Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Princess Place

My last full day in Florida. I had been hearing about Princess Place Preserve. It was just a couple miles north of where I am staying.

To get to the preserve, Exit 298 of I-95. South on US1 about a mile. Turn Left onto old Kings Highway. Take that for 1.5 miles. The road (dirt - sand) road is on you left.

Walk the grounds. Take a look at the old Lodge and Lodge Stable. In the stable, I found brochures about the preserve (including a map). In this area of the preserve you are in a large grove of live oak trees.

I did not take the time to walk some of the hiking trails. Took the time to drive the Loop Road. Along the Loop Road there's a open area. There is an eagle nesting area. I could not see the nest.

After the "tour" of the preserve, I gassed up the car for the return trip. Stopped in at the bike shop (PC Bike) to thank them for the shop rides. If you get into Palm Coast, stop in to see Jake, Kelly, James, and Diane - "your hike shop".

Tour of Palm Coast

I wanted to re-ride some of the trails we took on the Christmas Eve Ride. Monday, I parked the car at Waterfront Park. Headed North along the InterCoastal Waterway.

The photo here is of the Waterfront Trail.

The trail ends at the Palm Coast resort/marina. From there I rode North along Palm Harbor Parkway for a mile or so. Rode back down to the Linear Park trail. When that ended, I turned back, riding back to the Waterfront Trail. Back at the park, rode the spur trail over to Colbert Ln and back.

Was a beautiful day for a bike ride - Sunny and 69 degrees. Turned in 11 miles, which took me just over 1500 miles for the year.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Mala Compra

Overcast morning, threatening a shower, but I had planned to ride some dirt today. Headed to the Hammocks for a ride on the Mala Compra Greenway Trails.

I parked across Rt A1A from the trailhead at Mala Compra Rd. checked the trail map at the kiosk and ended down the trail. Most of this trail is rated as a "blue" trail. there area also side trails rated as "black diamond" and one that I saw rated "double black diamond".

Most of the trail is a tight, curvy trail though the wood. Solid surface except fpr short sections of palm roots and soft sand. At lease you can recognize the sandy spots because its a white sand.

Obstacles are highlighted as a black diamond trail marked with a blue bypass. (see photo) At the 16th St trailhead is another kiosk. It had some trail brochures with trail map. Just the map I was looking for 9which I could not find anywhere on the internet!.

Was not sure if I would ride singletrack on the trail back, but after a rest and some G2, I was ready to ride on. This end of the trail area had some rougher trails - longer sections of black diamond, some quick climbs and descents, ridge-running. I bypassed those trail section!

On the way back, there were several area where a wide, walking path paralleled the singletrack. At 3.5 miles, I was getting tired, to switched to the walking path. Ended up with 3.8 miles, 1:08 riding time, and 22 photos.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Ride

An awesome bike ride this morning with the folks from PC Bike. About 10 of us headed out from the bike shop.

I am not sure exactly what all trails were on. Its the regular route the Saturday ride takes - for the 12 mile ride.

What I could see, we were along Palm Coast Parkway to the toll bridge. St. Jon Walkway, right onto Waterfront. Some beautiful scenery along the Intracoastal. Stopped for a group photo (above). From there over to the Graham Swamp Trail.

Had to take it easy on that trail as the surface is crushed coquina shells. Rides like crushed limestone. Thankfully, it was not soft or loose. At Old King's Highway, we stopped for a break.

Back down the Graham Swamp Trail, into the "B" section of town. From here, I got a bit confused. I saw a sight that were were on the Butterfly Trail(?).

Back on Palm Coast Parkway, stopped to take a photo of me at the panther. Ended at the bike shop for coffee and doughnuts.

Thanks for the great was to start the holiday weekend!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Palm Coast

OK, since I am basically at the Atlantice Coast of Florida, I should post a beach photo while I am here. Here's a shot of the beach at Washington Oaks State Park, Palm Coast, FL.

I did not get up and moving early enough to ride dirt today. It was in the 80s here today - had the A/C running in the house and car today. (That's right - running the air conditioning on December 23rd!) We did "touristy" things again.

Found the Mala Compra Trail head. That's where I want to do some dirt riding while here.

From there, it was off to view the gardens in Washington Oaks State Park. The park was some beautiful, gigantic live oak trees and a nice rose garden. Walked to the river (Intracoastal Waterway). Then across Scenic Coastal Route A1A. Additional photos are on my facebook page and eventually will be added to the web site.

Ended the "tour" with lunch at the Golden Lion on Flagler Beach.

PC Bike shop ride in the morning.

St Augustine

Tourist day yesterday. Was exhausted last night.

First stop was Ft. Matanzas National Monument. The fort is located 15 miles South of St. Augustine on the the Matanzas River (a part of the Intracoastal Waterway).

Construction of the fort was started in 1740, There were about 7 soldiers stationed at the fort. They served 30 day tours.

To visit the fort, park at the Visitor's Center along Route A1A. At the Visitor's Center. the National Park Service operates a shuttle ferry service across the Intracoastal Waterway to Ft. Matenzas. Being a very small (but important) fort, your tour will last 45 minutes, including the boat rides. There is no admission fees at the monument,

When we got to St. Augustine, it was lunch time. Parked in the garage at Old Town. Had lunch at the Mill Top Tavern. Good food, not "fast" food. The waitress told us it would take a bit before we get our food.

Next was Castilla de San Marcos - a fort at the inlet to St. Augustine. A bit longer self-guided tour. According to the National Park Service web sire, "A bastion of the largest empire ever created, the Castillo was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World."

Spent time to walk through the fort and on the roof. A great view of the inlet.

The last stop yesterday was the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Sampled the water. We were there just in time to see that last demonstrations for the day. We watch the demonstration of firing a period gun

From the gun firing, we were just in time for the demonstration of firing of a breach-loaded cannon. By this time, we were tired. Looked at the peacocks (even 2 white peacocks), stopped in the gift shop and headed to the house.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lehigh Trail

The Lehigh Trail is in Flagler County, Florida. A Rails-2-Trails corridor. I rode the trail this morning because there was a local bike shop (PC Bike) ride. Turn-out was a little space - likely because of the holidays.

Three of us rode the trail end-s-end. My riding companions had ridden from other parts of the area for the ride. I had driven to the Graham Swamp trailhead and rode the 1/2 mile to the Lehigh Trail trailhead.

We stated at Colbert Road and rode the 7 miles to US 1. With just 3 of us riding, the pace was a little faster than "leisurely". Most of the ride was at 13-14 mph. Got my heart rate up and worked up a sweat.

Of course it was not hard to work up a sweat this morning. It was in the 70s when we were on the trail - on December 21st!

When we turned around to return, I told the guys to not wait for me - I likely would be stopping to take photos. Got a couple that could be considered for a future calendar.

After the ride, I stopped in at the bike shop. Picked up a new helment 9mine has been getting pretty bad) and a Trails Guide for the area.

Thanks for the ride, Sam & Patrick. Watch for more info on trails in the aea.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On the Road Again

A little over a year ago, friends of mine moved from Wisconsin to Florida. They invited me to visit for the holidays. So, I am in the way South.

Yesterday was a LONG day of driving. Ended up traveling 780 miles!. Today I just did a little over 300 miles.

Was thinking of spending the night in Macon, GA. Stopped at the Rest Area Information section just North of Macon on I-75.The gals there were very helpful. Told me about Ocmulgee National Monument and gave me info on the river-walk - bicycle/pedestrian walk downtown. They also had a computer there, where i was able to reserve a room. Great job!

Since it was already middle of the afternoon, I decided to head to Ocmulgee National Monument. Today's photo was taken from the top of the Temple Mound. The steps are the way up/down to the top of the mound

I ended up at the Quality Inn - exit 169 of I-75. The motel has a full hot breakfast. When i checked in, I was advices that they were having a free B-B-Q in the evening - wings, dogs, burgers, and beer. Such a deal.

Was thinking of taking a bike ride, but was not enough time. Joined the BBQ - chatted with guys from Janesville, WI and Bay City, MI. Maybe will have/take the time to ride in the morning before I finish the drive.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Had to Get Out to Ride

Today was the day I am/was planning to head South for the Holiday. After breakfast, I rested and worked on packing.

About noon, I stuck my head out of the door (probably to take a load to the car0 and I decided I just HAD to ride this afternoon - even if it means delaying my trip. Hell, It was over a month since i was last on one of my bike! I quickly donned a cycling kit, grabbed the road bike, and headed for the Wabash Trace Trailhead Park.

Figured the Trace might be a little soft (warming up this afternoon). Headed towards Manawa on the pavement. Was about 42 as I started riding.

Stopped by the mountain bike trail area (river-side boat landing). Trail Leader was in the area 9saw his truck, not him). Took a couple of photos. Today's blog photo shows the sand/silt that was deposited during the flood this year.

My original destination was the Trails Center. With the month off the bike had taken its toll on me. When I got to Indian Creet Bridge, I decided just completing the loop around the lake and back to the car would be enough.

Sunny, light breeze, 48 degrees on the way back home.

Gave me just enough drive to get the bikes loaded on the car rack. Basically finished packing. Now sleep time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome Home

Welcome Home Iraq Vets! Finally, the war in Iraq is over. No big “Mission Accomplished” banner (thankfully). But at least a heart-felt thanks and “Welcome Home” from the President.

What a waste of resources. Over 4000 Us troops killed, over 30,000 wounded. Estimated over 800 BILLION dollars. And that does not count the cost to the Iraqi people. All for naught.

It is 40 years since I served in Viet Nam. The bitter/sweet memories are still with me.
In addition of memories there is anger, frustration, hopelessness, and envy. I had hoped that the country had learned its lesson of Viet Nam, but did not.

Lets look at my feelings...

Memories: Most of us block out or bad memories of the time in “Nam”. We talk about the good times, the friends (brothers) we met in country. The bad memories are relegated to a distance memory. When we returned to “The World” we were not allowed to remember. We were to just get on with our life. Those that could not cope were outcasts.

Anger: I am still angry the way we were treated when we came home. When I was discharged at Ft Dix, I had to make a bee line to the airport, and then home because I was in uniform. No side trips. I had a friend that was beaten up by his “friends” because he stopped by in a local watering hole wearing his uniform. We were greeted with shouts of “baby killer”.

Frustration: I am frustrated because it was all for naught. Over 58.000 US service women and me were killed – for what? Viet Nam fell to the communists, anyway. And there was not any great wave of communism threatening to region and the world. Like with Viet Nam, the politicians sold the country a bill of goods to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Hopelessness: How soon we forget the lessons of war. The war machine (“Military-Industrial Complex”) is alive a well. As long as politicians and corporations are allowed to make such exorbitant profits from war, our youth and society will continue to pay the price in dollars, limbs, and bodies. While the war in Iraq is over, and Afghanistan is (hopefully) winding down, the war hawks are rattling sabers about Iran, Somalia, Yemen, and other countries. Will it ever end?

Envy: This is the one that is roughest for me to face. I envy the Iraq and Afghanistan vets. They are getting a proper “Welcome Home”. A couple years after I was home from Viet Nam, I was at a party with a cousin in Denmark. I casually mentioned that I wad been in “Nam. They did not believe it, since I “seemed to be normal”. I had no missing limbs and did not seem to suffer a mental illness. That was also the attitude in the US – Nam vets were messed up in some way or the other.. So I suppressed it. Stopped talking about Viet Nam. Did not tell people that I had server there. There were no parades and celebrations when we came home.

So, to the Iraq vets – Welcome Home. Sorry that I cannot give you a rousing cheer. I am just still too bitter.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Special on Calendars

Wondering what gift to get the cyclist on your Christmas List? Looking for a unique calender? Or perhaps you would like to support that photography you see along the trail at races.

I still have Bicycle Trails calendars available for sale.

Cost of the calendar is $15. For US readers of this blog - I will ship your calendar(s) free (via USPS).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Made my annual trip to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. Spend a couple nights at my mom's place. Was good to see her. Doing well since the broken hip.

Thanksgiving day was the my cousin Sue's place. Packer game is on the TV. Packers won against the Detroit Lions - was not a pretty game. A win, non-the-less.

Lots of good food. I brought bags of Chex Mix and a crock pot of meatballs. We all ate too much.

Then it was off to Sheridan Lanes for the annual bowling tourney. Cousin Allyson had t-shirts made (see photo). The photo is of my Aunt Audrey's family, my Mom, and me.

Was a bit too much activity for my brain. Really tired and had a head ache when i got home to my mom's apartment. Home the next day.

Did not bring a bike with the trip. Too short trip and I have problems sleeping on my mom's sofa.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bike Bash 2011

There was a good turn-out for the annual Bike Bash, Psycowpath Mountain Bike Series banquet.

My photos of the event are at: http://win-phoro.photoreflect.com

Ride on the Trace

A little behind in my blogging. Friday, I needed to get out to ride.

Had my free Veteran's Day breakfast at Hy-Vee. Then it was lunch with the fraternity alumni chapter. There's when the frustration started. Suffice it to say that some of the guys are still living in the 40s with their political thinking. Not to mention the Rush "ditto-head" in the group.

I needed out and take a ride to clear my head. Figured the weather would per good for a ride on The Trace. I was having problems - way slow. Realized the the trail is a bit soft. Rough pedaling. Only rode from Silver Sity to Silver Creek and back.

It was also a bit late when i had started, so the sun was getting low in the sky. Happy to get in my ride, short as it was.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kenosha County trail

News from Kenosha County, Wisconsin. My mom reported that the trail following the old North Shore Railroad has been paved! The trail is just behind my mom's apartment.

I have ridden the trail a couple times. The South end is at 35th St (between 22nd Ave and 30th Ave. From there you can ride into Racine.

The Racine County section of the trail had been paved some time ago.

Weather permitting, I will ride the new paved trail over Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Check the Trails

Sunday it was farewell breakfast, load the car, and the boring drive home. I was able to see from I-29 some of the devastation caused by the flood. I was back home about 4:30 pm. Monday was re-supple, laundry, and recover.

Tuesday, I was ready for another bike ride on familiar bike trails. Wanted to see the conditions at Lake Manawa and behind the Trails Center. In the photo here, you can see that depth of the silt that was washed into the area. On my facebook page, there are other photos. The ground contour has changes in some areas as the silt was deposited by the water.

Behind the Trails Center, the water is SLOWLY receding, It will be a mess to clean up once the water is gone. In addition to the silt and debris, there are many trees toppled over the trail.

Great ride before the weather turned on Wednesday. Stopped at the bike shop on my way home. Had a nice chat with Zach.

A Busy Saturday

Saturday during the reunion is always a busy day. This year it was no exception. The day starts with the fishing tournament.

I did not go out to take photos there (take too much time out of my day). I took a couple group shots before they left the hotel. Paulette furnished he photos for publication in the newsletter and the web site.

Once the temperature raised a bit, I headed out for a short bicycle ride. Rode the paved, Lakeshore Trail at Table Rock State Park. Had a nice ride on the road bike and shot a lot of photos.

Was just back in time for the group meeting. Had to decide where the reunion will be held next year. Drum roll --- Las Vegas.

The day ended with our reunion banquet. More photo work - photos of each vets and their spouse/family. A little time in the hospitality room and I was ready for bed.

For readers of my blog that wonder - I did not take part in the tournaments. I just took photos. Maybe next year I will organize a group bike ride...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shooting Tournamant

This morning was the annual shooting tournament. The tournament was held at the Ozark Shooters Sport Complex.

Eleven reunion attendees took part in the tournament. Perennial shooting champion Don "Dead-Eye" was dethroned.

There was confusion following the "lead" car to the complex. But we made it in time for the tournament. After taking photos, I stopped in Branson for some shopping.

For dinner, I made it to the closest Subway. Had a foot-loog cold cut combo.

Golf Tournament

Thursday was not a pretty morning for the golf tournament. Drizzling rain and 50 degrees. Eight hearty attendees brave the elements for compete in the Echo Company golf tournament. The tournaments was held at Thousand Hills Golf Resort, Branson.

I drove a cart to take photos of the 2 four-Somes. After about 3 holes, the rain stopped. When the rain stopped it just felt cold. It was not just me (dressed in my camo shorts).

The tournament was a 9 hole tournament. One of the four-somes continued on to play the full 18 holes.

Dinner was at Florentina's Ristorante Italiano. Our group had swelled to 24 for dinner. Took a while (too long for my mind) to get our food. We were seated on 3 different tables. We almost ate in "shifts" since on table was getting about done eating when the next was just getting their food. Food tested good, most of the group was satisfied. I was NOt one of them - my food was not hot. it was just luke warm.

So far, I am 0/3 of dinner. Couple of us have talking about for Friday we may eat at Subway!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Table Rock Dam

Wednesday was a lazy day here at the reunion. Mostly cloudy and occasional showers. Temerature was warm in the morning and dropping later in the day.

Not weather conducive to bicycle riding. Spent much of the morning visiting. About 11, I drove down the Table Rock Dam and Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. Time to play tourist.

Shot some photos at the fish hatchery. From there, I stopped at the view point parking lot on the lake side of the dam.

Next it was a stop and the HQ and Visitor's Center. Not much to see there. They are building a new Visitor's Center. The lake shore walking/cycling trail starts at the Visitor's Center. Time permitting, I want to ride the 2.2 mile trail on the road bike (the trails is paved).

Ended my tour driving to the trailhead #2. The first parking lot on that road is the only spot that affords and view of the dam. Nap time!

In the evening, a large group of us went to Charlies Steak Ribs & Ale for dinner. Much better service than Tuesday dinner. And, I was able to able to have my local micro-brew. The proplem was my food was over-cooked, dry. Others commented their's did not taste right. Some of the group had been to Charlies before and the food was great. So, food at Charlies was so-so.

Had to shoot one mug shot and play a DVD on my laptop. Visited Paulette for a bit while the video played. VERY tired (over-tired) by the time I got to my room.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Whipper Snappers - Branson

Whipper Snappers is located in the lower level of the Great American Steak & Chicken House, 2421 West Highway 76. Whipper Snapper bills itself as " All-You-Can- Eat Lobster and Seafood Buffet". Their advertisement says that if there are folks that do not the seafood, the could order from the Great American Steak & Chicken House and the food would be taken down to Whipper Snappers.

We had a group of about 20, so would be a good place to eat. The first problem we encountered was that while the 2 restaurants were together, we could NOT sit together in one place. Whipper Snappers has a limited alternative menu.

The steak/chicken restaurant upstairs was very busy. The sparse clientele at the seafood lower level should have given us a clue.

Anyway, we were seated. Part of table 1 ordered, my table ordered, and the 3rd table ordered. I ordered the bacon cheeseburger, fries and water. Tried to
order a beer but our waiter say - Later - once the food was ordered.

Most of those eating on the buffet started eating. Food started to be delivered to us that had ordered from the menu.

Some of out group on table one some how were missed on the food ordering. There were able to order. About this same time.

I tried to order an IPA beer. Our waiter tried to tell me I needed to pre-pay for the beer because they would have to get it from the upstairs bar. Another waiter (one that could speak better English) took my order. The only thing close to waht I wanted was a Bock beer. Which, I then found they were out of. I settled for my water.

My burger arrived. The only good part of our meal (other than the company) was those of use that ordered off the menu. My burger was tasty, BIG, and lots of bacon. Another of our group had the chicken sandwich - and reported that it was also very good.

Those of our group that ate off the seafood buffet reported that the food was not that good - specially with the price!

The Great American Steak & Chicken House/Whipper Snappers should close the seafood buffet and concentrate on the chicken and steak.

Our recommendation - PASS on Whipper Snappers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Table Rock State Park

My first full day at Branson. After breakfast, I started planning a bicycle ride. Checked the internet then headed to Downhill Bikes.

Craig recommended I ride at Table Rock State Park. He said the Red Loop should just what I was looking for. I drove back at the hotel, changed clothes (into my riding kit) and loaded the trail bike on the car.

The first section of the trail was a nice, flowing singletrack/ No Problems riding it. Soon, I was walking the bike up/down grades with lots of rocks and roots.

After a miles, the trail tamed down and back into easy singletrack. (Top photo) I knew it was too good to think the trail would be like that all the way to the car.

In no time, I was back climbing and descending a rocky trail. The lower photo is one of the most challenging section - just to walk!

Like the start of the trail, the last few hundred feet are nearly level, easy, flowing singletrack. I was really tired when I got back to the car. One of the reunion guys said I looked like i had been through the wringer.

Lots of photos. All-in-all a good ride. No speed records - 2.8 miles in 1 hour!

Echo in Branson - 2011

Settled into the room at the Lawrence Welk Resort in Branson, MO. Spent the evening in the hospitality room catching up on everyone.

From what I have seen in the internet, Table Rock State Park (just a couple miles from here) has about 6 or so miles of singletrack. Don't think I will be riding the road bike much here - way too hilly.

Photography duties started already. Took a few photos and on set of "mug" shots. When I arrived, the reunion host related a story. The resort or someone had asked if we (the reunion) wanted/needed a photographer. Hank said he was sure the we would have our own with us -- me. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Exploring Two Rivers Park

Very early Sunday morning we were treated some thunderstorms rolling though the Little Rock area. It was a cool damp day for most of the day. Sun started out peaking out about 3pm.

Looking at Google Maps and Google Earth, there were some "bicycle" trails in/near the Two Rivers County Park. The trails made a unusual geometry pattern. My friends there did not know was there. Exploration Time!

Drove out to the parking lot at River Mountain Park and Two Rivers Park. This was where I had turned back on my ride Saturday (13 miles from the house). Unloaded the bike and beaded across the Two Rivers Park Bridge (today's photo)/

Lots of folks out for a walk/ride. Brought the trail bike since I did know know what trail surface conditions I would encounter. Temp was in the mid 60s. Sky was partly cloudy. Glad I I dressed in my long sleeve jersey. Cool and the shade, comfortable in the sun.

Once you cross the bridge, you are on the Two Rivers Park Trail. A paved, multi-use trail. Sections are also used by horses, I rode to the end of County Farm Rd.

Close to my goal - finding what the geometric shape is, At the entrance was a sign proclaiming this was the entrance to Quorum Court Trail. The whole area is a labyrinth of trails. Most are paved, but those in the center of the open area were crushed rock. Loose crushed rock - not conducive to ride riding (even on the trial bike).

Basically, I explored the perimeter of the trail area. After all, not much to see. Most of the was an open field of grass with trails cut into.

Headed back to the car. My legs were getting a bit tired from pedaling the trail bike and the long ride I took Saturday.

Hoping to ride today before I pack up and drive to Branson. Then this afternoon - Echo, here I come!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Little Rock!

Very early Fruday (3:30) I got on the road for my trip to Branson, via Little Rock. While in the area of Branson, I took the opportunity to visit friends and ride bike in Little Rock. Regular readers of this blog know I at usually take a circuitous route to my Army Reunion.

Saturday dawned sunny with a light breeze. By noon, the temp was up into the 70s. Great bicycle riding weather!

Kitted up, aired up the tires on the road bike, and headed out from the house. OH, how I like not having to haul the bike to the trailhead!

First destination was the new Clinton Presidential Park Bridge. Today's photo is of the Clinton Presidentail Library taken from the that bridge.

Across the Arkansas river to N. Little Rock. Rode the River Trail for some 7 miles to the Big Dam Bridge. While it was a climb (I had to stop and walk a little as the heart rate was getting too high) I was not ready to head back. Rode down the BDB (Big Dam Bridge) to the Little Rock side, knowing that I would have to climb back up on the way back to the house.

Continued on West along the river to the new Two Rivers Bridge. Was seeing some beautiful, wooded. paved trail when i got across the bridge. I resisted riding further. It was getting late and I had about 13 miles to ride back!

On the way back I did not stop as much tp take photos. On the other hand, I was riding a bit slower. It was rough climbing back up the BDB (had to walk part way). A second shot block about the time I reached Burns Park. Had already consumed my G2 and over half of my water. I didn't want to bonk.

Finally back to the Clinton Bridge and onto Little Rock city streets to the house. A great (yet exhausting) 25.5 mile ride. Guzzled my 32 oz PowerAde, and headed out for dinner.

I had a hankering for Mexican food. My friends selected Brownings Mexican Grill. Great food and I washed it down with a good local IPA.

Crashed to bed about 8pm! Awesome day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birthday Ride

It was a pretty nice day for my birthday ride. About 70, sunny, breeze from the SSW when I headed out from the Wabash Trace Trailhead. Before I saddled up, asked someone in the parking lot to take my photo.

Photo turned up good - and now using it as my FB profile photo.

Uneventful ride to the Western Historic Trails Center. There I stopped to visit with Dewey and a couple of bike riders. Story of more folks trying to ride the trail behind the Trails Center. At least they did not need a official water rescue!

From there, it was over to Xtreme Wheels. Wind was kicking up a bit. Chatted with Zack & Jay. Thanks for the T-Shirt, Zack!

Was a bit of work pedaling into the wind for the 4 miles back to the car. Still, an enjoyable ride and afternoon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trek Demos

The TREK Factory Demo trailer is in the Omaha area.

Demos are Swanson Park, Bellevue this weekend - Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm.

Being the location is one of THOR's mountain bike trails, the demos will be primarily for mountain/trail bikes.

Here's your chance to test ride your next bike. Get out and ride!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Morning Ride

John and I headed out from our normal Sunday Morning Ride. We meet at Panera Bread in Council Bluffs, have our coffee and "breakfast". A little after 9am, we roll out.

Most Sundays we ride from Panera, to and around the South side pf Lake Manawa to the Western Historic Trails Center. I stop at the Mountain Bike Trail area (Missouri River boat landing) area to check out the water level. Today, I noticed that they have started scraping the mud off the road. (See top photo). Going to be a big job with all of the silt that has piled up.

John mnetioned that the are pumping out Lake Manawa. Not sure why. (Is it because of the zebra mussels?) Maybe they are just lowering the level - Ihave reported earlier this summer about the high lake levels,

The Road around Lake Manawa is closed. They have hoses/pipes across the road for the pumping. What we could see from the Indian Creek Trail, one pump is running and they have 2 other "over the levee" systems to install.

Nothing note-worth the rest of the ride to the Trails Center.

When I was the the Trails Center, I got some of the scoop on the "water rescue" behind the Center. A bicycle rider tried to negotiate the flooded paved trail.

Apparently he got out of the trail and lost his bike in the water! From the lower photo, you can see that you are not sure where the trail is after it drops into the water. I have ridden that section of the trail regularly and would not try to find my way though the water. The water is just too deep, nasty, and trails curves.

Bet he needed to be hosed down if he fell into the water!

Wind was kicking up when we headed back to Panera Bread. Slowed down the return ride. Still, was a great day for a bike ride!


Photos I took at the THOR Bring You Own Kid mountain Biking day are posted.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Easy Street

Today it was Easy Street - the trail named Easy Street. Its a green trail in the Mahnomen Unit of Cuyuna Country SRA. Easy Street is a "2-way" trail. I rode (walked) the trail from E to W.

The trailhead is near the Pennington Lake parking lot (0.1 mile North of the lot). For nearly 1/2 mile, the trail climbs the "mountain" of overburden. Riders are treated views of Huntington Lake from most of the length of the trail.

After cresting the trail climb, the trail was a nice, flowing trail with short ups and downs. The trail turns away from the lake and the singletrack ended at a gravel road. Its about 1/4 mile down the road to the Boot Camp parking lot.

After the 1.8 miles on the singletrack, I was not ready to re-ride Easy Street on the way back to the car. While i had thought about riding Boot Camp again, I had enough of singletrack for this ride.

The Cuyuna Lakes State Trail - a paved bike trail - runs on the South side of Huntingtom Lake. A relaxing ride back to the car on the paved trail. Round trip - 4 miles.

The photo above is the view from East Street. More photos are on my fb page. Eventually, photos will be posted on my web site.

Crow Wing State Park

After my morning ride yesterday, I was a bit hungry. A change of clothes and headed to Coach's for a late lunch. Took the opportunity to process the photos from the bike ride. Now, what to do the rest of the day?

Decided to drive over to Crow Wing State Park. Crow Wing was a fur trading post at the junction of Crow Wing River and Mississippi River. The park is a couple miles South of Brainard on Hwy 371.

Today's photo was taken at the lookout point at the boat ramp. This is the Mississippi River looking upstream.

Drove over the another recommended section of the park. Walked part of the interpretive trail. Took the opportunity to use me new super wide angle lens.

By the time I got to my motel - County Inn Deerwood - I was ready to call it a day. A quick plug - if you come to Cuyuna Country Ride Center, I recommend the Country Inn Deerwood. The owner is one uf us mountain bikers!

More dirt riding at Cuyuna today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Singletrack! Cuyuna Style

This morning I was a little apprehensive about heading out to ride singletrack. My last ride in the dirt was the end of June! And, I had some nasty crashes the frist weekend of June. When last at Cuyuna, I did not feel comfortable riding contour trails.

Dan, the owner of the motel, suggested that I try Man Cage trail. I aired up the tires, lowered the saddle, and headed on the trail in the Yawkey Unit. It took a little time before I found the rhythm of the trail. Rollers, short climbs, short descents. There were a couple sections that I walked - as my confidence grew, those sections shortened.

The top photo was taken on Man Cage.

Man Cage trail is a "Blue" More Difficult trail. The 0.9 mile trail whet my appetite for a little more singletrack. I had told the motel where I would be riding at Yawley or Boot Camp. Boot Camp is a Green trail. I had thought of riding that trail back in June, but was not sure of the drop-offs. My new found confidence, I was ready.

On over the other other end of the SRA. The lower photo is of my Fuel EX7 on Boot Camp.

Boot Camp does not have the rollers. But, it has rocky spots, some roots, and old buried cables across the trail. Almost all of that trail I was able to ride. Another trip, I think I would be able to ride the whole trail (about a 1 mile trail).

Boot Camp ends by dropping onto the paved Cuyuna Lakes State Trail. That's a nice cool-down from the singletrack.

Felt great to ride the dirt again. Now, which trail(s) do I want to ride tomorrow?

BTW, it was an awesome day, weather-wise. During my morning ride, I broke a sweat wearing bibs and a short-sleeve jersey. Thermometer in the car showed upper 70s.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cuyuna Country

After a frustrating week, FINALLY yesterday I got the car registered. The county was going to send it back to the bank because an error in the lien fee - luckily i was there and paid the fee. Headed back home and packed the car for a trip to Minnesota.

Was a beautiful day today. Would have been nice to be on the trail, rather in the car. But, I made it up to Deerwood, MN. Checked into the motel, started unpacking, and headed to the recreation area to shoot some photos.

Was not ready to head out on the dirt trails with the 500 mile drive. After it warms up in the morning, planning to rides some dirt. One day I want to ride pavement (Cuyuna Country State Trail). if I have time, I an thinking of driving down to Brainard to ride a section of the Paul Bunyon Trail.
Miner Mountain. This is the country I will be riding.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Damage Near Silver Creek Bridge

On Monday, I took the day off the bike. Was a bit windy, anyway. By Tuesday (yesterday) I was needing a ride. Forecast was for sunny, temp in the upper 70s, and a wind out of the NNW. With the wind, i decided to ride the Trace from Silver City to Malvern.

Was a nice, easy ride South to Malvern. Met a few other riders out on the trail. Caught a nice photo of harvesting though the trees on the Trace.

Knew it would be work on the way back up to Silver City into the wind. Took it easy. Stopped at the shelter just North of the Silver Creek bridge. Wanted to redord the damage done to the shelter. It looks like a vehicle backed (or drove) hitting the supports. (see photo) There were also vehicle tracks beside the shelter.

Ended up with a nice ride at 9.5 mph (about average for me right now on the Trace).

Journey of Hope

Sunday morning I had the necessary layers for a cool (chilly) Sunday Morning Ride. Had my breakfast at Panera but my riding friend did not show. I was not really disappointed - not ready for the cooler riding weather.

With the wind kicking up, I decided to ride the Wabash Trace from CB up to Dumfries. When I got at the trailhead, I found there was a charity ride there - fund raiser for cancer support groups in CB. The ride was the Journey of Hope Bike Ride/Walk for the Winds of Hope. I signed up for the ride, got my ls t-short, and headed up the hill.

Have not done much hill climbing. I sure felt it. My legs were tired by the way I got to Margaritaville. Normal stop there for a granola bar and G2. Back down to the trailhead.

Did my good deed for the day and had my bike ride at the same time!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mountain Men Rendezvous

This week has been the Mountain Man Rendezvous at the Western Historic trails Center. I stopped by there yesterday morning after breakfast to check it out.

Since it was relatively early in the morning, there were not many visitors. One of the vendors was cooking up breakfast. Of course, I had already had mine. Visited with one of the "Mountain Men). we is a VietNam vet. Had a good conversation.

In the afternoon I was back one the bike. A few more visitors of the gathering. Since it was mid-afternoon, I was getting a little hungry. In 2009 I was in the 4-corners area. Kept seeing signs about "frybread".

Had never tried it. Since they had some at the rendezvous, I just had to try it. What I got was much like a large, flat doughnut. The "bread" was sprinkled with sugar. Washed it down with lemonade. Got my sugar fix for the ride back.

North Side Tour

Have been a little back in my blogging. Maybe I can catch up this morning.

After the frustrations dealing with the dealership last Thursday morning, I needed a bike ride. In the afternoon, I parked downtown CB and stopped at the bike shop. Had a particular reason to stop at the bike shop - drop off some calendars.

Decided to check out the trails on the North side of town. Rode city streets up to the Sheriff's Dept. The road to Big Lake is still barricaded (as of Thursday - see photo). Water is basically under the railroad and I could see lots of clean-up activity in the park. I would not be surprised to see that Big Lake Park open now or very soon.

As I rode Iowa Riverfront Trail, I realized that some of the pumps have been shut down. The river level is continuing to drop. Standing water along the golf course is receding (tells me that they are slowly getting the ground water level under control).

Survey stake all along the level. Some makings on the pavement - looks like sections that will be replaced. Some sections have been almost destroyed by trucks and equipment driving on the levee during the flood.

Shot the lower photo here overlooking the lower level of Harrah's parking garage. From what I could see it looks like the water is nearly gone in the lower level. They have lots of cleaning up to do, clearing all the water silt, but perhaps they may soon open the section of the bicycle trail there.

On the way back, I looked at the area South the the Bob Bridge where the CB was building the new park/green space between the levee and the river. The area looks like coastal tidal flats.

Lots of devastation along the river. Much of the island between the river and chute is gone (maybe more will be visible after the river level gets down to normal). Many trees have died and are dying from toppling in the storms and high water.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Royal CF

Yesterday I opened envelopes from Classic (the car dealer). I was expecting a survey on the purchase/sales gal. Thankfully, I was at Panera Break for coffee. One of the envelopes was my title application paperwork. This was the same paperwprk I had been told that the dealership had sent to the bank a week ago.

At the dealership, (have I told you that almost every time I am in there, I get a different person and different answer) I was told that I got my own financing, they mailed me the paperwork. No explanation as to what too a week!

So, back to the bank where my banker took the paperwork and was forwarding it to their title office. The paperwork MAY make it to the county treasure office before my 30 days. Hope I do not get any penalty (here we have 30 days to register a vehicle).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Waters Receding

After a week off the bike, it was time to get out for a ride. Weather was gorgeous when I headed out to the Wabash Trace Trailhead. It was a sunny, 74 degrees, with a slight breeze. Brought the road bike for some pavement miles. First destination was the Western Historic Trails Center.

Barricades where down as I headed out from the trailhead. A good sign that the mud had been cleaned from the trail along Mosquito Creek. As I approached the railroad underpass, I saw that the trail is clear - just a small bit of water still draining from the hill/mud.

Ground water around Lake Manawa is still very high. The low spot near the Nature Trail parking lot is still under water. Next stop was at the Missouri River boat landing. More of the road and larking lot are now visible as the waters recede.

At the Trails Center, I rode up to the levee to see the conditions of the trail behind the center. Its going to be some time before this section of the trail is dry, cleared, and rideable. Today's photo shows the trail behind of the Trails Center.

Uneventful ride to the bike shop. Stop for a rest and G2. Finished the ride down Harry Langdon to the trailhead. Grade A bike ride.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2012 Calendar

The 2012 Bicycle Trails calendar is currently at the printer. I would have them for sale next week. You can reserve your copy by writing to: photos (at) TomWinfield (dot) com. Calendars are $15.00 plus $3.00 shipping (US Only). Iowa residents add 7% ($1.05) sales tax. PayPal accepted.

A PDF version of the calendar is available for viewing at my photography site: http://www.tomwinfieldphotography.com/sale/BicyclesTrails12.pdf

My photos are not the wide, sweeping views typical of calendars. They provide an intimate view of the trail I was riding at the time. All photos on the calendar were taken while riding one of my bicycles.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More Car Dealer Frustration

When we last visited, I was bringing the new car home. At the dealership, I was told to come in next week to get paperwork for registration.

Last week (about Thursday the 8th) I was back at the dealership (Classic Chevrolet Cadillac) Eventually they found someone that knew where the paperwork was for my car. She told me that they did not receive the MSO from the original dealer, yet. Now, this was a WEEK from when I said I wanted the car and nearly a week after taking delivery! I was now told that it could be 10 days to 2 weeks before I can register the car.

She just kept telling me that "it takes time". Gave me no warm, fuzzy feeling that she really cared about when the paperwork was processed.

After coffee this morning, I came by the dealership since no one had given me an update. The sales manager was wondering why I was in the showroom. I told the sales gal that I was looking for my registration paperwork.

They found the paperwork and had me sign some more forms. Guess they were just gonna sit in some office until they got around to realizing they needed to contact me for signature. When I asked for registration paperwork, she told me that the bank had it.

On over to the bank. My personal banker checked and they had not received any registration paperwork. When I updated him of my problems, he commented that he was surprised that the dealership would deliver the car without having the MSO in hand. Back to the dealership. Finally I got the straight scoop - One of the papers I had signed was the MSO and WOULD be sent to the bank later today.

When the sales manager checked my sale, they were supposed to include the registration, tax, etc in the invoice. It was not. I had asked about the registration and tax and had been told that I needed to pay it when I registered the vehicle.

This whole episode has been a royal CF. Every time I talked with someone, I was getting only parts of the information. Hell, it seemed that no one seemed to have all of the information. Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ike's to Coin

Time to make a trek south to take photos. With another beautiful day in store, I headed down to Coin, IA, planning to ride up to Ike's and back. Unloaded the bike and headed out from the Coin trailhead. In the first 1/2 mile, I encountered over 4 trees down (thought it would be clear from Shenandoah to Coin).

I gave up and drove up to Ike's. The trail was supposed to clear for the Winery Harvest ride. This is a section of I had not ridden before. Wanted to photograph the Tarkio Bridge.

Uneventful ride to what I thought was the Tarkio River. (Now I see that the Tarkio River is crossed by the Trace South of Coin. I photographed the bridge over the W, Tarkio Creek!) I met one couple that said they were planning to ride to Blanchard - but they were stopped a little over 1/2 miles shy of Coin.

From the W. Tarkio Creek, the trail climbs for nearly 3 miles, cresting at 250 St. When I had started from Coin, It looked like it was a steady climb. So, I figure from 250 St to Coin is downhill.

Trail is blocked with downed trees at H Avenue. I did not try to ride South from Coin. With all of the downed trees in Coin, there was no reason to try that section.

Note: This is just informational. The trail crews have done a great job clearing the trail. Just soooo many downed trees from the storms.

Lake Manawa Trail

The week continues to be a beautiful week for bike riding. Thursday and Friday I parked at the Wabash Trace Trailhead and headed out for the Trails Center.

At the trailhead, there still are signs that the trail is closed. Again near the bus bar, and at the end of E South Omaha Bridge.

I had heard that the water was down and could get through there. The worst of the mud has been cleared from the trail. Looks like there were waiting for the "mud" to dry when it can be swept off. It is dry, except for one short section under the railroad. (today's photo)

Thursday was a bit breezy - winds from the NNW. It was rough pedaling up Indian Creek into the wind. Stopped at the Trails Center for the normal visit. Next stop was Xtreme Wheels, then back down to the trailhead. A good 19 mile ride.

Friday, I started off with the same route. Wind was not as bad, but still basically from the North. Instead of riding up to the bike shop, I rode back via Manawa - did not want to ride Harry Langdon with Friday afternoon traffic.

The two rides where enough that I made my first 100 miles week this year.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Iowa Riverfront Trail

Yesterday was the day to get a hitch installed on the new car. Figured it was a good time to head out to check out the Iowa Riverfront Trail. Had not been up North on the trail since the flooding (trail was closed).

The river continues to drop. How we are seeing the damage done. Today's photo showed what was the riverfront parking lot at Harrahs (near the golf course).

Please be careful riding the trail - there are numerous places where hoses from flood pumps are crossing the trail. Most are covered with hard pack (almost paved) over the hoses/pipes. Two spots have flat "pipes" across the trail.

The river is still high, but I could see some of the damage that was done. There are trees uprooted, land washed away, and new sand bars in the river. Not sure it is was water damage or working to shore up the levee, but a section of the Dodge Park Golf Course fell victim to the flood.

Much of the paved trail will need to be replaced - damaged from vehicles driving down it for inspections/maintaining the levee.

The trail is closed at the golf course. The lower section of the Harrah's parking lot (and the bike trail) is still under water. Basically, consider the Iowa Riverfront Trail is closed from the Trails Center to Dodge Park Golf Course.

I was less than a mile from getting back to Council Hitch (where I was getting the hitch installed) when my phone rang. Car is done. Good timing. Stopped at Xtreme Wheels to get the hitch. Zach was busy, but his friend Joe installed the rack for me. Now I need to get some rock in the low spot of the driveway so the hitch doesn't drag!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Council Bluffs Bike Paths Open

This week, we got the word that CB was planning to open the
Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Saturday morning. With that came the plans to open the levee trails. Levee trails will be open during daylight hours only.

I was looking forward to check out the trails and take a few photos. This morning John and I headed out for Sunday Morning Ride. From Panera Bread, we rode the new section of the Veteran's Memorial Trail to Lake Manawa Trail. Detoured down to the river to see the level.

On over the Indian Creek bridge. I had ridden to the bridge last week, so know how full the creek was. Stiff headwind greeted us as we rode up Indian Creek. At Hwy 92, I was surprised to see that the water level had dropped enough to ride under the bridge. (see photo) Even the trail had been cleaned!

Smooth sailing (pedaling) on over to the Western Historic Trails Center. Its still some time before the water will drop enough to ride on past the Trails Center. Short visit with Dewey. Time to pedal back to Panera so John can get home and mow the lawn.

OH, I should say something about the weather. Cold front came through yesterday. Our ride this morning was done under sunny skies, temperature in the mid 60's, and a stiff NW breeze. Glad I had long sleeves and a jacket for the ride. Cool for Labor Day Weekend.

Bike Hauler Home

The new bicycle hauler is FINALLY home. Its been a real pain (buying a car, not the performance of the car).

Last time I blogged about this, the dealership (Classic Chevrolet Cadillac) was trying to find another car. They refunded my deposit, apologized (the money should not have been deposited), and assured me they would find me a vehicle to my liking.

Last Monday, they advised me they found a silver Impala with the options I wanted. They inspected my old Impala for trade-in value.

Tuesday evening I received e-mail from the sales gal. I needed to come in to finalize the purchase - Wednesday. Had to be that afternoon (because she did not come into work until 2pm).

More frustration. I came in, she went through the $$$. It did not match my internet generated invoice (but at least it was in my favor). The big problem was that the trade-in was not listed. The Manager was not in because of a family emergency. Took them over 30 minutes to 1) start reworking the trade-in estimate and 2) call the manage and find out where the estimate was.

I had a min and max value in mind. They came almost in the middle of the range from keep the old car vs trade it in. Sales gal was pushing to get the deal signed. I was getting more frustrated. Left to cool down, clear my head. Back Thursday to sign paperwork.

From there, over to the bank. They told me it would take 3-4 hours to prepare the loan paperwork. Further, the bank officers I was working with was not in that day. Told them I would be back Friday morning when they opened.

Friday morning signed loan paperwork and delivered the check to the dealership. My sales gal was not in that day. I told another salesman that I had been also working with that I would be in shortly after 9am Saturday to take delivery.

Saturday at breakfast my phone rang (but I did not hear it). At the dealership I was advised that the car was not in yet. The truck is supposed to bring it in SOMETIME Saturday in time for me to pick it up.

I was pulling into the driveway at home when the phone rang - my car was in. Back into town. Finally took delivery of my new 2011 Impala about 11am.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

River Dropping, Lake Rising

The Missouri River level continues dropping. I hear that some sections of the Interstate north of CB are being inspected for damage. It's not pretty. Three months of the river flowing over the highway has taking its toll.

We got word that the CB end og the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge will reopen on Saturday. Plans are to open the bicycle trails on the levees very soon (maybe the weekend?). Sure looking forward to that. There are sections still under water (highway underpasses. Behind the Trails Center, under Harrahs).

Not to mention the clean-up that will be required. I am sure the trail will be covered with muck and silt. Word is that its still Mid October before the river is back to "normal".

Low spot of the Veteran's Memorial trail just east of S 24th St is now dry (though the barricade is still up). Lake Manawa Trail east of the nature trail parking lot is still underwater.

Meanwhile, with all of the rains, the level of Lake Manawa has risen. The entrance and part of Boy Scout Island is underwater (see photo).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lots of Ground Water

The Missouri River is SLOWLY receding. But, with all of the rain we received the last couple weeks, the rain has no place to go. Pumps have been running around the clock to transfer ground water into the river.

Lake Manawa is over its banks. This photo was taken on Aug 25th. The lake level was even higher Sunday (Aug 28th).

Lake Manawa Bike Trail is flooded in places. This photo was taken just East from the Nature Trail parking lot. There is another flooded section between the Nature Trail and the road to river boat landing.

Veterans Memorial Trail is flooded in the low spot East of S. 24th St.

Water has been partially crossing Western Historic Trail near the Trails Center. With so many trails STILL closed from the flooding, there are a lot of bicycles out on the roads and streets. Please watch you for us cyclists.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Maskenthine Classic

Maskenthine Classic mountain bike (XC) race was run yesterday near Stanton, NE. Was a near perfect day for racing. Temperatures in the 70s, partly cloudy skies, a nice breeze.

My photos are posted on my race photo site - http://win-photo.photoreflect.com

Today's photo is the start of the Category 1 race at Maskenthine.