Spring Equinox

I’ve fallen a month behind on posts, so I’ll catch up here today.

Peony Peak
Peony Peak

Spring Equinox

Yesterday, March 20, was the spring equinox. It is hard to believe, as it was a grey cold day, and today is snowy and colder. Despite that, I walked up Peony Peak, my favorite local walk, and often though not always destination on the equinoxes and solstices. Being Sunday, there was much less noise from the freeway, so it was a quiet day of watching. The clouds were down over the Carson Range, and around the valley’s edge, making the valley seem even more of an enclosed bowl than it already does. I’ve been in California several times over this last month, and there it has been spring for a while, though a rainy spring, and it is sometimes hard to come back to winter in Nevada.

Bike Education in Las Vegas

This last weekend I offered a Traffic Skills 101 course in Las Vegas, working with my my co-instructors and friends Melissa Krall and Tim Rowe. We had a very successful course, with everyone graduating and having a good time. We had 14 teachers or other district staff, and 3 other people. Saturday was a bit cold and quite windy, not the most pleasant day to be out riding in traffic. The remarkable achievement with each course is that people who could never imaging themselves riding on the street with moderate traffic feel at least competent and sometimes comfortable with it by the end of the course. This effort was funded by the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, in an effort to find people who will go on to take the League Cycling Instructor seminar, and thereby create a cadre of instructors to continue doing bike education in southern Nevada.

McAvoy Layne & Chris Bayer at Miners Farewell
McAvoy Layne & Chris Bayer at Miners Farewell

Miners Farewell

On March 11, I accompanied Chris Bayer up to Incline Village for his presentation of the “Miners Farewell” at the new Mark Twain Cultural Center. Though I’ve seen Chris play music for years, I’ve never seen one of his historical presentations, and I very much enjoyed it. Combining storytelling from the gold rush and Comstock eras with music from that time, he weaves together of picture of how important music and instruments were in telling us what the common people were doing and thinking. The center is operated by McAvoy Lane, the Mark Twain impersonator and historian. The crowd was small, but there were several people I knew there, and that was fun.

Danita Bayer & Darla Bayer
Danita Bayer & Darla Bayer

Nevada City Dancing

Darla, Danita and I went to Nevada City for a weekend of dancing, friends, and shopping. The Nevada City contra dance was as always a lot of fun. This was Darla’s first time to dance there, and she enjoyed it. The waltz I had with Danita was one of the highlights of my life! We stayed with Eric (Lisa was away with family), and enjoyed late night talking, and waffles and more friends and talking in the morning. We went shopping in Nevada City, which all of us enjoyed, though I went off for a walk down Deer Creek after a while, as I can only do so much shopping. Sunday happened to be the Mardi Gras parade in Nevada City, so we watched that for a while.

Dan Allison in Victorian clothing
Dan Allison in Victorian clothing

Gaskell Ball and Michael

The previous weekend I headed to the east bay for dancing. I stayed with my friend Michael Charnofsky who lives i Oakland. We had a nice long walk in Mountain View cemetery, which was more interesting than it sounds. There are historical headstones and ornate mausoleums, but the highlight is the view from the high hills of the cemetery, looking directly west across the bay to San Francisco. The air was crystal clear and the view incredible, which doesn’t happen all that often.

I had intended to go to the sacred circle dance in El Cerrito on Friday evening, but the Amtrak train was stuck in the snow for hours. Not actually stuck, but stuck behind a stuck freight train, so we didn’t actually get into the bay area until after midnight.

Saturday night I attended the Gaskell Ball in Oakland for the second time. I danced most of the dances and enjoyed it more because I’m gradually becoming more adept at the Victorian dances. I talked with a lot of people, including two sisters from Auburn who I encouraged to start contra dancing in Nevada City. Part of the fun of the dance is playing dress-up. The photo is me in the afternoon before heading to the ball (yes, on my bicycle!). Since the first ball I’ve bought some of my own clothing, which is not as elegant or authentic as what I borrowed from Chris before, but good nevertheless.

Sunday afternoon I went to the Hayward contra dance, which I’d heard good things about. It is indeed a fun dance, and a good community. I saw a number of people I knew, including Nan who I’d not seen in years. I’ll go to this dance again.

I got around the bay area entirely on my bicycle, which was fun and satisfying.

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