Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Riding Through the Spring Thaw

A day off work demanded a ride. Heavy rain from the previous night along with snow melt caused flooding throughout the valley. Had that moisture arrived tonight with sub-freezing temperatures we would be looking at 30 inches of snow.

I chose small mountain roads to explore and celebrate the thaw, the approach of spring, and warmer riding weather. Even with earplugs and helmet I could still hear the water roaring down the mountain.

The roads were wet and covered with gravel in places but it didn't matter. I was happy to putt along and see the sights. No interest in carving curves and all that stuff.

I've convinced myself that winter is finished but in the back of my head I know that there have been winters that dropped three feet of snow in mid-March. Present in the picture above is another sign of spring -- as I tromped through the brush to shoot it I was thinking about ticks and Lyme Disease -- something that one doesn't worry about in a real winter. Give me a rattlesnake any day.

Riding across the valley was a challenge because of the strong wind. I thought it would knock the scooter down before I could run out into the field to make the picture. The Vespa stayed upright despite shaking on its center stand.

The wind, cold, and dampness did drive me on -- right into the Pump Station Cafe for hot tea and some grub. Any good ride ends this way for me. Sometimes it ends more than once.


Anonymous said...

To the words and the pictures - WOW! Never stop.

RickRussellTX said...

HEY! You borrowed my yellow jacket!

Oh, wait, it's hanging right over here. Sorry.

Pvino said...

Two thumbs up for Steve and his trekkng.. I could not even start to imagine riding in the snow or the cold temperatures. Ride on and celebrate with multiple adventures to the coffee shop. I surely would appreciate a cup of tea and a good shortcake biscuit.

Stay warm..

Ronman said...

I love the way your rides end Steve. I really need to remember to take pictures of the food sometime.

Ride Safe


Lucky said...

I love the photo of the rushing water.

Ale- said...

his is what I call a Happy Ending! ;-)

earplugs? a police officer woul shoot me if he finds me riding with earplugs on...!
(well, I actually do it however. What do you listen to usually when riding?)

I'm @work, and I haven't any muffin, but I'm going to have a cup o'tea!

irondad said...

"The roads were wet and covered with gravel in places but it didn't matter. I was happy to putt along and see the sights. No interest in carving curves and all that stuff."

Yikes! How can you say things like this? We're so alike and yet so different.

There is one area where you might be wiser than me. So that's what I've been doing wrong! Having tea at the END of the ride makes so much better sense. I ride a hundred miles for coffee then ride a hundred miles back. Not as convenient for the after coffee effect, if you know what I mean. Especially in the freezing cold.

Awesome post, as usual.

Pvino said...

I truly enjoy having a nice refreshment, a pastrie-starbuck goodies, and maybe a cookie for the road. That is how my friend and I treat ourselves after a long stretch on the SoCal secondary road autobahn. Of course we just scooterist - no comparison to the motor officers at donut shops. Wait a minute - now that why they love donuts. :)

Steve Williams said...

anonymous: Thanks for your kind words. I think photography and I are together until the end...

rickrusselltx: I just love that yellow and black jacket.

pvino: We're pretty adaptable creatures. Most of it is mental though -- have to break through expectations of comfort..*grin*

Tea and biscuits. One of the sublime pleasures in life. Now if I could only develop a taste for coffee...

ronman: The eating has become such an integral part of my riding that it is just a natural element of the ride landscape.

lucky: Rushing water sort of scares me, especially when there is ice on the bank. Even those little streams can be dangerous. I keep my old dog away from the stream banks this time of year. I'm afraid she doesn't differentiate winter water from summer water.

ale: I use noise reduction plugs. Soft spongy material that goes into your ears. I use the ones that construction guys uses. They reduce the noise level by 32dB.

I never listen to music while I am riding. My rides are as much as possible a departure from the noise of life -- real and imagined.

irondad: Those little scooter tires just don't handle the gravel well when leaned over. I've had the front fly out more than once and it is a battle to keep things the way they should be. Nothing like a sliding tire meeting clean pavement. You're big tires have a bigger footprint and will handle that stuff better maybe.

And of course you're crazy too. That helps...*grin*

I won't ride a hundred miles for tea. I need at least breakfast or lunch for that. But that plan has a big downside for me. I definitely am familiar with the "after coffee effect".

Often in the winter when I ride a long ways and gather a belly full of food I am really cold when I get back on the scooter. All the blood is in my stomach sawing away at the food and I freeze and shiver all the way home.

Haven't figured out a way around that other than hang out for an hour or so before climbing back on the Vespa.

pvino: Just reading your comment I want to get on the scooter and take a ride that will magically find me somewhere with snacks...

American Scooterist Blog said...

Hi Steve, what ear plugs are you using? I've found a set by Remington to work really well and be comfortable under the bucket as well. Oh, and I've got a newish bucket. Ok, its new but cheap with one great feature so I'll be upgrading if the only other one like it, fits. lol

Your writing is going to bring me back, you know that?


s. said...

So beautiful there.

Anonymous said...

This may sound strange, but I really enjoy the photo of the snack....always

Sherry CC