Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Big Picture...

An actual section of the Berlin Wall..
Hi All,
As you have probably noticed, most of our weekend routine is spent in the yard, moving dirt, rocks, walls, and creating landscaping. But, when we lose the motivation to work in the yard, we head out in the car, or on foot, and explore our new area. We have enjoyed several lovely hikes and car outings over the past few weeks.
An exact replica of the Oval Office. Even the 18 ft. ceiling!
A Saturday or two ago, we ventured out to Simi Valley. As the locals describe the highways, we took the 14, to the 405, to the 118. When we were in Utah, no one ever described I-15 as “the 15”. But here, it is the norm. Also, up here in Palmdale, the LA Basin is described as: “down below.” It’s interesting how different areas of the country have different vernacular.
The Boss's chair; aboard Air Force One.
Anyhow, we went to Simi Valley to visit the Ronald Reagan Museum and Library. Kathy and I have a goal of someday checking out all the presidential libraries in the country. It will be a great way to visit new parts of our country, and also we might learn something in our travels!
What a view!
The Ronald Reagan Museum and Library is a vast and magnificent structure. The highlight is the VC-137 inside, facing outwards to a magnificent view. You might ask; VC-137? Why yes, otherwise known as Air Force One. Ronald Reagan had the retired ‘137 installed inside the museum. It’s really a sight to see. We think the aircraft came first, and the building was built around it!

In other local news, the traveling Vietnam War Memorial just completed an exhibit here in Palmdale. Actually, the exhibit was at the Heritage Airpark, right across from where I work. I took a few moments early one morning to visit, take a few pictures, and reflect on really how thankful I am this Thanksgiving.

Visiting both of these sights brought into focus what it must be like to be the one "Who's in Charge". I can't begin to imagine the reponsibility saddled upon any president in our history. Just looking at the replica of the Oval Office made me think about what it must feel like to be in charge of this whole operation.

Want your name on the bottom line?
Even more telling in black and white...
Visiting the exhibit sort of re-aligned my view of the world. I would go on from here, writing an editorial about Afghanistan, or Iraq, or the pointless loss of life in Vietnam, but this blog is normally not the venue for that. Instead; perhaps you can take a few moments and reflect on your own; no stern editorial will be necessary.
See you next week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dirt and Bikes...

Sunset on the Aqueduct, My contest entry (see the last paragraph)
Hi All,
It has been a busy few weeks since my last post, and it is time to bring you up to date on the on-going adventures here in our new home. I have been working on several projects that relate well to conditioning and physical fitness; working on the back yard landscaping project, and actually spending some time repairing and riding my bikes.
Shovels anyone? Kathy, our neighbor Leena, and I moved this 6 cubic yards to the backyard in a little more than 4 hours!
Mmmmmmmm, Sprinklers, topsoil, and fresh sod!
The main thing I have learned is that I am getting much stronger from all the physical labor of landscaping our yard! Kathy and I have spent many Saturdays looking at the world from the working end of a shovel and wheelbarrow. And I have to admit a great sense of satisfaction every time we finish another part of the project. We work on the project together, enjoy the fruits of our labors, and get wonderfully dusty and dirty in the process!
After.... Come visit and sit on the patio!
I worked on all 3 bikes!
And, speaking of bike maintenance let me mention right here that adding a cycle-computer to the Surly LHT was a bad idea. Yes, it tracks the miles I have ridden, however it also shamelessly indicates the woeful average speed I am riding these days. This is the penalty I pay for basically being off the bike since last spring.
Brian's very own dump truck....
The fact that I am in poor cycling shape needs to stay in perspective; yes, I am not riding a lot of miles, but in the great scheme of things it has been a great few months. Amy and Jon keep us smiling from their adventures with Andy K, and Paul and Christina’s son, Brian calls often to tell of his view of the world. Just ask him about dump trucks and he will tell you all about it! So, my miles will come eventually. One day at a time. I just keep plugging along.
The naughty hill I climb to get to the Aqueduct...
Speaking of riding; tonight I am heading out on a group ride sponsored by a local bike shop. I happened across this shop in search of new tubes for the Surly. Block Bikes of Lancaster; from the outside not the fanciest shop around. But, once I went inside I found a vast inventory of all classes of bikes, and friendly knowledgeable folks who RIDE. Their emphasis is getting people on bikes! A nice place. I found out that Block sponsors a group ride every Wednesday evening. It’s a local fun ride, not a race, and not a “Critical Mass” type of ride. More a family outing geared (pun?) towards people spending time on their bikes. We’ll see how things shake out. I am taking the Virginia GT for the ride – 20-25 miles at a leisurely pace. Look for a report in a few days.

Moonrise over the desert...
And lastly, my friend Alan Barnard, web genius of EcoVelo.info, is sponsoring an Endless Summer photo contest. Check out this link; Here, and enjoy some wonderful cycling photography. I will be submitting my entry today. Who knows, maybe I’ll win a doorprize!
See down the road…