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Posts tagged ‘Elisabetta’

utilitaire 10 of 12: a-go-go

Riding across the Riverside Drive glass bridge in Chattanooga always gives me an imaginary sense of victory(?) over cars.  I love standing on that bridge with my bike and looking down at the cars driving underneath; I am looming over them for a change (even it it’s only in my mind…).

Today’s destination was number 12 on the Utilitaire control card: to get my hair cut.  My once-a-month-or-so trip to Chattanooga to visit my stylist, Chris, at Hair-A-Go-Go gives me a chance to ride into the city on the Riverwalk.

I will confess, I have to drive (shame on me!) to the northern terminus of the Riverwalk from home; but living about 40+ mi outisde of the city, an 80-mile round trip would be a big stretch for a reasonable commuter distance for me. Sorry. This way, anyway, I cut a little off of my driving distance, and get to ride the  “scenic route” into downtown, and have some time to enjoy the destination.    I think the approximate distance from the north end of the path to the Bluff View Art District downtown is about 8 miles one way, so the round trip  makes  for a relaxing and comfortable ride which I almost always make on Elisabetta.

Got my haircut, stopped into the downtown art supply store for a new pen, and then lingered around Coolidge Park for a little while enjoying the incredible sunshine and the balmy temperatures.  I think we reached the mid-70’s.  Lots and lots of people were out, walking, biking, sitting on benches on the Walnut Street Bridge, enjoying picnics in the park.

Before heading back, I stopped to treat myself at Rembrand’s Coffee House in the Art District.  I was in the mood for one of their blackberry Italian Cream Sodas …  it was heavenly, especially on the warm day.  I am not exactly sure what makes it “Italian” (because I don’t remember ever seeing anything like this in Italy), but it is basically blackberry syrup, soda water, and some cream – yes, real cream – over ice.  Not something to indulge in on a regular basis, but for an occasional treat, I shall have no guilt over it(!).

My hair is back to it’s short and trimmed state, my journal enjoyed the sun and the park (if not my attempts with the new pen), and I am still imagining the sweetness of blackberries and cream.  A few scenes from the day … and a big thank you to the very kind new friends who have visited these pages from today’s Freshly Pressed; it was an unexpected surprise, and I am quite bowled over by the kind words and responses.  Many thanks.

buying pens

playing with new pens

Chattanooga has a thriving hipster population  … Riverwalk

Scenic City bridges … Coolidge Park

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...


Genus Magicicada, Brood XIX – The Great Southern Brood of the 13-year cicada variety  they are here in the millions.  “Cicadapocalypse”, as one of the boys calls it.  I honestly can’t remember seeing them this prolific before; the throbbing noise in the trees outside almost borders on being painful to the ear.  You can’t walk across the driveway or sidewalk without crunching underfoot.  Dropping out of trees, landing on your head, your shoulder, and screeching in your ear.

Riding a bike through their erratic swarming masses is like being pelted with, well … very big bugs.

Still, I am fascinated by them – and I love going out and standing under the trees to watch them.   Their tenacity, their big red eyes, even the pulsating noise that drowns out everything else.  And despite their scary looks, they are gentle and fairly docile when they land on you (once you get past the scratchy feeling of their grasping little legs).  After spending 13 years underground, the’ve emerged with joy (?) to find a mate and to complete the cycle.  And I wonder where I will be and what I will be doing when their progeny arrive?

It may be a good reminder:  to love much and make all the noise you can while you’re here and have the chance? 😉

a bugs'-eye perspective?

bike toys

head tube clock

We watch things come and go … and come back again.  “Vintage” and “retro” are everywhere – from fashion trends to digital photo apps and beyond. My son now wears glasses a la Buddy Holly, and despite his iPodery, he’s been collecting old vinyl records and plays them on a turntable.  Myself, I’m smitten with the lo-fi grainy look of photos from plastic toy film cameras, and have always loved vintage bikes.

And so, when I spotted this Stem Captain analog headset clock in the bike shop, I knew this was a toy I had to have.  While digital trip computers and hi-tech toys may be the order of the day for “serious” bikes, I felt that this was just the right accessory for Elisabetta.


she's not vintage ...


100 days to go


#330daysofbiking day 230 ... brrrrrrrrrrrr


I don’t know why, but today felt like a pretty big day for me.  Day 230 of the #330daysofbiking project … 100 days to go.    Unless, of course, I decide to go for #33,000daysofbiking, or something along those lines.  (Totally kidding!  Probably.) 😉

Sadly, the milestone was not marked with a very epic ride, but it was good to be out there, regardless.  (I tend to get a little punchy when I’m stuck inside, as evidenced by today’s ShutterCal entry. Lol.)

It was a cold one outside – low around 16’F, and the high only a degree or two above freezing.  The pond had ice on it.  Elisabetta came out of the garage and saw her shadow, which I believe means we will have 6 more weeks of winter.   Bicycle folklore, you know.


she saw her shadow ... 6 more weeks of winter?

today's ShutterCal: "I'm an apple person" (obviously being stuck inside makes me a little goofy(er) )