Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 50 of 365 I'm still here!

Yes, I'm still here-- and still riding! I just haven't been riding very far at all for almost the past week. Just around my block. When I logged on today I couldn't believe it had been six days since I last blogged! Hopefully everyone will come back and start reading again.

As I said I've mostly been riding just one block sometime in the day. I think maybe I'd gone only about two miles this whole week, until today. It just seemed like every day my time got away from me and I couldn't go for a longer ride.

But now I'm back on track! I could really notice a difference today in my stamina-- that low-mileage week has set me back a little. I'm sure I'll be back up to speed in just a few days, though.

The scenery has changed, too-- most of the corn and soybeans are gone and many of the flowers have turned brown or have puffed out like the milkweed above. It's still like a Woolly Bear city out there, though, and I also saw this Monarch Caterpillar munching on a milkweed leaf. You can even see his chew marks at the top of that leaf.

I also saw this guy-- I think it's a Leafroller Moth, but I'm not positive:

He was tiny and I think it was nothing but luck that I saw him in the grass. And that he didn't fly away.

Total miles for the past six days: 6 Total miles: 219

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 44 of 365

I waited until nighttime to ride today. I went out about 10 pm. Just around my neighborhood, as I usually do if I end up riding late. Although there are some clouds floating around, the moon has been bright tonight and I wanted to be outside for it.

I really would like to go for a longer night ride, but I don't think it's safe even on our more deserted roads. Just the fact that there's hardly any traffic makes me think a person driving a car down one of those roads would be so shocked to see a bicyclist that they might hit you in their surprise! Plus I suspect I would get pretty freaked out riding along some tall corn or trees in the dark...

Here are some pictures I took at the park the other day. I thought the moss was sufficiently creepy for a post about riding around in the dark. The spider webs are definitely creepy.

Tomorrow I'll post some other pictures of the park, to give the moss some context. I never really paid attention to it all until I was thinking about what I wanted to photograph the other day. It's gothic in a way, I think. Or something.

Miles today: 1 Total miles: 213

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Days 42 & 43

We had pouring rainstorms today. Lots of lightning, thunder and wind, too. I was able to get a ride in between the rain, but I didn't go very far-- just up to the Mennonite church. I didn't want to risk getting caught in one of those storms.

I thought maybe I'd be able to get one of those dramatic "rain drop on foliage" pictures, but all I got was this photo of grass with slimy stuff underneath. Black crickets were everywhere. What's the significance of that I don't know, but it was interesting.

This isn't the greatest picture of a Chickweed Geometer Moth. It was the best I could do, however! This was taken a week or so ago and I only just identified it. I did find an Audubon Society guide to butterflies, but not moths. Apparently there are thousands upon thousands of varieties of moths and only tens of thousands varieties of butterflies. So identifying moths has been much more difficult.

Yesterday I rode to the mailbox and back, about a mile each way. Mondays are going to be challenging for me, as I have work and then school in the evening. But I'm sure I can make it work.

Miles today and yesterday: 6 Total miles: 212

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Day 41 of 365

What a beautiful day today was! And what a great day for butterflies! I couldn't believe my luck with getting pictures of these guys today. For some reason they're not quite as crisp as I'd like, but they still came out decently for the most part. This Buckeye above is my favorite of the day-- and it was also the easiest picture to take. It was just sitting there in the road sunning itself. Beautiful.

This is a Painted Lady. The side view is just as striking but didn't come out as clearly.

This is an Eastern Tailed Blue. It was difficult to get a picture of this one-- I was lucky with this shot!

I believe this is a Common Branded Skipper, but it's kind of hard to tell.

Either way, he was pretty mellow and easy to photograph.

I rode downtown for breakfast and then to the park. I took a ton of pictures at the park, but once I got all these butterflies (and I have more that haven't been identified) I decided to put them up today.

Miles today: 7 Total miles: 206

Days 39 & 40 of 365

Friday and Saturday were pretty much lost days as far as bicycling went.

On Friday I was still feeling the effects of sitting and standing in the hot sun for close to eight hours on Thursday. I worked early and then headed out for a ride out near the farm where Wendy and Allie live. I got about one mile and I felt so tired that I decided to turn around for home. I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon and again at night.

I guess my body can't take abuse the way it did in my twenties!

Saturday we were dealing with the effects of Hurricane Hanna-- lots and lots of rain. I did put on my rain poncho and started riding out of my development when there were flashes of lightning and huge rumbles of thunder. I definitely wasn't going to go bicycling in those conditions.

So all told, in two days of riding I ended up logging a little over two miles.

Total miles: 190

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day 38 of 365 Obama!

I went to Buchanan Park in Lancaster today to hear Barack Obama speak. Here's a repost of my synopsis from the Two Peas in a Bucket message board:

First of all, did you see me on CNN? I was the one right up front wearing the Obama t-shirt...

I got there at about 10:45 and was one of the first 20 or so in line. All I can say is it was HOT today. Drank lots of water and got sunburned.

We were let into the park at 3pm, and I was able to get right up to the fence. There was a roped off area inside the fence, in front of the podium. Later they brought the volunteers and some others into that area.

People inside that enclosure were able to (had to, actually) sit down and relax, while those of us on the other side were pretty much standing room only. It was so incredibly hot with all those bodies mashed together! The people on the inside kept trying to get cheers going, and at first we all did it but then all we could say was, "We're too tired! We're hot!" lol Volunteers were continuously passing water to as many people as they could.

Once Obama got there, EVERYONE was energized-- cheering, clapping, waving and so on. Bob Casey spoke first, and used the line about McCain being a sidekick, which got tons of laughs. Then Chris Wright, a lifelong Republican who's voting Democratic this time around introduced Obama.

He talked mainly about the economy, about personal responsibility and of course, John McCain. As usual, he complimented Sen. McCain respectfully before outlining where he thinks McCain has it wrong.

He did touch on last night's speeches, saying, "Some reporter asked me what do you think about being attacked so savagely?" he said. "And I said, 'Well, what else do you expect them to do? This is what they do every four years. And anyway, I've been called worse on the basketball court. It's not something I spend a lot of time worrying about."

Lots of cheers.

He did mention the mocking, but only mentioned Palin once and in passing, but he did zing Guiliani, saying, "Maybe that's not interesting work for Rudy Guiliani, but for the people on the ground, seeing the difference it makes, that's important stuff." More cheers.

Now, I didn't remember that verbatim or write it down or anything. I remembered the gist, but got the quotes here.

Now for the pictures! Bob Casey:

The crowd: It was so incredibly hot and I think you can see that in people's faces!

More Obama:
Finally, he didn't come around to where we were to shake hands, just around the enclosure. We were chanting, "Barack over here! Barack over here!" but to no avail. Maybe next time!

According to the Lancaster paper there were 15,000 people there today. The amazing thing about that is not just that he drew such a large crowd in a very conservative area, but that he got those numbers when this stop wasn't officially announced until this morning.

Back to the blog post: This was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I was exhausted when I got home, so I only went around the block. Now I'm going to bed and will probably sleep better than I have in weeks!

Miles today: less than 1 Total miles: 188

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day 37 of 365

It's gotten warm and humid again. I hate this kind of weather; I always have a hard time getting my ride going when it's like this. But it makes for a pretty sunset.

Now how's this for cute? This is my neighbor's dog Scooter, one of the sweetest, most adorable dogs that's ever lived. If I could, I'd take her home to live with me!

Scooter is a Jack Russell/Pug mix, I think. All the kids love her, all the adults love her and almost all of the other dogs in the neighborhood love her. She sees the kids onto the bus in the morning and greets them when they get back. She plays with all the dogs around and I've never seen her growl even once. She's a perfect neighborhood ambassador.

Below is a Virginia Tiger Moth. Those woolly bears that I've been seeing lately eventually become these moths.

Miles today: 5 Total miles: 188

Day 34 of 365

Finally I'm getting around to blogging about my ride on Sunday! Not that anything spectacular or incredibly interesting happened, I just haven't gotten around to doing it.

The area around my dad's apartment is blessed with bike lanes on both sides of most streets and that's what I used for the majority of my ride. It was Sunday morning, so there wasn't much traffic-- definitely a bonus for a newbie city rider like me.

It does seem that bicyclists in New York aren't required to follow the same rules of the road as everyone else. My sister swore that this is an incorrect assumption, but I'll tell you what-- my eyes tell me otherwise. (Of course, she meant that they're supposed to obey traffic laws, they just don't) They ran red lights and stop signs, pulled out in front of cars (and me!) and basically acted like they owned the road. I'd hate to be a little old lady crossing the street when they're barreling down the way. But I survived to ride another day...

I even made a friend. This is Roberto and his dog Mangy. Does that cutie look like his name should be Mangy?? As I was taking the picture at the top of this post (which is the George Washington Bridge, btw) this adorable little dog came running down the sidewalk towards me. How could I not pick him up and hug him and kiss him? Roberto's pretty cute, too, don't you think? I suspect Mangy is his woman-meeting mechanism, lol.

I had a pleasant conversation with Roberto, took a picture and headed out for more bicycling.

Miles today: 2 Total miles: 183

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 36 of 365

I rode up to the Mennonite church this evening-- before it got dark, this time. I didn't take any pictures, though, because the sun was sinking fast and once I get going with the camera I can lose track of time. I don't want to ride on that road at night if I can help it.

Above is another picture from New York City-- I'm not sure what road it is down there, but maybe my sister will get on and tell me. I believe that's Fort Lee, NJ that you see across the Hudson. Not sure, though. This shot was taken from Haven Avenue, the street where I parked my car. Where my dad parked my car, I mean.

Sure looks a lot different than New York, doesn't it? But I have to say, riding in NYC has made me eager to get to some other places, too. Maybe Washington, DC before the end of the year. We'll see!

Miles today: 4 Total miles: 181

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 35 of 365

I missed day 34, I know. I did ride, I just haven't blogged about it yet. Hopefully I'll get it done tonight.

This is a picture of a bike I saw when I was riding in New York. It was parked here just outside Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

My trip got cut short and I ended up coming home late last night, two days earlier than I'd planned. Everything is fine, it's just some of that family stuff that happens from time to time.

Needless to say, I've been pretty down for most of the day and spent most of my time moping around the house and sleeping. I did finally drag myself out for a ride at about 8pm. It was already dark so once again I rode around my neighborhood. I hope to get back on a good biking track (no pun intended) tomorrow.

Here is a view down the street where my car was parked. Haven, I think it was. My car is up on the left. (you can't see it) This road runs parallel to my dad's. Also on the left is the park that you can see from my dad's apartment. Now here's my car: (the Subaru)

I know the other day I said there was only like six inches on either side of my car, but obviously when you look at this picture you can see that it's more like 12 inches. It's still too close as far as I'm concerned!

Miles today: 1 Total miles: 177