Sunday, May 27, 2012

Where Would You Be?

It's 90F/32C outside. We've yet to turn on the air conditioner. We do have the ceiling fans going. If you are a cat where do you choose to hang out?

Leo making sure he doesn't catch a chill.
Undercover, of course.

And, if you are a motorcycle rider where would you be?

I may have trouble getting out of the metro sprawl, but I know one or two interesting roads.

On the road, of course.

What to wear? I saw a guy on a cruiser wearing a full face helmet, tank top, cut-offs, and flip-flops. I made some other choices.

Dri-plus tight fitting shirt and well vented pants worn over knee guards and a good pair of wicking briefs.
A mesh FirstGear Venture AT Jacket and an O'Neal Series-5 Motocross helmet. Also, I wore a buff to keep the sun off my neck and help minimize dehydration. Oh, I wore goggles, too.
I rode for close to a hundred miles, which was over three hours seat time. I got warm only once.

That train wasn't there the last time I came this way.
It's all about the gear, and......

the lack of humidity doesn't hurt either.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Dismissal

Sometimes before a three day weekend the Court declares an early dismissal. Today was such a day. It allowed me to take the long way home.

It was a typical here and there urban ride.

Lots of side streets and parks.

It was an easy ride. Traffic was light. Everyone behaved. It was simply delicious.

The morning ride? It, too, was good, but it definitely had a different flavor. I wrote about it over in my other blog: Did He Ride Today?.

Whether you are facing a three day weekend or a regular same old, same old weekend, I hope it turns out to be a special one for you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Turtles And Spring Cleaning

Today was Billie's day and we'll get to that. But first, yesterday was Heather and my first real land paddle of 2012. I don't know why we haven't been out sooner. The weather certainly hasn't been the problem. I'm guessing we've just been hiking more.

But yesterday the trails in Illinois were calling to us and we answered.

It seems it was turtle day. This is turtle #1.

This is turtle #2.

Turtle #3 was catching some sun on one end of this pond, while.....

Turtle #4 was doing much the same thing on the other edge of the pond.

In addition to turtles we saw deer, wild turkeys, and a white heron, but they all escaped the camera.  We think we may have spotted a bobcat as well, but aren't certain. Heather did get a photo, but it is of Loch Ness monster quality, so not very helpful or conclusive.

And, on the way back across the Mississippi River I took this photo of the Arch just for you (you know who you are).

Today was Billie's day.  Today Billie got her Spring bath. Chris over at Everyday Riding is on a seven week moto adventure which has already taken him to Alaska. He isn't fooling me. I'm thinking the real reason he took this trip was to postpone cleaning off the winter grime from his Ural. The stuff we spray on our bikes to keep them from becoming rust buckets does its job, but the Spring cleaning is no fun.

I'd like to think I've been busy and not practicing avoidance. That said, I will admit the springtime bath is not my favorite job.

This I can't blame on the ACF-50. This is caused by my lazy self not lifting my leg up enough when I mount Billie. Yep, those are boot scuff marks.

This is winter grime....

And, so is this.

It was much worse last spring. This winter was very mild and I had only a handful of "chemical days"--those days the road crews spray "ice melt" on the roads. Still, the grime builds up.

Gone are the smudges.

The chrome is shining

The grime is gone for now.
And, notice no rust on the wheels.

And here she is, ready to get dirty again.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wheels On Cherokee Street

I spent some time on Cherokee Street this weekend. I went there to look at the buildings, but found the vehicles I saw more interesting.

This looked like some fun waiting to happen. I wonder where he was going?

Looks like these folks have been on the road for a while.

The bicycles looked quite new.
And, speaking of bicycles.....

Why would one do that to a bicycle?

Happily, the Yamaha looked to be well taken care of and in regular use.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Last Mound In St. Louis

I've visited Cahokia Mounds many times over the years I've lived in St. Louis. At one time there were over 40 mounds located in St. Louis but all but one of them was gone by 1904. Some time ago, I'd seen an article about the lone remaining mound being purchased by the Osage Nation.

Heather and I searched it out today. Over the years it has been called Sugarloaf Mound. It was 2009 when the Osage Nation purchased it. It is located on Ohio St. south of I-55.

When we got there we parked the car. There were "No Trespassing" signs posted. We were taking photos from the Street when the woman who lives next door pulled out of her driveway. She stopped by us and rolled down her window. "Are you looking for the caves," she asked. Apparently some people had contacted her about showing them where the entrances to the old caves were on the property. We told her we weren't, we were just looking at the Mound. She told us to feel free to roam around. The signs were just to keep the kids out. So we did.

From the street.

Another angle.

While standing in the backyard.

Another photo while in the backyard.

A view of the river from the top of the Mound.

I know the plan had been for the area to become an historical interpretive site. These things take time. I hope it comes to pass.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'm My Father's Son

I wasn't preaching today, which meant I could ride to Church, rather than drive. Actually, I wasn't scheduled to do anything at Church today other than be there. As I left the condo I found myself thinking it would be a most excellent day to play hooky. There even seemed to be a good reason to do so. Theoretically I retired May 1. It is theoretical because I've been pretty much retired from Church work for a few years now. I knew I was rationalizing, but still.....

I decided to swing by the Church and talk with Doris. Doris is the Priest I help out at St. Matthew's. It was 0730hr and I knew she'd already be in the office. When I walked in she said, "What are you doing here? I thought you were going to be in Illinois this week." I told her I'd gone to Illinois last week after Church, but now that she had mentioned it, it did seem like it would be good for my soul to spend some time riding. She was good with that. And off I went.

I wasn't planning a very big ride. After Church, I'd planned to head up to Cabela's to pick up a couple of things. I decided I'd just add dropping down into the Missouri flood plain near where I lived when I first moved to St. Louis to the agenda.

I grew up on a farm and really am forlorn when I can't check out crops. I'm a total Flatlander at heart. I appreciate photos of mountains, but whenever I've traveled there I've found I'm my father's son. It just looks like bad farmland and I can't wait to get back to the areas most others call boring.

Notice the tree covered ridge in the distance. Just beyond that ridge is Olive Street Rd. with its urban sprawl. But, below the ridge there are nurseries and corn fields and truck farms.

I noticed this little garden. The leaf lettuce is ready, and even the sweet corn is up.
Since I was in the neighborhood, I couldn't pass up Creve Couer Lake.

I hung out for a while and took on some fluids. The temperature was 83F/28C and it wasn't even 1000hr yet.

On my way to Cabelas I've notice a road. There is a "Caution One Lane Bridge" sign visible from where I travel. Each time I've gone past it's intrigued me and I've been thinking I should see where it went. I decided today was the day to find out.

I discovered it ended up running along the northern boundary of Lambert International Airport. If you click on the photo hopefully it will enlarge and you can see the Control Tower and some of the runways.

The road ended at Lindbergh Ave. Back in February I'd taken a rainy day road trip. (Click here to view the post). I mentioned in the post I thought I'd found a way to cross the Missouri River on Billie. Lindbergh Ave. would lead me to that bridge. I decided I'd check it out, but wasn't sure I was going to try the crossing. Still I thought it would be a good idea to get gas.

It's a good thing I did. Not only did the crossing of the bridge go well, but I found myself turning onto West Missouri Rte.94. There was a welcoming committee waiting for me. How could I resist? I couldn't, nor did I try very hard.

The ride on 94 was gentle. I saw lots of Harleys and a couple of scooters. I didn't see any sportbikes. The road was mostly flat and straight. When there was a curve it was a sweeper. And, there wasn't much to look at other than the crops. I loved it.

When I got to the outskirts of St. Charles I decided I'd better stop and get something to eat. I'm not the carnivore I once was and I don't miss it much, but now and again I get a hankering for a all beef hotdog. When most folk see a Dairy Queen they think ice cream. Not me. I think hotdog.

When I walked into DQ a young man said to me, "What's up?" I never quite know how to respond to comments like that. I think I said, "Same old, same old." If not it was something equally un-clever I'm sure. The next time I passed them he said, "Aren't you hot in all that stuff?" My response? I pointed to the young woman he was with and said, "You'll have to ask her?" We laughed and this began a nice conversation.

Meet Houston and Kristen.
I got some directions from Houston. Since I hadn't really expected to end up in St. Charles County I hadn't a map. I'd been sort going from memory of the February drive and my sketchy knowledge of St. Charles. It all worked out. I made it through St. Charles without accidentally ending up on an Interstate and then I crossed back over the Missouri River on the Page Extension.

I still didn't go straight home. I made my way back to Olive Street Rd. and went west. This took me by Faust Park.

There is a Butterfly House in Faust Park. I never been., but Heather and I plan to remedy that very soon.

Next serendipity struck again. I knew Olive Street Rd West turned into Clarkson Rd., but I didn't know Clarkson Rd. turned into Kiefer Creek Rd. Kiefer Creek Rd. leads right into Castlewood State Park. I couldn't pass that up could I?

By this time the temperatures had risen to 92F/33C  Folks were enjoying the old swimming hole. I got to witness a little drama. A couple of Park Rangers came down and inspected the cooler of one of the parties on the beach.

I don't think they found anything, but it was enough to break up the party. It seemed like a good time for me to leave as well.

From Castlewood I headed straight home. When all was said and done this little ride up to Cabela's ended up being close to 150mi/240km. I left the condo at 0700hr and returned a little after 1600hr.

I got home in time to change gear and head to Grant's Trail and fit in a 7mi/11km inline skate. Is life good or what?