Got out for 50 this Sunday morning with Jim and John. We had a partial dirt tour from Richmond to Huntington and mixed in some quiet paved roads to stitch ourselves a loop. The three of us + Patrick are riding the D2R2 in a few weeks – and in addition to ‘training’ we all really like scenic, quiet dirt roads. We took the busy (even on a Sunday AM) Rt. 2 out of town, headed past Catamount on Mountain View Rd. – then dipped down to the valley on Gov. Chittenden Highway – a great seasonal road. In Richmond we followed the Winooski east a bit, then turned up on the edge of Camel’s Hump State Park. We were rewarded for the 15% grade with some great views of a quiet valley. Along pond road there is a – pond. We cut down to Huntington and then through the hollow to Hinesburg, scouting a few more dirt roads for a future ride. We wrapped up at John’s, and a cold Smuttynose hit the spot. I also picked up our cake pan from John – as we left it awhile back at dinner. It rode home on the Mark’s Rack (more on that later) held down with my improvised helmet strap / double strap method.
I met mamafiets and Ava at yoga for the ride home. I was tickled to see the Bak parked in a spot normally occupied by a car. Jen surprises me sometimes with her logic… which is great. At the beach she simply parked in the parking slot next to her girlfriends – at yoga she didn’t want to wrestle the bak over the curb – and figured if a motorcycle can park in the lot – then she could. (oh how I love thee…) I had 45 minutes to wait so I let the beer do its work and napped under a tree. We headed for home with a grocery stop and then were off to Plainfield to dinner with friends.
Good friend J was in town – he’s been touring the north east on his BMW GS. I plotted out some great dirt roads for him to explore – and on his way south he took in App Gap and lovely Rt. 100.
We enjoyed the usual Burlington and Church Street fare, including a short bike ride to the Winooski bridge. We spent the evening catching up after dinner, enjoyed a few local brews, and took the long walk home from downtown along the lakefront bike path as the sun was going down over the Adirondacks. J shot the portrait of Ava and I on the bridge – he borrowed my mountain bike that we have set up for guests. The last guest was 5’2″, J is 6’5″ or so… the saddle had to come way way up.
Burlington, VT on steroids? Lots of bikes, bike lanes and infrastructure. Plenty of good street performers. Unique shops, good food aplenty. Downtown is a stark contrast to the everywhere development surrounding our hotel just 10 miles south.
Grandpa Woodstock, in Boulder, CO. He is quite the character, and according to the mighty Google he travels about the country on foot, bicycle, and moped living in the woods and off the kindness of strangers. We chatted for a bit and he tooted his horn at everyone that passed, proclaiming his message of peace and love.
We spent a few days ‘out west’ – Jen had client meetings and Ava and I got to play. We were staying in an exurb of Denver – and from the little exploring I did it seemed like this type of development stretched from the burbs of Denver nearly all the way to Boulder.
The shock of the new was something I didn’t anticipate. I guess I’ve grown accustomed to the history of the northeast. Everywhere we went on the main stretch of road was littered with retail and corporate developments. Housing was always off to the side – and the ‘town center’ was a retail conglomeration of chain land surrounded by acres of parking – I could have been anywhere. Local was nowhere to be found.
We were staying near the ‘Promenade’ – an outdoor mall anchored by a multiplex cinema – complete with canned music and canned history.
At the crossroads of the development was an inlaid compass – complete with distances that only reminded me that I was nowhere and everywhere – wishing I was in Rome, or NYC – both places that I’ve enojoyed, both places with history, with unique energy and with their own local sense of place.
After a hectic week with the whole family coming down with a GI virus I managed to get out on the bike. We skipped the Boilermaker as we have all been under the weather – so any exercise was welcome – and I just wanted to spin the legs.
John and I managed ~34 miles today. I was on the Surly fixed gear and John got the A. Homer Hilson dirty. We had a great but windy start heading south to Charlotte fighting the wind – hoping it would stay its course through the day so we would have a tailwind on the return trip. We had drizzle and wind for a bit – then a torrential wind driven downpour soaked us to the bone as we neared the ferry landing. The wind and the rain were coming so hard that it hurt when it hit my face – we ducked onto a side road under some trees and slowed the pace for a bit – and decided to make it an easier day. We topped up our bottles and had a snack at the Old Brick Store in Charlotte – then added rain gear to keep warm for the return journey. I regretted leaving the rain cape at home – as I took the plastic jacket to try again to like it…
We explored a bit as we neared the lake front bike path – looking for an elusive shortcut through the woods and a condo development. We didn’t find the path – but we did find what looked like a stolen and abandoned mountain bike. We dropped it off at Burton’s headquarters and talked to some employees – they think the bike might belong to one of their fellow employees.
Most of the photo’s I’ve added lately have been taken with my Palm Centro. It’s not the greatest camera in the world – but I don’t have to carry an extra piece of digital equipment. I do like some of the effects I get when shooting a closeup while moving…