Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day off Work Ride with Sue


A hot an humid day off. After working at the pound Sue agreed to ride the Westport point route. We drove to Village Cycle, and embarked on a 30 mile ride around the county and seaside sections of Westport Point.

The ride began in the farmlands of the town, Charlotte White (pronounced, cha lott' ay) by the locals. It's kind of a code to let them know who is native and who is tourist from NY or Conneticut. Funny thing is though, the out of state people have had family in Wesport for many more generations than the natives. The "point" has always been a summer getaway for the big money families of those states.

The area is mostly quiet country roads that criss cross the southern part of the town. Westport is large town that in it's heyday was mostly farms. Dairy and some crops, but mostly dairy. Many of the large farms have been broken up and sold off as housing developments. Clusters of these pop up in what initially seems, the strangest out of the way places.

The country road loops back to Main Rd and Westport point, and the Paquachuck Inn. It's an area of old Yankee money. Most of the homes were summer getaways for the well-to-do city folk. One can easily visualize horse and carriages traveling the narrow streets among the stately 18th and 19th century homes.

The pier at the tip of the point is filled with lobster boats. They are all back from a days work by noon and the captains are making deliveries to wholesalers or directly to some restaurants. Although there are some pleasure craft, it's basically a working pier.

To get to the beaches it is necessary to back track a half mile to Drift Rd. the original access road to the point from the town of Dartmouth. A short stretch of highway riding before crossing the Rt88 bridge that access Horseneck Beach State reservation.

Rt 88 Bridge from Westport Pt.

Drift Rd. Home

Wesport Point from Rt 88 Bridge

Riding Rt 88

The far end of the reservation is East Beach. It's another summer spot where residents move thier trailers onto their lots for the season. The town requires them to remove them during the winters because of the severity of the ocean storms.


The turn from East Beach to Horsneck Rd was made just in time to have lunch at the The Bayside. A light lunch complimented with a sweet Reisling served as a great break. Roy the cook struck up a conversation when he saw the bikes and took the time to fill our supply of water.

The loop was completed one rolling hills thru the wine district and finally crossing the Westport river over Hix Bridge.

Rolling hills of Westport River wine country

Approaching Hix Bridge

Riding the back roads and main street of Westport proved to be a great way to spend a summer's day away from the daily grind of work.

The slideshow of the day is HERE

Monday, July 23, 2007


I have been tagged by Grant in Prague.

1. Growing up, my family had a variety store/snack bar that was located a few yards from an Army Base main gate. I was friendly with the kids of the top brass that lived on the base. The Colonels, Majors and a couple of Sargents. However being a non military kid, I was also "adopted" by many of the enlisted. I was the son, or little brother they left behind. I had as many meals in the mess has as those prepared by the "staff" at the Colonels house.

2. At the age of 23, I was invited to a tryout in the NASL. I had played lots of footie overseas while in the service. The team was interested, and offered a contract which also came with a job selling mens suits. At the time I was making more than ten times the offer working for a utility company. Naturally, I never played professional soccer. A few months later, I was offered a full scholarship to play soccer at the University of West Virginia. For the same reason, I declined. Three months later, I was layed off.

3. The layoff led to a cross county (US) trip in the early 70's. by bus. Greyhound had a ticket called "Ameripass". For $165, the company gave a book of blank tickets that was good for thirty days. I could go into any Greyhound station, tell them where I wanted to travel and they would stamp a ticket. In those days the driver would tear it out of the book, and off you go.

4. Open heart surgury in t 2001 put a cramp in my activities for a while. I gained a little weight, gradually began fitness again, running, racquetball, hiking then injured my back. Gained a little weight recovered, began excercising again and injured my knee. I gained a little weight.... All those little gains leveled off at 40lbs. Things are much better now and there are no injuries holding me back. Weights, racquetball and biking are helping to shed the pounds. Nutrition is also creeping it's way into my life to prevent the weight gain if something else should go wrong.

5. I'm still a footie fan and have been to some of the great stadiums of the world. San Siro, Camp Nu, Gelsenkirchten, Amsterdam. My wife and I will be tourning (by bike) this fall in Austia, and I hope we can get to see a game or two.

I tag the following.

James at ridelugged
Michelle in Alaska
Tex in Louisville.
James in Columbus.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Triathalon training

Jason showed on time and a parking spot was secured for him. Glenn is a former neighbor who now lives in the country and collects huskies.
While waiting for J to show the story was told about the a pit bull who pulled away from his owner , jumped the wall and attacked what he though was one huskie. The result to the pit was not pretty. But it survived.

J shows up, is ready to go, and I have to retrieve my bike after hearing the dog fight story. Notice how they begin to spread out, always watching the baited trap?
Knowing my only chance is to become Alpha I took charge of the situation. SIT!!! DOWN!! ALL OF YOU, DOWN, NOWWWWW!! Works every time. Sometimes.

After I got Jason to reverse his helmet, we were off to the starting point of the nine mile sprint at the transition area of the triathlon course. A ten year old double chain ring Bianci that has never been serviced in a bike shop is his choice for the race. On the ride down, I noticed that his seat was much too low and I adjusted it. Took a look at his chain and told him it would be a good idea to put a new one on soon. When he started talking about work, I said, "you ready?, Lets ride." "20 seconds", he said looking at his watch, "I want to time this". I started riding.

The initial part of the "sprint" is a pretty steep, but not too long, hill. Maybe 300 yards. After that the "sprint" is relatively flat. A couple of mild rollers, but no granny gear stuff. Another 100 yard, a right turn and we are really off. "Draft me for a bit", I said. "Can you hear me? J? Jason??" When I turned to look he was 40 yards back spinning at a brisk cadence of oh........30 RPMs. I got behind him, watched his spinning and gearing and explained a little about those techniques. He started to catch on.

Then I saw the kayak'ers and the ocean. "I'll catch up", I yelled to J, stopped and took a couple of photos.

As I resume riding, I heard, "go ahead". Someone I had cut in front was giving me the right of way. You can just see her approaching in the kayak photo above. (click it to enlarge). I looked back, apologized and said, "Sorry, taking pictures", I gotta catch up to my buddy". The wheels of my brain got their traction as I began sprinting away. When the smoke cleared, I slowed, let her catch up and asked if she was on a club ride. (There were lots of bikers about). Nope, she was from out of town just on a country ride.

Her name is Erin. She is a competitive swimmer, a decent runner and is practicing biking, to do triathlons, cute as a button, and younger than my son. We were chatting up the area, races, touring and other stuff. Just bopping along. As we are chatting and bopping, we pass Jason. I look at him and shrug, he understands. She is not familiar with the area so I offer to ride with her back to her starting point. We agreed to wait for Jason at the last turn. He says, "I think we missed a turn, because my time is 45 minutes for 9 miles". I just look over the top of my sun glasses and say, "with practice it will improve". But you know, when your training for a race and your partner stops to take pictures and has to wait for you a mile before the finish line.......? Then this group rode by us. Talk about a sign.

I really think Jason thrive on being last. He really loves telling the stories and alway mentions that he never did anything athletic growing up. He just likes to participate, and I guess as long as he is having his fun, staying out of the way of all the competitive people, his standing is meaningless. I enjoyed my time with Jason. Especially when I realized he was a chick magnet.

I never got the nerve to ask Erin if I could take her photo. I just seemed weird. You know? Jason got back in his car and I rode the 10 miles home. A thirty mile Sunday morning ride was the cat's meow. Two days of rain may squash the commute, but thats OK.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Smile, And The World Smiles With You (with one exception).

Sunday I'm riding with a guy who is participating in a triathalon soon. We worked together years ago and he knows I ride a lot. He cannnot swim, is a new runner and does not know how or when to shift gears on his bike. None of this matters in the overall scheme of life, but entering an event like this should require a little more thought. He is allowed to have someone swim for him but he is doing the run and bike. (I told him no when he mentioned me doing the bike part of the race). To be fair, this is a mini triathalon, and "teams" are allowed. The bike is 9 miles and the run is a 10k. The swim is moot because as mentioned above, his 14 year old nephew is doing that part.

One of those "nice" driving experiences happened yesterday. There is a section of the highway where, for obvious safety reasons, the speed limit is reduced to 55. A SUV mom decided that it did not mean for her to slow down. Seventy was her minimum speed, and she spent most of her drive on that two mile stretch, tailgaiting, passing on the right, tailgating the next car, and on and on. I was one of those she had to pass on the right after tailgaiting. As she passed, we made eye contact and I gave her a neutral wave by rolling my fingers like I was typing.

There is another two mile section of highway with traffic signals before entering the town streets. Sure enough, she had caught the light. I slowly rolled up along side of her, and made eye contact and again waved. She bolted at the green light, caught the next red as I slowly rolled up along side and again waved, this time with a smile. At the green, she again sped off, had to stop for a right turning car and watch me pass he on the left at 20mph. She swung around the offending vehicle, and got too close to my back bumper to get around me when I signaled for a left turn. Now all the other cars are passing her on the right on this two lane street. As I was turning, I looked back over my right shoulder, again made eye contact and waved.

I am betting she has little or no idea what had happened and will continue agressive driving even after she has her colision. That's the exception.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Things are Heating Up

The tour of Austria is fast approaching. Riding, racquetball, and weight training are all part of the fitness regiment. Tomorrow the forcast is a chance of light rain. That should be no problem for a tour/commute bike rider. The problem as always is getting out of bed at 5AM. It doesn't take much to blow off riding at that time. A chance of rain has done it before. But not tomorrow. Now way, no how. Who in their right mind would not ride on a Wednesday?

A good friend got pulled over, and was arrested for driving on a suspended license. It seems three different calls were made to the local police regarding his driving. Because he was on probation, bail was denied and he will spend the next week in the house of correction awaiting his hearing. This could straighten him out, or it could make him worse. He just celebrated his 23rd birthday.

Both boys are comming home soon. I think they have tickets to the Red Sox, a local professional baseball team. They usually put a little time aside for Ma and Pa. We have a special name for it. Dinner time.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Didn't get up early enough to do a long commute. The regualar will suffice.

Friday a car full of kids tried to run me off the road. In heavy city traffic no less. Just ahead the traffic was backing up right at the intersection I turn left. I did my best to catch the offending Chevy, with water bottle in hand, but they managed to get through just as I got there.

Both computers are acting up after washing the bikes. Today I caught myself doing 144 mph, and halfway through my 11 mile commute, it said I had completed 23 miles. Now, I know enough to remove the computer before washing.

The mornings have been quite cool, actually jacket weather. Someone chainsawed down a huge tree across the bikeway through the old state school. That detour lead me to try cutting a quarter mile off my commute by riding along the RR tracks. It did take mileage off, but added around 20 minutes because of the rocks and soft turf.

B, got arrested for driving without a license, and dwi on Friday. Expecting around a five years loss of driving (minimum), jail time is also a concern. Court date is Monday. The question is wether or not he had reached rock bottom and will take action, or if he will return to his old ways after a couple of weeks.

Tried the road bike for commuting today. It is very much faster, but really, when on a bike, one should not be that concerned about time and speed. Kind of a "swimming against the tide" type of thing.

Tomorrow is the last Spanish class. Next Monday is the final at a local Spanish restaurant. No English allowed. Should be fun. Voy a beber una cerveza. Or two.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Box Cutter, Dog Surgury and Ice Cream

Wifeys little girl, Pretty Polly Pointer had to go in for x-rays yesterday. No food after midnight meant that she had to be distracted while the other dog was fed at 6AM. A walk around the block did the trick.

She, and her brother Rowdy Riley Podango, prefer walks and getting pet over anything else, including food. Consequently, bike commute to work was cancelled.

Yesterday was also the first day back to work after an 11 day vacation. As a treat, we cooked up some scallops and cracked open a nice bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle, a very crisp Reisling from Washington State.

While cutting up some cardboard for recycling, the box cutter snapped with still plenty of slicing remaining. Dinner was great, the wine was face numbing, and we were also out of jelly. Naturally, a trip to the discount store, Ocean State Job Lot, was necessary. A buck for the box cutter, and two for the blackberry preserves for my Saturday morning bagel. The "central del la comercial" a little over a mile away, and the night was sultry. Great for an evening bike ride.

Since Sue was out of Friendly'sChocolate Peanut Butter Chip ice cream, a detour to Stop & Shop was also necessary. Ice cream is not junk food. It makes you look beautiful. Just look at the picture for proof. Reisling is the same.

The thunder storms forcasted for today's commute did not materialize. Weight training and racquetball will substitute as cross training this evening. Friday is definitely a commuting day.

Washed my bike two days ago and the computer hasn't worked since. I banged it a couple of times and spun the tires......nada.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The last day of vacation was spent in Plymouth Ma. Lunch at the Radison Hotel and some shopping in the town center. Put lots of miles on the bike in the last 11 days. The heat and humidity is still around but was noticeably absent on the waterfront of Plymouth.

Racquetball was brutal splitting the match two games a piece. Neither one of us had enough left to play the deciding match and left it at that. The five mile bike ride home started out tough but actually ended up being a nice cool down and stretch.

Monday, July 9, 2007

It's been hot

Vacation is extended till Wednesday because of the holiday. When I got in my car yesterday I found the sun roof opened. I couldn't remember driving it all week and we had some severe thunderstorms pass over on Friday. Why is it not wet in here? It will come to me.

Riding every day. Funny how the heat and humidity bothers some so much, unless your on vacation. Then you don't mind it.

We did go to see Sicko and can't recommend it strongly enough. Again Moore has exposed the corruption and Sicko is even better than Farenheight 911. Just go, you won't regret it.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Summerfest 2007

Ronny Cox

Photos Slideshow>

The Greater New Bedford Summerfest, is this weekend.

This Festival has gained an outstanding reputation as an international folk music and arts festival, and this year it will take place July 7 & 8 from 11AM-7PM throughout the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.

Featured among the thirty- three musical acts are Maura O’Connell, Patty Larkin, Vance Gilbert, Rory Block, and Susan Werner. Situated in the beautiful New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the New Bedford Summerfest has gained a reputation as one of the finest folk festivals in the country. The festival also features a high quality crafts show with over ninety juried, handmade crafts for sale at affordable prices. Food will be available including the justifiably world famous New Bedford scallops. Since Summerfest is a family festival, a new, expanded children activities area will also be featured.

Center St.

Street Art

Jeff Black, Kate Taylor, Susan Werner, the MC, Ronny Cox.

Plenty of people, artisans and entertainment were on hand to celebrate on a hot humid day.

Eating on the steps of the Fisherman's Union Hall

A diverse crowd on hand.

From backstage of the Bodega show.

On the way to the festival a bike ride to the beach at Fort Phoenix and a light lunch, where people could soak up the rays while the working and pleasure boats passed.

Going to sea

Returning from fishing trip at sea

Fort Phoenix is where the first Naval Battle of the Revolutionary War was fought. It is also the sight of both the town and a state beach. Located at the head of Buzzards Bay, it's a great spot to just sit around and enjoy the sights and the weather.

State Beach at Fort Phoenix

Father and son walking the Fort grounds

Mixing work with pleasure

Looking west from the Fort grounds

All the above was done by bike. Twenty five easy riding miles on a warm summer day.

Life is good.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rain and Movies

Lots of local riding during vacation week. Two days of rain is forecast and scoring the toughest ticket in town for this afternoon's show worked out just nicely. It took a week, but we were finally able to get tickets for Sicko. I have always followed and respected Moore's work and consider him one of the most influential patriots of our great nation. Clinton 45 must be smug in knowing that she was right, and way ahead of the times.

A spit in the eye of America by our so called President in the pardoning of the traitor and convicted felon, Scooter Libby, put a damper on the celebration of our nation. This little fagot Bush, is even making Reagan look good.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Cape Cod

Click on any picture for big


A twenty minute ride to the Bourne Bridge and the rotary, or roundabout, and you find yourself "on the Cape". An additional 15 minutes to Falmouth/Woods Hole to begin a peaceful day at the beach. "The knob" is a quiet sanctuary just three miles from the hustle and traffic of Main St. Falmouth. A short hike on well worn dirt paths brings the visitor to the point of the knob.

Look right and you see, The Cape Cod Canal. Looking west on a clear day, you can see New Bedford, and just off to the left, the Elizabeth Islands.

Nautical themes are everywhere, from the drone of a small engine, to the lapping of oars as the small boat approaches. The quiet serenity of the picturesque inlet, harboring sail and motor boats.

There is a bounty of activity on and off the water, and plenty of scenery unique to coastal areas.

Time has a way of "melting" away on days like these. It was necessary to begin packing up and head back to the mainland.

Falmouth, as is most of the cape, is very bike friendly. Not only toward bikers, but strangers on bikes have no problem comparing rides and just being friendly to each other. After all, if you ride long enough, you never know who you may meet some day down the road.

The whole slide show is here