Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Couple of Silly Rides

 


As this has been a stressful year for a lot of reasons I have tried to increase my silliness a little. So when Laura had a ride last Saturday on Halloween I decided to add a spiderweb to my helmet. It wasn't much of a costume but is was more than I usually do as I'm not a big fan of Halloween. 

 It was barely above freezing when we started the ride but it was sunny and once we got moving I was warm enough. We headed to Lambertville to see the Halloween displays but this year there weren't a lot of big displays so it was kind of disappointing.

This week I decided to do something flatter. The weather was much warmer and was close to 60 when we started so all I needed was a long sleeve jersey. We started in Bordentown and I invited Chris to join us since he lives so close. Chis always seems to have a small malfunction every time he joins us. This time he had a problem keeping his head, I mean helmet on so it took him a few minutes to fix it. 

Since it was a sunny fall day I decided to head to Robling for to get a view of the river. We ended up going down almost to the Burlington Bristol bridge


 

It doesn't smell real nice in this area kind of a mix of raw garbage, industrial waste with a hint of diesel fumes. We did see a few interesting things along the river. We saw an outside spin class. Not sure how they got all those spin bikes in the middle of the park but somebody got a work out putting them there. We also saw a couple of parks and marinas and this Eagle statue. 

Since Laura decided to be in the glass studio instead of joining us I sent the required middle finger pictures. It just a stupid thing we do. It wasn't one of my more created pictures. I originally planned to do it in front of a Trump sign but we couldn't find many of them for some reason...

After a few pictures by the bridge we headed out of town to the better roads in Jacksonville and Columbus on our way back to Bordentown. It felt good to run these roads on a warm sunny day after last weeks cold ride. I know that winter is coming so it was good to get one more warm ride in before that happens.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Falling Leaves

 



This week I continued with my mini bike vacations. This Friday I took the day off and decided the check out the Paulinskill Trail which is near Blairstown NJ. This is a 27 mile long rail trail along the Paulins kill (kill is Dutch for creek). I had not done this trail before but my nephew had hiked it a few weeks ago and it looked interesting.

It was another hour and a half drive to the start. It was cloudy with a little fog along the way but when I got to the starting point it was just cloudy and the fog had retreated to the surrounding mountains. It is just after peak foliage so there were good color in the trees even thought a lot of leaves are already down. 

 I got Jack, Pete, Ricky and Laura to join me. The trail map said there was a parking lot at the beginning of the trail but we couldn't find it so parked at a ball field about a mile away. 

The start of the trail was a little rough and rocky with a little mud and Laura took a spill on one of the muddy parts but we kept going and after a mile or so it got better especially after we passed the Paulinskill viaduct.

I couldn't really tell what the surface was as it was covered with a few inches of leaves. The trail is mostly through the woods along the creek but there were a couple of spots where we got a view of the mountains and some fall colors


The trail goes next to the Blairtown airport and through the backside of Blairstown. At the north end of town there is a dam and a scenic lake where we stopped to take a few pics


 


There were also a few interesting bridges along the way.



At just over 12 miles out Laura and I decided to turn back as I wanted to get back to go visit my father. Ricky, Jack and Pete continued to head up the trail for about 10 miles.

On the way back Laura and I stopped a few times for some more pictures. I tried to get some good pictures of the Paulinskill viaduct but it was really hard to get a picture through the trees.



Its an impressive structure architecturally and has some interesting features as profiled in Weird NJ. The main feature is that the bridge has internal tunnels use to inspect the bridge. The bridge was build in 1908 for a rail line that ran between Scranton PA and New York. The rail line went out of service in 1979 so the bridge is abandon and its out side and internal tunnels are covered with graffiti some of it satanic in nature. Since the bridge was abandon it has been a popular place for teens to hang out and party so the state police patrol this area often. 


This trail is a little rougher than the Columbia trail or the D&R Canal trail but it was a very scenic trail so it was a good way to spend a day off.





 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Zoo Cruise


 

We haven't been able to do any bike vacations this year so instead we have done some local rides to parts of the state we haven't been too in a while. This Saturday we headed down to Bridgeton which is in the deep southern part of the state. There are a lot of quiet flat roads in this area in and among the farmland that makes New Jersey the Garden State. Down in this area here is also the Cohanzick Zoo. Its a very small zoo and will take you all of 10mins to walk through but its worth the diversion if you are in the area and gave us another reason to take the hour and 20 min ride to get to there especially since we all got nothing but time. I got most of the crew to join me included Laura, Jim, Pete, Jack and Ricky.

Bridgeton was one area covered in my Road Biking NJ book and I called the ride around the Bridgeton area the Zoo Cruise because as part of the ride it visits the zoo. We also stopped here in 2015 as part of our high point rides. The ride we did today was sort of a combination of the two with a few new roads thrown in. This is a very rural area filled with farmland, small lakes and a few grouping of buildings that they call towns. 

We started the ride going into a stiff north west wind which made the hill we were climbing seem worst than it really was. We passed by Rainbow lake and Parvin lake on our way to the high point of Cumberland country which at 140 feet is hard to even find. From there we wound our way through a lot of open farmland to Alloway where we stopped at a general store. The southern part of the state is a lot redder than other parts of the state and the sign on the door of the store made it clear that the owner didn't agree with Govern Murphy's mask mandate. 

We continued on some more quiet roads and eventually got a good tail wind as we headed south along some rivers and swamp land not far from the Delaware river. We did have a few small hills to climb towards the end which felt harder than they should of but then we got another good tail wind to push us back to where we started. 

After the ride we took a walk around the zoo. They have some small marsupials and lemma but the main attraction is the lion and the tiger and the bear. I had bought a new gaiter for Halloween. I like the SweatVac Shapshifers as they have two layers and are a simple mask I can easily pull up when needed when I ride. They also have some cool patterns. I got the tiger one because that is my favorite animals. I know gaiters are not the best mask so when I know that I'm going to be closer to people I put a surgical mask underneath it. 

Of course with a tiger mask on I had to try and get a selfie with the actual tiger.

I took one with my phone which came out okay but Ricky took the one at the top of the blog which is a better close up. Here is a better picture of the actual tiger.


I didn't get a good picture of the bear as he was laying in his hammock and was just a ball of fur.  

Last time I was at the zoo I got a good picture of the people riding we me in front of the (plastic) Gorilla. I was going to try and do a similar shot this time but with the Gorilla roped off and social distant requirements we took a slightly different type of picture. 

 

For some reason giving the finger while taking a group picture has become our standard. This time Laura got to partake instead of being the recipient of the picture. I guess this is our FUCK 2020 picture.

Although it was a long day it ended up being a fun day and so we may do a few more of these type of excursions as a way to get some mini bike vacations in.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

My Moonshot

 If you have visited this blog over the last few years you would see that beside my biking adventures I also occasionally post some stories of some of my astronomical endeavors. Recently because of some good weather I have been working on getting some pictures of the moon. One of my goals in life is to get a picture of the moon for each day of its 28 day cycle. I have been taking pictures of the moon for at least the last 10 years. Until recently I took the pictures by attaching a camera to the eye piece of my telescope. It wasn't easy to get the camera aligned with the eye piece and although I got a few OK pictures they never look close to what I actually saw through the eye piece. 

Last year I bought a Canon SX740 super zoom camera. With a 40x zoom I can get a reasonable picture of the moon by just putting the camera on a tripod and pointing it at the moon. The results are a lot better than I have been able to get before. The picture at the top is a Day 13 moon just one day before full. 

It does take a little practice to get a good picture and you have to have good conditions. I usually take 30 or 40 pictures at a lot of different shutter speeds to the settings to get the best picture. This I do some post processing to adjust the exposure and sharpen it. This past two weeks have been clear with no wind so I was able to get out 5 different nights. Here are the pictures I got.

Here is the Day 4 Moon



Here is the Day 5 moon



Day 8 moon


Day 11 moon


The interesting thing about is that each day is different as the terminator (the line between light and dark part) moves and highlights different parts of the moon and different craters. I currently have 5 out of the 28 days and got a couple of other days from pictures Laura took. 

It will still take me a while to get the rest of the 28. Getting the first few days means I have to go some where that has a clear view of the western horizon because the first few days of the new moon are only visible in the early evening near the horizon. Getting day 3 thought 15 I is easy because I can get that from my backyard on a clear night before I go to bed. Getting day 16 to 28 is harder because by the time the moon got above the trees it would be after midnight so I would have stay up past my bedtime. 

I'm sure somehow I will eventually get all the pictures and if I do I plan to put together a video like this one. That will not only show the waxing and waning of the moon but the libration (The twisting of the moon as seen from the earth)

Of course getting the rest of the pictures will take some time as it is rare to have weather as clear and calm as we have had for the past couple of weeks. However now that I have a camera that can get a take a good picture of the moon I can opportunistically get the pictures as weather and my schedule allows. 

 


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Lying Bastard 2020


 

There is not much to really say about this years Lying Bastard ride expect is was another PERFECT ride. Yes it was overcast, the roads were wet and we did get drizzled on for about 10 mins but otherwise it was a great ride. 

This year Pete, Jim and Bob joined me. Laura bailed again to blow some glass. We sent here a picture that showed here that we missed her. 

I have updated the route for this ride each year to try to make it a little better. Here is the route we did this year. This is almost exactly the route we did last year. This is a hilly ride which starts out with an 8 mile grind up to the ridge where Lake Nockamixon is then it is a series of annoying rollers for most of the rest of the ride. This route is a little easier than a few years ago as I got rid of the short steep 15% plus climb that got us out of Perkasie and to the lake and was the reason I got the name lying bastard.

Now instead we go down to the south side of the lake for a quick break then head up around the hills of the north side. It is a scenic ride through some strange woods. There is a Greek temple and a few strange holistic healing centers tucked in along the way. Even through this ride is in Pennsylvania and an hour north of Philadelphia it feels a lot more like the deep south which is why I call this area Pennsyltucky

We did see some more strangeness a few miles from our rest stop at a Turkey Hill. There was a farm with some strange sculptures including a cow made out of a oil tank and a snail 

 

I'm guessing it must have been some art studio because there were a number of other art works decorating the lawn. 

After the break it was a quick 10 mile sprint back to the start. With the usual quick and deadly plunge down the Red Circle of Death road which we all made it down with no problems. 

This ride has a reputation for being a hard annoying ride. The truth is that it is really not much harder than some of our other hillier rides if you look at the facts. However as I have seen recently some people don't seem to believe in the facts so this ride will always be a bastard of a ride to some people. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

NJ Safari

 

Click HERE for more Pictures

Because of the pandemic we decided not to do any big vacations this year. We thought about spending a long weekend up in Cape Cod hanging out at the beach but a some of stuff we normally do wasn't opened and so we didn't think it would be worth the extra hassle. That means I have a lot of vacation days to use. I plan to use most of my vacation by taking four day weeks for the next few months.

This pass Monday I took a vacation day and my wife and I decided to go on a safari. This year Great Adventure made their safari park a separate attraction instead it being a included as part of the admission for their theme park. So if just want to go to the safari park you can now do that for a reasonable fee.

The safari park is a 5 mile loop with a number of different areas. There are a lot of deer, antelope, zebra and other grazing animals.



There are also some elephants and giraffes




And Lions and Bears who we saw get into some fights so we got a little show.




It wasn't like taking a real African safari but it was a good way to spend a couple of hours and enjoy a little local vacation




Sunday, September 13, 2020

Southern Sojourn


 

Since everybody had enough hills last week I decided to do something much flatter this Saturday. I wanted to do something a little different so we headed a little further south than normal. This meant an hours drive south to Batsto Village. It was another good weather day with temps just below 70 and partly cloudy skies. I got Jack, Pete, and Bob to join me. Here is the route we did.

I like riding in this area because its easy riding and there are some interesting bridges and rivers mostly crossing the Mullica river. 




And of course there was a bridge out.


And it looks like the bridge is condemned because besides the barriers there were permanent guard rails across it. Of course that didn't stop us from getting over it and on to Smithville by the coast where we found a few ducks and geese. 

Then it was on to Oyster Creek for a view of the marshland along the bay. It's a nice scenic spot where you can see from the end of Long Beach Island to Atlantic City. The only problem is the green flies that attack you. However with the stiff north east wind we had today there were no flies around.

Once we left Oyster Creek we had a tail wind most of the way back. I made a few changes to the route to try and stay off the busier roads. This brought us through some retirement and residential neighborhoods as well as through empty roads named after German cities. 

When we got back to Batsto Village the parking lot was packed as after Labor Day there is no fee to park here and walk around the village and trails. There was even a bunch of MGs in the parking lot on their way to a car show. I got out of there and away from all kids running around as quick as I could. 

There are a lot of good places to ride in South Jersey so I may head down this way again if the weather stays warm.