Sunday, October 17, 2010
...fingers FUMBLE! Argh! Saw a SPECTACULAR eagle spreading those wings SO FAR as it was gliding about in a circle...stopped, reached for the camera, fumbled, fumbled some more...POOF, the eagle was gone...!
Ah well, it was a mighty fine day riding in countryside that doesn't get much finer than through the upper Catskill area of the Cannonsville Reservoir up into Delaware County's capital seat Walton north into Trout Creek and circling around back down into the Cannonsville area again. The terrain was mostly rolling hills with the exception of a tough climb north of Walton. It always feels so fine once I've nailed such a hill!
On with the pics!
Hitting the Open Road!
Such a beautiful valley!
Passing by a foggy, babbling brook...
Some wonderful views of the remaining fall colors:
Little falls, tucked away:
Taking a break on the road:
I love this pic...clouds had gathered while I was crossing a bridge. I could see the sun was going to come out soon so...
This ride was shorter than usual, 37 miles. So I pushed myself harder. I would zoom to the head of the pack, see a shot I wanted to take, stop, the group would pass me by as I fiddled with pictures and then I would hop on my bike and zoom up to the front again. Kept doing this leap frog sorta thing with a few conversations with some other cyclists here & there in between.
One of the VERY NICE things about this ride was that among the 20 or so cyclists there were some I hadn't bumped into since early summer when I started to get going on this whole cycling kick. Couple of them were very complementary about the progress I was showing on the bike, especially in picking up my speed and ability to climb hills. Although I *know* these things, it's always great to *hear* it and have it be confirmed: nope, it's not my imagination, I really AM getting pumped up on these wheels!
More and more I am convinced that before 2011 is over I will have completed a multi-day cycling tour to who-knows-where with who-knows-who! The fun part is scheming & dreaming that up! :-)
Hope everyone out there is having a blast following your dreams and making them *REAL* and *MEMORABLE*!
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!!
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!
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! :-)
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!
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