Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back on the Hybrid

Tuesday, I took the road bike to the bike shop. Several things: get the flat fixed, see what I did wrong with the inflater, annual check-up. At over 2000 miles, the rear tire is getting thin (and cut where the tube punctured). Guess should only plan for about 2500 miles on those tires. Replacing both tires.

Inflater problem was "operator error". Was thinking of a pump - but not a decent place to mount the pump without losing a bottle cage.

Cassette and chain was in good shape. Getting the bar re-taped, with extra bar cushioning.

So, yesterday's ride, I was back on the hybrid. Decided for a short ride to and around Lake Manawa. Parked at the Wabash Trace trailhead.

When I got to the power plant road, I noticed new caution markings at the trail barrier posts (see photo). Looks like the painting is done only at the hinged posts (the same situation at the Indian Creek Bridge, but NOT at the Manawa Nature Trail). When i got back to E. S. Omaha Bridge, a worker was watching the paint dry at the caution marking for the trail post.

After the 3 mile walk Monday, my legs were feeling it. Glad I had not planned a longer ride. The 11 miles was enough.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flat and Walk

It was a pretty nice day for a bike ride yesterday. Just a little windy (10-20mph from the WNW). I needed to get out and ride - been off the bike for a week! Loaded up the road bike and headed for the Wabash Trace Trailhead Park. The parking lot was almost full. Must be lots on the Trace (though I had heard about trees over the trail). My destination was the Trails Center.

Lots of folks out on the trails. Stopped at the river boat ramp parking lot. Check the river level and visited with a couple mountain bikers.

Head-wind slowed me down a bit. Worst was the last mile from Penny's to the Trails Center. Ready for my rest, drink, and granola bar when I got there. Knew the Trail Center would not be open (Holiday), but it was a good place to turn around.

Great to have the tail wind most of the way back. Coasting much of the way. Having a great ride when I flatted. I heard it, not sharp crack, more of a whimper. Must have been some glass on the trail into the dirt there at the pumping station (E. Manawa Rd just off Rt 92).

Knew it was about 3 miles to the car. Debated and decided to change the tube. Got everything torn apart and ready to apply the new tube. I could not my CO2 inflater to work. It would not put any air into the tube. Emptied on inflater. Of course, there was no one on the trail that stopped with a pump. I ended walking the bike 3 miles back to the trailhead and my car.

As I was walking along the trail, I noticed LOTS of glass shards on the trail. Think there have been may idiots pitching glass (beer bottles?) from the car, at the trail and/or bike riders.

Will be at the bike shop to get the tire repaired and the inflater checked out (or I will have to bring a pump on the road bike).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Long Day on the Road, and Home

Tuesday was a long day on the road. After breakfast at the hotel (part of the room rate), I gassed up the car and headed Rio Grange Gorge Bridge. The bridge is about 8 miles out side of Taos on US 64. As you approach the gorge, you don't even notice the deep cut in the earth. Yet, the bridge's 600 ft span crosses the Rio Grande River 565 feel below.

There is construction at the bridge. Viewing parking lots on the East end of the bridge are closed. There is a small (about 4-5 cars) spot on the West end of the bridge. Just West of the end is a rest area, which also affords good views of the bridge. The photo to the right has taken from that rest area.

Soon after crossing the bridge, I saw some unusual looking buildings to the right (North side of the highway). There was a sign at the drive welcoming folks to the Earthship Visitor's Center. The web site proclaims that constructs "Radically sustainable buildings made with recycled materials". Stopped along the highway to take a couple photos.

A long, boring drive up US 285 to Alamosa, I stopped at the Colorado Welcome Center there. Picked up directions and information about Great Sand Dunes National Park. 35 miles from Alamosa - take Colorado 17 North to Mosca, turning right onto LN 5. Several miles later, at the stop sign turn Left on route 150. The Visitor's Center is about 4 miles ahead.

After stopping in at the Visitor's Center, go the the Creek and picnic area (not the campground). This is the closest place to the sand and dunes. Since my visit was in May, there is still Spring run-off from the mountains. To get to the dunes, you have to walk about 100 ft to the creek. Take shoes and socks off, walk through the wet, soft sand of the creek, Then, finally get to the dunes. I was not up to walking up onto the dunes.

The lower photo with this posting gives a perspective on the height of the dunes.

From the Dunes, was debating to take the mountain roads to Denver or cut over to I-25. I decided on US 285 (2-lane) to Denver. Another boring drive on the plateau. Nothing to see except the road until I neared Poncha Springs and the junction of US 50.

As I neared Denver, I decided I wanted to get past Denver before I stopped for the night. Was feeling pretty good driving. when I got to Fr. Morgan, there was a DQ (there was a Blizzard with my name on it!) when I got off I-76. Asked to fill my water cup while buying the large Blizzard. Never had this happed before - she wanted to charge me (I think it was $050) for the ice in top of my Blizzard (almost $5). She settled on charging me $0.10 for the ice. My recommendation, PASS on the Dairy Queen in Ft. Morgan, Colo.

Logged into my laptop to check out places to stay. Ft. Morgan is expensive - headed on down the road. I saw an sign for Quality Inn and Denny's in Ogalalla, NE. Figured I could make it that far.

Had to settle for a second floor room, but by making the reservation at the hotel computer (via Choice Hotel web site) I cut my rate be over $10.

I was looking forward with breakfast this morning. My usual at Denny's is the Senior Cheesy Scramble. Food was good, but the service was the pits. Only got 3 cups of coffee and 2 small glasses of water with breakfast. Other guests were also complaining about the service. I made sure I complained to the hotel desk clerk - as there is a voucher toward breakfast included with the room rate. While I was please with the room, with the poor sercave at Denny's. in the future, I will pass on staying at the Quality Inn, Ogalalla, NE.

Was getting tired driving today. Stopped at Hy-Vee in CB to pick up salad (today was greens day). Post office in Treynor for re-starting mail delivery. Unloaded most of the car. Will finish in the morning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Was a little before 8 am Yesterday when I headed on the road toward Taos. Woke up early enough to chat, have a good breakfast (Village Inn) and finished loading the car.

Picked up so more tourist stuff at the Visitor Info on I-25. She did not tell me about detour at the interchange for the major highway to Santa Fe. Found my way back on track. Up past Espanola, turned onto highway 68 (the low road) to Taos. Much of the road follows the Rio Grande River.

Stopped in at the Rio Grange Gorge Visitor's Center. Wish they told me to take the side road to Taos - Rt 570 - maps shows that I would had a nice drive closer to the Gorge.

It was not even noon when I got to Taos. So, kept on going - drove the Enchanted Circle scenic byway. The first stop on the circle was Angel Fire (a ski town). Picked up some powerade and found the Viet Nam Veteran's Memorial. From there it was a pretty boring drive to Eagle Nest on Rt 38.

From there, the road climbs to Bobcat Pass. Steep climb. Part way down was the town of Red River. Red River has a very vibrant main street through town. Also another ski town.

Still losing elevation out of Red River. The road follows the Red River. There were many women pedaling their bikes UP the pass. I could not imagine climbing the grade on a bike!.

A turn on Rt 522 at Questa and a pretty fast drive to Taos. Checked into the hotel and drove the 2 1/2 miles into the Plaza. Toured there, took photos, and shopped. Back at the hotel it was time for Manager's Reception and dinner.

Quality Inn, Taos - good sized room with fridge & microwave. Free first draft beer, wine, etc, with snacks. Restaurant has a salad bar (needed my greens) and decent prices on the Early Bird (5-7) special. Service was nothing to write home about.

The photo with this post was taken along Rt 38 on the Enchanted Circle.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Packing, Bike Ride, & Eclipse

Got a good night's sleep last night. Yeah think the bike ride might have something to do with it? Did most of my packing of my clothes.

Set up for a bike ride with my cousin Don. We met at the Central Ave. trailhead on Paseo del Bosque. Rode South to Rio Brave. Stopping on the way back, asked some of the folks along the trail to take a photo of us. They were support vehicle for a Boy Scout 50 mile badge ride. Anyway, today's photo is of Don and me on the "Bosque".

Lunch was my treat. Don sprinted to the vehicles after our photo was taken. Pigged out on Village Inn breakfast, coffee and pie/cake.

Finished the day with visiting a friend I met on-line. We went West of town to watch the solar eclipse. LOTS of other foks had the same idea I did. Parked along the road West of Volcanoes Day Use area (Paseo del Volcan). It was a "happening"!

Back on the road in the morning. Tomorrow evening in Taos.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A+ Bike Ride

Here's what I posted on Facebook about my bike ride: "Ever had a day - just can't get moving and motivated to go out for a ride. Then, when you start pedaling - you don't want to stop? Today was one of this days."

Debated riding the Tramway Trail or the "Bosque". Studying images of Google Earth, I could not verity parking spots (trailhead) for the Tramway Trail. So, kitted up, loaded the hybrid and headed to Central Ave trailhead on the Bosque. When I got there, I realized that I had forgotten my sunglasses (no big shakes) and my cycling shoes (big problem). Back to the hotel.

Frustrated by the time I got on the trail. All that vanished soon on the trail. It was about 80 degrees, wall-2-wall sunshine. 9% humidity, winds 0-15 mph mostly from the West. Awesome riding weather.

Rode South from Central Ave. Went a little further than Rio Bravo Blvd. Not looking to ride the south end, I turned back. Whole different scenery along the trail during May than I saw when riding this winter! Took more photos (of course).

When I got back to Central Ave., I was not ready to stop. Rolled past the trailhead, riding up to I-40. Could have ridden further, but am hoping my cousin will be wanting to ride tomorrow morning. Did not to have my legs shot for that ride.

In the morning, I started sorting stuff to pack back into the car. Monday, I start heading back home.

Santa Fe

Forecast for Friday was sunny and windy. Figured it was a good day to make my trip to Santa Fe. Original plans were to bring the bike. But with riding the 3 last day, I needed a day off the bike (my butt would thank me).

Drove over to the Rio Rancho/Journal station on the RailRunner. Found out that it was Albuquerque's "Bike to Work Day". Visited with folks from New Mexico Transportation Dept and BikeABQ (stationed at opposite ends of the parking lot). I talked with Steve of BikeABQ - who happens to be from Iowa! We are everywhere.

Uneventful train ride to Santa Fe. Stopped in at the Santa Fe Depot (today's photo) for information. Got suggestions of places to visit. Caught the free shuttle bus to The Plaza.

Did a walking tour of downtown Santa Fe. Visited the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. Walked around the Plaza. Stop at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis Assisi (did not go inside). Lunch at San Francisco Street Bar & Grill.

Now, time to walk off lunch. Walked over to San Miguel Mission and the oldest house in Santa Fe. (Passed on Loretto Chapel as I was there this Winter). Next stop was the Roundhouse (New Mexico State Capitol). Toured most of the capitol (that i could get to).

The Bataan Memorial was on the way back to the train. Stopped there. By now I was thirsty. Found The Junction, as sports bar & grill at the Railyard.

Visited with another patron of the bar. Found out that my train ticket was also good for travel in any of the Santa Fe buses. Word is there is the same situation in Albuquerque. Cheap travel (since my Senior rate for the train was $6). Train ticket prices go up Monday.

Train was packed part of the way - not surprising since i was on the 4:10 train on a Friday afternoon!. Was exhausted by the time i got back to the room. Spent some time processing the photos, but was too tired to blog and post on fb.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Paseo del Nordeste

This morning, I rode the Paseo del Nordeste Recreational Trail. Started from my motel near Menaul & Carlisle. Rode the streat to the N. Diversion Channel Trail. The first think I saw, the city is constructing me trail bypasses under streets.

After just short of 2 miles in my tide, I turned east to ride the Paseo del Nortests. This is another trail along a diversion channel/arroyo (The Hahn Arroyo). Since the trail is perpendicular from the Rio Grand, it climbs East towards the Sandia Mountains.

A couple times I thought of turning back (after all, I had enough climbing yesterday). I persevered, and made it all the way to the end of the trail at the Sandia High School (about 3 miles from the N. Diversion Channel). Stopped to take some photos and re-hydrated a couple times.

The 3 mile coasting ride back down partially made up for the climb. Then, just a easy ride (slight up-slope) along the N. Diversion to Menaul. Back at my motel just on time to change clothes to meet a fraternity brother at Range Cafe.

The afternoon, processed photos, rested, and made tentative plans for riding the RailRunner to Santa Fe tomorrow.

Today's photo in along the Paseo del Nordeste Recreation Trail in a section of the Hahn Arroyo rehab project.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Paseo de la Mesa

Today I headed back to the West side of Albuquerque to ride. The Paseo de la Mesa Recreational Trail looked like (by the map) just the ride I wanted.


Right out of the parking lot, it was CLIMB. And no let-up for almost 2 miles. With the altitude and my general condition, I had to walk up sections of the trail. It was about 1 3/4 miles up to the West. When the trail turned North, the trail turned into a big rollercoaster.

I was not even ready to ride the rollers, don't think the legs would handle them. At 2 miles, I turned around (at the point in today's photo).

Felt good to coast down the hill. Even used brakes to hold my speed down. BTW, Google Earth shows the the climbing was about 300 ft elevation gain in the 1.75 miles (average 3.25% slope).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Exloring West Albuquerque Trails

I was in the mind to explore new trails. Looking at the Albuquerque Bike Map, I decided to check out the west side. Looks like a bike path along Unser Blvd. Additional trails along some of the arroyos. Now, just find a place to park the car.

Drove over to Unser Blvd North from I-40. When I got to Western, I knew I could park at the Petroglyph trailhead. Unloaded the bike and headed North on the trail. Rode the Under Blvd trail to Mariposa Trail. This trail mostly follows an arroyo and power line. Got a little confused when the trail ended.

With some help, I realized I was at Mariposa Basin Park. Found my way along the park and the Riverview Trail. Riverview Trail is a very steep (or a paved trail). Flew down (had to use brakes) the trail. Explored the basin and gravel trail at the end of Riverview.

Not looking forward the climb back up - but got to it. The trail got too steep for my to ride up part of the trail. Back at the Basin Park, I rode around the park and took the turn to Boca Negra Trail. Rode that trail to its end.

Retraced my tracks back up Mariposa Trail and Unser Blvd to my car. By the time i arrived back to the car, I had enough for today. Loaded the bike, stopped at a Subway for lunch. At the room, processed the photos I took today.

Today's photo is of my Trek 7200 FX hybrid on the Boca Negra Trail.

Monday, May 14, 2012

ASUS Transformer Tablet

Cool day, forecast is for threatening rain. Was a good day to get the new ASUS Transformer tablet packaged up for shipping to ASUS. Guess I screwed up the micro-SD card slot.

When i got the tablet, I could not figure out how to the the micro SD card into the slot. The manual shows WHERE to insert the card but not HOW to insert it. Eventually, I found out (thanks John) that there was a dummy card insert shipped in the slot. Manaul says nothing about this.

OK, now I have the "dummy card" removed, and attempting to insert the micro-SD card. I had problems inserting the card - got it stuck in the slot. At Best Buy (where i purchased the tablet) they were able to removed the card. But, the card slot is damaged.

I inserted the card wrong side up. Once again, there are no instructions in the manual! Looking at the screen, I figured that the card should be inserted with writing facing up - facing me. NO! - To install the card, turn the tablet facing the screen DOWN (so you can look at the ASUS name on the case - THEN the micro SC card is inserted facing you.

Looks just backwards for me! Everything else I have, the cards are inserted face up.

SO, while I am on the road, I gathered up the paperwork, RMA et al, packed it with the tablet and traipsed off to the local USP Store. Left it for them to package it up and sent if off to Texas.

Oh well - I could have tried to get it covered under the Best Buy warranty (I had a month to purchase the warranty), claiming the card was stuck after I had the warranty. But, that's not me -- it would have been cheating.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beat the Storm

I just could not get going this morning. Got a good night's sleep, got up late (for me), even napped this morning. When all else fails - take a bike ride!

Loaded up thee hybrid. Planned to ride the "Bosque" south from Alameda. Weather forecast was for sunny, and a wind from the SE at 10-15 mph.

It was after 1pm when I saddled up and headed down the trail. There was almost no wind. My legs didn't seem to want to move. Took it easy (9 mph) as my heart rate was already into the mid 90s.after about 2 miles, I started getting the rhythm of the ride.

At 6 miles, I took a break. Noticed that the sky was clouding over to the West. Time to turn back to the car. Kept looking at the sky. Sure I was going to get wet before getting back to Alameda. Pedaled as fast as I could without bonking. Did not to get caught in a hail storm like we had yesterday.

Made it back to the car with time to spare. I was almost back to my hotel, stopped at Village Inn for a burger and salad. As i was exiting the restaurant, the rain started.

Back at the room, changed out of my cycling kit. Drove to Barnes & Noble to pick up some photography and Linux magazines. The storm was a normal Spring/Summer afternoon shower.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Palo Duro Canyon SP - Take 2

It felt great to stretch out the legs in the room in Larned, KS. Was on the road towards Amarillo by 8am (late for my normal schedules). Lots of 2-lane driving Thursday and a construction delay (KS 23 south of Dodge City). Checked into the Quality Inn West, Amarillo. Very spacious (king mini suite?) room. Left the hybrid bike in the room, changed into cycling kit, and headed to Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

The weather had turned cloudy. The temperature dropped into the upper 60s (from upper 70s). Was much more comfortable for riding. I was not happy with the flat light (for photos).

The goal was to ride the Lighthouse Trail. The trail starts out as a flowing singletrack. Soon, another leg of the trail joins, and its now a very wide trail. The easy, flowing trail quickly changes to the rough up/down/rocky trail. I had to walk a lot of the trail. At 0.4 mile, it was obvious that this trail is over my riding abilities.

The photo with this posting was near the point I turned around. In the photo is Lighthouse Peak, Capitol Peak, and my Fuel EX7.

Back at the trailhead, I loaded up the bike. Made a short walk to shoot some of the cactus flowers. In February, this was as far I could go into the Park (road closed for hunting). On this trip, I drove to the end of the road and returned an the alternate park road. Stopped to take a couple photos.

Time for some food. The hotel desk clerk suggested Hoffbrau Steakhouse. the restaurant was just across the interstate. I pigged out of great food. Stuffed, I found my way back to the room, watched TV, checked e-mail and facebook, and then crashed.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fort Larned

Time for another trip to Albuquerque. With Spring weather, I wanted to play "tourist" a little on the way. Also, I have unfinished business at Palo Duro Canyon. With the help of the National Park Service I found Fort Larned National Historic Site about half-way between home and Amarillo.

Fort Larned was one of the forts guarding the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was established around 1860. The original buildings were constructed of adobe. Starting about 1866, the fort underwent a extensive construction effort. Buildings were replaced with those of sandstone and timber. Those buildings are the ones still standing at Fort Larned.

Stark contrast between the adobe ruins of Fort Union and what I saw today at Fort Larned. It was not just the construction. Fort Union had been abandoned and vandalized. Many buildings at Fort Larned were maintained and used as a ranch.

Fort Larned is a very interesting window into the life the soldiers along the Santa Fe. Most of the building are furnished with period furnishings. Many looked like the troops were just out on maneuvers, and might be returning any Day.

While in the area, stopped in at the Santa Fe Trail Center. Fort Larned tells the military story of the Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Trail Center concentrates on the transportation route, migration, and cultures.

If you find yourself in the area of Fort Larned, I recommend the Roadway Inn, Larned, KS. Room rates are reasonable. Large rooms, with mini fridge and microwave.

Today's photo was taken from the porch of the Officer's Quarters.