Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sailing with David

Sunny morning with a big bright sun with powder puff clouds greets the day. It is getting warm so might be good for a sailing venture? Looking at the clouds (I’m sure they have some sort of scientific name but you don’t need a weather man to see which way the wind blows) there doesn’t seem a breeze and besides I don’t have a sail, I don’t have a boat, and I’m not near the water so I’ll grab my pony and you can ride along.
My mate David took a spill the other day and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men patched him up and put him back together again, but he is off his wheels for several months. (Sad face here)
 So you can ride along with me on my morning adventure and I’ll show you the sights and describe the experience as best I can.
It is fairly late for me. About 10AM but the morning traffic is gone and the noon traffic hasn’t started yet. I pull out my pony and strap on my gloves but forget my helmet was on the other pony that I brought home yesterday. Back inside I couldn’t resist putting out another load of blueberries and sure enough the bunnies came hopping.
Before I take a ride I pause and survey the yard. I try to get a sense of what is happening and what has happened last night. I also get my breathing going. It is like a little prayer because if I get run over I’ll never see this again.
Unlock the gate and park the bike on the newly dumped gravel. Down the street the city is repaving. Don’t know who got that financed but they are taking their time and doing it right. Still it is construction sounds in the neighborhood I’ve gotten so used to.
Walk to the corner before mounting then take another pause. Check the sky again and the trees whose leaves are starting to drop and get crunchy underfoot. It is like what leaves of spring in reverse. The shadows will be different after they all fall.
Wait for traffic coming in both directions until there is a break in the action and I can slowly start out in low gear. I know you don’t use gears but this Geezer appreciates the technology to start slow and easy and build up pace then be able to downshift for hills or just when I get tired.
Take a right turn off Westmoreland to Park and they are still building something over on the left. That big dumpster has been filled and emptied a couple of times. This is the first block and time to shift up and quicken the pace. It still has a canopy of shadows and only a few potholes. Cars are parked on both sides of the street so take the center route and check the mirror (I know, I’m a weenie) to see if anything is coming behind to ruin the morning.
Slow at Commonwealth because it is a pretty wide street and the traffic sounds on Patterson sometimes mask trucks moving at a high rate of speed going to the plumbing shop across Broad.
The next block is a little incline so the work to pedal is a bit harder and the breathing is better. Good time to yawn to clear the ears and cough up that last hunk of mucus from last night. Also widen your eyes to get some air in and wake up like a splash of reality on your face. This is a good point to readjust your back and hands to loosen up. It is not a long ride but minor stretching is helpful.
The next block is downhill so can coast and shift up to the next gear. Watch out for the big branch that fell out of these old trees and has been dragged to the curb for the city to come by and remove. This happens around this time of year in this neighborhood. The trees are old and when they get laden with leaves the weight brings down rotten branches. One of the things to look out for while riding is the crack of falling branches. Snow or hurricanes do tend to thin the danger out.
On every block there is a house for sale and in a few days the signs will be taken down and there will be a different car parked in front. Notice that English tutor has just been painted. Looks swell with a sunroom in the back facing east. There are many sunrooms on these houses and many more fences than before.
Take a left on Antrim and watch for that pothole that some truck will be by and fill with asphalt only to have to come back and do it again next year. That is what we pay taxes for.
Turn on to Franklin and up shift again. The houses are much bigger here and the street much wider. This is a training ground for joggers and a regular of young mothers pushing their offspring’s. More construction to raise the prices of the homes and the street is wide enough that people double park with ease. Beware.
Before we get to Westmoreland beware of the pothole in the middle of the street. Several years ago the street caved and the city or state or whoever comes by to take care of these disasters brought all sorts of heavy machinery and with lots of shovels and folks standing around in white hard hats and lots of white pickup trucks and big orange signs that said: “Don’t Come Here Cause Some Men Are Standing Around Looking At A Big Hole”. Well they done patched it up all nice and neat and now a dimple has formed again. Whatever the problem underground was, it didn’t get fixed.
Westmoreland is a stopping point. Did you like the Lamborghini? Nice red mustang? Seems everyone that lives around here has two or three cars and very few garages. Luckily no one parks on the front lawn to check their old and change tires….. yet.
Franklin gets thinner on the other side but I’ll show you the path to avoid the bumps and pitfalls. Believe me, I’ve found every one of them. Follow me to the left and the right and we can avoid another disaster. There is a big patch job up here with a quick drop off and a bumpy ride so caution taken. Also stay away from all those construction dumpsters.
I could tell you stories on almost every house on this route because I see them everyday. That house on the corner was completely removed and another house built up. This house was gutted and a second story being built.
Here is another roundabout that was just put in and another one coming up. Didn’t know there was so much fast traffic through these side streets but here they are. Another city project and it don’t bother me. If it slows down crazy driving I’m all for it.
This is a downhill coast but watch out for many of these folks have those driveways and back out into the street. Watch for lights and listen for movement. There is the lady cop washing her car. That house over there is always for rent. Don’t know why. Maybe they have ghost?
Another incline and rough crumbling road put a bit more work to the muscles. You notice I ride where there is not much traffic?
Turn left on Monumental that is actually Park Avenue but it breaks off like Leonard Parkway to become this road to fill in space where the city planners messed up. We are in the county now. Watch out for the gullies. This is what the county does when it doesn’t have underground plumbing. They just build these deep trenches for water runoff. I’ve seen cars lost in these things. Would not be a place for two-wheel travel.
Let’s swing to the right by the house with all the plastic children play structures and downshift to the Avenue of Monuments. I know the traffic pattern and when to stay and when to go but I seem to have gotten here at the dreaded “Lunch Time”.
The sun is getting hotter waiting for traffic but I’m a whoosh and will wait patiently rather than see what my health insurance will cover.
Finally onto the Willow Lawn pavement looking for nails. Yesterday I picked up a nail here and only the clicking sound alerted me that I had a passenger. When I locked up I could see the nail protruding through the tire and figured it would be flat when I came out of the store. Miraculously when I came back to pack up the tire was still sturdy. Do I chance it? What choice do I have? I road the pony home fully loaded and she got me home without a pop, whizz, puff or a whistle. So I put here in the stable and got her partner so I could have a backup. This morning she still was holding air so I decided to try another run. The nail had maybe just punctured the outer core of rubber and not poked a hole in the air sack? Every day is an adventure; enjoy the ride.
Oh wait, I forgot that I have to pay my bills today. I always pay them at the first of the month and have them packed away in my bags all stamped and ready but forgot to take the turn off to the mailbox. I was in the zone. So we will have to go around back and climb the hill. You remember that hill at Willow Lawn? It is not too steep but it is very, very long. Downshift is for sissies so just man up and show what you are made of. By the top you find out if your breathing is clear and your heart still loves you. Avoid the people who are taking classes on how to drive because they got a ticket and apparently missed driver’s ed. in high school and watch out for the sand left over from last year’s snow jobs. Double check the five envelopes for stamps and dump them in one of the few blue boxes still around. $200 and I’m done for another month of payments, except for that $75 to Joel for the TJHS party.
Back down the hill but wait for that big white SUV. That driver is checking a phone message or a GPS or ordering her underwear online. It is best to be cautious. Once cleared, we can coast down the hill past the torture chamber where people pay to wear spandex and sweat until we meet another construction zone. Detour through a packed parking lot to increase awareness.
Once at our destination without harm or injury, we can lock up and venture into another adventure. First is to get one of those little baskets. It will be my walker as I wander the grounds of sustenance. The guy with the dreadlocks smiles for he knows I’m here for the blueberries. A couple of smoothies and then venture through the haze of confused old folk and bumper cars for today is Tuesday and that is “Ole Folk Day”. Even without the discounts them geezers are carted in only to wait until they can be shipped out.
A couple of soups but the lane filled with people reading labels and checking their grocery list so move onto another location. Move down the spices aisle or the pet food aisle they are usually free from them old folk. Move down by the pharmacy and that cute girl in the short shorts probably getting birth control and over to the frozen foods. Avoid the frozen pizza and get a couple of breakfast biscuits instead. Now it is time to run the gauntlet to the adult beverages. Avoid eye contact and predict movement just like on the bike. My Rocky Mountain guys know how to keep me replenished so grab two six-packs and it is off to the check out line.
Shawn has the shortest line and he is a red vest (somewhat of importance) and he knows I won’t take long so whiz through watching all the old folk sitting with their treasures waiting to be carted out.
Back to the pony that is still holding air but now for the real test. After packing all this grub will she get me home?
Wait! The parking lot is full and it is ole folk day so take your time. When we find the spot we will move and turn and avoid and make it to the traffic lanes of the Avenue. They come in bunches so after the flow make your move. Always remember the guy on your left might just decide to turn right. It has happened.
The trip home is sort of a downhill climb with a few mom’s and dog walkers. The last leg is up another hill and a downshift. Wait for the light, check the cars coming up behind and watch for yellow. When it changes check to the left because some people don’t pay any attention to the laws of the road but try to start before it turns green to avoid the turning traffic.
The hill on the other side is steeper and there is always a red truck parked there so double check before going around for Westmoreland is wide but not 4-wide. Pull up before entering the alley for all the gravel is hard to ride on. We will walk the ponies down to the gate to protect them and us.
Back in and secured it is time to put out the grub for the critters, turn on the fan and towel off. It is also time to hydrate.
Hope you enjoyed the ride.

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