Archive for August, 2008

Night ride to Trail of Tears

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

This Wednesday was the last one before classes resume at the University, so Laura wanted to schedule the ride to Trail of Tears State Park.  She’s been pushing for this most of the summer, so this was the last chance.  Trail of Tears is about 15 miles from Burritoville in Cape Girardeau, where the Wednesday Night bunch (aka, for reasons that are best left obscure, the David Hassellhof 5) meet at 10 PM for beer and biking.

After the obligatory stop for beer,

Wednesday Night Ride to Trail of Tears

we headed north out of town.  There’s something visually impressive about a group of a dozen bikes, adorned with assorted lighting, out on a country road at night.  My photo doesn’t really do it justice.

Wednesday Night Ride to Trail of Tears

We were a very strange sight indeed to the few motorists who passed us.  One of the nice things about riding on Wednesday nights is that a) there’s not much traffic and b) most of it is sober.

We made it to Trail of Tears, where we sat around in the road and had a beer.

Wednesday Night Ride to Trail of Tears

Fortunately, the park was closed, so no traffic there.  We made it back to Cape about 1 AM, stopped in a parking lot to drink another beer, and headed back to Burritoville in a rapidly diminishing pack as various participants peeled off to go home.

All in all, a fun evening.  Most of the DH5 gang don’t get out on the road for long rides very much, being more townie types, so it was a nice challenge out in hilly Cape county for them.   I don’t ride much in groups, so that was a nice change for me — and of course, I get a bit loopy when I’m out that long after my bedtime.   There were a few long-haul types there for a change, too.  Tim drove up from Sikeston, outfitted with a set of headlights that I kept thinking was an overtaking car.  And Rick brought his touring bike and his grey hairs to join the kids, too:

Wednesday Night Ride to Trail of Tears

A good time had by all as usual.  I was in bed by 3 AM, and up by 7:30.  I am probably too old for this s**t.

Apple harvest

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

We have apples.  When we moved into the house in 1994, there was one small apple tree almost buried in the tall grass:

The yard looking south

Later I bought four apple trees and planted them.  This seems like maybe five years ago.  When I went to look up information about them in my garden notebook yesterday, I was astounded to find out that this happened in 1998.
One of those trees died in a very hot, dry summer in 2002.   Another one, despite several efforts to prop it up, has fallen completely over on its side, and I’m just letting it be that way.  Two of the new ones, though, and the one that came with the house, are doing well and bearing a lot of fruit.


That’s the same tree that came with the house, by the way, now all grown up.

I decided that the fruit on two of the trees was ready to pick, and I wound up filling a laundry basket and a large box with apples. Here are some of them -


They’re more or less organic, since I never manage to get around to buying sprays and putting out fertilizer. I did spray some roundup on the poison ivy underneath the one that came with the house this year. In any case, they certainly look organic. They taste good, though. The tree that came with the house is susceptible to cedar apple rust, a fungal disease that is endemic here in the ubiquitous eastern red cedar trees. The ones I bought are all cedar apple rust resistant, so the spots on their apples are all just from bugs.

Today I need to peel, core, and slice a buttload of apples and freeze apple pie filling.

Florida in the 30′s and my parents

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

My grandmother, Lillian (Craig) Lamson, moved to south Florida sometime in the late 1930s.  My father moved down about 1938, met my mother, and married her there in 1940.   South Florida wasn’t quite  a howling wilderness by then, but it was a lot less developed than it is now.  I just scanned some of my father’s old photos, including a couple that are sort of historic.

Here are my parents in maybe 1940 — photo was undated:

Dad and Mom

And no, my mom was not 12 at the time, despite appearances.  She was 29, I think, and divorced.

And here are my mother, my grandmother, and some blonde babe sitting on a palm tree over the Loxahatchee River.

On a palm tree in the Loxahatchee River

It was taken on September 10, 1939 (Yes, mom and dad were just dating at the time).  So were two more pictures on the Loxahatchee — labeled in pencil on the back “Trapper Nelson’s”.

My parents and grandmother at Trapper Nelson's

Picnic at Trapper Nelson's, 1939

Trapper Nelson was a Russian-American from New Jersey who settled on the Loxahatchee River in the 1930s, where he eventually had a zoo and fishing camp, popular among socialites who wanted to rough it in the wilds of the Florida interior.  Apparently my folks were among his early fans.  I don’t see him in these photos; I think that the guy in front of the table in the lower picture is someone named “Willie” on other pics, and the guy behind it is my dad.  But who took the pictures?

Burn twinkies, not oil

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

So St. Louis held its first World Naked Bike Ride on Saturday night.   Naturally I went; it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to get publicity for the cause of reducing our dependence on oil, cutting CO2 emissions, and improving people’s health.  And of course, taking off your clothes.  Did I?  Well, the police made it clear in advance that total nudity would not be tolerated, although it appears that lots of people got away with it, not to mention lots more who relied on body paint.

I’d estimate about 200 riders, on a 15 mile route through downtown St. Louis.   We passed Busch stadium just after the game ended, so the sidewalks were packed with cheering spectators.   Will they all go home, park their cars, and start riding bikes to work?  Probably not.   But there may be a few more people inspired to quit buying so much $4 gasoline.

Anyway, a fun time for a good cause.

There’s been a fair amount of news coverage: