Fear itself.

Why My State Won’t Close it’s Doors to Syrian Refugees

Penned by my Governor in an OP-ED to NYT.

My favorite quote is at the end, which means that you’ll have to read his entire essay to completely comprehend the context. “fear can be overcome”. Yes, they can. Governor Inslee includes in his patriotic reminder that:

America has been swayed by fear before. And we’ve lived to regret it. My home is on Bainbridge Island, a small island across Puget Sound from Seattle. It was the first place in the nation where Japanese-Americans were subjected to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Exclusion Orders. These Washingtonians were marched to the docks by soldiers and sent to internment camps.

We have behaved badly in the past. Let’s be nicer to our neighbors in the future.



Cattle Call on San Juan Island, WA

Cattle Point, San Juan Island, WA. USA

Violet TV: Soup Chef

Violet has been schooled in the use of sharp things. It’s all about RESPECT. Here she is as our Sous Chef getting the peppers ready for our VeggieBeef Soup. #MarthaWatchOUT

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Slug Running through the Fairhaven Forest

I was out for a walk (admittedly admiring our new trail) in Fairhaven and took the time to catch this creature strolling by.


Sticking the Landing at Larrabee

Our day started with an attempted summit of the Oyster Dome. It was quickly thwarted by Violet’s fear of heights. The trail up to the dome drops off straight down to Chuckanut Drive. She was freaked out, so we turned around and went to a more approachable landscape. Funny thing was that we were actually climbing and the relative danger was higher than walking on the trail. But that didn’t matter. We’re about being safe and having fun. Across the board.

This was a test that FAILED. I used the SLO-MO settings on my camera and they didn’t transfer when I uploaded them.

#Bummer. Not quite the same effect in real time…

oh well, what the hell.

The Jump

The Daddy

More climbing photos.

The finale


A Sacred Cycle – recycled.

Water. Water. Water. Water.

A Sacred Cycle by Malcolm Johnson.

“From molecule to mountain, it’s the everything of our existence. Water. Dive into the liquid of high peaks and the deep sea, following water’s ceaseless journey through one of its favourite playgrounds: the Pacific Northwest.”

Read full story.

Bellingham KAPOW 2015

We were fortunate enough to be invited to be a part of MM’s Big Chair presentation.

Team RRAD – 2015 Kulshan Quest AR, Bellingham, WA


I’ll fill in this page as time allows.

Kulshan Quest AR 2015

Bellingham, WA
Team RRAD* – Chris Mellick, Sonja Max and Todd Elsworth


Kulshan Quest AR 2015. We are Team RRAD-Run, Ride and DIG.
Team RRAD – Chris Mellick, Sonja Max and Todd Elsworth

Our objective for Quest was to go out and see how many checkpoints we could get in the allotted time of 12 hours and have the most fun doing it. We were up for the challenge.

Side note: These were not a scripted videos. You’ll hear me say repeatedly, “see you at the next checkpoint”, but I never actually record anything while we’re at a checkpoint, because that is what we were focused on- not the huge royalties that we get from our spawnsors**. It was something that I had in my head that I just had to get out, I guess.

Pre Race Meeting with Brent


Wait for it.


April keeping an eye on things!


The Maps!


There is some very serious competition OUT THERE. Here’s Evil Eye Annie from Team Sin Daaawgs making sure we weren’t trying to listen in on their strategy.


We went back to our compound (tent, table and lounge chairs) and plotted out our route.

Getting oriented.


On the water

Tip of Clarks Point with seal greeting!

Seeking the Statue.

HOWDY Todd – Thanks T.Eastman for being a safety boat on the water.


Heading Home!

First Transition.

“How was the paddle?”

“It was awesome…I gotta do more of this” – CM.

On the Bike


Ride ON.

Checkpoint Chris


Fuel Stops & Safety Breaks

S.MAX Burritos! Sonja made us power bars with beans, rice, avocado and other secret ingredients to fuel the fire to keep the motors running.


CM enjoys a mushroom free snack.


Plotting the course is an ongoing Endeavor.


CM touts the benefits of Red Peppers as espoused by S.MAX while searching for the next checkpoint. 

“Please, Sonja, please. May I have another carrot?” – CM


Adventure Racing in the Chuckanuts. 




Pushin’ Through


CM advice, “more Captain Crunch!”

I spy S.MAX


We’re all winners


Winning Smile

Hawaiian Punch


Coasting through the Chuckanuts. 

Story Time


Snack Break


On Foot

Customer Recommendations

“He took us out to the edges.” – CM


“He’s a masochist”  – Dude on trail as repeated by SM

Running through the Rock Trail

The camera was getting tired and we were on our last legs.

Fortunately, we got to get on our bikes to make the way back to the finish (of the TREK leg).



TEAM Manny’s Aged Stout. They got all their checkpoints.


Searching at the bottom of the falls for a missing CP.


Where’s S.MAX?


We were greeted by cheering fans with a Cowbell Finish!


We finished with a time of 11:44. We took 7th place with 24 correct checkpoints. In the end we won. We’re better friends and know ourselves and the landscape a lot better.

When I saw Brent, I said, “Thank you sir, may I have another.”

I will have that chance again in September with Island Quest.

Unfortunately, Kulshan Quest will take a break next year to return in 2017.

*RRAD – Run, Ride and DIG

** I used to be able to use the word spelled that way until I got a cease and desist message from the organization that “owns” it. LAME. They wouldn’t even respond to my inquiry if we could share.

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Tandem Kayak Camping – Maiden Voyage to Lummi

We have spent plenty of time in kayaks, but never kayak camped. Violet and I headed out to Lummi Island from Wildcat Cove in Larrabee State Park- just south of Bellingham, WA. for our maiden overnight voyage. It was awesome.

Leaving the shore behind. My favorite paddling hat has seen some wear and is finally in need of repair. Thank you Freemont Hemp Company (RIP).


She paddled for a bit, then just enjoyed the ride across the bay. We were finally in the shadows of the campsite. “It’s your job to choose which site we should take. Since there’s nobody here you have a lot to pick from!,” I exclaimed. She was happy to have that news.


We enjoyed an afternoon and evening of hanging out at the Lummi DNR site and went out for a paddle the next day. We sat below a BIG Bald Eagle and watched him/her (I can’t tell) eat breakfast in the tree above.


Here’s the Big Bird on the branch above.


We continued south to the southern tip of Lummi, where the wind was raging and the rollers were flowing in. So, we turned around and went back to the shelter of the east side of the island and enjoyed the herons, eagles, vultures and other shorebirds flying around above.

Heading home it was so calm (and “The V” is so comfortable in a boat) that she chose to sit on top of the middle hatch and just hang out so we could talk and sing songs as I paddled us home. This photo is looking north to Portage Island off the port bow. We changed our course to the east and headed for the north tip of Eliza Island and Larrabee on shore.


 She’s my trooper!

Birthday Bash on the Beach

Let’s get this party started.

“The V” is turning 7! We invite you to come join us for a couple hours at Lake Padden on Saturday, June 13th from 1-3pm. Look for us south (to the left when you’re facing the water) of the swimming beach/bath house. We’ll have a big white tent and some balloons. There is excellent access to the water for swimming and plenty of grass.

There will be Cupcakes!

Join the Facebook Event or RSVP via email.

Lake Padden – South end Swimming Beach
Saturday, June 13th
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

1:00 – show up and have fun

2:00 – Magic with Cousin Joey Pancakes

2:30 – Cupcakes and Presents

3:00 – Thank you for coming.

If you want to stay longer, bring it! We’re going to roll into a picnic/potluck and stay until we feel like leaving- we’ve got THE FAMILY in town for this.

Please Bring:

Any floaty thing you want- Inflatables.
a clean pair of underware… you know the drill.


If you really want to make a day out of it do the Girls on the Run 5K in the morning!