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Posts tagged ‘around town’

red crossings

Lucy is proving to be a perfect commuter bike for me – functional, comfortable, versatile.  And appropriately red enough for my trips into the Red Cross office (I swear this never even crossed my mind when I was choosing her paint color).

On a national level, the Red Cross is making preparations for the possible landfall of Isaac.  It’s fascinating to see the process unfold, the planning, the deployment of material and human resources – and the ways that numerous local Chapters contribute to the response.   While I have chosen not to be available for deployment at this time due to some personal scheduling conflicts, I continue to stay busy locally with our DAT team and working with new volunteers – work that I enjoy very much.

The continuing reorganizational changes surrounding our local Chapter can be frustrating at times.  While many of the changes to our service model make sense, and should ultimately provide more efficient delivery, the plan for implementation (internally) has not always been so well thought out – and this can be very difficult for a workforce of volunteers.

At the end of the day, I often have to step back and ask myself:  are we helping to the people who need our assistance?  The answer, thankfully, is yes.  Ultimately, this is all that really matters – whether it involves responding to house and apartment fires here at home, or providing relief to our clients after a hurricane.  At the end of the day, I know we have helped.

I get on my bike and ride home, thankful for the chance to unwind and mentally re-evaluate the day to the soothing rhythm of my pedals strokes … and hope that storms, near and far, change course.

utilitaire 9: history lesson

Another day in town of trip-chaining by bike.  Stop for coffee, pop into the bike shop, visit our local history museum, drop by the library (and more coffee), hit the grocery store for dinner-to-go, and home again; a bit of a list, and I again apologize for a rather lengthy post.  Despite multiple destinations,  I will log today’s Utilitaire checkpoint as #9 – museum visit.

In the section of town known as Five Points, we have a very nice regional history museum – the Museum Center at Five Points (and I am sorry to say that the above photo is not the museum, just an old building on the Five Points Corner ).  The museum is one of those places I don’t make time to visit often enough, so I am grateful for the Utilitaire challenge and the reminder to make the visit.  In addition to the permanent collection of local history and artifacts, the current temporary exhibit features an impressive collection of vintage and modern quilts.  As much as I loved viewing the quilts, I was really more interested in taking some time to explore the permanent collection more thoroughly than I have had time to in the past.  I learned a few things – including (according to the docent I spoke with) the fact that the industry responsible for “growing” and placing our little town on the TN map was kitchen stove manufacturing.   Not only was there a Hardwick Woolen Mill, but also a Hardwick Stove Company, among others.

Since my time was my own today, I was able to read, look and explore a little more.  Other things that caught my eye (in addition to the quilts, of course) were a vintage camera and an old grocery bike, along with a interesting collection of daily household items.

Coming to the museum in late March will be a new photograph exhibit that I am definitely looking forward to – a collection of black and white photographs from Knoxville photographer Don Dudenbostel on aspects of Appalachian culture that are fading from existence.  From roadside culture to moonshine distilleries to snake handling (yeah, snake handling) … this should be exceptional.  I’ve admired some of his other work (x-ray imaging) in the Bluff View Art District in Chattanooga, and it is pretty incredible.

As I was leaving the museum, I discovered I had just missed seeing my friend Jenn, who is an education director for the museum and had been there for a meeting.  Sorry Jenn.  But I definitely need to ask her for a favor — any chance we can get  the museum facilities people to install a bike rack??  (hint, hint)  😉

I left the museum and stopped at the library where I ran into one of my “other” sons, Tim, who had finished his college classes for the day and spotted me parking my bike.   We had a cup of coffee and did some catching up  in the library coffee shop before he headed off.  With all of the boys at schools here, there and everywhere, I don’t get to see these guys as often as I used to – and I was so touched that he was kind enough to take some time to re-connect.  My boys have the most amazing friends.

library bike rack

Winding through neighborhoods, with spring colors reminding me of the some of the quilts from earlier in the day.  On to the grocery store for a assorted salads for a simple supper, and then home.  A very good day.

 pansies, reminding me of quilts …


utilitaire 3.12

Today’s Utilitaire 12 destination: our local public library.  I almost didn’t make it out today; I am battling an annoying upper respiratory bug, which makes me want to just sit around with a box of tissue and lots of hot tea (along with an ample dose of decongestants).  I figured a new book might help, and the library would be a quiet and relaxing destination, so I decided to ride Elisabetta for a relaxing kind of ride.  Fortunately, it was a really beautiful day – and all the more incentive for wanting to get out of the house.

I am not a frequent visitor of our local library, I am sad to say.  I’ve found the book selection to be lacking, and have been frustrated with attempts with inter-library loaning.  Within the past few years, the library has undergone extensive renovations – and the physical facility changes are very nice.   I looked for a couple of books (which they didn’t have, of course), thumbed through a few other volumes, and took a look around at all of  the new rooms.   There is even a cozy coffee/sandwich shop, Lasater’s, that has opened on the main floor of the library.  With the proximity to the local University, it appears to be a popular and well-frequented addition.   Thumbs up for the coffee, too.  Even though I left bookless, I enjoyed the trip.

I rode on the Greenway to and from town – always a nice ride on a sunny day, lots of people out walking and jogging.  I don’t keep an odometer on Elisabetta, so I am only guessing on today’s paltry mileage – 16-ish?  It was just enough for the way I am feeling today … Hoping this passes soon.

library coffee shop

feeling bleh...

utilitaire 2.12

We didn’t get rained on.  Of course.  Because we brought rain gear.

Number 2 in the Utilitaire Winter Cycling games … and I’m having a hard time deciding how to log this one, but will settle on #6: Any Store That Is Not A Grocery Store.  Basically a run around town, from hardware store to bike shop (yes, again) to coffee, to groceries to cupcakes (!).  Mileage: 21-ish.  Rain: none.

It began with a trip to the hardware store, because we needed some new axe handles.   We do a lot of chopping around here, you know.  Well, maybe not me as in we … but still.  Can’t have those ax heads flying off the handle.

hardware store

needing handles

mission accomplished

Then we got to head over the bike shop because I had forgotten a thing or two when I was there the other day.  It was exciting.  We got to witness a really amazing explosion … (Charles, my bike guy has a great sense of humor with these things; he made the video).

From the bike shop, we stopped and met  Grant for coffee.  He was killing some time before heading to work, and we were just … killing some time.  And trying to test our fate with the rain gods.

We hopped on the Greenway and stopped for some groceries, and then headed over to Chattanooga Cupcakes for some desert for later on.   And while I doubt that I burned enough calories to even eat the sprinkles off of one of these things, I just cannot resist …






We got home just as the first drops of rain arrived.  Perfect timing.

When I thought about today’s ride, I often wonder what the bird’s-eye view of our route looks like.  We wind our way on less-traffic’d roads, hopping on the Greenway whenever it works out, and taking what sometimes feels like a rather circuitous route.  I know I could go on Google Maps or Map My Ride and officially map this thing out in an accurate way, but I decided to just doodle it.  Obviously not really to scale or accurate, but close enough.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t look as chaotic as I thought it might.

So two of twelve completed, ten remain.  Bikes: 2.  Rain: 0.

not in any way accurate or to scale

#30daysofbiking Day 22: a day in the life of a Big Dummy (10 photos)

Todays #30daysofbiking story will be in photos.  (Because it was a long one, and I am too tired to write coherently.)

Heading out. Paying respects to a "deceased" brother ...

Needed some cash.

Picking up a picture I had framed.

Picking up the tennis team snacks.

Mailing graduation announcements.

Dropping off some mail.

Taking the Greenway through town.

A visit to the bike shop; lusting after pretty shiny things. (Ltd. edition Felt Brougham in full chrome/white glory)

Sharing. (Another tennis match. Tennis team kids wanted to ride. Will hold many racquets.)

Watching Grant. Won both his singles and doubles matches today. 😀

After a long day, back at home. Good night, moon.