Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bike Ridin' Weather

Thins mirning, I had a eye doctor appointment -- having a little problem with a blockage in the left eye. Been treating it since early November. Second shop in the eye this morning. The eye drops had not quite worn off at noon, but I had to get out to ride today.

Sunny with a little wind from the West. Temperature was in the low 50s when I headed to the Wabash Trace Trailhead. Brought the road bike. Headed to Lake Manawa with plans to ride to the Trails Center.

I was stopped just before I got to the Indian Creek Bridge. A bird-watcher stopped me to chat. Seems I was in the mood to visit. We spend 20-30 minutes talking. Turned out his name is also Tom. A couple other bike riders stopped by (Mike & Art).

The "filtered" sunshine changed to bright sun. We all went our own way. completed riding to the Trails Center. Stopped there and visited a little with Tereesa and Dewey. It was after 3:30 before I got back on the bike to ride to the car.

A quick stop at the bike shop and then on home. A great afternoon on the bike. Today's photo is the bike ride on Indian Creek Bridge.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Brisk Ride

Another good riding day (for February). Sunshine and in the low 40s. The only issue was a brisk wind from the SSW. I parked at the Wabash Trace Trailhead, heading for Lake Manawa.

Most of the trail surface is clear, just a couple small ice patches under the interstate. the tunnel under the railroad was mostly dry! But I am getting ahead of me. The ride almong Mosquito Creek was rough - a blustery head wind. Felt good to turn to the West at the pumping station.

The Council Bluffs has been doing a great job clearing the trail. Today's photo shows one of the more snowy section of the trail along the Lake Manawa Road.

Rode on down to the river boat landing. Several folks walking their dogs and fishing on the bank. One over to the Indian Creek bridge. Joe (XW customer) passed me as I was taking a photo. He stopped on the bridge and we spent some time visiting.

My original plan was to ride to the Trails Center or at least around Lake Manawa. But I did not want to face the wind again. Turned around at the bridge and headed back to the car.

Rode the Nature Trail to add distance to the ride and check the trail. One short section of the trail is snow and ice covered. All-in-all a good ride. Ended up with 19 miles, taking me to 140 miles for the year. OH - I rode the road bike today. Didn't want the bike to get lonely. Felt good to have the speed of the road bike with the head wind.

Some rain is forecast for tomorrow. Most of the rest of the week should be mostly sunny with highs in the low to mid 40s. Hoping to log more miles this week.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Home, Lost Week, Back on the Bike

Last Thursday evening I got home. Felt pretty good on the long driving day. Made some time to attend my fraternity alumni luncheon and THOR annual meeting over the weekend.

Did lots of nothing most of the week - wasted time playing "Locomotion". Checking at at Xtreme Wheels, visiting with Blaine. Back to normal coffee schedule. Today I was heading for another lost day when Zack (Xtreme Wheels) called me.

He was calling to welcome me back home, wondered when I would be in the shop, and was I riding today. It was a nice day, no (or at light) breeze, and bright sunshine. OK, kitted up for a ride abd grabbed the hybrid.

Rear tire valve was plugged (with dirt & slime?). Stopped at the bike shop to clear the valve and check the tires. While Zack had the bike on the stand, asked him to tighten up the pedal cleats - has been slipping out too easily. Thanks, Zack - I owe you.

Wanted to check the trail on the North end of Council Bluffs. Parked at Big Lake and headed South on the Riverfront Trail. Took it easy, checking out the scenery. Noticed my heart rate was slow (must be all the air from the lower altitude).

As I neared the curve before the Bob Bridge, the trail was blocked (see photo). Looks like they the city/Corp reworking something at a pumping station. There is not any convenient route or bypass. There if a work-road down the street level, but that has a gate and cable across the access. Can't walk the bike over the construction area as it is blocked with chain-link fence.

i had planned to ride down to the Western Historic Trails Center -- but with the closed trail, I just headed back to the car. Stopped at the bike shop again - short visits with Joe and Zack.

Thanks, Zack, for getting me back on the bike!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Got out of the hotel about 6:30 yesterday morning. Headed towards home. At Santa Rosa (110 miles down the road) it was time for breakfast.

Off I-40 and find the Route 66 Cafe. What a mistake! I ordered "hot cakes" and sausage. The pancake were "warm" at best - would not mely butter. Terrible service - waiting for coffee refill. Seemed they had no idea where my check was (no they did not make it free - it should have been).

Next stop was Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Palo Duro is billed as "The Grand Canyon of Texas". The park is about 25 miles off I-40, south of Amarillo, TX. The scenery was sure worth the detour.

Found the mountain bike trails. The sections at the trailhead looked good to ride -they there was a sign warning for folks with medical conditions. It would have ridden to check the trail, but I have a fully packed car and was not dressed for cool weather riding. Should I come back en route ABQ again in Spring - I plan tp check them out.

The park road was closed at Wash #2 - at the Mountain Bike trails - hunting season. They did warn me of that before I paid the entrance fee ($5 for the day).

Was a frustrating day on the road. One of the gas stops in Texas, the restrooms were not working (water problems). Next stop, they were filthy. Motel I stopped at said that if i wanted a "Senior Rate" room, it would be on the second floor!

Found at Denny's for dinner - at least that was decent. Colaped into bed after dinner. Slept right through Criminal Minds and CSI!

Today's photo is a view in Palo Duro Canyon SP.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Last Ride & Packing

Spent much of the morning packing up the car for the trip home. Also contacted folks un in Council Bluffs & Treynor over snow accumulation concerns. Weather and Facebook reports gave me the impression that I might have problems getting into the driveway when I get home.

Was able to get someone around Treynor to check the situation and were able to plaw open the drive. The price is worth the peace of mind - not having to try to shivel when I get home.

Took time for a 10 miles pavement ride this afternoon. Exploring new trails. Rode from Central Ave and the Rio Grange, up the I-40 trail to Unser Blvd. That was some climb.

Great to almost coast back down to the river. Stopped to take several photos. Photo above was taken while riding I-40 Trail back down from Coors Blvd to the Rio Grande. Was getting a little chilly when I got back to the car.

Shower and off for some snacks and dinner. Cousin Don called, verifying my plans. Time to do dishes, and then watch NCIS.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Foothills - Take Two

Delayed enough this morning - napping, computer work, wash cycling kits. Had to get out to ride. The plan was to ride singletrack back up in the foothills. Last year I had a good ride from the High Desert/Bear Canyon trailhead.

Seems that my breathing at altitude seems to be better. Still, I had to stop several times climbing the trail from the parking lot to Trail 365. It doesn't help when what looking like a level (or even down slope) its really just a less steep climb!

Rode along the fence. Thought this was trail 365. Turned away from the fence trying to find the right trail. Eventually. I found trail markers. I was at the interesction of trail 365, trail 366, and trail 305a.

By this time, I was ready to head back. A little chilly up in the foothills. Clouds were "filtering" the sunshine. Rode Trail 365 for a while then found a trail I tool last year taking me back to the trailhead.

Was happy to get back down to the gate near the parking lot. Today's photo is of the trail bike at that gate. Sandia Mountains in the background.

Think tomorrow will be a pavement ride near the river.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ride at Volcanoes

This morning I met cousin Don for breakfast. Nice visit and meal at the Range Cafe. Rested and prepared for a bike ride. Did not realize I had not ridden since Wednesday!

Little cool today, so bundled up to ride the dirt trails at Volcanoes Day Use Area of Pertroglyph National Monument. The trail out from the trailhead splits right out of the gate. I took the left turn to slowly climb up to Vulcan Volcano.

Once i got to the saddle between Black and Vulcan Volcanoes, the trail gets very rocky heading up. Started riding the trail up to the East side of the cone. (I should say, ride with more "hike-a-bike")

Back in the saddle area, I headed South to Black Volcano. That trail was basically rocks - lots of loose, "baby-head" rocks. Until I got lower between Black and JA volcanoes, the trail was once again was packed dirt.

Enjoyed the ride back down to the trailhead.

Today's photo shows the Fuel EX7 on the side of Black Volcano, overlooking Albuquerque and the Rio Grande Valley.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I succeeded in sleeping in this morning. Unfortunately, I missed the Albuquerque Amateur Radio Club breakfast meeting. I thought the meeting was in the evening. Another time.

My cousin Don sent e-mail about the steam locomotive is being restored in Albuquerque. Don has a friend that is in the organization that is restoring Santa Fe 2926.

New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society works on the locomotive on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Public and donations are welcome.

Restoration of the tender is nearly completed. Goal of restoration of the locomotive is to have running on the rails in about 2 years.

Don was going to take me to the old ATSF backshop to the Wheels Museum. The place was all locked up.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bosque del Apache NWR

When i stuck my head out of the hotel room this morning, it was cool, overcast, and looked like it had snowed! I knew that the storm was going NE, and checking, it seemed to be a nice day to go South the the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuse.

The refuge in about 100 miles from Albuquerque. Exit 139 on I-25. Go east about a hald mile to the flashing yellow lite (Old Highway 1) at San Antonio, NM. Right (South) 9 miles to the refuge.

Now I am not a birder, and photographing birds surely has not been my strong suit. Might as well try it. What better place than the refuge - with all of the migratory birds!

I stopped at the Visitor's center for my pass and visit with the staff. Talking with they lets me tell them what my goal is. They then gave me some suggestions to enhance my experience at the refuge.

Started with the Marsh Loop. The first large flock of birds I saw were the Snow Geese - just as I turned when the road turns one-way. Think I startled them - because most flow off a little further from the road.

Just past the Snow Geese, I walked partway down the John Taylor Memorial Trail. I did not make it to the end (where it looks like there was a blind there). My legs were not willing.

Not going to bore you with all of the details and lots if photos. After all, its a learning shoot for me! I had my telephoto zoom lens, I could get some pretty good shot. The problem was when i wanted to follow a bird 9or a flock) to get the bird in focus. When i get homw on the larger monitor, i will be able to see how good 9or bad) I did.

Continuing on the Loop Road, at the cross connector, I was on the Farm Loop. At the North of the Farm loop I found the cranes. Almost done, I stopped at the Flight Deck.

I did not bring my bicycle on the excursion. There was some comment on the web site that the Loop Road was closed to bicycles from Oct through April. Bicycles could ride the East Low Flow Conveyance Service Road. The volunteer at the Visitor's Center told me that studies showed that bicycles scared the birds. Walkers and cars do not bother them, but bicycles cause problems.

Back into San Antonio, it was a little after 1 and i was getting hungry. Stopped into the Owl Bar and Cafe for one of their "world famous hamburgers". I did not have one of theor burgers - opted for the patty melt. North back toward Albuquerque.

Stopped into Socorro for gas. As i recalled, there was some mountain bike trails around Socorro. Found the Chambers Tourist office. No trail maps, but was able to refer me to a local groups - Socorro Striders and Riders. Will have to check it out for my next trip South from Albuquerque.

The busy day was topped off with a couple beers with my cousin and a friend of his. Planning to sleep in!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Loretto Chapel

My plans for today was to head to Santa Fe, visit with a friend there, and tour by bicycle. First stop the CGHiggins Candy Shoppe. Plan was to park the car and bike from there.

Weather was being a bit "iffy" this morning. While mt visit at the candy shop, it was sunny/cloudy and calm/breezy. Walking to the car for a calendar, I was breating pretty hard (guess the added altitude was getting to me).

After a cup of coffee and candy purchases, I drove into the plaza area of Santa Fe. Abandoned the plans pf cycling around town. Temp was 37 - a little chilly. The one thing I wanted to see was the spiral staircase at the Loretto Chapel.

I found the chapel and spent the $3 to see the staircase. I will not be able to post a photo for sale as they only allow photos for personal use. Today's photo is the staircase and the read of the chapel.

When I got back to Albuquerque, it was 52 and sunny. A little tired today, so stayed in the room(clouded off again in the afternoon) and rested.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Foothills Trails

After lunch with Jack & Kay, I wanted to check out the foothills singletrack. I had never ridding from the Indian School Rd trailhead.

I thought I would be OK since I have been in town for a week. I tried to ride up Trail 193. Trail surface was a fine, loose gravel. After struggling and waking for 0.1 miles, I rode back to the trailhead.

Tried trail 365. Not so bad. There was some loose gravel, but mostly packed dirt. When you are up in the foothills, the trail slope is very deceiving. Spots where I thought I gonna climb, I was really still descending!

Hopefully, next week I will be able to ride more in the foothills. Only made 1 mile and 20 minutes. Maybe I should start at Bear Canyon, again. I also have the option to ride at Volcanoes (Petroglyph National Monument).


A high school and his wife (Jack & Kay Schafer) stopped by to have lunch today. They had been at Lake Havasu City, AZ for a month-long vacation. Jack recently retired and they are looking at places to possible relate (or at least a place to winter).

Great to visit with them.

Shout-Out to Office Depot #581

Saturday morning I was out shopping for tablet computers. Something I could bring on my bicycle for a day trip. Had been talking with a sales associate at Best Buy in Council Bluffs, IA.

It was my impression that they were expecting in Asus tablets with 32 GB storage, Android 4.0 and a new Quad-core processor. I drove to the Albuquerque Best Buy at 55 Hotel Circle.

I was there, in the computer section near the tablets, for over a half hour. I still had not been able to talk with a sales associate. I only saw one associate in the computer area of the stor.

As i left the store, I complained the associate are the door. All I got was a "sorry".

Found an Office Depot (had shopped paper there last year when in town). When I found the tablets, a sales associate quickly came to me to answer my questions. He has one of the Asus tablets that I was looking at.

He was not aware of any new Asus tablets until May or so. With that, I was gonna buy the current model which they have a a good price. As he was getting my table, he talked with another associate and found out that indeed, there would be a new Asus tablet expected in about a month. Gave me the name of the new tablet.

The shout-out because he could have sold me the older model. I might have found out the error (had i purchased the tablet). I might have been happy with the tablet. Then again i might had cussed the associate for selling me a device was not what i wanted.

Thanks for giving me the info I was looking for and not just a sale.