Sunday, December 30, 2012

No Place to Be Riding Your Velo!

Seeing this mountain velo on Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs, covered with snow and ice, and virtually immovable, makes me, well .... cold, and puts me in a bad mood.  Maybe the owner has a Plan 'B' while he waits out the storm?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Grandpa Mark and his Littlest Avatar.

My brother-in-law Mark has a special reason to smile this Christmas season.

Mark's littlest avatar, Lulu, has grown a set of eyebrows, big schnoz, glasses and moustache just like her fave grandpa!

What a couple.

What a pic.

What a great Christmas,

don't you think?

Internet Kicks Movie Theatre's Butt.

Hometown movie theatre on Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs has closed its doors for good.

And what doors they are!  Especially the door handles.  Don't you think?

While the venue remains available for special rental and events, regular screenings, like the ones that informed and delighted generations of viewers in the Yampa Valley, seem to have fallen prey to the 24/7 news cycle, satellite TV, and the omnipresent Internet.

R.I.P. silver screen, Dolby Surround Sound,  and the best hot butter pop corn in Northwestern Colorado.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Velo Stud Buddy Rolls on Studded Rubber.

My Steamboat velo stud buddy, Ed DeGroff, told me last night that he rides his bike every day of the year. Yup. He said that.

"How do you keep from slipping and sliding,"  I asked?

"I've got studded snow tires on my mountain bike," Ed explained. "C'mon out to the garage and I'll show you what I mean."

So, I went to check these babies out.  I mean, they're better, safer and way-cooler than the tires most cars use these days.  The brand is European, the price is about one hundred bucks, per, and, as you can see, there is serious steel poking through the rubber tread.

Ed pedaled about five miles on Christmas. "Perfect snow and ice conditions," explains my velo stud buddy.

"Packed down snow like we've got in Steamboat now is ideal for the tires. They roll straight and true, and never slip from side to side."

"In loose snow, however," Ed rolls on, "you can easily take a tumble and never know what hit you!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nice Little Rockies Subdivision.

Now here's a fancy Christmas present for your road trippers.

If you hang a right off River Road and proceed up Elk Lane about three miles, you'll come to a resting point with the most remarkable view of the Yampa Valley, Steamboat Springs, and, indeed, the entire Northwest Sector of Colorado.

It all starts w/Steamboat Pines community.  You'd be crazy not to want to live here!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Me and Pina in Puffy Parkas.

Santa came early this year.  Gave La Nancita a nice, new North Face, but missed it a bit in the size department.

Poppy's puffy fits fine, a gift from Santa a decade or so back.

Before Mom re gifted the NF to son Jason, we posed for the SONY, Jason at the helm, and post the results here with all best wishes for a memorable, wonderful Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grandparents: Move to Control Guns Now.

I'm even more heartbroken than I was yesterday over the CT school massacre. It's cold blooded murder, domestic terrorism, even civil war. Yes, this is a time for national mourning, flying flags at half-staff, and political proclamations. But what about GUN CONTROL and STOPPING GUN VIOLENCE? Talk about violation of civil rights!! 

Who's going to take the lead at the state and national level? I've just written MN Governor Dayton : be the guy to do it, I implore him. Man Up, Mark! I wrote Sen. Al Franken yesterday. We're talking, citizen to citizen, in our little town about what WE can do. I feel so helpless, yet I know my little voice might resonate with others. 

We must move beyond this era of madness, hatred, breakdown of civil society. Guns kill people. More people with more guns is not the solution. How much longer can we ordinary Grandparents (me, in this case) keep from speaking out, taking action, saving our country and the lives of our precious Americans? 

What do YOU think?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cactus Santa A Little Prickly.

Out in the AZ desert they absolutely celebrate Chrismas. That's a given.  But without much snow to count on, no sleighs and reindeer, and not a hint of Frosty the Snowman, what's a true believer to do?

Da-da:  enter Santa the Christmas Cactus.

And a prickly old soul is he! Careful sitting on the Jolly Guy's lap:  you may get more than you bargained for.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

38,968 All-Time Pageviews.

The Poppy Blog continues to appeal to old fans, and attract new viewers as well.  For that I am pleased and grateful, and thank everyone who comes to see what the world looks like from my vantage point.

Just noticed today that I'd hit the 38,968 views threshold.  We're getting there!

Monday, December 10, 2012


Skull. What a cool word.

Bold bone mass, light as a feather, strong as steel.

Still a little creepy to imagine what happened to the beast beneath.

Weird, too, that your humble blogging cyclist here would have come across a horse head on his velo ventures.

Weirder still he would have donned the skull, like a Halloween mask, and then asked his wife to snap a pic for the blog.

This is what we do on snowy days in Minnesota, when the roads are impassable, and the bikes are on their stands, in the very chilly, unattached garage.

We dream of skulls.

Now Here's a Christmas Tree.

We were thinking we might have the perfect Christmas tree right here in the front yard.  Oh, Tanenbaum, indeed.  Imagine this bad boy all decked out in blinking lights, blue, green and red.  Santa and his R'deer would have no trouble GPS-ing our chimney  :)

Campus Nite Scene, Before the Snow Fell.

We were on campus at the Univ. of Minnesota the other evening for the "Do the Math" Global Warming Tour.  Info on that important event posted elsewhere on this Poppy Blog.  

Meanwhile, other events, present and future, were taking place.

One such -- pic here by iPhone -- was a dance event two weeks hence (at time foto was taken) and presented in very creative, fun way: maybe old fashion slide projector throwing light on the performing arts pavilion?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

MN - Can U Hear Us Now?

Educator, writer, environmental activist, climate change rock-star Bill McKibben was in town Friday night.  His  "Do the Math" national awareness and action tour attracted hundreds of supporters to the Ted Mann Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus.

Speakers included polar explorer Will Steeger, native activist and former Vice Presidential candidate Winona LaDuke, members of the local Minnesota chapter of and, of course, the man himself, Professor McKibben.

Nancy and I went to the event.  We were deeply moved by evidence of contiuned risk of earthly destruction through unchecked carbon energy use.  We vowed to get smarter about the issue, do something personally to change our ways, and share info with others.

Before the night was over a group shot was take in Mann Auditorium.  You can't see the Hoyts in the pic, but we were there. While still daunted by the challenges, we're heartened and encouraged by the passion, reason and commitment to change.

With Thanks to BIKE FRIDAY Blog.

[PHOTO OF:  Jim Ralston (right) and Neil Sharpe enjoy an Autumn getaway in Europe.]

By Jim Ralston

Three of us from Memphis, TN take a European bike tour each year.

This past September we rode the Rhine River from Karlsruhe, Germany to Lake Constance in Switzerland -- a 368-mile adventure.

The photo captures two of us at the Tanners Lane in the medieval part of Strasbourg, France, with our Bike Fridays set up for touring.

That's Neil Sharpe and his New World Tourist on the left, and me with my Pocket Sport on the right.

The third member of our trio, Bill Waters, had his New World Tourist stolen from his truck just seven days before we departed, so he did not have enough time to have a new Bike Friday built and shipped for the trip.

He ordered his new NWT after we returned and is waiting for it now. We made him take the picture since he did not have his Bike Friday.

We rode for 10 days completely unsupported and had to carry all of our gear in the panniers. The bikes handled the trip with no problems at all.

Best of all, Delta treated our bikes as just another suitcase and did not charge us the extra fee of several hundred dollars per leg of the journey as they do for other bicycle shipping cases.

A few more tours and we will have saved in extra luggage fees the total cost of the Bike Fridays.

Over many years of touring I have acquired three touring bikes, but now consider my Bike Friday as my primary touring bike.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Peter Pan Donuts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Got a foto text just now from peripatetic parent JJ in Brooklyn.

She was perambulating with her Perego and came upon the sweetest little bakery in Greenpoint.  Out came the iPhone, and here you have the result.

Check the window decor. Don't you just love it?

"May Your Donuts be Filled with Holiday Joy."

Happy holidays to you, Miss Jess, and all the rest of you dear fans of the Poppy Blog.

My Buddy Whit Styles His Ride.

Whit and I got together this morning for lattes and egg-white omelette's at the Uptown Cafeteria on Lake and S. Girard in Minneapolis.

We talked biz, school stuff, strategic sales, the politics of global warming, and how each of us was dealing with climate change when it came to private modes of transportation.

I arrived in my KIA Sportage -- not bad on mileage, but hardly carbon neutral.

Whit, on the other hand, travels around the Twin Cities on his Classic Raleigh 3-Speed, shown here post-omelette.

I salute my young friend in a number of regards, not the least of which: he walks the walk, talks the talk, and, as you can see, rides the ride!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Poppy and His Favorite Hookers.

Here's one of my very special pics -- of my very special hooker friends.  RUG HOOKERS, that is.

Sam and Pam are as good and accomplished as you get in this demanding art of rug hooking.

They work diligently at the craft, take lessons, push themselves to reach ever higher levels of artistic accomplishment.

I'll share some of their handiwork in an upcoming blog post.

In the meantime, Pam, Sam and I have been together at the Annual Stillwater Fall "Hook-In" for a couple of years running.  Thought you'd enjoy seeing the class of gals I hang with!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving in Chicago-land.

Poppina and I drove down to Lake Forest, IL for Thanksgiving as guests of our dear pals Bruce and Deedee Borland.  After chowing down tons of white meat and drum sticks, mashed 'taters, Brussels sprouts, pecan pie and shamefully-sinful ice cream frozen into turkey shapes, we had to get up from the table and out of the house to loosen our belts and stretch our legs.

Deedee suggested the Chicago Botanic Garden where she's on the Women's Board and Bruce is a passionate visitor and supporter.  NTS and I were eager to view the stunning display of handmade holiday wreaths, but especially check out the "Wonderland Express" model railroad display -- a favorite with Chicagoland kids of all ages, for many, many years.

Foto subjects grimaced in the bitter cold and strong northwest wind just long enough to let me get a pic for the Poppy Blog.  For you, dear readers, there's still time to catch the train -- HO Gauge, Lionels, America Flyers, N and R -- and we highly recommend the trip.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Washington Ave., N, Minneapolis.

Love the light, shadows, tree branches, redbrown brick in this photo.

Penco is about my fave office supply, photo album, pen and cartridge shop in Minneapolis.

Over in St. Paul, it's Wet Paint, hands down.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nancy + Grandma B at Lunch, 11/18/12.

Nancy and I had the great fortune to be with  Gayle "Grandma B" Butts for lunch yesterday.  We broke bread, chatted it up, smiled like crazy, and had the best time ever at American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.

Grandma's roots are Danish - Rasmussen -  so she felt right at home at the ASI.

The former Swan Turnblad Mansion, now home of ASI, was decorated in exquisite Scandinavian holiday fare -- a room set aside for Royalty, as the docents  explained, in honor of each of the Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland.

Velkommen, as they say at ASI.  And most welcome indeed we felt.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Roger + Judith in Montana.

Some of my best, good friends over the years I've made at work.  Lucky me.

Case in point: Roger Ahrens and Judith Watkins, shown in this photo on vacation in Sonoma.

The three of us served together in New York publishing  giving our all to the resurrection and survival of FinancialWorld magazine. 

And while we came oh-so-close to keeping the 95-year old business title afloat, in the end it was not meant to be. Too bad.

When the Hoyts moved from New York to Minnesota, Watkins/Ahrens packed up for Montana.

We stay in touch. Our friendship survives and prospers. In a season of giving thanks, readers of Poppy's Velo Ventures might like a look-see at some very good pals.

Lucky me, as I said earlier.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jess + Chris Volunteer in Red Hook.

We all know that Hurricane Sandy had its way with much of Brooklyn. And if that weren't  bad enough the nor'easter that pounded through on Sandy's heels added to the misery and devastation

The community of Red Hook -- low-lying, on the water, very vulnerable -- was particularly hard hit.  Civic leaders and residents from all over the Borough of Brooklyn rose to the occasion and volunteered generously their time, energy and passion.

Chris and Jess (of the Greenpoint neighborhood) donned gloves, boots, mops and shovels and headed to Red Hook.  Our do-gooders did the needful, including cleaning up a key part  -- the liquor supply -- of a local bar and grill.

Wonder if the kids were offered a Maker's Mark on the rocks in gratitude?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stylin' at Mpls. Fashion Hot Spot "Arrow."

Here in town from San Fran to help his sister, brother and me celebrate their Mom's birthday, Will Wick led us on a shopping adventure after all the cake and ice cream had been consumed, candles blown out, and stanza after stanza sung of Happy Birthday to You!

We hit "The Foundry," "D'Light" and "Askov Finlayson" on N. First Street before we found ourselves at THE hot fashion retailer "Arrow." Some of us couldn't wait to check out the latest.

The pea coat in the pic above came with Will, but the teal blue fedora is all "Arrow," and all good. I don't think our boy bought the lid, but he certainly gave it some serious consideration.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kermit the Frog + Friend Chris.

Check out our friend Chris Fondulas, television production professional in New York.  He sent this foto today of him and Kermit the Frog.  The real green Kermit. Chris didn't explain whether he and Kermit had met up on the set (in the background).  Or whether Kermit had Chris's cell phone number and gave him a call on that  :)

VW Kombi - Sonoma, CA.

Wine country Kombi, courtesy of Boulder artist friend James Terman.

I owned a 1964 VW Micro Bus bought new in New Haven, CT, and loved the experience.  Often wished I'd also had the pick-up truck version, as per the above.

My bus was a two-tone sea green + white -- one of a couple of paint options in the era.

James's buddy's Kombi, above, is painted in original factory blue.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Giant Foldy Gets New Lights.

So as to keep things safe now that we've moved off Day Light Savings time, I added three new lights to the Giant "Expressway."

A Cateye flashes red from its handlebar mount, right next to a bright, white "Voyager" click headlight by Blackburn.

There's also a "Voyager" red flasher attached to the seat post, facing rearwards.  I think I'm covered.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shop Hot, New "The Foundry."

Nancy and I got a head start on our holiday shopping this morning.  We spent big at "The Foundry," Anna Hillegass's new home goods store at 125 N. First Street in Minneapolis.

Besides uniquely right-sized wine glasses, hand-made beeswax candles, organic Fair Trade cotton table napkins from Ethiopia, and high-end push brooms from Sweden, Anna's shop features small batch loomed wool blankets and throws from Newfoundland, hand-thrown teapots and cups, leather goods to die for, and more Swedish brushes and brooms!

Please tell Santa if you see him that we've made his work easier this holiday season.

And if you want to be Santa's hero under your tree, hie ye to The Foundry and see (and shop) for yourselves!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Marriage Ammendment Sign Violence?

You probably know we have a Constitutional Amendment initiative on the ballot next week. MN voters will decide whether to change the state Constitution so as to restrict marriage to a hetero union (a "yes" vote),  or to leave the constitution as it is (a "no" vote).

Gazillions of dollars in TV ads have been duking it out every time you turn on the tube.

Yard signs proliferate -- and yard sign violence is on the rise.

As I was on my ride this afternoon I saw six or seven -- count the signs -- Vote No placards crumbled up, thrown over a railing on County Road 6, and into an adjacent ravine.  I was sure Vote Yes opponents were responsible: they'd yanked signs from local yards and destroyed competitive evidence.

This battle is super-heated. And it seems to be disrespectful of private property and free speech.  If this is indeed the case then it's a black eye for democracy. Citizens should be on high alert to prevent this violence from happening again.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

1669 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN

Sometimes you and your digital camera catch a lucky break.

Like having a bright, sunny day, with nearly purple skies, and brightly colored building facades right "there" for the shooting.

Such was the case yesterday at 1169 Grand Avenue.  I realized after I'd taken the pic, and posted it on PVV, that I'd forgotten to include the street address.

No biggie, but the right address could be helpful if someone wants to see the buildings for themselves.

Lo and behold my artist buddy in Boulder, James Terman, supplied me with the numbers.  He went to Google, followed the little man around, and scored the address.

Thanks, James.  Now we know.

Mpls. "Nice Ride" - Good 4 What Ails U.

The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have been named by Bicycling Magazine as among the best, most bike-friendly urban areas in the country.  From hundreds of miles of velo paths, lanes and trails; to hip and happenin' bike social and cultural events each year; to a high quality, low cost bike rental program called "Nice Ride;" if you like to ride, this is a great place to do it.

Local Business has taken note.

Blue Cross, for instance, underwrites a portion of the Nice Ride program.  And Target Corp. gets into the act with a promotion for looping the lakes (in this case, Lake Calhoun)  -- that is, encouraging visitors and residents alike to stay active and healthy by renting a bike and circumnavigating the lakes.

Bikes aren't likely to be here all winter.  For now, though,  the sun is out, the sky is blue, bike lanes are dry and clear, and there is plenty of looping to be done!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Three Doors, Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN

Leafless-- but hardly Lifeless - in St. Paul.

We celebrated bright sunshine in the Twin Cities today -- a welcome change. I felt its warmth, and squinted my eyes near-shut, as I walked to meet my lunch date at Chatterbox Cafe.

Craig Cox favors this eatery, just off Ford Parkway in the Hyland Park neighborhood of St. Paul. We've been there before, and never had a bad meal.

Coxie wouldn't mind if I were late, I mused, as I admired the almost mystical, shadowy, leafless (but not lifeless), image etched by the sun on the Chatterbox building.

Got to the restaurant's front door just as Coxie arrived, gave my old buddy a big bear hug, and inside we ducked, out of the sun. We were shown to a capacious booth where we would end up talking about everything under the sun, save the shadows of a leafless (but not lifeless) poplar tree, made mysterious and glorious by a robust late October sun.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Motocross Arena Riders Take Time Out.

My cousin Pete built a moto-cross course on the Back 40 at his place in Chillicothe.  He invites professional riders like these two dare-devils to train for the big money pro circuit, and stir up a little Ross County (Ohio) dust.

Pete's got an "arena course," I learned - similar in shape and size, and same kind of dirt as the indoor venues where these boys compete each season in a break-neck, guts and glory sport fit just for the, well, fit.

Rider #6 competes with a broken leg and an air cast.  How he shifts gears and works the brakes is a mystery I have no particular interest in solving.

Oh, to be young again -- and astride 250cc 4-stroke bikes that regularly get thirty-plus feet of "air." 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

China's Flying Pigeon, World's Best Seller.

I was in the Greenpoint Section of brooklyn and spied a beaten-down "Flying Pigeon." See big photo at top of the blog. Learned on the site that "Pigeon" still sells more bikes than any mfgr. on the planet.  Hope folks take good care of these prize possessions. 


Friday, October 26, 2012

West Side Watering Hole Delivers in These!

Manhattan's legendary West Side watering hole, P. J. Clarke's, makes take-out deliveries the old fashion way.

Out of respect for lower carbon footprints ... to keep delivery boys fit and strong ... and to navigate the oft-choked streets of the restaurant's clientele, super-sturdy delivery bikes are the order of the day.

Wonder if the box includes a refrigerator? You know, to keep cool Clarke's famous adult beverages suitable for in-home consumption!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Look, Dad! No hands!

Dad pedals his Jamis velo one-handed as Junior gets the ride of his life.

Mom wasn't sure what to make of it all: was the child wearing his helmet?

What if Dad went too fast? Or his hand slipped from the grip?

Nah. Ride ended without incident -- except the youngster had the biggest smile imaginable plastered all over his little face.

A velo-ster in the making  :)

Transmitter Park, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Once upon a time (say, back in the 1930's) the WNYC radio transmitter occupied this spot along the East River.

Indeed, the single story white building (known as Transmitter House) in the background of this pic held the "workings" of the magic of early radio.

Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia dedicated the facility in 1936. A handsome, very business-like plaque attests to this landmark event.

The tower itself, dismantled long ago, once soared skyward from the building, reaching millions of New Yorkers with music, news and entertainment. 

City mothers and fathers got religion somewhere along the line. Nowadays the former site of the radio transmitter is a magnificent public space, the pride of Greenpoint. On any given day Moms and kids in strollers hang out and socialize in a top-notch playground. Bladers and joggers do their thing. And walkers with dogs on leashes also enjoy the world-class views across to Manhattan.

My panorama shot has been jiggered inside the SONY. The "look" is more watercolor than photographic.  The silhouette belongs to a new friend I met in Transmitter Park, who was walking his beagle when he and I struck up a thoughtful, memorable conversation.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Red Star Bar, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn's Latest Coffee Craze!

Jessica and I strolled past the Grady's Cold Brew sidewalk shop in Greenpoint last week. We hit the barista on her last day selling retail -- "we'll focus entirely on wholesale, once the weather turns," she reported.

This little Enterprise is destined for greatness in the view of cafe-aficionados Jessie and Poppy.   The brew is smooth, with a pleasing hint of chicory.  The entire process -- roasting, grinding, brewing, concentrating, adding the chicory, etc. -- takes place right here.  Wholesale accounts have been opened in the New York Metro, and some of are are hoping the product gets to Minneapolis, pronto.

In support of the brand, I bought a couple of bottles of Grady's to put in my cooler for the drive home.  As soon as I arrived in Long Lake, Jason was there to greet me, and we cracked open a bottle and toasted -- one part Grady's to one part milk.

Now, we're talking ...... !

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pedicure with Lisa, Westerly, RI.

"I've seen worse looking feet," was how Lynn Nails pedicurist Lisa described my old dogs the other day.

You should see them now!

Sky, Jessie and I just had a family pedicure in Westerly, RI -- though I declined the toenail painting.

It was Poppina who gave us the idea in the first place.  She and the gals enjoyed a family foot job the last time we visited the East Coast.

Highly recommend Lisa. Now THIS is what we mean when we talk family values!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Biggest Horseshoe Crab, Ever.

Your automotive answer in Ross County, OH.

Just Left of Madison, WI: real GOP?

Stopped outside of Madison, WI to gas up the KIA Sportage but got distracted by this iconic Pink Elephant.

Could it be making a political statement, I'm wondering?

Do heavy black glasses honor the memory of Barry Goldwater?

Does the color pink confirm support for breast cancer research, and national health care? 

Is there a subliminal message to voters that the GOP they remember from the old days is, like a pink elephant, really a hangover from too much drinking of the koolade?

What do you think?  I'm not sure -- makes an interesting post to the Blog.

Monday, October 8, 2012

35,069 Pageviews and Counting.

Thanks to you, dear readers, Poppy's Velo Ventures has passed the 35,000 all-time pageviews mark. 

While I'm not sure if that's a "good number" -- a little or a lot -- the fact that you read PPV, enjoy it enough to come back again, and occasionally leave a comment -- it's motivation to keep your humble scribe posting pics and perspective about life's random encounters. 

Thank you for your support.  Suggestions, ideas, comments, critiques welcome, as always.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Seriously Hot Hookers. I'm Serious!

Poppina and I made it over to the annual Fall Valley Hook-In in Stillwater.  Ran into our pals Pam and Adele -- and the three hookers posed for Poppy's Polaroid (well, digi SONY, actually).

The rug hooking community in MN and WI is strong, vital, and enormously creative.  The work in wool these ladies do (you see a gent or so, but mostly the gals) is breathtaking in its complexity and beauty.

The Hoyts gobbled up skeins of yarn, yards and yards of craft-dyed wool fabric, and linen patterns which will become remarkably exquisite rugs when Nancy is finished working her magic.

I'll attach more pics in an subsequent post.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Beat to Sh*t Bike, Steamboat Springs, CO.

How old is this baby?

And what kind of tales could it tell?

Looks to me like a single-cylinder 350 cc from the early 1950's. Probably 2-stroke, made in Europe, long-since taken out of service, and left to dress up a gas station's decor along US Hwy. 40 in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

I once had a JAWA (Czech made, 2-stroke, 125 cc) that looked a little like this bike.  My machine was black w/gold paint trim, comfy, pretty quick for its size, and handled like a dream.

The JAWA was my daily transportation in the Panama Canal Zone when I was stationed there on active duty with the U.S. Air Force.  What a sight I must have been to my Commanding Officers, not to mention the Air Police who waved through vehicles at Albrook AFB.

The brash young Lieutenant, dressed in 1505's and low quarters, dying to do a wheelie at the front gate, but knowing full well that would not have been a cool move.

Unbecoming an officer, and the Bird Colonel would have been right!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mississippi River - Locks + Dam #1

Now  they tell me.

It's taken nearly 15 years to figure out that this remarkable feat of river engineering is right here in my own back yard.

I discovered #1 Locks earlier this week on a ride up River Road West.  One other visitor was at the site -- and he arrived on his bike as well.

Not a boat was in view, though there doesn't seem to be a regularly scheduled filling and emptying of the locks.

My interest was piqued because I've spent time around the Panama Canal, and have a profound respect for what it took to dig the Canal and build + run the locks now.

Back to our country, and the Mississippi River: I'd love to ride the distance between the Twin Cities and St. Louis -- from where the first lock is located to where the last one operates -- sometime next summer.  There's a map for that -- and an App, of course -- and I suspect plenty of road warrior reports from pedalers who've gone before.

Stay tuned for details.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mississippi River Rd., St. Paul, MN.

Another remarkable Twin Cities velo adventure is a trip along Mississippi River Road -- running east and west, up and down the Mightiest of American Rivers.

I had the good fortune to check out the ride today -- as fine, warm, and rewarding a day as one can ever expereince.

My good buddy Hervey Evans pointed me in the right direction: down Summit Ave., past St. Thomas Univ., to the end where Summit hits Mississippi River Rd.  Hervey told me where to park, and how to begin my journey downriver.

And what did I experience?

I crossed Ford Ave. Bridge, visited River Lock #1, met a third grade class from Minnehaha Academy, then worked my way north and east and crossed the river again along the Lake Street bridge.

Pic above was snapped by two new journalist friends -- a writer/producer from WCCO-TV, and her colleague, the station's assignment editor.  I think they were playing hookey!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kool Kountry Kitchen. Korny, huh?

A neighbor friend of ours, country gal that she is, creates almost everything she eats (and entertains with) from scratch.

She moves around this kountry kitchen with grace and ease. 

You'll as likely find her pulling a lamb roast out of the oven as flipping sour dough blueberry pancakes on the griddle.

Sometimes our pal is out in her veggie garden, keeping things sustainable.  

And when that happened the other day I snuck in to take a handheld, available light pic of this kreative korner of her world.