Friday, May 30, 2008

Cape Cod

Work has been horrible the past four weeks. Leaving it at that and just say it was time for a long weekend. Wifey and I decided to shopping on the Cape. (You know what I'm really saying here about who decided what, right?).

The mention of Mashpee Commons gets women all excited around here. It's a shopping area laid out like one of those gated communities. Actually my first though was a movie where the Russians built an American town to train their spy's. One of the first stops was Starbucks. Wifey likes the caramel, machiada, iced coffee with milk, not cream, sweet and low, not sugar and whipped cream. At 112 lbs you can drink these things once in a while.

I had a very special expresso. I say special because where else can you get a single expresso in a 16 oz. paper cup. Two thirds of the stuff, seeped into the paper and as I lifted the cup to take a drink, half of the remainder stuck to the side of the cup, leaving me with just enough to coat the tip of my tongue. A dollar ninety five, thank you very much. Another buck and a half got me a scone the size of my thumbnail. But it had frosting on it. Yum.

Back to the mainland.

We decided to lunch on the mainland side and found a really nice place in Wareham, Ma. that was located on a marsh and served some really good sea food. My crispy haddock was light, and sweet salsa topping complimented the fish as well as the Riesling.

After lunch we dashed across RT6 for desert. Wifey had frozen pudding, me, maple walnut. Just like your parents right?

When we got home, I got a hankering for a bike ride. The canal stuck and I decide to pack up the bike and drive back to Buzzards Bay and ride the 14 mile canal Mup.
A photo tour.
Bourne Bridge

Fishing on the Canal

Sagamore Bridge

Fishing Bike


The ride began and ended at the third bridge crossing the canal. The RR bridge. This one stays up till the train approaches. The only one left is a summer dinner train that passes twice nightly. This whole contraptions is operated by huge concrete weights and pulleys.

We'll be wishing for these prices someday

Read Between the Lines

Commuting this week has been really nice. The Asylum grounds is part of the quiet section of my ride. One of the things I noticed is how they take care of the bigwigs. They get some pretty nice little houses as part of the perks. The place is almost overrun with squirrels though. I guess it's because there are so many nuts.

The very last section of the commute is where the highway begins. It can get hairy but this is where I leave car. Notice that the photo is taken from the middle of the road. (between the yellow line). I am about to take a left into the park and ride lot. It's the end of yet another 11 mile commute through the city.
Four years I have been doing this and have already lost a pound.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Commute Yes, Marin, No

Put the Marin back on the wall in the garage last night, and am again using the Giant. After spending a few weeks commuting on a road bike, the Marin was difficult riding. Every bike has it's purpose and the Marin is definitely not for ten mile rides when your in a hurry. The old tug has been relegated to Saturday morning breakfast and super market runs. It's time to get the tour bike down and make a few commuting runs that one.

There are two options for the first leg of the outbound commute. The main road in the Industrial Park, that is somewhat busy with semi trucks and park workers and the quiet abandoned State School grounds. Both are fine and alternating between the two serves the change things now and again.

Entrance to start of off road commute

Once inside it's a quiet ride on abandoned roads that are still in pretty good condition

Short cut to bike shop

The paths, roads and sidewalks all have large things blocking them. Boulders, fallen trees and stuff like that. It's part of the battle against dirt bikes speeding around the area. When I enter or exit the property I have to dismount and maneuver around these things. Yesterday I couldn't get my left foot out of the clip. I had been having problems, but kept forgetting to check. Fortunately I ride SPD pedals and was forced to ride clipped into one and the flats on the other pedal. Double dare fortunately my LBS is at the midway part of my commute.

Good ole Travis Bike in Taunton Ma.

The problem clip.

The problem was that I installed the base, (the part that goes inside the shoe) upside down. Two bucks at Travis got me a new screw, flipped my base and some good advice on a couple of maintanence questions. Not a bad deal at all.

I made a note to check the clips on my other shoes when I got home, but keeping in character, I forgot.

The Clunker

Got the winter Marin Belvedere all spiffed up this past weekend. It's an upright, flat bar ride that makes me catch the wind like a sail. Compared to the road Giant, it's a tugboat. I huffed and puffed the 11 miles to the office from the park and ride lot at the mall.

My plan is to start leaving a little earlier and stop at one of the coffee shops in before work. Haven't done it yet, but it's in the plans. I also think I have the Marin bug out of my system till next winter.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I See Trucks

My morning commute is pretty much me and the birds. A pickup, and a car now and then. It's 8 miles of quiet thought provoking bicycle riding. Then I get to the industrial park. Here I see trucks. Hundreds of them with standard trailers. But the cabs are something to behold. Some are as big as a hotel room, with kitchen, sleeping and lounge areas. I'm sure this is the only home some of these drivers own.

I have worked overtime and the late arriving trucks have found a comfortable place to spend the night. (They are not allowed to park overnight in some warehouse lots)> That's when the blue glow emanates from the cabs. The seats are swiveled to face the tv. The satellite dish is aimed properly, and I'm sure there is some popcorn popping.

Any place is a good enough place to spend the night.

One of the things I do is check out where there home port is. More often than not they are Canadian, but a big chunk of the states are represented. Some of these distribution warehouses seem to go to the horizon. AGAR, Shaw, Perkins, ColdLogistics to name a few and each has what looks like 30 or more bays for the trucks to back into. On each side of the building no less.

I arrive at the office just about the time the restaurant opens. One of the Italian joints from the North End of Boston has the concession. Multo Bene.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dog Festival

This woman is a regular on the MUP. She puts her cane in the rear basket and ride to whereever...

There were a half dozen options for riding on Saturday and none of them worked out. But there were plenty of people doing outside things all weekend.

Today (Sunday) was a really nice day for being outside. No one was available to ride and the two group rides available had a long drive to get to the start. I chose an old favorite that brought me into Dartmouth and New Bedford, both are located on the South Coast of Massachusetts.

In Dartmouth I stopped to watch some kids playing soccer. This time of year is the travel teams and other high level leagues. The game I was watching was difficult. It was very young boys, 9 or 10 year olds. It was obviously a 6v6 league, but one team, wearing blue, had only four players. The Yellow team, fielding a full compliment of six, were relentless. Goal after goal after goal, with the coach of the yellow team egging them on for more. The Blue coach was very good at complimenting his players telling them to hang tough and play fair.

There were a few options the coaches could have chosen, including playing like they did. I don't know the circumstances, so I'll hold my judgment and opinion.

I cut short the ride in Dartmouth to get to Buttonwood Park in New Bedford because to the Dog festival going on. Wifey was working with our town's Animal Shelter and I got to parade a couple of dogs around the grounds that were wearing coats which said, "Adopt Me". Both dogs behaved wonderfully, and one had some training.

"This one is the son of this one and this one, who is this one's cousin".... The guy said while pointing his fingers at each dog.

Fun, Fun, Fun

Big dogs and small dogs, and very big dogs.

Manfred the wonder bird.

There were a couple of carnival type things like face painting for the kids, a hokey DJ and an Ice cream truck. Mostly though it was animal related. A few small town shelters and a some state and local animal organizations.

This kid picked a serpent to have painted on his face.

On the way out, I caught up to a city bike cop. We rode together the two miles to the station taking bikes. We both agreed that he had one of the better jobs on the force.

Pedaling to headquarters.

When I got home, midnight was really excited to see me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Long Ride

Yestterday morning my neighbor called and wanted to do the same long ride we did last week. It requires us to leave the neighborhood by 4:45 and be on the bikes at the commuter lot by 5:15 in order for me to make it to my office on time. My ride is 20 miles his is 11.

"I'll call you tonight" was the last I heard from him.

This morning I drove to my regular commuter lot that is only 10 miles from the office. At the halfway spot and around 6:30, my cell rings. My my, who could that be?
"Are you riding today?"
"Have you left the house yet?"

We'll talk tonight and maybe do the long ride tomorrow. I did send him a text reminding him that this is bike to work week and also we are in training (sort of), for our seven day tour of the Erie Canal.

The temperature will be around 70 for the ride home tonight and the timing will be just about right for wifey and my dinner date with our friend Gunna who is visiting from Norway. "Meen skol, deen skol, alavaka flika skol. (cheers to me, cheers to you, cheers to all the beautiful girls). So he says.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The second Thursday of the month is AHA night festival in the historic area of New Bedford, Ma. The theme changes every month and there are always a few performances scattered about. Last night was The UMass Dartmouth and Kekeli African Dance and Drumming Ensemble in front of the Star Store (715 Purchase Street). The performers are comprised of Master Drummers and Dancers from Ghana, professional musicians from New England and UMass Dartmouth faculty and students

It was quite a hoot watching the college frat boys trying to act and dance African. They probably can't jump either.

Speaking of hoot. Click this to enlarge

We were just on our way to dinner when this group came marching down the street.