Sunday, December 31, 2006

Three, Three, Three Posts in One...


Well, I survived Dollywood on Friday. For those of you who don’t know, Dollywood is an amusement park in Pigeon Forge, TN (near Knoxville). It’s not one of the largest ones around (Six Flags in Atlanta is bigger, and I'm not even going to mention the Disney Empire), but it isn’t bad. What’s bad is the crowds.

I guess I was relatively lucky on Friday. The crowds were large owing in part to the fact that a lot of people were off work and in part because the park closed yesterday and won’t open again until the end of March. I sure that just about every season ticket holder within a 150 mile radius (which is where I would expect most season ticket holders to live) were there at some point between December 26 and yesterday. But, with that being said, the crowds were not quite as bad as I had feared. But I still don’t like crowds all that much.

Happily, there weren’t that many people there to ride the rides. I think most folks were there for the Christmas-time shows and to shop for stuff. Dollywood does have a lot of crafts artist working there, and they usually have stuff on sale at very low prices to clear out the last of their stock just before the winter closure. But I wasn’t there for that. No, I’m a roller coaster junkie.

There were five of us together there on Friday. It would have been six, but She-Mom wasn’t feeling all that well and decided to head back to Kingsport. Those of us there headed straight for Thunderhead. Thunderhead is a large wooden rollercoaster. It features a 100 foot maximum drop, speeds up to 55 mph, and causes you to experience approximately 3.5 G’s. The ride lasts about 150 seconds, which seems like a very short time considering the fifteen minute wait in line, but it is worth that wait. MG and her half-sister Emma went from there to Timber Tower (which seems like a rather lame ride to me), so I took the youngest half-sister, Hannah, with me for another shot at Thunderhead. Step-She-Mom went with MG and Emma to watch them.

I thought about hitting Thunderhead one more time, but everyone else wanted to move on. So we headed up to the Tennessee Tornado. The Tennessee Tornado is a roller coaster with an interesting bit of history. There used to be an older roller coaster sitting where it does now, but it was quite old. When, years ago, Opryland decided to close their theme park, Dollywood bought the ride from them, dismantled it, shipped it to East Tennessee, and reassembled it where the old roller coaster had been. This ride only lasts about a minute, but the speeds are higher and the G-forces a bit more extreme (since you do multiple loops upside down). My only complaint about the ride comes at the end, where the track jolts the cars upward before coming into the station. I’m still sore today from that little bump, since it made me bang my knee and the harness compressed against my collarbone implants. Maybe I’ll stick to Thunderhead.

And we did. After milling about for a while, and letting Emma watch the glass-blowers doing their exhibition (always a crowd-gatherer), we ended up going back over to Thunderhead for one last ride before going to the smaller rides (e.g., bumper cars, the Scrambler, etc). Man, I love that rroller coaster. And they’re building yet another roller coaster near that one. It will open in April. I think I can brave the crowds for a shot at that…maybe by May or so once the “new-ness” wears off.
Last Ride of ‘06

I did get one last ride in for the year. I met John B. at his house yesterday and we rode over to the mountain bike trails at IC King park. I didn’t really ride very well. I was still sore from the Tennessee Tornado and from running a couple of days last week. John had claimed he wouldn’t ride very well either (due to being ‘over-served’ at a bar the night before), but he still rode much better than I did. I guess I do OK mostly on the flats and uphills, but he really rides away from me on the downhill sections. I seem to be having a bit of a confidence problem with going fast downhill on a mountain bike. I can’t imagine why.

We rode all the way out to the end of the loops by the second (unused) parking lot. John showed me a location that he was wanted to see about opening up for a few more trails. I have, on occasion, thought the same thing over there, but John actually knows the people to contact to make it happen. I’ll be glad to help cut the new trails once approval is gained from the Park Department. Looking at the area, I see a lot of potential.

John needed to be back at his house to get ready for a wedding, so I mentioned that we should head on back. We did, until we met up with Philippe, who was also out riding. We ended up stopping and talking with him for maybe 10 to 15 minutes. I was just getting ready to remind John about his need to go when he realized it himself. Since he was riding so much better, I told him to go ahead and not wait on me. I kept up for a little while, but I had a little difficulty at a log-crossing and lost sight of him there. From that point on I just continued on at my own pace all the way back to his house.

My one real moment of concern happened about half a mile from John’s. As I was riding through the neighborhoods, I saw a dog (maybe a Doberman mix?) jump over a fence as I was coming by. After a moment of panic, I noticed it had jumped out of one fenced-in area and into another. However, I knew that if he did it once … I sped up. So did the dog. He reached the corner of the fence and … sure enough, up he jumped. I decided it was time for a sprint. However, sprinting is not something that full-suspension mountain bikes are made for. I felt I could have easily outpaced him on my road bike, but on that bike he was quickly gaining on me. My usual tactic would be to grab my waterbottle and give him a squirt in the face, but I knew I couldn’t get to it fast enough. So instead I pulled out Plan B.

I stopped sprinting and turned my head in his direction. He got to within about five feet of me and I, well, I barked at him. I can’t describe it any better than that. It was loud. It was abrupt. And it worked. I really loved the confused look on his face as he scrambled to a stop.

Well, I had planned to spend today going through closets and drawers and reorganizing my clothes (culling out the stuff I don’t wear anymore), but I woke up at about 4:30 am unable to breathe through my nose. Yeah, I’ve come down with a cold, I guess. So much for going to Philippe and Sylvie’s for New Year’s Eve festivities, eh? At least MG is taking good care of me and I’m getting plenty of rest.

I just hope I can make it to the New Year’s Day Tour de Downtown Parking Garages tomorrow. Well, I’ll probably go anyway. I don’t think I can make myself worse.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Well, That Took Longer Than I'd Planned...

I'd hoped to leave work a little early today. Didn't happen.

I went to go get a new mobile phone today. I figured on 30 minutes, tops. It took about 90 (but I did get a new phone).

MG and I went to dinner right after. The wait was 35 to 40 minutes (on a Thursday?!?), and then service was slow coming from the kitchen. We'd planned on an hour. Closer to two.

And just now our house guests for the next two nights showed up (be right back)...



... (OK, I'm back).

So now I will be entertaining MG's stepmom and two half-sisters for the rest of the evening. With that in mind, it's...
Trivia Time
Please review the Rules if you need to and remember to post you answers to bgoab at mindspring dot com.
There's a theme tonight. I'll give you the slogan or catch-phrase. You tell me where it came from. Capice?

1. Crisp and Clean and No Caffeine [forgive me, CafLib and MochaMomma]?

2. Mmmm Mmmm Good?

3. Must See TV?

4. We Don't Make the Products You Buy; We Make the Products You Buy Better?

5. All the News That's Fit to Print?

Bonus: All the News That Fits?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I am exhausted. I don't really even know why, but I am. I didn't really have that hard a day at work, though I did put in a full day. I came home, had dinner with MG and She-Mom, and then started nodding off occasionally sitting on the couch with them and watching FoodTV.

Maybe it's a lack of riding. My body is rebelling. Yeah, that's it. Saturday will be my earliest opportunity, though. I work tomorrow and it's off to Dollywood on Friday with ... well, let's just save that for later, shall we? (We shall.)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Savoir Unfaire

Well, I hope you all enjoyed your holiday yesterday. I certainly did, even though I spent much of the morning (and most of the time opening gifts) with a cold washcloth held to my left eye. No, MG didn't punch me for not getting her gifts in the right size (though that's the story I'll tell at work tomorrow just for fun). No, I got smacked in the eye by one of my dogs when I was playing with them yesterday morning. Alice rolled over on her back and flailed her rear feet about at random, and before I even knew about it I had a paw rake me across the lip, nose, and eye. I think the cold washcloth applied quickly by MG helped me not to have a real shiner, but I do have a nice scratch on my face. Merry Christmas, eh?

Well, I still enjoyed opening gifts, so I won't sulk about it. MG and I were also both off work today, so we went out to run several errands, including trading in her old mobile phone for a new one. She walked in talking about the "no-frills" little blue basic phone, and walked out with one that has a camera, MP3 player, web-access, and a kitchen sink. I was also going to get a phone, but I walked empty-handed since none of the phones meet what I think the allowable criteria for having them at work would be. I'll have to check tomorrow at work, but I think I will likely get stuck having to have one of the three lowest models that they carry at the phone store. Oh well.

So, on to the real point of this post's title, my visit to the auto-parts store. I went there looking for touch-up paint for my truck. I pulled into the more-empty-than-full parking lot and got out of my truck just in time to watch a guy in a flame-red older model Pontiac (a really nice-looking one) pull in to one of the handicap parking spots. He hopped out, along with his two young kids and started for the door. At this point I faced a dilemma.

There was no blue tag hanging from his rear-view mirror. There was no special plate on the car. The occupants of the car were clearly able-bodied. I knew my duty was to say something to the guy, but I don't really want to have to make somebody look like a bad guy in front of his children. Besides he might get defensive about it, which is another good reason not to say something in front of his kids. Hmmm. What to do, I considered. Turns out, nothing (in this case). Just as I was trying to figure out just how to discretely and tactfully say something to this guy, his daughter, who looked to be about five-years-old, turned to him...

Little Girl: "Daddy, that's a handicap space."
Father: "Yeah, well, we'll just be a minute..."
Little Girl: "But Daddy, you're not supposed to park there."
Father: "It'll be OK, we won't be here long."
Little Girl: "Daddy, it's not right."
Little Boy (seven, I'd guess): "Yeah, we learned that in school. And the sign says $160 fine."
Father: Okay, you're right. I'll move the car. Stay right there on the sidewalk where I can see you. [turns, sees me watching the scene play out, shrugs, moves car over about three spaces to an empty one]

I breathed a sigh of relief and hope. Perhaps today's kids are learning something in schools these days after all.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Catching Up From Waaaaaay Back

No, I’m not talking about a race here, though it can happen that you can get back into a race that’s gotten way ahead of you (though you’re likely to burn all of your energy doing it and have nothing left for the finish. No, today I’m talking about the Trivia Quiz. I’m finally catching up on the points standings.

Yes, you heard (read, actually) correctly. I’m catching up on tabulating results from way back on October 6th.

So, what really happened is that the old contest ended with the quiz from October 19th. That’s when GeekCyclist passed over the 50 point mark (your prize will be emailed out later). All current scores reflect answers from the October 26th quiz and forward.

So, with that out of the way…

MG and I had a lovely dinner the other night. We even had a small measure of privacy. The restaurant we went to has two … well, booths, for lack of a better term … that are semi-enclosed, which cuts down on the noise and also lets you draw a curtain so you can feel a bit more isolated from the rest of the diners. Quite nice.

We also went by the bike club’s Christmas Party for a little while after, so I got to see some folks I hadn’t seen in a little while and MG even got to talk to some friends of hers that were there.

Yesterday I finished the last of my Christmas shopping in the morning (a gift certificate for a friend’s little boy – that’s what he asked for). MG and She-Mom went shopping themselves, culminating in an afternoon-long, multi-store grocery run. Since I was (mercifully) let off of the hook for that, I took the opportunity to go for a short impromptu bike ride.

I still haven’t patched the rear tire on my main road bike (blown out on the last day of the Florida trip), so I decided to ride an older bike in my stable. It’s still a good bike, but I’m a little nervous about the spokes on the rear wheel. That’s one of the few wheels I’ve ever broken a spoke on, and I’ve done it several times. Taking into account the extra weight I’m carrying right now, and I knew I wouldn’t want to get too far afield (since I knew MG would have to take a long time to come and pick me up if it did become unrideable). I ended up doing several small loops (almost like I was trying to ride in a clover-leaf pattern) from near the house.

Not a long ride, and not a particularly adventurous or challenging ride, but a ride nonetheless. And that’s what counted.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lemons -> Lemonade

I was really hoping to get to ride my bike today. Ma Nature had other plans. Who am I to argue with Ma Nature? Time to activate Plan B.

Since the rain was falling, I hoped in the car instead and drove into the abject and vociferous madness that is Knoxville traffic. Traffic here is usually only this bad on college home game days, but the month of December is like a month of October Saturdays. Fortunately, the traffic this morning wasn't quite so nutty. At least not this morning.

I headed downtown to do some stocking-stuffer shopping for MG. John B. called while I was out and mentioned something that we just couldn't pass up doing for lunch, so I incorporated that into the plan-of-the-day.

Todd Steed and the Sons of Phere (the name makes more sense if you are fairly familiar with Knoxville) were playing on the Blue-Plate Special on WDVX. John knows most of the guys in the band, and has played with several before (including Todd). I was several minutes ahead of John getting downtown, so I order take-out sandwiches for us at the Tomato Head. He showed up just before the food was ready, so we got it and walked on over to the studio.

The Blue-Plate Special is a regular feature at WDVX (most weekdays at noon). Today's show was more crowded than most, perhaps since more people were off work, or because Todd Steed and the boys have a pretty good following. It wasn't the whole band today, but four of the guys. There isn't really room on stage for a drum kit, so Ed was playing a cardboard box. Don't knock it - it sounded great for that venue. So for an hour today John and I ate our lunch while standing over by the elevator in the studio, joined by Derek who wasn't eating. I we saw others we knew there as well, such as Tim and Susan (other local musicians) and another guy whose name I can never remember. Shame on me. Anyway, it was a great show, and Todd and the boys (especially Todd) have really good 'stage presence', for lack of a better term.

I followed that up with more shopping as John, Derek and I went our seperate ways. I won't say where all I went just in case MG happens to read this post (though she usually doesn't read my stuff - I don't know why). I will say that traffic got horrid as the day went by. At one point it took me five minutes to go 30 yards on the Bearden Hill section of Kingston Pike. Yikes.

I can say one place I went. I stopped at an auto parts store to buy a Christmas present for the truck. A brand new set of wiper blades. I installed them when I got home. I can tell it really likes them. Maybe I'll give it a bath tomorrow if the rain will hold off long enough.

I'm going to close now. I've got to go get ready for my Anniversary Dinner with MG. Sixteen years, if you must know.

Maybe trivia answers tomorrow?

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I haven't kept up my posting very well lately. 'Tis the season. I blame the constant demands on my time lately. I'm going to stick by that story.

I still haven't ridden since last Saturday. Will I get to ride tomorrow? Depends on the weather. The forecast is bleak right now, but I must hold out some hope.

There may not be a post tomorrow. MG and I are celebrating our anniversary (16 years - our marriage can get a driver's license in most states now). We'll be going out to eat tomorrow night and maybe stopping by my bike club's party for a few minutes on the way home (maybe).
Trivia Time
You know the drill by now. Rules. Bgoab at MindSpring dot Com. 'Nuff said.

1. What terrestrial feature causes the winter and summer solstices?

2. Who created Winnie the Pooh?

3. Who invented the game of basketball?

4. In “Casino Royale”, Bond orders a drink with gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc. What does he name it?

5. “Beefeaters” is a brand of gin. Where are the original Beefeaters employed?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Photo evidence of the "Road That Wasn't (All) There" (Gulf Islands National Seashore between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach, Florida, Dec. 2006

Sometimes December is the Cruelest Month

I rode six days last week. In Florida.

I got back home on Saturday evening. I haven't ridden since then.

I got a call last Tuesday while in Florida from Ron. He'd left a message saying that he couldn't remember if it was that week I'd be gone, but that if I was home I should go ride with Wally and him. Well, by the time I got the message and called back I had already ridden 40 miles, notwithstanding the fact that I was approximately 500 miles away and would neer make it back on time. Still, it was time to start our Tuesday Night Clydesdale Rides back up, so they went.

Hoping for a ride tonight, I set my headlamp batteries on their chargers last night. That fact, if nothing else, virtually assured that I wouldn't get to ride tonight.

I first called Ron this morning, but he didn't answer. Then I called Wally. Wally has family in town for the holidays already, so he's out until the next Cades Cove Moonlight Ride on or about January 4. Ron called me back a little later. He was interested in going, but had to check with his social coordinator (his version of MG). He called back again around midafternoon. He forgotten a few errands he had to get done tonight, so he was out.

This always happens around Christmas. Everybody gets busy, and MG is out of town like usual.

I tried calling John B., but could never get him on either his house phone or his mobile. After that I just couldn't think of anyone else to call that has lights. Until I got home from the Post Office and it was too late to go. Phillip. Why didn't I think of Phillip? Shame on me. I'll have to do better next time.

Ahh, he probably either had to work or has X-mas related stuff to do as well.

And it's so unseasonably warm out these days. <3rd>

I guess I'll just have to go for a run instead. At least I can take the dogs (one at a time to prevent my certain entanglement, and thus, doom).

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Travelin' Man (and Woman)

Today was our day to drive home to the hills of East Tennessee from the flats of Western Florida. We planned to leave this morning by 11:oo am (noon, Eastern time), so I got up early enough to take in one last ride. This made six days in a row of cycling, which is something I almost never get.

The wind was near still again this morning. Looking out at the gulf was like looking at a calm lake. There weren't really any waves to speak of. What little there was simply lapped against the shore. This made for easy riding in about any direction, so I picked the one direction I really hadn't ridden in yet. I headed west through the town of Pensacola Beach and then went north.

The first thing you have to do when heading north from there is to go over an Intercoastal Waterway bridge, which is the closest thing they have to climbs around the Pensacola area. They are relatively steep, but very short. Barely worth the effort of a East Tennessee boy like me, but you take what you can get. Next up was the passage through the town of Gulf Breeze. Gulf Breeze is usually heavily trafficked, but not so much on a Saturday morning, so I had the left-most of the three north-bound lanes mostly to myself. The only thing that really slowed me down was the fact that I just missed making it through the green on every traffic light.

The Intercoastal Waterway bridge from Pensacola Beach to Gulf Breeze crosses over Santa Rosa Sound. The next bridge I came to, which was on the north end of Gulf Breeze, crosses Pensacola Bay to Pensacola. This bridge is known as the "Three Mile Bridge", and for good reason. I'd been across it before by bicycle four or five years ago, and it hasn't gotten any shorter since then. There are three "humps" in the bridge to allow ships to pass under, but only the middle one is of any substance, and the slope and height are similar to the other bridge.

I got to the Pensacola end of the bridge and waited about five minutes before I could cross the road and head back (traffic was picking up). On starting back, I found that I had been riding into a bit of a headwind after all, and I was able to go a little faster back over the bridge. I again caught every light going through Gulf Breeze and hit the final bridge for the last time. The four crossing were my only real opportunities to coast at all. I think I'll enjoy doing that most of all once I get back out on my home roads.

We hit the road about when we wanted and my brother caught up with us in downtown Pensacola just before we hit the Interstate on-ramp. He was on his bike, and was heading to the Post Office and hoping to catch us. Thank goodness for cell phones, 'cause he got us just in time for us to pull into a gas station for the minute or two he needed to get there.

The trip home was mostly boring and uneventful other than the SUV with the trailer whose driver decided to veer quickly into our lane somewhere between Birmingham and Gadsden in Alabama. If I hadn't been looking right at them, they would have hit us. As it was, it's a good thing there wasn't anyone behind me when I hit the brakes...hard.

But now we're home. Maybe I'll see if someone wants to go ride at I.C. King tomorrow?

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Full Friday

Well, it's our last full day in Florida, so it was our last chance to take a spin on the tandem. I usually like to get out early, but MG had a call she had to make to her boss this morning, so we had to wait until after that. One of the problems that we've had here is the spotty coverage on our cell phone service, so she actually had to get in the car and drive about four miles toward town to get a strong signal. That left me with about an hour to wait on her, so I used the time constructively by taking a post-breakfast nap.

MG returned after her call and we got ready for our ride. There was very little wind again today, so we rode westward toward Fort Pickens for just under six miles before turning around and heading back. MG used the ride to look at the houses along the way and dream of life living at the beach. I'm more of a mountains guy myself. It's too flat around here for me. There aren't really any good places to coast.

We spent the rest of the day going into Pensacola proper for lunch, shopping at a craft fair, making a quick run to Target, and looking for gifts for She-Mom at a store we'd visited on Tuesday and MG wanted to go back to. We also ran by my brother's to say "bye" to my youngest niece and my sister-in-law. Then we headed back to the condo.

We had dinner here at the condo with my parents, but we also had the oldest niece and her boyfriend by for dinner, and the middle niece is here spending the night. The only one we haven't been able to say our final "bye" to before we leave is my brother, who wasn't home yet when we went by the house. We leave in the morning for home, but we may have to make a special trip to see him on the way out.

But maybe I'll still have time in the morning for one last ride...

Last week's trivia answers will come either tomorrow or Sunday after we get home.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Other Road That....

Yesterday’s ride, for me, was all about recovery. Having ridden pretty hard on both Monday and Tuesday, and considering the ride I also did on Saturday, my legs and … more sensitive areas … were ready for something a bit more relaxed. It takes two to tandem, so I joined MG for a relaxed pace riding through some of the neighborhoods out here in the Pensacola Beach area. Many of the houses have been repaired and/or rebuilt since the devastation of the hurricanes, but there are a large number of homes that look very damaged. Some are being worked on now. Some look abandoned.

To be fair, though, those home owners may just be waiting for their turn. The supply of labor available since the hurricanes has been very tight. My own brother had to wait quite a while to have his roof repaired following the storms, and at a premium price. Capitalism is alive and well in the Gulf region.

Nonetheless, we saw a great number of houses that MG just loved. Being the beach, I pointed out to her that maybe the broken down trailer home on one lot was more in our affordability range, though I wouldn’t even guarantee that.

It was a pleasant twelve mile ride, though, and just the thing my legs needed. We followed it up with several laps in the pool (heated indoor).

This morning I got up to find that the winds were almost non-existent. This provided my chance to make a westerly excursion without the fear of having to spend the return trip battling the wind. I rode through Pensacola Beach and took the road that once went all the way out to Fort Pickens. I used to visit Fort Pickens on every trip I made to the area, but I haven’t been there in quite a number of years. A storm in the ‘90s took out a lot of the road at some point back then, and I’m not sure they’d ever recovered before the more recent storms came through.

I got to (and went around) the gate similar to the one east of the condo where automobile traffic must stop. From there I rode maybe a mile or two to where the old toll booth used to be (it used to cost a few bucks to go to the fort, though I generally went on my brother’s annual membership pass). Not far past the booth is where the pavement gave way and the first portage started. But what a portage. I couldn’t even see the other end of the former pavement. There was a sign at the pavement’s end telling hikers and cyclists that the round trip to the fort from that point was 14 miles, of which 1.5 miles would require cyclists to carry their bikes. It also cautioned people to have water, sunscreen, et cetera.

I turned back.

What little wind there was today came from the North, so it didn’t really cause me any trouble on either the trip toward or from the fort. I decided to just ride on back to the condo, but when I got near it I found that I was several miles short of 20, which is what I like to keep as a minimum when I go out on a road ride right now (the minimum increases during the warmer months). I rode on out to the gate east of the condo, then turned and headed back. I recorded 21 miles when I got back. That will do nicely.

Trivia Time

The Rules are still in effect. Please email your answers to bgoab at mindspring dot com, and remember, you have a whole week to turn in your answers.

1. Who starred as James Bond in the very first film version of Casino Royale?

2. In the TV special, what profession did Rudolph’s elf friend want to pursue instead of making toys?

3. ‘Elf’ is the name of a French company. What do they sell (main product)?

4. According to the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, Superior, it’s said, never gives up her dead when _____________?

5. The Chicago World‘s Fair saw the debut of a wondrous new invention which has spawned scaled down copies at almost every amusement park and traveling carnival in the nation, possibly even the world. What is it?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Road That Wasn't (All) There

Day two (not counting the evening we arrived) in Florida saw me deciding to attempt a full loop ride. When I stayed here in 2001 or 2002 (I can’t quite remember which year), I did a ride that took me from Pensacola Beach to Navarre Beach along Santa Rosa Island, across the Intercoastal Waterway Bridge to Navarre, along Highway 98 to Gulf Breeze, and finally back across another Intercoastal Waterway Bridge to Pensacola Beach again. The whole loop works out to somewhere around 40 miles.

A strong wind was coming out of the East again, so I repeated the attempt to ride in that direction along the Santa Rosa Island Highway. As noted yesterday, the road has not been repaired (or maintained at all) since the double hurricane whammy of Ivan and Dennis. Much of it is somewhat rideable, but there are major sections that require dismounting and carrying the bike across major swaths of sand where the road has been completely washed away. On Monday I had gone about seven miles and had “portaged” across three sections. On Tuesday I was determined to complete the journey to Navarre Beach come what may.

It wasn’t the easiest of trips. The first seven miles I had already seen were the easiest. There was far more damage on the Navarre Beach side. There was one section in particular where I had to carry the bike through deep sand for about 50 yards, and then I had twenty yards of pavement where I didn’t even bather getting back on the bike because there followed a 75 yard section of deep sand again. I did eventually reach Navarre Beach, but I figured that I had carried the bike somewhere between ¼ and ½ mile of the eleven or twelve mile trek.

The town of Navarre Beach also suffered badly from the hurricanes. I rode past a lot of construction sites. I would see two very nice houses up on piers, followed by a house on piers leaning at a 20 to 30 degree angle, followed by an empty lot but for six or seven straight piers and ten or so piers sticking out of the sand at odd angles. The scene repeated in various order throughout. And large piles of sand were everywhere.

Happily, there was no damage to the Intercoastal Waterway Bridge, and I was able to cross to Navarre without incident. I turned left at the end of the bridge onto Highway 98 and experienced a lovely tailwind for most of the 15 mile journey to Gulf Breeze. I wasn’t thrilled about having to ride on a major highway, but there was decent shoulder and the (very) occasional “Bike Lane” marking. I also noted that there were several “Bicycles Sharing Roadway” signs, but I didn’t count on their presence to protect me. Rednecks are everywhere, as evidenced by the jerk who screamed something unintelligible (unintelligent, as likely as not) just as the car he was traveling passed me.

I got to Gulf Breeze and turned left to take the Intercoastal Waterway Bridge to Pensacola Beach. It was then that I really appreciated the tailwind from Navarre to Gulf Breeze, and wished I cold have carried a little bit of it with me back over to Pensacola Beach. Mother Nature was having none of that, though, so I slogged across the bridge and the four miles or so back to the condos through the same wind I’d fought to Navarre Beach. I ready for my pre-lunch nap. I was allowed to sleep for ten minutes before MG sent me to the shower (I’ll admit that I did stink by then).

My cyclometer showed just over 39 miles. Add in the parts where I carried the bike and I am happy to round it off to 40 miles.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sleepless 'n Sea-Adled

Greetings from overcast Florida. You may have noticed there was no post on Sunday. That was our travel day. You may also have noticed there was no post yesterday. I’d planned on posting yesterday evening, but Mrs. Guy (MG) had work to do and needed the computer to do it. I waited patiently until midnight, reading a book a friend loaned me, but decided at around midnight that I wasn’t going to be getting online. MG ended up working until sometime between 2 and 3 am.

But there was bicycling yesterday. My parents have rented a condo for the month on Pensacola Beach. The condo is at the eastern end of town and there is no development further east for about eight miles or so through the National Seashore here on Santa Rosa Island between Pensacola Beach and Navarre. Hurricanes have done their damage in recent years (Dennis and Ivan, most notably) and the road going through toward Navarre has been closed to traffic.

Motorized vehicular traffic, that is. I got up yesterday morning and noted that the wind was coming out of the east, so that was the direction that I knew I wanted to start out. I left the condo complex and turned out into a 20 knot headwind. Only a mile or two from the condos is where the road is blocked off. I went around the gate and noticed a lot of other bicycle tire tracks through the sand. Even so, I had the whole road to myse…

Well, that isn’t really accurate. I would say I had the whole road to myself, but that would imply that there was a whole road. There was not. Large sections of the road were intact, but there were many sections that were eroded under, crumbled, or simply washed away. Along one stretch I had the rightmost two feet of pavement I could ride on.

I rode out about seven-and-a-half miles. By that time I had ported my bike across three large sections of sand and decided that was enough for one day. The return trip was dizzyingly quick, as I now had a 20 knot tailwind to assist me. Arriving back at the condos, I decided 15 miles wasn’t enough, so I continued eastward until I got to a detour (for roadwork) and headed back. That made a total of eighteen miles, but I knew I wasn’t done.

Then MG came out to play. We came to Florida with two bikes; my road bike and our tandem. MG and I now took off for a short ride on the tandem. The plan was to go five miles out to the east (the way I’d gone before) and turn around. We rode out along the partial roadway to the turning point and headed back. We’d gotten about one-and-a-half miles when MG asked “What’s that shooshing noise?”

Sure enough, we’d gotten a flat tire. The bad thing was that we had no patch kit, no spare tubes, no pump, nothing. We ended up walking the remaining three-and-a-half miles back, but we counted it as riding miles since the bike was at least with us. And it was a nice walk with the waves crashing against the beach only a few dozen yards to our left.

We did find a bike shop yesterday evening before going over to my brother’s house for dinner. I bought a new tube, a patch kit, tire levers, a CO2 inflator with two cartridges, and a saddle bag to carry them in. The lesson has been learned.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Icy King

Robert Burns' "To a Mouse" is arguably his most famous poem, at least in part. That is, just about everyone has heard one particular line quoted at one point or another (more often than not misquoted), that being this:

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley."

Add an airline into the equation and it's a sure bet.

Mrs. Guy (henceforth "MG") was supposed to get in from NYC last night. We were then going to leave this morning to drive to Florida where my parents have rented a house for the month. Her direct flight from LaGuardia was cancelled due to high winds (as were all ComAir flights). She was then redirected on a flight through Cincinnatti, but...

MG got on the plane for Cincinnatti, but they couldn't leave due to a mechanical problem. What was the problem? The copilot's seat was broken and would not go up and down. Because of this, they had to wait for a mechanic to come and look at it, and he ended up going back to the garage to get a new one and then replacing the old one. This took enough time that MG missed her connection to Knoxville and had to spend the night. The earliest flight here today didn't get in until just afternoon. Ergo, push the Florida trip out one day.

However, I was able to salvage the day by going for a ride this afternoon. Not just any ride. I went mountain biking. I met John B. at his house and we rode over to I.C. King park. I figured out while we were riding through neighborhoods that I hadn't been on a mountain bike ride since March or April. Way too long.

John saved me from myself, though. I foolishly listened to the Weather Channel when they said that the temperature would be in the 50s by 3 pm. I got to John's at about 2:30, and it was nowhere near 50 degrees. He offered up a pair of leg warmers, and I took the offer. I was glad I did. was comfortable clothing-wise with them on, but I'd have been miserable without them. It was cold, especially in shady spots. We went through several spots were it might have been muddy had it been warmer, but it was frozen ground instead.

It was and uneventful ride except for John's sticking chain and my bike deciding to mystery-shift once in a while (probably mad at me for not riding it for so long). I did suffer a pretty severe calf cramp near the end of the ride, but I was able to work it out enough to ride back while compensating with the other leg.

So we now are getting ready to leave for Florida in the morning. At least that's the plan...

Friday, December 08, 2006


Busy day. I'm trying to get stuff ready before the trip to Florida, and it's got me busy running around. I also hope to make it to the Corner Lounge tonight to see Angel and the Love Mongers (a local band) play, but Mrs. Guy's flight plans back from NYC tonight are in disarray right now, so all bets are off.

Still, I owe you guys some answers.

Trivia Answers for 11/30

1. Which Chinese philosopher wrote the Tao Te Ching? That was Lao Tse (or Lao Dsuh, as some want to spell it, which actually is more phonetically correct).

2. The Aum Shinrikyo cult group release what poisonous gas in a Tokyo subway in 1995? They let loose some Sarin gas, which is highly toxic and guarantees a painful death if you breathe in even a small amount.

3. The Prime Meridian (the line denoting 0 degrees of longitude) famously passes through what English town? Also know as the Greenwich Meridian, it passes, of course, through Greenwich.

4. Who played Lenny on Laverne and Shirley? Also one of the stars of the upcoming film "For Your Consideration", it's Michael McKean. I personally think one of his best roles was David St. Hubbins from "Spinal Tap".

5. Which now defunct company’s camera technology made it possible to view images on your computer that you could rotate in all directions – up, down, and side to side? iPix was even a more-or-less local company. I was sad to see them fail, but I was happy that I didn't buy stock.


Trivia Answers for 11/23

1. Who were the Four Horesemen of the Apocalypse? Not from the football team, but the classic horesmen: War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death.

2. What are the Seven Deadly Sins (name at least six)? I have to admit that it took Mrs. Guy and me a few tries to come up with all seven. They are: Greed, Lust, Envy, Sloth, Gluttony, Wrath, and Pride.

3. Name the Three Musketeers plus one. Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d'Artagnan

4. What was the Fifth Element (from the movie of the same name - you find out near the end)? It's kinda complicated how it all works out in the movie, but the answer is "Love".

5. What is the distinguishing feature of Hemingway Cats? The Hemingway Cats, who occupy his former Key West estate, have six toes.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rack 'Em Up

I'll be gone to Florida next week. I wish I could say it will be warm there, but I'll have to take consolation that it will be warmer, at least compared to here (where it is currently 26 degrees and falling). I don't know that it will get about 60 where I'll be, but at least I'll be able to ride. And, I found out today, so will Mrs. Guy.

I ordered the new roof rack for the car we're taking, and the Bike Zoo guys called today to let me know it was in. All I have to do now is go get it, put it on, and attach the tandem carrier to it. I'll also take my solo bike. I doubt Mrs. Guy will want to ride every day like I plan to, nor nearly as far as I'll want to go.

But don't worry, I should have plenty of internet access while I'm there.

Trivia Time - WWII Edition

In honor of Pearl Harbor Day, tonight's trivia will be about World War II stuff. Don't forget to read the Rules, and email your answers to bgoab (at) mindspring (dot) com like always.

1. On what day did the United States officially declare war on Japan?

2. On what day did the United States officially declare war on Germany and Italy?

3. Who was the military head of the Manhattan Project?

4. What is the only photograph to earn a Pulitzer Prize in the same year as its publication?

5. Which Scandinavian country sided with the Axis Powers during World War II?

Non-Theme-Related Bonus Question: The Galileo spacecraft arrived in orbit around Jupiter on this day in what year?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Veni, Vidi, Vice

There was a bike club meeting tonight. I’ve missed the last three for various reasons: I had just broken my clavicles two days before the September one; I was out of the country for the November one; and Mrs. Guy was coming back in town on the evening of the October one (yeah, I know it’s out of order, but the last one was the most defensible to some people). I really needed to go to this one and had planned to anyway, but Phillippe, our current President, emailed the other night and said he’d be out of town tonight, so it would fall to me as VP to run the meeting.

I got there early. All the better to hang out and talk, but also a good way to get to test ride bikes around the parking lot (I needed a fix). I also ended up having to be the one to walk over to the nearby grocer to get adult beverage since I was the only one there who could sign a club check (the checkbook was there, but the Treasurer was running late).

Happily Philippe sent me a loose agenda to follow, and a lot of the stuff to be discussed could be referred to others to explain (whew). The only things I really had to talk about myself were the upcoming cyclocross series and the elections. Turns out that elections for club officers was tonight.

So I announced the nominee for President (Philippe again), Treasurer (Steve again), and Secretary (Holly again). Then I announced that we didn’t have any nominees for VP.

“Oh, that would be you,” said three or four people at the same time.

“Oh, OK. Well, are there any other nominations for any of the offices?”


“Alright then. Well, since we only have one person running for each office I suggest that we just vote as a block for all of…”

Ten or twelve hands were already in the air. Others followed when I paused.

“Ah. OK, all opposed?”

No motion registered whatsoever.

“I guess that’s it then. Your officers carry over for another year.”

So I guess I’m starting my third stint as VP tonight.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ninja Day

It's the Annual Day of the Ninja. Go forth and be stealthy.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I rode today. John B. and I had been talking about doing a ride sometime this weekend, so I talked to him on Friday about trying for today. I let him pick the route.

I also called Joshua. He'd mentioned wanting to get back out on the bike, and since he'd only just moved back to the area from living in South Carolina for two years, he hadn't been able to do a lot of riding recently.

OK, two key things have been mentioned. John picked the route, and Joshua just moved back from South Carolina. John picked a route with quite a few climbs. South Carolina is mostly flat. I think Joshua was suffering a bit today. However, we still had a good ride in some very scenic areas north of town.

Well, we were actually quite a bit north of town, to be honest. Way back in the boonies in most cases. But I still saw something I'd never seen before.

You know how you will sometimes drive past a house where they have what seems to be an automobile graveyard in the front? I'm not talking just one car up on blocks; I mean cars in the plural sense, as in multiple. Often more than two, even. Well, we passed one of those today. But this one was a little bit different. The homeowners in this case were a little different class of redneck. "Upper crust" rednecks as it were.

There, in their front yard, near the obligatory pickup truck on blocks and the land yacht (in this case a Mercury Marquis) with grass going high from underneath, sat, and had obiviously been sitting for quite some time, a Jaguar X-Type. Complete, of course, with the flat tires and the weeds grown high into the undercarriage.

Next thing you know the neighbors will have an Astin Martin up on blocks. This could be the start of a vicious cycle.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


[sigh] The Dish is back.

I feel stained somehow. Not one that is visible, but one that likely coats my aura in big, splotchy spots. There's not much to do for it now, though. I'll just have to live with it until (that is, if) it goes away.

I bought a used pickup truck last night. I needed to go get it registered today and get a new plate for it. I had to go, of course, to the County Clerk's office to do that. They have five or so offices spread out around the county to make it easier for people to get to an office, but there's only one open on Saturdays. That office is in Knoxville Center Mall.

I'd made a promise to myself that I would not go anywhere near either local mall this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I try to avoid the mall in general, but I really can't stand being there during prime shopping season. I'm just slightly unnerved by large crowds to begin with (though it doesn't approach agoraphobia), but it seems that some of the worst aspects of human behavior are actually displayed more prominently during the "Season of Giving".

I was lucky today. I was able to get there early enough that I found a parking space within 500 yards of a door, and I only had to pass through one anchor store to get to the County Clerk's office. After getting my new registration certificate and plate I decided to try to avoid the return trip through the same store, so I went to the "Authorized Personnel Only" door (I deemed myself "authorized") and walked down the corridor to the exit, which was closer to where I'd parked anyway. I did have to pass a couple of stores to get to the corridor, though. It was all I could do to keep from running in one to buy the T-shirt with Homer Simpson on the front dressed like Antonio Banderas from "Once Upon a Time in Mexico". [whew]

The rest of the day has been occupied by going to get a Christmas tree and running numerous other errands. Just perfect for my new (to me) truck.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Four Fell

The drugs have helped. Today I can move my head side to side a little (a little), and more importantly, I got to sleep through the night. I didn’t take any more muscle relaxers ‘til I got home today (I did want to be able to drive home from work, after all). But I did when I got here, but not with a anti-inflammatory at the same time. Still, I can feel the effects.

Speaking of ‘effect’, I got into a discussion with another engineer today on the proper usage of ‘effect’ versus ‘affect’ (in general you should use ‘effect’ as a noun and ‘affect’ as a verb). But it got me to thinking about words in general, and how some have different meanings and et cetera, et cetera. I think the one I was most fascinated with today was the word ‘fell’, which has about four distinct meanings that I can think of without pulling out the dictionary. I can even make a sentence using them all.

The Fell Man of the Fell tripped down the stair and fell onto his ursine fell.

I think I got that right. I’m drugged up, though, so I really couldn’t say. Somebody look it up and tell me if I got it OK.


Follow the Rules. Email Answer to bgoab at mindspring dot com. Volunteer at a shelter. Help an old lady across the street. Don’t take candy from strangers. Have a good time, all the time.

1. Which Chinese philosopher wrote the Tao Te Ching?

2. The Aum Shinrikyo cult group release what poisonous gas in a Tokyo subway in 1995?

3. The Prime Meridian (the line denoting 0 degrees of longitude) famously passes through what English town?

4. Who played Lenny on Laverne and Shirley?

5. Which now defunct company’s camera technology made it possible to view images on your computer that you could rotate in all directions – up, down, and side to side?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What a Pain in the Neck

I went to the doctor today. Not my orthopod, but my GP. I’ve been having a problem with my neck for a few days and Mrs. Guy told me that if it wasn’t better today I needed to go have it looked at.

It started this on Monday. Yesterday was worse. Today is almost as bad as yesterday. I must have pulled something, maybe slept on it wrong. I can’t turn my head to either side. You don’t realize how many times a day you turn your head until you can’t do it, or worse, forget that you can’t do it, try it, and have hot and cold daggers of pain invade every inch of the realm of your conscious being.

I was surprised to be able to get in to see my GP today considering that I called just this morning for an appointment. He must have had a cancellation or something. I got in at about 4 pm, but didn’t see him until almost 5:20 pm. Still, he prescribed Celebrex and Flexeril (or the generic version of Flexeril). One is an anti-inflammatory and the other is a muscle relaxer. Both have a tendency to knock you out.

So I have decided to go ahead and take one of each before sitting down to write this, but I have also decided to stop writing when they start to kick in. I don’t want to ramble on in a drug-induced stupor (or worse, a torpor), so as soon as I feel the effects, I’m going to hit the ‘Publish’ button.

In other words, don’t be surprised if this post just stops in mid-sentence at some

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ode to Olive

On my way home from work today I had to run a few errands. Nothing major, just a stop to get a new car battery followed by visits to the Post Office and video store. The more interesting experience was in the Post Office.

I got in line to mail a CD or two to a friend. While I was waiting, I got acquainted with the talkative little girl in front of me in line. Her mom was looking a bit weary, so I got down listened to the little girl as she regaled me with her favorite stories of Christmas, of which she probably remembered no more than three (Christmas's that is...I'd guess that she was five years old, if that).

Her favorite story was about the reindeer with the luminescent proboscis and his various supporters and detractors. The detractor she had the biggest problem with, or at least was the most vocal about, was Olive. No, she didn't like Olive at all.

At this point I noticed confused amusement on the faces of several other folks in line.

Yes, Olive certainly was mean, wasn't she? She didn't act at all like a friend or classmate should. She should be sent to "time out" or possibly even grounded (I almost snickered at her unintentional pun*, but held it back).

Concern about the little girl and what types of things she was being taught seemed to be becoming etched on the faces of those others in line. Even her beleaguered mother looked a little confused.

But I was catching on. I just had to remember how to think like a child for a few minutes.

The little girl talked about the eight sleigh-toting reindeer for a moment, and even mentioned how glad she was that Santa had been nice to Rudoph (she pronounced it "RUDE-off" - no "l"**). Still, she wasn't very happy about that Olive.

It became to much for the guy behind me in line. He asked me in a loud whisper "Who the heck*** is Olive?"

"Oh, you know," I said. "Olive. The other reindeer. Who used to laugh and call him names."

I think there were some folks in pain trying not to laugh at my new little friend on that one.
* You know, "grounded"? Flying reindeer?
** No pun intended, but I'll take it.
*** Not the exact word he used.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I got up this morning and went to work. I hated to do that, especially after four days off, but I felt that it was something I really should do. I got to the parking lot, shut the car off, and grabbed for my cooler, my cell phone and my iPod on the passenger seat. I juggled those and my keys most of the way from the car to my office, amazingly managing not to actually drop anything. I got to my desk and set down my cooler, my keys, my phone, my iPod, ... and my head lamp? No, not a car-type headlamp, but the kind I use (on my head, natch) while camping so I can keep my hands free for other stuff and still see at night. I wondered about how it got there as I pocketed my keys.

Then I remembered. I had put the light in the car when I went to the 12 Hour Race back in October. I knew I'd need it to get to my car after the race was over near midnight (ain't no light out there but whut you brung yerself). I guess I just forgot to take it back out again.

So there it was, sitting there on my desk next to my lunch cooler. Uselessly so, I figured. But then...

I went to a meeting at 11 am. At 11:30am, the power in our part of the complex went out. Let me tell you, it was pitch black in that conference room. Luckily, someone had a (weak) pen light on their keychain, which Lee used to go back to his office and grab a more powerful flashlight. We went ahead and finished our meeting with that as our light source, wrapping up at about noon.

My office doesn't have a window. My old one did, but I'm going to be moving again in about another week or so, so I'm not complaining. Without use of my computer (and of course I lost the email I was working on before I went to the meeting), all I had to work on was several documents to review. Most of the other people in my group had to step outside in the breeze to see their work. Not me. Somehow I had my head lamp with me today.

If only I'd had it in the conference room during the meeting.

Post Scriptum: The power did eventually get turned back on at around 3:15 pm or so.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Busternut Squash

I rode in a race today. No, not really. That is to say, I did ride, but it wasn't really so much of a race. I guess I should say that I participated. OK, I participated in Busternut 2. The ride started and ended in Market Square downtown, so I headed over there after eating lunch with Mrs. Guy nearby.

If you are familiar with Alleycat Races, Busternut is loosely based on something that might somewhat resemble something similat...maybe. It really turns out to be less of a race and more of a good time. Today's ride was like a scavenger hunt in a way, in that you had to go visit several different (four) places around downtown, do something, and then get a stamp/mark/scribble/coffee stain on your map sheet. I don't think the coffee stain was intentional.

Most of these types of events are done on either weird home-made bikes or on fixed-gear bikes. I don't have a home-made bike, but I do have a fixie, so I took that. I needn't have bothered. Most folks showed up on everything from mountain bikes to cyclocross bikes to road bikes et cetera, including the lone BMX bike. I counted maybe three other fixies.

There was, for the most part, a team format going on. I didn't have a team, so I just planned on riding with Phillip and his wife. When the "GO!" came, people took off in all directions and we were pointed toward the Old City, along with Eric N. and Dianne. We got to our first stop at a hair salon at about the same time as ten other riders and went inside to figure out what we had to do.

Being a hair salon, they were cutting a small lock of hair from everyone before giving the requisite stamp on the map. I asked the lady with the scissors if they were collecting DNA samples for some secret database or something. She just gave me a truly wicked smile, so I'm not really sure what to think. Maybe they'll be making voodoo dolls?

The next stop was the statue of Alex Haley. A lot of people didn't know exactly where to look, but only to go to the general vicinity shown on the map. I knew where it was, and I owe that to cyclocross racing. Huh, you might say? The statue is in one of the parks we've used for 'cross races for several years. The stunt there was to have a picture taken with the statue. I was going to climb up onto his lap for the shot, but I was concerned that I'd slip on the way up or down and bust my butt (or something worse).

Leaving there, I found that we'd somehow left Phillip and his wife behind, so I ended up teamed with Eric and Dianne by default. We headed for one of the downtown cemeteries, only taking one or two wrong turns along the way. Once we got there our instruction was to find the marker for James White. Eric and I might still be there looking were it not for Dianne, who found it after we'd gone pretty far past it in the wrong directions.

The Library was the last place we had left to go, so we headed there along with most of the people who heard Dianne telling us she'd found the marker back at the cemetery. We got to the Library right as another group was getting their maps marked. One of the station workers thrust an atlas into my hands and said look up the Capitol of Alberta. Some guy behind me shouted "Calgary!" "No, that's not it," the station worker and I said at the same time. I stood there a few seconds trying to remember it and then started to flip through the atlas. Almost at the same moment I opened the book, it came back to me. "Edmonton." "You got it," she said.

Eric and I took off toward Market Square with Dianne right behind us. We ended up being 11th, just out of the top ten. We consoled ourselves with a beer over at Preservation Pub.

One quick note: If you are riding a fixed gear bike, watch out for the hills. You can't coast, so you have to keep your speed low enough on the downhills that you can actually keep up with the pedals with your legs. It isn't so hard if you have brakes, but if you don't you have to keep back-pressure on the pedals to slow you down. That ain't easy, folks, especially when you aren't used to doing it (like me right now).

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rack'em Frack'em

Mrs. Guy got a new lease car recently. I may have mentioned it before, but I can’t remember. Her new vehicle is a Chrysler Pacifica.<BR>
We’re going to Florida for a week in December. It will be the second full week in December, in fact. My parents are renting a house at the beach not too far from where my brother lives, so it will be a good chance to do the whole Christmas thing with them (we’ll have to catch up with my sister later).

Mrs. Guy and I have a tandem. I’m just now getting to the point in my recovery when I figure I can start riding on that bike again, especially passenger and all. Don’t worry, I’m about to tie this all together.

Mrs. Guy suggested that we take the tandem with us to Florida. We had already figured on driving the Pacifica.&nbsp; But there’s a slight problem. The Pacifica doesn’t have a rack that we can attach our existing roof rack system (Yakima, if you must know), and you can’t put a tandem on a rear rack, which requires that the bike go on sideways (it’s just too long and would stick way out on both sides). The only way to take the tandem is to put it on the roof.

So the other day I started looking up accessories available for the Pacifica, hoping to find something that will allow me to attach our existing system to it. Most of what I saw was cross rails, which I have from the current stuff I’ve got. I finally found something on-line that looked like adequate side rails on a Chrysler dealer’s web site from somewhere in Mississippi, so I assumed that I’d find that at the local dealer. We went to the local dealer this morning.

I walked into the parts department and told the guy behind the counter what I was looking for. I explained that I didn’t need cross rails, but instead wanted side rails. “Yup, I’ve got that in stock.” So I paid the cashier and off we went.

We spent most of the rest of the day just goofing off and avoiding the malls. We visited friends who work in a modernistic furniture store where I sat in a positively evil reclining chair. It was like a succubus. It drew me in. It didn’t want to give me up. Mrs. Guy had to threaten me to get me out of it. I think I hear its siren call even now. But I digress.

We dropped by the Bike Zoo to say “Hi” and then grabbed lunch at the Chinese/Thai place nearby. Mrs. Guy did some shopping in some of the other nearby stores, so I headed back to the Bike Zoo. We left there and continued to just drive around (avoiding the malls) until about 3:30 when we got home. We pulled the stuff we’d acquired out of the car and I decided to go ahead and see if I could install the side rails on the roof of the car.

What was in the box? Cross rails.

We drove back to the dealership. Then we drove back home to get the receipt that I left in the garage. Then we went back to the dealership. The guy at the parts counter was at least nice about it, and explained that he’d thought the box had the part I wanted, but that there was no picture in his database and the description was misleading. He then proceeded to try to look up the side rails again. He finally asked me if it was possible that what I’d seen was aftermarket stuff, and I had to admit that it was. He didn’t have it or anything like it in his system, and they had no way to order it. It seems that Chrysler calls what is on the car “integrated side rails”, meaning they don’t stick up above the roof and are therefore somewhat useless without buying the Chrysler-specific cross rails and bike rack. Figures. Also, they don’t have anything to accommodate a tandem. Double figures.

We were close to another LBS (local bike shop) and since the Bike Zoo doesn't sell Yakima anyway, I decided to check there for whatever Yakima might have to go on the roof parts we do have. Well, not exactly, it seems. They do show having something. Something that attaches to the Chrysler cross rails. Which I had just taken back. Sigh.

So I decided to look into the other major brand of roof rack systems (Thule, if you must know that too). They do have a system that will supposedly attach to the existing parts. The bad part about that is that I’d have to buy a whole bunch of stuff similar to but not compatible with most of what I already have from Yakima. Well, I’ve got about a week to decide, given that I might have to have some of the stuff special ordered either way I choose to go.

I’m beginning to think it would be less of a hassle to just buy a tandem when we get there and sell it again before we head back.

Trivia Answers for 11/9

1. Name the characters on the front of a box of Rice Krispiestm. That would be Snap, Crackle, and Pop. Mom still makes the best Rice Krispie treats.

2. Where is the U.S. Naval Academy located? It is in Annapolis, Maryland.

3. What archipelago was made famous at the onset of US involvement in World War II? Most people don't readily think of the Sandwich Islands as an archipelago, but it is. Did I say Sandwich Islands? I mean to refer to them by their modern name as our 50th state, Hawaii.

4. What is the name of the location that serves as the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail? The southern terminus, which is the place where most Appalachian Trail though-hikers start out, is Springer Mountain near Amicalola Falls in north Georgia.

5. Before the Euro came along, what was the major unit of currency in Switzerland (e.g., US=Dollar, UK=Pound, et cetera)? GeekCyclist corrected me on this one. Switzerland never actually went over to the Euro, so they are still using the Swiss Franc. Good catch, GC.

Trivia Answers from 11/16

1. Name at least three of the four original members of KISS. There have been a few members that have come and gone (including one who died of heart disease), but the original four were Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss.

2. The newspaper cartoon “Snuffy Smith” started out with a different name and a different lead character (it slowly changed over time). Who was that original title character? I still vaguely remember the comic being title "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith", but in my memory it was almost all Snuffy and friends and little or no Barney Google.

3. (fill in the blank) Gropius, Jeanneret, and Mies van der Rohe are often considered to be the fathers of modern _______________. Architecture. I almost included Frank Lloyd Wright, but many consider Walter Gropius, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (AKA, Le Corbusier), and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to be the more important from an international perspective.

4. (One from Mrs. Guy) Who narrated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”? Boris Karloff was the narrator, though he wasn't the one singing the songs. Anyone know who that was for a bonus point?

5. (Also from Mrs. Guy) What platform at King’s Cross does the Hogwart’s Express depart from? 9 and 3/4's. There's even a plaque in King Cross station today for the tourists to see, complete with a luggage cart apparently stuck halfway into the wall.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

There and Back Again...

Well, that's another Thanksgiving Day in the books. We started out this morning by driving the 120 or so miles to Kingsport and started off by visiting Mrs. Guy's grandparents. We had a nice visit with her grandfather, but her grandmother barely stirred from napping in her recliner. She has fairly advanced Alzheimer's, so we decided it would be best not to wake her when she wouldn't likely know who we are.

We then drove to my parent's house only a few miles away. She-mom showed up a little later with the corn pudding, so we sat down to lunch. Dinner and conversation carried us until about 5pm or so (well, to be honest I did take a 45 minute to an hour nap in there too - have to keep up the American tradition). She-mom left then and we left about an hour later.

We finished up in Kingsport at Mrs. Guy's aunt's house. We ended up staying there about twice as long as we'd originally thought, but that was OK. All in all it was a good day. And now we're back home and Mrs. Guy is flipping through channels as I sit here next to her on the sofa.

You know there are Rules. You know to send answers to bgoab at mindspring dot com. So let's get started already.

1. Who were the Four Horesemen of the Apocalypse?

2. What are the Seven Deadly Sins (name at least six)?

3. Name the Three Musketeers plus one.

4. What was the Fifth Element (from the movie of the same name - you find out near the end)

5. What is the distinguishing feature of Hemingway Cats?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Sung to the tune of "Dream" by the Everly Brothers

I know that there’s no chance that I’ll get to do a Thanksgiving ride tomorrow. Mrs. Guy and I are driving the 120 or so miles to the town we both grew up in. We’ll leave in the morning and go see her grandparents first, and then head to my parent’s house for lunch (and She-Mom will be coming over there as well). But instead of staying overnight, we’ll be driving back home sometime tomorrow evening. So no ride on the old routes tomorrow – no reason to even think about taking a bike.

But as it worked out I only had to work four hours today (I worked ten each on Monday and yesterday), so I went in a little earlier than normal at six and left at ten. After running some errands, I loaded up the bike and headed toward the Bike Zoo.

Knoxville has never really been known as a very cycling-friendly town, but there are several people working to turn that around. One of the notable improvements in the last several years has been the extension of the existing greenway trails (there weren’t many) into something that may one day stretch all the way across Knox County. While there’s still a long way to go, there has been some good progress.

I’d hoped to ride with John B. this afternoon, but he’s feeling a good bit under the weather, so I went on my own (I did also try to reach John H., but without success). One of the major stretches of greenway trail is only about ¼ mile from the Bike Zoo, so I just parked there. The closest point on the trail is at the old Bi-Lo supermarket (now out of business), and there’s a new section that goes east about a mile to an elementary school, so I decided to go ahead and try that first.

Interesting sighting #1 – There’s a sale on plots at the cemetery along that road (about mile 1). I guess it strikes me as odd to see a sale at a cemetery. Are they expecting a rush of business? Is there something they know that I don’t?

Interesting sighting #2 – A kid (maybe 6 or 7 years old) saw me coming and pulled his cell phone-bound oblivious dad out of the middle of the path (somewhere in the second mile). That sort of thing usually happens the other way around.

I hit the end and turned back toward the Ex-Bi-Lo. On the way I about got run over twice by the same Volvo. Luckily I saw her first and had a feeling her driving wasn’t to be trusted by bicycle riders, so I adjusted accordingly. At the Ex-Bi-Lo I got onto a section of trail that’s been around for a while. It runs from a set of the University’s graduate student housing apartments(where Mrs. Guy lived while she was in Vet School) about three miles to the back parking lot of the Vet School (Mrs. Guy never used the trail herself, but I did quite a bit back then).

Interesting sighting #3 – Squirrel fight at about mile 4.

Interesting sighting #4 – The young lady jogging in bike-type shorts with the hole in the back of them that she probably didn’t know about. ‘Nuff said. Mile 6 or so.

The greenway goes on eastward along the Tennessee River past the cement plant and the sewage treatment plant, but then the scenery improves as it goes through Volunteer Landing which has been built up in the past five to ten years to be a rather pleasant place, especially in the summer when the fountains are going and the kids of all ages are playing in them.

Interesting sighting #5 – I noticed a new set of condominiums on the other side of the river at about mile 7. They look pretty nice, I guess. Too bad they are located directly across from the sewage treatment plant. I guess they aren’t using the view as a selling point…or the smell, for that matter.

Once past the Landing you can ride to the end of the greenway in a less than scenic area, or you can turn near the brick manufacturer (part of that “scenic” thing) and get up on the bridge that crosses the river. This is not greenway by any stretch of the imagination, but it gets you over near another greenway trail that John B. and I had been on part of last Friday. Today I decided to follow that trail all the way to the end.

Interesting sighting #6 – The lady walking on the greenway carrying her dog (mile 13-ish). I think she doesn’t understand the concept of “taking the dog for a walk”. We’re talking about a 20 to 25 pound dog here; not one of those toy breeds.

The trail goes past “the castle” and then through part of the Ijams Nature Center. [There’s disagreement on how to pronounce “Ijams”. Some pronounce the ‘j’, and some leave it silent. I’m one of the second set.] Once on the other side, the trail goes past an asphalt plant (the second place of questionable smell, though not as pungent as the first) and into the “Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area”. I didn’t see any wildlife. I did see a bunch of dirt clods all over the trail from somebody’s tractor. I guess the tractor chased the animals away?

It was while I was riding through this area that I started thinking that I might want to turn back soon. I had committed myself to riding the entire trail, but was starting to wonder if I really wanted to push it. Just when I decided to ride about another ½ mile before turning back, the trail abruptly ended at a park bench. This was…

Interesting sighting #7 – The park bench faces out to look over the place where the French Broad and Holston Rivers come together to form the Tennessee River (hence the name “Forks of the River”. It was really a beautiful area. I hope to be able to spend a little more time there next time I go out.

I returned all the way to the Ex-Bi-Lo pretty much the same way I had ridden out. I did make one or two small route changes between the two greenway sections, but nothing of significance. I was glad I was getting back when I did, though, because the temperature started dropping steadily from about mile 19 onward to the end at mile (just under) 28.

Interesting sighting #8 – A jogger tripped and nearly fell off of the landing and into the water at mile 22, but she was pulled back by a lady with really fast reflexes. I saw it happen from about 50 yards away. The jogger was shaking like a Chihuahua going through Detox when I rode past. “Good catch”, I said to her savior on the way by.

Interesting sighting #9 – A squirrel ran between my wheels at about mile 26. I was expecting to feel the ‘thump’ when he darted through, but he made it without incident. It about freaked me out, though.

Will I post something tomorrow? I hope to, but we’ll have to see how the day goes. I do want to at least get trivia out. No promises.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cafe Meme

The inspiration for this came from Kelly.

1. Flip to page 18, paragraph 4 - in the book closest to you right now, what does it say?
I’ll skip over the dictionary here next to my desk and go to the next book. “David asked a passing man where we might find some food. He stared at us for a moment, then waved us toward a passageway which led inside the market. The four of us followed David in dumb procession. I kept a hand on my beltpack. We stopped at a few kiosks while David asked if there was any food available. They all shook their heads, so we turned back and wandered down a narrow rutted street, a single weak streetlamp making it seem all the darker.” (from Neil Peart’s The Masked Rider).

2. If you stretch out your left arm as far as possible, what are you touching?
My dictionary.

3. What’s the last program you watched on TV?
House, with Mrs. Guy, and it just ended a few minutes ago. I don’t watch much TV anymore, but she wanted me to watch with her.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
10:15 pm (It was 10:13, so I was pretty doggone close)

5. Aside from the computer, what can you hear right now?
The TV, faintly, in the other room, though I don’t know what she’s watching now.

6. When was the last time you were outside and what did you do?
I went outside at 10 pm to walk two of the dogs before putting them up for the night. So I guess I stood there getting cold while they sniffed out the ‘perfect spots’.

7. What are you wearing?
Carpenter’s pants, a blue UnderArmor shirt, and a pair of socks from Mast General Store. And underwear. And a watch. And my RoadID necklace. Do you have one? You should.

8. Did you dream last night? If you did, what about?
I don’t remember dreaming, but I might have. I just don’t know.

9. When was the last time you laughed?
There were a few good one-liners during House a little while ago.

10. What’s on the walls, in the room you’re in right now?
One photo I took, one photo a friend’s husband took, a Grace Kelly vintage ad poster, a “Night Scotsman” vintage ad poster, a poster from the 1986 Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, and a magnetic dry-erase calendar board. There’s also a CD rack attached to one wall.

11. Have you seen anything strange lately?
As a matter of fact, I watched a squirrel jump over me as I was walking from one building to another at work today. I went over my head and into a tree (and then further up the tree. I wonder if the other squirrels dared him to do it?

12. What do you think about this meme?
Well, I think it’s a meme. That’s about it. Let's not overanalyze these things.

13. What’s the last film you saw?
“Local Hero”. It’s a movie that a friend left here the other night for us to watch. It had Burt Lancaster in a supporting role.

14. If you became a multimillionaire, what would you do with the money?
Buy a car. Buy a house in Blowing Rock, NC (Mrs. Guy would insist). Go to culinary school just for fun. Become a travel photographer (who can also cook well).

15. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I vacationed for a week in Bulgaria once. Not exactly a hot travel spot for most Americans.

16. If you could change ONE THING in this world, without regarding politics or bad guilt, what would it be?
Everyone would take better care of the world around us. Starting with the guy who emptied his ashtray in the parking lot at the Post Office this afternoon.

17. Do you like dancing?
I used to. I danced all the time at college parties. I just haven’t done it in a long time. At least not in public.

18. George Bush?
Which one? What about him? Oh, and I don't wear my politics on my sleeve.

19. What do you want your children’s names to be, girl/boy?
Not having children (nor being likely to at this point), I don’t really have an answer to that precisely. We have named our animals though. Oldest to youngest there’s Lindsay, Claire, Moira, and then the twins, Alice and Judy.

20. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Oh, yes. Though I think it would be better to go to a country were English is the native language. If I did the multi-millions thing I would probably buy a small place in Scotland as well.

21. What do you want God to tell you, when you come to heaven?
“Come on in Big Guy, there’s folks here waiting to see you.”

22. Who should do this meme?
Anyone who really wants to. I don’t feel I should challenge anyone to do it. Stuff like this should be voluntary.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Back In The Saddle

I got back out and rode again on Friday. John B. and I decided to go do an easy 25 miles. The problem is that what I would ordinarily consider to be an ‘easy’ 25 miles quite simply wasn’t so easy on me. Then again, this was only my third ride on a bike since the Labor Day Debacle, and my first since then of more than fifteen miles (and both previous rides were on relatively flat roads as well).

We started out at John’s, which as a good place to start for any number of good looping rides. The plan was to get out there and then decide whether to do 20 or 25 miles. We headed east at a leisurely pace out toward the Island Home community. We had gone maybe five miles when John saw that one of his musician buddies (someone who is starting to get into cycling) was at home, so we stopped to see if he wanted to join us. He couldn’t, but we stood and talked to him a few minutes before heading out again. I’d gotten a little tight, but was able to loosen up again fairly quickly.

We rode down a greenway trail I’d never been on, saw a ‘castle’ (quite literally – the home is built like a 18th Century castle), and avoided several dogs with nothing better to do than noisily investigate the pair of two-wheeled intruders into their respective domains. At about eleven miles into the ride, John turned and asked if I felt like doing the 20 or the 25 mile route. I was feeling OK, so I said “Let’s go 25. I probably need to push myself a little anyway…though I may regret having said that later.” The good news is that I didn’t regret it…much.

I didn’t really know where I was exactly for a large part of that ride (I think I’d been on those roads maybe once a good while back) until we crossed Chapman Highway. At that point I knew exactly what to expect for the rest of the ride. That was also the point at which I realized that we would have to climb up Neubert Springs Road. At somewhere around ¾ to one mile it isn’t a super long climb, but it certainly is steep enough. I didn’t even try to keep up with John on the way up. We were over twenty miles into our ride and I was already feeling the effects of my cycling sabbatical, so I just settled into the pace I could go and just tried to grind it out.

John had to wait at the top for me, and I wanted to stop at the top for a few moments as well to recover a bit. We started talking about other stuff and before we realized it we’d been standing there for about four or five minutes. Ordinarily that would be fine, but it was a cool day on Friday. We had stood there long enough to cool down a little. This is a bad thing when it comes right before a long, somewhat fast descent. I don’t think either of us warmed back up for the rest of the ride back to John’s house, even with the two shorter but steeper climbs we still had to go up (one being his driveway).

I was sore most of the weekend after that ride, but not in my legs as I expected. No, I was – and still am – sore mostly in my upper back. I guess all of the climbs we did caused me to use muscles I haven’t been using for a while. That’s OK. I really don’t mind being a little sore right now. But it does make me wish that I could go get a massage (which I can’t really do with the plates in my shoulders).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Hour

Just to reinforce the ‘Irony’ theme, this morning I was listening to NPR on the way to work. If you’ve ever listened to “Morning Edition”, you know that frequently they will play a brief portion of a song between news stories. One of those songs this morning was a string quartet playing their cover of KISS’s “I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night (and Party Every Day)”. Well, I think the title is actually “Rock and Roll All Nite”, but regardless, string quartets do not, as a general rule, rock.

Tonight I went to a program hosted by my bike club (Southern Cycling Operations, or SCO). Dr. Bassett, who is a professor over at the University of Tennessee’s Sports Physiology (or something like that) department, gave a talk on the hour record in cycling. He started out by going over the history of the hour record, pointing out that there was a real change in the approach to the record in 1983. That was the year that Francisco Moser broke Eddy Merckx’s 1972 record. The difference was that Moser was the first to use aero equipment.

Following Moser, everybody used specialized gear in an attempt to develop an aerodynamic advantage. The strangest looking of these was Graeme Obree’s “Praying Mantis” style riding position. He built his bike himself using scrounged parts, but he did break the record. And then the UCI (the main international governing body for all things cycling) banned the “Obree Position”. Undaunted, Graeme came up with a new style and riding position (the “Superman Position”, so called because of the outstretched arms) and again set the record. Chris Boardman also used the same position to break Graeme’s record, but then the UCI decided to ban that one too. So much for encouraging the innovative spirit, eh?

Sometime around the turn of the 21st Century, the UCI stated that the official hour record would apply only to those who rode equipped as Eddy had been equipped. Out with the aero gear entirely, though they did decide to recognize a second “Best Human Performance” record which does allow for the weird gear, but the hour record is the one with all the romance (and potential lucrative endorsement deals) attached.

So, Dr. Bassett and his colleague Dr. Kyle did a study to evaluate just how each of the ‘Moser and after’ record attempts stood up to Eddy’s. They evaluated the drag of the clothing used (high-tech skinsuits versus Eddy’s cotton jersey and wool shorts). They looked at the drag from aero positions versus Eddy’s ‘riding in the drops’ position. To be fair, they also considered the altitude differences as to how they would affect performance (and Eddy did have that small advantage). They also looked at peak wattage outputs and applied all of the above correction and correlation factors.

What they found out was that Eddy would have been beaten for the record, for not for a longer time and not by nearly as much. Eddy rules anyway.

This was the perfect presentation for a cyclist-engineer geek like me.

Trivia Time
Rules here. Email to bgoab at mindspring dot com like always. Okay class, you may turn your papers over and begin.

  1. Name at least three of the four original members of KISS.
  2. The newspaper cartoon “Snuffy Smith” started out with a different name and a different lead character (it slowly changed over time). Who was that original title character?
  3. (fill in the blank) Gropius, Jeanneret, and Mies van der Rohe are often considered to be the fathers of modern _______________.
  4. (One from Mrs. Guy) Who narrated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”?
  5. (Also from Mrs. Guy) What platform at King’s Cross does the Hogwart’s Express depart from?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Isn't It Ironic?

You be the judge.

Since I was sick yesterday and the day before, I had a chance to seriously catch up on some reading. I finally finished reading the Chronicles of Narnia bookset that my parents gave me for my last birthday. Well, re-reading, actually, since I had read them once long ago when I was to young to really recognize the themes that C.S. (Jack) Lewis wove into these tales. I finished The Last Battle yesterday morning and started looking through the book I got with the set, The Companion to Narnia. From that and some looking at other sources I learned of the following little tidbit.

Jack Lewis got married fairly late in life (in his 50s) to a woman he knew to be in bad health (she was suffering from bone cancer). She went into a brief remission and lived another four years before the cancer returned and claimed her. Jack soon after wrote a book about his grieving process titled A Grief Observed, but since it was so personal he decided to release it under the pseudonym N.W. Clerk. The ironic part is that Jack later had to come forward and admit that he was the one who wrote it. Why? Because so many of his friends started to recommend the book (that he wrote!) to him as something that he might read to help him with his own grieving process.

It isn’t just the President.

Today at work I went to a presentation given by a woman who works at one of the old Manhattan Project sites in Oak Ridge. She has worked there for quite a long time. She is a highly educated woman and very well trained in what she does. You would think that such a person, especially one who is quite articulate (is she is) would not share one of George W. Bush’s particular idiosyncrasies, but she does. She kept saying “Nucular” (rhymes with ‘New Cue Blur’, but without the ‘B’). Not just once, but at least two dozen times during her talk, and possibly more. I think I gritted my teeth even tighter at every occasion. I felt like getting up and shouting “Nuclear! NEW-CLEE-ARR!!!” But I didn’t. That would have been rude.

And speaking of rude…

I was on my way to the Post Office after work today. It was rainy and the light was failing, so I was really on my guard in traffic. Good thing, too. I was driving down the street perpendicular to the road the Post Office is on when I noticed a car driving through the parking lot on the right hand side. I just had a bad feeling about how fast he was going, and I was also very far into ‘defensive driving mode’, so I kept an eye on him and was ready to cover the brake. Good thing, too. He pulled out directly in front of me to turn in the direction I was coming from, saw my car, and stopped right in the middle of the lane, set up perfectly to get t-boned. I still don’t know how I was actually able to stop in time given the rain and the slight downhill slope, but I did get stopped and within mere inches of his door (hurray for anti-lock brakes). And then, he flipped me off and drove away, nearly hitting another car on the other side of the road (they had slowed down dramatically when they saw what was going on).

What the… He flipped me off?!?