Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Went for a ride along the Panama Canal before driving to the southern Pacific coast at Ecco Venao for a week of beach and surfing.  A little partying thrown in for a change of pace.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Old Work Commute

 Downtown Taunton, MA.

It's been six months since retirement and the daily car/bike commute in Taunton, MA.  I got a call that the cook was leaving for a new position today.  That was as good as any excuse to get on the bike.  Just like the old days, I parked at the police station and rode the six miles to the office.

Temperatures in the low 40's with a pretty good headwind brought the bike commute memories back.  Biking always made it easier to go to work and I think it had some chemical reaction to exercise that did that.  Whatever it was, it came back during today's ride.  It's the last one for a while because I will be flying to Panama tomorrow for #1 son's 40th birthday party.

Forty of us will be celebrating with Keith in the evenings, but we will all be doing different stuff during the day.  Snorkeling, hiking, riding, sight seeing, surfing or just hanging out.  It promises to be quite and event, with different themes every night.  It will culminate 10 days from now with a formal Roasting of the guest of honor.  Ironically the roast is scheduled for the last night to eliminate any animosity that may happen, from carrying over into the week long party.  Those who may be offended can stew on the flight home.

 Abandoned State School in Taunton, MA.  The off road part of the commute.

State School

Meanwhile back in New Bedford.  The crew of this freighter reported two stowaways who crossed the Atlantic undetected.  Reportedly they were trying to make their way to Canada.  They were two young men from Pakistan trying to join their families.  They did not have the money to get to Canada legally so they took a chance.  Now they are in federal prison awaiting their destiny.

The stowaways were oh so close. 
Early morning at the marina.  No boats till spring.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Morning

 View from the handlebar

After last night's late game, it was difficult to get out of the sack this morning. Like most bike commute days, once we get riding, all that negative energy dissipates and is replaced by that good feeling we all know.

Another big freighter arrived this morning.  One of these days I'll catch one going through the bridge crossing to the inner harbor.  It's a very, very tight fit.

I enjoy seeing photos of others commutes.  The following are for like minded people.

 Aaaaat Smaaat in my lingo

 These were approaching at 40-50 MPH. Hurry across now

Entrance to the MUP

 The MUP

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Morning Jaunt

 South St. Fairhaven MA.

All the leaves are gone, and the sky was gray, which made a good time to go for a short "ish" bike ride around town.  The quiet Sunday morning atmosphere is really good for getting out weather it be walking, or biking and there was a bit of both on the MUP and down by the Fort

Margaret's is one of the town's dining hot spots.  Meals are very good and reasonable, but the kicker is that it's a BYOB restaurant which keeps the price down considerably.  Breakfast of Norwegian pancakes is a good way to start a Sunday.

Across from Margaret's is the Martha's Vineyard Steamship Authority repair facility.  Today there was a car and a truck carrier ferry in for some work. Both use routes from Wood's Hole to the Vineyard, about a 15 minute sail.   Down on the docks small and large boat repair facilities are numerous.  The large boat dry dock is on a system that has been around for over a hundred years, and by the looks of it, the wooden dock may be original.

Finally, there is a park at the beginning of the MUP that was once a cemetery.  All the stuff was moved to the another cemetery located at the other end of town.

Click any photo for big. Click again for bigger

Margaret's Restaurant.

Truck carrier ferry

Car carrier ferry.

Drive right in.

Shop for small boats.

Dry dock for larger boats.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rainy Windy Week

The rain has finally subsided after four days.  It not only put a crimp in riding but also allowed the fallen leaves to get out of hand somewhat.

Yesterday afternoon another of those big cargo ships docked. There are hundred of trailer trucks lined up to hook up one of the boxes from the ship.

The temperatures are still pretty mild, which is not unusual for this area.  Having worked outside for so many years I can testify that there are only 10-15 bitter cold days annually.  The only problem with bike commuting is lingering effects of snow.  Usually the sidewalks are a mess and the road shoulders are loaded with muck, which makes riding in traffic too hazardous most times.  This will be my first winter commuting on home turf and time will tell how it goes.  (the last 10 years have been a car/bike commute 40 miles away. )

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rain and Sleet

The 5AM alarm sounded and I could hear the sleet hitting the outside window sills.  It was an easy decision to drive to the shelter.

Not long after leaving the recycle center which was a muddy mess, with my raked up leaves, most of the lights on my dash lit up.  ABS warning, check engine, and a couple of others.  I disconnected the battery, everything reset and they all came back on.  My guess is a mucked up sensor on the undercarriage.  After driving to the shelter again tomorrow, I'll drop the Vibe at the dealer and suffer the consequences.

I did pass up on a ride Sunday. It was an awareness ride for bike paths.  It was also very cold and very windy.

  The kicker was a high school state tournament soccer match.  Naturally, I chose the match but left before halftime.  It was two very helter skelter teams who played lots of kick and run.  Coaching and officiating has really declined around here the last few years and they have taken the quality of the game down with them.  None attend any clinics or learning seminars and it shows, glaringly.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Go To The Head of The Line

Union Square in New Bedford MA.  

During the Civil War, the city of New Bedford changed Main St. to Union St. and Main Square to Union Square to show solidarity against the insurgency.  It was also a place where slaves who stowed away on cotton ships could find safe haven.  When the slave hunters came to town, someone would climb the bell tower in the Pilgrim Church and warn the people.  The hunters would be harassed till they left the city.

This is where the needy come for breakfast daily.  We do a cafe style service with waiters who great the clients, sit them with a juice and coffee and take their breakfast orders. Pancakes, French Toast and eggs to order.

 Pilgrim United Church.
This church has to house three congregations to stay afloat.

 Zeiterion Performing Arts Theater
 I have tickets to Chris Botti this spring.

The sidewalk offers a great bike lane for the return commute after work.
The bikes get to go to the head of the line.

Do you like cruise ship vacations? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Doubling Up The Commutes

 The clouds show the warm front moving into the area from the Atlantic. The straight line of the clouds is the giveaway that this is a front and not just regular clouds.

The first commute is to the shelter to cook breakfast at the cafe. 5:30 AM mostly on the MUP to New Bedford, MA.   The second commute is to the Salvation Army Headquarters to drive the van to pick up the bell ringers at the local markets. I leave the building at 3:30PM.  Both are five mile commutes and both take the same route.

 Evening commute riding toward the State Pier where the freighters unload.

Popes Island clean up sight.  The boat in the foreground is waiting to pull up to the ice house to load it's holds for an upcoming trip. This also shows the the front moving into the area. Look at the clouds and how they show a distinctive line across the sky.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 2, 2010

It was near freezing at the start of the commute.  With no wind and a couple of layers of clothing the 5:30 am ride to the shelter was pretty comfortable.  Cleaning up after cooking breakfast to order for 100 gets me back on the road by 08:30.  The light is just right and the water is calm as can be.

Today was voting day and a detour to the poll was a refreshing change which took me through some of the busier parts of town. The election results will give bragging rights to one side or the other, but does anyone really expect anything to be different.  If the Dems win, the Repubs will obstruct for two years.  If the Repubs win, the Dems will do the same.