Wednesday, February 27, 2013

River Levels

There was an article in today's St. Louis Post Dispatch about the Mississippi River water levels. Some have asked about what was happening. You can click here to read the article. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

One Day Closer To Spring

Now that I have heated grips on both my bikes/scooters I have a new measure for knowing when I've been riding my bikes in the correct ratio to driving the car. It is when I take off in the car, notice my hands are cold, and find myself squeezing the steering wheel to warm my fingers. I suspect those of you with heated grips will understand.

Likewise, I know something is amiss with my ride/drive ratio when I get on one of my bikes and before taking off I look for the seat belt.

Today was my first day out since last Wednesday. I realize that isn't very long to many of you, but over the last couple of years it has become usual for me to be off two wheels for much more than a day.

Today all I had to do was make it out of the alley and I'd be free. I'd been out earlier in the car to get bagels and coffee. I knew the streets were clear and dry.

After having my "duh" moment reaching for the Kymco's seat belt, I made it out of the alley without major mishap. I did, however, discover I like the double clutch system on the Symba much better in snow than the continuously variable transmission on the Kymco. The engagement of the clutch on the CVT was difficult for me to gauge and I found myself giving the Kymco too much throttle causing the rear wheel to break loose. Perhaps with practice this won't be a problem, but hopefully I won't have many opportunities to practice.

The ride was over the river to visit my son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. And, once out of my alley it was an easy ride.

I remember when I was a kid the snow seemed to be deeper and the piles of snow higher. When my kids were little I began to wonder if part of it had to do with my scale of reference. I was littler then. I had similar thoughts today as I watched Alma walk across the snow. It was up to her knees! And, look at that pile of snow, to her it must appear to be a mountain.

The high temperature today was 42F/6C. This was causing lots of snow melt and water run off. I rode through water over the road a number of times on the way home. I'm suspecting with low temperatures well below freezing tonight the safe thing will be to drive to work again tomorrow. Oh well, at least it will be one day closer to Spring.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pretty Hardcore

One of the things continually drawing me to Creve Coeur Lake is watching the rowing teams practice. The Lake is home to the St. Louis Rowing Club.

It was around 35F/2C when I arrived at the Lake Saturday. Even though I didn't expect to see the rowers out, I wasn't surprised to find them on the Lake.

Pretty hardcore, if you ask me..

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Long Ride

Today was Abraham Lincoln's Birthday. The Courts were closed and I went for a long ride.

I was in Louisiana in the morning.

Louisiana, Missouri that is.

I was in Detroit by the early afternoon.

Detroit, Illinois that is.

Saw a strange sight/site in North Calhoun County.

My friend Maggie sent me a link about the place. Click here to read about it.

I discovered the bridge spanning the Illinois River at Hardin goes up to let barge traffic pass through. . .

And then it goes back down to let land traffic pass over.

It was a much cooler bridge than I expected.

I rode the full length of US Route 54 in Illinois. . .

All sixteen miles of it.

It was a nice long ride. My first over two hundred mile ride on Isabelle.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Key West

I never used to think about Key West.

Now I find thoughts of Key West dog me. Well, perhaps not Key West so much. More I am reminded of a certain Canine and the Guy who whispers in her ear. This is a marvelous post. If you haven't checked it out all you need do is click the blue letters.  I think you find it worth the effort.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I went to bed thinking there was a good chance I would be riding to St. Peter's today.

Wrong! I knew there was a chance for some sleet followed by some scattered flurries, but wasn't expecting snow. Apparently, I wasn't alone. It took the forecasters and MoDOT by surprise as well. The good news was the temperatures were right around freezing and looked to rise even higher.

The trees were covered with snow.

As I traveled around the roads weren't great,

but they were far from treacherous.

I was delighted to see a cross-country skier... Tower Grove Park.

By mid-morning the roads were quite good. This is the bridge over the Missouri River.

The snow was perfect for making a snowman, and when I got to St. Peter's I discovered Kip and Alma had done exactly that.

By the time I wandered home, the main roads were clear and dry.

When I did get home I sprayed the front rim of the the Symba with Boeshield. She's as ready as I can make her to face the ravishes of winter roads.

Tomorrow, however, looks like the beginning of a warm up with rain. It seems the seasons are shorter and come much more frequently now.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tire Be Healed!

Well today was the day to get Billie's tire issue sorted out. If it had been up to me I'd have pulled the screw which was lodged in Billie's front tire out right away. I agreed completely with Canajun's whose comment to my earlier post said pretty much the same thing. Mike was telling me to leave it be and see if it held air and he has much more experience than I do.

I discovered the screw sticking out of the tire a week ago today. The tire held air all week. Today I rode it over to Mike's.

I got to Mike's without incident. The tire continued to hold air. After we got Billie situated on the lift, Mike took a pair of pliers and pulled the little bugger out. And, nothing happened. The little sheet metal screw was more wedged into the tread then buried in the tire. Just like that, I was good to go. And, I was way too happy to feel much more than a tinge of self-satisfaction over having been right. Yes, I should have just pulled the damn thing out myself. Oh well, now I have a spare tube in my top box. This is probably a good thing.

Mike told me the Vespa dealer here in St. Louis has closed. I wasn't shocked by the news. The dealership has had a spotty reputation, still it is worrisome to have it close. The Genuine dealership here should close, but if it does the only scooters available will be from the Japanese motorcycle dealerships. It is a tough business.

Even with the unexpected extra time I gained when Mike didn't need to change the tire, it was still a busy day of shopping and errands.

Happily, Heather and I were able to meet up and get a nice walk around the local park before going out for dinner.

Tomorrow, if the weather cooperates, I may get in a ride. We'll see.