Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for January, 2008

Small town living

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Noah, of KC Bike Commuting, rose to my challenge to design a sticker saying “Warning: Do not lick bicycle,” per our previous conversations about the matter here. You can see Noah’s post about his design, although I’m including it here for the fun of it.

UPDATE: I meant to post a link to a semi-relevant article, “Indiana Boys Left With Bleeding Tongues After Licking Flagpole” when I first wrote this. I forgot. Choice quote: “I decided to try it because I thought all of the TV shows were lies, but turns out I was wrong.” These boys remind me of many, many people at my high school. Gotta love Indiana …

Anyway, I had promised a print of one of my photos in return; Noah chose this one.

Bike Path
Bike Path

I had already dropped it off at my local camera shop, Cord Camera & Video. Yesterday I went to pick up the 8″x10″ print, by bicycle. I rode from my apartment to the camera shop, leaving my bicycle within sight in front of the store. I didn’t bother locking it. Then, I rode to the post office to mail it — again leaving the bicycle in front, unlocked. There was no line for either the walk-up windows or the APC, so I chose the APC. After I finished that, I rode to our apartment office to pick up a package there. I returned home having ridden probably about one mile total.

I have lived in bigger cities, and at least based on my experiences, there’s no way I could have run all these errands in such a short distance. And I certainly wouldn’t have left my bike unlocked, even if I could see it the whole time. These are some of the advantages of small town living, at least in this particular town, with my apartment located where it is. I’m very lucky. Even on a bicycle, I can be at any of these places within a 15-minute ride: work, downtown, the library, the mall and other shopping centers, any number of excellent restaurants, coffee shops, etc. Or, in that same 15-minute ride, I can be out in the country. It’s fantastic.

The more I think about it, the more I think it’s a shame I don’t run more errands by bicycle. It’s fun and very doable around here.

Anyway, my commute this morning was pleasant, in the 20s. Windchills were in the teens, but it wasn’t bad at all. Tomorrow’s commute should be interesting, as we have a winter storm warning predicting 2-5 inches of snow/sleet accumulation tonight. One downside to this town is that they do a pretty crummy job of clearing the roads, although they have gotten a bit better about it in recent years. I’d be surprised if schools are in session tomorrow — once when I was in school, they closed schools in anticipation of snow. Weak.

Here’s the text of our storm warning. I’m sure the alarmist tone will amuse those in colder areas of the country.

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 7 PM EST FRIDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN INDIANAPOLIS HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 7 PM EST FRIDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

A MIXTURE OF SNOW AND SLEET WILL DEVELOP THROUGH MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. AFTER MIDNIGHT…A MIXTURE OF SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN WILL OCCUR. ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF ONE QUARTER TO ON HALF INCH WILL BE POSSIBLE ALONG AND SOUTHEAST OF A VINCENNES TO BLOOMINGTON TO SHELBYVILLE LINE. A MIXTURE OF RAIN…FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET WILL GRADUALLY CHANGE BACK TO SNOW FRIDAY AFTERNOON. TOTAL SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE.

A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW… SLEET… AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.

An actual bike ride: around Lake Lemon “backwards”

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

For the first time in quite a while, I got to go on a real bicycle ride on Sunday. By “real” I mean a longer recreational ride — riding purely for the sake of riding. I’ve been commuting, but that had been the extent of my riding for the past couple of weeks.

I headed out to ride around Lake Lemon but decided en route to do it “backwards” (clockwise). I usually go counterclockwise, but I felt something different was in order. This also allowed me to ride Shilo Road in the fun direction, one of my favorite roads in this area. It was a warm day, in the upper 30s or lower 40s when I started, and it warmed to about 48 degrees. The roads were clear, but there was still some snow and ice in the surrounding areas, which made for some nice scenery.

Creek
Frozen waterfall on Mt Gilead Rd.

I noticed Mitch Rice, another local cyclist/blogger, post an almost identical photo from one of his rides. During my ride, the ice on the creek was melting and water was gurgling as it flowed beneath the ice, making it feel like a spring thaw.

Barn and creek
Barn near a partially-frozen creek
Soon I was moving again and made the climb up Mt. Gilead. I expected it to be harder than usual given my steadily declining fitness, but I did well. I took 45 over to Tunnel Road and descended on Shilo, having a lot of fun with it. Traction was good except for a few places that had too much sand on the road.

Shilo Rd.
Shilo Road

I stopped for some more photos by Beanblossom Creek.

Beanblossom Creek
Beanblossom Creek

Me
Me, with my bicycle

I took Anderson Lane over to North Shore Drive. I’ve always considered this to be the harder way to go around Lake Lemon but during this section I started wondering if that was really true as it was pretty easy. Soon, though, I reached Northshore and realized I was definitely right in my thinking. There’s just a ton of climbing in this direction — long, sustained climbs, whereas in the other direction there are a few short, steep climbs. The climbing pays off with some nice views, though.

North Shore Dr.
View from North Shore Dr.

My bicycle near Lake Lemon
My bicycle near Lake Lemon

Docks
Docks

The climbs had me breathing pretty heavily at a few points. I’m looking forward to warmer weather and longer daylight so I can get back in shape. On the other hand I stopped a little more frequently than usual on this ride and took advantage of those stops to take extra photos. A reasonable tradeoff. And once you get through the first half or so of North Shore going in this direction, the rest is easier.

Train tracks II
Railroad tracks

On my way back to South Shore on 45, I saw a frozen area of water where it appeared people had been driving. I found this rather surprising and half expected to see a place where the ice broke and somebody fell in — but I guess the ice was thicker than I thought, because it seemed to have held.

Cars drove on the ice
Car tracks on the ice

State Road 45
Climb on State Road 45

As I rode across the lake on South Shore, I enjoyed looking around and seeing the partially-frozen lake. I’ve ridden here many times before but it was quite different this time. I felt particularly lucky that I got to see it in this state while it wasn’t terribly cold outside.

Lake Lemon III
Riding across Lake Lemon

Lake Lemon II
On my left

Lake Lemon
On my right

After that I had the tough climb up South Shore back to Tunnel Road, although I climbed better than I expected this time around. I really took my time getting back from this point and enjoyed more leisurely riding through the countryside. A great ride, especially for January, totaling over 35 miles.

Hiking near, and on, a frozen Lake Griffy

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Sarah and I went hiking on Saturday at Lake Griffy. We made the mistake of not checking to see if there was a basketball game (there was). This meant we had to sit in traffic on the Bypass for a while on our way to the trails. It wasn’t a big deal, but we ended up hiking shorter trails than we’d planned. We settled on hiking the Ravine Trail and the Overlook Trail. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors, with a high temperature of right at 32 degrees F and a bit of snow on the ground. We brought Rob with us.

I brought my new/old camera with me, the Yashica Lynx 500, this time loaded with normal color print film. Once again, without a functional light meter, I had to guess at the exposure. I mostly got it right.

Sarah and Rob
Sarah and Rob

We had never hiked here before, and we really enjoyed the trails. The ones we hiked mostly follows the contours of the side of some hills, never fully descending into the ravines below but offering great views of them and hiking over some rolling terrain. There were a couple of waterfalls that were frozen and looked really neat.

Frozen waterfall
Waterfall

Handrail
Rustic handrail

Old railroad right-of-way
Old railroad right-of-way that was never finished

Rob, running
Rob, running

Sarah
Sarah

Ravine
Ravine

Climb
Hill

Lake Griffy
A view of the lake

Rob and me
Rob and me

Stairs
Sarah and Rob climbing the stairs

We once again appreciated how much better hiking can be in the winter. There weren’t many people there, we didn’t have to carry as much water, we didn’t work up as much of a sweat, and many of the views we enjoyed would have been blocked by leaves on the trees.

Lake Griffy is interesting because it’s just north of town and part of campus in particular. But once you hike back a little ways you don’t hear much road noise. As we looked down toward the lake, we realized it was frozen over and people were walking and skating on the lake! I was surprised it was frozen enough to allow this, but we did have a pretty cold spell for a while so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. Hiking distance: about 2.8 miles.

After our hike, we headed down to play on the lake’s frozen surface. Some people were playing hockey, there were a few dogs, and everyone was having a great time. It sure was weird to walk where we’ve been canoeing before.

Lake Griffy, frozen
Lake Griffy
Sarah, standing on Lake Griffy
Sarah

Ice skate designs
Ice skate designs

Stick
Stick

Me, standing on Lake Griffy
Me

Hill
Hill

Docks
Docks

Dock
Dock

Me
Dangling my feet in the water

Frozen Lake Griffy, with people walking/skating on it
Lake Griffy. The black specks on the surface, in the distance, are people.

A few words about this camera: in short, it rocks. I noticed some vignetting on some of these shots that I wasn’t expecting. It seems to particularly flatter people, the lens has a crispness to it but simultaneously just enough softness to make portraits look really great. So far, guessing the exposure is working surprisingly well — in fact, the prints look better than these scans, which were done rather poorly at CVS. At any rate, not bad for a camera from the 60s, for $30 on eBay, including shipping.

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