I saw a "back to school" advertisement last week and realized that summer is almost over. With a longer, wetter spring than normal, it feels like it never really started here in Portland. After a couple difficult weeks of work I was feeling pretty burned out and decided I needed to take some time off. The plan: drive to San Francisco to visit friends for a long weekend.
We rolled out of Portland at 8:00 pm and drove through the night in order to maximize the time spent with a sleeping baby. Parents with young children are known to do crazy things like this. Our plan worked perfectly, we rolled into Oakland at 7am. The only downside was that it was difficult to function through the sleep-deprived fog for about a day and a half.
San Francisco is a beautiful city. I wasn't sure about this statement being true, but after spending a few days walking around outlying neighborhoods, eating amazing pastries, drinking fabulous coffee and constantly being shocked at the diversity of life (plants and animals), the city left me impressed. We stayed with friends who are Portland transplants and met up with other Portlanders that were visiting the same weekend. It was a Portland reunion weekend!
On the way home we decided we would stop of in Napa and visit our friend Curtis Inglis. Curtis is the man behind Retrotec bikes and his namesake brand Inglis Cycles. I first met Curtis at a cross crusade race in the famed Estacada timber park. Curtis is the kind of guy that never touts his credentials. He prefers letting his actions speak for him. When Nate and I started Signal, Curtis was one of the first "old school" builders that engaged with us. When we talked about problems that we were having with the business, he assured us that everyone in this business has gone through the same thing. Every year at NAHBS we get to spend more time with him and his wife Mitzi. It's always a highlight of the trip.
Getting to see his shop was really nice. It's about 2x as big as the Signal HQ, and has a lot more machines. Curtis showed me a little of his process for tube setup and mitering and some of the tools that he has made over the years to make life easier. Lucky for Elizabeth that she dropped me off and went touring the Napa valley, Curtis and I were talking shop for a couple hours. I could've kept going.
I got to ride in Curtis's cool BMW Isetta car. It's a 300 cc single cylinder motor. You get in by pulling the front of the car open. It's nuts to see a guy as big as Curtis get in that thing!
Good times, and I'm glad we got to take advantage of the summer a bit before it all slipped by.