Just Out Pondering

Had a little time to go out to a quiet gravel road, sip coffee…
…and ponder what’s wrong with the world.
With my amazing powers of perception, it didn’t take long to see it with startling clarity.
Then I formulated a solution.
Really. I did.
Just before I initiated implementation, I realized there was one major flaw in my thinking.
I am part of the problem.
More pondering required.


A hectic workweek filled with corporate travel can bruise a man. Travel isn’t as glamorous and it first sounds. When they give a man a laptop and a Blackberry, they also give him more unrealistic expectations. Just because a thousand people can contact him in single day, doesn’t mean he can reasonably respond. Information overload, and falling short take their toll.

Saturday morning mall traffic

Sanger, Texas
Returning home restores. The pace slows. Substance, authenticity, and love nourish the soul.

Options extra

Local landscaping

Living, breathing decoration

“For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”

Psalm 50:10
Oh, yeah. The bike rides were pretty good too.

Peculiar Society

I am a part of a peculiar society.

About 30 years ago, a group of college friends, who enjoyed one another’s company, gathered for a weekend. That weekend was so pleasant, uplifting, and emotionally encouraging, it was decided to assemble together again the next year. Singles became couples. Couples produced offspring. The offspring grew, matured, and some of them married. One of the couples has become grandparents. There is a core group of 6 families, and this group (or some major fraction of it) has met at least annually for 30 consecutive years. That’s peculiar.
What sort of things would a group of families do that would be so interesting, exciting, entertaining, and pleasurable that would compel them to meet together each year? Would it be exotic destinations or grand adventure? Would it be an agenda stuffed to the gills with thrilling activities? Would it involve alcoholic beverages? Not really. There have been a few modest recreational pursuits like volleyball, fishing, boating, hiking, and horseback riding. There have been a large volume of card games and domino tournaments, and there have been an enormous number of community meals, in-between-meal-snacks, and desserts. But is this the kind of mini-vacation you would brag about to your co-workers back at the office? Probably not. To some, it would be a bit embarrassing, a bit peculiar.
There’s more. These families, when given the chance to get away from it all, to shuck-off day-to-day duties and responsibilities, to go away somewhere where no one knows who they are and “let their hair down”, seem even more peculiar. When they get together, they talk about what God wants. They read the Bible together, share their individual concerns, problems, and weaknesses…and they pray. They encourage one another to be more God-like, to continue in doing good, and to offer help to meet the needs of each one. Then they sing. Yep, mighty peculiar.
Not only do they sing, but they sing hymns. The voices of ordinary people, with no instrumental accompaniment, blend together in time and in four-part harmony like the heavenly voices of angels. They sing of work, and they sing of devotion. They sing of transformation, and affirmation. They sing of grace, or faith, and adoring praise. They sing of heaven until their voices wear out. A peculiar practice these days.
Yes, these annual reunions involve peculiar activities of peculiar people. In this group of six families, all six are built on marriages to original spouses. All marriages have lasted 27 years or longer. All marriages are happy marriages. All of these families have experienced enormous challenges and various forms of hardship, yet they are strong, grateful, and joyful. How often can you go to a random sample of six families and find these qualities?
Oh yeah. This is not a random sample after all. This is a group of devoted christians…a peculiar society, and an indescribable joy.

Austin Route

Austin skyline, along the North Capital of Texas Highway (360)

Some asked about my Austin route from yesterday.
Well, yesterday’s route was a portion of today’s route, plus a bunch of noodling around our vacation cabin. Today, a buddy and I road the complete route. He was very kind to back off on the pace a bit to accommodate my fixed wheel (and fitness) limitations.
I had a great time, but the next time I do this route with a fixed wheel bike, I’ll seriously consider using a gear smaller than 70 inches.

Some Questions…

(Mansfield Dam, downstream end of Lake Travis)

…are difficult to answer.
“Hey, Chris, why did you bring your fixed wheel bike to the hilly part of Austin for the long weekend?”
I have no answer for that.
I grunted and zig-zagged up steep hills that are longer than what I see back home. I almost toppled over in a couple of places.
Persistence powered me to the top…which is a good place to pause and count visible ridges.
Then there was the spinning like a hamster back down to the water level again…

…where I ask myself why I do the things I do.
It’s fun, of course, but I can’t tell you why.

Back to Drops

The idea of having a bike with a completely different feel, and of sitting more upright is attractive. But in practice, I haven’t been able to find the sweet spot for my hands with the albatross bars. So, it’s back to drops for awhile.
I was pleased to find that all usable drop bar positions are quite comfortable for me on this bike. Even the lowest position, for those headwind stretches, can be used for sustained periods.
Ironically, what was formerly the “Dawdler” is now possibly the “go-fast” bike in my stable. It is significantly lighter than my A. Homer Hilsen and Kogswell P/R due to the lack of fenders, lights, racks, and baggage. It’s fixed wheel gearing is higher than the P/R, and the lighter tires spin up to speed a little faster.
Well, summer is here. Maybe it is time I go find a group ride somewhere and cruise a little speedier than normal.