Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Today was my first ride after a two week hiatus. I was racing the storm for the commute from work to the commuter parking lot 10 miles from the office. That was at 5PM. It is now almost 10 and the storm still hasn't hit. Any time now though. Yup, any time.... The ride into work this morning was grand. Just rolling along and I found myself smiling. Man do I like biking.

I did get to visit #2 son at his new home in Atlanta. He recently took a job with a trade show company and he seems very happy. Todd got himself a new condo very close to the artsy section of town. Near Emory University.
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I did spot some riders near the Falafel King on my way to lunch,
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and was tempted to flag them down to see if they were members.
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Atlanta seemed pretty cool and bike friendly. That is if you can adjust to the hills. This neck of the woods is so flat that we have a ride called the Flattest Century in the East

Since Todd was working all week, Ma and Pa decided to travel the south.
Our first stop was Savanna.
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If you have been there lately you know that I have already said enough about it. Not impressed at all. Actually neither of us liked the place. The city needs a lot of work. Buford, a nearby town close to Paris Island was alright. We did find a gourmet deli in town that had some very good items. Margarita Italian style pizze. Pananni sandwiches and some iced green tea.

Our next stop was Charleston, which is a city Savanna needs to look at to see how to do things right. It's a tourist destination, close to what we know as a tourist trap. It's saving grace is it's size. Charleston is expansive, as are most southern cities.
We visited the Magnolia Plantation where we saw a buitiful estate
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With homes for thier slaves,
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We took a walking tour of the swamplands around the estate,
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that included a smoking section.
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But the highlight was watching peacocks mate.
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Charleston was fun, but we had now been in the south six days and still had not found a good restaurant. Nothing was bad, but still, with all the bragging about southern cooking, come on now.

We tried Emerils in Atlanta when we returned. It was ok but very very expensive. $34 for a chicken dish. Yikes. Dinner for three was alsmost the price of a decent hybrid bike.

We capped off the trip with a visit to family in Cullowhee, N.C. which, was the best part of the whole week. Near Ashville, a very relaxed and a cool city. A place where one could stop and smell the roses.
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The biggest house I have ever seen was just outside of town. The Vanderbuilt estate. If you have ever seen the Breakers in Newport RI, just imagine four of them together.
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I asked one of the guides how many people lived in the house. Three. 46 fire places, five acres of grass to cut and nearly 100 workers servicing the place, for three people. $40 bucks to go in and look around. There were at least a couple of thousand people there at the time. I wondered out loud what the people who worked for this railroad family must have though of them. You know, like the Chineese.

We also visited the estate winery,
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where we got to sample 9 different wines. I didn't really care for any of them. They only make very dry wines, and I like reds a litte sweeter. But sampling nine did make my face numb.

The Kinnears, who tend to lean to the left, were great hosts for us in North Carolina.
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Linda managed to finally get us some good eats. Southern cooking by a Fall River gal. Thats where Emeril grew up so there must be something to that place that makes people good cooks.

After nine days Todd said his good bye's and hugs
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and we were on our way back to good old Cape Cod. Image hosted by

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Watering the Grass

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First things first. When your going to pick up a friend you have never met, and your running a little late.... even the most casualy observer knows that you need to water the grass first.

Margie is an online friend in my quit smoking support group. I have been a member for three and a half years. Margie is approaching her six month quit. We became friends, as sometimes happens in groups like this. You really never know whom you will get to know and whom you will just sort of, be acquainted. Margie and I hit it off pretty good and when I read she travels to Providence on business occasionally, I challenged her to call me. I promised to meet her with my wife along as a comforter. Margie called and here is our story.


Sue and I drove through the horrendous Providence traffic to West Warwick, R.I. Within a minute or two of taking exit 8 as directed, I shocked Sue by stopping and asking for directions. Found our way and met Margy in the lobby precisely as we agreed at 5:09.

We spent 10 seconds or so getting acquainted, piled into the car and began the commute back to New Bedford. I told the passangers to chat among themselves while I concentrated on bobbing and weaving through the R.I. traffic. There was never a moment of being uncomfortable. We all got along like family from the get go. Especially wifey, who tied the whole meeting together. (Like the rug in the big Lebowski).

One of my photos is the Providence skyline from the East Bay Bike Path. This time we looked at the East Bay Path from the skyline.
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The traffic noticeably thinned as we entered Massachusetts. Our next sight was the city of Fall River and the turn of the century, vast, stone and brick textile mills. Fall River has miles of coastling and not one foot of beach. Manufacturing grabbed all the prime land. Every body of water was abutted by a factory that in their heyday, dumped whatever waste was created, into the water. Consequently, dozens of otherwise buitifull ponds had little or no life.

We continued our drive through the undeveloped landscape whose location signs made one think they were in Great Britain. Somerset, Swansea, Rehobeth, Dartmouth, New Bedford etc. I guess thats why we call it "New England".

Our first stop was the Whaling District that has been restored to its original glory. Gazing up and down the streets, one sees the same things now as they did in 1800. Except for transportation modes. Horse and buggy have been replaced by combustion engines.
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Johnnycake Hill-New Bedford Whaling National Park

We crossed the major road via a raised walkway to the working waterfront. As far as the eye could see in both directions, (even from our elevated postions), was the fishing fleet, docked three deep in some places. Crossing back into the downtown area we came across historic office and retail buildings that are being converted into high end condos. Unfortunately we just too late and the office was closed and the tours had ended for the day. Fortunately, the owners saw us looking and opened the place for a private tour of the buitifully restored buildings.
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Margie checking out the new condo.
(Note the archetecture and the 1930 era clock in the background)

They took us next door where during renovation they uncovered glass/ceramic tiled walls. Eccletic art deco originally build and designed in 1908.

From there we traveled my waterfront bike route, down the west side of the penninsula to Fort Rodman, a WWII army training then R&R base. In the back of the fort, on the tip of the penninsula, we visited Ft Tabor. Built in 1863 to defend the city in the event the Southern insurgents made their way north.
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Marge and Sue peeking into the fort

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This is what they saw

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Marge and John in front of Fort Taber
Returning via the east side of the penninsula, we past some factories, one of which is the original Berkshire Hathaway. In the early part of the 20 century this one cotton mill employed as many as 10,000 laborers working three shifts, six days a week. Check them out on the stock exchange. My family sold our shares in the 60's for under $30 each. Those same stocks sell in excess of $90,000. Each. (bastard)

Which brings us to the highlight. Margarets Restaurant. Crabcakes that were exceptionally good. Yesterdays catch of scallops, fresh tuna and Quesadias. We accentuated the flavors with a very cold Chardonay from the vinyards of Chile.

After dinner we strolled out to the center of the harbor on the hurricane barrier. Too bad nightfall had arrived because from there in all directions is some great picture opportunities.
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This was taken June 1st from the spot we were standing.
A scallop trawler is leaving for a two week trip, probably to Georges Bank off the Canadian coast.
With the price of scallops now, the crew will clear around $20,000 per man.
(Not bad for 16 days work)
Back to my home to meet the dogs and have a cup of coffee for the drive and some PIMS. The evening was a six hour adventure with good food, good sights, and good friends.
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bye bye now

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Riding Across America

I have been following Mike Riscica aka chickenlips999 on his solo trip of the Trans-Am bike route. It's a 1220 mile ride across the center of the country, from Norfolk Va. to Oregon. He seem like he is having a blast. He brought along a laptop and a digital camera, which allows us to share his experiences. The part about his journal that keeps my interest is his writing skills and wit. He writes very simple dialog and adds these little quips that always bring a smile. Typical New York attitude.

I also read the bike forums, commuter, over 50 and road bike sections of the pages. Here I am getting to know some interesting people that are, as I am, "bike nuts". Whenever I think, "I feel like doing something", most times it is deciding which bike to fire up and where to ride.

I am a daily commuter to work. My office is around 40 miles from home. Too far for daily commutes, so I park at convenient locations and ride to work. The usual is a 10 mile commute through the back roads of Taunton, Ma.

Much of the ride is mundane and routing but on the mornings I am a little early I take a detour through a couple of abandoned properties. One is the former aslymum and the other, an abandoned school for severly handicapped.

The state school

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The alylum main house

There is a path in R.I. that traverses from Providence to Bristol. Around 13 miles or so, one way. There are some fantastic sights and very interesting people. Bikers however need to finish before noon on a nice weekend day. It can get crowded with walkers, skaters and families on bikes. But if you get there early you can get a good ride accomplished with some very unique sights.

Something here that you don't see every day. Or any day for that matter. The Providence R.I. skyline. From a very unique angle no less.

I also have some amazing routes near my home. I can do counrty rides, waterfront rides that take me into the fishing and scalloping capital, New Bedford, which during the whaling era, was the worlds richest city. Think Moby Dick.
From Revolutionary War encampments

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To whaleboat race training

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To the magnificent archetecture or the Fairhaven High School

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Leaving us at my favorite spot on the Phoenix Bike path in Fairhaven. Ma.
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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Riding New England

This area, just off Cape Cod is such a wonderfull place to outdoor activities. Bicycle riding in particular. On a whim I can ride country roads
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Or I can ride down to one of the many waterfront areas like the Whaling District of New Bedford.
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Now that the fine spring and summer weather has finally arrived, biking is so much more interesting. Don't get me wrong, is always fun. Sometimes in a sick postman kind of way. You know, the rain, sleet snow kind of thing. But summer time? ahhhh, that is the absolute best.

Commuting to work daily gets me to the office early enough for a shower and some clean clothes. I also have an iron and board in the locker room. I arrive at work in various degrees of stink, but by the time I get to my desk, I'm usually the neatest, cleanest guy on the block.

There are days when I also go for a ride at lunch time. One of the spots is an abandoned asylum.

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