Couriers - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

June 15, 2020

Couriers

The Secret Document Xfer Scheme

I’ve been holding off sharing a bit of news for several days now, thinking there might be more of the story yet to come.  I’m tired of waiting though, and I’ve got time on my hands this morning as we wait out a weather forecast that calls for intermittent thunderstorms to arrive soon, followed by thunderstorms.  Followed by heavy thunderstorms.  With luck they’ll taper off and move east by late afternoon and we’ll get out for a few hours at the end of the day, but in the meantime I’ve got some time to fill.  Might as well catch you up with the latest developments in the Capitol One Refund storyline.

You’ll recall that we dropped this story 11 days ago, when my new social security card arrived in the mail at Elizabeth’s house.  She emailed an image of it, and then I realized that the timeline would need to be put on hold until the end of the month when we’ll pass through Portland and pick it up, because I’ll need to sign it before uploading it to Capitol One to verify myself.

The next day, I heard from Jen Grumby.  Possessed of hypercreative mind and apparently with too much time on her hands, Jen hatched a scheme to accelerate the timeline and improve her chances of winning the Capitol One Reimbursement Challenge.  She offered this scenario, which sounds like something she lifted from a John le Carré intrigue:

Greetings Fellow Hostile Actors,

A challenge lies before us! Scott's ss card is at Elizabeth's place, but Scott is in Corvallis.

And Bruce and I both want to be winners of the Capital One Reimbursement Challenge!

So, here's what I propose:
a) Andrea, while on Baby Duty at Molly & Wes' place, will pick up the ss card from Elizabeth, who lives somewhere near (sometime Tue-Thurs)
b) Andrea and Bruce carefully transport Said Document to Sebright Gardens, where they will meet up with the Grumbys sometime June 19-22
c) Grumbys will then transport (shhhhh!) to Scio, where they will meet up with Team Anderson for a Bike Ride
d) Prior to the official Final Transfer, Scott will declare the original terms of the Contest null and void and will announce the Team Winnership of the Secret Document Xfer Committee
e) The Document will then be handed off
f) Scott will then publish the Refund Acceleration Story in CycleBlaze and all will celebrate the Secret Document Xfer Scheme
g) perhaps when funds are officially deposited back to the Team Anderson Account, we can figure out an Abundantly Cautious Safe Celebration (involving pizza?)

What say youse all?

And, of equal importance, WWES (what would Elizabeth say?)

Jen

Much discussion ensued and refinements were proposed, notably to validate identities before passing on the sensitive document.  For example, to manage the handoff at the door of Elizabeth’s condo since she has never seen any party involved, Bruce proposed: 

There can be a secret knock on Elizabeth's door at which time she slides the SS card under her door.  This, of course, would be done in normal times as well but it makes more sense during pandemic times.

Ron  concurred but thought  the handoff could be made be more secure yet:

I agree. But to be really secure, I'd suggest that, after the secret knock, Elizabeth should say, "The weather's good in Spain", to which Andrea will reply, "The Eagle has landed". No sense in taking chances. 

Or, as another possibility:

And, Jen helpfully supplied this visual to help people plan for their roles:

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And, there should be theme music for the caper.  Let’s use the theme song for the TV show Peter Gunn, since John Williams is on my mind lately.  Composed by Henry Mancini, the  album was the first ever to win a Grammy for Album of the Year, in 1959.  And, of course, John Williams was the pianist. 

Finally the plan coalesced, and all parties agreed to their roles.  The script unrolled the very next morning, when Andrea and Elizabeth executed Step A:

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Then though, an unexpected plot twist occurred.  Andrea, another of those hypercreative types, unilaterally rewrote the script with her own version, accelerating its completion by several days.  Steps B thru E were written out of the script and replaced by a same day transfer.  Serendipitously, the grandfather of Andrea’s twin granddaughters (confusingly, also named Ron) happened to be in town and was returning  home to Corvallis that afternoon.   This unannounced, I discussed change of plans came as a bitter disappointment to Ron #1, who was already relishing his role in the scheme - I envision a singing, cycling, masked cowboy delivering the goods - but it was definitely simpler and quicker to just hand it off to this other Ron and let him deliver it to us.

One of Molly’s twins keeps a wary eye on the document, securing it until Ron #2 arrives to pick it up
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Ron SuchanekThat document is as safe as of it was in Ft. Knox!
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2 weeks ago
In case the twins need a nap, Molly’s dog is afoot to take over guard duties.
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Ron #2 deftly executes a daring mask-free hand-off, completing the script.
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frank jellisonThe next time that this happens and you need a new password https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=afghanistan+bnanastan
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2 weeks ago
Success! Thanks to all parties involved, the refund timeline is shortened by over three weeks!
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And so it went down.  We received the card, uploaded images of it along with my drivers license and a bank statement to Capitol One, and now we’re waiting.  How Long?  Not Long, famously said MLK 55 years ago.  But perhaps Long, said the Capitol One representative when I called to ask about next steps.  Next the documents need to be reviewed by their Document Review Team to determine whether they appear valid, acceptable, and actually demonstrate that I am indeed me.  If I don’t hear back in 7 to 10 business days, I should check back.

Six business days later I still haven’t heard back, but in the meantime I at least did receive a monthly statement from Capitol One.  It’s reassuring to see that it still shows that they owe us money, but it boggles the mind that they trust my  identity enough to mail me monthly statements but not to mail me a refund check.  Same account, same address, same name.  Right?

Comforting, and nice to see that no payment is due as this time. At least they don’t appear to be exacting a service fee for holding on to our money for us.
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Jen GrumbyBut where is the interest that they owe you?
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyAn interesting question!
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2 weeks ago

Kiger Island

The land immediately south of Corvallis is exceedingly flat.  I haven’t read up on the geologic history here but it looks like there has been a lot of fluctuation in the course of the Willamette River over time, leaving behind an interesting mosaic of creeks, channels, small islands, cut off meanders and oxbow lakes.  We’ve explored a bit of this territory now with our rides southeast toward Harrisburg and Boston Mills but we haven’t poked into any of the small lanes nearest the river yet, roads that typically dead end at a farm or field.

We’ve been saving this close-in area for a day such as today: off and on rainy, the sort of day that you don’t want to venture too far from home.  A day where it works well for us to each go our own way and whimsically explore at our preferred pace without frustrating the other.  At my suggestion Rachael goes southeast out Peoria Road again, but this time she explores some of its side roads we haven’t seen yet.  I decide to stay on this side of the river, biking south  without a specific goal in mind - I might venture as far as the Finley Wildlife Refuge and explore its gravel roads a bit, if the weather holds and I find myself feeling energetic.  Or I might not.

We’re lucky and get about a four hour window to work with.  Between us we tally a respectable 61 road miles.  Rachael starts out the minute the morning rain stops and returns 43 miles later, picking up the lion’s share of the team’s collective ride.  I wait around a bit longer because I don’t quite trust the weather yet; and then am delayed further by a stop at the bike store to pick up spare tires; and then realize I failed to load my intended route on the GPS and so I’m just more or less winging it, staring at the map and biking from memory.  

All of this slows me down and in the end I cover only a pathetic 18 flat miles.  But I have a great time, and especially enjoy the dead end ride out on Kiger Island.  This is the first time I’ve bicycled down this way, but it looks like there’s some fine riding to be had.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be back for more before our month In Corvallis comes to an end.

Marys River, near the confluence with the Willamette just south of downtown.
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I think this old rail rail bridge across Marys River must still be in use, by the short train that wails its way up 6th Street a few times a day. I wouldn’t trust crossing on this thing though.
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Looking over the south end of Willamette Park.
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On Kiger Island, where they grow a little bit of this and a lot of that.
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Grass fields predominate, along with the ever present hazelnuts.
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Image not found :(
And English walnuts.
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And blueberries.
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The cedar waxwings look like they like the blueberries. It’s windy today though, and this guy is having a bad feather day.
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And rusty implements.
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I’m not sure why I’m drawn to old crusty wheels and weathered tires, but here’s another one.
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If we were in Portland, this massive black locust might be a heritage tree.
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Barn of some ilk, Kiger Island.
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I’m sure this guy thinks he’s hidden, standing tall right next to a utility pole just to the left.
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MRys Peak is starting to grow on me. I’m enjoying seeing it’s mood change in different conditions. You could help resolve a Team Anderson dispute though, Andrea. Which way is the elephant facing - north or south?
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Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownHa, ha. I was right. Do I know my elephants?
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2 weeks ago
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Ride stats today: Scott: 18 miles, 200’; Rachael: 43 miles, 200’

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Bill ShaneyfeltFor some strange reason, I now have a "Mission: Impossible" theme song earworm...
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltAnother great theme song, by the fine Argentinian composer Lalo Schifrin. We got to hear him conduct this in a chamber music concert in Portland a few years back.
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2 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekThe scheme worked brilliantly, thanks to Elizabeth, R2, Andrea, Bruce and Jen for thinking of the original plan.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyBrilliant hyperacceleration of the Refund Scheme.

Two Rons, two babies, a grandma, a sister, a dog, and some Idea People!

I anticipate a reenactment photo or two, as Ron Grumby has been practicing the hand-off for a few days now.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyBrilliant hyperacceleration of the Refund Scheme.

Two Rons, two babies, a grandma, a sister, a dog, and some Idea People!

I anticipate a reenactment photo or two, as Ron Grumby has been practicing the hand-off for a few days now.
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2 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonAll brilliant - the le Carré scenario, the Marx Brothers (love that scene), the music! Alas, leaving me no chance of winning the contest with my July 12 prognosis. You goes teamed up, no fair.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonDo not despair. You’re still in the running. This stunt sped things up by two weeks, but no one is showing me the money yet.
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2 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonYou guys, not "you goes". It was a typo and not a reference to last month's pun fun.
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2 weeks ago