Flood of Foolishness

Been monitoring the news of all the government bailouts of various private companies. Foolishness from the beginning. Heard today about the actions at GM. Foolishness piled on. At first, foolishness, like children at play is amusing. After a while, it becomes tiresome. Finally, like a mob riot mentality, it becomes dangerous.

Beginning to get pretty impatient (no, spittin’ mad) at all this foolishness. Can’t decide whether to aim my anger at the new administration for selfishly ignoring the constitution, or the private companies selfishly begging the government for money, or the American people selfishly seeking a short term so-called solution without an understanding of long term impacts. It is a maddening cycle. A spinning, swirling cycle.

Like the stuff we flush, swirling down the drain.

When Windy…

…wander Waide Road.

Early spring weather in north Texas has the same roller coaster volatility of the stock market. Warm, calm, and sunny days followed by snow flurries, 25 mph to 35 mph wind, and low clouds. This Saturday we found ourselves in the later, quite a weather valley, as it were, looking for a rebound.

I’ve learned staying low on windy days is more pleasant. That is why Waide Road is so perfect. It is a zero traffic gravel road near home. Short rides on windy days involve cruising along in Clear Creek bottom land, in forested areas, below most of the atmospheric activity.

So, friend, my advice is, “When windy, wander Waide Road”.

What Gears Are For

As much as I enjoy a fixed-wheel bicycle, the multiple gears on my new Rivendell were a joy today. Winds at 25 mph, gusting to 40 mph, made conditions less than optimal. I didn’t really want to stay outside long and endure the atmospheric beating, but needed a little spin.

Another perfect opportunity for the famous 3-mile loop. Just wanting a little time on the bike, I found a tiny gear and commenced to spinning with machine-like regularity. Turning pedals at 90 rpm, I slid downhill at glacier pace. I figure, on a revolutions basis, I had a nice, easy 15-mile ride today all within a single lap.

Maybe for true bicycle geeks, it’s not how fast you go, it’s how many times your pedals go around.

Where I’ve Been

Where I’ve been? Well…

The weather forecast was promising, so I rolled out as soon as the sky was light. During my warm-up the clouds changed from gray to purple to pink to orange before the sun topped the horizon.

With a little time to explore something new, I generally headed south. At one point, however, my route took me east for a little while. The early morning sun laid down a shining carpet before me.

After a gradual, but sustained climb, I realized I was on top of a ridge and could look back and see where I’ve been.

Sometimes I rolled across open pastures, and sometimes through tree-lined gravel roads. After several lonely miles, signs of civilization are a jolt to the senses.

I was determined to explore some new roads. I studied a map beforehand, but was unable to tell how much pavement and how much gravel. A significant amount of the new roads today were not paved.

After a couple of hours of pedaling the countryside, a short break at the creek seemed like a good idea.

I had a few minutes to see that some trees were still leafless, but others had tender new growth.

Crossing the last big ridge coming home, I had my last scenic view and one more example of some of the early spring color around these parts.

That’s were I’ve been…and you really should have been there.

Maybe next time…

Beside Still Waters

What is it about still water that is so restful? Is it awareness of the violent potential of a whitewater river or stormy sea? Is it the absence of telephones and email? Either way, viewing an expanse of still water is good medicine.

I rolled out this morning into a spectacular spring day. Unlike my previous post, color is tossed liberally around like some hysterical artist with paint to waste. It is still, 55 degrees, and only the last remnants of fog are slumbering in the low spots. A fairly strong south wind is predicted. Not a problem, today’s route is east/west.

(Since my bride left town with the camera, the photo is missing. This is the spot where I would have inserted the photo of purple and white tree blooms, green leaf buds, green grass, and bluish wildflowers. This isn’t television, use your imagination.)

Isle Du Bois Park is located at the east end of the Lake Ray Roberts dam. My route, consisting primarily of low traffic secondary roads is about 23 miles one-way. With a small lunch and an emphasis on “no-hurry”, I spin easily over the rolling landscape.

(Imagine here a photo of an up-and-down roadway profile on a ridge line with rolling pastures in the distance. Note the absence of traffic.)

I arrive and notice the breeze is coming alive, and it is much warmer. I shed a layer of wool and enjoy shorts and sunshine. I sit on a rock beside the lake. Rest replaces a rushed routine and I wonder, for a moment, what I’m missing at work. It can wait. Like the early morning fog, my stress evaporates. Can these loose and lazy legs pedal me home?

(This is where my photo of the shimmering lake would be. Knowing me, I’d probably find a way to get my bicycle in the frame somewhere…like there on the left. Peaceful, isn’t it?)

With a few revolutions, the muscles awake. That’s a good thing since exiting the park requires a little climbing. The wind picks up even more and the temperature climbs. Last week, 36 degrees and rain. Today, shorts, t-shirt, and sunburn.

(Here’s the climb up away from the lake and toward the park headquarters. Even farther, way back there in the background, is the park exit. These climbs never look as steep in the photos. Frustrating.)

I return home physically fatigued, mentally refreshed, and spiritually grateful. So it is when bicycling to a still water retreat.

I am unusually blessed.

Gray Tones

I don’t know, maybe I’m in a black & white phase.

Or maybe it’s cloudy, 36 degrees and raining. Maybe its been like this all week and all I can see is gray tones.

For all you know, this what a color photograph looks like today.

I know one thing. We Texans have higher expectations for our weather about this time of year.