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Archive for the 'Driving' Category

Badi-Da

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Sarah and I went up to Green Bay, Wisconsin this weekend for the wedding of a couple of friends from college. We drove up to Chicago last Thursday night after I got off work to stay at another friend’s place there, and give them a ride to Green Bay.

Now, there’s a saying that Chicago has two seasons: winter and construction. And there’s a lot of truth to it. Last time we were there, it was winter and the high temperature was hovering around 0 degrees. This time, the drive up there, which is usually about 4 1/2 hours, took over six hours. We hit major construction and traffic on the way there. In fact, every leg of our trip was plagued with traffic jams. The drive back from Green Bay, which was supposed to be about 7 1/2 hours, took more like 10 1/2 hours. Yikes!

I’ve lived in Chicago before, and I have a lot of fond memories there — but this trip served as a reminder of just how much I prefer living in a smaller town. A place where parking isn’t an issue and the roads aren’t packed with vehicles all the time. A town that sleeps. And, a place where getting out of the city doesn’t involve driving for an hour or more. I have re-adapted to a much slower-packed lifestyle, and I love it. During some more frustrating moments, I found myself thinking of the Fred Neil song “Badi-Da:”

I get so tired
Hanging round this town
Oh this old city life
Sure brings a fella down

ba da da da da da
ba da da da da da da
ba da da da da da
ba da da

I sure get tired
Trying to sleep at night
Oh these old city lights
They keep on burning bright

ba da da da da da
ba da da da da da da
ba da da da da da
ba da da

I get so tired
Hanging round this town
Oh this old city life
Sure brings a fella down

ba da da da da da
ba da da da da da da
ba da da da da da
ba da da

On a positive note, Chicago was absolutely crawling with bicycles. I don’t remember seeing nearly as many bicycles when I lived there a few years ago. Was I not paying attention, or has bicycling exploded in popularity in Chicago in the past few years? Even late at night, we saw tons of cyclists.

It seemed like, based on what I saw, Chicago is probably a good place to ride, if you can somehow stay safe amongst all the insane drivers (and there are a lot of them).

I wish I had something to say about Green Bay, but we saw very little of it since we spent almost all of our time on wedding-related activities. It seemed like a nice city, much smaller than Chicago but big enough that it seems to have a lot going on.

The wedding, of course, was fantastic. This couple was the first of my close friends from college to get married, and I couldn’t be happier for them. Sarah and I will be next, in just over a month!

Muscatatuck NWR

Monday, June 16th, 2008

This weekend was good, even though I didn’t ride at all; Sarah and I spent Saturday driving around the countryside, eventually ending up at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge near Seymour, IN. I planned to go on a nice long bike ride yesterday, but I wasn’t feeling well.

Saturday was a lot of fun, after getting some lunch, we set out with no real destination in mind. We drove east until we hit Columbus, IN, then headed south. In the middle of nowhere, we came across Granny B’s CDs and DVDs, a smallish shop that was just packed with CDs, DVDs, books, and VHS tapes. We were puzzled to find this shop in such a remote area, and bought a few things very cheaply. It was an intriguing find.

Shortly thereafter, Sarah saw a sign for the Chateau de Pique winery. We followed a couple of signs and found ourselves at this small winery that is new as of last year, and as the woman we talked to stated, is “poised to become the #3 winery in Indiana.” We tasted several wines, including their Sauvignon Blanc (good, and very refreshing), Chardonnay (more intense than the Sauvignon Blanc), the Chandelle Cherry wine (tart, and better than I expected), and their Cabernet Merlot (a little mild for my tastes). All were pretty solid, but we preferred the slightly stronger Chardonnay to the Sauvignon Blanc. We bought a bottle of the Chardonnay to take home with us and took a few photos of the surrounding land.

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Tent

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Rows of grape vines

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Grapes

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Tendrils

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Barn and field

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Sarah, with her new camera

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Open

We didn’t stick around too long, and drove on to Seymour, then to Muscatatuck NWR. There are a number of marshy areas here, and we saw tons of wildlife, mainly in the form of dragonflies and birds. I even tried to get a few dragonfly shots … it’s more difficult than you’d think. They can be really elusive.

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Dragonfly

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Wildflowers

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Marsh

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Pond/marsh

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Lilly pads

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Creek

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Geese

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Great egret in the distance — there were several of these and a couple of Great Blue Herons

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Ripples

We also hiked the Turkey Trail, a one-mile trail, although we took a wrong turn and hiked half of the bird trail, too. It was a lovely day for a hike.

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We also saw a bunch of black and white dragonflies, like this guy

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Sarah on the Turkey Trail

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Brown dragonfly

We also kept seeing some green dragonflies but I couldn’t get them to sit still long enough to take a photo. Alas.

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Wetland

After we finished hiking, we drove pretty much directly home. It was getting to be pretty late in the day. This was different from our normal outings, but we certainly enjoyed it. Muscatatuck is a cool place, but it’s more geared toward observation than hiking, overall. We had fun, but stayed a little too close to the car most of the time.

Ugh

Friday, April 25th, 2008

For the first time in a long time, I drove to work today. I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and while I could ride there, I don’t know of a good way. That and breathing is not going so well with my allergies acting the way they are. It was too nice of a morning to drive to work. Alas.  I’m really missing out on some of the best riding weather through all this, and it’s driving me crazy. I sure hope the doctor can give me something to help with these allergies and the headaches I’ve been getting lately.

I’m hoping to do some riding this weekend, if I can breathe well enough to do so. It’s been over two weeks now since I’ve gone for a ride, a couple of commutes notwithstanding.

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