Sunday, October 11, 2009

Small Riding Accomplishments

Fall is my favorite riding season. Cooler temperatures coupled with light and color from a magic paint box make every curve in the road a visual feast. I can't help those of you who live in the flatlands where the roads are all straight.

Riding has collided with responsibility. New work responsibilities, old work responsibilities, a new dog, and all the other things I need or want to do shred my days and burn hours at a startling rate. Long rides seem impossible. That's why I've had to mentally regroup. There is much to gain in small rides.

On Saturday morning I had one hour to ride. Sixty minutes to embrace two-wheeled motion and see what would happen. As usual, the Vespa releases me from the weight of my thoughts and I'm in the flow of the ride. My focus shifts from things I have to do to what is happening right now, right in front of me. I move from my mind to my senses and the world gets brighter.

Stopped along the road taking in the tunnel of changing leaves I am grateful for a chance to be on the road.

Riding only 25 miles there is no shortage of places to see. I wandered into the woods at a place where Kim and I once found a Blood Root plant. Peering through the woods at the scooter I'm reminded of how little I stop when I am in the truck. The world exists only as destinations and I tend to ignore the journey from inside the cage.

I told a friend yesterday that I don't like group rides because they don't stop enough. I'm not happy with only food and bathroom breaks. I wonder at times if I would ride at all if the camera wasn't involved.

On a stop to peer out along the valley I noticed a salamander crossing the road. I think this one is a Wehrle’s salamander. Crouching on the road with my camera on the macro setting I wondered whether this guy was going to bite me. Amazing what passes through a head. And equally amazing how much detail I miss because I'm not paying attention.

I arrived home rested and recharged from a short, small ride. I had forgotten how good they are. As I typed this post I'd been wondering if it is worth the trouble to gear up and ride into town to meet my friend Gordon (3 Prints Project). The temperature is in the 30s and it's just a short distance.

Now that I remember my short little ride I am now going to head to the garage and fire up the Vespa.

24 comments:

Pvino said...

Steve,

I am right there with you - Fall season its my favorite time of the year - beautiful colors and great seasonal temperatures to still enjoy a long or short scooter rides. I too enjoy riding and stopping..large motorbike rides are constant and long..way too long for me. Enjoy your back to the future shorter rides and new four legged busy body.

Phil

Charlie6 said...

as always, very nic pictures....specially the second one!

Steve Williams said...

Pvino: I just came home from a trip into town and am amazed at how fast the leaf colors are changing. I can see the change creep up the mountainsides.

Didn't see any more amphibians today but do have a black dog at my feet.

Charlie6: Thanks for your kind words. It's hard to go wrong this time of year. Point the camera in any direction and the color overwhelms you.

Richard Machida said...

Pretty nice colors. All of the leaves up here just turn yellow, no reds or oranges. I am always inspired by your pictures, thank you for sharing them.

Mike Simmons said...

The second image gives the impression of a chill in the air. Your fall is quicker than ours in the Northwest, and yours is more intense. Nice pictures, Steve - thank you.

Mike

American Scooterist Blog said...

Beautiful colors. We're not getting much of it this autumn. Today is the second time its snowed already. I can see at least an inch of the white stuff on everything. Here's the kicker; All the leaves are brown. And most of them are still on the trees. Its an unusual season for my own short memory.

Harv

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

I suited up yesterday morning, ridng in my fall ballistic gear for the second time this year. Two hours later, I had all the vents open and had switched back to perforated gloves. But it was also the second time this year that I did not sweat the entire day.

And like your run, it was a short ride of some 88 miles.

Less than 5% of the trees are changing here. But I have decided to change of season scale inspired by your blog.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Sojourner rides said...

Fall is special. A ride, no matter the distance, is to me, often just want I need to pause and exhale... That little creature you captured is a reminder of little wonders...

Bryce said...

Location, location, location. Leaves change depending on many factors.
I suspect the leaves here in Southern Ontario will change late this year, a considerable amount of moisture ensures a late change as I recall.
Oh, and I still have both my Pentax Espio and Nikon F100 for film; the D90 lives beside the F100 in its own compartment, loaded with Kodachrome presently, have some 30 rolls to use before the end of next year and fall really enhances the Kodachrome colour.

The fall too is my time for bridges. Have been documenting the the 100 year old or more Great Western Stone railway bridges in the area, for the last year or so.
Evening at this time of the year can be called sweet light so I try and do photography of same in the early morning or early evening. Side roads can be messy with mud and yes snow hence four wheels are better.
Maybe one day I'll return to two wheels, not for a bit yet though.

Enjoy your Columbus Day, our Canadian Thanksgiving Day October 12, 2009.

cpa3485 said...

As usual your pictures are second to none. I have a trip planned this weekend and hope to capture some colors as well. For many reasons, fall is my favorite time of year. The colors are just one reason. Nice job!

Giest said...

Long rides, short rides...you take it where you can get it. Regardless of the distance it's always a mind cleansing affair. My cold rides into work are only 15 to 20 minutes, but I feel alive when I dismount. While everyone else is doing a thousand things while driving, I'm doing one thing and one thing only. I'm riding and it's the only thing that matters.

Anais Anais said...

I am almost sure I have seen these photos (very nice BTW) in other entries. Porbably during 2008? IS that so? I really enjoy the combo of words and pictures. Keep on writing about your rides.

New Rider

irondad said...

"As usual, the Vespa releases me from the weight of my thoughts and I'm in the flow of the ride. My focus shifts from things I have to do to what is happening right now, right in front of me. I move from my mind to my senses and the world gets brighter."

Pretty much sums it up. Nice description. Teaching does the same for me, too.

I looked at a 100mm macro lense with anti vibration built in. Nice lense, but for a thousand dollars? There must be less expensive, but still good, alternatives?

Steve Williams said...

Richard: Thanks for the kind words of encouragement. How can I go wrong though with such a wonderful palette of leaves?

Mike Simmons: The small chill has given way to a wet, damp cold snow. I can't believe there is snow on the ground already. Depressing...

Steve Williams said...

Harv: Your snow has visited here and continues to fall. Trees down and my spirits trampled. I'm not ready for this.

Jack Riepe: Always nice to hear from you here. I'm familiar with the joy of not sweating during the ride. I wish the moderate temps would last longer.

Short rides seem to be the norm of late but that will change. Once the temperature drops below freezing I can extend my travels.... *right*

Steve Williams said...

Sojourner: Little wonders are everywhere aren't they? Part of the enjoyment of riding.

Bryce: Kodachrome. That takes me back though I am no longer sure I am a willing traveler. Shooting transparency film was challenging and difficult at times. I'm spoiled now at the instant feedback the digital camera provides. At least for professional work.

Do you publish any of your pictures on the Web?

Steve Williams said...

cpa3485: Thanks! I like shooting pictures on the road but feel I need to introduce some different energy to them. Just not sure what that might be.

Giest: I hear you when you say you feel invigorated and alive after a ride in the cold. That is one of the main seductive elements for me.

Steve Williams said...

Anais Anais: All three of the pictures were fresh and made last Saturday. I have stopped before to shoot pictures in the location that appears in the third picture but not sure I ever shot that angle.

All my Vespa pictures are starting to look alike...

Steve Williams said...

irondad: I have the 105mm macro and it is a very nice lens. I also have the 60mm macro. Half the price and an exceptional lens if you don't really need the reach of the 105.

And there are always deals in the used market. All my Leica gear is used. KEH.com has a lot of stuff and stands behind the stuff they sell.

Reading your latest blog post I almost thought you were going to say you are ceasing riding to pursue photography....

Heinz N Frenchie said...

Fall Colors are spectacular in your area and your photos are equally spectacular. Reminds us of when we used to live in four seasons. Fall was always our favorite time of year as it was the end of hot summers and the pause before the rough winters. The first crisp temperatures putting a skip in our step. Thanks for the beautiful photos.

Steve Williams said...

Heinz N Frenchie: Fall is wonderful in Central PA. The colors are amazing.

Thanks for the kinds words. As I've said before it is hard to go wrong with pictures in this environment.

Gianna said...

I just wanted to say that I love your pictures and your stories. The whole blog is just great.

./clutch said...

I wish there is a fall in the Philippines.. you got nice place and a nice blog here. Keep it coming!

Steve Williams said...

I like having the change of seasons. Visually it provides so much variety of pictures.

Fall is especially sweet.....