Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Like My Bike!

I rode my Tricross today for the first time in 3 weeks. I've been doing short rides when I had a little time on my Schwinns - the Continental and the LeTour III. I really like the Schwinns, but I had forgotten how much I like my Tricross. I rode 32 miles this afternoon, the last 21 miles in moderate rain. But with the cold, the wind, and the rain, it was still glorious to be out on the Tricross again!

Just east of my home is a horse pasture that the owner had just spread some fresh horse manure from the barn. These ring-billed gulls are recycling what the horses couldn't digest. A farmer friend of mine told me that if you want to use manure in your garden, always go with beef manure - their 4 stomachs, along with regurgitating and re-chewing their cud effectively kills most of the weed seeds in the forage they've eaten. Horses only have 1 stomach like us and their stomachs don't kill very many of the weed seeds.

The harvest is almost over for everyone one around here. The grain dryers were running at every farmstead I passed today. The corn this year was exceptionally wet, right up to the end of the harvest.

Here's the mighty Maumee River heading to Lake Erie. Actually it is more genteel at this point, it gets mightier closer to Toledo. We are east of New Haven here, looking southwest toward Fort Wayne.

Hope all of you were able to get out on your bikes this weekend.

Happy riding!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Day Ride

My riding and my blogging have suffered lately due to my kitchen project. Since Alex and I were hosting T-Day Dinner, the kitchen project has consumed most of my non-work and non-sleep time.

Happy to report the project is almost complete. Here's a shot with the cabinets going up.

Couldn't have completed the job without help from the family beast.

Here's the mostly completed kitchen. Still need to put up the trim at the top, light over the sink, and toe board. But, worked perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner prep.

After T-day Dinner and after company left, I headed down to Shoaff Park. Shoaff Park is on the northeast side of Fort Wayne. The city is completing a trail connection from the Rivergreenway all the way to Shoaff. Here is the trail where it meets the Shoaff Park loop road.

On around the soccer fields the trail winds.

After winding for a short while along the St. Joe River, the trail dumps on to Washington Center Road to cross the river, then will travel down the towpath to the Wabash and Erie Canal Feeder Canal. The high-tension towers are located in the canal itself.

On the towpath.

Yours truly. I started the growth when I started the kitchen project 3 weeks ago. A little whiter each year.

At the Hefner Soccer Fields and the Plex, Indiana-Purdue University has installed a couple of these signs.

Here's the cross-country route. The Plex hosts many cross country races for middle schools, high schools, and colleges.

The McKay Family sold or donated the family farm to IPFW for use as an athletic complex. The old forage barn is still standing, the only structure from the farm still standing. I hope they restore it and keep it.

The old moldboard plow which tilled the soil here for years and years now looks out of place.

A little ways down the trail to California Road is a new bridge across the St. Joe leading to the IPFW campus.

I don't know the Ron Venderly Family, but think their bridge is awesome!

Heading back to the Plex and Shoaff Park, I noticed this mass of Asian Bush Honeysuckle spreading throughout the forest floor (the low growing shrubs with yellow and green leaves still on the bushes). ABH is an invasive shrub in this area that grows in forest understories and crowds out natural forest regeneration.

Here's the road entrance to the Plex.

After crossing over the Plex grounds again and riding up the towpath trail, it empies onto Washington Center Road. I don't know how the city is going to safely encourage trail users to cross the bridge here. This is an incredibly busy road most days, especially at rush hour.

I am very thankful to have the opportunity to ride on these new trails, among many other things.

I hope all of you out there had great Thanksgiving Days also.

Happy riding!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Indian Summer Ride

Alex and I took the afternoon off from working on the kitchen project to ride the Rivergreenway out to the new Towpath Trail. It was a magnificent day, mostly sunny, 69 degrees, and a gentle southwesterly breeze.

I took Big Orange today, my Schwinn LeTour III that I converted to a fixed gear. I recently wrapped the handlebars with a used inner tube, then used some spongy tape from Planet Bike on top of the tube wrap.

Here's the new trail that connects to the new Towpath Trail. Although this section is not called the Towpath Trail, this is where the Wabash and Erie Canal once flowed. It has since been filled in. This is the grand portage between the Great Lakes and the Wabash River which flows into the Mississippi. This was a very strategic location early in the westward expansion of our country.

Here's Alex and the end of the trail

On the way back we found this sign posted next to a small bridge that crossed a section of the canal still in place. I didn't see any trolls.

Hope the weather was good for all of you out there today!

Happy riding!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

In The Kitchen

Since last Saturday, I've been under a self-imposed ban from cycling so I can renovate our kitchen. We live in an old farmhouse (124 yrs old), and the kitchen hasn't been updated since the mid-50's. We thought it was time to do something, so we ordered some cabinets. It was then I realized how much work was ahead of me.

Progress has been really slow until recently. Ripping all of the old plaster and lath from the ceiling and walls was the dirtiest, dustiest thing I have ever done, and it took a lot longer than I thought (4 days in all).

I'm doing the electrical and plumbing myself, and have that completed now. No leaks so far.

I have a couple of friends who are good at drywall, and they are helping me with that. Once we started drywall, progress has been good. Above are the two walls left to do, and below are the two walls and the ceiling we have already hung.

The weather has been perfect for cycling all week, but I wanted to stay focused on the kitchen. The new cabinets come early this next week, so we should have the drywall all taped and mudded by then, if all goes well. Unfortunately, I return to work, so I will only have evenings to hang the cabinets.

It is amazing how life revolves around the kitchen, especially the kitchen sink. I didn't realize that until I started this project. How we miss that old kitchen sink. But in the end, life will be much easier and cleaner, since we will have cabinets for all of our pots and pans, plastic food containers, cycling maps, ride flyers, pegs to hang my cycling clothes, etc. You get the idea.

Well it is morning and daylight is burning, so back to the drywall with memories of the road to spur me on.

Happy riding!