Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for June, 2007


Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I was planning on riding last night, but with rain in the forecast, it didn’t seem like a good idea. But somehow, it still seemed like a good idea to ride to the Bloomington Community Bicycle Project to do some work on the old Sears bike. I was counting on the fact that it was supposed to rain and hoping that nobody else would be crazy enough to be there.

Well, I was dead wrong. When I arrived, there were numerous people working inside, and several outside as well. I started working on replacing the front inner tube, and it began to rain. I had to mess around with the rim tape a bit, as the tape that was in there was disintegrating, and they didn’t have any rim tape. Well, they said I could take some off one of the many wheels that was hanging from the ceiling, but I was not excited about taking apart one of their wheels to take the rim tape, especially in the rain. So I made do with the tape that was  on there. I’ll probably still have to replace it soon.

When the rain started, most people went inside. Another guy and I stayed and worked under a small awning. But nobody left. I helped the guy remove his tire so he could replace the tube. I think the tire was too small for his rim, as it was nearly impossible to get it off. Finally, we managed to get it off, but not before we were both covered in black stuff, probably bits of brake pad stuck to the rim.

I changed my rear inner tube too, and had the same problem with the rim tape. I’ll probably have to redo both and put new tape in them. I really should have done that at home and only done the things I needed help/tools for at the Bike Project. I didn’t get any help this time, although I didn’t explicitly ask anyone for help.
By the time I finished replacing the rear tube and putting the rear wheel back on, I was pretty frustrated. I was wet and filthy and hadn’t accomplished much, and I wasn’t too thrilled with the prospect of riding home in the rain.

But as I grumbled and headed toward home, something happened. A big smile came over my face. I was having a blast! That bike is a lot of fun to ride, and it did pretty well in the rain. The thing isn’t perfect by any means, but I was having a blast. The bike path portion of the ride was very dark due to the dark clouds and how overgrown the path was, but that just added one more fun challenge.

So the trip wasn’t a total loss — not at all. Now I’m more excited about fixing up that old bike. And I’m sort of a perfectionist about my bikes, generally, but I was reminded that all the little tweaks you do to your bike may help somewhat, but you can have just as much fun on a 40-year-old bike that’s had little done to it.

Despite the rain

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Last weekend was another great one, despite the fact that it rained for much of it, and Sarah had a lot of work to do.

The highlight was something we hadn’t even planned — after hiking with my mom and nephew on Sunday, Sarah and I weren’t ready to go back home yet and grabbed our cameras and headed out for a drive on some country roads. I was planning on heading toward Paragon, IN along a route I rode with the Bloomington Bicycle Club, but I’m not too familiar with the roads in that area, and we got lost.

This was fine at first. We ended up near Oliver Winery — but by the grape fields on the other side of the highway from the main building, which I didn’t even know existed. We saw some very cool landscapes with hay bales, which Sarah was hoping to find.

Bales of hay — notice the grape vines on the left side at the horizon.

Scraggly tree

We drove around some more, and it started to get darker and foggier. I was hoping for an opportunity to take photos in some fog, and it looked like that might be a possibility. We stopped near a house to photograph this really cool field across the street, and I was about to set up the tripod when a dog came running down. We got back in the car and moved a little further away; the dog ran back up to the house. We got out of the car again, and the dog came running back, along with at least four other dogs! They seemed friendly enough, but we weren’t about to risk it. We got in the car and kept driving.

A little bit later, the low fuel light came on. I knew I probably should have gotten some gas before we went on this drive, but I didn’t expect to be gone very long. I still wasn’t too worried, because I didn’t think we’d have any trouble finding our way out of there. It continued getting darker, and we stopped at another spot so I could try to get some shots of a field. I need some more practice at this night photography stuff. I think things need to be underexposed to a certain extent to capture the night mood, but I tend to underexpose too much, I think.

Foggy field at night

We started driving again, and couldn’t find our way out of the area. After a while, we realized we were going in circles. We came to Mount Pleasant Church, which seemed a bit familiar to me, but I still didn’t really know how to get back from there. I could tell Sarah was worried, but she was doing a great job of letting me work this out, which I really appreciated. She has a great post on her blog where she talks about how it’s not so bad to be lost together … and I completely agree.

There was a woman there visiting the cemetery. I hate asking for directions, and I probably would’ve been more stubborn if I hadn’t been worried about running out of gas, but that being the case, I asked her how to get back to the highway. She had me ask her mother, who was in the passenger seat, and ultimately they said we could just follow them; they were going up to Martinsville, whereas we were going to Bloomington, so we’d just turn separate ways at the highway. This worked fine, although we decided that since we were closer to Martinsville, we had better go there and get fuel before going home.

I’m glad we did, because having a fresh tank of gas allowed us to take a more scenic route home. It may seem silly to take the scenic route at night, but it’s vastly more pleasant than the highway, and I still wanted to get some more photos. We passed a road that looked really pretty, and I turned around to go back and take some photos.

We got out of the car and heard some strange animal noises. A few cars turned onto the road and came too close to us, scaring us, but I didn’t want to leave my hazard lights on because it would interfere with my long exposures. As our eyes adjusted, we were able to see a little more clearly just how foggy it was, and we watched as thousands of lightning bugs lit the scene, blinking like photographer’s flashes at a sporting event. They collected most in the trees, giving off an impressive show. We held hands and kissed while waiting for exposures to complete. Even if none of the shots had worked, it would have been perfect.

Old Myers Road

Subdued silhouettes

Porch light

We drove the rest of the way home, content. We could have kept going. We could have stayed out doing this all night —  but it was late, and we had work the next morning. Another time.

Working backwards, earlier on Sunday, we had gone hiking with my mom and nephew, and we took our dog Rob with us as well. We weren’t sure if we’d be able to do so, because it rained most of the morning and a little in the afternoon as well. Fortunately, it cleared up and we decided to go for it. We hiked two trails at Brown County State Park, the one around Strahl Lake and Trail #2, which runs from the North Tower to the Lodge, past the family cabins, and back. The Strahl Lake trail was very easy, but Trail #2 was a bit more challenging, with quite a few hills. We saw a toad, a slug, and a turtle.

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I only managed to get one bike ride in over the weekend, a fairly short (25 mile) ride on Saturday between rains. I saw three deer and five wild turkeys on this ride — they must have come out to get some sun once it cleared up, just like I did. I don’t feel the least bit bad about only riding once — we definitely made the most of the weekend.

Showing up for work without any clothes

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Based on the title, you’re probably guessing this post is about some Freudian nightmare about being naked at work. Not quite, but keep reading …

I woke up feeling particularly crappy this morning. I wanted nothing more than to work from home, or better yet, punt completely and play hooky. So it was with a bit of pride that I dragged my sorry ass out of bed anyway, showered, loaded my pannier (including a few extra items to help deal with the forecasted rain), and rode to work.

It was muggy outside, and a little misty. The mist felt good on my face, having a cooling effect. It did a little bit to offset the mugginess. It was a little foggy, not enough for me to get a good picture, but enough to make things just a little bit prettier.

I arrived at work, parked my bicycle outside by the recycling area door, and walked through the building to bring my bike inside. I said hello to a few people along the way, as I usually do, brought my bike in and opened the pannier.

As I moved a few items to get my change of clothes out, I realized I had left my change of clothes sitting on the dining room table at home! I muttered a few profanities, walked to my desk, grabbed my notebook, and informed the other developer that I was going to ride back home, and that I was going to stay there for the rest of the day.

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