32 minutes

…to get from the golf course to the other end of the Greeneway.

Honestly, I'm kind of shocked. I thought it would be at least 40 minutes! I was pacing myself so I wouldn't use up all my energy, and I remembered that going from the Activities Center to the end and back took 45 minutes…so I figures the trip up would be something like 30 minutes plus the 10 it took me to get to the Activities Center from the golf course the other day.

I'm certainly not unhappy about my achievement, though!

It was a good ride. Like yesterday, it's cold, but not freezing. The Lands End fleece sweater Mom gave me over Christmas has kept me perfectly warm both days.

Well, now to head back down. Like yesterday I'll ride along the river. I'll probably have time for pictures too!

Wow, I have a lot of time

I got up at 5 am today because I needed to update some videos from last night’s football coverage for work. I was thinking I would just go back to bed after that and sleep away my weekend like usual, but once I was finished working (it barely took any time at all) I really wasn’t tired anymore. So I stayed up and cooked Sean some bacon, sunny-side-up eggs, and grits.

I have finally learned how to cook bacon properly! It’s only taken me, what, 15 years? What I’ve been doing wrong all this time is getting impatient and turning the heat up too high. Also, apparently it’s best to start with a cold pan? I learned that tip over at Cooking for Engineers.

Sean thought the bacon was awesome. So I was very pleased. I also ate two pieces and liked them a lot better than the oh-so-crispy bacon from the other day.

After eating breakfast, Sean went to bed. I had cleaned the kitchen while I was cooking, so I fiddled around online a little, but ultimately decided to get my walk over with before it got too hot. The sun was already rising.

Then it occurred to me: why not go biking instead? It’s the weekend and there’s plenty of time. So I detached the bike from its stand, carted it out to the car, popped a wheel off, and slid it into the back. Let me say that it is much easier to get the bike in there once the front wheel is removed!

I went up to the Greeneway. I figured that would be best since it’s a solid surface and quite shaded, which would both help me since I hadn’t biked in quite some time. I also intended to go to work after biking and see about rearranging my office, and the Greeneway is quite close by, whereas the Canal entrance I like to bike from is on the complete opposite side of town.

I decided to start from the Rapids parking/Martintown Road entrance, where the bridge is, because I honestly didn’t know how far I was going to be able to make it, and I really wanted to be able to reach a goal, like the Pisgah Road end of the Greeneway. Getting the bike out of the car and reassembled was a breeze, and then I was off.

And wow. I knew it was going to be bad, but I was still unprepared for how winded I felt right at the beginning. I countered this by slowing down. Back in the day I would try to stay above 8 mph (12 was optimal); today I averaged about 6.4. But I was able to make it all the way to the end, and I only stopped to rest once in the middle.

I was right about the shade being beneficial. It actually felt like a nice, cool spring morning. It apparently rained last night, which probably helped (and added to the “springy” feel). The upshot is that I wasn’t uncomfortable at all, especially when I was moving. It felt like there was a cool breeze.

I also had my Outspokin’ water bottle with me and I made sure to stay hydrated, drinking lots of water when I stopped for a break and when I got to the end.

The ride back was what I’d been waiting for. As longtime readers and Greeneway frequenters know, it’s downhill. It’s not hard to get to 12mph downhill, which I did. I also rode no-handed the entire way, save for when I had to cross the street or pass people.

I may be out of shape, but I can still ride a bicycle no-handed, damn it! :D

Riding no-handed forced me to pedal pretty much the entire time in order to better keep my balance, so while the workout on the way back obviously wasn’t as high-intensity as the way up, it wasn’t just me coasting along, either.

It did feel great, though–the cool air whipping around me, my arms at my sides, my feet casually pushing the pedals.

In all I rode 3.2 miles, which sounds really pathetic to me, but it’s a first step. I was pretty pathetic back when I originally started biking, too, and I got to where I was pretty awesome after awhile. It’ll come back.

I did go to the office after that, and I did pull my desk away from the wall, but then I noticed some cables going into my video encoder that don’t exist on the other wall. I’ll have to look into what those are and see if it’s possible to have them on the other side of the room. I have no problem with running two CAT 5 cables across the floor and lying a big rug over the cords, which I will have to do in order to have enough internet connections at my desk, but I don’t want to get ridiculous with it.

My office is large, but the shape is problematic, as I’ve mentioned before. Ultimately I want to be able to sit in a corner with my back to the wall so people aren’t constantly behind me, but it seems like it’s going to be very difficult to achieve that.

After seeing the extra wires, I decided to leave things as they were until I had consulted with the IT guy. So I shoved the desk back into position and headed home.

I got here at around 9 o’clock. 9 o’clock! Look at everything I’ve done today, and all way before I would be going into work on a weekday. Today I don’t have work…so what am I going to fill all those extra hours with?

Well, I’m thinking about finally driving out to see the dam. I’m also considering going to Lincolnton.

For now, though, I’m going to stay in the cool and rest a bit, eat a bowl of cereal, and watch some Touch, which I started watching yet again the other day.

Holy crap, it IS possible!

Okay, I admit it: I thought David was full of…something when he said it was possible to fit a bicycle into a Yaris. But he was not wrong!

Yesterday I decided I would try to go biking at the Canal. Adam from work called, though, to ask me a quick question about getting pictures off a camera, and during the conversation he reminded me that it had rained like crazy the day before. I didn’t want to get mud all over my tires and thus all over my Yaris, so I was considering going to the Greeneway, but that didn’t sound fun at all…so ultimately I stayed home and did laundry instead.

Today I made up for it.

Getting the bike into the Yaris was interesting. First I had to figure out how to fold the seats down. I ended up using the owner’s manual, which is good, because there are certain things you have to do with the seatbelts before you fold the seats.

However, one of the instructions in the manual was totally confusing. It said to flip the running board over. Did it mean these two padded areas on top of the spare tire cover? I wondered. No, couldn’t be…they didn’t have handles or anything to move them off the cover, and they seemed to be stuck there pretty good. Did it mean the cover itself? I flipped the cover over, but nothing really changed. Was I supposed to use the strange curved piece that had been sitting in the very back of the car for no apparent reason? No, it didn’t fit anywhere.

Finally I figured out that 1) the weird curved piece was a cover for the hatch area when you have the seats upright, to hide whatever you might have in the back of the car; 2) I wasn’t supposed to flip the spare tire cover over; 3) those two padded things on top of the spare tire cover were the running board. I just had to pop them out of place, and then they flipped over and covered the remaining space.

That accomplished, I spread out my childhood blanket and grabbed the Maou out of the apartment.

I decided to try putting him in there without taking off a wheel, thinking that if I needed to remove a wheel, I could just do that when the time came. So I heaved and shoved the bike into the car. It took a little doing, but I was able to squeeze it in and turn the handlebars so that it fit, without taking anything apart.

Here’s a view from the driver’s side door:

So then, finally, I was off.

I headed down Wheeler towards Washington Road, then turned left. I’m not particularly sure why; I’m pretty positive that’s a longer way to go. But you know, everything north of Washington Road is a mess. There’s no easy way to get to the Savannah Rapids Pavilion from where I live now or where I used to live. Where I am now is actually more inconvenient–it’s probably faster to go to the Greeneway from here ;P I may need to look into going to a different Canal entrance.

At any rate, I turned right on Old Evans Road (again…why? I don’t understand my directional choices) and then had to turn around when I realized I was heading back towards Washington Road. I then took a right on Blue Ridge and another right onto Evans to Lock. And that of course took me straight to the river and canal.

I pulled into my usual parking area–the last row, overlooking the headgates–and said aloud, “Well, I made it! Now I guess I can go home.”

But I pushed through my tiredness and got the bike out of the car and put air in the tires and headed down the hill and across the bridge.

My purpose was to enjoy an afternoon of biking and photography. I’m not in anywhere near the shape I was when I used to bike the Canal regularly, so I decided that if I made it to I-20, that would be good enough. That was where I’d seen the pretty red trees on my drive, anyway–I at least wanted to get a picture of them.

So I did just that. I biked until I saw something pretty, then stopped and took photos, then biked some more, all the way up to the interstate. There’s a hill there, and by that time I was pretty dang tired, so I stopped at the hill, took some pictures of the I-20 overpass, and turned around.

Here are a couple pictures of the trip out:

On the way back, I finally figured out how to take detail shots in low light. It’s been nearly six years since I started using the Olympus C3030 Zoom, and only this year have I really started to take advantage of its capabilities. The breakthrough is partially thanks to Dariush, who pointed out the arrows controls at the top right corner of the back of the camera. Who knew? I had never touched them. This is amusing, because I always wonder about people who never try new features in software. I’m always messing around to see what the new stuff can do…but there are some people who are either afraid to touch it or who just ignore it completely because it’s not within their realm of knowledge. I didn’t realize until today that I’d been doing the same thing with my camera.

In any case, here’s the first picture after I realized what those arrows could do for me:

(After making this realization, I sang to myself, “I know the se-cret! Na na na na na!”)

Here are a few more pictures from the ride back. I apparently took a lot more pictures on the way back than I did on the way out.

I also went across the new bridge for the first time. The railings are as high as my nose! It leads to a circular area made of stone that has what appears to be recessed lighting built into its low walls. There wasn’t anything else there, though. I’m thinking that eventually there will be benches or something, but who knows?

The bridge’s location was a good choice. It’s right next to the waterfall that Sean and I showed David the first time he visited Augusta. As I crested the hill leading away from the bridge, I immediately smelled it. I’m not sure what that smell is–it’s not just fishy, it’s almost like a chemical–but it’s not entirely pleasant. But as I approached the waterfall, it faded into the background, and I took some pictures.

[Edit: Mystery Photo Guy (aka Randy) tells me that the waterfall is Reed Creek, and the smell comes from the Reed Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is upstream. Yum!]

I was going to head back along the path on that side of the Canal, but it was muddy and filled with puddles, so I went back over the bridge and returned the normal way.

On my way back over the bridge, I decided to take one last picture of the big white crane sitting next to it. After all, I thought, if I didn’t take this picture, my crane-lover’s cred would be nil!

It’s a good thing I did, too, because I really like this picture.

When I stopped to take some final pictures of the headgate waterfall–yes, I’m obsessed. We can just say I’m documenting the area for posterity. March 4, 2007: Muddy–I saw a fishing pole bob out from the wall I was leaning against. Craning my neck over, I spotted a man somehow standing on the other side of the wall, fishing.

He’s not supposed to be there:

It’s kind of cool, regardless. I mean, how the hell does he get there? And how does he get back? But it’s also funny, because there is a bona fide fishing dock just down the trail (at the river side of the bridge). Maybe he doesn’t know it’s there, because it’s also new.

More low-light macro “prowess”:

It was rapidly darkening and cooling off, so while I lingered slightly for a few pictures near the museum, ultimately I hurried to get packed into the car and on the road.

And that was it for my afternoon at the Canal.

It was great to get back there. I’m sore in the good way. This needs to become a weekly habit.

I’m also thinking of just leaving the bike in the car when I go to work, and biking around on my lunch break. Biking is far more interesting to me than walking, so that means I might actually do it. We’ll see :)

I feel fantastic.

I haven’t cracked Goblet of Fire yet today…I made a deal with myself yesterday that if I’m going to commit so much time to sitting around reading, I have to do some significant exercise beforehand. (This seems a little weird, because since I’ve been unemployed I’ve been spending my whole day sitting around and reading. But eh.)

I got up at 8:40, made Sean’s lunch, made the bed, and took Goblet of Fire out to the couch. I almost started reading right away, but the determination was in me. I was going to go biking again, no matter what.

The weather looked good; I checked online and it predicted light rain early, and thunderstorms later. I puttered around online, reading news and webcomics, and then got dressed to go.

Today I wore bicycle shorts and my small “flirt” baby tee with barely any sleeves–my goal was to avoid overheating like yesterday, when I wore a larger shirt and long pants. I also nixed the backpack, opting instead to leave my huge bottle of water in the car and just carry my camerabag with me.

As I was driving up River Watch Parkway to the Greeneway, it suddenly started raining. Hard. I had to roll my window up to keep from getting pelted in the face, and put my windshield wipers on their highest setting. It was starting to look as if I wouldn’t get to ride at all, due to Tropical Depression Dennis.

“Maybe I should take weather events more seriously,” I mused aloud. But I decided to plunge ahead. I’d go to the Greeneway, and if it was still raining hard I’d wait a little while for it to die down. And I’d go to the Activities Center to park this time instead of the golf course, so I could hopefully make it to the end of the trail.

Thus decided, I continued on. Somewhere downtown, the rain started to fizzle. As I dropped into the turn lane for 13th Street, I found myself automatically moving for the right hand turn lane, which would put me on the right side of the street to turn towards the golf course. As I drove up 13th Street, I contemplated changing my plans, but my inner debate seemed to be moot as my body was driving me to the golf course regardless.

I got there and the drizzling rain had segued to sprinkles. Rolling down my window, I took a couple of pictures of the weather conditions…

lovely weather we're having

…then decided to go for it. I was a little concerned about bringing my camera, due to the possibility that it might start raining again, but looking up I saw that the clouds were all heading east of the Savannah, which fit what I understood of Dennis’ path, so I concluded that it would probably be safe. (My obsessive compulsive need to have my camera with me wherever I go did not factor in whatsoever, obviously…) As a slight measure of protection, I wore the camera bag looped over my front so I would be leaning over it as I rode; usually I sling it over my back.

As I went along, riding no-handed whenever I could, the dripping rain slowed and finally ended. I was able to take lots of pictures, which of course made me ecstatic. For awhile, the trees would still drop water on me, so I carefully covered the lens whenever I had my camera out. I also had to watch out when I rode through the gargantuan puddles that had appeared everywhere.

Here’s one of the first pictures I was able to take, of that “jungle” I mentioned yesterday.

But it wasn’t long before things had dried out. By the time I made it up to the other end of the Greeneway, it was just a nice day out. Here’s my triumphant visage upon arrival:

If my face looks pink, that’s because it is. Not from sunburn, I don’t think; just from exertion. I was covered in sweat for pretty much the whole ride.

Heading back, I didn’t stop as much (I typically don’t) but I did take some pictures while riding. When I took a break at the Activities Center for some water, I realized that it was hot. The cooling effect of the rain had almost completely dissipated, as had most of the water on the ground; only the larger puddles remained. I drank quickly, eager to get back under the trees, and patted myself on the back for picking such a good riding time. If I’d come later, I would have been caught in the sweltering heat.

Going through the forest after Hammond’s Ferry Road, I heard lots of what I assume were cicadas, just singing away. It was kind of pretty, so I took a movie. If I can think of a good way to post it without destroying my bandwidth, I will. (Unfortunately, smugmug will only host mpegs, and it’s a mov.)

I got back to the stretch of trail along the river, and decided to take some nice river photos. Luckily, I came across two guys in a john boat, fishing.

A little bit after I took this picture, the shirtless man noticed me and my camera and called, “Oh, don’t take a picture of us! We’re supposed to be working!” But hey, it’s not like you can tell who they are, right? :>

A few nice shots of the trail and the houses across the river later, and I was back to the golf course. Rather than going straight to my car, I decided to ride up alongside the course and see if they had any flowering plants; the time in the sun would hopefully dry the back of my shirt some, which was damp from rain and puddle splashes.

Very happily, I came across some lovely flowers.

Finally, after a fantastic ride, I loaded my bike back onto the car. Amused by the fact that my car was now completely dry, I took an “after” shot to go with the “before” shot I’d taken when I’d arrived. Then I looked at the sky. Dark grey clouds were rolling in.

I’d just gotten myself cleaned off (I keep some paper towels in the car, fortunately) and settled in for the ride home when it started raining again. “Good timing!” I congratulated myself. And then I headed home :)

Now, I’ve just finished off a California Cobb salad from McDonald’s and a Low-Fat Berry Berry Smoothie from R. Gabriel’s. I’m showered up and well-fed and comfortable, and I’m filled with that happy exhaustion that comes after a good ride.

I am so happy that I was able to ride the whole length of the Greeneway. The heat definitely seems to be a factor. I will need to invest in some skimpier riding clothes ;>

An hour fifteen minutes at approximately 10 mph. DietPower calls that “leisurely”; I call it “not bad at all!”

And now, finally, it’s time to get back to reading.

On a natural high

I worked for nearly 12 hours, and I was so cheerful at the end that it’s hard to remember how I freaked out yesterday, and how anxious I was this morning that things were going to be the same today. I got to take care of a lot of things that needed taking care of…I think that’s part of why. Like I mentioned on Josh’s blog, being productive really does help with depressive moods. Apparently it helps “omg I’m gonna freak out” moods, too.

Anyway, the big project should start tomorrow, and hopefully Wanda will be back to work, and I’ll get to immerse myself in glorious data entry, uninhibited.

About the only thing I have to complain about at the moment is my headache, which I think came from drinking cold water way too fast after biking home. But I’m going to console myself with some Friends season 4–my DVDs arrived today :)

(By the way, the weather today was perfect for biking. If I hadn’t stayed until after 6, it would have been uncomfortably hot. As it was, the sun was going down, and there was a cool breeze. It was lovely, and I got to see the lights turning on. I also spotted the first blooming tree I’ve noticed this spring, at the entrance to Augusta Christian School. I stopped and took a picture :)

North Augusta Greeneway

When I first started biking, it was with Mari, Kelly, Brooke and sometimes Chris at the North Augusta Greeneway. Back then I used Mari’s spare bike, a little BMX-looking red dirtbike that was a bitch to ride. I was often way, way behind everyone else, and I frequently stopped to rest my legs. Part of this, of course, was because I was just starting, but I believe that a significant portion of my trouble was caused by the bike itself. It wasn’t made for riding fast, I don’t think. I think it would be better suited for mountain trails.

When I got my new bike, and finally rode on the Greeneway with people again (Mari and Brooke, I think?), I stayed out front the whole time, and didn’t stop until the end of the trail where we always turn around. :)

Mari’s old bike had broken me in, and now my new bike means I can go further faster, and see lots of neat things. Last week I explored the Augusta Canal Historic Trail, and took pictures, both on Thursday and Friday.

Today I decided to get some shots of the Greeneway.

What a perfect day to go. The fall colors were out in full force, blanketing the trail and rustling in the trees. It was overcast, looking like it was going to rain at any moment, and it was a little humid, but no bad weather occurred, and the cloudiness meant that the sun wasn’t beating down on me whenever I broke out of the trees.

I felt like I was communing with nature, somehow, especially when I stopped and just looked straight up at the waving trees, the breeze washing over me.

I parked at the lot off Martintown, because I didn’t feel like driving all the way to the Activity Center, where we usually park. This meant that I had a choice of directions. I chose to go to my right, towards the bridges and Mari and Kelly’s old apartment, and then work my way back up. It’s uphill on the way back, which is a major drawback of parking at that spot, but I figured I could treat myself to a breezy ride at the very end by going past my car and to the other end of the trail on my way back.

For the first 15 minutes, which is how long it took me to get from there to the very end of the trail (at that odd golfing community near the Augusta 13th Street bridge over the Savannah–don’t remember what that street is called in South Carolina), I did an average of 14 mph. This was crazy! Of course, the reasons I could go so fast were 1) it was downhill; 2) the trail is easier to get traction on, as it is paved, not dirt/sand/gravel like the Canal trail.

At that point, I turned around and started taking my pictures. (If you only look at one of them, check this out…I think it’s neat! That’s the Lamar Building in the background.)

I did about 30 minutes of riding to get from there to the other end of the trail. This time doesn’t include stopping for photos; that’s all biking time. I didn’t go all the way to the very end…I stopped at the drinking fountain, which is something like six yards from the end of the trail, took a long drink, sat on the bench for awhile, and then turned around and headed back. The ride back was pretty much a breeze, although I was starting to really feel it in my legs.

It was a really good way to get rid of some of that excess emotional energy I’d built up, and the Greeneway was just beautiful today. I’m glad I went.

Today’s adventure: Augusta Canal Historic Trail

Today after work and lunch, I decided that I was going to go biking. I had plans to go shopping with Mari after she got off work, but I figured I could easily fit in an hour or two of biking before that happened. I asked Brooke if she wanted to come riding, but she had her volunteering to do, so I flew solo.

I figured out how to work my odometer (the manual is rather cryptic), packed up my camera, and lugged the bike down the stairs.

I tried a different route to get to the Savannah Rapids Pavillion, one that led me down Old Evans Road, onto Columbia Industrial Boulevard and finally to Evans to Lock Road. I don’t think it was any shorter than going Davis to Washington to Baston to Fury’s Ferry to Evans to Lock, especially given how long the red light at Evans to Lock and Fury’s Ferry was. There’s a school back there, though, Blue Ridge Elementary or something (and by the way, I could have gone Old Evans Road to Blue Ridge and cut over to Evans to Lock, I think, but I only realized this later). Since I was going at around 2:45, school traffic was in full force, so going this route might not have been the best idea.

At any rate, I really enjoyed myself at the canal trail.

bike on car

I put all my junk into the new bag on Syuusuke, except for my camera, which hung in its bag around my neck and shoulder. Then I coasted down the big gravelly hill to the path along the canal, crossed the canal on foot (there were workers there today with a scaffold), and reset the odometer for the day’s exercise. Then I was off!

For the first 18 minutes, I simply concentrated on riding. I tried to keep my pace up, ending up with an average speed of 12 mph. That’s not too shabby. I looked around at everything and thought about what great pictures I could take, but I wanted to get my workout done first.

I’d planned on riding for 30 minutes before stopping and turning around, but at the 18 minute point I hit the construction zone around Augusta Water Works, where you’re supposed to get off the bike and walk it through. Since there’s a steep hill there leading to train tracks, and lots of mud puddles along the way, I followed these instructions, memorizing my time and average speed.

Once I’d crested the hill and passed the train tracks, I did a few stretches, then continued on. I started out strong, but soon began to lose my focus. Two minutes crept by. “Well, I made it to twenty,” I thought ruefully, plugging on. I didn’t think I would be able to go much further.

But I kept going, until I made it to the strange, skinny concrete and metal bridge where Brooke and I stopped on our first time riding there together. This intrigued me. I’d crossed the bridge before, but I’d never gone beyond it. So I rode across and kept going.

The trail between the train tracks and the bridge had opened up to motor vehicle traffic. I hadn’t seen any cars, but the knowledge that a car might come upon me at any time was annoying. Here, at the bridge, the trail split off from the dirt road, and I found myself riding high above the dirt road below and to my left. The canal lay on my right–by this time, of course, the river itself was far beyond the trees to my left, invisible.

It was really a nice view, much nicer than the one from the dirt road, so I kept going. I rode past an odd little green building, and finally came to a crossroads. The New Bartram Trail continued on forwards, while the Augusta Canal Historic Trail apparently went right, according to the sign. I went right, and found myself going over the canal on a wooden bridge.

On the other side, the trail seemed to end at a street. The sign for the Historic Trail pointed left, so I turned that way, and found myself riding over a long, rolling expanse of caked mud, marked by the passage of many construction vehicles. It occurred to me to wonder whether or not I should be back there, but the sign had said this was the trail…plus, it was fun to ride over the slopes of mud.

So I kept going.

I passed some huge pipes lying on the ground, and enormous piles of dirt. Eventually on my right the trees gave way to a cemetery. Then, ahead, I heard some construction machinery start up.

“Uh oh,” I said, “it’s time to turn around.”

So I finally stopped. I was about to head back when I noticed something: that odd, castle-like building that you can see on River Watch Parkway was visible across the canal, through the trees. I stopped to take a picture–the first picture I’ve managed to take of the place.

castle thing

By this time, I decided my workout was over. It was time to explore and take pictures! So I reset Syuusuke’s odometer again and headed off. It wasn’t long before I was taking more shots.

From now on, you will see all the stuff I already mentioned, in reverse! Hover over each picture for a description. (There are more pictures on my smugmug account than I’m featuring here, so go have a look.)

Syuusuke and the 'trail' the canal big dirt pile and trees big dirt pile and 'trail' pipe ends in a line view through a pipe

Nearing the edge of the construction zone, we see that there is a bike sign, indicating that this is, indeed, somehow, a trail. A little further on, we see the sign that pointed me into the construction site in the first place. In the background, there was a guy hosing off some piece of machinery. It looked (and sounded) really cool :>

bike trail sign and backhoe Augusta Canal Historic Trail sign

After this, things look much more normal. A right turn put me on the path to the wooden bridge.

leaves and footprints beautiful canal view with reflected clouds leaves, Syuusuke, bridge wall, and weird canal thingies

And after the bridge and a left turn to head back, I was on my way towards the skinny bridge and the train tracks again. There were many beautiful things along the way to take pictures of.

trail, road, and green structure fishing hole outbuilding detail cracked and peeling paint in the setting sun

As I was finishing up my photos of the green building, two guys rode past on their bikes. The first guy and I exchanged pleasantries–“Hello, how are you, fine and you?” The second guy, though, was a trip.

“You look so good,” he entoned as he closed the distance between us on his bicycle, “I could kiss you!” He then made the requisite kissing noises.

I had to laugh. “Thank you!” I said.

He rode on a short while, then slowed and glanced over his shoulder. “Can I leave a phone number?”

“I’m married,” I grinned, waving my rings.

“Aw, man! I’ll never find a good one! It’s like I’ve got a plague!”

I chuckled sympathetically as he and his friend rode on. As they moved off into the distance, it occurred to me that I could take a picture.

two bikers on the dusty road

The guy who hit on me is the bright red spot. ;D

At this point, I noticed some joggers on the other side of the canal. It looked like whatever they were jogging on was paved. I snapped a picture of the apparent trail.

how do you get over there?

Not much farther down the trail, I saw a beautiful area across the canal, framed by trees. I turned my bike around and headed back to the perfect spot to get the picture, completely befuddling a woman who was out walking the trail (I passed her, and then turned around and passed her the other way). As I was maneuvering into position, I noticed a guy on the opposite bank, fishing. So I took his picture, too.

lovely trees and canal fishing

Here’s a picture of the skinny bridge, so you can see what it looks like. I was actually trying in this picture to get a shot of the guy on the lower bank; he had a fishing pole, and the framing would have been great if he would have cooperated with me. (I suppose I could have asked…)

the hiding fisherman's bike

Unfortunately I was unable to get a good shot of the bridge itself, partly because Mari called at that point to tell me she was on her way to pick me up to go shopping. I had something like 30 minutes to get all the way back to the Savannah Rapids Pavillion, get Syuusuke strapped to the car, and barrel home, so pictures, much to my chagrin, became my last priority.

My ride back averaged about 10 or 11 mph. I was really pushing it. I’m not entirely sure where that energy came from. I passed the two overpasses for River Watch and I-20. I went over the train tracks and through the construction, inadvertently slipping my bike chain and having to pry it back on with gloveless fingers. I passed the beautiful riverside area where Brooke and I want to have a picnic one day. I passed the quarry. I passed so many things I wanted to take pictures of! But the sun was setting (the flash on my camera had been going off automatically), so even if I had taken my time to get pictures, they wouldn’t have come out properly. My camera does not fare well at dusk (or at night at all, really).

Besides, the rush to get back was good exercise :D

That last long trek up the hill past the visitor’s center was murder. I shoved Syuusuke up towards my car in near desperation, managing to make it before my quadriceps completely gave out on me. I flung Syuusuke onto the rack, strapped him in, almost dropped the odometer on the ground, and fell into my car. Then I was blazing a swift trail down to Fury’s Ferry Road, where of course I was caught in rush hour traffic :D

Mari called me while I was waiting for the light to change at the left-hand turn for Davis Road. I got home shortly thereafter, saw that she was on the phone, wrestled Syuusuke up the stairs (where did the power to do this come from? Adrenaline?), tore off my workout clothes and threw on the outfit I’d worn to work, washed the bicycle chain grease off my hands as best I could, and flew back down the stairs.

Mari then got off the phone, told me her evening plans were cancelled and that we could take our time, and asked if she could use the bathroom XD

We tromped back upstairs and I took the time to fix my hair and wash my hands properly. Then, once we were all settled, we headed out for some fun shopping (well, browsing, in my case): Burlington Coat Factory, T.J. Maxx, and then Hot Topic and Spencer’s at the mall.

Those evil fingernail guys trapped us, too…I hate those guys! This time, I kept my hands in my pockets the whole time, and was borderline rude. Mari put up with it much the same way I did when it happened to me. She was polite, she let him give his spiel and buff her nail, and then said she would think about it and come back.

Then we escaped!

After shopping, we were both pretty hungry, so we headed over to Kinja Sushi Express off Washington Road (according to their sign, “The Best Sushi in Town the WORLD!”) for dinner. Some green tea, a bowl of miso soup, some edamame, an order of tropical luau rolls, a piece of creamed scallop nigiri, a few teriyaki and salmon rolls, and a delicious order of unagi nigiri later, I was quite the happy camper. I got Sean some philly rolls and eel rolls, and Mari dropped me off at home.

Putting all the food and exercise into DietPower, it seems that I have somehow, miraculously, broken even.

So yeah! It’s been a good day :D

I’m hoping Brooke and I can go to the canal trail tomorrow, and maybe do some more exploring…she has to work at 4 I think, but hopefully we can get a decent amount of wandering around done between the end of my work and the beginning of hers. I definitely want to go back over there for more pictures!

And I am totally up past my bedtime. Good night!