Thursday, December 28, 2006

Today's sky report

Had a little spare time and decided to convert my blog to the new blogspot look. Hope you like it. By the way, the pond had a skim coat of ice again. We'll see what's going on tonite after the temperatures hit 40 today.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Today's sky report

Earlier this year, I was going to write something about how the pond at my house had frozen. I didnt get a chance and by the time I did, the pond was no longer frozen. Over the past few weeks, weve seen it start to freeze (skim coat of ice) and then thaw at least six or eight times. Im not sure about this global warming stuff, but all I know is that I can usually walk on the pond by now. On the other hand, if the polar ice cap melts, Im not thinking that the pond will rise.

The snow blower sits lonely in the garage waiting for the flakes to accumulate. Its December, right?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Today's sky report

It’s a darn shame that New Hamshire Blogging found my site. Not because I’m afraid of recognition or that someone is actually reading my blog, but because she makes me feel guilty for not blogging more over the last few months. Thank you for the kind review, NHB (read it here). While a lot of us write for ourselves or a small audience, it always feels good to know you are noticed.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Today's Sky Report

Fantastic news. Kreblog is now a recognized blogger in the annals of NH Blogging ( Im now prouder than ever to sponsor his link!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Today's sky report

I'm still here. I'm out of the blogging habit but I'm still here. I often think of posting, but it's usually when the keyboard is not under my fingers. More later, maybe.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Today's sky report

It was guitar frenzy at the Boston Garden last night as Eric Clapton and his axe-wielding sidemen attacked a bunch of classic tunes. Particularly noteworthy were the treatments of Got To Get Better In A Little While, Little Queen Of Spades (which was "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" with different words) and the encore, "Crossroads". You knew it was going to be a good concert when Robert Cray came out as the opening act. Moving quickly into his blues style, he got the crowd warmed up nicely for Clapton's opening "Pretending". Cray also joined the band for another song or two and was featured on the "Crossroads" encore.

Besides Cray, Clapton had Derek Trucks on slide guitar. Derek, nephew of Allman brothers original Bruce Trucks, now tours with the current Allman Brothers. With Clapton, he reprised the role of Duane Allman on the Derek and the Dominoes songs. The third guitarist, Doyle Bramhall II, played well too, but was mostly overshadowed by the other three.

Before the show started, we were trying to figure out how many songs Eric Clapton had to choose from for his set list. When we figured that he's released or been part of 50 albums (remember Yardbirds, John Mayhall, Derek and the Dominoes, Delaney and Bonnie all count) and you figure a minimum of 10 songs per album, that's at least 500 songs to select from. An Amazon search returns 463 results (albums) for Eric Clapton.

The songs were all extended versions of the originals with the guitarists trading solos as they lengthened the instrumental parts. As they played, the songs flowed seamlessly from one into the next, which I love. I think they are able to sustain the flow because they play the same songs night in and night out. The downside is that Clapton really didn't seem to be enjoying himself. As wonderful as his music is to us fans, maybe it's still a job to him. How about a smile, huh?

Anyway, the Clapton part of the night went on for over two solid hours. We left with a slight ringing in our ears and happy that we had seen the legend, about whom subway graffiti in London used to read: "EC is God".

Monday, October 02, 2006

Today's sky report

Crisp morning, Simpson sky, fall colors….it doesn't get much better in New England.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Today's sky report

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black…..

…..I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

With these lyrics, the Rolling Stones opened the second leg of their Bigger Bang tour. Courtesy of some freebee tickets from my employer, I was able to attend the event at Gillette Stadium. I was initially not that excited, expecting to see a bunch of guys rolling around the stage on wheel chairs lip-synching their music. How wrong I was. From the enormous colorful set to the brilliance of the ever-changing lights to the quality of the sound to the spectacular fire and fireworks finish, it was an "A" quality experience. As they played, you kept remembering how much you liked each song and as the playlist accumulated, you began to realize just how many hits these old guys have had. We were at the far end of the stadium, so Mick looked about one inch tall, but you can tell he went to the big stage school of showmanship. As he ran from one side of the stage to the other, he swung his hands in wide arcs so even the highest seats could see him. His outfits were brightly colored and visible from afar. They tried really hard to help the distant seats feel involved. At one point, a section of the stage broke away with the old guys aboard and rolled down a catwalk to the center of the stadium. Even us guys in the (so called) cheap seats got a decent view of the band for a couple of songs. They played for two solid hours with only one or two newer songs included. Their last song and encore were well orchestrated to keep the fans on their feet and feeling good as they left.

Eric Clapton at the Boston Garden in two weeks. Let's see the old guitar players fare against the old guys we just saw.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Today's Sky Report

Willie is back! Over the years that we have been carpooling, we have occasionally run across a small red car (Dodge Colt?) with the designation "Alpha Courier" printed all over it. When we look inside, we notice an old guy with a weather-worn face and long hair. He is always wearing the same green cap and staring straight ahead. We nicknamed him Willie after Willie Nelson, the man we think he most resembles. Willie is always in the right lane and always going about 5 mph under the speed limit.

It has been months since we've seen Willie, and we were beginning to worry. Just like the perils of the real Willie Nelson, we thought something might have happened to him. Once or twice we've seen an Alpha Courier car, but never with Willie at the controls. Well, yesterday our worries were allayed when we cruised past Willie again. Movin' slow, ridin' low. Willie is back.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Today's sky report

Today's sky report should be more appropriately labeled, "Today's Pavement Report", for it was 5 years ago today that I crashed my motorcycle.  It was a bike I had grown to love, a 1996 Honda ST1100.  The ST stood for sport tourer, although I rebadged it "Sport Tank".  While bigger and heaver than any bike that has a right be called a sport bike, it none-the-less could carve a corner far faster than my abilities would allow. And it would happily tour all day, having taken me on a couple of long and fast trips to Canada.

I wish I could say there was weather to blame for my crash, but it was a beautiful, fairly cool and dry Friday in late July.  I was unemployed and decided to do a little "networking" with a former co-worker in ManchVegas.  I'm thankful that it was somewhat cool, as I was wearing my leather jacket.  I will never ride without my helmet, but on the hottest days, I will shed the leather (or what I wear now, my Aerostitch riding suit).  As I was riding east, my low fuel light came on shortly after Exit 5.  On Rt 101, there are no gas stations at exit 4 and nothing right at exit 3, either.  I knew there was one being built at Exit 2, but I wasn't sure if it was open yet.  On several previous trips past that exit, it appeared as if the gas station was nearing completions, so I decided to exit the highway to investigate.

I hit the exit ramp, carrying a good deal of highway speed.  There was no cloverleaf and the exit ran off at an angle from the highway.  I was being very attentive to the condition of the gas station.  I was not being very attentive to the road.  In order to make the angled exit square up to an intersection at the end of the exit ramp, it took a bend to the left.  As I looked back at the road from my investigation, I realized I probably wasn't going to make that bend.  In a classic motorcycling mistake, I clamped hard on the brakes and leaned (left).  The wheels locked up, which took away any steering ability I might have otherwise had, and the bike washed out to the left, in this case a "low side". 

To this day, I still have a mental image of parts of the accident.  I remember hitting my shoulder.  I remember thinking "oh shit".  I remember the bike sliding away from me.  I remember "watching" the bike hit the curb and  I remember parts flying in the air.  I don't remember hitting the curb.  I remember coming to rest on the shoulder of the road. I was quickly on my knees while I pulled off my helmet and tossed my sunglasses to the side in anger.  I tried to stand up and thought, "I'd better take another couple of minutes on my knees".  I finally got up and went over to the bike which had found it's way back over to the side of the road; I think the curb had flipped it up and it rolled from the shoulder area forward to the road.  I tried to pick it up by my left arm wasn't cooperating.  Another biker was coming along the street under the highway and he stopped to help.  We got the bike up, but I still wasn't very much help.  After that, I began to realize that maybe I had hurt myself.  Another car came along, and eventually a police cruiser.  For some reason, they all kept telling me to sit down. 

Soon it was "yahoo holiday" in Candia.  Someone had called 911 and every (both) emergency vehicle in town showed up.  I was able to get the cell phone from my bike and call my lunch appointment, telling him that I wasn't going to make it because I had had an accident with my bike.  I then called my wife and told her she might want to join me at Exit 2 since my bike wasn't drivable.  When she showed up, she was immediately freaked out because there were two ambulances on the scene (one couldn't do transport), a couple of police cars and a few volunteer vehicles with light racks.

She followed me to the hospital.  Whiling away the hours in the emergency room, I got the preliminary diagnosis of a broken collarbone, but they needed to take some x-rays to confirm.  Unfortunately, a female Godzilla was manning the x-ray machine that day.  While trying to place me "just so" under the machine, she was pulling and pushing me around.  I was swearing and then apologizing for swearing and then swearing some more.  As she looked at the results, she said, "I think I see a cracked rib, but they didn't authorize me to take any more pictures".  I pretty sure I was glad she was done with me.

Back in the ER, an angel of mercy finally found me and asked if I had gotten any pain medications.  I said no but I wouldn't mind getting some.  She brought morphine, which was kind of interesting.  I hurt, I knew I hurt, but I didn't care.  And it was a good thing I didn't care, because when they came back and said they needed another x-ray of the broken rib, I might have hit someone.  As it turns out, they decided I could use the stand up chest x-ray machine.  Much to my delight and surprise, the x-ray technician for that machine was the complete opposite of Godzilla.  Not only did she show concern every time my face flinched in pain, she had the face of an angel.

For all that fun, diagnosis and medicine, there's nothing you can really do for a broken rib or collar-bone.  Today, I have a jagged left shoulder but there's no pain or limitation of movement.  It serves as a reminder of my accident.  A reminder that helps me remember that my own stupidity and inattention create a higher likelihood of an accident than any other situation I'll encounter while riding.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Today's sky report

Orange and black skies dominate today's report.

Orange: A week ago, I was reading in bed when I heard the sounds of a woman screaming next door.  I soon realized that she was screaming because her house was on fire.  I called 911 and learned that the fire had been called in and trucks were on their way.  I quickly dressed and headed out the door - by the time I got to her driveway (the woods between our houses are so thick and in a swampy area that you can't walk through, especially in the dark), a policeman was there and said that everyone had gotten out.  It was still 5 more minutes until the fire trucks arrived.  At this point, the house was "fully involved" and flames and sparks were shooting up in the air.  We stayed on our yard, watching the glow and the sparks through and over the trees.  There were about 10 different towns that responded, and because we were out of reach of any fire hydrants, the trucks lined up 8 deep bringing water to the scene.  We were out there for hours, talking to all the different neighbors and watching the horror of it all.  Unfortunately, the house was a total loss.

Black:  Tuesday, as related by my wife, the skies turned black and wind began to blow.  The weather was scary enough, but then the hail came.  Her car now looks like somebody had a nutty with a ball-peen hammer.  There are a couple of hundred dents on all the surfaces of the car.  The windshield is cracked as is a lot of the turn signal plastic.  The sunroof held so there was no inside water damage.  Unfortunately, the car was a total loss.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Today's sky report

Somedays the clouds are a ceiling, flat and one-dimensional, sometimes gray and sometimes white. On other days, like today, the sky is filled with three dimensional objects, like big fluffy white ships sailing silently by.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Today's sky report

Nice to see the return of the gorgeous golden orb today.  Many of you got a nice day yesterday, but I was north of Franconia Notch all yesterday where the sun don't shine, so to speak.  It was 47 degrees and rainy as we passed through the notch.  The weather in Bethlehem where we spent most of the day was cloudy, drizzly and in the 50's.  Nice day for an outdoor wedding.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Today's sky report

On the way home from work yesterday, I was riding my 1996 BMW R1100 GS (a.k.a. Das Beak Zwei) when I noticed the odometer reading 36,600. My mind rolled back to when I first bought the bike a little more than 4 years ago when the odometer read 16,600. There were a few events leading up to the purchase.

The year 2001 had some good and a lot of bad to it. The biggest bad was 9/11, and all that followed. On a more personal level, the bad also included me losing my job two days after we closed on a new house in a town we didn't know. An even worse bad was crashing my beloved 1991 Honda ST1100, a.k.a Sport Tank. In addition to the broken collar bone and rib, I no longer had my main ride. She was a beautiful bike, Honda red and always ready to go. I had owned her since 1996 and we had covered many thousands of miles together, including a couple of trips to Canada with a hooligan gang of sport bike riders.

A healing period followed the crash, both in body and riding spirit. I still had my old stand-by, the Slighthawk - a 1984 Honda Nighthawk 650. My goal was to get back on the bike by the time snow fell, which I did. The Slighthawk was a fine bike - I bought it new and had many experiences, including those of the learning kind. [Quick side trip: I once rode the bike to a baseball practice I was coaching. For some reason, my son wasn't there so it was just cool Mr. Carpoolguy on the bike. As I was getting ready to pull away, by now no doubt the coolest coach the kids had ever seen, I hit the throttle. Forgetting that grass doesn't have the same adhesion qualities as asphalt, the rear wheel spun, the bike went sideways and fell down. "Hey, cool Mr. Carpoolguy, how come your motorcycle is lying down?"]. I put some miles on it every year, from 4000 the first year to 1000 in later years. The Slighthawk wasn't the kind of bike of bike you could take on long journeys. There was no protection from the wind, no luggage capabilities. When I bought Sport Tank, the Slighthawk became the one you would ride downtown. It also became my son's bike when he was ready to ride. But he moved on and the Slighthawk sat in the garage, rarely used until it was resurrected as my "get back to biking" bike.

By early spring 2002, I was ready again for a bigger bike and the adventures that can be found on the highways and back roads. One of my closest friends had a BMW R1100 GS (Das Beak) that he let me ride a couple of times. I was immediately fascinated by it. It had a quirky nature and exposed machinery in stark contrast to the always smooth and Tupperware covered Sport Tank. And it was a very capable sport tourer. My friend had ridden his from Colorado to NH and back one summer. I was ready for the world of quirky twins instead of smooth fours. Sealing the deal, my other closest friend was a capable mechanic who happened to own, love and advocate BMW's to anyone who will listen.

A little while before departing on a trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway in May, my mechanic friend sent me a listing for a 1996 GS in Virginia. He said they'd stop by the guy's house on the way home and check out the bike for me. So I wasn't too surprised when I got the call one afternoon. He was looking at the bike and giving me the rundown of what was good and what wasn't. He put the owner on the phone, we reached a price and the deal was on.

For many years, Fathers Day weekend has been about motorcycles. Going way back, my buddies and I would attend the AMA races held at the old Bryar Motorsports Park in Loudon. The broken down bleacher in Turn 2 was our hallowed ground. There's nothing like the thrum of a twin or the scream of a two stroke and the smell of Castrol burning just a few feet away when the bikes blew by. We'd go up in bikes or cars depending upon who was there and what kind of rides we could martial up for the event. Eventually, Bryar became NHIS, you were distanced from the track, the AMA riders became too afraid of crashing and we stopped attending. But Father's Day still involved biking with my friend and Fathers Day, 2002 was pickup day for Das Beak Zwei. I got a ride to NJ, met my mechanic friend and we set off early in the morning for VA, with the intent of a down and back in one day. We arrived, the bike was as advertised, we loaded up and headed back. The bike had to be a trailer queen for my first trip with it due to tires that weren't safe for riding.

After I helped my mechanic friend with an oil change and new tires, Das Beak Zwei was ready to roll. The first trip was a run around central west NJ. It was a chance to break in the new tires and to learn about the bike before the trip home to NH. The odometer read 16,600.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Today's sky report

Morning fog rose from the swamp
Like smoke from a sodden blaze
Sunlight glistened off growing grass
Heralding a brand new day

Two geese honked across the sky
Winging to lakes unknown
I instead drove the highway to work
Wishing I too could roam

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Today's sky report - in deep

Salvation in the form of a dry spot to turn around was just a few yards away.  Between me and salvation were yards of mudded ruts and a puddle of indeterminate depth.  There was no choice but to keep going forward….

Yesterday was a beautiful spring NH day.  I was riding my BMW R1100GS home from work and after leaving the highway, I decided to take a trail through the woods.  For those of you unfamiliar with a BMW GS, think of them as the SUV's of motorcycles.  They are excellent road machines and can chew up the highway miles as well as swiftly cut a line through a snake-like rural road.  Additionally, with their upswept pipes, skid guards and high fenders, they can serve as off road bikes.  And like an SUV, your off road capabilities depend more upon your tires and your driving (riding) abilities than the car (bike) itself.  Unfortunately, I'm not a highly experienced off road rider and I had street tires on the bike. 

Across from my exit on Route 101 (Exit 8 heading east) is a road that starts with about 50 feet of pavement and a couple hundred yards of a nicely built dirt road.  At the end of the dirt road, there's a turnaround.  Off the turnaround is a double track dirt trail through the woods.  As I came to the turnaround, I looked down the trail.  It looked fairly dry down the middle, although some sections of the tire tracks looked a bit muddy.  I decided to give it a try.  The bike started off fine, rolling well down the middle.  A few hundred yards in, I began to notice that there was standing water to the sides of the road and the middle of the trail began to get muddy.  Basically, I was in a swamp.  The bike started to slide a bit, generally going forward but not real well.  I came upon a branch across the road, and I was forced into the tire track to get by it.  I rolled over it and stopped.  Ahead of me was the puddle.  I made a brief attempt at turning around where I was, but I was too deep into the muddy rut and there wasn't enough shoulder between the rut and the standing water to make a successful turn.  There was only one choice - to keep moving forward. 

The thing about puddles is that you never know how deep they are.  I couldn't imagine this one would be real deep because it wasn't more than 10 feet wide.  The road rose up on the other side and actually flattened out to a dry spot, so I knew if I could get through the puddle, I had a spot to turn.  Going beyond the dry spot wasn't an option; the road after the dry spot was submerged because the water in the swamp on either side converged into a lake.  So, I clicked it into gear and went forward.  When the bike began to bog down a bit, I added power and pulled through the mud and water.  I made it to the other side with only one thought…I had to go back through it get out of there.

Fortunately the dry spot was truly dry.  I was able to k-turn the bike with relative ease to face the puddle one more time.  Once again, I added power and began to blast.  Unfortunately, after pulling through the puddle, I ended up in one of the muddy ruts.  Once you're in a rut, it's tough to get out unless the rut begins to level with the center point of the road.  So, keeping with the theory of adding power, I kept the bike rolling until I was out of the woods.  Some slipping, some sliding, but never down and never stopped.  When I got out, I looked down at the bike.  Mud caked the wheels, engine and fenders.  The messenger bag I had strapped to the back seat was coated.  My boots and riding suit were caked up from the ground to just below the knees.  It took me an hour to clean the bike, my boots and the riding suit off with the high pressure from my hose.  It took another hour to clean up the messenger bag and the rest of the suit.

I suppose there's a lesson in here somewhere.  Like, "use the right tool (bike) for the job."  Or "don't go into blind alleys".  Or "more power solves all problems".  I probably won't actually learn the lessons - I did get out and I have done similar things before.  What I did learn is that even though the bike isn't made for the situation I put it in, it refused to let me down.  I should probably change its oil as a thank you.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Today's sky report

In the carpool, there are certain bands that send our fingers to the radio dial, searching for relief.  I have previously written about these, calling them Fallujah bands:  One of these is Pearl Jam.  One of them is NOT U2.  This Saturday, Pearl Jam was on Saturday Night Live (yes, I still watch that show even when it's mediocre - you keep thinking maybe there will be that one break out skit that crumbles you with laughter - sometimes it happens but I'm usually asleep) and it got me thinking.  Why do we like U2 and despise Pearl Jam?  Both bands rock pretty hard.  Both bands emphasize multiple guitars with a good beat.  Both bands have unique lead singers.  Both bands have albums that define an era, albeit different ones (U2: Joshua Tree and Pearl Jam: 10). Both bands have relatively new songs that sound similar with their strong driving beats and agonized vocals (U2: "Vertigo" and Pearl Jam: "World Wide Suicide").  So why is the reflex still to reach for the volume for U2 and the presets for Pearl Jam?   Maybe it's time to give them another try, at least for the new stuff.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Today's sky report

Nothing funnier than ninja's.  Check out  Look for the one on podcasts.  It will brighten any day.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Today's sky report

Cloudrise:  I'm in Florida this morning, 15 floors up on the Intercoastal waterway with a beautiful view to the east of the Atlantic ocean.  Although I wasn't up to check it out for sure, I'm pretty sure the sunrise was occluded by a bank of clouds.  Right now, it's trying to get above those clouds, but in a conspirator fashion, more clouds keep rolling in to stop the sun from showing.  Maybe later today, the sun will find a gap and enrich us with its warmth.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Today's sky report

Isn't a warm early spring weekend a gift? I mean, you know the good weather is coming, and that soon, it will be warmer rather than cooler, but the first warm spring weather still seems like you're getting away with something. It was particularly nice this past Saturday, with the temperatures in the 70's and the sun just beaming. Yardwork is easy because you're not fighting the black flies or the mosquitoes. Nobody told them it was spring, yet. However, the peepers in the swamplands out back were awake. In the dusky evening light, they were sounding off at a volume that would make proud the members of Spinal Tap (turn it up to 11, why don't you?).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Today's sky report - ice out

I missed it. I was out west skiing in Colorado, fighting blizzard like conditions on Sunday and I missed "ice out" on my little pond. There was nothing solid left on the surface when I got home on Monday, March 27th. Last year, ice out happened about a week and a half later:

It still doesn't seem like spring. The trees are just starting to lace up with the buds that let you know you'll soon have shade. The big decision for the coming weekend is whether or not to take the snow tires off the cars. There's always a chance of snow, even into April. If I take them off, we're guaranteed at least a 6 inch snow event. I'll probably leave them on…..

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Today's sky report

You know how in those movies like Independence Day and War of the Worlds there are always these large spaceships hovering over the earth?  With the wind this morning, the clouds were moving like a whole convoy of alien spacecraft across the sky.  Duck and run for cover.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Today's ride report

When the forecast for a Saturday in March says sunny and in the 50's, you have no choice but to get out on your motorcycle. Fortunately, my friend had called me up during the week and told me he could use some help on his lake house in Nelson, NH. Good excuse for a ride.

I headed west from Exeter around 9 a.m. Although the thermometers were reading around 50, when you're booking 65+ mph on the big highway, the breeze saps your body heat bit by bit until 50 doesn't feel so warm. Traffic was surprisingly heavy for a Saturday morning, and the strong winds made the ride challenging. Inevitably, as you passed a truck or car, a gust of wind would push you towards the car and the surprised look on the drivers face as he/she noticed the biker coming sideways towards them. The ride goes by fairly fast until you get to Bedford. That's because the road narrows to one lane each way and traffic lights take hold. The good news is that the blast of 50 degree air slows down so you body begins to reheat a bit.

As I rode west from Bedford, I began to notice more and more snow on the sides of the road. Apparently winter ends earlier at the coast. By the time I hit the top of Temple mountain, it felt quite cold, even though the bank thermometer in Peterborough read 52 degrees (drenched in sunshine and not traveling 65 mph).

Nelson is a small town (population about 600) whose greatest feature is Lake Nubanusit. The lake is also in Hancock, a quaint NH town also in the middle of nowhere. These towns lie a bit north of the great connector, Rt 101. For Nelson, heading west on 101, you get off in Dublin, the town with the ridiculously low speed limit and home of Yankee Publishing (Farmer's Almanac), and head into Harrisville. On the way from Harrisville to Dublin, you begin to appreciate good highway construction, mainly because you are no longer riding on one. The frost heaves create dips and bumps, cracks and ridges without regard to patterns or logic. Sometimes you ride fast and stand on the pegs to diminish the jarring. Other times you ride more slowly, trying futilely to avoid the worst of the bumps. No such luck.

The key question when you ride into Harrisville after being away for a few months, is "will the Harrisville General Store be open or out of business?" The store has had a few incarnations, most recently as a coffee/sandwich shop with a minimum of groceries and a fine wine selection. Last fall, on a ride to the area, it was open and populated by locals. This Saturday, when a cup of coffee would have warmed my insides, it was out of business. No signs to say opening soon or sorry we can't make money in the out of the way location.

After skirting by Harrisville Pond, you come to the road to the lake. The first few hundred feed are paved, or what passes for paved in frost heave season. After that, there are a couple of miles of dirt. In the summer, these roads are wonderful. They keep them flat and hard, with just enough gravel on the surface to induce a bit of drift at the right speeds (that would be in a car - bike drifting is for the truly adventurous or the Supermoto racers). In the winter, the frozen dirt works fine for plowing and driving. Not so much in the spring. The base was still hardpacked and solid, or at least you thought so. The problem was that there was a greasy layer of melted mud on top of the hardpack. Navigating this mess required intense concentration. You continuously looked for the line that was the flattest, but you needed to stay away from ruts. And nothing sudden, or you'll be wiping large brown patches off your black and red riding suit. No sudden braking, no sudden acceleration, no sudden turning moves. Keep it in a high gear and coast along.

Good fortune was on my side, and I made it into and later, out of the camp without incident. I briefly eyed the frozen lake, thinking that it might be safer to ride across that rather than exit on the not so frozen mud, but visions of sinking motorcycles filled my head and I decided otherwise.

The ride home was a bit warmer, and once I got off the mud and the frost heaves, mostly uneventful. I did notice that the fork seal on my left fork had blown and I was oozing oil down the tube, no doubt from the pounding of the bumpy roads. Something for the mechanic to make some money on, I guess.
After I got home, I parked the bike and pulled out the bucket and hose. A pile of dirt on my driveway gave evidence to the trip I had taken. The dirt will wash away, but not my memory of a nice day on the bike - 164 miles.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Today's sky report

Today's sky dawned red, as in Red Sky.  Several months ago, I sat through a conversation with Kreblog, Granite and some other bloggers about the cold war era movie, "Red Dawn".  Most of what I got out of the conversation was that if you go into the mountains to fight the Russians, you need to yell, "wolverines" when you kill one, or something like that.  So I needed to see this flick but until this past weekend, I hadn't noticed that it was playing on any of my channels.  I'm not currently hooked into Netflix and nobody actually gets in the car to go to the video store anymore, do they?  But this Sunday night, I saw that it was playing opposite the Oscars.  Sweet relief.

The movie has several logical holes in it, but you look past those (as you do in any good movie) so you can enjoy the plot and the characters.  There were parts of it that seemed a bit contrived, and some of it just didn't make sense, but I did enjoy it.  Especially when they yelled "wolverines".  I'm now in the Red Dawn club, at last. 

Monday, February 20, 2006

Today's sky report

Heard on TV tonite:  “Lease an all new Saturn Vue for only $189 per month.  Residency restrictions apply.”  What is that?  You gotta live in this car to buy it?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Today's sky report

Driving home last night around 9:00 p.m., I worked out the following haiku:

Bright moon light reflects
On freshly fallen white snow
Drive without headlights

I left them on until I got on my street, but it is fun driving without them.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Today's sky report

It must have been the intense concentration that comes from listening to British accents. There was some undulating static on the generously provided (by Kreblog) podcast of the Ricky Gervais show for the carpool this morning. Oddly, the static seemed to ebb and flow with the striated shadows caused by the low sun coming through the trees on the highway. Fffft, ffft, ffft, ssss, ffft, ssss, ffffffffft....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Today's sky report

Today's rising sun revealed a tilted cloud formation. It appeared as if a table had lost a leg and a big orange ball was rolling off. Later, we saw a cloud that looked like it was leaking; a meandering tail hung below the puffy whiteness.

Even the WMUR news pixie is getting into the act. At 6:30 a.m., with the WMUR Hampton camera pointing seaward, a beautiful sunrise came on the screen. The news pixie exclaimed, "Look at that gorgeous sunrise. I just love a pretty sky." Amen, pixie, amen.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Today's sky report

Actually, this is yesterday’s sky report.  On the commute in to work, we were crossing the Everett Turnpike before we cloverleafed on, and Kreblog said, “Manchester better look out – there’s a comet heading its way. “  Sure enough, there was a long fairly thin cloud with a dark, rounded face that looked a lot like a comet.  I had never really seen a cloud like that before, so driving took a backseat while I craned my neck to see.  The only thing the comet was missing was a leering face which would have let the ManchVegas residents know how it felt about taking out the city.


And in another cloud laded coincidence, later that day, I was driving south (on the Everett, again) when I saw a perfect herringbone cloud.  Now seeing herringbone clouds isn’t so amazing, but this one was actually in the shape of a fish, as if a dead fish had been sent skyward and left to die.  Maybe the fish was taken out by the comet.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Today's sky report

As I was driving west from NY into NJ on Saturday evening, the phrase "cloud stained sunset" came to my head.  As in, "an orange light glowed from the cloud stained sunset".  I'm not exactly sure where in the trip I was, or what I was looking at, because after the phrase popped, I was determined to remember it.  I said it out loud a couple of times and kept thinking about it, because I liked how it sounded and the mental images it could evoke.  These days, it takes a really concentrated effort to remember things - I can't just assume that things I see or think will be retrievable later on.  Fortunately, it came back to me the next day, and I was able to roll it off my tongue a few more times until I was pretty sure I would remember it.  I began trying to use it in a sentence, one that could start a story or a blog post.  Of course, I cannot remember any of those sentences today, but I'm sure I could make one up again if I needed to…."He rode into the cloud stained sunset, his new life just beginning."  After I thought about the phrase for a while, I wondered if I had actually created it or whether I had just read it somewhere.  Fortunately, a Google search only found one reference and it was in an article from 2000 copy of Southern Living.  Pretty sure I didn't read that.  Cloud stained sunset. Rock band name, anyone?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Today's sky report

It occurred to me today just how old you must be when your fast food franchise discussion morphs from which one makes the best french fries to which one makes the best salad.  By the way, if you don't need to have your chicken topping hot, the answer is Wendy's.  And stay away from Subway - their salads are basically a pile of that shredded lettuce normally thrown on your sub, with anything else you want added (how about a roll and some roast beef?).

Friday, January 13, 2006

Today's sky report

Hey Mr. Moon, all bright and shiny in the sky, how about getting in touch with some of the municipal governments in the area?  I'm thinking you could save money for the towns by having them turn out their street lights when you're at your best.  Your sharp silver shadows from last night are still playing on my brain's screen.  And it's amazing how yellow you turn just before sinking below the horizon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Today's sky report

After a couple of weeks on hiatus from blogging, I’ve received some pointed emails from friends who normally give me grief for being a blogger. So I figure it’s about time to put a post out there and get back into the habit. Between Christmas and New Years, I got to experience the somewhat warmer skies over Orlando, FL. Having been to Key West as recently as October, I foolishly expected that I might be able to repeat that idyllic time with balmy temperatures in the low eighties and gentle trade winds. Not so. Orlando in late December is warmer than our NH winters, but bring a jacket. At the beginning of our week, it was reaching the fifties and breezy enough that the words “wind-chill” had to remain part of our vocabulary. Towards the end of the week, I did get to break out the shorts, but not until the last day could I qualify a feeling as “hot”. In fact, one day we got up extra special early (or “ridiculously early” as quoted by the ticket sales woman at Universal’s Islands of Adventure) to be first in line for a major attraction, and I found myself dealing with ice on the minivan windshield. Oddly, the car rental companies don’t include ice scrapers as part of your rental package. Finally, I got to put my AAA card to good use.

It’s good to be back to the predictably cold skies of NH. January, cold like it should be and not some tease of the warm weather. Hmmm, today’s high was in the 40’s with predictions in the 50’s later this week. Are we in Orlando, Dorothy?