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Archive for the 'Love' Category

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Old Myers Road

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Subdued silhouettes

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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.

Full, yet empty

Monday, June 11th, 2007

I had a really good weekend involving lots of cycling and spending time with my family and some family friends who I hadn’t seen in years. However, while I kept very busy and had a “full” weekend in that respect, I have been missing Sarah a lot. She went home on Thursday to spend the weekend with her family. I’ll pick her up from the bus station in Indianapolis tonight. I am really looking forward to seeing her! Someone commented that I probably got to do more cycling than usual this weekend with Sarah gone, but in reality, I get to ride a lot anyway. Her being gone only really affects how I spend my time off the bike. So I had fun this weekend, but it left me feeling a bit empty because I couldn’t share it with Sarah.

Friday night, I did a shortish road ride (20 miles or so) with one of my coworkers. I had never ridden with her before, and it was a good ride. We rode at a fairly leisurely pace, and saw a bunch of wild turkeys along Mount Gilead Road. We also rode through Cascades Park, which was pretty cool. I realized later that my odometer on my road bike passed 1,000 miles on this ride.

Dave and I were supposed to go mountain biking at Valley Branch on Saturday, but he was sick. Instead, I slept in and did a road ride in the afternoon. I found a great route around Lake Monroe on RouteSlip that appears to be a Bloomington Bicycle Club route. I wrote down directions, making a few modifications, and started riding.

Riding out State Road 446 kind of sucked because the speed limit is 55, but it’s only 2 lanes. There’s a shoulder for a while, but then you lose the shoulder and the road starts winding a lot. I had trouble with some motorists during this part of the road because they had to wait a while to pass me. I had a couple of them yell at me to “Get off the road!” and one guy even threw something at me. I’m not sure what it was, but it was small and bounced off my leg and didn’t hurt at all. Still, it was a bit nerve-wracking, and this portion of the ride put me in a bit of a bad mood. I think I would’ve had a lot less trouble if I hadn’t chosen Saturday afternoon to ride on 446.

My bad mood didn’t last long, though, because riding across the lake on the causeway is just awesome — and once you get past there, there is a lot less traffic. And a few miles later, I turned onto Chapel Hill Road, which doesn’t have much traffic. I stopped at Krazy Joe’s Trading Post to get some more water and eat part of an energy bar.

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Krazy Joe’s Trading Post. The sign reads, “Hot beer, lousy service, cold food”

Sarah and I had been to Krazy Joe’s before (see this post). There seems to be some confusion about how to spell “crazy,” as I think the flyer he gave us before used a ‘c,’ whereas the sign in front uses a ‘k.’ I didn’t see Crazy Joe this time, and nobody tried to sell me a casket. But I didn’t give them a chance, I got a bottle of water, paid, and got out of there as quickly as possible. I didn’t really want to be bothered.

This ride took me to Coveyville, where I had wanted to ride since Sarah and I drove through there. I got a cool panoramic shot from the intersection with Coveyville road.

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Coveyville Panorama

The roads in that area were every bit as fun to ride on as I had hoped — there are rolling, winding sections, flat sections by corn and soybean fields, parts that follow ridgetops, good climbs and descents … it has everything, really. Next time, I may go further out Coveyville Road instead of heading back toward Bloomington immediately.

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A farm

The directions I had written down weren’t perfect, and I found myself a little confused and not where I wanted to be. I went the wrong way at first, but fortunately that road ended in the lake, so I knew I had gone the wrong way.

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Valley Mission Road

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My bicycle on Monroe Dam Road

It was really cool to be by Lake Monroe at several points during my ride, and it was cool to see the dam. I don’t know that I had ever been to that part of the lake. I made a couple of other wrong turns, but ended up finding my way to Fairfax Road, where I’ve ridden before. At this point, it felt like I was on the home stretch, although I was still 10-15 miles from home. I kept expecting to be home soon, and had to remind myself that I still had a ways to go.

The ride was 42.5 miles total. I really should have ridden earlier in the day, because it was pretty hot, and that made riding harder. I went through a lot of water (I stopped again for more water about 5 miles from home). I still need to figure out a good way to carry more water with me. I could probably put a water bottle in my rack bag, but I’m worried about other stuff in there getting wet.

I went to mom’s for a cookout Saturday night with our family friends who had come into town that afternoon. It was great to catch up with them, I’ve known them my whole life and they are like an aunt and uncle to me. But I hadn’t seen them for far too long. Sometimes, you don’t even realize you miss someone until you see them again. We also had brunch at the Story Inn Sunday morning, and dinner last night at mom’s. They went for a hike after brunch, but I had brought my mountain bike and my footwear options were sandals or cycling shoes — neither is good for hiking, so I went for a ride, instead.

My ride was OK. I did pretty well overall, but I took a break after the Aynes climb, and somehow lost my rhythm. When I started riding again, I was just off, my timing was off and I wasn’t riding very well. Also, my rear brake needs to be cleaned or something, and it was grabbing. I went through a rocky section and hit the brakes, my rear brake grabbed, and I leaned to the right (toward the uphill side of the trail, instead of toward the ravine) and sort of laid the bike down, sliding on my right leg a little bit. It was sort of like sliding into a base, only on a bike, and without the base. It didn’t really hurt, but I got frustrated.

A few minutes later, I got back into a groove and rode really well the rest of the ride. I was tempted to ride Hesitation Point, but decided against it because I didn’t want to push it. I probably should have gone ahead and done it, because I actually had a fair amount of energy.

It was great to do a lot of riding, but I really miss Sarah. I can’t wait to pick her up tonight. I hate being apart, but it does make me appreciate her more. It’s true what they say about absence.

An Open Apology

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Dear Sarah,

Please forgive me for the way I acted last night. I don’t know what came over me. I can think of a zillion reasons why I might have been such an asshole, but I don’t think they’re worth listing. None explain it fully, and no amount of explanation could justify my behavior.

I promise to work harder at dealing with things, despite my nicotine cravings (still!) and whatever curveballs life throws me. I said a lot of things I didn’t mean — and please believe me when I say that I didn’t mean them. I was not myself. I was reacting to all of life’s stresses at once and got carried away. I just needed to be by myself last night because I was taking things out on you that weren’t your fault. You deserve better, and I’ll give do better for you. Please give me a chance to do that.

I need you and I love you more than anything.

Please forgive me.

Love,
Michael

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