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Sparkin' The Clouds Away!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wow! I am OVERWHELMED by all the birthday wishes, SparkMails and SparkGoodies all of you have sent my way today!

It was an early and gloomy start this morning with a pleasant birthday breakfast out with my DW. But I think you all chased the gloomies away with your SPARKTACULAR support! The day just got brighter and sunnier and now I'm fairly confident that my fellow bike club members and I will enjoy a sunny, brisk journey through the Cannonsville / Delaware Valley / Upper Catskill area in search of EAGLES soaring through the skies tomorrow!

I'll do my best to capture nature's beauty at its finest tomorrow!

Sending this out with BIGTIME THANK YOU's to ALL of my TERRIFIC SparkFamily!!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PINKNFITCARLA 10/18/2010 9:29PM

    Glad you enjoyed your day!

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L*I*T*A* 10/17/2010 7:17PM

    happy happy birthday to you...........
blessings and hugs.......lita

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VICKI-N-FLA 10/17/2010 10:47AM

    HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! emoticon

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KMATIS 10/17/2010 10:01AM

    Guess I'm a little late, but Happy Birthday! emoticon

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LADYGWEN25 10/17/2010 9:48AM

    Hope you're having a great ride today!

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CARRIE1948 10/17/2010 9:47AM

    Happy day and hope the biking was all you wanted. We had tons of wind here today. Nearly knocked me down as I walked.

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DAYHIKER 10/17/2010 6:36AM

    So glad that the weather cooperated for a big ride today, Don! These nice fall days will be segueing into winter soon enough. Looking forward to your pictures!

Happy trails! emoticon emoticon
~Cindy

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DARK_CINDERELLA 10/17/2010 6:01AM

    Happy Belated, Don! Have a great ride today!

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FRECKS96 10/17/2010 12:05AM

    Happy Birthday Don! I'm sure you'll have a great ride tomorrow!

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Butternut Valley Bliss!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Forgive me Mr. Berlin, but I've got a little edit to your song:

"Heaven, I'm in Heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
When I'm out here biking cheek to cheek!" :-)

You know those pesky little ladybug-like beetles that proliferate like crazy during the last, frenzied & warm days of fall before the cold and snow sets in...? Sadly, I think I can relate to those bugs...lol!

Around ten of us gathered in the early morning chill to head out on our 47 mile trek up through what is known as the Butternut Valley, following along Route 8 to Mt. Upton and Route 51 through Gilbertsville into Morris, which is actually getting into the Leatherstocking area of upstate New York, the setting for James Fenimore Cooper's classic, The Last of the Mohicans.



Weather again today was *perfection*! A little nippy to start with...I was the only one in shorts & shirt...everyone else had biking pants and jackets, some with multiple layers underneath!

Turns out it WAS a nippy 65 degrees...and that was LATER in the day as the sun arose to fully shine. Probably not much more than 50 to begin with and there was a significant headwind to boot!

The ride was relatively tame with some rolling hills along the way and a couple of respectable hills to climb.

Earlier on we came across a pond which was COVERED with ducks paddling along! Kicking myself not to have gotten a picture of that!

Here was a surprise waterfall!



A group pic of us:



A pic of the upper falls:



Biking along Dimmock Hollow Road:



The view at the TOP of Dimmock Hollow!





At the bottom of the hill one of the ride leaders spoke a bit about Indian lore and history on how the European settlers drove out the Iroquois from their lands in retaliation for the murders and pillaging of some of their settlements. They even enlisted in the assistance of some tribes who made a "deal" with the white man to be able to save their land in exchange for helping them to drive out other tribes. For their trouble they got the boot too, and are still seeking reparations today.

Another fellow told a tale on one of the others: Remember that time when nature called and you went off into the bushes and dropped your shorts into a burdock bush? :-)

We had a pleasant lunch in Morris and on our way back through Gilbertsville we came across an old stone church with a creek running beside it:



Near the end of our ride crossing the Susquehanna River coming into Sidney:





It was an exhilirating finish for me as I had been politely sticking with the group throughout the ride at a pace slower than my usual, but NOW I knew the way...! So I BOOKED IT for the final 15 miles and streaked my way into Sidney...woo hoo!

I wish I could say I've gotten biking out of my system...however, NOW I've got to focus on taking care of business on the home front over the next two days...cookathons, mowing lawns, laundry, putting the house back into some semblance of order and most importantly, preparations for my sons rapidly approaching wedding...!

Going to do my best to SPARK my way along until next weekend when our club returns to Catskill territory in search of EAGLES in the Cannonsville Reservoir area!

Everybody have a wonderful weekend!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OUTDOORGIRL69 10/17/2010 10:58PM

    Don as always you have great blogs. I am just catching up from vacation.

God Bless
Ida

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GIRANIMAL 10/12/2010 12:12PM

    Wow, this is beautiful! Thanks for taking me along on your lovely adventure! emoticon

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CHANGE4FIT 10/10/2010 6:05PM

    Don,
You always share your adventures so we can all enjoy them. Beautiful pics. Best wishes for the upcoming nuptials!
PJ

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BARBARA_BOO 10/10/2010 3:32PM

    Oh, wow, DON! This was GREAT!!!

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L*I*T*A* 10/10/2010 2:27PM

    looks like you had an awesome time!!!
great photos too
blessings and hugs...........lita

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ZELLAZM 10/10/2010 1:41PM

    Postcard-worthy photos! Sounds like you've got a busy time ahead of you, so I'm glad you got such a great ride in now!

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VICKI-N-FLA 10/10/2010 1:32PM

    Beautiful photo's and such great exercise. Look forward to reading more from you. emoticon

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RENA1965 10/10/2010 12:44PM

    Wow what a day- beautiful photos... The scenery blew me away..
Great blog! emoticon

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ACTIVE_AT_60 10/10/2010 12:27PM

    Don - how come I wasn't invited to ride with you guys ROFL. Looks like an awesome ride. Great photos.

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FRECKS96 10/10/2010 8:34AM

    What a wonderful ride! That area is so lovely. I love your waterfall pic.

Speaking of eagles...we saw one soaring yesterday over the Chenango near Otsiningo. It caught my eye as I was getting into the car at Maines-so amazing that they are coming back to this area in such numbers!!

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CARRIE1948 10/10/2010 6:47AM

    So glad you enjoyed yourself

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DAYHIKER 10/10/2010 6:22AM

    Your song edit made me laugh and the pictures are wonderful. It is a beautiful part of the country for sure. I hope the weather holds for you through next weekend. We have eagles who nest about a mile from our home on Big Walnut Creek and we are blessed to see them from time to time. A couple of years ago we were cutting firewood for a few weeks around the edge of a field within view of the nest and they kept a wary eye as we worked. When others went to see them, though, one of the eagles would swoop down at them until they left! They moved the nest the following year to a more secluded spot but still nearby. It was so interesting to watch them! Not too many miles from here there is a power station on the Wabash River where the water never freezes and the eagles gather there over the winter and we go to watch them flying down the river valley. Indiana does have its surprises!!

~Cindy

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COLOURFULME 10/10/2010 6:20AM

    Love the sights!

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South of the Border!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Yippee! The work week is over and I'm streaking outta work on my bike to join my biking buddy and get out to PLAY!

The plan? We're gonna make a beeline down good ol' Route 7 and cross over into Great Bend / Hallstead, Pennsylvania...South of the NY / PA border!

The day? Picture perfect, brilliant sunshine, cloudless skies, mid-70's and I'm so excited to get out and FLY over that pavement!

Here's the view of the Susquehanna River from the Washington St. Bridge in Binghamton. While I *know* it's not a good plan to take a pic while facing the sun, I think "why not? Let's see how it rolls!" I love the way the sun shimmers down the river like a lightning bolt...!



Can you sense the thrill of anticipation I felt heading into this ride...?

And we're OFF, soaking up the fall colors and pumping our bodies higher with each thrust of the pedals!

More geese overhead! Forming a perfect "V" of around 10-15 along each phalanx...LOTS of geese! ...heading so due south I bet you could set a compass by them...among the earliest touring travelers, long before us bi-peds invented cycles and panniers...!

Here I am in Great Bend, PA beside the Susquehanna River yet once more!



As the sun was moving to the horizon much more quickly than we anticipated we didn't stop for long before hitting the road and raced against sundown on our way home. It was a great opportunity and motivator to pump it up and pour on the speed! Made it just in time to my biking buddy's home by 7 pm.

The only problem? I had hoped to be able to bike all the way to MY home, which was another 10 miles or so. Hated to trouble her for a ride home, but she was very gracious about it.

Between my 9 mile ride from home, 1 mile from office to her home and 30 miles to PA and back, I totaled a MOST enjoyable 40 miles on my bike today!

Tomorrow? I catch up with our cycling club for a scheduled ride up NORTH a bit from Sidney to Morris, NY goo.gl/maps/z5JG ....which promises yet another GLORIOUS ride out in the middle of nowhere, God's country...just BURSTING with LIFE!

Catch up with you all tomorrow with another snapshot of life on the road in upstate New York!

May you ALL be steeped in such weather WHEREVER you may be! :-)

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OUTDOORGIRL69 10/17/2010 10:59PM

    Glad you had a good time.

God Bless
Ida

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BARBARA_BOO 10/10/2010 3:43PM

    Very cool. Great pics. I can feel your joy from here. You are LOOKING great, too.

Google mapping is such a helpful tool.

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RAINBOWFALLS 10/9/2010 7:41AM

    The weather was perfect yesterday. I love the area we live in and what a great way to see the beauty first hand. emoticon

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CARRIE1948 10/9/2010 6:48AM

    You did this after work? I can barely move by then. Well done.

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DAYHIKER 10/9/2010 6:29AM

    It turned out to be a great picture even with the sun! Wow, I am so happy for you to be out and about after the long week of inside workouts! It just revives your spirit doesn't it?! emoticon

Cindy in Indiana

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COLOURFULME 10/9/2010 12:51AM

    Looking forward to your next story! :)

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FRECKS96 10/8/2010 10:26PM

    Enjoy tomorrow's ride! It will be gorgeous!

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L*I*T*A* 10/8/2010 10:18PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Nature

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Since paying such close attention to my inner nature and taking so much better care of myself I find myself SO much more readily entranced by OUTER nature!

In the middle of a busy day, walking across a parking lot I'll stop to admire a battalion of geese beating their wings making their way through the skies with occasional honking sounds.

Finishing my 'millwork and ST tonight I'm struck by the clarity of the night time skies and stars, finding the Big Dipper sitting on top of our neighboring hill.

While biking I'll smile at a woodchuck streaking across the lawn so it can retreat to its hiding spot near a driveway drainpipe.

Simple sights that bring such joy into my day-to-day life!

How wonderful it is to be so healthy and alive to value and appreciate the world around me!

Hoping this finds you able to delight in such seemingly *ordinary* daily treasures!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OUTDOORGIRL69 10/17/2010 11:02PM

    Thanks again

God Bless
Ida

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BARBARA_BOO 10/10/2010 3:45PM

    I'm quickly learning to never miss one of your blogs. Fabulous!

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DAYHIKER 10/8/2010 4:39PM

    Definitely! That's why I'm a hiker! Spring especially comes early to those who are out in the woods and observant to see the first tentative blooms pushing up on the south hills defying the cold! I whine a lot about not being able to safely walk or bike on our narrow, hilly, winding roads but I love living in the country! We have such a rich variety of birds and beneficial insects and butterflies on our little homestead.

I surely do hope you will be able to get out on a long ride this weekend. It's gorgeous here!

Happy Trails!! emoticon
Cindy in Indiana

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DLPHNLVR97 10/8/2010 3:54PM

    That's why I have a farm and live in the country! I was remarking today to a colleague how lucky my kids are to have grown up in a place where they can run in the grass, look at the stars, and chase fireflies in the summer. They don't realize how lucky they are. It especially sunk in when I was leaving BHS today after conferences and saw kids playing on the sidewalk and riding shopping carts down the middle of the sidewalk!

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FRECKS96 10/8/2010 3:51PM

    Yay! I love these reminders to admire the little things in life.

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VICKI-N-FLA 10/8/2010 10:18AM

    I'm working on it. Glad you're at "that" place in your own life. emoticon

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CARRIE1948 10/8/2010 6:57AM

    Hope to get where you are

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COLOURFULME 10/8/2010 1:35AM

    Yes I agree, that's why everybody is always so surprised about the pictures I take during walks. Oh did we pass that, really did we see that, OMG I must pay more attention, thank you for your picutres....are just a few of the responses I get from my fellow walkers. So even healthy, or at least none overweight, people don't see it but my message is......super you enjoy it and keep on doing it. emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 10/8/2010 12:21AM

    great reminder to indulge ourselves in every day things around us.......
thanks for sharing..........
blessings and hugs...........lita

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VALERIEMAHA 10/7/2010 11:52PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Mary Oliver's gift in observing nature:

GOLDENROD

On roadsides,
in fall fields,
in rumpy bunches,
saffron and orange and pale gold,

in little towers,
soft as mash,
sneeze-bringers and seed-bearers,
full of bees sand yellow beads and perfect flowerlets

and orange butterflies.
I don't suppose
much notice comes of it, except for honey,
and how it heartens the heart with its

blank blaze.
I don't suppose anything loves it, except, perhaps,
the rocky voids
filled by its dumb dazzle.

For myself,
I was just passing by, when the wind flared
and the blossoms rustled,
and the glittering pandemonium

leaned on me.
I was just minding my own business
when I found myself on their straw hillsides,
citron and butter-colored,

and was happy, and why not?
Are not the difficult labors of our lives
full of dark hours?
And what has consciousness come to anyway, so far,

that is better than these light-filled bodies?
All day
on their airy backbones
they toss in the wind,
they bend as though it was natural and godly to bend,
they rise in a stiff sweetness,
in the pure peace of giving
one's gold away.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


Just in case -- http://www.ontariowildflower.com/go
ldenrods.htm#slender%20goldenrod

Comment edited on: 10/8/2010 12:19:08 AM

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People for Bikes!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I just received a head's up on People for Bikes from fellow member Jan Frandsen and it is a GREAT IDEA to join their efforts so I thought I'd pass it along with another great article on biking:

I just learned about a great new website to support pro-bike policies and spread the joy of bikes! Check out peopleforbikes.org! They're collecting one million names in support of a better world for biking -- one that's safer, more convenient, and more appealing for everyone.

Every day, millions of Americans like us ride for their health, for the environment, for their communities, and for the pure joy of bicycling. But until now, only a tiny fraction of riders have stood up to help improve bicycling in America.

Peopleforbikes.org is going to change all that. They're building a national movement with the clout and influence to get things done. That means promoting bike-riding on an individual level, but also sending a unified message to our elected leaders, the media, and the public that bicycling should have their full support.

Check out their great new website to take a pledge for biking and learn how you can help:
www.peopleforbikes.org

After signing up they ask if you want to share your story...so why not? Here's what I shared:

"I love EVERYTHING about biking! I love the sense of freedom and adventure hitting the open road and knowing that I've got the personal power to go wherever I want to go!

I love the THRILL and playfulness of whooshing down a hill and even the VICTORY of having climbed a hill!

I love exploring new sights, new roads, feeling like Lewis & Clark heading out on my own personal expeditions!

I love joining with my bike club members and sharing our mutual joy of biking!

I love being out in nature and noticing things I've never seen before because I've always been obliviously zooming by in my car!

I love discovering that I have the personal power to travel as far as 100 miles in a day!

I love saving money on gas and sparing the environment the burning of even more fossil fuel. If my bike had room for a bumper sticker I would have one that reads: My bike gets better mileage than your Prius! :-)

My goal is to be able to complete a multi-day tour across hundreds and hundreds of miles throughout America!"

How to Make Biking Mainstream: Lessons from the Dutch (how about that, honoring my Dutch ancestry!)

www.yesmagazine.org/planet/how-to-ma
ke-biking-mainstream-lessons-from-the-
dutch


"What will it take to transform biking from a recreational pastime to an integral part of our transportation system? "

America could learn a GREAT DEAL from the Dutch! "A commitment to biking is not uniquely imprinted in the Dutch DNA. It is the result of a conscious push to promote biking." "Physical separation from motorized traffic on busy streets is the single most effective policy for getting more people to bike."

Check it out!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBCCA 10/5/2010 3:00PM

    I love bicycling and thank you for this informative post, and the resources. Thanks Maha for passing this link to me! emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 10/5/2010 11:37AM

    Hello! Super-sweet VALERIEMAHA sent me to this blog after we'd been discussing the sad, sad demise last week of my beloved Giant at the hands of some horrible man driving a 4x4. I immediately signed the pledge and joined the People for Bikes mailing list. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am really excited to get involved.


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CARRIE1948 10/4/2010 10:42AM

    Will check it out

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SIRIRADHA 10/4/2010 9:48AM

    I'll visit the site this morning! We need more bike advocacy in the U.S. Gosh, I'd love to have more separation of bikes and automobiles. In our "bike-friendly" town, I frequently have to choose whether I'd rather be sideswiped by a truck or have a parked car's door flung open in front of me in the bike lane.

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L*I*T*A* 10/4/2010 1:08AM

    awesome suggestion...........
thanks for sharing..........
blessings and hugs............lita

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 10/3/2010 9:51PM

    Good for those who bike, but still only five percent of Americans even exercise on a daily basis. emoticon My brother lives in a small town in Illinois and was saying that his 10 yos probably didn't ride his bike 10 miles during the summer, as ALL the kids are inside playing video games. emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 10/3/2010 8:58PM

    Inspiring words, Don, and GREAT information! I'm definitely going to be sharing it with biking friends on and off of SPeople!
emoticon
Maha

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OUTDOORGIRL69 10/3/2010 8:52PM

    Don... Thanks for passing this on.

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