Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hello Brian, Hello Bryce Canyon

Well friends,sorry for the long delay between posts. A few of you had noticed that I promised momentous news over two weeks ago. No, it’s not a new Ti bike, no I haven’t gone and ridden 300 miles in 8 hours, it’s much more important than that! As a lot of my family member blog viewers already know, I became a grandpa! Here he is; Brian Victor, ten fingers, ten toes, and all is well. Congratulations to Paul and Christina, the new parents. Paul has been posting more pics and some video of young Brian on his blog. (note the link listed on the right) Kathy and I had a great trip along with her mom to the Chicago area to be able to welcome Brian into the world. So it has been an exciting time. Amazing isn’t it? Kathy and I are grandparents! Still taking a bit of getting used to. Where does the time go?

Brian, all bundled up for a snooze

What better place to nap, than on Grandma's lap!

After a hectic week at home, catching up here and at work, I spent this last weekend down at Bryce Canyon Natl. Park hiking with friends. One of the luckier parts of being in Utah is that Bryce and Zion Parks are only about a 4-5 hour drive from here. Whereas a lot of folks only get to read the tourist brochures, I can be at Bryce in four hours! I was able to enjoy some nighttime and sunrise hiking on this trip, along with a grand hike on the Queen’s Garden Loop with my friends Joe and Dorothy. Please enjoy a few photos. (My apologies to the loading time, these Bryce images are huge!)

Thor's Hammer at sunrise

Down in the Hoodoos well before sunrise, on the Navajo Loop

Looking west towards Inspiration Point

The view east from near Sunset Point

In the Queen's Garden

So, needless to say, I haven’t gotten many miles in lately. Between work, travel and 100-degree heat in the afternoons, riding miles has slipped down the priority list a bit. Hopefully, I will get caught up on all the yard work, and make time to get some miles under me. I need rekindle some goal-oriented thinking to get myself in gear, whether sign up for a new century ride, a commute back and forth to work, something to regain my focus. The mental aspect of riding is most interesting sometimes. Perhaps that can be a subject of a future blog: How to get one’s self in gear!

More news from the road next week.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Moonlight, Swamps, and Lawnchairs

Davis County, from Antelope Island

Antelope by Moonlight, and bike light!
Hi All,
This week’s post is a mixed bag. Most importantly, we upgraded our house with central air conditioning! The furnace was 24 years old and on its last legs, and the evaporative cooler (swamp cooler to you locals) was rusted through, leaking, and I had run out of miracles in keeping it running. 21 years was enough. So now we are learning that cold air definitely sinks! The upstairs is mild to warm, while the basement levels are like the inside of the refrigerator! We are told that the new furnace should be exponentially more efficient than the old one. Time will tell this winter. Here are a few photographs of our new systems.
The new furnace
The new chiller unit
Farewell, oh bucket of rust.

In riding news, I enjoyed the 2007 version of the Antelope by Moonlight bike ride. Almost 1,000 riders came this year! One thing I noticed was that I saw more recumbents than any year before. I had a nice conversation with a couple of fellas riding a Rans Stratus LE, and a Rans Force 5. Slowly but surely I see a few more ‘bents around the valley. You may have noticed a new link in the list to the right for a Trike Store in Spanish Fork; Looks like they are having fun down in the “banana belt” of Utah. Editor’s note: Don’t forget to try out all the hyperlinks!

Also, I am posting one customary photograph from Antelope Island. On a hot, smoky ride this past week, I noticed what looked like a sandbar off the causeway. But, it wasn’t a sandbar! It was a huge flock of birds just standing in the shallow water. Usually they are active and flying about, but on this day, thousands of them just hanging out. I have no explanation to this behavior, but who understands a bird’s duty schedule!

Yep, those are birds out there!
And finally, since most of you know I work in the aviation industry, I am including a photograph and a link that I think is better left as being self-explanatory. No, it is not a trick photo; No, it is not an old Opus cartoon; Yes, some Americans have a vivid imagination when it comes to being different; Yes, it is yet another reason why air traffic controllers seem to age faster! Please click on the MSNBC link and enjoy the whole article.

That’s all the news from here. It is a good bet that there will be more truly momentous news coming this week, so stay tuned!

Happy Riding, Jim

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

The actual Declaration of Independence

The U.S. Constitution
Hi all,
Today is the 4th of July. Independence Day! The 231st anniversary of that moment when a dedicated group of men put their pen to the Declaration of Independence, and started this cultural adventure that we call America. Now, I was going to launch a missive about politics, our early history, and the current state of affairs in our country, but to tell the truth, the words just wouldn’t flow, so I am throwing in the towel and just going to write a short note and include some pictures from our visit to the National Archives in Washington, DC last April.

The National Archives
One question seems to always come up; is our country what Jefferson and the rest of the founding fathers imagined? Is it what Madison envisioned when he wrote the Federalist Papers in 1787, writing: “No happiness without liberty, no liberty without self-government, no self-government without constitutionalism, no constitutionalism without morality-and none of these great goods without stability and order.”

It’s hard to say what the 200-year vision for the country was at the time. But for my money, I expect that in some ways our country is EXACTLY as the founding fathers envisioned it. Independent, free, not without fault, and definitely not perfect.

Happy 4th to you all.