Thursday, December 30, 2010

Panama Photos To Get Me Through The Snow Days

Click any photo for big. Click again for bigger.

Watching  the ship traverse the canal on the Pacific side. 

In the pool, on the beach. 

We could talk to the crew. The ships were that close

Eco Vena on the southern Pacific coast of Panama

Presidential Palace in Panama City

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Riding Decision

I though about riding this morning. There was just a dusting of snow but it was crunchy.  That says that it's getting colder.  I decided to drive and it took very little time to realize that biking would not have worked out at all.  The roads were no longer safe enough to share. There will be other days.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Miles

It's the coldest week of the year and I will exceed 100 miles of biking.   Go figure.  Part of the reason is that one car is in the shop and wifey needs the other.  It forced me to ride in sub freezing temperatures and it also made me realize that sub freezing does not translate into being cold.   The clothes thing you know.  Also the fact that there are two commutes every day really adds the miles.

Here's what got my attention the last two rides. Excuse the blur. It's a new camera and I'll work that out.

As always, click for big. Click again for bigger
A gaggle

Freighter riding high. Almost empty.


Coasting down Union St. to the New Bedford, Ma waterfront. 
Freighter booms can be seen in the distance

Fishing boat getting refueled by a fuel barge.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time Travel

A short ride or walk up the MUP can transform one over a hundred years in time. It's a place to bring out of town guests for the fter dinner walk.

At one time the town of Fairhaven was farm land. The stone walls, which are evidence of pastures or fields, are everywhere. One area in that has not changed in all those decades is Lopes Farm. The old trucks and buildings are still used. Every day the farmer is down by the silo shoveling coal into 50lb bags for sale.

Douglas is the resident guard dog who never leaves his yard and may or may not sound the alarm when something is amiss. Depending on his demeanor at the moment.

Truck still in use, although it never leaves the farm.

The barn

The tin roof of the silo blew off 4 or 5 years ago.

The back of the barn

Douglas, the sometimes guard dog.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You Rode Today?

Arriving at the kitchen at 6AM, wheeling the bike into the store room and all activity stopped. The stares of disbelief because I rode my bike today. It was 22F but with a 30 mph wind the chill brought it to single digits. The look on the faces when I began to disrobe and they saw the beads of perspiration.

Actually I didn't feel the cold at all, but the wind got me. It was like climbing a mountain. Because of the wind I was behind schedule. As I approached the swing bridge the traffic light turned yellow, then green again. A few seconds later, yellow, then red, then green. I figured out that the bridge tender was telling me to "chop chop" and get onto the span so he could close the gates to traffic. Once I passed the first barrier, the bell sounded, the gates closed and the process of opening the bridge began. It takes around three or four minutes for the span to drop six inches to allow the bridge to swing open. That gives me plenty of time to cross, hop over the gate and be on my way. I'll have to bring the guy a coffee or something tomorrow.

Wifey and my little Lucy made the cut in the Animal Shelter Calender. They are October gals.

The reason dogs have so many friends is because they wag their tails, not their tongues.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Is Almost Here. Solstace 2010

Another week, and the winter solstice arrives marking the beginning darkness and harsh weather. So what is the Winter Solstice exactly? It's the day when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn (which means less light for us in the Northern Hemisphere).

Christian mythology is interwoven with contemporary observances of this holiday time. Parents can help their children develop an understanding of the multicultural and interfaith aspects of this holiday time and view "Christmas" as just another form of Solstice. Have gift exchanges and feasts over the course of several days and nights as was done of old. Party hearty on New Year's Eve not just to welcome in the new calendar year, but also to welcome the new solar year.

It's also the time to put new tires on the commuter bike. I have had a pair of 700x35 hanging in the garage for at least two years. Could even be longer. There have been a couple of predictions of light snow and colder weather. That brings out the "sanders" which can make the roads treacherous for us bike commuters. This commuter will find out soon enough if the theory of wider tires equal better traction.

Today's photos. As always, click for big, click again for bigger

Fairhaven, MA. High School

Plumbers Supply Building. New Bedford, MA.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Crazy Heart.

Sunday afternoon is movie day at this house. Yesterday we showed the movie Crazy Heart. I am not a country music fan, so this was a long afternoon. Jeff Bridges, as usual, did a great job getting into character.

I once mentioned that people like Jeff Bridges, Brad Pit, Ed Norton and a few others, become the character they play, while others like Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington and Will Smith always are Cruise, Washington and Smith. A wise sage simplified it for me by saying, the first three are actors, the second three are movie stars.

Back to Crazy Heart. If your a country fan, you may like this. If you are like me and do not like three cord country music, skip it.

The storm yesterday not only brought rain, but mild temperatures. There were some lingering mist for the morning commute, but the 55 degrees more than compensated.   The first stop was Red Box. All lit up naturally.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It Wasn't Bad At All. The Weather That Is

 This reminded me of workers in the South.  Lots of guys standing around looking at a hole in the ground.

As usual, click photos for big. Click again for bigger
At 5AM I retrieved the papers from the front porch. It was crisp and clear with no hint of wind. WMVY radio my station of choice forecasts a high of 34 with the current temperature at 16F. By 5:30 it had warmed to the low 20's. From experience I knew that sans wind, that is not bad riding weather.

I was about to go out and start the car to warm it up for my 5:30 ride to work when my conscience kicked in and reminded my why I have bikes and winter cloths. I put a couple of layers on and rode into the darkness. It was the first day that the long john bottoms came out of storage and along with two pair of socks, my bottom half was fine.

A tee shirt (for cooking at work), a turtle neck, gloves and winter jacket took care of my upper torso. A face mask and stocking cap kept my head warm. When I got to the shelter some five miles away and was confronted by the crew about biking in this weather I told them that actually the only thing cold was the tip of one finger. Like many have written on various bike places, "once you get the wardrobe sorted out, it's not bad riding in the winter.

 Above and below.  Shelter volunteers

Sights from the ride home

Unitarian Church of Fairhaven

Fairhaven Town Hall

Congregational Church of Fairhaven

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Bell Ringers

As always, click for big. Click again for bigger.

My afternoon job is to transport the Salvation Army bell ringers. They all get a little more than minimum wage and this may be the only job opportunity most of them could handle. They are all very nice, but also very poor souls. They all have a story of why they are down and out, and it's amazing how they don't judge each other in the least.    We have a great time between stops and it often times resembles the TV show "Cash Cab"

Here is a tip.  If you want to do something besides throw a few coins in the kettle, buy the ringer a cup of soup or coffee, or a sandwich.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Making Progress On the MUP Extension

Click any photo for big. Click again for bigger

The MUP in the adjacent town of Mattapoisett, MA has been held up for a few years because of the NIMBYs. (Not in my back yard). The local newspaper had a photo of the progress being made, which prompted a ride to check things out. This MUP could have been completed in mid decade and now we have a Congress that may squash any alternative transportation dollars.

The original idea was to have a continuous trail from Providence R.I. to Provincetown, MA. which is about 120 miles. There are sections in both states completed, but also vast swaths of overgrown railway corridors. Some are close to residences but all publicly owned. All have been engineered and are either in fights with local residences or waiting for federal money to be released.

This one could be a truly wonderful ride and could be a destination for bike touring people. This 120 miles could be enhanced into a week long tour by adding a couple of days on Martha's Vinyard and in P-Town.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Few Words to the Choir

It's really cold today?
Yes it is

Aren't you freezing riding a bike?

As part of the choir, your reading this and maybe nodding along. We get the above comments daily. It annoys some of us. It makes some angry, but it also makes us part of a pretty special group. Outdoor people who realize the benefit and joy of doing things other that driving and sitting on a couch watching TV. We are part of the winter activities group now. The type of person who adjusts to the elements so we can continue doing something we enjoy. If it was difficult or painful, just about all of us would stop doing it. As members of the riding choir we can testify that commuting by bike in the winter is fun, cheap and healthy. Aaaaaand, if you dress right, it's not cold either. 

Spending a week in the topics for a week long birthday celebration for your son is also fun if your with the right bunch, add a "ky" to the end of fun. I submit the following evidence.

As usual. Click once for big, click again for bigger.

Quick Quiz.  Guess my favorite subject in this photo.

Disco Night in Panama

Part of the funky