Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nature's Bounty

This is the time of year when Mother Nature’s bounty is in full view; throughout spring and summer there is always a display in the form of berries and various vegetables however, autumn is when she goes all out in preparation for winter.  All of these pictures are on a short (15 mile) bike ride.  With a couple of exceptions, everything is wild and on public land.  The exceptions are these two pear trees

and this plum tree.

When I asked the owner of the pear trees if I could take pictures he said “Yes, and take some pears also.”  The plum tree above is in my daughter’s yard, but there are other varieties elsewhere.

 Washington is known for its apples and they are quite abundant in location and variety, from large

To several varieties of edible crab apples

And decorative upon which the birds feed.

There is a large selection of berries for juice/wine production:
Chokecherries (red and black)

Oregon grape

                                 and elderberry

There are several species of berry that are generally left for the birds:

Mountain Ash


and rose hips (which could also be used for tea)

This is just a great time of year to be out and about, and I'll be on the road as much as possible so I can watch the foliage turn color.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Out 'n' back

After moving three tons of pellets yesterday from the yard

to the porch,

I was anticipating having some muscles ‘talking’ to me today. However, I awoke this morning feeling absolutely great and the first day of autumn rapidly developed into beautiful riding weather: temperature in the mid 70s and virtually no wind. After a leisurely breakfast and a quick perusal of the news, I headed east of town on the old road. The slight breeze was from the west and I was content to pedal along drinking in the scenery. It was so relaxing I didn’t feel like stopping; I knew I’d be coming back the same road and I’d take pictures then. After crossing the Teanaway River and ‘powering up’ a slight hill, I was paced by a couple of raptors as I ‘flew’ through the Bristol flat area. Just beyond that I did my turnaround and stopped for a drink. Looking back at the flat area I’d just traversed,

I was somewhat reminded of ‘The loneliest road in America.” However, the scenery here is much more inviting than on US 50 in Nevada. The slight breeze I welcomed as a tailwind on the way out was now freshening a bit as a headwind, but I was content to keep my heart rate in the 70-80% range regardless of what speed I maintained. At one point I noticed the new enclosure they’ve built at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (http://www.chimpsanctuarynw.org/ ).

Ironically, the view from inside the enclosure would encompass the river on the other side of the road to include groups of rafters enjoying their freedom.

Continuing on, I arrived at the Teanaway River crossing. This spot has one of my favorite views of Mt Stuart.

I deviated slightly from the route I’d taken on the way out, and returned on Airport Road; the black Lab that generally comes out to greet me was in his enclosure but he barked hello as I sped past. I returned home just as the odometer rolled to 17.0 miles and went inside for cookies and chocolate milk.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

To do

Officially, summer ends on the 23rd of this month. Today, we’ve started the fall weather pattern; cool, breezy and overcast. I know there will be more sunshine and fair weather even into Fall; however, this harbinger signals that it’s time to focus a bit less on riding and more on the mundane—stove cleaning, stocking pellets, weatherizing…the list goes on and I’m exhausted just thinking about it. It’s also time to start thinking about putting fenders back on the trike. I’ve gotten tires that are slightly larger than stock so I’ll have more traction when I’m riding this winter. So, in addition to my list of things to do to prepare the house for cold weather, I’m also going to have to fabricate new fenders.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Leisurely ride = n - 1

Today is another +90° day; I’ve lost track of how many we’ve had and the weather-guessers are calling for a couple more before we ‘cool down’ to the 80s.  I realize that our hot weather stretch doesn’t compare to some others throughout the country, but it’s still hot!  One of my daughters was in town visiting today and I (somewhat jokingly) asked her if she wanted to go for a bike ride.  She accepted the offer so I aired up the tires on one of my old bikes, posed for an obligatory picture

and we were off. 

I mentioned to my wife later that the last time I went for a ride with Jessica, I was on a 2 wheeler and she was on a trike.  I chose one of the shorter, flatter routes I usually ride because, although Jessica is somewhat athletic, it’s been a while since she’s ridden a bike.  During our leisurely ride we decided that she may as well take home the bike she was riding; I seldom ride it and someone stole hers a few years ago.  So, my stable of bikes is down to three—an upright, a recumbent and a trike.

Monday, September 5, 2011

An idyllic ride

The day dawned sunny and clear; at least I assume it did, as that’s what I woke up to at 7:30. The temperature however, was only 47°.   That would be a great temperature in mid-winter, but a bit cool for a summer ride.  By 10:00 it was into the mid 60s and I headed out Airport Road.  There was a slight haze over the distant hills—the result of distant wildfires.  It was not enough to affect my breathing, as my lungs were working as effortlessly as the rolling tires.  I breezed up Airport Hill at nearly 8 mph—a far cry from my normal struggle to maintain 5 mph.  Turning off Masterson onto Red Bridge Road, I rocketed through the curves and over the slight hills until I came to the Teanaway River.  There, crossing the river were two deer; it was as if I was meant to get there at that particular time.  By the time I got the camera out, they were across the river but still visible on the spit of gravel in the center of the picture, near some bushes.

I’ve gotten a new camera so I played with the settings a bit and came up with this shot—essentially the same, sans deer.

I continued on for another mile or so and thought this old hay barn was rather interesting.

And that pretty much concluded the first half of a somewhat idyllic ride.  On the way home I concentrated on improving my conditioning with high speed sprints and high cadence spinning.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Narrow(s) escape

My wife, Barbara, and I went to Tacoma this weekend. Our trip was twofold—to visit one of our daughters (and family) and for Barbara to indoctrinate her and one of her friends in pickle making procedures. While they were involved with that, I headed out to the Scott Pierson Trail to cross the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (hence, a Narrow(s) escape.) The trail starts near 25th and Sprague however, I chose to use the Park & Ride near Cheney Stadium.

The trail is very well maintained and through judicious use of decorated walls and shrubbery, the noise level from the adjacent highway is quite muted.

There are a couple of places where signage could be better, but I was able to figure out where I had to go. The first glimpse of the bridges comes as you cross above highway 16 on a pedestrian/bike overpass.

The bridge on the right opened in 1950 and was the replacement for ‘Galloping Gertie’ which collapsed in 1940. The bridge on the left opened in 2007 and has a 10 foot wide, two-way bike/pedestrian walkway.

From the center of the bridge there is a sweeping panorama of the south sound and adjacent communities.

Also, while on the bridge you can capture Mount Rainier through the bridge suspension;

after crossing, you can see the mountain and both bridges.

On the way back to my car I stopped at the War Memorial—a tranquil respite on a very warm day.

Upon arriving home I found the pickling process nearly complete—a good day for everyone.