Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas


and a Cycling New Year

Friday, December 13, 2013

Issues with VA

I knew it would be too good to be true. Changed some of my drug prescriptions to the VA. Three of mine are expensive - help the finances to pay VA co-pay of $8 a month per prescription. 

Got ding letter yesterday that my account is past due. I had sent payment for one fill a month or more ago. Another payment for second fill (most of which I did not need but they sent anyway) in the last week. None is showing on my credit card. I was told it take 6-10 weeks for the VA to post money sent by credit card! Meanwhile - sending ding letters.

I also found I have additional VA clinic charges -- guess they were charging for clinic visits. No body told me about that - nor did they say that it is not covered on my Medicare or MediGap! I have not received any bill from the VA for the clinic visits.  At this time I was getting frustrated and having problems concentrating on the phone.  The rep that answered the VA photo call, said something like it could be several months for the visits to be billed.  Hell, the only reason I need to visit the clinic is they require regular visits to be able to dispense my medications.


What a bunch of BS. And, at this time, I can't change my Medicare coverage as its past the enrollment period.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

This past week, I made the annual trek to SE Wisconsin for Thanksgiving.  This year, Thanksgiving Day also was my mother's birthday.

Weather was decent (just s bit chilly) for the 500 mile drive.  I did not bother bringing any bicycle(s) with me on the trip.  After arrival, Aunt Audrey joined us for a bowl of chili.

Thanksgiving was the Hartman Clan feast at my Goddaughter's (and cousin) house.  As usual, most are too much.  The football pools were running - but it seems that no one was paying close attention - specially since out Packers got trounced in the early game.

Played photographer for my Aunt Audrey - wanted photos of her and her grandkids.  Took the opportunity shooting other family photos.  Sorry Dave & Sue - you were busy in the kitchen.

Time was taken out of the afternoon festivities to celebrate my mom's 89th birthday.  Aunt Audrey and I are starting planning a 90th birthday party

Off the Sheridan Lanes for the Bob Hartman Memorial Bowl-a-rama.  Over the last few years, the bowling has been left to the younger set.  All had a good time.  One of my cousins got a big surprise when her best high school friend in California showed up here in Wisconsin for a visit.

Leftovers and pie ended the evening.  By the time we went back to my mom's apartment, I had a good headache from the noise.  All I wanted to do was chill out with quiet time.

Had a light breakfast with Mom and Aud before heading back home.  The upper photo is my Aunt Audrey and the grandchildren.  The lower is of my mom and me before I headed back home.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Good Bike Ride

After over a month and a half hiatus from bicycle riding, yesterday afternoon I HAD to get out for a ride.  The weather was perfect for mid November - 50 degrees, sunny, and almost no wind.  Didn't take me time to kit up, load the hybrid on the car, and head to the Wabash trace Trailhead in Council bluffs.

Aired up the tired on the bike, loaded the bike with provisions (water, Gatorade, rack bag, etc) and headed out to Lake Manawa.  Because I had not ridden much recently, I wanted to take it easy and not sure how far I would go. 

Topped to take a couple photos of the Lake Manawa Trail.  At the indian Creek Bridge, it was decision time.  With a drink of water, I was ready to continue up Indian Creek Bridge and on around Lake Manawa.  No speed records - averaged 8.27mph for the 11 mile ride.   Just a gread day to be out on the bike.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bike Bash 2013

Last night, the Psycowpath Mountain Bike racing series held its awards banquet,  The event was at Plate River State Park near Louisville, NE. 

The banquet was proceeded with a bicycle rode on the trails of the park.

The kitchen volunteers cooked a spaghetti feed with 3 kinds of sauce,  Refreshments included soda and a pony of Fat Tire.  Food topped off with Mrs. Abbott's brownies, ice cream, and home made cookies brought by a race-group elf.

Two cups of Fat Tire, 2 helping of pasta, and desert, was too much.  That is, I ate too much!

Attendance was smaller than previous years.  Many were on the other side of Iowa racing in Jingle Cross Rock race.

The photo with this post shows the trophy winners that attended the bash,  Major sponsor the race series is the Nebraska Lottery.

All of the photos I took at Bike Bash 2013 are posted on my race and events web site:  http://win-photo.photoreflect.com.

Monday, November 11, 2013

"Thank You for Your Service"

This morning, Veteran's Day 2013, I drove to town for my free breakfast and pick up some groceries. Hy-Vee groceries stores have been holding Veteran's Day breakfasts for for several years. I am appreciative to the breakfast. When arriving, the staff greeted me with the regular "Thank you for your service.

On my way home, I had the satellite radio tuned in to listen the Michael Smerconish Program on POTUS SiriusXM channel 124. Micheal's topic was the greeting "Thank you for your service" given to those in uniform and veterans. Do those offering the greeting really mean it, or it is just as common as a simple "hello".

This really got me to thinking. "How do I feel when someone 'thanks' me for my service. As a Viet Nam veteran, I am a bit jaded and bitter.

I sure did not get any ""Thanks you for your service" when I got home. Armistice Day (forerunner of Veteran's Day) started as a celebration of the end of World War I. There were celebrations all around the country when Japan surrender, bringing World War II to close.

The Korean "War" I suggest is still being fought - under a "cease fire". It still is the "forgotten war".

This brings us to Viet Nam - my war. I did not want to to go to war. I tried to keep my deferment after college. I ended up being drafted. And, I served as my country ordered me.

The late 1960's were a troubled time. There were protests against the Viet Nam War (called a "conflict" by the politicians). Soldiers in uniform were often targets. When we had to travel in uniform, we were requested to stay out of sight as much as possible (for our own safety).

When we got home, we were ostracized. A friend of mine from high school was beaten only because he showed up in uniform to see his friends at a local beer bar. We were called "baby killers". When the US involvement in Viet Nam ended, there were no victory parades. No "thank you for your service".

Now we have an all-volunteer military. Much of the day-to-day work of the military is handled by contractors. Contractors that are getting rich over the system (but that's a whole other discussion).

Troops are welcomed home from Iraq and Afghanistan with celebrations. I think much of this is as a reaction to the events of 9/11/2001. We (Viet Nam vets) were expected to return to civilian life as if nothing happened - it was all just a bad dream.

I am afraid the country will forget the lessons of Viet Nam. Those under the age of 40, don't remember the troubled times war fraught. The daughter of a cousin had been volunteering with an "honor flight" group bringing World War II veterans to Washington, DC to the memorial. Will there be "honor flights" for Korea and Viet Nam vets?

Unfortunately, to me, "thank you for your service" has a little hollow ring.

Tom Winfield, SP5
HHC 199th Light Infantry Brigade, HHB IIFFV Artillery

Nebraska Cyclo-Cross Weekend - Day 2

Had to get out of the house yesterday - before the weather turned colder.  So, header out to Lake Cunningham for the cyclo-cross race.

Weather was sunny and in the upper 40s with a breeze (think it was from the SE?).  Sweatshirt weather.  Just after the start of the last race, the clouds came in, putting a chill in the air.  By that time, I had enough for a day.

Great to see my friends with THOR.  Really happy to have time to visit with Todd and Dan - a couple of racers I had not seen in a couple years.

The photos I took of the races are located on my race and events web site:  http://win-photo.photoreflect.com.  Congratulation to the racers!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2014 Calendar

Doing final proofing of the 2014 Bicycle Trails Calendar.  The files will be sent to the printer later this week.

Calendar pages measure 9" X 12" and includes January 2015.  All photos were taken while riding my bicycles. Post processing was done using HRD Darkroon 2 Pro and Photoshop Elements.

If you are interested in a copy of the calendar -I will have them available for sales at $15 (add $1.05 Iowa tax if applicable).  Mail orders, please add $3 shipping.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bring Your Own Kid Mountain Biking Day

The annual Trails Have Our Respect (THOR) event was held at Omaha's Tranquility Park on Sunday, October 13th. The function was originally scheduled for Saturday, October 5th, in conjunction with the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.

THOR's trail leaders rescheduled the event because of poor trail conditions (soft, muddy trails). This worked well, because the weather was perfect for fun on bicycles.

THOR's President Roxzanne Feagan reported there were 28 kids, ranging 3 to 10 years of age that participated. An estimated 20 adults were there for the function.

There was a little of everything to keep everyone busy. There were groups rides on the Tranquility Park trails. THOR's “Grill-master” David Packard and his crew fed the hungry kids. It was back for another group ride followed with riding skills events. The event was topped off with smor's.

All of my photos from the event can be viewed at:  http://win-photo.photoreflect.com.  Please note - for any orders, i will start from the camera RAW and reprocess the files (doing touch-up) before sending the file.

A great time was had by all.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mouse-proofing the Furnace Pipes

The mice have been being very expensive.  Last year, furnace repairs caused by mice cost me about $800.  It seems they are crawling into the combustion air pipes for the furnace.

The furnace technician said they were probably climbing up the satellite cable, to the insulation on the discharge, and finally into the pipe.  I had the satellite for 3-4 years, and finally had problems caused by mice?  I did not buy it.

The furnace ran without problems all last winter.  Turning it on this fall, had problems again.  The furnace technician found a dead mouse in the induction blower.  He removed the mouse and deemed the furnace good-to-go.  He suggested a screen over the cold air combustion air intake pipe.

I had already scheduled the satellite installer to upgrade of the system.  When I ordered the upgrade, I told the satellite company that the feed line would need to be rerouted during the upgrade.  The installer (different company) did not know anything about rerouting cables.  He did a minor reroute, to get it further away from the combustion air intake.

A day or two after the furnace repairs, I had a problem.  Furnace did not come on.  It got a little cool in the evening, but not too bad.  Things seemed to correct themselves as it worked fine (of course, we had warmer weather so not sure if it really was working right).  

Saturday, I friend provided some 1/4" mesh screen for me to use to "cover" the air piping.  It was cold, windy Saturday and Sunday was wet and cold.  So, did not get to covering the pipe openings.  This morning, I cut the screen/mesh and fashioned the air combustion air pipe covers.  Got them installed this morning.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a cold house.  Not too cold that I could not shower and go to coffee, first.  Back home, I checked what I could (including the thermostat) and decided I needed to call the HVAC company.  Being the first real cold morning, they had a waiting list for their technician.

A couple hours after I called for repairs, the furnace decided to run again.  So, I cancelled the serivce call - not excited about the cost of a Sunday service call should the problem be my (and the varmit's) fault. This morning, the furnace once again did not run.  Called for repair technician.  Earliest  they can get to me is 4-6 this afternoon.  Glad things are warming up a little today or it would be damned cold in the house today.

***** UPDATE *****

The furnace technician was here.  He found the inducer blower was filled with water!!!  When he inspected the blower, he found that one hole in the blower housing was not drilled out - one of the water drains. My version of the furnace needs the hole drilled out, other version  need if plugged.  So a year ago, when the blower installed, the technician did not properly install the blower - did not drill out the drain.

Since I have a life-time warranty on the furnace -- no charge for today's service call.  Heat back in the house.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

15,000 Miles!

The weather has been windy, and have not been able to hit the 15k miles mark.  Yesterday, the temperature was awesome, the air was dry, but windy from the South.  Met a couple new friends there were thinking of riding fron Silver City to Malvern.  Just what I needed.

My log had been showing I needed 9 miles to break 15,000 miles since I started riding in July 2015.  Met my two new friends at Silver City.  They both ride Terra Trikes.  I rode my hardtail mountain bike (Trek 4300). 

When we started out, I could feel that I would have to take it easy.  Think i did not have enough, right food this morning to undertake the ride.  But, headed out anyway.  Stopped a couple times on the way to Silver Creek Bridge.  We stopped to visit for a while at the bridge.  Headed on South a little further to 305th St.

At this time, I knew i had had enough.  Would be rough enough getting back to the car.  Seemed that even the tail wind did not help me.  I was exhausted when I got back to the car.

Could hardly walk when I got home and unloaded the bike.  Too tired to think about processing photos or write this blog posting.  Restless night in bed. 

But, I made my goal - 15,000 miles. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall in the Air

Yesterday was alonst perfect bike riding weather.  I got to the Wabash Trace trailhead about 2pm.  Sunny, low to mid 70s, with a light breeze from the South.  Not too bad for the last full day of Summer.

I had loaded the road bike on the rack on the car, heading for town.  Stopped in at the bike shop to get the battery changed in the bike computer.

At the trailhead, I saw a friends vehicle.  As I headed down the trailhead,  When we ride this route, we usually ride clockwise.  I thought about riding CCW, expecting to meet up with John.  But, that would mean that I would be riding against the wind on Indian Creek Trail.  I thought better, and did the normal CW ride around Lake Manawa.

A week ago. I noticed new signs along the trail in Lake Manawa State Park.  (More on this later)  As I approached Highway 92 and intersection with Veteran's Memorial Trail, there are new signs along the trail.  These are some nice signs directing riders to their desired trail.  (The upper photo shows my road bike at the new sign just South of the junction.)

The signs are a nice addition to the trail system.

When I got back to my car, my friend's vehicle was gone.  At coffee this morning, I found out that as expected, he was also riding clockwise on basically the same route.  Enough ahead of me that we had not met alone Mosquito Creek.

I have one (minor) issue with the signs in Lake Manawa State Park.  Along the trail, there is a sign directing to the Missouri River Access.  What is missing is another sign showing that in the area of the river access, there is also access to the mountain bike (singletrack) trail access.  (See the lower photo and my addition of the signpost)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lewis & Clark Crusher

Saturday was the last race of the Psycowpath Series for the year.  The race was held at Lewis & Clark Monument trails, Council Bluffs.  This is a tough course.  Many riders succumbed so "Never Rest" hill near the end of the race lap.

My photos of the race are posted on my race & event web site:
http://win-photo.photoreflect.com

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Signs Along Council Bluffs Trails

Back from my trip.  It was a rough day driving from Keystone, SD to Iowa.  Couldn't even tell you where (and if) I stopped for proper food.  Spent lots of time recovering and sleeping.

I was hot when I got home.  That didn't help it - I just wanted to stay inside the house.  The good thing was I had time to create my web site pages and get them up to the site.

Here's the link to my trip photos:   http://www.tomwinfield.com/glacier/glacier.html

Also spent time posting some of the best photos trip photos to my photography blog.  Some also have been posted on my Zenfolio and Fine Art America sites.

The weather broke and today turned out to be a perfect Fall day - sunny, light breeze and temperature in the mid 70s.  Bike riding weather!

My road bike has been neglected. so decide to use it for my ride.  It has been sitting so long that there was basically no air left in the tires.  Been so long since I rode the "Rail" my bike handling was not pretty - until I got riding a bit.

Parked the car at the Wabash Trace Trailhead.  Headed for a ride to and around Lake Manawa.  I have ridden this 10.6 mile route many times.  Wonder why I bring a camera with my on every ride.  Today, I notices new signs along the trail, providing directions to other trails, the lake, and the river boat ramp  Today's photo is one of these signs along Veterans Memorial Trail.  Good job, Council Bluffs!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Black Hills of South Dakota

Tuesday was a "extra" day when I planned the trip.  Have been to the Black Hills several times (mostly for the BH Fat Tire Festival).  This time was a stop to maybe see some stuff I missed.  It also let me to reconnect with more familiar surroundings.

Once I got up and going, I was off for a driving and photography down the Needles Highway.  I guess all of the budgets are tight, but I was shocked when the entrance fee at Custer State Park was $15!  Just a couple years ago it was $10.

Took lots of photos in the Needles.  From there, on down to the Wildlife Loop.  That was a mistake!  Two sections of the road were under "repairs".  A long section was "one-lane" with "follow me" vehicls was for seal-coating.  It was a long stretch they had blocked off.  Big delay.  And there was nothing that I saw when I entered the section of the park - no warning.

Never did see what the construction was for in the second section.  Really frustrated with the first private vehicle through.  Lollygagging through the area - not keeping up with the "follow me" truck.  Between those section, a traffic jam with folks feeding the donkeys/burro's.

The last section of the drive was better, again.  Took the Iron Mountain Highway back to Keystone.  Been on the road many times, was able to perfect my photo shoots in the tunnels.  Skipped the visit ot Mt Rushmore - been there several times.

Final goad for the day was to stop in Rapid City to see one of my old BHFTF friends at the bike shop (Black Hills Bicycles).  Was a bonus as another friend came in while I was there. Back to Keystone, wanted to pick up more postcard stamps - but the post office closes at 2:30!  Picked up a couple souvenirs.

Dinner again at the BaRLee in Keystone.  Wanted to have a Blizzard as Dessert - but the DQ was closed at 6pm!  Whats with this - Keystone is a tourist trap and should have places open later!  Back at the motel, I was exhausted.  Wanted to process more photos from the drive that day.  Just could not keep my eyes open.  Crashed into bed at 7pm.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Devil, Another Canyon, and a Cousin

After a frustrating night in Buffalo, Monday was a treat!  Though it started with a boring drive along I-90.  I exited the interstate at Moorcraft.  Destination - Devil's Tower.

Devil's Tower was the first National Monument.  Well known as the location in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  The monument is a short drive (or motorcycle ride) from the Black Hills of South Dakota.  You can circumnavigate the tower on a trail.  Climbing Devil's Tower has become popular (permit required).

Hit the South Dakota border and the rest area with information booth.  Picked up maps.  While stopped there, I called a cousin who is touring the area.  He and his wife are en route to Yellowstone.

I was going to just head to Keystone (my lodging for the night).  The sign of Spearfish Canyon scenic drive drew me.  Another scenic canyon.  The drive dropped me in Lead (old mining town - Homestake Mining Co). Saw a couple pf the Mickelson Trail trailheads that I had visited during Black Hills Fat Tire Festival.

Settled in the room and processed photos from the day.  Planning to meet my cousin in the evening.  I was getting hungry, to called him and said I was off for dinner,  He and his wife found me at BaRLee's Food & Drink.  Had a great evening talking at the bar.

Had a pretty good day! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Canyons

Was planning to write this posting last evening, but had big issues with the wi-fi here in my motel.  I hope it stays connected enough that I can get it done this morning.

Sunday was the time to start heading towards home.  Early up and mostly packed in the room in Jackson,  Since I had not eaten any solid food Saturday, I started with a full breakfast at the Virginian. Good food, so=so service.  The server could not understand that I wanted my "go-cup" filled with ice and then topped with water - NOT filled with water with some ice in it.  Oh, well, there was some king of "local resident" discount.  I looked like an tourist, but was there when the restaurant opened.  Many she thought only locals would be in at 6:30.

Checking out of the motel, I stopped in downtown Jackson - scoped out goods for sale and stopped in at the visitors center.  Mostly had to use the rest room!  Headed North for Moran Junction.  Did my final "Good-bye" to Grand Teton, heading for Buffalo.

My route took me (on purpose) through Wind River Canyon (upper photo),  Had discovered this canyon during a trip to Yellowstone in the early 80s,  The canyon ends near Thermopolis, WY.  Did not remember the large hot spring at a state park there.

Up to Worland then East to Ten Sleep. This was my second scenic drive of the day.  US 16 through Ten Sleep Canyon was called the "Cloud Peak Skyway" (see lower photo). 

Found my motel in Buffalo (stopped in a convenience store for directions - they said they did not have a Days Inn in Buffalo!)  The motel had changed name in May.  Anyway - the frustrating evening started.

Could not get a reliable wi-fi connection from the room,  The staff at the motel was mostly worthless.  One person came to the room and verified the problem and rebooted the router. Never saw him later.

Waiting the router to re-boot, I was going to head to dinner at Winchesters (recommended by the desk clerk).  Winchester's Steakhouse was closed for 5 days - over Labor Day weekend!  Saw Bozeman Trail Steakhouse.  Like breakfast, the food was good but the service was lacking.

After dinner, the internet was in the same condition. Keep telling me there was not problem - even though I was having the same problem on my tablet and laptop.  Finally I gave up the internet and just processed my photos.

Calmed down and got some sleep.  Should get ready for the day, soon.  Devils' Tower and Black Hills today.



Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jackson Hole & Grand Teton NP

Got up early this morning - hoping to get so "golden hour" photos.  Cold morning (in the mid 30s) when I got up to Oxbow Bend Turnout in Grand Teton National Park. The sky was hazy (from the forest fires?)  Never got a clear line as the sun rose.

With the cold air, there was lots of fog over the Snake River.  I did not go over to Jackson Lake or Jenny Lake this morning - figured they would be fog-covered, too,  Back to the motel room hung out the "Do Not Disturb" sign and went back to sleep.

By a little after 10am, the air was heating up. There is a multi-use path running from the town of Jackson to the Moose Junction.  The path continues in the park - from Moose Junction to Jenny Lake Visitors Center.

I looked at the trail when i was driving yesterday.  There were a couple steep hills from Jackson to the Junction and another steep hill just leaving the junction.  Most of the rest of the trail in the Park is "flat".  Parked at the Windy Point Turnout.  Other folks starting or ending their rides at this spot.  Found out it is a popular place to unload the bikes.  From the turnout, its a 5.5 mile ride to Jenny Lake.

Not sure how far I would make it, but headed it toward Jemmy Lake. A little over 4 miles, the trail started a steady, gradual climb.  It was a little bit more for me with the altitude.  Headed back to the car.  Ended up with about 4.5 mile ride.  Got some photos for the web site and calendar.

Explored the back road from Moose Junction to Teton Village.  Back in Jackson picked up some G2 for hydration and napped. Spent the later part of the afternoon and early evening processing photos and posting them on facebook.  Not hungry, so will forgo dinner - have a big breakfast in the morning when I head for Buffalo.

Friday, August 30, 2013

West Yellowstone to Jackson

On the move again.  Up early this morning for breakfast (was at the Outpost Restaurant when they opened).  Back to the motel to finish packing the car and get the bicycles on the rack.  Wanted an early start to be at Old Faithful before it got crowded.

Just past Madison Junction, I took the one-way road up Firehole Canyon.  Had noticed this driving yesterday.  Good scenery on the drive - including Firehole Falls.

Could have stopped at some of the thermal features alone the way to Old Faithful, but did not to walk too much before getting to the geyser.  Parked at the General Store,  Found out the next expected eruption is in just of 30 minutes.  Did some shopping before walking to the viewing area.  Was a little frustrated with the service at the General Store - lines for cashiers and/or cashiers heading off suddenly to do what-ever.

Old Faithful did not disappoint.  Got several good photos during the eruption.  Back on the road heading toward Grand Teton.  Before I exited Yellowstone, we were treated to another falls -- Lewis Falls. (lower photos)

When I got into the Grand Teton NP, I stopped at Colter Bay Visitors Center.  Short chat with the ranger and got a park map.  Stopped many times at turn-outs to take photos of the mountains.  Gave me a good "lay ot the land".

Lots of bicycle riding options put here.  Most of the valley ("hole") is mostly flat.  Bicycle lanes in town.  There's a bicycle trail that follows the highway to Moose Junction.  From there, a park bicycle trail continues to Jenny Lake Visitors Center.  I am thinking I may check out the trail from Taggert Lake trailhead and north.

Processed most of my photos.  Will have to use a different process for those at Old Faithful.  All of the spraying water makes the photos look unrealistic.  Got some awesome ones of the Grand Tetons.

Sent an message to the photographer living here - we were supposed to meet.  Alas, He is in Yellowstone at old Faithful (did not tell me).  I figured it was too good to be true - having a local to showing me the hidden places to photograph.

Stretched out on the bed and started looking for a place for food.  Ended up selecting The Lift - neat the town ski lift area.  Almost passed on eating there because the parking lot was full.  I drove down a couple blocks and came back to the restaurant.  Was a couple leaving and I took their spot.

Good burger, cross-cut fries and a pint.  Selected the Grand Teton Amber Ale brewed in Idaho.  Glad I was able to find the place and get a parking space.  The food and beer were great.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Altitude Sickness?

I think I have some altitude sickness,  Since arriving in West Yellowstone Tuesday, I have been at over 6000 ft.  Each day I call it a quit a little earlier.  Tired, short of breath, constant light headache. Even with my walking stick, I was not doing well.. 

Anyway - this morning, I hightailed it to Canyon.  Along the way there, I detoured through the one-way drive to take better photos of Virginia Cascades.  Success -  was able to stop on the road (nobody coming) and get the photos.

Today's tour was the South loop of the park.

First big photo shoot area this morning was Yellowstone Falls and the Canyon the the Yellowstone.  checked out and took photos on both sides of the river.  Got some good photos. (see here)

Stopped at Mud Volcano.  Took a couple photos of the thermal action there.  There are fires in this area of the park.  Another driver told me that all turn-outs South to Fishing Bridge was closed because of the fire.

By the time I got to Yellowstone Lake, it was past breakfast time.  Just got under the wire as breakfast at the Lake Lodge cafeteria closed at 10am.  Already, my knee and short of breath was getting to me

Debated, but eventually got out of the car and did a short walk (with my walking stick) at West Thumb Geyser Basin.  Thinking that I might walk more there tomorrow when I head South.

Stopped at Kepler Cascades.  It was right along the road near Old Faithful.  Speaking of Old Faithful, I was planning to stop there for photos and a walk.  But, by the time I was there, I would have parked a long way away from the geyser basin. 

There were a couple other of other places I wad thought about stopping - but they were busy, too.  Guess these will be other places to visit when I head south to the Grand Tetons and Jackson.

Processed all of the photos taken today.  Heath Blizzard this afternoon. No getting ready to pack up for being on the road in the morning.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

North Loop of Yellowstone

Early start this morning - touring the North loop of Yellowstone National Park.  Temperature was 41 deg when I left West Yellowstone.

Walked some at one of the pools and another walk at Gibbons Falls.   Legs and knee were doing pretty good.  (Not 100%, but pretty good).  I took it easy as I had a long day ahead yet.

At Norris Geyser Basin - the walk was almost too much for me.  Wanted to get some good photos.  Did NOT walk down to the bottom of the basin.  But it was an effort to get back to the car.  Didn't help that I left my walking stick in the car.

By the time I arrived Mammoth Hot Springs, I was getting hungry.  Stopped at the Terrace Grill (fast food).  Needed some nourishment and coffee.  Back up to the Springs.  Drove the upper loop and did a short walk.

There was road construction in the Tower Falls area.  Almost passed on stopping there because the lot was full.  But, someone left, and I parked.  Started leaving the parking lot when remembered I forgot my walking stick.  Grabbed that and headed the path to the falls.  Only walked to the upper viewing deck.  That was enough by the time I got the the gift shop.  Did a little shopping and headed back on the road towards W. Yellowstone.

Drove the one-way road past Virginia Cascades -- not a good view angle form the road (without walking down the road a bit).  My legs would not handle that.

Back in West Yellowstone, I did some more shopping, early dinner at the  Outpost Restaurant.  From there, Gas up the car and stop in the grocery store for sports drinks.  Finally, back in my motel.  Body is exhausted and my legs are sore.

Got my photos processed. Today's photo is of a moose (or were they elk?) family in Madison River.  Now off to bed!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kalispell to Yellowstone

Early start today,  Encountered one problem loading the car - could not find my heavy bike locking cables.  Must have lost them when I unloaded the car Friday evening.

First 3 hours on the road was one-lane highway.  Eventually got to I-90.  Almost as soon as i entered the highway, I was exiting for Deer Lodge, MT.  There is the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.  Spent neatly 1 1/2 hours touring the house and ranch.  Was a good break from the drive.  Today's photo is of some of the ranch buildings.

Drove a little further on I-94 than needed as I wanted to drive Highway 191 as a more scenic route.  This road kisses the West edge of Yellowstone National Park.  Found my motel in West Yellowstone and settled in a little.

Walked the block to the Slippery Otter Pub & Grill for dinner.  Burger, fries, and a local beer called Bozone Amber.  Short walk around a little more then back to the motel.  Legs are toast this evening and I an exhausted.  But, got today's photos processed and this blog posting written.  Now - BED TIME.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Two Medicine

My last full day in Kalispell.  Muffin and coffee at the motel then an early start to drive along US 2 to East Glacier.  Took several photos along the road - mostly of the Middle Fork of Fladhead River.

About 8 miles from East Glacier I entered the Two Medicine section of Glacier National Park.  Photos of the lake and mountains.  Shopping at the general store.  In my guide book, I saw a short trail to a waterfall.

Altitude was not a problem here.  Grabbed my walking stick, bear spray, and camera.  Sign said it was 0.3 miles to Running Eagle Falls.  Was glad that I was able to get out for a short hike.Today's photo is of me at the fall.  Figured I had to post at least one photo of me - proof that I was really there!

When I got to East Glacier, I was getting hungry.  Stopped at the "Whistle Stop".  Had a very good omelet with polish sausage, onions, & peppers.  Could recommend the restaurant to anyone.

Stopped at the post office to send post cards and pick up more postcard stamps.  On US2 for the return trip.  Took a couple photos at Marias Pass.  Caught my eye because one of my train computer games has a route over Marias Pass!

Just West of there is the Izaak Walton Hotel.  The inn is at Essex - a station on the BNSF main line (and Amtrak).  Originally, it was planned to be at an entrance of Glacier National Park - that was not to be.

Original plans plans were to do some dirt riding after I got back to the motel.  But, It was a bit warm and I had lots of packing (and re-packing) before I head out for Yellowstone in the morning.

Topped off the day with Mexican food at Casa Mexico and a mug of Dos Equis. 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Recover, Re-coop, and Recalibrate

Today really was an eclectic day.  Slept in, and had coffee & muffins at the motel.  Did some sorting in the room (though it does not look like it now!)  Promised myself a bicycle ride.

Not to often I could do what I did this morning - ride to my ride.  Left the car packed and rode out from my motel.  Plotted out a route from the motel to the bicycle trail.  Rode the trail that mostly parallels Alternate US 93.

When I reached 5.5 miles, it seemed to be a good place to turn around and head back.  Met a couple ladies on the trail - one on a bicycle, the other on a "strider" - elliptical machine on wheels.

Drove up to Whitefish to tour the town and have lunch.  The downtown was very busy - not convenient parking places.  So headed back to Kalispell.  Found Moose's Saloon (recommended with Dale T.)  Had 2 glasses of the local amber ale - Yard Sale.  Hey - Moose's == only the home page of your web site loads!  Others are "404-File Not found".

Napped for a little over an hour, then headed to Lakeside for a sunset cruise on Far West Boat Tours.  Met lots of folks from all over the country.  Has some excitement when we turned to cross the lake or turn back (not sure - could not understand the Captain in the loudspeaker).  Anyway - we got away from the shore and a squall kicked up.  The wind was blowing the deck chairs around - most of us where on the open upped deck.

Soon the wind was followed with rain and lightning.By then, I (and most of the others) moved to the inside space on the lower deck.  Still was an enjoyable way to end the day.  Now about bed time.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 2 at Glacier National Park

Did not get a very good start of the day.  Was out of the room a little later than I planned.  Asked at the motel office for a place for a full breakfast.  Finnigans was the recommendation - and it would be open 24 hours.  Got to the restaurant at 6:30.  Alas, the hours posted on the door are shows opening at 7am.

Was about to turn back to the car to find someplace else, when the server called me, that they were open - just a little early.  Found out the  resaurant WAS open 24 hours - but they are trying to sell the place and cut backed on the hours.  Anyway, had a good breakfast.

By the time I got to Hungry Horse (yes - that's the name of the town) I had an alarm saying that my LR tire was low.  Thought about not worrying about it, but I have a long drive and not sure where I might to find a place to make repairs later Saturday or Sunday.  Found a tire dealer that had just opened.  Was a rock/stone in the tire.  Tire patched.

I was hoping that all this had not made me too late to secure a parking spot at Logan's Pass.  Didn't stop to take photos until I got to the pass.

Last night I loaded the Canon T1i into the backpack as a spare camera.  Grabbed the new Canon 60D to hang over my neck.  When I went to shoot my first photo of the day, I got a "Dust Delete Data" erron on the camera.  No idea how to clear the message.  But, I could take single frame photos - just could not change anything except ISO.  My sulution (for now) was swap the 18-200mm lens onto the T1i.  Put the macro lens on the 60d (for wildflowers).  Used the T1i most of the day.

Was planning to talk the 1.5 miles to Hidden Lake Overlook.  But, once I got to the visitor center and started walking around - I would not be able to do the hike.  To high altitude from me in my current condition.  I walked around the visitor center nature trail.

Talking with the ranger, helping me decide to drive on to St. Mary and up to Many Glaciers section of the park. Was about an hour later when I arrived at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.  No parking there, so checked at the Many Glaciers Hotel.  Was able to pack there and shoot a couple photos.

Not many glaciers up on the mountains.  Climate change has been melting the park's namesakes - Glaciers.

Boring and frustrating drive back across "Going to the Sun" road.  Motorcycles passing willy-nilly or folks that are not familiar with driving mountain roads.  Not planning to drive that road again duriing this trip.  Three times over the 50 miles road is enough.

Found a DQ on US2 in Columbia Falls, enjoyed at Heath Blizzard.  Was thinking of scoping out Whitefish this evening - but just too tired,

One basic problem staying in Kalispell - the sun was on the wrong direction most  times driving.  Into the sun - mornings east-bound and west-bound in the afternoon.  just not reasonable lodging on the East side of the Park.

Today's photos:  Upper - Logan Pass,   Middle - Many Glaciers Hotel,   Lower - Going to the Sun Road.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Scoping Out "Going to the Sun" road

Slept in as much as I could this morning.  still, I was on the road by 8am.  The motel "breakfast" did not have any hot food.  So had coffee and a packaged cinnamon roll.

With the start I had, I decided to head up to St, Mary to scope out the "Going to the Sun" road rather than drive US 2 to Kalispell.  On the way to St. Mary I kept an eye out for a place to eat breakfast.  There were non along the road until I arrived in St. Marys.

Got to St, Mary's at 9.  One place did not open until 10.  Other places had waiting lines.  So, I entered the park and started drive toward Logan Pass.  Stopped to take some photos on the drive.  The photo here is a tunnel on the "Going to the Sun" road up toward Logan Pass.

Traffic was bad at the pass Visitor Center, so just kept driving down toward Lake McDonald.  Missed the turn to the Apgar Visitors Center and before i realized it, I was exiting the park.  By now (11:30) I was getting hungry.  Gobbled up a patty melt and fries at the West Glacier Restaurant.

Back into the park to the Visitor Center to get books, post cards, and check on places to hike.  The ranger suggested getting up early and driving up to Logan Pass.  Nice, easy hike and there are still wild flowers at the pass.  Back in West Glacier Village, picked up walking stick (with bear bell), a cap, t-shirts, and a couple more post cards.

Still lots of time to do things in Kalispell.  Picked up a hydration bladder for my camera backpack.  Checked into the motel.  Moved bikes and other stuff into the room.  Then, got directions to Wheaton's Cycle (local Trek Dealer) from the motel.  Picked up an area trail map.

Talking with the desk clerk at the Motel.  Sky was a bit hazy, though the temperature was pleasant.  He said the haze is smoke from a forest fire about 2 hours to the South.  No wonder I smelled something - wondering if the car, brakes, or such were overheating  Hope we get clearer skies tomorrow.. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Across Montana

OK, I only wend 435 miles across Montana today.  Believe me, it was enough.  I was not tired (until I was getting 100 miles from my destination).  Except for 4 miles in Glendive, all was on 2-lane highways.  My route took me on 200S from Glendive to Circle, 13 to Wolf Point, and finally US 2 to Cut Bank.

Let be back up to this morning. I woke up early, so processed many of the photos from Theodore Roosevelt NP.  Where I did not have bracketed exposures, I was able to tone map the photos to bring out the details and colors better. Some of these photos were posted on my personal facebook page.

Montana 13 is also tagged as a scenic Big Sky Back County Byway.  The only "scenery" was wheat fields and grass.

I saw a lot of wheat fields and range land.  I noticed that there were about equal area of wheat and year-old wheat stubble (see upper photo).  Peaked my curiosity - why half planted in wheat?

It was a long drive on US 2.  At least it was broken up by little towns every 10 or so miles.  There are rest areas once in a while along the highway.  I stopped at one after about 2 1/2 hours on the road.  Needed to get out to use the facilities and stretch my legs.  At the rest area was a marker about the value of water on the Plains.  Similar or "Historic Places" scatted along US 2.

Lunch stop was at the Hitching Post cafe in Malta.  Another stop in Havre to gas the car and pick up some soda (afternoon caffeine).   Stopped a couple times on the road to take photos.

The lower photo is an abandoned grain elevator only US 2.  Numerous abandoned houses, schools, farms, and other building dot the landscape.

US 2 parallels the BNSF railroad.  Its a main line (and the Amtrak route) so the railroad was very busy.

Weather was nice for the drive.  Temperature low of upper 60s to high of mid 80s.  About bed time.  Tomorrow I get my first  view of Glacier Country and Glacier National Park.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Bike Ride and a National Park

It was a beautiful morning in Bismarck, ND.  After a cup of coffee, I headed to Pioneer Park for a bicycle ride before I leave town.  Rode the Pioneer Park Trail along the Missouri River.

Rode about 2 miles when the trail ended at Liberty Bridge (I-94B) over the Missouri.  The upper photo is my hybrid bike at the Liberty Bridge.  While the ride was only just over 4 miles, it felt great to exploring trails by bicycle.  Bismarck is rather proud of the 40+ miles of bicycle trails.

Stopped to chat with a local trail walker (with a Green Bay Packers cap!)  He expressed concerns regarding road construction and heavy truck traffic on the US 88 - the road up to Theodore Roosevelt NP, North unit.  He suggested passing on the drive up there.

When I got back to the room, it was time for breakfast and a shower.   Headed West on I-94 to Medora and the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Drove the scenic loop in the park, taking photos,  Thought I was shooting 3 bracketed exposures for HDR processing.  More about this later.

Stopped in at the visitor's Center and purchased some books and a cap.  Talked with the rangers about conditions along the road to the North unit.  They told me it was not that bad and that I had time to get up there and tour yet this afternoon.  So, I headed back East on I-94 to US85 and drove the 52 miles to the North unit.

There was just some spots of construction and no truck traffic to speek of that would slow me down.

Stopped and took photos most pull-outs on the North Unit Scenic Byway.  When I got the the far end, I was taking photos.  I noticed that the bracketing function was not functioning right.  I had been selecting the menu, and setting the EV window.  Then I would return to return to snapping frames.  WRONG!  I forget the step of pushing "set" after setting the exposure window.  Once I did that, I started getting true bracketed exposures.  The lower photo today was taking along the scenic byway on the North Unit.

Glad I discovered the problem before I got to Glacier NP.  Would hate to lose HDR exposures when I get there!

Gassed up at Exit 42 on I-94, treated myself to a Heath Blizzard, and headed to Glendive, MT.  Checked into the Days Inn.  Not happy that I was put up in a second floor rooom at the far end of the lobby, ice machine, and breakfast room.  Told the desk clerk, the should (like other places have) automatic put seniors close to everything.

Dinner at CC's Family Restaurant in Glendive (good burger, so-so service).  Back at the room, bike ride photos were processed as were the HDR exposures in the North Unit. 

Bed time -- was a busy day with a bicycle ride, touring both units of the TRNP, and about 450 miles driving.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On the Road Again

On the way heading to Glacier National Park.  As usual, I could not sleep last night.  Finally got up a little after 3 am and finished my packing.  Was on the road about 4:30.

Once I got past Sioux City, things get pretty sparse on I-29.   Found a place for breakfast south of Sioux Falls. Past Sioux Falls, it was even more desolate.

On top of that, around Sioux Falls I encountered FOG!  At one rest area, I asked a maintenance person there - any idea how far the fod goes.  She said, "while T did not know about today's fog, if if develops, its usually from Sioux Falls to Watertown".  Sure as hell, as I passed Watertown, the fog was lifting.

While it was foggy, the temperature was in the upper 60s.  As the sky cleared, the temperature raised.  Once I was past Fargo and heading West on I-94, the thermometer on the car headed to the upper 90s!  Eventually it hit the 101 mark (see photo).  Thankfully, there was a good breeze and it was dry (not the humidity back home).

All the way from Sioux City, Iowa to Fargo, ND and to Bismarck, ND - I was surprised of the few services along the interstate.  Most interchanges were "no services".  Twice, I crossed the "Continental Divide" (at that's what signs said).  The second time I caught the altitude - 1490 feet!  Had no idea the divide was in the area.

Did a little shopping in Bismarck.  Had 2 pints of Fat Tire and a pizza in the lounge at the hotel. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Calvin Crest Crankfest

Calvin Crest Crankfest was held yesterday near Fremont, NE.  Over the last couple years, THOR (Trails Have Our Respect) worked with Camp Calvin Crest, designing and constructing their singletrack trail.  Most of the time, the trail was available for riding by the general public 9closed when other functions at the camp).

Saturday was the inaugural race held at the trail.  It was a busy race weekend with two road races and the mountain bike race.  Race promoters reported about 100 racers at the event.

The photo here is of the "grillmasters" serving food for the racers and spectators.  Proceeds from the food went to the Camp Calvin Crest Scholarship Fund which helps those that do not have the money to attend camp.

Was a beautiful day for racing.  Temperatures were in the 70s at race time.  Skies were clear and with a light breeze.

My photos taken at the race are posted on my event and race web site:  http://win-photo.photoreflect.com

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Moorehead Mayhem

About 110 mountain bike racers traveled to Ida Grove, Iowa for Moorehead Mayhem cross country mountain bike race.  Was a cool, partly cloudy day, near perfect race weather.

Racers give it all they have for the during of the race - here's a photo of one exhauseted racer after the Category 3 race.

The photos I took during the event can me found on my event and race web site:   http://win-photo.photoreflect.com. 

Thanks to race promoter Jesse Bergman and his crew for great course preparation and race.  Also thanks to race host Lakeshore Cyclery and the other sponsors. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

First Race Shoot with the Canon 60D


Today I took the new Canon 60D with Tamron 18-200mm lens to Moorehead Mayhem mountain bike race in Ida Grove, Iowa.  Was the first time shooting a race with the new camera.

I knew I would have to crank up the ISO as I was in deep tree cover.  But, the location gave me a good view of the trail - and could catch riders 2 different directions at one place.  To have any chance of freezing rider movement, I shot in Tv mode and at 1/60 to 1/125 sec.  As such, had to use ISO 800 to ISO 1600.

During the first race, I took time to review some of the jpg images I have captured.  Finding dark images, I was going to add some exposure compensation and found that for some reason, it was almost 2EV dark!  Changed the compensation to 0, and that made a big different.

The upper photo is the jpg images as captured and saved by the camera.

Fortunately, I was also saving the files as camera RAW.  This means that I will be able to correct the exposure in Photoshop Elements.  The lower version of the photo is after converted in Adobe Camera Raw and touched up in Photoshop Elements 11.

The reason I purchased the lens was so that I could use one lens, rather than swapping from the 18-55mm zoom and the telephoto zoom while shooting.  The lens performed perfect for that.  Just what I need for shooting races on the trail.

And, the reason for the new camera body - the number of shots I could capture before the camera had to stop to write the files to the SD card.  With my Rebel T1i and srandard class 4 cards, I would only get 4-5 shots when the camera paused to write files,  I did not experience and problems today - the camera and and Promaster Performance SD kept up.

I have sorted the jpg "proof" copies and have then ready for posting to my race and events web site:  http://win-photo.photoreflect.com.  They should be posted tomorrow (Sunday) morning when I go to Panera Bread.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tough Making it Back to the Car.

Whew - glad I made it back to the car.  Think I bit off a little too much yesterday with my bike ride.  But, with the weather, I had to get out and was not paying attention.

Low 70s, sunny, and a breeze from the North at 1 pm - end of July!  Drove down to Silver City.  Was not sure how far South I would ride.  After all, I was only at about 200 miles for the year.

The first goal was to make it to the Silver Creek Bridge.  Made that without any problem.  Stopped for water and a couple photos.  One to 305th St.  When I got that far, I figured I had the energy to do the distance to Malvern and have enough left to ride back.

Was glad to make it to Jahnke Road and the pavement.  Nice, easy rolling on into Malvern.  Stopped at the depot to drink my bottle of G2 and eat a granola bar.  Snapped this photo while resting.

As I turned around to head North to my car, I realized how windy it was out in the open.  At that point, I figured I might have some problems at a couple sections of the trail.  Stopped a couple times to rest and stretch my legs.  My arms were bothering my, too.  Think my saddle had tilded down a little during my last ride - putting more stress on my arms. 

Made the normal rest stop at the Silver Creek Bridge.  Had a swig of water, popped a Shot Blok in my mouth and headed back up the trail.  I knew I could have problems with the little climb up the hill from Gaston Rd and North. Took a breather and climbed back on the bike.  Was slow going (5.5 mph) up that little grade. 

The worst places were about 100 ft before the trail breaks out into the open.  The trees created a wind tunnel effect.  Took it easy and eventually made it back to the car.  Drank most of the water I had in the car and popped another Shot Blok in my mouth.

Was exhausted when I got back.  Drank lost of water (even though it was not very warm) and a quart of PowerAde.  Spent most of the evening in bed stretching the sore legs.  Don't think I will be riding this afternoon.  OH - my log went over 200 miles for the year during the ride.  The ride was about the slowest ride for the year - at 7.1 mph.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

RAGBRAI Riders Have Left Council Bluffs & Lost Riders

The traveling party called RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) left Council Bluffs today.  Next stop, Harlan.  Word was that traffic was blocked along the route from MAC Center through town.  This basically split the city in half.  About the only way to get across town was on South 9th.

I heard about this at coffee at Panera Bread.  Luckily, I did not have to get close to the route. 

After noon, I figured it was safe to drive into town to run errands.  At Quick, I saw two guys on bicycles, looking lost.  I asked if they were "OK".  The one said there were OK, then after a pause said "But I think we are lost".

I guess they were!  The had missed the turn toward Underwood about 1- miles back down the road.  Besides being lost, they did not have a map.  I moved the car to get it out of the roadway and grabbed a Iowa highway map.

Showed them where they were and how to get back on the route.  They asked if there was a route that is somewhat "flat".  I told them there is no "flat" road out here.  Showed him how to get them to Underwood and back on the RAGBRAI route.

Just about that time, another rider came South - he was on his way back to CB from Minden.  He suggested the same route, and conformed for them that there was not flat roads out here.

They were from out East (DC or such).  The one doing most of the talking said his wife had called and wondered where they were.  He told here "In Iowa - We did not go the wrong was to Missouri". 

I felt good - that I had done my good deed for the day.  The talker said what he liked about Iowa was that everyone was so helpful and friendly.  Left them to heard North on L52 toward Underwood.  I should have took their photo - but was already down the road toward town.

Made a good story when I stopped in at the bike shop (Xtreme Wheels). 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Driveway Re-worked

The driveway has been getting pretty bad - specially at the end where it meets the road.  Combination of packing from driving over it for years and the county adding more gravel on the road, there was a low spot there.

Of course, the spot filled with rain water.  It would be muddy.  A pain.  So, when a guy came by the house yesterday, looking to repair the driveway - I was all ears. 

We talked for a while and eventually he gave me a price ($450) for the end of the drive to the road.  Grading, layers of stone and "oil", and rolling.  He was offering to do the rest of the driveway, as long as he had enough material on the tank.  Keep saying - "we will do a good job for you".  But could not pin him down on a price.  I wo;ld him I needed prices, I was not going to give him a "blank check".

The crew started on re-working the drive.  I stopped them when they were cutting too much away from the grass.  Though there was gravel under the grass -- it was an old field road - and I did not want the area into a drive.

Anyway, they did what they could to restore the area.  Then went to work on the rest of the drive.  Graved the whole think from the concrete apron to the road.  Feathered the transition to the road.  Then started layers of "oil" and stone, rolling in the stone after every layer.

When that was done, the boss (previously I was dealing with the "salesman"), it was time to see what deal he was going to offer me to finish the job.  All the time, the "salesman" said they were hoping there was enough material to finish my drive.  I asked the boss, did they have enough to finish the drive and what would be the price.

He checked the tank - and said they had the material.   We haggled on the price for a while and eventually settle.  So, I have a re-worked drive.  Looks much better.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dog Days

Got out for a couple bike rides in the last couple weeks.  Seems like I am busy, its too hot, or its too windy.  When it stuck my head out of the door this morning, it was looking to be a great morning for a ride.  Kitted up and loaded the hybrid on the car rack and headed for the Wabash Trace Trailhead.

The thermometer in the car registered 74 degrees - not too bad!  But when I arrived at the trailhead and unloaded the bike, I realized it was also very humid this morning.  Well, I am here, see how it goes.

Plan was to ride to and around Lake Manawa.  That was same route as my last ride (and had logged the fastest speed for the year).  That was a little cooler morning, knew I was not going to make that speed.

Took it easy on the way down to Lake Manawa.  Decided to ride the Nature Trail ti add a little distance to my ride.  Besides, I had not ridden that loop for some time.  Today's photo was taken on the Nature Trail.

Continued on the Indian Creek Bridge.  By the time there, it was getting a bit HOT.  Turned back towards the trailhead.  Did a short detour to the levee at the mountain bike trails.  Back to the main trail and on up to the Wabash.  By the time I got back to the car, I had enough. 

Its time to change to early morning ride - like sunrise.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

First Ride of the Year on The Trace

You may wonder what has been happening since not many blog postings.  Over the last 2 months, I had a CT scan that showed a mass in my left lung.  Eight nights in the hospital for a biopsy - which showed the mass to be lung cancer.

My doctors let me make my trip to the mountain bike festivals - I needed the break.  On return, it was more tests (MRI, PET scan, Pulmonary Function) and doctor appointments.  We (doctors and I) decided to treat the mass with radiation.

A week of heavy, pin-pointed radiation treatment and all of the trips to the doctors took it toll on me.

The Spring was rainy.  When I felt like riding, it was a pavement ride.  Today, I decided it was time for this year's first ride on the Wabash Trace.  While it was a bit windy (from the North) the temperature was perfect (mid 70s) with filtered sunshine.  Parked the car in Silver City.

Mounted the GoPro camera on the handlebars of the mountain bike (my Trek 4300).  Since I knew I would be battling the wind on the way back, I rode non-stop from Silver City to 305th Street.  Ended up with a little over 40 minutes of video.

My original plan was hoping to make it as far as the Silver Creek Bridge.  When I crossed the bridge, I felt pretty good, so continued another mile to 305th.  This made the ride 5.5 miles one way.  Figured that was plenty for this ride, knowing I will be riding into the wind on the way back.

Shut down the GoPro at 305th and stopped several times on the way back, taking still photos.  This gave me time to rest at times on the way back.  By the time I got back to Silver City, I was exhausted.

Lots of folks riding their bikes on The Trace today.  Don't think I have ever seen so many along this section of the trail.  Had to be 20 or more that I met on the trail in my 11 miles ride.  Think everyone had the same idea - could not pass up a day like this without spending part of it on a bicycle.

Today's photo was taken about 1/2 mile North of 305th St.  The foliage along the trail is very lush, not surprisingly with all of the rain, humidity, and heat over the last couple weeks.

Tranquility Tire Tantrum

Saturday was (twice rescheduled) Tranquility Tire Tantrum mountain bike race.  The race is a part of the Psycowpath Mountain Bike Series and was held in Tranquility Park in Omaha, Nebraska. Was a beautiful day for a bike race, though the wind could have dialed down a bit.

The photo shows some of the participants checking out the all-important race results.

Photos taken during Tranquility Tire Tantrum are posted. Think I only missed 2 riders in the first race. Did not stay for the end of the second race as it was about all my body could handle.

As usual, these are proofs for viewing and ordering purposes. If you wish to order a file, I will reprocess the file from the camera raw and e-mail the file to you.

Photos are located at: http://win-photo.photoreflect.com/

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival

Today was the main day of the mountain bike festival. There were 5k and 10k runs early in the morning (before I got to the festival grounds).  The first function I attended was the Bicycle Parade (upper photo).  The parade route took the riders from the festival grounds, to and through downtown Crosby before riding back to the festival grounds,  Fewer riders in the parade than last year.

After the parade, it was time to prepare to shoot the crosscountry mountain bike race.  Riders rode their bikes from the festival grounds to the start/finish line at Pennington Lake.  This mass roll-out from the festival was to eleviate any parking problems at Pennington Lake.  Large group of racers.

After the group headed out of the festival grounds, I drove over to the parking area near Boot Camp (along highway 128).  Visited with a race trail guard as I waited for the racers.  I found a spot in the woods along the singletrack.  Caught most all of the riders as they came through.  Missed some when there were too many arriving at once and the camera couple not keep up processing the files.  Many of them I caught on the second lap.  Ended up with about 200 shots of the race. 

Back at the festival frounds, I was hungry.  Picked up a burger and Fat Tire at the vendors.  The first of the Twin Cities Fun Factory BMX stunt show was underway.  Smaller crowd watchng the show this year than last year.  Did not see the "money shot" I took last year "High Flying Bike".  They were having a second show later in the afternoon.

I took some time to head to the hotel to sort some of today's photo files.  Got some also posted up on the race & events web site.

Was pretty tired, but wanted to try to shoot the always popular kid's races.  The lower photos was the start of the kids race for the youngest riders.  After the kid's race, the moms and dads rode their kid's bike in a race.

I topped off the day with a sandwich and Fat Tire at Coach's Corner Sports Bar.  Now rest time, checking the weather, and probably packing the car for the trip home.