Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for June, 2008

Mountains

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

We’ll be leaving this afternoon to go to North Carolina and Virginia. We’ll spend some time in the mountains, among other things, and be back on Sunday. This trip will actually be more business than pleasure, but we’ll find time for some of both.

A very frustrating ride

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

On Sunday I was preparing to go for a road ride when I discovered a flat tire on my road bike. A bit reluctantly, I decided to take my commuter instead, even with its sketchy brake situation. I wanted to do something a bit different, so I decided to ride to Paynetown on Lake Monroe, and finally take Knightridge Road to avoid 446 for part of the ride, something I had been meaning to do for a while. The rolling hills on Smith Road were fun, and then I hit 446.

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Field

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Field across the street from the other field

So I was still on 446 briefly, but soon I came to Knightridge Road. I turned onto it and really enjoyed this alternate route, it’s much quieter with slower speed limits. There was very little traffic.

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Riding on Knightridge

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Car filled and covered with junk

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Bob Jones’ house, which I’ve written about before

Eventually Knightridge spits you back out on 446. I finally rode up the driveway by the Scenic View sign I see every time I go through here but have never explored. It’s a rather steep driveway that I normally just ride past.

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Scenic View sign

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A scenic view indeed

A  couple of miles later, I reached the turnoff to Paynetown State Recreation Area. There’s a huge hill down to it, on which I picked up tremendous speed. It felt fantastic. I have an annual state park pass, so I showed it to the lady at the gate, and she waved me past.

I was stunned by the number of people with boats I saw. The parking lot by the boat ramp was apparently full, because the road leading to the ramp had trucks with boat trailers parked on both sides of the road. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this crowded.

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Trucks with boat trailers

I was thinking the flooding might be lower, and if it was I was going to wade into the water a bit, but as it turned out, the beach and much of the rest of the area is still very much flooded.

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Flooding

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More flooding

I didn’t stay long. I turned around to head home. The climb back up to 446 was difficult, as you might imagine.

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Climbing back up to 446

While I had a pleasant ride there, my ride home was extremely frustrating. I can’t remember the last time I was this frustrated on a bicycle. Many times, I was passed by trucks pulling boats on trailers, and at least one of them cut me off. The ones who didn’t cut me off were very much assholes to me as well. I really can’t imagine what their hurry could have been, heading home on a Sunday afternoon from what I can only presume must have been a relaxing day, or weekend, of boating on the lake. Whatever the reason, I was treated very badly by almost everyone who passed me who was hauling a boat. It’s very frightening getting cut off by a truck and nearly being taken out by the trailer. Part of this road has no shoulder and during the parts that do I tend not to ride on it as it has a lot of debris. I ended up taking the lane for part of the ride, for my own safety.
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One of many boats that passed me

Fortunately, I only had to ride a few miles before I could get off 446 and back on Knightridge. Here, I thought, I’d be safe. And while I didn’t see any boats on this road, a small car came up behind me and layed on their horn, passing me and cutting me off, nearly running me off the road. I was stunned; normally people on quiet, slow country roads are very courteous and are not in a hurry. I don’t know what this guy’s problem was, but I was very frustrated.

I had to ride a little more on 446, this time I took the shoulder. This was also one of few times I’ve felt unsafe on a bicycle. It felt like everyone was out to get me on this day. I took Moore’s Pike back over to Smith Road.

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Another field

While I was riding on Smith Road, yet another motorist blared his horn and passed me. After he was in front of me, I held up a hand as if to say “What the hell, man?” He pointed over to the right, as if I should have ridden in the right turn lane to get out of his way. Well, needless to say, I was not turning, so I didn’t ride in the turn lane. I shook my head “no, I won’t do that” but I don’t know if he saw it. I nearly caught up to him at the stoplight at third street — and we would’ve had words if I had. He turned just as I arrived, and I went straight. It’s just as well. I doubt anything productive would’ve been said.

I was truly horrified at people’s lack of respect for their fellow man on this day. It was one of very few rides I’ve ever done that just left me with a sense of frustration.  I rarely have significant problems with motorists — sure, people do dumb things — but people were downright malicious. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was Easter.

Ride around Lake Lemon

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I decided to do a bit of a shorter ride on Saturday, since I was planning on riding with my friend Chris on Sunday, who is moving within the next week or so, and I figured we might do a longer ride. I wanted to save some energy. At the same time, I decided to use this ride to practice climbing out of the saddle; a little strength training.As I rode, one of the first things I noticed was that there were Tiger Lillies  everywhere (Sarah’s favorite flower). I tried taking photos of them whenever I got the chance, and also used these opportunities to try to practice a new shooting technique I’m working on. The idea is, as you approach an object you want to photograph, you depress the shutter halfway to lock focus, and sweep your hand and camera angle back to keep the object in the frame, and press the shutter while you do so. (Here is a somewhat-successful previous attempt.) Unfortunately my camera was acting up a bit and I had trouble getting the timing right.

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Tiger Lillies

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Tunnel Road
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Church

As I rode on Tunnel Road, I saw numerous cyclists headed in the opposite direction, and waved. A jeep, with all its window rolled down or snapped off, was hauling a boat and as it passed me the guys inside waved and said hello.

I really enjoyed the descent down South Shore Drive to Lake Lemon. Some more riders were struggling up the hill going the other way and I could see a sense of envy on their faces as I rode effortlessly downhill at 38 mph or so. I had plenty of climbing ahead of me, but it was a bit of a humorous moment.

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Lake Lemon

I was surprised when I reached the Port Hole Inn, a restaurant/bar right by the lake. Apparently there was a fire — the place is pretty well gutted. Looking at headline now it appears this happened back in April — I’m surprised I didn’t learn of it until just now. I didn’t venture far inside, but did take a few photos from near the door.

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Port Hole Inn

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Inside the Port Hole Inn

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The sign says “Hope to re-open Aug 1st”

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More of the interior

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Dining room and bar

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Lake and Tiger Lillies

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Riding across the causeway

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House by a big hill

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Donkey

The ride felt routine for a while, but I was really enjoying being out riding. Once I got back on 45, I saw numerous homes where people had put tons of stuff on their lawns, and I wonder if this was because of flood damage. There were some big trucks and dumpsters hauling things away. I didn’t get any photos, as I was busy trying not to get hit by a truck.

The road on North Shore was very rough in places (even moreso than usual) with some torn-up pavement and rebar showing in spots by a couple of bridges. I had to ride very carefully to avoid the rebar and some huge potholes. I have a bunch of photos I’m going to skip as they are OK, but this is getting a little long. For more, see here.

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Hay bales

I took a bit of a detour from my usual route to ride down to Lake Griffy. This let me go by another lake, and added another big climb to my ride.

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Lake Griffy

I saw another rider up ahead, a guy without a helmet riding a hybrid and wearing a backpack. He did pretty well on the hill, although he swerved a bit. I figured I’d catch up and say hi, but then I dropped my chain right at the bottom of the hill. I put it back on and still caught up with him. I talked to him for a few minutes, he’d ridden 40 miles already and was headed home. I got the impression he must’ve spent a while chilling by the lake. I can’t blame him, it was a gorgeous day. We went our separate ways at the Bypass.

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Part of the climb

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Trying to catch up with the other rider

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Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium

All in all, a great 35 miles or so of riding.

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