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Archive for May, 2011

Rolling through PA

I-80 cuts clear across Pennsylvania, 311 miles of pavement connecting the gently rolling Pocono mountains to the flat prairies of Nebraska and eventually on to the Sierra Nevada range in California.  Pat and I drove nearly all of the PA portion a few weekends ago to join my family for my Nana’s memorial service.  Spring was definitely creeping through the many valleys we passed though.  Some were vibrantly green while others still held on to winter gray.

Spring arriving

As we headed north out of Philadelphia we spotted huge storm clouds ahead. The radio station we were tuned into issued tornado warnings for the county we had just left.  Luckily the storm seemed to pass over without too much adverse effect.

A powerful storm

Driving toward clearer skies

By the time we got hungry for lunch the skies were nearly blue again.  We took a little detour to the Bald Eagle State Park.  It was really nice– lots of benches, a little lake with beach and clean bathrooms.  Sadly no bald eagles were sighted 😦

Tall trees

We had a picnic, snapped a few pictures and then got back on the road.

Us by the lake

The forest smelled really good

It even had a babbling brook!

With many more miles to put behind us Pat set the cruise, I kept the jelly beans flowing and amused myself by taking out-the-car-window pictures.  I can’t wait until we’re touring on our bikes so I can get closer to the beautiful world around me.

Pretty farms

One bright green tree

Fatty cloud

I hung my head out the car window to take this tunnel shot… camera strap on, of course!

zooming down the tunnel

Rocky PA

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I concocted this tasty, margarita-like drink in honor of Cinco de Mayo, my second most favorite “holiday celebrated with many drinks”.  But I think it’s perfect for any spring occasion– I plan on sipping one in my backyard while I gaze on the pretty flowers and enjoy the sweet songbirds tweeting. Ole!

In a hurricane glass (or for the non-fancy-glass equipped like myself, a pint glass works just as well) MIX well with ice:

1 oz tequila

1 oz triple sec

1 oz (about 3 tbsp) frozen pineapple juice concentrate– you could try other fruits too, this one just sounded yummy to me
Top with limeade (I like Santa Cruz brand) and garnish with a lime wedge.  Sip through a bendy straw for added fun 🙂

It's scary good

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One of my favorite things about Philadelphia is the smooth path lining the Schuylkill river– it’s accessible, gives you a break from the city streets and is well-maintained.  One of my least favorite things about Philadelphia is when people get lost in la-la land while using this path, completely unaware of anything outside their two square feet of pavement.  Undoubtedly (and in deference to my last post) this results in me having to ride cautiously, rather than rip through as the blur of cycling awesomeness I prefer.  Luckily it’s now May and for the next several months the Fairmount Park Commission gives Philadelphians like me the most fabulous treat– the car-free, pedestrian/cyclist/rollerblader heaven that is West River Drive on the weekend!

Take that, cars!

I had planned to ride out to Valley Forge today, I really need to get some more long hauls in…  But when I realized the Drive was closed I just stuck close to home.  I did four laps of the car-free section which I think ended up being around 25 miles.  It was so delightful riding in the sunshine, feeling the breeze at my back, and honking back at the many nesting geese.  These guys know the sound of a trail mix bag…

Don't take food from strangers, silly goose.

Fairmount Park is so gorgeous in the spring.  I definitely did one-lap-on, one-off for this ride so I had plenty of time to admire the scenery.  The newly green trees and pretty little flowers popping up make me grin like the adorable labradoodle loping along next to its owner (I hope my tongue wasn’t hanging out that much though).   All four lanes of West River Drive are closed to traffic, leaving plenty of room for families to ride together, rollerbladers to throw their arms around wildly and for joggers to run right down the middle of the road just because you can.  I love it all. 

Panoramic park

 

Stab that dragon!I think he forgot his suit of armor... and undies (hee!)

Chillaxin

This week I’m definitely back to my 100 mile challenge.  The weather looks like it’s really spring so I have no excuses!

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The city of Philadelphia has launched a new campaign, “Give Respect, Get Respect“, targeting drivers, pedestrians and cyclists using city streets.  I for one am all for it.  Since moving here nearly 5 years ago I have often thought the city’s nickname, City of Brotherly Love, must be some sort of hilarious in-joke I had yet to “get.”   Of course there are some Philadelphians who live up to the nickname but for the most part this city would not get put on Santa’s Nice List anytime soon.  And with no love, you certainly can’t expect respect.  Nothing displays the disunity of city and epithet better than the drama played out on its streets.  I’ve seen terrifying drivers, absolutely oblivious pedestrians and downright stupid bicyclists narrowly avoid catastrophe– I often wonder how many people don’t even have a single clue of how close they were to death while absent-mindedly checking their Blackberry.   Being a daily bicycle commuter in this mess has given me a new perspective on the word “respect”.

The plan will put extra police officers in Center City to write tickets for people jaywalking, texting while driving and riding bikes on the sidewalk.  I must add that this campaign was announced at the same time as plans for new north-south bike lanes in Center City were unveiled.  Of course the announcement was met with aggression from nincompoops like Stu Bykofsky, who probably has a clause in his contract with the Inquirer to be as narrow-minded as possible on issues related to transportation…  But I digress.  Public outrage at the City surrendering more of the streets to cyclists feels like a bad way to kick off a “love thy neighbor”-eque crusade.

Good motto

I hope one day this campaign can be a shining example for other cities– a way to show America that Philadelphia truly does deserve its nickname.  For this to work ALL road users need to start respecting each other by being attentive and polite (that means easing up on the g.d. horns, people).  Additionally, the plan should stress that bike lanes, sidewalks and traffic laws are there to keep us safe, not to suck the fun out of our lives.  I admit, it’s hard to refrain from flipping off the Hummer who doesn’t understand that my riding down the center of the lane is to prevent myself from becoming a pancake, not to tick off a random citizen (behind the wheel of a gas-guzzling monstrosity, oops another digression).  But I for one am willing to try harder.  Recognizing that we all play a part in keeping the streets safe is essential.  The campaign isn’t just about respecting other people, it’s about respecting your own safety too.  

Now, I can’t promise to stop yelling at people who ride the wrong way down the bike lane, or to quit forming simply atrocious strings of insults in my head against most cabs and Jersey drivers (sorry), but I CAN do my part by following the rules to the best of my ability and not letting my temper get the best of me.  Come on, Philadelphia… show the love!

Bike luv

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