Friday, March 31, 2006

Commute to work photos

First is a thirty mile drive to a spot I found to park. An 11 mile commute to work in Taunton Ma. pictoral follows.

6 Am and Ole Blue is ready to go.

Quiet rural Steven St. begins the commute

Soon the ride approaches Rt. 24 where the road passes one of the old dams before crossing over the highway.

The road will soon become much busier. A high probablilty that traffic will come to a stand still.

After crossing the highway quiet rural roads take me to the high school and rt 140.

Rt 140 can get hairy with cars occasionally comming a little close. Most drivers are very willing to share the road.

Car getting back into his lane after giving a wide berth.

Not so wide berth

Crossing the Engle St Bridge on the way to High St.

A little way on Engle then onto High St. which takes me to the downtown section of the commute.

Old High St. home

Approaching downtown Taunton I have to cross a couple of busy roads before entering the backside of downtown.

Riding the ouskirts of the town square to avoid the roundabout and all it's traffic.

Have to give a shout out to one of my LBSs. Travis Bike.

Blue taking a break while I stop for a drink.

A little more than halfway and we head back to rural riding. Up a short hill thru a residential street takes me to the entrance of the Taunton State hospital. Here is were some go for their 20 or 30 day evaluations before going to court. Also some of the area mental patients are housed here and the juvenile detention center is also on the grounds.

Approaching hospital entrance.

"When you come to the fork in the road, take it" Yogi Berra

Another quiet road in the Asylum grounds.

Approaching the buildings complex.

Unwanted juveniles are stored up the road on the right.

Need a job?

Back on the main roads again. The next couple of miles are a series of long slight graded hills. These and others used to be a problem before I learned how to pedal properly.

Past the junkyard heading toward the quarry.

School bus alley. Where they stop at every third house or so to pick up kids.

This is a shorcut for a mountain or cyclocross. The dirt is very soft and difficult to traverse. It's easier to go around on a road or hybrid bike.

An example of some of the nice homes along the route.

The industrial park where my office is located has a back entrance that is for the trucks using the rock quarry. It's there to direct them through the park to avoid using the residential streets. I can get behind one of these and draft up to around 30 mph for a quarter mile or so. I have gotten some really strange looks from drivers when they spot me in their mirror and I am right on their bumper.

Dirt monkeys waiting to get into the quarry.

Some say that this rock quarry is where Titelist gets it's golf ball materials.

Getting close. Right turn here onto John Hancock Rd. brings me to General Dynamics.

No pedestrians but bikes and rental trucks filled with fertalizer are ok.

Hummers for Halliburton. $200k Each.

Eleven miles from the start we are here.

Into the parking lot.

Head to the back entrance through the smokers.

Put Blue in his spot.

Shower and get clothes ready.


Then log in to work.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Four Towns in 44 miles

It was a day when I just got on the bike and rode with no destination or time constraint. Ride a few miles, take a picture, ride a few miles eat, ride.... My first stop was just up the street, where the town has demolished the East Fairhaven School getting ready to build a new one. The one the voters said no to doing. Why even waste the money on a vote?

Construction begins on East Fairhaven Elementary

A very different looking stone house in Acushnet, Ma.

Beginning in Fairhaven, the route took "blue" and me thru the town of Acushnet into Rochester. The weather was ok but the wind was really blowing making it tough to even ride downhill. I got to a good hill that I usually coast and get my speed up to around 30 MPH. Today, because of the wind, I had to pedal down the hill. cripes

Town number three.

I took the old "rt 105" that at one time was the main road to Boston. It must have been something in it's heyday, but now.

The old road to Boston. It's really a nice bike road now.

A big part of biking is mental. Once I accepted the wind the ride became much better. Before that point, all I could think of was how difficult the ride was turning out to be. At the moment of acceptance, I simply shifted into an easier gear and began enjoying myself. Two roads that would loop me back toward home were passed without a thought of taking them. I had always been worried about a breakdown on long rides. Until I took a bike maintainence course last Sunday. It was such a good course I now have confidence to make almost any kind of repair to get me home. Flats, gearing and even a broken chain, are no longer worrysome.

I had been on the road for almost two hours and was approaching an area of highway oasis. Right off route 140, the current road to Boston and points north, was the business area of the fourth town of the day.

Forth town and time to eat.

Before lunch blue and I stopped by Cathederal Camp, where local kids spend their summer days. I never attended camp because my parents owned a neighborhood store and lunch counter, they were always home. Also I grew up on the beach, so sending me to camp would be almost like punishment.

Ole blue at the bridge separating the boys from the girls side of Cathederal Camp

Cathederal Camp buildings

A hearty breakfast sandwich omlette for lunch really hit the spot. I carry a rechargable card because it feels like I am eating for free.

On the return trip, I decided to abandon the country roads and ride through the city. This is where the kids in their hot rods, cruise up and back Acushnet Avenue. One group of "crotch rocket" motorcyclist yelled at me to do a wheelie when I passed them at the coffee shop on the ave. I almost turned around to have a picture of blue and I among the bikes and bikers giving the "gansta" sign. The one with the sidways peace sign, sort of. Or whatever...

On the Avenue, near Lydia's Bakery, where I take out of town friends for desert after dinner, I noticed I could keep up with traffic with a little effort. I grabed a spot in the middle of traffic and peddled like crazy behind a Mustang that was behind a real big pickup truck. It was quite a site to see all these fancy cars and trucks with hemi's cruising along, and a guy on a bike keeping up with them easily. Some may think it dangerous riding the city streets, but I found it much easier because of the congestion. Drivers are more aware, are going at a slower speed, and are more receptive to bikes and pedestrians. It's kind of neat to be in traffic, signal a lane change and accelerate into a turn. Kind of gets the blood flowing.

Enought of that. Back into the quiet villiage of Fairhaven, where everything is slower, and the streets are clear. Crossing the bridge was an adventure this time. As most cases when I arrive, the bridge is open to let boat traffic pass. Usually, I relax, wait, maybe take a picture or two, and cross as soon as the bridge is back in place for vehicle traffic. This is a swing bridge, not the type that opens toward the sky. This one sits on gears and swings open allowing a lane of shipping on each side of the span. This time when the bridge was closing, it made some awful grinding noises. I was tempted to wave my arms at the tender who was in a little house at the top of the bridge, and tell him to stop. He continued to try and close the span and the grinding and banking noises just got louder and louder and more frequent.

Tender works from his office atop the bridge

I did manage to get across when it was almost closed. I had to maneuver around the barriers and on the other side I told a few motorist the bridge was broken. Before long the line of cars, one by one turned around and headed to the alternate route around the river.

The ride ended with a quick jaunt through Fairhaven's waterfront and center. Back home the odometer read 44.3 miles in 4 hours 52 minutes. Including lunch.

Fire escape at the old textile mill complex.

Typical house in Fairhaven Ma. center

Boat undergoing repairs at Kelly's Boatyard

Crossing the hurricane barrier at Egypt ln.