Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Driving Danville - On the Trike

Today's Tracking

We spent 3 enjoyable days in Mackinac City parked in Linda's front yard plugged into her electricity in her garage.  Very cool weather, skeeters a-plenty, and all kinds of interesting stuff.  Turns out searchers actually found the remains of the Edmund Fitzgerald (and other Great Lakes naval disasters) and there are museums portraying mementos recovered from such wrecks and monuments to those who perished at the whims of Mother Nature on these massive unpredicable lakes transporting iron ore and other necessities to fuel the Industrial Might of the USA.  Mackinac Island is a wonderland all its own, accessible only by ferry and allowing no motorized vehicles on its acreage except, for some reason, snowmobiles in the wintertime.  I suppose the winter weather is too harsh to avoid the use of gasoline power at least for small traveling machines.  We took a ferry and the dogs and toured the island and of course spent money buying food and drink there.  We originally planned to take the tandem Terratrike on the ferry and use it to roam the island but we decided not to - at the last minute - and regretted the lack of the trike though we enjoyed every minute of walking around.  Our new Papillon puppy is a crowd magnet everywhere she goes and our progress around the island was slowed by the continuous requests from all passers-by, young and old, to coo over, hold, photograph, and cuddle Lilly, the tiny love-bug terror.  Jacque has already posted photos and videos of her on Facebook so I won't bother for now.  Except for this one:

We left Mackinac and drove back south through Michigan,stopping for the night at Wilson State Park near Harrison, MI, then through Indiana and arrived in Danville IL before dark the next day.
We wanted to ride the trike today but all sorts of interruptions prevented us from saddling up and taking off until late afternoon, and we were so frustrated we rode off in spite of rain beginning to sprinkle on us.  It turned to a downpour before we got a block away so we wimped out and rode back around the block and garaged the trike for a couple hours, after which the rain dried up and we took off again.  Our goal was only about 4 miles distant:  The local Big R store, where Jacque wished to make a return from a purchase earlier this morning.  This time the rains stayed away, the roads stayed dry, and we had a largely enjoyable ride across the Vermilion River into Danville proper.  We also found a frozen yogurt shop from which to purchase some divine tasting chocolate and "Tahitian Vanilla" yogurt, which wound up costing us slightly over $12 for two small tubs of the stuff.  55 cent per ounce so you math geniuses can calculate how much we ate.  We loved the stuff but won't be going back for any more:  At such prices who can afford it?

Ride Started: 12:51 PM    Ride Ended:  4:35 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.7   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  12.9
Lowest Temp  67 F      Highest Temp:  78 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  8.18
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.4 MPH                              6.2 MPH                  33.8 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 32 minutes                  1 hour 19 minutes       21  minutes

Triking Northern Michigan

We've had a great time touring Michigan, not far from the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, as we approach Mackinac City (Pronounced "Mackinaw" as Jacque coldly informs me) to visit Jacque's old friend she hasn't seen in 36 years.  Last night we stayed in Holland State Park.
We lumbered slowly up toward Northern Michigan and found another state park for tonight.
Spectacular sunset over Lake Michigan at Petoskey State Park

I have to comment that I never thought I would enjoy knocking around Michigan, but it is truly a paradise for nature lovers and vacationers.  Their campgrounds, while not very cheap, are lovely with (WOW) CLEAN bathrooms and shower facilities.  Even parking close to the beaches with roaring race-boats soothing our ears, after it gets dark it gets quiet and we've had no noisy disturbances at any of our overnight spots.  Gasoline is no bargain, of course.  We stayed way away from the Detroit area so our Michigan experience was definitely positive.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Terratrike World HQ Tour

Today's Beachfront Trike Tracking

Today we drove down to Grand Junction to tour the Terratrike headquarters.  Turns out much of the manufacturing takes place in Taiwan, instead of China, and engineering, design, assembly, and modification takes place at this facility in Michigan or Portland or... they seem to have facilities scattered around the USA.
Wayne, the CFO and one of the founders of Terratrike, kindly took the time to give us a tour of the place.  Nice stuff and nice people.  Now if they could just cut the price on tandems by maybe half so more people could afford these great machines....
A huge storm front moved through Western Michigan around noon.  The day began bright and sunny and calm but the weather guessers' radar showed big fronts moving in from Canada and across Lake Michigan so they warned us it was coming.
A few hours after driving back to Holland State Park in the rain, it cleared up and the sun came  out so we saddled up the tandem Terratrike and took it for another short tour.  Started sprinkling on us when we got just past the 2 mile mark, so we turned around and poured on the steam to get back before getting soaked.
It's been sorta raining on and off ever since.  Got a good bonfire going in the fire pit but the rain came on harder and prevented us from staying outside to enjoy it.
I have been riding with the GoPro camera but not having any PC's with Windoze 8 or newer, I'm unable to view or process any video from it so cannot upload anythng for viewing.

Ride Started: 5:52 PM    Ride Ended:  6:47 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.6   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.7
Lowest Temp  64 F      Highest Temp:  70 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  3.86
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.6 MPH                              5.9 MPH                  10.1 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
52 minutes                             39 minutes                 11  minutes

Bluegrassing and Biking in Michigan

Today's Tracking via Ham Radio and APRS

We've been triking since we left on our Round-the-Country Grandkid Roundup.  We spent a couple days camped in Sherry and Ben's yard in Piedmont, OK.  They were wonderful hosts but we left them after 2 days and went on our way to meet Jacque's Uncle Bob and "Uncle" Marilyn at the Eaton County (MI) fairgrounds for the annual Charlotte Bluegrass Festival.  The fairgounds where we parked were soaked and muddy from all the recent rains and I supposed we wouldn't get the chance to do much, if any, trike riding.
We're carrying the tandem recumbent Terratrike on our recently purchased 1997 Ford Explorer's roof rack, while Jacque's Catrike is stowed inside the rear of the Explorer.
We encamped the RV and slogged around the fairgrounds the first day on foot, getting soaked and muddy every time we set foot outside. I saddled up the tandem Terratrike on a whim and found, to my surprise, that it was a great way to get around in the slop without getting muddy myself.  The fenders on the trike did a good job and it had just enough clearance to keep the chain and gears above all the shallow puddles in the roads and walkways.  So I rode it all over the fairgrounds, for food and music visitations.  The area had very poor APRS ham radio coverage, and I was unable to record any of the wanderings in spite of digipeating through the higher-powered ham radio in the RV.  I rode into downtown Charlotte 3 times, which was only a little over a mile each way.  Fun but not real heavy exercise.... :O)
We met some wonderful new friends, the Thompsons and Carl and Jeremy and the band members of the HarbourTown bluegrass group, who actually showed up in our RV klatch Saturday night after the "official" festival was over and serenaded everyone with more toe-tappin' music on mandolin, guitar, banjo, and a thumpin' upright bass.  They made great music in spite of (or maybe because) they were a few sheets to the wind ..... kids, don't ask your Mom what that means.  Jacque and I were very likely the only sober ones in the group.

Stats from today's ride around Holland State Park on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan:

Ride Started: 9:58 AM    Ride Ended:  12:03 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  13.0
Lowest Temp  87 F      Highest Temp:  92 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  2.24
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  3.0 MPH                              5.2 MPH                  12.1 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 45 minutes                  31 minutes                 46  minutes

Thursday, June 11, 2015

OK is ok but HOT

We are visiting Sherry and Ben in Piedmont OK the last couple of days.  We noticed quite a few cyclists out and about this semi-rural area and thought yesterday we'd like to un-rack the Tandem Terratrike from the roof of the "Toad" Explorer and go for a  ride.  Being so hot  and muggy, we decided to try a ride this morning instead "Before it Got Too Hot".
It was an enjoyable ride, and drivers  around here  are very courteous and give  us wide berths, but boy was it hot even at  nine-ish in the morning.We rode around and got in some country shopping and rubbernecking in several places, including the local Williams  Grocery, the Dollar Store, the Sonic Drive-in, and the  local attraction called "The Old Store" which is an old building that has been quasi-occupied since 1903 with  various business enterprises and is now filled  with all kinds of odd and antique junk for sale.

This antique looking garden  tractor was actually built by hobbyists in the early 1980's.  It used real tractor wheels and  tires on the rear, motorcycle wheels  on the front, auto parts for the  steering box and mechanism, a large 4-cycle single cylinder engine for power, and even has usable hydraulic control for the rear hitch scraper blade, via a power steering pump mounted next to the  engine. The tractor frame is steel water pipe, as you can clearly see. Evidently it's not for sale but for display only.
We bought a local postcard and then rode home after only  a bit over 3 miles.... very hot out here in the heartland.

Ride Started: 9:58 AM    Ride Ended:  12:03 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  13.0
Lowest Temp  87 F      Highest Temp:  92 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  3.05
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  2.5 MPH                              5.8 MPH                  18.1 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 13 minutes                  31 minutes                 46  minutes 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Hauling Blubber on a Bike

Today's Spotty Tracking

I haven't ridden a people-powered machine in what, 17 days?  Absolutely shameful.  I'm paying for it, too, of course.  I've been busy putting new fake hardwood flooring in the RV, transferring my ham radios to a different Ford Exploder, and various other excuses that kept me too busy to stay healthy.
Busting my chops out in the yard is tiresome and makes my joints and thin muscles hurt at the end of the day but such activity doesn't seem to pep me up and lower my blood glucose and all the good things that happen during and after a bike ride.
Today I dug out the bike and did my favorite 10-mile total out 'n back ride.  The weather has been ferociously HOT the last couple of weeks, but last night it had rained a bit, today was a bit cloudy, so it was pleasantly cooler and provided wonderful temperatures to ride in.  The wind gusted a bit, and the dark clouds kinda bunched up threateningly about when I got to my halfway turnaround point.  But it was all good.
For once, I didn't forget my GoPro video  camera at home, but I did forget to activate it when I first took off on the ride.  Then when I remembered it in my pocket, stopped, snapped it into the helmet-top mount, and tried to turn it on, nothing doing.  Evidently the battery was dead before I even started.  So I dug out the weaker, spare battery and installed it and sure enough, it now came on and started capturing video.  Somewhere during the ride it also died so we'll see if it captured any action at all (it's downloading on Jacque's PC as I type this entry).
Well, I just checked it and it did indeed work until the spare battery ran out.
First of all, I caught this view of our near neighbors who took a lightning strike a couple weeks ago, which set their storage shed and garage slowly on fire.  The lightning struck about 9 PM (I heard it hit and thought it had hit MY structures, but the lights were still on ) and about 1:00 AM the neighbors were frightened awake with the county Fire Dept. guys banging on their door telling them to COME GET YOUR HORSES, YOU HAVE A FIRE OUT HERE!!  These are the neighbors with the pretty little month-old colt, mama mare, and another horse in another shelter on the other end of their house.  How the colt and his Mama survived all this is amazing, as their shelter was the carport adjoining this garage and shed....


Then, down the road another quarter mile, I encountered our new neighbors who purchased a "project House" unfinished house just across the gully from us.  Nice people....

I suffered a bit more fatigue than  usual today since it's been so long between rides.
Jacque had our sole surviving doggie Tinkerbell with her in Albuquerque today so I  was all by myself; no companion to help me with potty and snack breaks.....
On the return trip home, I was cruising along minding my own business when I heard a slight swishing sound just behind me and was mildly shocked to see another cyclist passing me.  Here I have a rear view mirror and evidently don't use it much, especially when something so quiet as another cyclist comes up behind me.  I can hear cars coming several minutes before they appear in my eyesight, but sneaky cyclists are another matter.  This was one of those friendly cyclists.  He said HI in passing but evidently didn't want to slow down or stop for a visit.

Ride Started: 10:58 AM    Ride Ended:  12:43 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  13.0
Lowest Temp  71 F      Highest Temp:  94 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.51
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.8 MPH                              7.7 MPH                  27.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 48 minutes                  1 hour 22 mins           26  minutes

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hauling Lumber on a Bike

Today's Tracking

It rained all day yesterday so that discouraged me from riding the bike, even though it WAS my birthday and thus had kitchen passes to do most anything my decrepit heart desired, but the weather didn't care.
So I spent most of the day driving around running errands.  Howsomever, my #3 son Jake treated me to lunch at Twisters and then my sweet wifey treated me to dinner at The Range Restaurant.  So life was good even though the rain kept me off the bike.
Today, however, was another story.  Although it dawned wet, soggy, and foggy, the sun had come out and dried up the air, exposing clear blue sky, by about 10 AM.  Although I have "Other Things To Do", as usual, I thought I better get out and do a bit of riding just to keep the 68-year-old blood circulating, don'tcha know.
I first wanted to again ride up to our East Mountain Bike Path Rest Stop and Shelter, newly constructed Eagle Project by Spencer, and see how it's faring.  This project, perhaps the ONLY true bike/pedestrian shelter in Bernalillo County, was first conceived by Eagle Candidate Spencer.  The permits were obtained from BSA and County officials and the original foundation posts were dug and set in concrete 3 days before the project was scheduled to be finished, so the concrete would be set and hardened and ready to be banged about as the rest of the structure was finished.  A nearby resident immediately complained to the County, which resulted in immediate stoppage of the project.  About a week passed whereupon it was decided to allow the project to resume completion.  A dozen or more volunteer workers showed up very late in the afternoon in hopes of completing the structure before further "complications" could crop up.  Happily it WAS completed, and a very fine structure it was.  As noted in our last post, it was discovered, after all was said and done and set in hardened concrete, that the structure was underneath an overhead power line, meaning it had to be removed and relocated further back.  ANOTHER crew materialized from various sources and somehow the concrete anchors were successfully broken and dug up and the structure moved (by hand) to 4 NEW anchor holes where MORE concrete was mixed and poured.  The park bench inside was also removed and reinserted into new anchor holes and concrete, and the relocated structure has been blocked waiting for the concrete to cure a bit since then.  As I rode up and read the sign on the bench, it said "Please Do Not Sit Here until Friday AM, 22 May".  

Since it was now noonish on 22 May I removed the barrier bar and "tried out the facility". 
A very pleasant  place indeed, with panoramic views of the poor buggers passing by in their steel shelled cars ("Cagers", we snooty cyclists call them).

I first thought to leave the 2 X 3" lumber behind the shelter but worried someone might "liberate" it.  I thought I might rush  back to the car & trailer and come back to get the board but then decided to try lashing it on the bike somehow.  I couldn't bungee it on by standing it vertical, but I found by removing the lower rear water bottle and bungee-ing the front of the board to the mid bike frame, I could carry it.  The 2 X 3 stuck out the back several feet but that was no show-stopper, and I only had to carry it about 4 miles.
It got a bit cloudy and cool and breezy on the ride back home, but the absolute beauty of the day and relative mildness in atmospheric conditions made it a hard day to beat.....

Ride Started: 12:02 PM    Ride Ended:  2:06 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   14.0   Ending Voltage: 13.1  Lowest:  13.1
Lowest Temp  61 F      Highest Temp:  75 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  11.74
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.6 MPH                              9.0 MPH                  28.9 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 5 minutes                  1 hour 18 minutes        47  minutes