Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wow-- I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I posted to my blog! I had a very busy end of the week last weekend, doing just over twenty massages in four days, so not a lot of biking was done. I was just too tired.
I did get a few rides in, though. Here are some pictures from some rides I took on the 14th and the 15th. The lilacs were so beautiful and sweet-smelling, despite the fact that they weren't quite in full bloom. They made me think how much I'd like to have some lilacs in my yard. I'm in the middle of redoing my front garden beds so there's a possibility that I could add some. Right now the only keepers I have are two Zepherine Drouhin climbing roses-- thornless and very fragrant-- and some mums. Everything else is going.

To that end, I joined the Lititz Garden Club! well, I kind of joined. I went to a meeting at the library last week and listened to a talk on trees. The talk was interesting but even more so was the fact that I rode my bike to the meeting, lol. Interesting to me anyway! I anticipated riding home at about eight, but the speaker went long and I didn't start until about ten minutes to nine. I've ridden many times in the dark, but this was the first time I was going to be riding in a more congested area with no real shoulder. Not that there's every really congestion in Lititz, but still. I got a horn blare from a driver who didn't appreciate my biking efforts, but other than that it was an uneventful trip.

Even though I haven't been riding as often these past two weeks, I have been riding farther. My average ride is now about fifteen to seventeen miles, with some longer distances thrown in on occasion. In the grand scheme of things or compared to the mileage of others they're not great feats at all, except when you consider that my overall physical condition isn't very good. It wasn't all that long ago when going four miles was a huge achievement. And I'm lazy, which makes any bike riding at all a big deal. Or maybe not lazy, but I do have a hard time feeling motivated to do things most days. Just the way life is right now. So fifteen miles on a regular basis is cause for celebration!

The sign above is representative of a common sight in Lancaster county-- religious admonitions posted where passers-by can see them. I see them often when driving, but haven't seen many while biking. Some of them are kind, like this one, but others are about repentance, sin, etc. As I encounter them I'll put them up here.

I'll wrap it up with a cow picture. These cows (and I think the one on the right with the black face is a bull-- his name was Tony) are on an Amish farm in Warwick Township. They are also the cleanest cows I've seen. I hate to say it, some of the farm animals I see around here are filthy. One farm in particular has the dirtiest cows I've ever seen. I'm pretty sure they're dairy cows, and it makes me never want drink milk or eat cheese again. But these cows were neat and tidy, as you can see.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Random photos to go with a random bike ride...

No pictures from my ride today. I hadn't really planned to do any riding anyway as I woke a up at four in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep, plus it was raining. I had taken most of the day off to meet with my writing group and had no clients scheduled for the later afternoon and evening. But wouldn't you know it... as I lay in bed trying to take a nap around 4:30, the phone rang-- I had a client who wanted to come on at 6:30.

I decided to ride over to the office and then back home, a three mile round trip. Oh my gosh I was soooo tired. But on the way home I got a second wind and decided to go around the block-- around the block meaning an additional eight miles.

Eight miles is hardly any distance at all, except that it was pretty much dark when I made the decision to do it. Of course I have head and tail lights for my bike as well as reflectors, but I didn't have my reflective vest and I was going to be on some lonely roads that had no street lamps. But I went anyway.

I guess I just wanted to scare myself because I took the loneliest of lonely roads around my house, mist coming off the fields and everything. I can't remember the last time I pedaled so fast... thank goodness I wasn't riding by the spooky house!

Anyway, I took no pictures tonight so here are some photos taken at Lititz Springs Park at different times during the past year. And we'll finish up with some cows scaring me:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Going to the dogs (and cats)

Biking around Lancaster County means you'll always see lots of farm animals: horses, mules, pigs, chickens, cows, and goats are usually out and about in the fields and in the case of horses, on the roads. We even have an alpaca farm in my town!

I enjoy seeing them-- although I find cows somewhat frightening-- but I really love meeting people's dogs when I'm riding around. Since I haven't ridden my bike since I got my bad sunburn on Tuesday, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some photos of some of the dogs (and cats) I've met in my travels.

First up, in the picture above, is my neighbor's dog Scooter. I've blogged about her before. She is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met.

On the left is Annie, who belongs to another neighbor. As you can see she's out for a walk with Scooter.

Annie is an apricot poodle who is somewhat shy, but not fearful. Her poodle friend Oliver died recently and she's just starting to get the hang of being a solitary dog. Dainty little thing, isn't she?

Next is Kona, who belongs to a lady that works as a cashier at a local grocery. I met them while biking on a path in the meadow reclamation area.

Kona wasn't too keen on being photographed but she loved being petted!

When I biked over to my friend Sheree's on Easter Sunday her son Ryan was there from Massachusetts and he had brought his dog Brody. Check out that tongue!

I have a soft spot for Brody and am always happy to see him when he visits. He's one of those once-in-a-lifetime dogs, if you know what I mean. Smart, affectionate, well-behaved, intuitive-- just special. He reminds me of my dog Gabby in that way. And speaking of Gabby, here's a picture of her from about 1983:

Awesome dog and my best friend for years and years!

Finally, here's a picture of two semi-wild cats I saw near the start of the rails-to-trails path. They were interested in watching me, but wouldn't come near when I tried to coax them over.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I did it!

I accomplished a big goal today-- I rode 24 miles in one go, rather than doing my usual ten or so earlier in the day and then adding anywhere from three to fifteen later on. Yes, before today the longest I ever rode at one time was fifteen miles. At least that I can remember! Certainly since I've had this bike. I could ride over twenty miles in one day, but not at one time. So I'm quite pleased and feel confident that I can reach my goal of riding fifty miles in one day by the end of the summer.
This is Sunshine. At least that's what her ear tag says. She wasn't quite sure what to make of me at first but eventually overcame her shyness and looked right at the camera. This farm is an Amish farm across from the Lancaster Airport. Riding through here was pure hell! The wind was so, so strong and coming directly at me. I was quite envious of the two cyclists I saw going in the opposite direction with the wind at their backs... The sun was also a problem today and I got a pretty bad sunburn on my arms and face. It didn't seem so bad when I was out there, but now it's extremely red and painful. I definitely need to be more careful in the future or I could have heat exhaustion. Don't want that for sure!

On Easter I rode about 24 miles as well, but broken up into three parts. I rode six miles to my mom's, then about five miles to my friend Sheree's and then close to fourteen miles from her house to mine.

Now the reason I went fourteen miles between her house and mine is that I got LOST. I was supposed to head back to my mom's for a little while, but wanted to take back roads and avoid a certain busy area.

I went left instead of straight, straight instead of right and so on and so on. My preference for going downhill rather than working to go uphill certainly played a part as well! I don't know why I do the downhill thing over and over again. I know if you go down you eventually have to go up again but I keep trying to avoid the hills. Just lazy, I guess!

At least I got to see some new scenery. One of the roads I passed is called Spooky Nook Road, and here's Spooky Nook Greenhouse, which isn't on Spooky Nook at all but on Colebrook. Spooky Nook sounds more interesting for sure!

And of course I couldn't help but take a picture of my bike in front of said greenhouse/farm:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sauder's Egg Ride

Yesterday I participated in the Sauder's Eggs 18th Annual Easter Egg Run & Ride. It's fundraiser for the Lititz Fire Department, and you can do a 5K walk, a five mile run, or 10, 25 or 50 mile bike ride. The run is for prize money, but everything else is just for fun. I opted for the ten mile ride (although it was actually almost eleven miles-- plus my three mile round trip to get to the start point). I thought I could probably do the 25 miler, but didn't want to over-reach on my very first group ride-- and what a wise decision that turned out to be!

Check out this hill:

Aaarrrgghhh!! Yes, I walked it from about the half way point. It was tough to have little kids on dirt bikes and grandparents on hybrids passing me, but I tried to keep in mind that my bike is not made for speed. It's made for cruising around and enjoying the scenery. And this was not a race! But it bugged me, I admit. I did keep up for the most part, although I had to stop from time to time to take pictures, of course.

These babies were interested in watching the bikes go by:

They were so funny, too-- turning their heads first one way and then the other as people rode by.

This picture caused me to fall way behind the rest of the group. I kept taking and re-taking it, trying to get it perfect. I think I had like fifteen or twenty very similar shots when I uploaded the photos from my camera!

What I should probably do is take a photography class and learn how to really use my camera rather than relying on luck to get a picture. Or I could read the instruction manual... if I can ever find it.

When we got back to the start point they served omelets made with Sauder's eggs. I didn't take a picture of my omelet, but here are some other photos.

Water, oranges, bananas, etc, and a funny egg-like creature:

I have a number of other photos to share, but I have to get ready to go to my mom's for some Easter dinner. So I'll just end with this photo of my bike before the ride:

Friday, April 2, 2010

At the Drive-through...

Sometimes Becky and I pop over to the Lititz Family Cupboard restaurant for something to eat if we have time between clients. They're just around the bend from the office and they serve typical Lancaster County food. Just good country food like chicken and waffles, chicken pot pie (chicken soup with a big noodle in it, not the chicken pot pie that they make everywhere else), sweet cucumber salad and so on. And lots of hardboiled eggs --although I avoid those.

They also have this adorable little drive through connected to the bakery portion of the restaurant. That red cow bell just tickles me every time I see it.

Anyway, I ride up there on my bike and order an iced tea once or twice a week. Always unsweetened tea, no lemon please. I should probably invest in a cup holder for my bike since it's a bit of a pain to steer when I have a big cup of tea in one hand!

If you look closely at the picture above you can see a silo reflected in the glass. Here's what you see if you turn around and look opposite the drive up window, taken on a rainy day earlier in the week: Or was it last week? I guess it doesn't really matter.

And when I look at this next one I wonder what the heck I was doing at the drive through-- it looks so dark and ready for storming. These two were in the same batch I took the day I got caught in the rainstorm. Maybe if I'd spent less time taking pictures I'd have been home before the rain started!