…musings of one easily amused

Archive for April, 2009

WWWWHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Tomorrow



72 51

Sunny

Wind: WSW at 10 mph

Precip.: 0%

Humidity: 39%
Sat 25



84 62

Sunny

Wind: SSW at 11 mph

Precip.: 10%

Humidity: 49%
Sun 26



87 60

Mostly Sunny

Wind: W at 8 mph

Precip.: 0%

Humidity: 45%
Mon 27



87 63

Mostly Sunny

Wind: SSW at 8 mph

Precip.: 10%

Humidity: 49%


Sunday – Homeward

My eyes flew open at 6:30 and there was no coaxing the body back to sleep.  I got dressed and began the typical routine of packing the clothes, stuffing the sleeping bag and rolling the therm-a-rest.  All before leaving the tent.

Still full from the meals yesterday I had no desire for breakfast, no matter how inviting the bacon and sausage from the youth group next to me smelled.  I fired up the coffee and slurped down a container of peaches.

The sun was just cresting the hills on the north side of the campground and the sky had hints of blue trying to break out from the gray/white cloud cover.  I spent a few minutes on the netbook laying down the route home.  I wasn’t looking for anything that adventurous today.  I like getting back to the house with plenty of time to unwind.

I caught up with George, payed my bill and discussed the group sites.  Phoenicia Black Bear Campground might be a good location for an IBMC campout. 

I finished loading the bike and hit the road. Zena (my Warrior GPS) told me I’d be home by 12:13.  Perfect. 

I pulled into the driveway at 12:10.  Nice job, Zena.

Total for the weekend – 536 miles.  The pic below shows the elevation changes for the entire route, roundtrip.

If you have Google Earth installed you can grab the .kml and .kmz file and view the route in detail.

-Gordon


Saturday

I rolled over for the first time at 7:30am.  I had hoped to be on the road by eight but that obviously was not going to happen.  The now empty bottle of Shiraz was probably a contributing factor.  I crawled out of the tent and began to put breakfast together.  The first order of business is the coffee, made right in the jetboil mug.  Once the water starts to boil I drop the Maxwell House filter packs right in and let it steep a little while like tea.  When it has reached the desired strength I fish out the filter pack and toss it away.  Moving the burner over to the pot I drop in a little oil, the two sausage links left over from last night, a small onion, and begin to fry them up.  As soon as the onions begin to brown I add a couple eggs (I picked them up last night at the supermarket – directly across from the rack containing the small hand tools and assorted hardware).  A few stirs and I’ve got a pretty tasty omelet.  Clean up was quick, just the pot, mug and a fork.  I grab a quick shower and I’m on the road by 9:00am.

The weather was warm, probably the low 60’s when I left the campground.  I stopped at the first gas station that was open.  This was another one of those combination gas/general store /gift shop/movie rental establishments.  I handed the cashier my credit card and was informed that I needed to buy $15 of gas or I could not use the card.  $15 was easy when gas was over $4 a gallon, but at $2.40 it wasn’t going to happen.  I threw him a $10 bill and was able to stuff $9.90 into the tank.  Yes, I went back the ten cents.

I had originally told Tacie I would be to her house around “11-ish”.  The GPS was telling me it would be closer to 12:10 before I arrived.  I called the phone number she had emailed to me prior to leaving.

“Hello”
“Hi, Tony?”
“No, you must have the wrong number.”
“Is this yada yada number?”
“Yes.”
“Ummm, ok.  Sorry about that.”

I’d later find out that Tacie had given me her neighbor’s phone number.  Oh, well.  If I was able to arrive before noon I could still call it “11-ish”, right?

The GPS once again chose a very enjoyable route.  Lots of elevation changes, twists and some off the beaten path kind of roads.  The higher elevations were noticeably cooler, forcing me to flip the switch on the grip heaters and close off the vents in the aerostitch.  After about an hour the sun had been completely obscured by clouds and I wouldn’t see it again until I returned to Phoenicia.

Around “noonish” I pulled into the driveway.  I immediately recognized the little faces plastered to the window from the pictures Tacie had posted on Facebook.  I knew I had the right place.  What a pleasure it was to meet Tony and get reacquainted with Tacie.  She immediately pulled out the old yearbooks and we started flipping through the pages.  Seeing all the faces from that time period was amazing.  Immediately memories began to resurface.  I had not forgotten them, just moved them waaayyy back into the unused areas of my head (my wife would tell me this makes up the majority of my brain).

Tony put together a phenomenal lunch – more like a full blown dinner.   We chatted more over coffee and Tacie showed me the house they will be moving into at the end of the month.  Sweeeet.  Complete with a home theater and game room.  I’m sure they will miss the free entertainment they currently enjoy next door to them.  

Before heading out, I needed to chauffeur Tanner down the “Nature Trail” one last time.  He is hilarious.  I couldn’t understand half of what he was saying due to the engine noise and helmet but I could tell that his conversation started when we began moving and didn’t stop until we were back in his driveway.  That boy has been bit by the bike bug at a very young age.  I know exactly where he’s coming from.

We said our goodbyes and I headed back to the campground.  The weather was at its coolest yet, with a few raindrops here and there for good measure.  More elevation changes and great scenery, even without leaves on the trees and the absence of color it’s quite impressive.

A late night soup (it took that long to work up an appetite) and a Cabernet to finish off the evening.  No stars tonight but I’m positive the big dipper is still right over the top of my head.


1:30 am. Saturday Morning.

The asshats two sites down seem to be increasing the decibel level.   Perhaps it’s alcohol induced hearing loss.  Whatever the reason, I have just found another use for the earplugs I carry in the tank bag.


Friday night

Leaving mid Friday allowed me to select mostly secondary roads to get to Phoenicia.  The new Mapsource software lets you select back roads to highways on a sliding scale.  I set it one up from all back roads and it chose a perfect mix of secondary’s, and even through in a dirt road as I cut across Rhinebeck headed for the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.

The aerodrome wasn’t open yet but I wanted to do a drive by anyway.  It had been years since the last time I was there.  As I recall, it was a cold, damp Memorial Day weekend when Jo and I, along with Mike and Darlene, and Lee and Craig, all headed over here.  Most of us were embarrassingly unprepared for the cool, rainy weather.  At one point we all headed into a nearby town, located a supermarket and bought all the fixins for a “keep-us-warm” stew.  To this day we all remember that cabbage stew as the best stew we’ve ever had.  Funny how as desperation increases so does the taste, and memory of the food.

Phoenicia is wide spot slightly off of Rt. 23.  If you don’t take the right hand turn at the Phoenicia sign, you’ve missed it.  The town center has everything you could want for a weekend stay including a bar/restaurant, package store and a “supermarket”.  I use the term supermarket only because that is what the sign advertised.  This is the type of store that has the transmission fluid right next to the baby diapers, directly across from the paper plates and cups.  I grabbed a package of plastic cups, added a couple of blow pops (grape and cherry) and headed for the checkout.

Just a rock’s throw further down the street I stopped in at Phoenicia Wine and Spirits.  I browsed the “Red” section as the owner watched an old colorized John Wayne flick showing on the TV behind the counter.  After picking out an Australian Shiraz that guaranteed an “intense spice and blackberry flavor”, I brought the $8 bottle to the counter. 

 

The Phoenicia Black Bear Campground is actually walking distance from the town center.  It sits alongside the Esopus Creek.  George, the owner, met me as I rode in. “Pick any spot you want, I’ll catch up to you later” he said.  I picked a grassy site that had a high center for the tent.

I unpacked, setup the tent and walked around the campground trying to get a cell phone signal so I could check in at home.  After two laps around the loop it became clear the bars were not going to appear.  I didn’t gain a signal strong enough to make the call until about 4 miles down the road.  I got the answering machine.  My duties fulfilled, I headed back to camp to make some dinner.

Once the fire calmed down a bit I laid the sausage over the coals for a nice, slow roasting.  As soon as the first one split I poured the rice into the jetboil pot.  Moments later I had a meal fit for hungry biker (they are much more finicky than kings).

Before the sun completely set I needed to get the gear stowed and the food and garbage treed.  George had mentioned that the bears were around and although they have never had a documented case of a bear attack in the Catskills, he wasn’t sure if that was because there were no attacks or if there simply wasn’t anyone left to report one.  I threw a line over a branch in a neighboring site and hoisted the bear snacks high up into the tree.

As I sit here tapping away on the netbook the fire has finally created enough embers to sustain itself without the fanning from my camp plate.  The peepers have broken into full chorus and the night is crystal clear.  I think I’ll retire to the chair, perfectly positioned upwind from the smoke, directly
under the Big Dipper.

Where
is that Shiraz?


First “riding” campout of the season

This year’s first motorcycle campout has me headed slightly west to Phoenicia, NY, in the heart of the Catskills.  The direction was chosen  due to a chance online Facebook reunion with several of my classmates from elementary school.  One of these friends lives in Clinton, NY – about a six hour ride from home.  As it turns out, the Catskills are a perfect halfway point.

The first one of the season usually involves trying to locate all the gear that has
been dispersed throughout the winter season.  The process was made a bit easier
this year due to the installation of shelving in the garage.  A designated “Camp
Gear Parks Here” type of setup.  I spread everything out on the table last night
and did a mental walk through of the upcoming weekend.

Weather forecast – Days in the 50’s, low 60’s if I’m lucky.  Threat of rain for
Saturday, rain likely on Sunday.

The bike already contains the cold weather gear because I’ve been commuting since
mid-March.  I added heated handgrips this year and they have made a huge difference. 
I no longer have to wait a half hour after getting to work for my thumbs to thaw out.

The advantage to cold weather camping is the ease of keeping food cold.  When
the weather is only in the 40’s and 50’s ice lasts a long time.  I’ve frozen
some tomato basil sausage for Friday night’s dinner.  This will stay frozen for
most of the ride to Pheonicia and will be ready for cooking come dinnertime. 
Add in some Cajun rice and a boxed wine and I’ll be dining in style.

The cool nights will keep my sausage leftovers until breakfast when I’ll add in some
pancakes topped with real maple syrup. The rest of the meals are either canned or
powder, not much to worry about there.  

Other “extra” equipment will include the iPod touch with the entymotic ear buds that
fit perfectly under the helmet, the camera, the netbook and the various chargers for
the devices.  And last, but certainly not least, the book that I’ve been trying
to complete for the past few months.

I’m looking forward to the roads and scenery in the Catskills and catching up with
a friend from what seems like a lifetime ago.