Saturday, December 31, 2011

Between Here And Kansas

I didn't see Dorothy or Toto when I got to Kansas, but before I left Missouri I saw this udderly surprising sight:

I wonder what exactly is "Udderly Fun Banking".

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mega Monday?

I didn't have work today. Heather didn't have work today. Many Americans didn't have work today. Apparently, this day off has been christened Mega Monday by retailers. Heather and I did go shopping. We went to the grocery store. We got the fixin's for chili and cornbread. I'm not sure this is what the retailers had in mind for us.

The morning was clear. It would become overcast and even spit some sleet before the day was done.
We were going to take a whole meal to Heather's grandparents today. They always do the cooking and put on a epic feast this past Thanksgiving. On Christmas Day they'd had a full day of family and we expected they'd we worn out. It seemed like an opportunity for Heather to shine, which she did.

While she was making the chili, cornbread, and brownies I took the opportunity to spray Billie down with ACF-50.

ACF-50 is an anti-corrosive that can be sprayed on. I used it last season and Billie came through the Winter looking fine.

The ACF-50 makes everything very shinny when it is first sprayed on, but it never really dries. Before long it will become a dirt magnet. Yes, Billie will become a very dirty lady, but better dirty than pock marked and rusty.
Last year I bought a pair of Tusk handlebar mittens. They didn't work. I, also, tried a pair of Hippohands. But, because of the way my windscreen is installed they didn't fit either. The folks at Hippohands were wonderful to deal with and allowed me to return them. I hope that my next scooter/bike will be able to have Hippohands. They are really a great product. Anyway, I had these Tusk mittens lying around just taking up space. I've been wondering how much wind comes in under the Symba's windscreen and decided to take a shoelace and some duct tape and cobble up a windbreak to see if it makes any difference.

This was the idea. Later, I rearranged the mittens to look a little better but not much. If it makes a difference I'll worry about beauty later.

Of course, I then had to go for a ride to make sure it didn't all come flying in my face in the rain and dark I suspect I may be riding to work in tomorrow morning. It didn't fly off. I think it made a difference, but it really was too soon to tell. Stay tuned.

While I was out I saw this fellow.

Frosty looks kind of cute in camo, no?
And, yes the dinner was a big hit and we had a wonderful visit.

I hope you had a Happy Mega Monday.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Especially Peace

A year ago today it looked and felt much different than it does today.

Today it is 47F/8C with abundant sunshine . . . and,

we were out in hunt of pomegranate molasses and some last minute stuff.

In the parking lot of the grocery store we spied this older Mini next to the newer Mini.

We found the new special ingredient for a as of yet untried chicken recipe, but  we never did find the Christmas card with sock puppets folded up inside. Heather swears she saw these in a large retail store near our condo. Oh well, we will survive the heartbreak.

Billie is parked and secure in her spot in the garage and will probably not to stir again until early Tuesday morning. No Christmas ride is planned. It looks like there will be too many people things that must be attended to. 

The days are becoming shorter. Christmas will soon be past and the last Hanukkah candles will have given up the smoke. I wish you all joy, well being, and peace . . . especially peace.

And to Everyday Riding Chris wherever he may be and whatever he may be riding . . . be safe.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Heaven Knows

I guess as an Episcopal priest I tend to think liturgically about things that are part of my spiritual life. And, heaven knows riding certainly has become a major part of my spiritual life.

I introduce you to our new mobile sacristy.

Filled with vestments.

I posted this over at Did He Ride Today?, but decided I'd share it here as well.

I thought this sand Sculpture was pretty cool. 

May this Season be a blessing to you and those you love. Peace.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Billie Fails To Finish Her First Marathon

Back in October the Rock and Roll Marathon Tour* visited St. Louis. At the time I thought it could be interesting to trace the race route while riding Billie, my SYM Symba. I down loaded the course map, but didn't get around to trying it until yesterday. Oh well, I guess it is good to be busy.

Following the race course turned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be. Some of the streets were one way going the wrong way for me to ride on. There were left turns where no left turns were allowed. And, especially, in the Downtown section of the course I had trouble remembering all the turns and found myself stopping to look at the map again and again. It was rather slow going. I suppose if I had a GPS I could have programed in the course and had a voice telling me where to go, but I don't have a GPS and I already seem to have enough people willing to tell me where to go.

I'm sad to report that Billie failed to finish her first marathon. I didn't allow enough time to figure out the course, and we ran out of time.

This was the only photo I took on yesterday's failed attempt. I was too busy figuring out where to go.

But today we were back at it. Being more familiar with the course and having figured out ways around the wrong way streets and no left turns we managed a nice 27 mile urban ride. The course took me by a number of my favorite parks, by one park I'm not so familiar with, and down a couple of streets I'd not been on before. Overall the experience was positive albeit frustrating at times. Truthfully, it was enjoyable enough that I'm hoping they change the course for next year. The website says the map is coming soon.

Today I had more time to take some pictures.

Carondolet Park is one park I've not spent much time with. It is the third largest park in the City and has a boathouse and lake as does Forest Park.
I suspect in the summer there are folks fishing off this dock.

I didn't know there were two lakes in Corandolet Park, but there is.
The course took me through the Bevo Mill Neighborhood.

I even got to ride by one of the historic water towers and the old reservoir.

There are three old water towers in the City. Another time I will get a picture of the other two.
And, I even managed to find a couple of flamingos.

It was dark by the time I pulled up to the garage door.

This is the view from my alley. I'll be glad when it is January.
*click on the highlighted areas for more information.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

One More Time.

Gary France over at Flies in your Teeth  posed the question, "How and Why did you get into motorbikes?" And, he asked for responses. I have written about this before, but I suspect it won't hurt to revisit the story one more time.
Once upon a time I drove to work everyday. It was the way of things. I drove everywhere. I've always loved driving. I will drive just to drive -- drive and look. Of course, I am an apple that didn't fall from the tree in this regard. When I was growing up my Dad would take the whole family on "rides". We would be gone for hours just riding around and looking.

Downtown I saw bicyclists commuting to work in all sorts of weather. I admired them for their dedication, but also for doing their small part to decrease our dependency on oil. My knees and bicycles don't mix very well or I might have tried to follow their example.
After one of my knee surgeries the surgeon suggested I start inline skating. At first I thought he was joking. Next, I thought he was just insuring his offspring had money for college. Eventually, it became clear that he was serious. I have come to love inline skating and skate often. I mention this because it has a bearing on how I came to start riding. The route I take to get to the trail I most often skate takes me past a lawn and outdoor equipment store that also sells go-karts and occasionally scooters. For the longest whilethey had a beautiful little blue scooter setting right out in front of the store. It occurred to me that if I bought that scooter I could ride it to and from work like the cyclists rode their bikes.
This was Lil' Blue my first scooter. It was a  2t 49cc Adly.
I suspect I would never had taken action on this idea if my very mature and increasingly tired Ford Windstar van hadn't started showing signs of an impending major and very costly repair. Since I didn't want to buy a car before Spring it occurred to me the little blue scooter I saw five or six times a week might be just the thing. It would allow me to divert miles away from the van while saving money on gasoline at the same time.
Safe at home after playing in the snow.
When I bought the scooter I'd expected to endure the commute. At the very best, I'd hoped to find satisfaction in doing my part to decrease my country's dependence on oil. In no way, shape or manner did I imagine I might actually enjoy the ride. But, oh me, oh my, I most certainly have.

I must admit buying the scooter was more impulsive than I make it sound. Yes, all the things I've said about the van are true, but  you know what? I really wanted that scooter. If I'd truly thought about it, I'd not bought it. Here I was, a nearly sixty year old man who experiences brain storms that while not seizures have seizure like qualities, preparing to ride on two wheels. What was I thinking? I don't know, but it turned out to be the absolute right thing for me to do.
Happily, the brain storms happen quite infrequently now, I still have them from time to time. I actually had a major one just yesterday, but the frequency has radically decreased since I began riding. A coincidence? I don't think so.

I've learned on those days when I'm having a bad brain day, a day when I struggle to get my thoughts moving in a good orderly direction, going for a ride brings a clarity and order to my cognitive chaos. It still seems rather counter-intuitive that it could be a good idea to ride when my mind is so muddled, yet it is.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

No Prizes, But . . .

I came across this article today. There is an advertisement that has been deemed offensive to Christians. The thought that angels would give up there heavenly place for the (artificial) scent of a man seemed sacrilegious to at least one person in South Africa and the South African authorities banned the ad believing if it upset one it probably would upset many. I'm not sharing this link to make any comment about the banning. No, rather it is because the makers of the commercial have mistaken the object of the angels desire. So, click here and watch the video. See if you notice what I noticed. It ain't the guy these fallen beauties want, it is the ....?.....

The answer I'm looking for will be in the comments. Sorry, no prizes but I do hope you get a chuckle.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Iowa Again Or Heather Learns A New Word

Iowa again:

Look familiar?

It was the last day of our trip. We were expecting to just take US-61 straight home, but there was a detour. The detour took us into Fort Madison, Iowa. We were surprised.

A locamotive!
A reconstructed fort.

A very busy bridge carrying . . .

. . . trains and . . .

. . . more trains.

There were wonderful old buildings.

And, there was a museum.

I grew up using Shaeffer fountain pens. I admit I didn't know they started in Fort Madison. Click here to learn about the Museum.

We asked one of the volunteers about a good place to eat and she suggested Ivy's. It was next door. When we went into Ivy's they were getting ready to close, but they stayed open to make us a sandwich. It was just a very nice experience. The whole experience of Fort Madison was pure serendipity, which was a new word to Heather.

I suspect we will find our way back to Fort Madison.

Monday, November 14, 2011


We left the Twin Cities committed to meandering, to stopping to take photos whenever we wanted, and to taking our time. Chris had suggested we take Rte.35 along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi river. 

It was a great suggestion.

We began stopping at each of the roadside historical markers located along Rte.35. It seemed like a good idea at first, but there were so many. We eventually stopped stopping.
Here's the bow and arrow.

Both Heather and I tend to get in the car and head for a destination. That's not how it is when I ride the Symba. Heather has heard me speak of this different quality of experience. I think we were trying on doing the drive home differently, trying to bring to it some of the wandering childlike wonder I experience when riding my Symba.

We really did turn around and try for that photo that would have just gone by too fast to catch (even if the photo didn't quite work). 

We enjoyed spending some more time on the shores of Lake Pepin. This time on the Wisconsin side.

But the treasure of the day was Fountain City.

The place that drew us was just a boat launch.  But this day there seemed to be a magic about it. This day it was Brigadoon. I suspect we will never be able to go back again. The little islands will still be there. The dock will still be there. Still it will never be the same as it was for us on this singular overcast Autumn day.

After we left Fountain City we didn't stop until we stopped for the night. It was well after dark.

And, we were back in Iowa.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

Scenes from Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Twin Cities, Part 2

We looked at stuff.

We rode three up on Chris'Ural around St. Paul and Minneapolis for much of a Saturday afternoon. Even though it was the end of October we were plenty warm enough with our gear on . . . and thanks to even warmer temperatures than the forecasters had predicted.

We looked at courthouses:

The Supreme Court of the the State of Minnesota.
Here is the Ramsey County Courthouse. 
We looked at the Capitol Building of the State of Minnesota:

The grounds were sporting a hi-vis look, no doubt,  just for us.
The famous horses on the Capitol.
We traveled down tree lined streets and looked at some magnificent old houses:

But mostly we looked at the River and at Bridges:

I was impressed with all the parks and streets along the riverfront.
There were lots of bridges. It is much easier to cross the Mississippi here than in St. Louis.
I loved Chris' photos of this stone arch bridge in his post about the National Ural Rally Day. Now, I've seen it!

We looked at this:

We even looked at a construction site:

And, we ate very well.

All you need do is check out another of Chris' blogs, Everyday Tastiness to know Chris loves food. Yes, we ate very well indeed.