so much time on the slopes that we won't notice that all the tennis courts are covered in snow.

The wilderness is not too far away. There are signs in our neighborhood warning of bear activity. We've found what seems to be bear scat in the yard. A lot of folks here have bear proof trash containers. I made the mistake of leaving our trash out the night before pickup. Some animal got into the cans and made a mess while snacking on our leftovers. I hope it wasn't a bear!

I've also noticed that the electricity here tends to be pretty flakey. Our power has gone off twice in the last three days. I hope this doesn't get worse with the snow. This morning the digital clocks were flashing and the wifi router was even wedged. I had to reboot it a couple of times before the wifi started working again. I wonder if anyone makes a device that can log power outages. It would have to be battery backed and have the ability to deal with electrical spikes. Hmm, might be a fun thing to build. Well, not today. Today is for yard work, bike rides, and cooking out on the grill with family and friends.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don't Kite Surf with Fay

Here's why you should not go kite surfing in a tropical storm. Man, this is pretty crazy. Thanks to my friend Dave for sending me this one.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Made it to Incline Village

We opened the house in Incline Village today. The house is in better shape than we expected. We brought the bikes along and had a nice ride with the kids along Lakeshore Boulevard. Surprisingly, the DSL line was working. It's not supposed to go live until Monday.

The sound of the wind through the pine trees resembles a waterfall. Nice.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Emory Magazine

Last April I gave the Evans-Hall Lecture at Emory University. As a result, Emory Magazine did this nice article that even features a photo taken by my daughter Jade.

I enjoyed visiting Emory. It was fun to catch up with the professors that put up with me back in the early 80s. One of the great things about Emory is how the professors really care about the students.

I could tell the article came out by the increased comments on my blog. :-)

Here's the second runner up for the photo. The first one was more creative I guess. Or maybe this one was a bit too communist.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Thought I was almost there. Guess not!

The above photo was taken at about 80 minutes into my trek for the summit. I ended up throwing in the towel at about 2 hours and 10 minutes. If I had brought a power bar or something to eat, I probably could have made it to the top. I have found that it makes a big difference when you add some fuel every hour or so on these long rides.

Bike loading

Teewinot lift. The easy way up.

Lower Face Trail

Jackson Hole mountain biking. This is the "Lower Face" trail near our Quintess house. There is some great mountain biking here in Jackson Hole!