Wednesday, December 31, 2008

First Night in the City

We are all meeting in "Town" tonight to celebrate 1st Night. Providence, R.I. does quite a production including Water Fire.

The snow is falling like crazy and the forcast is for 4-8 inches. The roads are a mess and I have a 40 mile drive after work. Dinner is not till 9PM so I have plenty of time to get there.

Friday, December 26, 2008

32 Degrees Would Have Been Welcome.

Last night produced a beautiful sky and unseasonably warm weather. That made the decision to bike commute to work today. As I approached the park and ride I glances at the car thermometer which read 23F. Sitting all warm and toasty in the car, I was a little apprehensive about getting out, unpacking the bike and riding off.

When I exited the car,I was greeted by a dead still morning. Not even the slightest wisp of a breeze. The 23 degress had dropped to 19F as day broke. My New Orleans friend Joey does a wonderful job making videos of his rides. I had tossed around the idea of doing the same but I doubt there would be much interest in baron roads and the occasional patch of black ice. Even with the temperatures well below freezing, riding wasn't bad at all. A felling of being chilled, but not cold.

The winter bike rarely exceets 12 MPH during the commute which make my rides more of a zen thing than any resemblance to a fitness activity. It seems more natural after all these years than driving though.

Got some free time. Check out Joey's Videos. They are a hoot.
Happy Boxing Day
Happy Kwanzaa

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Winter Commute

The snow is gone and the Friday commute will be a fine day for bike riding.
Winter riding is not a big deal. It's.....It's.
Well, my friend Noah who rides his bike every day says it very nicely.

"Through experience alone, you figure out what works for you in the cold, so it's best to start venturing out for short periods of time or in "somewhat" cold climates, then expand your horizons as the weather gets colder, or start going out longer to determine where your weaknesses are.

Weaknesses can be in clothing:

* too hot
* too cold
* a drafty seam in your favorite winter jersey

Weaknesses can be mechanical:

* Drivetrain lubrication may be either too thick or doesn't protect from salt
* The ratchet in an old freehub might fail to grab in cold temps
* Your light's batteries might not last as long in the cold

Weaknesses can be mental, too. Those usually fade pretty quickly once you find out that you won't, in fact, die."

Personally, I think the only thing keeping people off their bikes in the winter is apprehension. Those who try it once usually keep riding.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We got a bit of snow last night. Because it occured in the evening, it was not a problem and actually lots of fun. I took the dogs for a walk during the hight of the storm and took along my camera. As you can see above, it was coming down pretty hard.

They look sad because they had to sit for a photo.

I was out moving snow and having a pretty good time. Here is the process. Shovel the driveway, step back while the town snowplow puts it all back. Shovel the driveway, step back. I was determined to outlast the plow drivers but gave in when my neighbor Randy came over with his machine.

The two of us finished off my place, his place and three neighbors. Randy plowed while I did the walkways.

Jen drank wine and smiled a lot.

I came in after an hour of shoveling soaked with sweat. A quick shower, change into my PJs, put some ice in a glass and topped it off with burbon. Twice.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How Many Bridges Cross the Cape Cod Canal?

A day off from work allowed me to finish off my shopping for the holidays. The last stop was the Mashnee Island Grill, home of the Quohaug Republic. I brought along "winter bike" and rode from the canal to the island then continued on and rode the lenght of the canal. And back of course.

I had a few more photos to post, but it seems I have used up my 1G of space. More will be posted as soon as the issues is resolved.

Bourne and RR Bridges over the canal.

Ahhh, the RR bridge. That also gives the answer to the title question. There are three bridges crossing the canal. Bourne, Sagamore and the rail road bridge.

The sun was shining bright for the ride out to Mashnee Island. After a quick shopping spree and a tour of the "closed for the season" grill by the owner Erik, I packed up my back pack had began the ride back to the car. The weather changed very quickly once the clouds rolled in. The wind picked up a little and the temps dropped to the low fortys. Still comfortable enough to continue the seven miles to the North end of the canal and lunch.
At the base of the RR bridge crossing the canal.

A seven dollar sandwich, (things tend to get pricey on the Cape), at the north end of the canal, in a good sized gazebo, allowed me a great view of the power plant. {{{{wonderful}}}}. This on a ride that was originally intended to get "green" photographs for a contest at If your not familiar with Move On, it's a progressive group who keeps many informed about the goings on about our government in a non partison way. Very much like Fox News, but for people under 75. Anyhow, a couple of vessles made their way through the canal including a very interesting Coast Guard bouy tender. The ship was laden with barnacle covered, rusty, navigaional bouys from some channel or other. No doubt being delivered to the "bouy shop" for cleaning up and a fresh coat of paint.

The return trip remined my why there were so few people on the canal trail. The wind. Holy mackerel! The comfort of the out bound ride made perfect sense. The wind was moderate, but add the radiational cooling from the ocean? {{{{{brrrrr}}}}.
The toes suffered the most, and I really didn't see much because my head was ducked into my chest and being hunched over as protection from the cold wind, didn't offer much incentive for photography either. Like most physical things, when it was over, I was glad I did it. But I wasn't thinking that while riding.

Canal South Entrance at Mass Maritime Academy

A major snow storm is forcast for this afternoon, (Friday). That will but an end to riding for at least a few days. A possibiltiy of rain on Sunday could clear things up, but then again, the rain could make things a lot worse by changing the nice fluffy snow into a mix of ice and slush.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Quahog Republic

The local radio station has been advertising a joint that has a side merchandising business. Quahog Republic offers some unique stuff that make great gifts for those Cape natives who have moved away. A means to show your where your heart lies.

An easy thirty minute drive to the Cape would be my first time on the "cape" side of the canal's entrance. I have dozens of visits to walk or bike the mainland side, but only on the cape side can you get to the absolute mouth of the canal. Mass Maritime is on the mainland side.

Interstate exit to "da cape".

Causway to Mashnee Island

Looking at the canal from Mashnee Island. RR lift bridge in the distance.

Standing on the cape side of the RR bridge.

Buchard Tugs pushing oil laden barge through the canal. Passing under the RR Bridge

The Mashnee Grill was closed for the season. I need to call ahead to meet with the people to pick up the merchandise. Another trip to the canal on Thursday. I'll have my camera and very likely my bike.

Friday, December 12, 2008


What the hell is going on with the Southern Republicans? Are they on the take from the foreign auto manufacturers who have plants in thier states? We know conservatives do not have any respect for the working people of America and really hate organized workers, but come on now. This is our economy at stake. Did GM not contribute enough? Are these Senators trying to eliminate the competition for the auto plants in thier states?

The fact they are putting the blame on the union for the decisions of management and want the workers to take deep cuts in benefits and wages to match the "right to work" states of the south, tells me that the Senators of the South are still in the pockets of business. Don't they realize that the reason America rejects conservatism is actions like those of the Southern Republicans?

Plants in the south get tax breaks. They had land donated, cleared and utilities installed at no charg. Toyota, Hundai, Mercedes and Honda all received millions from the states where they are doing business, and most of that cash was subsidised by the federal government. Now that American manufacturers need help, the Southern republicans say, "no way"? Why? Is it because they are American companies?

It is all to obvious that the Repulicans are still playing politics with a complete disregard for the United States and the well being of our economy and citizens. The conservatives are more focused on punishing unions for supporting the Democratic party and have no problem bankrupting the country to satisfy thier revenge.

America has had enough of the conservative antics. Most of the country sent them packing, and it's too bad the South continues to be hoodwinked by these monsters. God willing, we'll get the rest of them out next round of elections.

Locally. Heavy rains have eliminated the commute for most of the week. Monday? We'll see.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I make it a point to bring my camera on every ride. Lotta good that has done the pase few weeks. It's never light enough to take a photo during the ride.

The MonkeyLectric light and mask setup will get it's video premier this week. I'm curious to see it, because I cannot get a good look at the effect of the light from the saddle.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Snow, sleet and rain yesterday, temps in the lows teens and a wind chill feeling like -3, put the cabosh on todays ride. Tomorrow, with the temperature reaching into the 40's should be a good commuting day.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Two in a Row and All Lit Up.

Today was my second day riding since vacation started a couple of weeks ago. I didn't do much commuting in November at all. Actually since we changed the clocks.

The weather has been crisp, but nothing a couple of layers of clothing can't handle.
I am getting double takes and smiles from my new setup. In addition to the usual head light and blinkies I got myself the monkeyletric light for my front wheel, and this mask.

It's reversable to all black. I can't really see any reason to ever use the black side.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Week in Colorado


We arrived to a house with a stunning view of Boulder that sat midway up Mt. Salinas. Deer greeted us every morning and were joined by the occasional fox and a red tailed hawk.

The women cold not wait and did a quick hike before we had breakfast on the terrace.
Later in the day, our second chef arrived and he was welcomed by a big hug from mum and a beer from bro.

Breakfast on the terrace

The morning was clear, crisp and the bright sun gave enough heat to allow the gang to enjoy a hearty breakfast on the terrace. A shopping spree to Cheyenne, Wy. would require lots of energy. Not only did The Sierra Trading Post offer rock bottom prices on seconds, they added an additional 30% discount for in-store purchases. CHARGE!!!

Hiking Mt. Sanidas
Every time we passed the goat path, Mt. Sanidas began the song of the Sirens luring any wayward soul to it's gentle sloping path. Little does one know that it soon becomes a challenging climb to the summit. If your there, do it. You won't regret it. It's really not that bad and the scenery can be spectacular.


A side trip to Center for ReSource Conservation was quite an eye opener. The things that are being done to conserve our planet and way of life can be amazingly simple. For instance the photo below shows a commode with a simple attachment that lets you wash your hands with the fresh water being used to refill the tank. There is also a brick in the tank to take up space so less water will be used.
There are so many simple things we can all do for the sustainability of our home. For more info on things you may want to try click here

Stanley Hotel

Yea, that hotel. Made famous by Steven King's book and Stanley Kubrick's movie, The Shining
The Hotel

Here's Johnny

The Stanley Steamer

The Clan

The Chefs cooking Thanksgiving dinner

Keith and Todd spent Thursday cooking dinner for the family. The whole thing was organic and we all agreed that it was as good as any fine restaurant. But when two chefs are cooking, it's kind of the same as fine dining.

Did you season this?

Step back. It could blow

Ahhh, perfect

A Yogi visited the house on Friday to help us center ourselves from the over indulgences of the day before. It was gentle yoga and really did us all a boatload of good. She had to adjust a couple of poses and more than once stabilized positions to keep some from falling over. To say we are not regular yoga practitioners, we all did pretty well for ourselves.

The rest of the day was spent doing cultural things like the Denver Art Museum, and the REI flagship store.

Flagstaff Mountain

Brunch at the Boulder Tea House began our final day in Colorado. The boys went with the "tea" and eclectic brunch, while the others chose traditional breakfast of eggs, polenta, pancakes and coffee.
Later we took a trip to the top of Flagstaff Mountain. It's one of the tallest of the Flat Irons and is another of the "must see" attractions in the area.

Snow Day
Snow finally made it's appearance on our travel day. Besides being the busiest day of the year for air travel, snow and ice across the west and northeast made for some pretty substantial delays. A good demeanor and patience is a virtue especially needed for the Sunday after Thanksgiving for travelers. Twelve hours after leaving our Boulder residence, we arrived at Logan Airport in Boston.

A week in Colorado is a really great way to spend Thanksgiving. We all agree we should do it again.