Friday, June 3, 2022

Wow, June!

Quiet roads in Concord with the girls
May brought fewer days on the bike and more days in the garden. Friends are gearing up for summer events, (Jennifer and Amy are already underway with a swim event in Majorca), but I'm still dragging my feet a bit, (although on a good track for a return). I've settled on a good nutrition and workout routine that has shown slow progress but moving in the right direction, so I'm happy with that.

Lila is planning a weekend for all of us to get together in Western Massachusetts for some riding and running this month. I'm looking forward to that! Meanwhile, a few of us are low-key training with Alison as she preps for her Ironman in October. I'm not joining in on the Tuesday night swims, but I'm down for riding on Saturdays. It almost feels like a return to my Saturday morning breakfast rides with the Cyclopaths.

Running is on hold for a while, but hopefully by July/August I'll be back at it.

I installed a drip irrigation system in my raised bed garden this year, and have most of my vegetables planted for the summer, (still looking for tomatillos). In the garden this year: Tomatoes, cucumbers, bush zucchini, snap beans, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, spring peas, onions, garlic, carrots, caribou potatoes, russet potatoes, carola potatoes, celery, and several varieties of peppers. The herbs: basil, cilantro, mint, rosemary, thyme, dill, and sage. 

We'll have a healthy harvest this summer!

Excited for the summer!

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Thirty Days of Biking: And that's a wrap

Day 29: Home Sweet Home
After driving 8 hours from Ann Arbor, Chip and I got off the road in Rome, New York for food and a driving plan assessment. I was tired, (he slept for three hours), and I wasn't keen on driving through the night. We decided to book a hotel in Utica and hit the road in the morning.

From Utica, we had less than a five hour drive home. After checking out of our hotel, we stopped at a local bagel shop, filled the tank with gas ($4.30/gallon. Yikes.) and then hit the road -- arriving home at 12:30 pm. (Welcome home, Chip!) An hour later, I changed into something I could ride in, and headed out for Day 29.

I kept my ride local and stopped to check out a new cafĂ©/bar on Humphrey Street oddly named Zestfriendz. It was very quiet inside -- only one couple having lunch -- but maybe I was there at the wrong time. I hope they're doing a good business. I had an iced latte and oatmeal cookie and then headed down to the pier. Such a gorgeous sunny day -- it was good to be home.

Swampscott dory at Fisherman's Beach

Latte and cookie at Zestfriendz

Day 30: Happy Trails
And here we are... Day 30, 30 Days of Biking, Year 9, and I'm glad to be done. Gosh, I'm exhausted! The roadtrip to Ann Arbor (and back) really knocked me out this year. I've been so sore and tired I've been walking into walls.

On Saturday, another gorgeous day, I decided to check out Salem Woods (also called Highland Park) behind the golf course on Wilson Street. Apparently there is a new trail in Swampscott that hooks up with the woods, but I didn't come across it. The trial wasn't difficult for riding but there were several areas I had to walk -- just too tired to deal.

It was a perfect ending to this year's challenge. (Despite the tree pollen... ah-choo!) I was very fortunate to have had such good weather on my rides this year. We've had very little rain (and no snow) this Spring, which likely doesn't bode well for the environment. (Based on April's weather, we could see drought conditions this summer). Still, we had decent riding weather. No complaints.

And that's a wrap on this year's annual challenge -- now some sleep.

Highland Park, Salem Woods
Year Nine, Done

Friday, April 29, 2022

30 Days of Biking: Roadtrip Ann Arbor

Day 26: Sandusky, Ohio
Each year for the past five, Mike and I have taken turns getting the boys to/from the University of Michigan. Mike heads out at the start of each year and gets them set up, while I head out at the end of April to bring them (and their belonging home). Since it often coincides with 30 Days of Biking, I bring along the bikes and hope there's room for their stuff. Ha.

It's a looong drive from Massachusetts. I left at 5:30 a.m. and arrived in Westlake, Ohio too early to call it a day, so continued on to Sandusky, which promised a nice ride for Day 26 on the shores of Lake Erie. It didn't disappoint. I had a chance to bike several miles along the bay pathway and quiet streets of Sandusky, stretching my legs after a long day on the road. That area of Ohio is really beautiful, with conservation land and parks, gorgeous views of Lake Erie, and the bucolic scenery of pastoral farm land. I saw a gazillion egrets as well.

I felt reenergized after my ride and continued driving another hour and forty-five minutes to Ann Arbor. It was a good decision,

Sandusky Bay Bike Pathway

Lake Erie

Day 27 was a blast from the past with an adventure with Chip! We haven't ridden together in while and I had fun following him around on the mountain bikes. He's grown significantly since I bought him the GT mountain bike, and since the Kona is a larger bike, he rode mine and I rode his, (since that bike actually fits me better anyway.) We explored  a few small trails at Gallup Park (which connects to Nichols Arboretum), but kept our ride short. He still had packing to do, furniture to move into storage, a paper due the next day, and an exam in the morning. He had it all under control, but didn't have a whole lot of extra time to spare. I'm glad we got a chance to ride together.

Day 27: Exploring Ann Arbor parks with Chip

Pedal boats, pedal bikes

The next morning, while Chip took his biomechanics exam, I rode around central campus for Day 28, taking photos to send back to Will, and then biked down to the Kerrytown neighborhood for coffee at Zingerman's Bakehouse. (Zingerman's Deli didn't open until 11). I chilled out at the bakehouse with a latte and scone, and then returned to central campus and headed back to the hotel to change. Chip finished his exam at ten, and we hit the road after grabbing lunch at one of his regular haunts -- No Thai.

Goodbye Ann Arbor. Until next year... 

Day 28: Campus and coffee ride
Nichols Arcade

On the Diag
The bell tower. Will used to live next door and
heard it ring on the hour, every day
Central Campul, University of Michigan
Zingerman's Bakehouse Cafe
So many choices
Latte and lemon scone
The beautiful Kerrytown neighborhood, Ann Arbor

Monday, April 25, 2022

Thirty Days of Biking: Riding Local

Day 23: Errands in town. A stop at Arbor MHD
Saturday, April 23rd, was an errands day. I rode the trail into Marblehead to pick up some inner tubes for the road bike at Marblehead Cycle, met Will for lunch at Minos, and stopped at a garden shop where we found a fun little fish statue for my garden. Will drove and parked his car nearby, so brought my backpack of my purchases home. Yay.

Heading back down the trail, I stopped and took a photo of the 2 large construction/drainage tubes that have been on the side of the trail since (at least) 2014, now overgrown with vines. I smile every time I see them, remembering the time Caro V-G attempted to bike through them on her cross bike. So funny. Forever remembered as Caro's tunnel.

Caro's tunnel

Day 24: Sunrise coffee date
We had an early rise and shine on April 24. I googled "Salem sunrise" to get the time and convinced Mike to join me at the beach for a coffee ride. (He chose to walk down and meet me instead.) I biked down to the beach ahead of him to set up our coffee, missing the sunrise by ten minutes. We enjoyed our coffee by the beach and watched the sun rise and slip behind the clouds, becoming a mostly gray day. How lucky that we caught the sun! (I later checked my phone and saw that googling "Salem sunrise" actually brings up the time for Salem, Oregon. Seriously, Google? Salem, Massachusetts supersedes Oregon.) 

On Monday, I headed over the bridge for coffee at Atomic Cafe, with a stop by Artists Row in Salem on the way home. Sadly, most of the small artist shops are closed for the season, although I noted  that Beverly Bees is open Thursday-Sunday this Spring. I'll have to go back soon. I'm heading out of town for a few days, (for the annual trek to Ann Arbor, with bikes in tow), so it was good to get in a decent ride before the long drive. Next up: Roadtrip.

Day 25: Coffee Ride, mural in Beverly
Atomic Cafe, iced coffee and pizelle

Artists Row, Salem

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Thirty Days of Biking: Closer to the end

Day 19: Storm surge. I didn't predict that wave

We had a nor'easter blow through during the early morning hours of April 19, leaving a wild and angry sea behind. The winds were still quite strong for 30 Days of Biking, as I headed out for an afternoon spin. I didn't go very far. I stopped at Phillips Beach to take some photos of the fast and high surf, and got caught by a wave! It was ice cold. I ended the ride soon after, heading home in my cold, wet clothing and shoes.

The waves were whipped up into a froth

Days 20 and 21 were rides through Beverly and Salem, respectively. The wind was pretty strong both days, remnants of the nor'easter earlier in the week. I stopped by Lynch Park for ride #20 to see if anything was blooming in the walled garden there. It was overrun with a dozen school-aged kids playing hide and seek amongst the trees, shrubs, and statuary. They were having a great time.

Day 20: Riley Rocks at Lynch Park

Azaleas in bloom
Gardens at Lynch Park

On Thursday, April 21, I rode over to the Peabody Essex Museum to catch the progress on a new art installation, The Blue Trees, by Konstantin Dimopoulis. Volunteers began painting trees with an environmentally safe blue paint on the PEM campus. It will be fun to see the trees later this Spring when all the leaves are full. 

Day 21: Why are the trees blue
Installation in progress at the
Peabody Essex Museum

Closing out the week on a spectacular sunny day in Salem, I caught a glimpse of the goldfish mural behind the Starbucks on Dodge Street, usually blocked by a bank of dumpsters, crates, and boxes. The dumpsters were pulled away from the mural by several feet and the pallets and crates gone, (perhaps it was trash day?), so I took advantage of the lucky opportunity to catch a photo while I could. It's a great mural! (Title, "yooo my humans, wtf is goin on in there?!" by artist JEKS ONE.) A fun end to the week.

Day 22: Lucky day!
The goldfish on Dodge St