Monday, June 29, 2009

Riding Without "Issues", Briefly Hanging Out On The Lakeshore

I am fortunate to live adjacent to the River Trail, about midway between the River Park and the gu'ment's lake. I can chose to go one way or the other.

The upstream journey to the lake requires slightly more effort for a dude my age, but is more invigorating. It suddenly occurred to me today, that downstream to The Park and beyond is for meditation, and upstream to The Overlook and beyond is for stimulation!

Today, I partly rode, partly pushed, up the hill to Springhouse Crossing. Still mulling over the "Gap in the world" caused by the loss of the buzzard tree, I tarried for more than just my usual water break.
...Alas, A Gap In The World
I feel fairly certain now, that this is the grounded remains of the buzzard tree. It apparently met its final demise concurrently with another, larger tree, which was also sometimes used as a roost. Not wanting to disturb the delicate, soggy ground that surrounds both trees in the outflow from the spring, I will probably never get closer than this.

So, after a somewhat uneventful trip to the lake, I decided that I'd take a small jaunt along the North Shore leg of the gu'ment's Goodwater Loop which fails to be very bicycle friendly, and is not really a pleasant experience in the summer. This would be my first trip this way in 2009, and my last until probably November. October at the earliest!

I came across a frequently used campsite, which seems to have not been used this year. A puzzle? Why not? I have only found it occupied once, on a trip last spring, although it has always shown signs of frequent use. There were three young (all male) campers here, who were preparing to break camp. One young man was standing in the middle of the trail, looking meditatively over the lake, and he must have just finished relieving himself, not having as yet "tucked in". I politely pushed my bike around him without a word, but wondered as I remounted and proceeded along the trail, if I shouldn't have asked, "Do you hang out here often?"
I turned back at the "campsite", not really wanting to make this a North Shore excursion. It's almost July, and my wife always tells me, "pace yourself", whenever I set out.

One of my favorite water break stops along the North Shore is this old watering trough. There's no water here. Certainly this land has not been used for ranching for at least thirty years, but the circular trough remains, and provides a nice, shady bench for relaxing and contemplating the aroma of the young sycamore tree which shades it.
...North Shore Water Stop

Having had enough of the North Shore trail for now, I retraced my route, and a short distance beyond the water stop, I came to the fork in the road. This is the place where, on my first trip on the North Shore leg, I first encountered the bronzed blond bikini hiker and her two great dogs, who were frequent visitors to the lake last year on weekends.
...Two Roads Diverged to.....where?
Once at this junction, I took, more or less by accident, the shady fork, and found it's a more pleasant route, but ends further from the lake, and closer to the Overlook trail head, so one must make a choice. Today, I chose the more direct route to the shore.

On a hot day, and although this was not yet a hot day, it soon would be, the lake provides welcome relief, no matter what negative words I might have otherwise to say about it.
Tall Man And The Cool Depths
And one is tempted to think he should jump in, as so many do on days like this, but not today, not for Willie.
Should I Slide On In,.....Nope

And one cannot walk this shore without paying homage to the flints. What fun to contemplate the infinite variety they present!
Tip Of A Flintberg
This cutie, only about 2 1/2 inches long seemed so tenuously connected to its matrix of limestone that I thought I might be able to pry it loose and take it with me. No such luck! It wanted to stay, and so it did.
...Tiny Lunar Landscape 01
...Tiny Lunar Landscape 02
...Silk Purse, Or Sow's Ear?
How long would it take to see all the flints in this quarter mile? I don't think you ever could! You may see them one day, and the next day, you might see them in a different light than the day before. My mother once said, when she was trying to persuade to move back from New Mexico....."The mountains are pretty, but once you've seen them.....". How in the world could you EVER "see" a mountain???? It's impossible!
Would a hundred years be needed to document the flints? I don't know, and I'm not willing to find out, so I'll go on home, and come back another day.

The ride back downstream is easier, and a feeble old geezer like me can make speeds up to 18+ mph on the twisting, turning trail back to the killer hill, which traverses a significant level change between flat shelves. It's down and up, but mostly down, and a fun, shady ride.

Almost home, there's a rapid rise from the river, then another rapid rise up to the crest of the ridge. I've found that, for the previous couple of times, I've chosen to add about a third of a mile by traveling a way along a level road to "recuperate" before tackling the second rapid rise.
...California House
If I should tell you where I live, you'd be able to find me on the crest of the ridge. On the same street, a little way down toward the river, there's a house that exhibits freedom of choice. The people of this house have a driveway which opens to the street above, and they've made a little driveway and parking space off the other street below. I like the idea of coming home and asking myself, "Should I drive into the garage, or should I enter by the scenic route?" I think I'd like to knock on their door someday, and praise them for their ingenuity. However, they'd probably say, "Oh, it was like that when we bought the house a couple of years ago". Oh, well, I think it's a pretty idea, anyway.

Grateful for being forced by my ancient lung power to take the level "recuperative" ride before going on up the hill, I had an idea, which I acted on. The last few rides upstream have been a little more tiresome than before, and the hills somewhat steeper. I was pushing where I usually rode. A little WD-40 spritzed on the chain and sprockets would improve my lot. (Texas weather is capricious, and my bicycle is sometimes exposed to the elements). It's so easy, in the excitement of getting off to the trail, that I usually forget the lube. Why not do it as soon as I reach the end of this ride? OK, why not?
Overhaul In A Spray Can
Tomorrow's ride will be smoother.

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