Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hill Slugs Ad Hoc, Saturday, February 18

16 February 2017

Let's get back on the road!

I have a 46-mile, hilly-ish, route picked out. Meet at the Hopewell Valley Regional School District parking lot, 425 S Main St, across from Ingleside, in Pennington, for a 9:30 a.m. start. For 11 extra miles, contact me and we'll meet at my house at 9:00 a.m.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

One More Snowy Path

Tyler State Park

11 February 2017

On Wednesday, I rode my bike to work in nearly 60-degree weather. On Thursday, we got five inches of snow.

Today's ride was an extra; until a few days ago, I was supposed to be chairing the morning portion of a meeting. That got cancelled, and Tom offered to lead in Tyler State Park at an hour early enough for me to get back in time for the afternoon session.

Wicked tired yesterday, I pushed the alarm back another fifteen minutes when it went off this morning. And because of that, I barely got to the park in time. I also had that last-minute panic when the parking lot wasn't where I thought it would be. In the nick of time, I found Tom, Chris, and, hallelujah, Plain Jim, finally back after a couple months of illness and injury. We all agreed that he'd chosen a good time to be out of action.

It's been two years since I've been to Tyler State Park. I remembered two things: that there are hills, and that there's a creek.

There's always a creek.

And I always take pictures of creeks. We stood on a low bridge above a dam.

Another damn picture of another damn body of water.

Or something sticking out of the water. 

Or of rocks in the water.

At least it's not the Raritan this time. The Neshaminy Creek does flow into the Delaware, though. Same watershed as half the other pictures I take.

Two years ago the trail down to the bridge was covered in snow. It was today, too, mostly.

I took this same picture two years ago. It rolls around every so often on my desktop slide show at work.

I like it when I can step back into my pictures.

Over a tributary, my camera battery decided it was too cold. I used my cell phone instead, and put the camera into an inside pocket to warm up.

The paved trails loop across each other. By taking a few of them twice, we managed to cover almost all of them. We passed the Tyler Park Center for the Arts twice. On the second round, my camera had warmed up enough to use again.

Across the way, tomorrow's weather was rolling in.

In all of our loops, we saw no other cyclists. We crossed paths with runners, walkers, and a vast assortment of handsome dogs. There were golden retrievers, corgis, Labrador retrievers, mutts, shepherds, and, my favorite, a husky puppy rolling around in the snow like a cat in catnip.

Back at the dam again, we stopped at the rest rooms. Tom and I wandered about with our cameras. Jim and I fussed around some park bench icicles. Composition. I really need to hew my composition skills.

Last week, I posted a photo of a fake goose in frozen water. Today, I post a real goose in moving water.

In the measly twelve miles, we climbed almost 900 feet between photo and orientation stops. It wasn't difficult, but it wasn't easy either. I got home in plenty of time to clean up and get to the afternoon meeting, where, I think, I'm getting past my years-long volunteer burnout.

I'll be sacrificing some cycling time to the Resistance. It is necessary.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Snow Day, Turtleback Park

9 February 2017

Step 1: Shovel

Step 2: Take pictures in the snow.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Up the Blue Side, Down the Red Side

Yet another picture of the D&R Canal

 4 February 2107

"26 degrees," I said to Jack as I left the house this morning. Any other winter this might have been enough to keep me inside, but I can't take being at the gym any more than I have to.

Neither, apparently, can ten other hardy fools gathered at the Washington Crossing parking lot.

We were about to leave when Brian asked, "Does anyone have a zip tie?" Missing from his frame was a substantial bolt holding the rear suspension to the seat tube. It must have fallen off while the bike was on the rack in transit. None of us had a zip tie, or anything else that would have held his frame together, so we left without him. He'd be back to pick up the friend he'd driven in with.

We set off on the New Jersey side of the canal towpath, towards Lambertville. 

Dressing for sub-freezing towpath riding is relatively simple: put on the warmest clothing you have. Still, my hands, packed inside lobster claw mitten-gloves, were cold for the first few miles. Today I learned how to take pictures without taking the bulky mittens off.

The towpath gets crowded in Lambertville. Today, though, it was only us, a few runners, and a handful of winter-ready dogs.

We made it over the newly re-decked bridge in Lambertville without injury.

In Lambertville, the sights get interesting. I didn't stop for all of them.

One that I didn't stop for I regretted not having stopped for. Fortunately, ride leader and photographer Paul I lives in Lambertville, and after the ride I hit him up for a photo of the fish I skipped. Somehow, I knew he'd have it.

There's more canal art north of the pink fish.

The metal bike that used to hang here has been replaced with a metal fish.

Where the Alexauken Creek flows into the river, icicles had formed on the spillway:

We crossed the Delaware River at Stockton. "You see things in winter you don't see in the summer" is what I tell people when they think I'm crazy for going out in this. It's rare to see a river bridge with no people on it.

On the Pennsy side, the canal was shallow. The towpath was sometimes a little unkempt. The New Jersey side is beige and gray sand and cinders. The Pennsylvania side is mostly red.

In New Hope, the canal had begun to freeze. (No, don't worry, that's not a real bird.)

New Hope holds its own for offbeat towpath decor.

And what's a Hill Slug ride without a road being closed? I began to cross the bridge to avoid it, but Pete and I saw the gap in the fence at the same time. "What?!?" he said. "You're going around?!?"

No, of course not. We're going through.

Somewhere south of New Hope, I took yet another picture of the Delaware River. Boooo-ring!

The view of the Trap Rock quarry in West Amwell, on Baldpate Mountain, is very clear from the PA side of the Delaware River. If you're ever hiking on the mountain and see "do not enter" signs, don't be a Hill Slug. Stay away. The quarry is still active; they're still blasting in there.

Brian was in his truck when we got back. While we'd been riding, he'd been on an inadvertent bike shop tour.  Not one had the proprietary Trek bolt that would have put his frame back together. He decided he was going to take it back to where he bought it, in South Jersey*. If this bolt fell off, there's no telling what other parts that shouldn't are about to.

The forecast for tomorrow looks to be adding a few degrees. Winter Larry says it'll be warm enough for him to lead.

(*The definition of South Jersey is anything south of where you're standing when you utter the words.)