Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sailing on Lake Maumee

With fairly strong southeast winds blowing Saturday, I decided to head into the wind for an hour and a half, then let it blow me back home. Unfortunately, when I go southeast from my house, I ride out onto the lake bed of the former Lake Maumee, a glacial lake that has receded to the present shores of Lake Erie. Although the ground is flat as a pancake, there aren't many trees, so the wind blows across the plain as if it was a lake anyway.

I rode past the former Casad Depot, a WWII strategic munitions storehouse. The depot now houses many different businesses, and is the current home for the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society. The group has restored to fully functioning condition a large steam engine. The funny thing is that it is so heavy, there are limited rails on which it is permitted to run. The group did a great restoration though. We can't see it - they keep it inside a building most of the year.

Several miles east of the depot is this gravel pit. I can see the overburden pile three miles away.

Here it is close up. Beneath the ground is an abundance of clay delivered by the last glacier (thanks Ontario!). Beneath that is limestone, great for grinding up and putting on roads. The good Indiana limestone used for buildings all comes from southern Indiana.

Here's a house that would make Buckminster Fuller proud. Just after I snapped this picture a dog came running from behind the house. The dog was part Saint Bernard, part Pit Bull, and part horse. When driven by fear, I can out run all dogs, but not this beast. He ran right in front of my wheel and stopped. Fortunately, he only wanted to show me that he was boss, and I humbly submitted, and he let me go.

Coming back through Woodburn, I snapped this photo of the dairy store. I can't believe the high school still uses the warrior mascot. Woodburn is conservative enough they would probably enjoy taking on any opposition to their mascot.

Here's the new US 24 widening project that is consuming hundreds of acres of beautiful, productive farm ground. Pretty soon I can drive on a four lane highway directly to the Port of Toledo in one hour. I'm all for it for selfish reasons, I admit. With the opening of new 24, I get the old one. Well, not actually own it, but I will be safer riding my bike on it than now. It follows along the shore of the Maumee River and is a beautiful drive.

These are two of the beasts in our herd. They're not too crazy about the cold wind either.

Happy riding!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You Can't Stop Ma Nature

Today was a magnificent day - temps in the mid-60's, no wind, no clouds. On the way home from work tonight, I rode past the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Museum. This is where these cars were built back in the 1920's. You probably heard the expression, "Wow, that's a Deusy", well, that is a reference to the Duesenberg cars. Deusy's were large cars with massive engines - up to 12 cylinders.

Behind the ACD Museum is the National Automobile and Truck Museum which highlights advancements in truck design.

The St. Joe River is finally receding. Many farm fields along the river have been flooded the last week, but fortunately the water never rose high enough to threaten anyone's home.

It's hard to believe that a little more than a week ago this wetland was frozen and covered with snow. The chorus frogs are out today - take a listen:

Happy riding!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Ramble

On my ride home from church today, I felt the urge to ramble through Fort Wayne after service. The weather this past week has been very warm and sunny, which has melted all of our snow. It rained all day Saturday, which in combination with the snow melt has raised the three rivers. The Fort Wayne Rivergreenway is a beloved trail, but is absolutely no good when the rivers flood, since much of the trail is built in floodplains along the river. I should have taken my canoe.

Central Fort Wayne has many old cool-looking houses. This one was converted to a clinic where violent offenders who are on parole can get counseling to help them avoid jail time, but mostly to help them understand what makes them violent. My dad worked part-time here for many, many years.

This is Joseph Pierre de Bonnecamps, a Jesuit priest who traveled here in the mid-1700's on a scientific expedition. He is pointing to the junction of the St. Mary's and the St. Joseph Rivers where the Maumee River is born. The Maumee flows northeast to Toledo, Ohio, where it empties into Lake Erie. Much like the hypoxic zone (area with no life) where the Mississippi River dumps into the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Erie has its own hypoxic zone where the Maumee empties into the lake.

The building behind the good reverend is the Three Rivers Filtration Plant, Fort Wayne's water treatment facility that takes St. Joseph River water and turns it into tap water for 200,000 people. I've toured the plant a couple of times and it is impressive how those folks take brown water and turn it into clear, good, drinkable water.

Here is Fort Wayne's condensed history. There is a lot that has been left out.

Also at the junction of the three rivers is mile 0.0 for the three trails that comprise the Rivergreenway.

High water along the St. Joseph River.

Happy riding!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hoosier Hoser Tournament

Today, the first Saturday in March, was the 10th (we think) annual Hoosier Hoser Disc Golf Tournament. The weather could not have been more perfect - afternoon high of 45 degrees with nothing but sun and light wind. The morning started off a little chilly, in the upper teens, but warmed quickly.

Bikes and Boards hosted the tournament, and provided a generous lunch in between rounds. Bikes and Boards is about 5 years old, and is building a sizable recreational biking business. Paul (not in the picture), is a young, but knowledgeable wrench who is helping the shop's business grow. Today he showed me the large number of projects he is working on for customers. I am sorry I did not think to take a picture. These yayhoos are disc golfers.

I road the Tricross down to the tournament and back home. I broke my chain on Thursday night, but picked up a new Ultegra chain Friday at Bikes and Boards. New chains shift so nicely!

Happy riding!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Mi amigos, el cielo es azul! Well, after hiding for several weeks the sun decided to show itself this afternoon. Ever the opportunist, I was able to hop on the bike and get some miles in. The snow has gone down dramatically the past few days, although the temps have remained only in the mid-30's.

We've missed all of the major snows that have hit the east coast. We've missed most of the minor snows also - they stayed 30 miles to the north along the Michigan line. However, as snow-free as we have been, we've managed to get enough every other day or so for what seems like forever. This has given us plenty of salt and sand and wetness on the roads so that my bike is now absolutely filthy, even with hot-water baths after each ride, and a dose of lube on the chain.

Due to a program I'm involved with at work, I thought I'd better shave the grey off my face. It never ceases to amaze me what good insulation fur is on the face.

As far as my riding goes, I've been able to get out for a long ride each weekend, although my mileage during the week has suffered. I've decided I'm going to try a 200k permanent, and maybe a 300k permanent later in the summer if my mileage and training progresses.

Anyway, happy riding!