Archive for June, 2012

Other places

June 19, 2012

We’re visiting Southern California for a bit of fam and a bit of biz for L and all vacay for A. Long Beach, in Orange County, is an old port city that’s gotten spiffed up. Riding borrowed Trek cruisers, we explored the town, rode along the beach, and made a major field trip to see the USS Iowa that had just come into port. It’s not open yet but we could see it.

Getting there was a trip-and-a-half: Long Beach bike lanes, bike trail along the LA river, so-called bike lanes in the industrial part of town, complete with semis hauling containers, some rough roads, funky old train tracks, etc. You get the pic; Welcome to industrial America. A motorist could get to the Iowa and the touristy stuff without seeing any of that. Just jump on the expressway and get off in San Pedro.

Thinking about San Pedro reminds me of the movie Chinatown. Doesn’t Jake have to go there in the middle of the night?

First the fam. This is Kevin, L’s oldest, and his wife, Doanh. They’re expecting their first baby at the end of June. Don’t they look good?

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The about-to-be-first-time Granddad and me, the Bonus Grandma.

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And now, A real bike lane!

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The LA River trail.

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The USS Iowa.

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And a super-cute bike rack at the Long Beach Public Library.

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Happy trails!

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Shakedown, Day 2

June 17, 2012

While there is something cozy about camping during a storm (as long as there is no drama like falling tree limbs or gale-force winds), it’s also nice to sleep inside. The storm seemed farther away and the flashes of lightning bounced behind my eyelids as I slept.

Gus, a postal worker, had left for work at o-dark-thirty, although Larry went up to see him off. Sally fixed me breakfast when I got up and we sat and chatted for a long time. Finally, late-morning we headed up the road (even though Gus and Sally live right off the trail it’s inaccessible to La Porte). There is a legendary bakery there and, as it was graduation weekend, we snagged some of the last baked goods.

Here’s a fun fact about La Porte City. Did you know that the actress Annette Bening grew up there? And she still has family there? She brought the fam by for a family reunion a year or so ago.

By now we were deep in the heat of the day and a SW wind had come up (headwinds!) so it was clearly time to head back.

Hot though it was, the air was cooler in the shade of the trees that line the trail. First, though, we had to backtrack to see just how badly the bridge was damaged by the flood of 2008. Check for yourselves, friends.

After making me stand on the side of the bridge so he could take a picture of it in the background! I got to take one of Larry standing farther back? The joy of NOT having a fear of heights.

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The trail back went faster. I was getting some good experience handling the loaded bike on the overgrown limestone trail. Think single track without hills.

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By the time we got back to Center Point, which is where the trail was closed for replacing, we were tired and hungry and hot. We toyed with checking into a hotel but didn’t come across one so we rejuvenated ourselves the RAGBRAI way, with a greasy bar meal and a nap in the park.

Feeling like a Rogue of the Night, we hit the surface street. It was dark by then and the skinny moon was obscured by clouds. It. Was. Dark.

This is how I looked when we got to the trailhead in Boyson. I look like my mother. When she was 75 or so.

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We had the last bit of trail to Hiawatha to ourselves. We sped along, fast, lit, and out-of-control, or something to that effect.

Shakedown ride

June 17, 2012

Hello, I’m Julie, your cruise director on the Love Boat. Whoops, sorry, my mind wandered off for a sec there!

On Memorial Day weekend, Larry and I took the fully loaded touring bikes (he on his Nishiki and me on his LeMond) to ride the Cedar Valley Trail. There’s a description and map of the trail on the GORP site, with a cute subhead, “Rolling on the River.” The reality of its situation today is a bit less than cute. When we got to the trailhead in Hiawatha the county guy told us that the trail was closed for paving from Boysen to Center Point but that we could get around it on the county roads that parallel 380. Worse, though, was farther north; the damage caused by the Flood of 2008 still hadn’t been repaired. The bridge into La Porte City was out and the trail was partly impassable, he said.

Elwood: It’s a hundred and six miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.

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