Monday, July 25, 2011

Vacation Tidbits

It seems like at the beginning of each of every one of my vacations, I have grand plans to do all kinds of things during the week that I really want to do. This vacation, I wanted to do two or three posts, but with all of the stuff we did, I never found the time to get that done.

In addition, this trip was bittersweet, for Alex's parents, who were born and raised in the Adirondacks, and who retired to just east of here in Vermont, moved to Indianapolis, where Alex has two sisters. This may be the last time we visit here, at least for a while.

Anyway, I did get a little biking in during the week, and I took a few photos. I thought I had Blogger photo-uploading all figured out, but as I uploaded my photos, they are not in the order I had planned. But I think I've got them pretty well sorted out now, so if you've got some time to kill (i.e. nothing else better to do), we'll get started.

We stayed at a cabin on Glen Lake, about halfway between Glens Falls and Lake George, NY. We rented this cabin, instead of our usual rental on Friends Lake because it is easier to get into and out of for Alex's parents, and because it has air conditioning. Last year's 100F temps cooked us in that little sun-drenched cabin.

Here's the road heading out toward Highway 9, a bumper-to-bumper two lane road that more or less parallels the Hudson River.

Between Glens Falls and Lake George, is this sweet little trail which roughly follows an old rail corridor. In several places, the trail leaves the former rail bed to climb over a large hill, or to follow beneath overhead power lines. The trail is wide, recently paved with asphalt, and is very well marked with stop signs and hazards (like this anti-car device).
Blue Trek needed a rest along the trail, and he (she?) chose this spot. I must confess I'm becoming quite attached to this old Blue Trek. It is such a comfortable bike to ride and it never complains. I feel the need to give this bike a name, which is unusual. I've not named any of my other bikes, but this one is different.

The city of Glens Falls is at the south end of this trail. The trail follows roads around the Glens Falls Country Club, but jumps back on the old rail line south of the golf course. This building is near the old feeder canal trail in central Glens Falls. I thought it looked cool, and is a good advertizement for the product the plant produces.

The old feeder canal. This canal carried water to the main canal which connected Lake Champlain with the Hudson River. This early 1800's transportation system enabled the US to become the great country it is. And a lot of people literally worked their guts out building it.

Blue Trek likes this spot, too.

A history sign. I can't get enough of them.

Glens Falls is embracing this trail. Many people were out walking and biking on the trail when I rode it on July 17th. This business looks like my kind of place, but it was closed at 9:00am.

Around the side, along the trail, they've got a welcoming little park-like area for the ice cream stand. It was closed also.

The trail was clearly marked in Glens Falls at each road intersection.

Glens Falls reminds me of mid-sized midwestern towns with some nice, affluent areas, and some run down areas, and homeless folk wondering around downtown. Along the path, with folks from all walks of life, I found this to be a very pleasant place to be. And I'm sure that the other people using this trail found this a very pleasant place to be. Funny how a simple thing like a trail built just for walking or biking can lift the spirits of a community.

Dang, a couple photos out of order. This is the feeder canal trail again. It's packed limestone screenings which makes a very nice surface. I saw some bikers with 23's or 25's who had no problems on this trail. When these trails are wet, however, they get my bike dirty.

At a trail head near the start of the asphalt-paved trail. Info sign with map. And history sign. I love the history signs.

A better view of the trailhead.

At the other end of the trail is Lake George. Coming down a heavily-wooded path, the view opens suddenly to this. Spectacular!

A tour boat on Lake George. This is a big lake.

I rode around the east side of Lake George to find a vista to get more water photos, but the road was heavily wooded, and I didn't find any good spots. But I did climb up Lockhart Mountain (my first mountain on a bike) and found this sign. I thought about riding down this road to the golf course, but thought it might be restricted. My father-in-law later told me this is a beautiful course which looks out over the lake.

Back at the cabin, Georgia and her boyfriend, James, shucking corn for supper.
Anders and I fished for several days. He is a very good bass fisherman, and taught me some good tricks for catching bass. We caught a bunch of bass every day. This is one of the larger ones he caught.

All-in-all it was a very nice vacation. We were able to get Alex's parents safely to their new home in Indy, we caught gobs of fish (all of which were returned, relatively unharmed, to the waters of Glen Lake), and I got to ride a little bit. We never did get out to ride as a group, but Brooke (Alex's sister), Anders, and Alex and I are all set for our Door County, Wisconsin trip on Labor Day. We'll be doing nothing but biking on that trip.

Thanks for hanging in there to get to the end of this post.

Happy riding!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Vacation

12 hours of steady interstate driving got us to our destination for this summer's vacation, Glen Lake, NY. Half way between Glens Falls and Lake George, the area is a little more crowded than I imagined. But many hours in the fishing boat and in a bike saddle will alleviate that. Will post more as I have time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New Trek for Bill

As I mentioned in my last post, Jon brought to Indiana this Trek 710, which I purchased from him. He had the bike cleaned up, with new cables, cable housing, and bar tape. Aside from the paint scratches (it's a 30 year old bike, after all!), it rides like a new bike. Essentially it is to me.

I didn't ride it to work today like I had planned, but I did go for a nice, long ride tonight after supper. It rides straight and true with no hands. A very good sign.

I added toe clips to the pedals. These pedals and clips fit my ape feet very nicely.

The Tange fork, not original equipment, nicely absorbs rode vibrations. On gravel, below, I can actually see the fork ends moving slightly as I roll down the road.

The curves on the SR Randonneuring bars fit the palms of my hands so nicely!

The body support system - handlebars and saddle, are a great combination. I've had this saddle on three different bikes now, I believe it shall stay on this one from now on.

I've had this Blackburn rack for probably over 30 years. It's been on almost every bike I've owned since then.

What attracted me to the bike in the first place is this TA Specialties crank. A French-made component, all three of these rings can be replaced with different-sized chain rings, for almost infinite gearing options.

When I first hopped on the bike, it felt a bit small for me. This frame is slightly smaller than my Trek 500. But after riding it yesterday and again today, it feels very comfortable. Maybe my other Trek is too big for me? With my stiff back, I feel like I'm really stretched out on the 500. I'll need to do some long rides to know how it'll really feel. I predict it'll be just fine.

Happy riding!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Bloomington Blog Ride

Every now and then I get the good fortune to have a great ride with great folks, and this weekend I had that experience.

Jon and Brad from Denver stopped in Bloomington, Indiana, at Micheal and Sarah's house Saturday night. I drove down early Sunday morning to meet them for a ride. Micheal's friends, Tim, and Asher, came up from Louisville, and we met his other biking friend, Dave, on the road.

We headed out through the south end of Bloomington. Below you can see Asher's left arm, Jon, and up the road a bit, Tim, then Micheal.

Micheal planned this route, a 50 miler that promised some dandy hills and plenty of gravel. Shortly after we left Bloomington, we rode through a woods Micheal played in as a kid. He said that John Mellencamp bought the woods so that it could never be developed. I took several photos in the woods, this one below is the only one that had people in it. It was dark enough in the woods that when I clicked the camera, it took a few seconds to flash and take the picture. When we were riding on the trail, it was bumpy, so I couldn't ride one-handed for very long. Oh, Steve, the Tricross was completely at home in the woods, and is presently whining in the garage for another trip back to the woods.

After we came out of the woods, we came onto blacktop, and climbed the first of several very big and steep hills. Man, this country down here is beautiful!

I believe Micheal said this was Lake Lemon.

After riding through Yellowwood State Forest, we came out into this bottomland field, tucked between limestone ridges. Here's Jon and Brad in the foreground.

I forget which State Road this was, but it was very busy. We were only on it for a mile or so. Then we headed onto many miles of gravel.

Here's Dave fixing one of many flats on his rear tire. He was running Panaracer Paselas, which are great tires on asphalt, but not so good on gravel. The sidewalls on those tires aren't very thick, and sharp gravel will pinch the rubber against the rim, if the tires aren't fully inflated. Unfortunately, without a floor pump, it was almost impossible to get the tire pumped back up to the proper pressure to prevent future flats.

Ahhh, gravel. After a screamer downhill on this loose gravel, we rode for a while on flat ground, then had a big, steep uphill. Shortly after I took this photo, I noticed my front fender floating around, as if a nut had come loose. After I stopped, sure enough, the nut that holds the fender onto the bracket which attached to the top of the fork was gone. But the leather washer was holding the fender onto the bolt. I zip-tied the fender back onto the fork, and all was good. I'm thinking I may take the fenders off the Tricross, and slapping on some knobbier tires to handle gravel and trails better.

Regrouping and recovering at the top of the hill. As I said, it was a mighty beast.

We climbed many other hills, and I didn't take too many photos. But as we were heading back into Bloomington, I noticed the Tibetan Cultural Center entrance, and was able to get the camera out just as I passed the entrance. Micheal did a very nice blog entry about this, last year, I believe.

Back at Micheal's ranch, rehydrating. And eating. Sarah made a great spread of pasta salad, deviled eggs, fresh fruit, and sandwiches. It was great!

I was honored when Micheal and Jon invited me down for a ride. I enjoyed talking bikes with these guys all ride long, and for a good while afterward. It's funny how you meet people in person for the first time, but feel like you've been friends for a really long time. I guess the power of bikes is quite strong, and that interest provides a common bond. But more than that, though, is that these are really good people who love everything about bikes, but have many other interests too. It's too bad we all live far apart. We did think it would be a fun time to ride with the Texas blog contingent. So, maybe someday, there will be an opportunity to meet again, with more folks.

Jon did bring a Trek 710 with him, which I purchased. He took some pictures, so maybe he'll post one. I bought the bike thinking it would make a great rando bike. And tonight, I rando-fied it even more, adding some wider tires, a rear rack, and putting my Brooks saddle on it. I'm going to ride it to work tomorrow - I'll take a photo and post it. It is a sweet ride.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ride Instead of Work

I took the day off today so I could go on a long ride. I headed out at 7:30 this morning, and pointed the bike toward Ohio for no particular reason. It seemed like a good idea to head toward the sun, apparently.

This is C192 in Paulding County, Ohio, along the Maumee River (it's behind the trees to the right side of the photo, below). This is one of my favorite roads. In a flat landscape with square roads, a curvy river is a great place to ride.

Below is a road I've wanted to ride for over 30 years, but didn't dare try because of the heavy traffic. This used to be the only route between Fort Wayne and Toledo. It used to be known for its long string of semi trucks and speeding cars trying to pass. But now it's all mine as new US 24 is open.

Here's the shiny, new US 24.

For miles it is possible to see several different towns at any one spot from their water towers. In the center is a water tower below. Let's ride to it to see what town belongs to it.


Back toward the Ohio line is the wind farm. There are somewhere around 40 operating wind mills here. Eventually, there are supposed to be over 200 wind mills.

Directly across from one of the wind mills is this horse farm.

The wheat is ripe now. I saw one combine out today.

Back in Indiana. I didn't see any snowmobiles today.

The weather all week has been great, although my work schedule prevented me from getting in many miles. I made up for that today.

Happy riding!