We went for a ride on Saturday. The weather was perfect, the traffic was light, the road was scenic.
Along the way we stopped at a Triumph dealer that's a little north of town to discuss our clutch situation. This would be the clutch situation we asked the dealer here to look at, who instead charged us an obscene amount of money and sent the bike home with a loose seat and a mis-connected gas valve.
Anyway, the guys up north are legit mechanics and we all agreed on what was needed and they are going to order the parts for us. But all this took some time, and TFL did not need my help, so mostly I sat on a bench and got a start on a new sweater (rav link):
The yarn is 50/50 merino/tussah silk, pretty yummy.
We went to the shore yesterday morning and successfully avoided being nipped at by sharks, so we're still all in one piece.
The ocean: the cure for anything that ails you. Except for the sunburn you get if you, unlike, say, me, do not wear a metal coating. You know the kind of sunblock lifeguards wear on their noses? I put something similar all over, and I still got a little red on my shoulders but not bad. TFL is lobster-ish, unfortunately.
After taking the sea cure for a few hours we stopped at Ick-ee-ah and did a terrible job of shopping. We walked out with 8 dish towels for $5 and not much else. I do love new dish towels, so I don't consider it a complete loss, but let's face it: TFL and I are not good at Big Stores.
We also wandered through one of those absurdly cute neighborhoods with the quaint little shops and cafes. We had an exquisite dish of beets and avocados -- I know, sounds weird, but it was fantastic -- at a little French bistro. And yes, of course I found a yarn shop and bought a needle I needed to finish a sweater. TFL found a meat-and-cheese shop and bought some kind of, well, meat. I don't know, I'm not eating it. Oh, and some very tasty olives, too, which I will eat.
All in all, a nice day off for both of us. We need to remember more often that we have this shore thing right here, all close and convenient -- at least, convenient if our timing is good.
Today's agenda: a long ride, and finishing up a knitting project or two. It's good to have goals.
TFL and I went up the road to a little summer home today and moseyed around the surprisingly run-down grounds. The site is jaw-droppingly beautiful, but the gardens have a long way to go to recover from decades of neglect.
Remaining undisturbed in their beauty were the enormous trees scattered about the park. There were several specimens of one variety we've never seen before. It's enormous, with leaves that vaguely resemble maple leaves (though not as pointy) and it has big yellow and orange flowers--not racemes, more like magnolia blooms (only not).
Last weekend was somewhat nice-ish in the weather department. Not exactly balmy, but pleasant, so we headed off on Bonnie to explore the Delaware Water Gap.
That turned into a little bit longer of a ride than expected. After eons an hour or so on the superhighway of boredom we turned off on a little country highway and rode through rather pretty country until we found ourselves at the bottom of the park, and at the bottom of some nifty little rocky mountains. They're steep! We TFL thought about turning back at that point because I had to work, but what would be the point of trekking all the way out there without actually seeing the park? No point at all. So we set off down the old mine road (really, Old Mine Road), avoiding potholes masquerading as bodies of navigable water and enjoying the utter woodsy charm of it all.
I thought this house was funny because it was so tall and narrow, but sitting all by itself on its hill.
I also liked the squiggly artwork in front.
Eventually we figured out that the charm had abruptly worn off when we took a wrong turn somewhere and left the park without quite realizing it, going down the road of people with too much money and giant plastic houses. Yech. Back we went, retracing our route until we found our wrong turn and going back up the park. A few more wrong turns here and there were interspersed with sights of fly fishermen standing in the clearest stream, and glimpses of of long rolling valleys falling away from us.
And an iris, when I had just been lamenting to my parents that I hadn't seen any of them out here, and I missed them. It was pretty, but not as spectacular as some I used to have. Remember the purple ones the approximate size of soccer balls?
In all we were probably riding for 3 days eight hours (TFL sometimes forgets to stop) and had a blast, but we've I've come to the conclusion there are two investments we need to make in the bike this summer. One is a little compass that will fit unobtrusively on the bike, and the other is a fleece for the seat. The shocks on the Bonnie aren't quite world class. Neither are New Jersey roads.
We were supposed to walk through the Park this morning to admire the azaleas and rhododendrons. TFL didn't get the memo about waking me up in time. I'll get up early, but I won't necessarily wake up early all on my own. So it was 20 minutes past leave-for-the-Park time when he woke me.
So we skipped the Park and got on with the rest of our itinerary for the day: run down to the bike shop to swap a part, stop in a yarn shop for customer appreciation day, and head out of town for a ride. I signed up for a raffle as soon as I walked in the store, and 5 minutes later they held the raffle, and I won one of the prizes! I was a little dubious when I heard "rainbow scarf," but lo:
Aren't they lovely? They're actually two skeins wound together, one the greenish boucle, and the other the cream wool. It turns out the "rainbow" was a reference to the fact that you could get the boucle in all the different colors and make that many different scarves... or, you know, you could just stick with the one color, quite pretty on its own, thank you.
And I got a goodie bag!
I have no idea what I'll use a hot-pink zipper for, or a scrap of cute-ish fabric, or the little batches of yarn. Although, actually, the maize-colored one in the middle is just the right shade for a nice elegant M on a dark blue sweater. That might happen at some point. That's a nice little canvas bag behind everything, and that's always handy.
I managed to stuff everything in a saddle bag and we were off, riding up the river valley. It was a spectacular afternoon and we found some great new roads and a few charming towns and got back into the city just as the weather was turning foul. Perfect timing. We even managed to admire some azaleas -- and wisteria and lilacs -- while we were riding.
I may now have my winnings draped around my neck, getting ready to wind them into balls so I start knitting. Work? Well, there's always tomorrow.
We've returned from our little adventure slightly damp but none the worse for wear. It was a great weekend. We rode through cold and rain, saw mountains and lakes and beautiful buildings, ate a couple of quite decent meals, and generally relaxed and enjoyed each other's company.
I finally got around to getting leather pants to ride in, and my timing was perfect: we had rain almost all the way home and I barely noticed. I would have been soaked in jeans. I also picked up a fleece-type thing because I was (as usual) way too cold on the way up, but it didn't work as well as TFL's cashmere sweater. High-tech fabrics are, in general, less-effective imitations of silk and cashmere, but more expensive anyway. Such a scam!
It was a truly beautiful weekend, so TFL and I took off on a ride last Saturday.
Man, it was good to be back on the bike. We went up 95, which is horrid, but branched off on 7 and then stumbled upon the 33 to 35 route--stunning. The perfect road, all twisty and hilly and charming.
I'm trying to concentrate on that pretty ride and the hope of another this weekend to distract me from the news of the day, and the amoral idiots who are making me spitting mad.
It's like an equal opportunity slime fest, where the game of the day is to mangle language and logic to make the awful seem . . . acceptable, even laudable. I've been livid about this issue for years, and appalled at the willful blindness and nauseating apologetics, and now those who should be cleaning house are all about sweeping things under the rug.
Shame on them. And more shame on us if we let them get away with it.
TFL and I took a long ride on the motorcycle today. It was a gorgeous sunny day with not a cloud in the sky and, being the end of October, maybe our last chance for a longer ride.
Work? What work?
So we headed out on a scenic parkway. And around here, when they say "scenic" they ain't kidding.
Here's Bonnie overlooking a valley.
The drive was lovely, with the hills clinging to some color while the scent of fall filled the air. This land has charm and a quiet strength. Tiny and ancient graveyards crop up here and there in the woods; creeks thread through the hills glittering in the sunlight, molten and somber in the shade.
We went quite a ways up the road and finally pulled up at this awesome diner, one of many on this parkway:
Yes, I am a stinky photographer. The diner was awesome both for its style and for its blueberry pie. It was really quite acceptable pie. The coffee was good too.
On the way back, though, we took a detour off the parkway and made a discover which will thrill my mother to her toes, I am sure:
We rode past this arch and I instantly shouted to TFL to stop! Stop the bike now!! We must have a picture of this source of so much torture in my youth! In case you can't read the sign, here's a close-up: How fantastic is that?
It was a wonderful ride on a stupendously beautiful day. TFL takes great care of me, doesn't he?
I had plans for Sunday--plans that involved looking at a whole lot of case law and doing a lot of writing.
But rosy-fingered Dawn was in fine form on Sunday, and TFL lured me onto Bonnie with talk of wandering out to a neighboring island and finding the ocean. To be fair, he would have let me work. But the combination of a gorgeous day and the motorcycle ready to go...I could (and did) work later and faster.
So we headed out of the Emerald City (I've decided that's what I'm going to call it because it's a rather magical place and it's all about the green(backs)). It was amazingly quick to get out of urban grime and out to hilly and well-forested suburbia. We rode by a woefully-overdone Viper (no dignified car would wear that paint job) and a superb white Rolls Royce, which really did "sail" down the road in majestic manner. But eventually we ditched the superhighway for the side roads.
An inquiry at the gas station yielded the information that the ocean was a "few miles" up the road. We passed a few and a few more miles, no ocean in sight. Then I noticed that the forest along the road had changed. The land had flattened out and the forests were no longer mixed hardwoods with thick underbrush, but now were made up of oak and pine trees with only a short, sparse undergrowth covering the ground. The forest stretched away, tree trunks visible in rank upon rank.
It was the sort of forest you're likely to find near an ocean. And suddenly, over a rise, there it was! Bright sparkling blue at the end of the road. We hopped off the motorcycle and wandered down to the quartz-strewn shore. All the pebbles were made of quartz, some so clear they looked like glass and others in every beautiful shade of pink. The only noise was the sound of waves hitting land.
It was a splendid ride. And when we got back to the Emerald City I went back to work and was far more productive than I would have been if I'd skipped the ride. It reminded me how much I need that time away, that time to go out and explore and enjoy nature, to restore my perspective and sense of balance.