R2AK Done

After three weeks, the Race to Alaska is done. The way this thing works around here, you are either a “junkie” or completely oblivious about this Super Event that no one has ever heard of. I fall into the junkie category.

This year’s race was just as spectacular as prior years, especially in terms of creating stories (the whole purpose for sailing a boat). What was remarkable this year was how the Organizers gathered up a passel of social media experts around age 22 and working for free and did the entire social media thing: Video from everywhere, Facebook, Twitter, podcasting, email, website. I am not in tune with this stuff, but in order to follow R2AK, I had to jump in and see what was happening. There are some very good social media people out there. I’m impressed.

I made reservations at Pt Hudson Marina today. I’ll be at my spot above the docks for the Seventy/48 race and the start of R2AK in June 2020. I’ll be waiting for it for the next year.

Last night at Pt Hudson

I have to figure out how to live here.

Yesterday my family stopped by for a visit, and Matt heard someone congratulate the sail boat making it’s way into the marina. That boat was the winner (first to reach Ketchikan) of R2AK. So I got a chance to check out their bikes driving propellers.

This morning I’m drinking coffee and reading the news and a sail boat came in that I recognized. I was crew on my best friend’s sail boat in the 1980’s and raced in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea. The boat was an Islander 28 called “Jubilation”. A few years ago I saw it in the boat yard here in Port Townsend, but named “Jubilatio”. I talked to the owner, he asked me about that dent in the deck rail (a port start off Shilshole. In sail racing, that phrase is a complete story). We were both surprised to meet each other again.

So I’m sitting there and Jubilation sails by heading for the boat lift. She was here to be hauled out and surveyed before a sale. I met the lady buying her, and talked to the owner I met a few years ago.

The very first thing the new owner and I discussed was the name. She was intent on changing it back ASAP. I couldn’t agree more.

By the way, the boat parked next to Jubilation was the boat that won the R2AK. When I mentioned that, she said her lead crew person was on Team Sails Like A Girl, who came in 4th in this years R2AK, but was competing as the winner of last year’s race.

I had a great chat with Kristen’s (new owner) dad, and an old guy like me who used to race. It was damned difficult to get my head around that my racing days were 30 years ago, and yet here in front of me was the very boat in perfect condition. He talked about the boats he raced back in those days, and it turns out we raced against each other a lot of times.

Kristen and I did the email thing, and I’m going to search for photos from those days.

David (RIP) would have been happy….

Point Hudson

I’m here for my annual visit to the Pt Hudson Marina and RV Park, something I always enjoy. The RV park offers spaces at quite premium prices, which folk gladly pay. I choose one of the two dry camp spaces to save money, but also because it’s the closest to the marina proper. Very coveted spaces as I discovered the first year of the Race to Alaska.

Excellent weather is in the forecast for the next week.

Boats in Port Townsend

Another Race to Alaska commences Monday (see R2AK.com) and I’ll be hanging out tomorrow at the pre-race festivities. But in the meantime, the organizers of that race put another event together called the Seventy48. The idea is strictly human-powered watercraft, no motors or sails, going from Tacoma to Port Townsend in less than 48 hours. It’s 70 miles.

The race started last evening at 7pm, and the first boat across the line was 10 hours later at dawn this morning. I made it down to the finish line at about 9 this morning then stuck around to watch for a while.

Carl Krueger finished shortly after I arrived on his paddleboard. He was the first to complete R2AK on a standup paddleboard two years ago and has become something of a celebrity. I don’t know yet whether he is planning on going to Alaska again on Monday. At any rate, as the first SUP across the line today he won $1500. I took the chance to look at his board, which isn’t really like your typical paddleboard.

The crowd favorite, finishing 21st out of over 100, was Platte County High School from Colorado. Students and teachers built a trimaran that held 18 paddlers. I have no idea how or why a school in Colorado managed to come up with this idea, but pulling it off was certainly an achievement.

Tomorrow I’ll take a look at the entrants for R2AK and then follow it for the next few weeks.

WA Pot Laws

We’re coming up on the fifth anniversary of legal cannabis sales in Washington state. I recall when the rules were being written, completely out of whole cloth given there was no experience, how many times the regulators and lawmakers wished they had some data, some numbers, anything concrete to help with setting the rules. How many customers? How many stores? How much to grow? What’s the right tax? If only we had five years of data back then.

As you can imagine, the products developed this way without benefit of real experience likely are a little weak and wobbly, full of errors and holes. Which describes Washington’s laws fairly well, I think. But somehow we’ve limped along, though without much attention from the lawmakers. Every year I look forward to the many positive things the legislature could change, and every year I’m let down by their inaction.

WA still does not allow home grows, making us unique in the nation. Although, as Illinois debates their law they seem to be considering having a ban as well.

The legislature loosened up the license ownership rules a tad bit, though I doubt anyone will notice much. The idea is to keep out-of-state moneyed interests out of the game here, and that’s working, but now grandma living in Phoenix can chip in a few thousand to buy some seed or even help make payroll.

One of the old ideas was testing for purity and wholesomeness which was very weak, but a law was passed to improve things, to make the state’s laws more in line with other states. This is one of those laws that “appoint a committee to investigate and recommend…” which means nothing changes until some reports are filed in a couple of years. Better than nothing, I guess.

The legislature came down hard on the Cannabis Board for being far too stringent in enforcement and punishment of licensees, and held back several laws that would be hammers if the board doesn’t lighten up a bit before next session.

Even after five years we’re discovering new things and inventing new ideas, but that’s difficult if the state is hassling business people with trivial rules and enforcement actions. It pisses folk off when they are fined for breaking a rule that even the board can’t explain. That kind of stuff is still happening after five years, which should be expected I guess.

Some writers are referring to the WA’s cannabis environment as “mature”. Compared to other states, I guess that’s true. But there’s still a lot to do.

Yay! Firefox fixed

Seven or eight years ago I added an ad blocker to Firefox, my web browser. Now, some sites, mainly newspapers, detected my blocker and stopped me from reading their product. But they obviously felt their ads were more important than their content.

Last week Mozilla.org changed their code which destroyed optional add-ons, including my ad blocker. So I’ve had to endure ads for a week now. Wow, I didn’t know how pervasive those things were on the internet. Some sites are almost unusable with boxes of crap covering up the actual content; the worse is auto-start videos.

Firefox is fixed now, and now I can actually see what is being published.

Back in Chimacum

I’ll be here for a while, like until September.

Oregon Pot

Oregon grows too much pot, and that means low prices. How low? You regularly see $3 grams advertised, and $50 ounces, sometimes less. A joint can be had for $2.50. But that’s for folk on a budget. To get a better quality, $6 grams and $25 eighths are more like it. Contrast to CA with around $14 grams and $40 eighths (don’t be surprised to see $60 eighths). Washington is in the middle somewhere, Nevada is more like CA.

Oregon chose a free market model for regulating cannabis. They hand out licenses to anyone who qualifies, no matter what the market situation. A bill was introduced to allow the regulatory agency to stop with the license thing when supply went crazy, but it was defeated the other day. So Oregon will continue to issue licenses to grow.

This year along the Oregon Coast, hwy 101, nearly every town no matter how small has at least one pot shop, some have 5 or 6. I’m not sure how these places stay in business with so much competition and low prices.

We’ll see how their approach works…

Tillamook

I’ve been here a few days waiting for the next break in the rain, and tomorrow looks like I can move up to Seaside. And, there might be some dry days on the way. It’s been six weeks since I hit the Pacific coast, and I saw about 5 dry days total.

That means a lot of hours stuck indoors reading books and playing video games.

Yesterday, I hit the end of Zelda:Breath of the Wild. I started it around October first, and now am looking at the grand finale. I likely won’t complete it as the endings of these games are quite tedious and time-consuming, and after six months and solving thousands of puzzles, I need a break. Besides, my experience with Zelda is that even when I exert max effort and rescue her from the evil monster, she doesn’t appreciate it anyway.

BOTW is certainly one of the most competent, complex, engaging, and visually attractive games out there now. I’ve spent many hours just exploring the landscape which can be astoundingly beautiful. And I never got tired of the soundtrack. Great game.

Newport, OR

There was a weather break today, so up the road I went to Newport, one of my favorite Oregon Coast places. I stay at the Marina and RV park which is super nice, with a view of the bridge, and when the weather cooperates, some great beaches within a short distance.