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the stuff we see

A beautiful day for the road ... Mark on Meadowview Rd, Hamilton Co.

It was a lovely January day this past Saturday – temps near 60’F, and the sun poked its head out for a while.  Mark and I took a nice road ride for the first time in too many weeks, over into Hamilton County and one of our favorite loops off of Ooltewah-Georgetown Road.

I guess it’s that time of year, because we saw and heard lots of Sandhill Cranes.  This area lies along one of their popular migration paths, and every winter we are lucky to have them stop and visit.  Up until 2008 (?) the TWRA with the help of several local organizations had held an annual Crane Festival at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Birchwood.  From what I could find, the event no longer takes place … but the cranes still come to the area in the tens of thousands.

They have a very distinctive and unusual call, and one day last winter I remember hearing them flying overhead – for nearly 3 straight hours.  An endless parade of cranes kept coming and coming; I had never seen so many.  It was truly awe-inspiring.

There is one corn field along our bike route where I have often seen the cranes stop and congregate.  As we were riding by on Saturday, sure enough, they were there.  While I was attempting to take a few pictures of them on the ground, several of them took to the air above my head.

Sandhill Cranes overhead

I’m hoping that one day this week if we have some nice weather, I will ride out along the Hiwassee and out to the Refuge area (if it is open?) and take the good camera and try to get some more photos.

One the way home we had another “bird-related” road obstacle.  Definitely one of the more unusual roadblocks we’ve encountered, even here in rural TN.  These two guys were quite, well, let’s just say not timid.  They came right up to us when we stopped for them, and when we got going, they seemed to want to run along with us for a few meters.  Oh brother.

It’s always interesting and amazing … the stuff we see while riding. 🙂

Mark and the turkey roadblock 😉

snow(?!) day

Shrinking wintertime real estate for the ducks.

Shrinking wintertime real estate for the ducks.

Well, happy 2010 and all of that …

We’ve began the year with a bang.  Basically everyone got sick right after Christmas.  Annoying sinus/respiratory infection.  No riding.  Not much of anything besides lying around, sipping tea, watching movies.  Think we’re nearly all on the rebound – except for Mark, who was late to the party and is still trying to recover.

Not exactly sure why school is out ...?

The weather (happily, imo) has been very “wintery” and cold for the past week.  Not quite single digits at night, but pretty close.  The pond is frozen, the birds have mobbed the feeders.  I get to wear my winter clothes – hurrah!

Today, with a chance of possibly less than an inch of snow in the forecast, the schools dismissed kids early.  It looks like tomorrow may bring cancellation of classes altogether – we’ll see.  Have to say I never understand the reasoning behind their decision-making.  Weather radar says it doesn’t look like this storm will amount to much of anything, the roads are perfectly clear.  Just stupid.

Mason and I had a nice, but brief, road ride this week.  He had turned down my offer of warmer lobster mitts before we left … and I think he came to regret it.  His hands and feet were cold, so we cut things short.  He did get to visit with a few of his friends along the way, though. (LOL).

Mason: "Rides-With-Asses"

I’ve made my round of errand-riding this week, and have gotten a few stares of incredulity.  Apparently it’s acceptable to see teens running around in 20’F temps in athletic shorts, flip-flops and hoodies, but if you decide to ride a bike around town, the same people call you crazy.  (I will never understand the Ways of The South).  I wish I could show them some of the people riding around in CO, MN, and other places – with several feet of snow on the ground. If you want to see a beastly cold-weather rider, check out this gal (via Twitter).

Perfectly toasty - grocery run. (Yes, I'm a Nutcase).