Experimental music, photography, and adventures

1,000 miles on the Long Haul Trucker, and a new camera

Friday, March 6th, 2009

I did a great ride yesterday, trying a new way of climbing up Bunker Hill and exploring the area to the north of Frances Slocum State Park a bit.

I also hit 1,000 miles on the Long Haul Trucker, and I have to say, this is turning out to be the ideal bicycle for me. It’s rugged enough to take on gravel roads and light trails, but it doesn’t feel clunky on the road. I can explore just about anywhere, unless things get too rocky or technical. The Trucker’s comfortable geometry makes it easy to ride for hours without discomfort, and it also descends with confidence — something I wasn’t too concerned with when I bought it, but it’s absolutely essential with the mountainous terrain here. The only downside I can think of is that it’s a heavy bicycle and not conducive to spirited climbing, but the gearing is low enough that I can spin my way up all but the steepest inclines. I certainly don’t climb quickly, but I don’t think I could sustain more aggressive climbing in the mountains for very long anyway. In short, I love this bicycle!

A couple of weeks ago, I hit a speed bump too hard and my camera popped out of the side pocket of my handlebar bag and fell to the ground. I’ve dropped it a few times before and it always comes out OK. Not this time. The camera still works, but the display does not. I’ll probably still use it in situations where I need a real beater camera, but for the most part, I’ve retired it.

In its stead, I ordered a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4. The main draw of this camera is its Leica 10x optical zoom lens, which is very sharp indeed. I’m having a hard time adjusting to this camera — it’s a lot different from the old one — and I keep thinking I’m dissatisfied, but then I go back and look at the photos and they always seem better than I remembered. I think I have just not quite tweaked the settings how I want them yet.

For my ride yesterday, I did approximately the same ride as the Ride Around Frances Slocum Lake I did previously, but in the opposite direction. I wanted to try climbing up Eighth Street. I had mixed feelings about doing it this way — the climb was easier than the Bunker Hill Road climb, as it was more gradual. But this meant I climbed for four solid miles, including a steep section at the end. It was also a very narrow road, often with just a guard rail and nowhere to go, and the traffic was a little heavier than I’d like. It wasn’t horrible, but the traffic did make me a little nervous.

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Narrow road

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Creek with a strange bridge

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Steep section

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Rolling hills

As I was riding toward the state park, I saw a road going further up the mountain that looked quite interesting. I rode up, which was harder than I thought it would be, but I got some great views of the lake.

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Looking back toward Frances Slocum Lake

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Mount Olivet Road

I reached the top and continued a little further, far enough to see some rolling hills on the other side. I will have to explore this area some more, it looks like some great riding. I also tried my new camera’s 16:9 mode, which yielded some cool results.

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Mountain

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The 16:9 shot
feels a bit more cinematic

I flew back down the mountain, passed the state park, and found myself on Green Road surprisingly quickly. When I rode the same section of road in the opposite direction, it was very slow going. I enjoyed the twists and turns of Green Road.

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Green Road

Before long I was back at Bunker Hill Road. I climbed a couple hundred feet and then plunged back into the valley. I’ve taken a couple of videos of this descent so far, hopefully I can take a couple more and edit them into a fun video sometime soon.

4 Responses to “1,000 miles on the Long Haul Trucker, and a new camera”

  1. furiousBall Says:

    very impressive milestone dude, i look forward to seeing shots from the new camera during the next 1000 miles 🙂

  2. John Says:

    The terrain looks a little more inviting. Snow is gone finally. As always, the photos tell a nice story.

  3. Doug Says:

    I was interested to hear your impressions of the LHT since I too bought one last year. I was curious how you felt about climbing all those hills on it. I love the comfortable ride and was also surprised how confident of a descender it is. But it climbs like a dog. Climbing on my Cross Check feels lightening fast in comparison. But of course, I bought it for loaded touring and never expected it to climb like a race rig. The few loaded trips I did on it convinced me it was worth every cent and more.

  4. John Says:

    I was thinking about going to Centralia while in PA. Is that town worth visiting. Can I ride around there on a bike?

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