Sunday, June 22, 2008

Off to Camp

Heading out to scout camp for the next week. Here's the forecast...

Yeah. There will be stories.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Can't see the Forest...?

Temperature at departure = 66° F (19° C)

As a child growing up in Fairway, I used to joke with my friends living in Overland Park that their city moto should be "Overland Park -- Land of small trees." I am reminded of that every time I ride past the City Forrest at 116th and Indian Creek Parkway.

The sign says these nut trees were planted in November of 2006, so I guess in several years I'll be dodging more walnuts on this section of the path.

Most of the trees seem to be doing well. Still, they're just babies.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Flat -- No Problem

Temperature at departure = 66° F (19° C)

For reasons unknown to me at the time, I decided not to ride the long way today but to run a quick errand on the way to work. Good thing too; the rear tire went flat after I'd crossed a busy intersection.

A couple years ago a flat tire would have been almost traumatic to me. Having repaired several over the last year and a half or so makes it a minor annoyance. I sat down on the curb and was back in business in 10 minutes.

Had I not had the patch kit, Latex glove and my hand pump, it would have been a different story. I keep a few gloves around in case I have to handle the chain, etc. The pump was swag from last year's Bike To Work Week and has come in very handy.

The brand is Specialized -- don't know the model.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Still Water

Temperature at departure = 64° F (18° C)

I pass several "lakes" during my ride when I take the long way. I call them ponds... With all the rain we've had this spring, most of them are a little top heavy. This one runs right up to the path and whenever it rains, if flows over a bit. Pretty though. Don't know if you can tell that there is steam rising from the surface. I had to stop and get a couple shots.

I hope this weather holds for the next two weeks. The kids have church camp this week and Curtis and I have Boy Scout Camp next week.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Man, I'm tired of all the rain. Second day in a row that I've not ridden to work due to thunderstorms. The rain stopped early enough today that I could have acted the martyr and plodded through the mud and puddles (muddles?), but no thanks.

I took this fine opportunity to take one of the cars to get the brakes looked at. Dropped it off and walked 10 minutes to the office. They asked if they wanted one of the guys to drive me to work, but why take someone out of the loop for 15 - 20 minutes for an 8 - 10 minute chance to burn some calories? Plus, I've got Boy Scout camp coming up soon and need to get my hiking legs prepped.

Side note: they tell me that they have a ~20 mountain bike path that I'll be able to ride while I'm there; bike and helmet provided. My guess is they'll want a couple adults along on the rides so I'll probably get a few chances to do this. If the Rimrock Trail is an indication of the challenge ahead, I won't have to worry about not being able to get any sleep. Yikes.

I have to admit that really enjoy the times I gotten to spend at Naish for Webelos Camp (8 times). It is gorgeous.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tagged at last -- Page 123

In the past I've always flown under the radar enough to not get tagged. Noah has changed all that. Thanks for thinking of me.

The rules:

  1. Pick up the nearest book.
  2. Open it to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post in your blog the following three sentences.
  5. Tag five or more people, and acknowledge the person who tagged you.

'Without there is a good understanding between the officers a ship cannot be happy: and a happy ship is your only good fighting ship -- you should hear Nelson on that point: and I do assure you it is profoundly true. He will be dining with us, and I should take it very kindly if you would, as it were ... ah, Mr Dillon, come and join us in a glass of grog.'

Partly for professional reasons and partly because of an entirely natural absence, Stehen had long ago assumed the privilege of silence at table; and now from the shelter of this silence he watched James Dillon with particular attention.

I had to be reading a book with a wordy author... Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. I should be finishing it tonight and have another good novel lined up.

Now, the tough part -- Most of the people I had in mind have already been tagged. Noah (I'll return the favor some day) and Dave are out. How about the other Dave? Fritz probably gets a ton of these and he can forgo if he'd like. What about Midnight Rider? Nope, he's already been tagged.

Well, I mentioned 5, does that count?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bike Hikes

Temperature at departure = 64° F (18° C)

I really don't consider myself to be THAT old ... but summers were sure different for me than they are for my kids. No video games, our TV had 4 channels and stayed off because all that was on was reruns and other than Vacation Bible School there were no organized "camps." I spent my early childhood summers at the pool, playing G.I. Joes, badminton, croquet, "army" and hide-and-go-seek with the other kids in the neighborhood. And, of course, there were many, many bike hikes. That's what we called them. "Mom, Tim and I are going on a bike hike" and off we'd go; no plans or destinations, just ride.

Why do I bring it up? Since gas prices have climbed to ~4 dollars a gallon people I talk to assume that is the reason I'm riding my bike now. This morning, as I headed towards the stairs with Bucephalus, some guy waiting for the elevator looked at me and said something along the lines of "That's one way to save on gas." I know he (and all the others) are being friendly and are, in truth, looking for an answer to that problem in their own lives -- but that isn't why I ride. I also don't ride because it's good for my body or for the environment. All of those things are valid reasons and are certainly benefits. I ride because it is fun -- plain and simple.

As I exited the second floor stairway door I met the same guy from the floor below and had the chance to say "I've been doing this for years just for the fun of it." And fun it is. It came to me that I may, on some level, be reaching back for that feeling I got during all those early bike hikes. And why not.

I don't mean to rant and welcome those who are tired of gas prices to join me on the bike path. Just follow the rules, please. Perhaps they'll come for other reasons and discover the unexpected benefit of sheer fun.

Added bonus: Wildflowers in the park at 119th and Tomahawk Creek Parkway just west of Mission Road.

The picture above doesn't really do justice to how large an area they've used to plant these wildflowers.

Let's see, I could look at stuff like this or be stuck in traffic somewhere... Hmmmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Temperature at departure = 66° F (19° C)

Wow, it has been a very busy couple of weeks. KAT's high school graduation, the last days of school for Jon and Curtis and a host of other things -- including a few recreational bike rides -- I haven't spent as much time in front of the computer lately.

We really over-did things Saturday, cleaning out the garage and attic, which had a ton of wood shake shingle debris from when we got our new roof a month or so ago. After church, Peter and I decided to take the opportunity to ride the 22.5 mile loop on the trail. Temperatures were in the mid 80's and there were a ton of people, both walkers and cyclists, who had the same idea.

My bell thumb got a really good work out and the behavior of most of the people we came into contact with reminded me of the steers we used to see at my grandmother's farm. When I was a child we spent every other weekend during the spring, summer and fall at my grandmother's farm. That is the way I remember it and I think my brother and cousins can back me up. Part of the farm had been leased out to some neighbor to graze their cattle. I was fascinated by these huge animals and would often try to pull some grass and feed them when they came up close to the house. My grandmother would warn me not to get them skittish -- but I don't recall them ever being that interested in me. The people on the trail yesterday are a different story.

I rang the bell well in advance of passing people and it freaks so many of them out that they just sort of mill around in the middle of the path not knowing what to do. It's pretty simple people, move over to the right. Families were the worst; they'd just spread out all the way across the path and freeze. I don't mind with small kids, I slow way down, smile and apologize or say "no problem" if they apologize to me. Then there was the recumbent dad and his two teen-agers.

Peter was behind me as I pulled around a corner at mile 18. There in front of me, headed our direction was an older couple walking on the path, side by side, with recumbent dad and his spawn trying to pass them. The first kid made it as did the dad ... but the teen-age daughter who was bringing up the rear decided that it was her right to pass too. Closest call I've ever had in 40 some years of riding bikes. I was as far to the right as I could safely go and she just kept coming. Our wheels must have only been 5 inches apart and we brushed shoulders. I honestly don't understand how we didn't smack head on into each other. Peter tried to slam on his brakes to avoid me (I guess I'd hit mine a bit too) and she almost hit him as well. Recumbent dad's little princess, of course, believed that we were entirely in the wrong.

Okay folks, they post the rules of the path at the trail heads. Spend a few moments with your spawn and go over it with them and be prepared to that the responsibility to tell them to hold up or move to the right. Arrrrrgh. There, I feel better.

Close to the new detour on Roe there is a Sonic and a Quick Trip. The plan was to stop for a drink at Quick Trip for a slushie but Peter talked me into going to Sonic instead since it was "happy hour" and the drinks were half price. I'm glad he did. Sonic has a bike rack next to their picnic tables -- Quick Trip has no bike friendly space at all.

We took a break to enjoy a slushie and headed home to get ready to grill. All in all another wonderful weekend ride.

Oh, yesterday's moment of irony came as I was driving home from church. East bound 435's exit to 69 is always an adventure. Those exiting 69 are supposed to yield to those coming off 435. There is a short section of the two lanes where both must cross over to the other lane of suffer the consequences. There was a car coming off 69 that speed up to try to beat me and refused to yield. As I let her pass I took note of her bumper sticker. So, she refuses to yield but insists that I coexist...