Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bar Mitts, Babler State Park, and Bottle Trees.

An Excuse to go for a Ride

They came in the mail yesterday. I put them on last night. Billie's got handlebar mitts! So, of course, I had to do a long ride to test them out.
I'm not sure if they are going to work out. They are a universal pair and not the really good Hippo Hands. I haven't decided if I'm going to "make them work", or bite the bullet and get the ones that are actually made for my bike. Stay tuned.
 The Ride

Yesterday Heather and I went hiking at Babler Memorial State Park.
As we were driving out there, I thought it would make a great ride on Billie. And, so today I decided to find out.

But, first some images from yesterday:
When we first arrived there was still some evidence of the Thanksgiving Day snow.
But, there was more evidence of the major rain storms that passed through earlier in the week. The paths were rather muddy. We are definitely in the gray season here.
I wondered if a critter put the nuts in the recess of this old stump.
We came across this spring. We spent a rather long while listening the the live water and enjoying the warmth of the sun.
And now for today:

The ride out to the Park took somewhat longer then the drive did yesterday. Billie simply can't be rushed. And, when I'm at my best, neither can I. So, Billie and I found ourselves sort of meandering along while stopping here and there to take pictures.

Billie even got her picture taken with the statue of the good Dr. Babler.
Proof  that Billie made it Babler Memorial State Park.
Another reason for taking the ride today (as if I needed another reason), was to go by the house with the bottle trees. I've rode by it a number of times. I've even stopped across the road and  took a picture or two. I'd promised myself if I ever saw anyone in the yard I was going to stop and find out about the trees.

Whether it is true or not, I feel Billie is totally non-intimating. This is another thing I really like about her. Since I've had Billie, I find myself stopping to talk to folks. I never used to do that when I was driving. Actually, I wonder if I would do that if I had a different motorcycle. I don't know. Anyway, today there was activity at the house, so I stopped.
Billie and I pulled right up in front of the house. Notice the bottle tree in the background.
Kim and I exchanged introductions but she was determined to get her work done. I also met Steve . . .I think. For some reason I keep wanting to remember his name being Dave, but I think he's name is Steve. Oy vay! Me and names!
I suspect these bottle flowers bloom year round.
I'm hoping Kim will leave a comment on this posting about the bottle trees and their creator. I do remember her telling me that the bottles are supposed to capture any negative emotions that might come around the house and keep them from manifesting. She told me that when folks ask if they do their job her response is, "They must, because I've always got a smile on my face." And, it is a wonderful smile indeed.

As I was leaving I took one last picture:
Another bottle tree and some giant flowers. I believe the same artist who did the trees did the flowers. Again, I hope Kim finds her way here and can get everything all straightened out.


  1. Some great pics there. And a nice write up. Always good to get out on the bike.

  2. Raftnn,
    Thanks for the supportive comments.

    Indeed it is good to get out on the bike.

    I'm glad you stopped by and took the time to leave a comment.

  3. HI Keith!

    So how did the mittens work? I've seen a couple of those around and wondered how well they worked. I think I would rather opt for some windproof overgloves. Tho I haven't taken the initiative to get them for myself yet. ;)

    Those bottle trees are great. So I take it that Kim and Steve/Dave didn't make them? My mother just stuck bottles on yucca cacti.


  4. Lori,
    Kim said that bottle trees were "big in the South," what ever that means? But, it may mean you're familiar with them. I've seen a couple trees where folks have cut down a scrub and stuck bottles on the left over stubby limbs, but no yucca cacti.

    The mitts? I'm not sure. The Jury is still out. I'd have to do some modification. I may just stay with my snowmobile gloves with liners that accommodate heat packs. Long rides when it's really, really cold are only an occasional thing. My commute is only 30 to 40 minutes and my gloves keep my fingers functional for that amount of time.

    My Service Tech tells me the Symba could handle a pair of heated grips, but I think I'd rather add more lights.

    Thanks for the comments.


  5. Dear Keith:

    Great pictures and nice commentary in your blog tonight. The parks in your community are superb, and they have all the appearance of being far out in the country.

    I like the handelbar mitts on your bike. They have to go a long way toward keeping the wind off your hands.

    How fast do you ride during a typical commute?

    Before I'd load up a limited alternator with heating stuff, I'd take a long hard look at gloves that run on lithium batteries. There's one pair by Gerbings ($199) that run at 100% power for two hours. That would cover your commute in both directions.

    Then see if you can pick up a copy of Road Runner Magazine. In their Christmas gift/gear section they list 1 amp LED lights that mount with tape, require no switches, and provide really bright light. And they are the size of a quarter. At $119, they are more expensive than the light sets you can get at a NAPA store, but they use far less current and might be a lot easier to manage.

    The less crap you saddle a small alternator with, the happier you'll be.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  6. Jack,

    One of the things I enjoy about living here are the parks. At one time many of them were "way out in the country." As is happening in many places, now there is much development around many of them. Still they have maintained their original character.

    My commute is lots of stops and starts. I'd say about two-thirds of the time I'm going 35 to 40 mph. There's a half mile stretch where I sometimes hit 50. The other third is 20 to 25 mph. That said, tonight I found myself stuck behind a purple VW Bug, not the new kind, the rear engine kind. It was 50F and raining buckets. So, tonight much of the ride home was between 15 and 20 mph. I was thinking caution in the rain is a good thing, but . . . When the driver did finally turn, I noticed he had both windows down. I'm thinking the driver was having trouble with the windshield fogging. My memory is the old Bugs had that problem.

    I agree with you totally about not loading up my little alternator. If it wasn't for LED's I wouldn't even consider adding lights. Good LED lights drain so little juice and I'm keen to add to my visibility. I'm not at all sure how much of a difference high vis' clothing makes in me being seen, but I'm a firm believer in lights . . .lights and reflective clothing after dark.

    Thanks for taking the time not only to read my blog but to make suggestions. Both are most appreciated.


  7. Hi Keith,

    I haven't seen any bottle trees down here. I wonder where in the "South" she was referring to. I think they might be a little difficult to see, tho, and I could easily have missed them if they are around.

    Those mittens, while I have seen a couple on bikes, are much more popular with the kayaking crowd and are called pogies. I love how they have been adapted for motorcycles.

    I agree with Jack on those LED lights. I was eyeing those myself, tho I don't need them. They might work very well on Billie.


  8. I have mitts on my Ural and they are great. the ones I used last year bugged me, but kept my hands warm. I was going to modify them to make them better though. First, by putting a coat hanger in the seam to keep them open at speed, and to keep them away from the levers. Second, I was going to stick a plastic bag inside with spray adhesive to make them more windproof.

    My BMW came with proper hippo hands, wow they are nice. no mods necessary.


  9. I was also thinking a bigger windscreen would make you warmer. You could also do what I did on my Super9. I put a small car battery under the seat, and plugged my heated gloves+vest into it. It gave me about 90-120 mins of heat from 18AH.

  10. Don't they have battery operated gloves? Maybe you could get a whole crate of those little hand-warming packets... Well, I've got heated grips and I can't even get out on the road these days. Keep it up.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  11. Lori,
    I'm familiar with the handlebar mittens from friends running them on their ATV's and snowmobiles. Thanks for letting me know about the kayak application. I didn't know about that. I've never been interested in kayaks, but my son has been saying he wants one someday. I'll file this away for a future Christmas present idea.


  12. Chris,
    Thanks for the suggestions. Last winter the screen I had on the little blue scooter was much bigger. This one came with the bike and I've thought about changing it. It is high enough, but wider could be an improvement.

    The mittens are going to need some modification. Nice idea about the plastic bag and spray adhesive.

    I'd thought about a battery. One of the reasons I put the front rack on was thinking I could but a box up there with a small car battery and run electrics off that. I'd got the idea from Dom with his Ural. But, for now things are working well enough. If things cease to be adequate I'm keeping that in the back of my mind.


  13. Brady,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and I have the hand-warming packets, but they last for like hours. I'm from Michigan and like Minnesotans we are a frugal bunch. It just seems wasteful to use them except for long weekend rides. The gloves? Well, no one has convinced me they'd be that great of an improvement over what I have [at least with the budget I have :)].

    Last week we had a couple of days in the mid-twenties and I was toastie to and from work, so for sure, I'm keeping on keeping on.

    Again, thanks for letting me know you stopped by.