Monday, March 2, 2015

Bicycle Festivals

Its time to check out the bicycle festivals for the 2015 season.  Last June's storm put a cramp on my bike festival attendance.  The only festival I made was Outside Bike & Brew in Santa Fe.  Hoping to get to more this year.

This list is no way meant to be all-inclusive.  I am concentrating on those in the "Heartland" and those I have or may attend.  Dates of RAGRAI are only included for reference.  It would be to sacrilegious to omit the biggest in Iowa (my home state).

May 13-17, 2015 Outside Bike & Brew Santa Fe, NM

May 29-31, 2015 Tour of Kansas City, Kansas City MO
Gran Fondo on Monday, May 25

June 19-21, 2015 Black Hills Fat Tire Festival Rapid City, SD

June 25-28, 2015. Crested Butte Bike Week, Crested Butte, CO

July 10-12, 2015 Bicycles, Blues, BBQ Festival Clear Lake, IA

July 19-25 RRAGBAI Sioux City to Davenport, IA

July 25, 2015 Tour de Fat, Twin Cities, MN

August 15-16, 2015 Kraus-Anderson Bike Festival, Duluth, MN

August 22, 2015 Gran Fondo Cedar Valley Cedar Falls, IA

September 4-7, 2015, La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival LaCrosse, WI

Friday, February 27, 2015

Traveling With My Bicycles

Wrapping up the editing of my booklet "Traveling With My Bicycles".  It tells a short story of what drove me to riding bicycles.  Most of the booklet is filled with how to create your "mulit-activity" trip.

Plans are to make the booklet available as an e-book for Kindle.

Preface -
"So, what are you going to do to keep active?" was the question my cardiac rehab folks asked in my exit interview. After weeks walking on the treadmill, I knew this was not the solution. My mom walks with a group. But walking the mall did not appeal me, either. Hiking is great, but "hiking" amongst the corn fields of Iowa?
As a kid, I used to ride a bicycle. Maybe that would peak my interest. I set out to look at purchasing a bicycle. I started riding local trails. Soon, I was taking a bicycle with me on trips. These trips combined my exploring nature, love of photography, and riding my bicycle.
The trips I take are not for folks that want to lay on the beach and work on their tan. They are trips filled with activity yet leaving time to relax, recover and reflect.
This booklet is a compilation of what I have learned planning and implementing these trips. It is not a recipe for the perfect trip. It is meant to cause you to consider ways to blend activities you enjoy with things you are passionate about into your travels.

THOR Annual Meeting

Seems that the weather for THOR (Trails Have Our Respect) annual meeting is always bitter cold!.  This past Sunday did not disappoint us.

From what I count with the photo, there were about 70 attendees.  Chair Roxy Feagan welcomed the group.  It what a change from the attendance of the first THOR Annual Meeting I attended in about 80 years ago.  That meeting was held in the back of a bike shop and attended by 8 members!

Meeting was held at the National Park Service in Omaha.  The members learned about current status of becoming a chapter of IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association).  Breakout groups discussed the goals and future of THOR.  There was time to brain-storm to see what projects the membership would like.

Meeting ended with election of THOR's Board of Directors for the coming year.

Friday, February 13, 2015

“Combat Veteran”

During the 2014 election campaign, new Iowa Junior Senator Joni Ernst claimed to be a “combat veteran”. I was skeptical about this claim, but I did not serve in Iraq or Afghanistan. But I do know what the term means to me.

To me, if you claim to be a “combat veteran” is means that you were actually in combat. You were in a firefight with the enemy.

It has come to light that Senator Ernst was in the “theater” and lead an Iowa Army National Guard transportation unit. Her “combat” was in Kuwait and the edges of Iraq in 2003-2004. Note: President George HW Bush designated the while Arabian Peninsula a “Combat Zone”.

This really makes me angry. I served 13 ½ months in Viet Nam. Over half of that time in an infantry unit as a Chaplain Assistant. I drove unsecured roads without escort. I lived in fire support bases with an infantry company. But, since I did not see actual combat (no CIB) the VA refuses to accept that I could have PTSD.

I have a friend that spent his tour in Viet Nam running a coffee house on Long Binh Post. By Joni's definition, he can claim being a “combat veteran”. She claims that she never claimed to be in combat, but her error in omission leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. If she claimed that she served in Kuwait during the gulf wars, OK. But the claim being a “combat veteran” is over the top.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On The Way Home

Tuesday I started having some mouth pain - upper corner.  Feeling light it might be starting of needing a root canal.  Had a rough night in the room in Albuquerque.  Early on the road y\towards home.  Called my denstists\'s office when they opened.  The will squeeze me in Friday morning.

Weather turning bad as I drove Northwest on I-25.  From Glorieta pass until Trinidad, CO,  I drove through periods of snow,  Thankfully, it has been warm the last week so it was not sticking on the highway.

By the time I was near La Junta, the sun was shinning.  Had a couple of "tylonol" to east my tooth ache (which had turned into a headache).  Bough a new bottle of the store=brand pain relief.  Took another couple pills.  Checked into my room in Oakley, KS.  Not up to eating dinner, just crashed into bed. 

Nothing much to see along the highway on this route.  Stopped a couple times to take photos of old, abandoned buildings. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Last Day in Albuquerque

When I got up this morning, started sorting bags for the trip home.  Cousin Don and I planned to get together for breakfast.  Traffic was terrible this morning.  I-40 crossing the rive was backed-up.  I drove up to Montano.  It was also a zoo. but made it to the Range Cafe about the right time (only 35 minutes for a drive that should have been 10 minutes).  Anyway, was a good breakfast and conversation.

Back to packing for the return trip.  Got some of the bags re-packed.  Want to just bring in one small bag of clothes, my camera, and laptop into the room in Oakely, KS. 

Quick change of clothes, grabbed the bike, and rode 8+ miles on the Bosque del Paseo.  Parked at Central and rode North to Montano.  Had the gentle slope working against me on the way out and a headwind on the way back.  Was a beautiful day for a bike ride.

Gassed up the car on the way back to the hotel.  Loaded most of the stuff into the car.  Just a few things to put into the car in the morning.  Have reservations in Oakley, KS for tomorrow night.

Salinas Pueblo Missions

With cool mornings, Monday I decided I would do some "tourist" stuff.  From the book "New Mexico Journey Guide" I settled on checking out the old pueblo mission ruins SE of Albuquerque.  East on I-40 to the Tijeras exit, South on highway 337 and highway 55 towards Mountainair.

There are 3 ruins sites that make up the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.  The first one in this route was Quaria.  I was the only visitor when I arrived.  The ranger gave me a good synopsis of the history of the pueblo.  Then it was time to walk around to see the ruins and take photos.

The site is at about 6500ft altitude.  Glad I had just been on the mountain in Pine Cove, CA (about 6000 ft).  My knee was bothering more than the altitude. 

I walked the loop trail at the site.  Back at the visitor's center, I chatted more with the ranger.  Picked up a book about the sites.  Then, back on the road to Gran Quivira.  This site is a bit out if the way - 25 miles South of Mountainiar.  But, what the heck, I had all the day.  The only thing i was thinking of doing later in the day was a bike ride.

Gran Quivira sits on top of a hill, overlooking the mesa.  It also meant a walk up the paved trail (some sections being steep climb) to view the ruins.  I took my time.  Took photos of the ruins and the valley.  By the time I was back down to the visitor's center, my knee was giving me problems.  Selected a book about New Mexico parks and a bottle of Powerade (needed the electrolytes and sugar).

On back to Mountainair.  Was looking for a place for lunch and a large bottle of Gaterade or Powerade.  Downtown Mountainair was busy (at least many cars downtown) but did not see a place to my liking.  On over to Abo, the third of the pueblo missons.

The route to Abo and eventually back to Albuquerque paralleled the BNSF main line.  Took a couple photos of trains in the hill.  Several trains parked and lots of track work on the line.  Mountainair is the crest of the hill dropping to the West.

Made a short tour of the Abo ruins site.  My left knee was not up to walking the trail.  Took a few photos from the road. 

Saw many abandoned buildings up on the mesa.  Took some photos of those close to the road or interesting construction.  Some may end up on my Fine Art America page.

Bye the time I was back at the hotel, I was getting hungry.  The first place i looked for along Coors Blvd was not open.  Ended up having a pint of bock beer and a bacon cheeseburger at Effingbar & Grill on Sequoia, just off Coors.

Back at the hotel, I watch TV and crashed.  Photos with this post are of Quaria Mission, Gran Quivira ruins, and an old barn along US 60.