Wednesday, November 14, 2012

THE QUESTION OF THE DAY…

 

ZekeMeetsAndy

Zeke meets Andy!

So, here is today’s question. What happens when two motorcyclists meet by a garbage dumpster? (No, this isn’t a slam on motorcyclists – I’m one myself!) The story behind the answer goes like this…

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

SHE’S A THING OF BEAUTY

She’s sleek. If you look at her in just the right light, you can see the shimmer from her skin in the dying light of the day. Her hair is lustrous and smooth as my hand gently runs through the individual strands. I instantly accept that to maintain this level of beauty it will be necessary…

Sunday, October 14, 2012

North Carolina Bike Summit Closes Out!

The N.C. Bike Summit is now closed and in the books with plans already underway for the second annual bike summit. Day two of the summit ran from 8:30 a.m. until high noon at the McKimmon Center on the campus of N.C. State UniversityDay one set the stage for an in-depth look at the state-wide North Carolina Bike/Ped plan.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Inaugural North Carolina Bike Summit Underway!

Greetings from the first, well second, NC Bike Summit. Apparently, the first one occurred some 20+ years ago and, I’m sad to say, I missed it. I’m not missing this one though.

Andy Clarke, LAB President, provides keynote address

(LAB President, Andy Clarke, addressing NC Bike Summit participants)

The Navigator and I made our way down from the colorful mountains of …

Friday, September 21, 2012

UBIQUITY AND THE END OF REST AND RECHARGE 2012

 

The Low Country 2012 – Days 1 and 2
The Low Country 2012 – Day 3

The Low Country 2012 – Days 4 and 5

 

The 2012 Low Country Rest and Relaxation tour has come to an end. So apparently did my writing time… We’ve been back five days now and this is the first break I’ve had to sit down and post the wrap up…

Friday, September 14, 2012

SPINNING EASY IN THE LOW COUNTRY

 

The Low Country 2012 – Days 1 and 2
The Low Country 2012 – Day 3

The Low Country 2012 – Days 4 and 5

Days four and five of our Low Country Rest and Recharge 2012 week have involved shorter rides around the island of Hilton Head. The Woodman and I focused on areas of the island that we’ve only briefly visited previously or not visited at all…

Mooring Buoy abode

(Our Hilton Head residence viewed from the adjacent golf course)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Off Island Riding–Bluffton and Palmetto Bluff

 

The Low Country 2012 – Days 1 and 2
The Low Country 2012 – Day 3

Day four of our Low Country 2012 Rest and Recharge week entailed the Woodman and I heading off island for some riding and exploring in nearby…

Monday, September 10, 2012

A LOLLYGAGGIN’ WE DID GO!

The Low Country 2012 – Days 1 and 2

 

Day 3 of our 2012 Low Country “Rest and Recharge” week was comprised of some serious lollygaggin’ on the part of me and the Woodman. We achieved a fine state of Lollygag. The Woodman was told many years ago that the type of riding we were doing today was known as lollygagin’. This outstanding form of riding is characterized by slow, pretty much aimless movement with no apparent need for speed or need to be anywhere else than where we are at that exact moment.

A lollygaggin' twosome

"(Lollygaggin’ on a sunny Monday on Hilton Head, SC)

Turns out that when you go about seeking some serious  lollygaggin’ or find yourself in a state of Lollygag…

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hilton Head Island 2012–Recharge Days 1 and 2

The Navigator and I , along with the Woodman and Sherry Shazam, are well into Day two of our 2012 rest and recharge week on beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC. HHI is a 2012 recipient of the League of American Bicyclists Silver Award winning community…

Our 2012 journey was pleasantly devoid of…

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I GOT DEM HOUSE BUILDING BLUES!

I’ve been a little crazy lately characterized by bad eating, bad sleeping, and no riding. I can pretty much talk with you coherently about 24” base cabinets, 3 1/2” crown molding, and the proper length of a tail line for a septic system. I’m no longer as up-to-date in the world of cycling as I was and want to be. In fact, I had a dream…

Thursday, August 23, 2012

MY PATH LESS PEDALED EXPERIENCE

As I begin this post, I must admit that I’m not sure where it is going or where it will end. I do feel compelled to share my experiences with Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled fame over the past weekend as they graciously flew across the country to participate in the 3rd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway.

ZekeRussLaura

(Photo by Roca: Outside TTR Bikes as time to depart was upon us.)

There are probably a number of levels upon which to consider the weekend…

Monday, August 20, 2012

WHEW! IT IS DONE…

The 2012 Blue Ridge Breakaway has rolled to a close. The signs are collected and, in the case of Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled, the wheels are up! As I type Russ and Laura should be winging their way home to Portland.

Russ Roca and Laura Crawford entertain crowd

(Laura Crawford and Russ Roca entertain the Blue Ridge Breakaway participants!)

We said our goodbyes at the Greenville/Spartanburg, SC jetport after a brief stop…

Thursday, August 16, 2012

THE TIME IS NIGH!

Finally, the Blue Ridge Breakaway is upon us! The 3rd annual running of the show gets underway in less than 12 hours with the presentation by Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled fame as they address…

Saturday, July 28, 2012

BACK AT IT AGAIN…

When last I heard from myself, the Navigator and I were headed out with the Wood-man and Sherry Shazam for a little battery recharging at nearby Lake Chatuge, which straddles the southwestern North Carolina border with Georgia. Our abode was in Hiawassee on the Georgia side of the lake one street off what passes for the main drag and shopping zone.

Chatuge_Daylight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Twin Mountains on opposite shore)

Chatuge_Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Red sky at night was a relaxing way to end the day)

The brief two day trip served its purpose of giving us a break in our efforts to get one house ready for sale and the Navigator’s family home…

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

I’VE LOST IT… HAVE YOU SEEN IT?

As I headed home last night from our weekly “new and newly returning” riders group ride, it dawned on me that I’ve lost it. I’m not exactly sure when or where I lost it but, I’m pretty sure it is gone. Small things began to come together that helped me realize it was lost. I mean I’ve had this nagging “just below the surface” irritating pull on my conscious thought for sometime. I just couldn’t name it. I may have named it last night…

Friday, June 15, 2012

HELP ZEKE RIDE AGAIN!

HelpMe!

(Warning! Shameful self-promoting plea ahead!) Yes, it is true. I need your help. You see my riding time has been down significantly over the past few weeks. I can tell this without looking at my fabulously detailed Excel spreadsheet in which I gather data on virtually every ride I take. I can tell my riding time is down each morning when I go to pull on my pants – one leg at a time. I can tell my riding time is down when I try to suck in the gut enough to get that middle button through the button hole and wander around the house just long enough (defined as approximately 5 minutes) to realize the cotton is NOT going to stretch enough for these pants to be comfortable for 8 hours. I can tell my riding time is down when I’m sitting at my computer looking at the weather map when the weekly group ride is starting somewhere else! So, yes, I need your help. How can you help, you say? Well, read on…

Sunday, June 3, 2012

THERE’S A PRESENCE IN MY HOME!

June 3, 1944..

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII…
“2 planes go out of squadron. Repaired but 2 come back in. one crash landed – other blew tire. Plenty of work.”

 

I’ve been away. It has been 12 days since my last post. The Navigator and I have purchased her family home following the passing of her father this past New Year’s Day. Getting one home ready for market and one home ready to move in to has left me with limited time to write. Yet, much has been happening on the cycling front. Unfortunately, I’m acutely aware of more recently having been “talking the talk but not walking the walk” when it comes to riding…

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

25,000th VISITOR TOUCHES DOWN…

At 2:19 a.m. on May 22, 2012, the 25,000th visitor to Zeke’s Great Smokies Two Wheeled Adventures dropped in for a short visit. The reader, who is unidentified by name, came from a Verizon connection out of Los Angeles. He or she was using Google Reader. About the only other thing I can glean from my statistics is that they were 2,059 miles away…

So, although there were no falling confetti (I’m guessing) at visitor number 25,000’s home or whistles or marching bands playing, please accept my thanks for stopping by and visiting. My thanks extends to the 24,999 visits before this one as well!

I am reminded of a time when a young man, who had just celebrated his 5th year of marriage, asked me what I thought about it. I first congratulated him and then advised him that “it was a darn good start!” Similarly, I’m aware that 25,000 visits are a good start toward that 50,000 benchmark!

Until later,

- Zeke

Monday, May 21, 2012

BIKE WEEK AND A BAD BACK COME TOGETHER!

May 21, 1944..

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII…
“Up at 8:00: 9:00 my work. 10 go to Sanqevera (sp?) at 11:35 a.m. for food for the boys of another mobile unit going after P-38 wings up to front. Have best supper, (ice cream top.) Bombing practice on field.”

 

Between multiple Bike Week activities and a back injury sustained during a lapse in judgment, I’ve not posted here in a period of time that surprised me. Since my last post, I’ve relearned the fact that wisdom doesn’t always come with age…

BikeToWork_CatLadyNancy

(Yep, had our own feline (of sorts) rider at Bike To Work Day!)

Monday, May 7, 2012

A SKYPE ENCOUNTER AND THE ZEPHYR ARRIVES!

May 7, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “My birthday! Work too. Over 100 – 38’s are in air by 9:00 a.m. Escort Y Squadron. 2 return on 1 engine. Cloudy tonight and hot. Looks like rain.”

 

Today, I spoke with Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled fame. We had our first face-to-face conversation about their upcoming participation in the 3rd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway sponsored by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, May 3, 2012

YES!!!! THEY ARE COMING!

I’m pleased to formerly announce that Russ Roca and Laura Crawford, those world famous cyclists known as The Path Less Pedaled, have agreed to join the 3rd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway sponsored by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce!

(Russ Roca and Laura Crawford taking a break on their travels!)

We are excited to have them join us on August 17th and August 18th in beautiful…

Sunday, April 29, 2012

THE FAMILY THAT CYCLES TOGETHER…

April 29, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “Work on 2 props – Most of  day. Plane on landing gets n prop wash and crashes into another P38. Go up in flames. I photo it..”

Blackberry Winter has apparently now come and gone and we’re back to summer like temperatures here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. It has been quite a weather roller coaster the last week with severe storms interrupting our most recent Thursday night ride.

BeginRide_HartFam02_041912

(l – r Tom, Ashley, Yvette Hart make riding a family matter!)

Our Thursday night “new and newly returning” cyclists group rides have gone well thus far…

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A GREAT SATURDAY TO RIDE!

April 14, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “Lecture on Mosquito control. We are starting taking medicine tomorrow. Dark nites now good for invasion. Beautiful days too.”

Our first intermediate level ride of the year was held this morning. The Navigator and I enjoyed our first cups of morning coffee as the sun made its way over Mount Pisgah displaying clear skies. The morning temperatures reflected our current warming trend as they hovered in the upper 40’s. It looked to be a great morning for a ride!

 

Ride Leaders Alan and Zeke

(What is missing from this photo? Answer below…)

Friday, April 13, 2012

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!

April 13, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “We got 3 new planes in for repair. One shot up completely. Bill and I develop 7 rolls of films but no printing paper .”

The week has been busy since our return from the Low Country of S.C. On the cycling front, I participated in the Haywood Community College Spring Fling on the 11th. Along with fellow Council member, Claire Carleton, we attempted to survey HCC students on their interest in having the multi-modal connector developed between campus and the Town of Clyde.

HCC Students completing survey!

(HCC students complete survey regarding multi-modal path.)

Dogwood Winter was in full force on the very clear, very cool day…

Friday, April 6, 2012

WRAPPING IT UP IN THE LOW COUNTRY…

We are in the final day of our week long annual trip to the Low Country of South Carolina and specifically Folly Beach. This is our 10th year of the gathering of the Magic Circle in Folly and the fourth year since I found my “rock bottom” of fitness while here lounging around one day “bowling” on a video game. Since then, much has changed and yet much has stayed the same…

Arthur Ravenel Bridge, Charleston, SC

(Sparky White image of beautiful Ravenel Bridge, Charleston, SC)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

IN THE LOW COUNTRY AGAIN!

End of Day Palm Sunday

(End of day – Palm Sunday, Folly Beach, SC)

Rain, miserable driving conditions, dangerous idiot drivers, wrecks, speed up, slow down, She-crab soup, sun breaking through, smooth Atlantic waters, crowds, more crowds, Bro Dave, leg loosening spin, double parking, young adults, public urination, the smell of Shrimp Boil in the air, Chef Richard at his best, Lyle Lovett easing the way…

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A RIDE DOWN MEMORY LANE

March 20, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “P-38 downed by flack in the battery up on he Adriatic Sea-side on a Spit-Fire field. Mobile unit goes after it. M/Sgt. Seaver and I are going up North tomorrow (Mobile unit No 2 in Southern Italy).”

 

Fargo at the East Little Fork Trail

(Fargo at the East Little Fork Trailhead)

Yesterday, while out enjoying mild summer in springtime here in Western North Carolina, I was treated to an unexpected trip down memory lane. We’ve seemingly skipped winter this year as we’ve enjoyed mostly mild temperatures and no more than a dusting of snowfall at my home in southern Haywood County. We’re already experiencing daytime temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s under blue skies with fluffy white clouds. Yesterday was yet another day in a stretch of several very, very nice days. As my riding time has been suffering thus far this year, it was the perfect day to…

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT COMING!

Yep, a very exciting announcement is on the horizon. I can say that it is connected to the third Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway. I can say that it relates to cycling advocacy and cycling tourism. I can say that it involves speakers of national and now international renown.

SNAGHTML1180e86

What I can’t say – just yet – is………

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

EMERGING FROM THE FUNK…

February 29, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “Yes, there was an entry for Feb 29th, 1944, which must have also been a leap year! Work with 94 squadron (Harkin-Ring) until noon. A mission so I come back to our squadron area. White wash all walls of barn and everyone is painting their rooms up “American” .”

 

It seems like forever since I’ve posted and, in fact, this may well be the longest time I’ve gone without a post since starting this blog some 3 years ago. I’ve found myself in a funk recently – a funk that I can relate to “too many irons in the fire”, a dying pet, housing decisions to make, wet weather, etc., etc., etc. All of which are just excuses for not getting out and riding and finding…

Friday, February 17, 2012

HIGHER GAS PRICES LEADING TO NEW CYCLISTS?

February 17, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “Beautiful day – Red line instruments in P-38 # 13 that had been replaced after being shot out. Plane ready to fly again. 5 planes are almost finished by 94th Squadron..”

We look to have a nice day headed our way this Friday, February 17th but expecting deteriorating conditions by Saturday evening. I’m hoping to get in a ride tomorrow morning to further document part of our Haywood Hub for cue sheet production.

In the meantime, I’m beginning (I think) to see the impact of higher gas prices…

Gas Pump Prices To Jump Again!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

IN MATTERS OF THE HEART…

 

February 14, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Naples, Italy during WWII… “Bill and I worked all day with 71 Fighter Squadron on the new planes – Go to movie tonight. See “Reunion in France.”

 

On this Valentines Day in 2012, I wasn’t working on Fighter planes as was my father-in-law back in 1944 but I was working on matters of the heart…

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

THOUGHTS OF THE ‘BABE’ ON A BEAUTIFUL DAY!

February 7, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Naples, Italy during WWII… “Snow & Rain – Many tents down. We don’t do much work because of coldness. (damn this weather) Bad on beachhead – No planes in air…”

 

BabeYount_1946

(Oliver “Babe” Yount, Yokosuka, Japan Feb, 1, 1946)

February 7th is/was an important day in the Yount family life. Had our father survived his colon cancer and not succumbed to some other malady, he would be 88 years old today. As was my father-in-law, S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, Oliver “Babe” Yount was…

Sunday, February 5, 2012

AND THE BEAT GOES ON…

February 5, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Naples, Italy during WWII… “Rain: All day. Sleet and hail. Snow in Mts. Wind blows many tents down …”

As I sit here on Sunday, February 5, 2012 in 60 degree temperature with mostly sunny skies, it is hard to imagine what my father-in-law, S.Sgt. G.C. Watts and his “brothers in arms” were experiencing 58 years ago as they huddled together in tents in a war zone as rain, hail, and heavy winds surrounded them. My toughest decision so far today has been…

Sunday, January 29, 2012

PROFORM LE TOUR DE FRANCE ONGOING REVIEW…

January 29, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Naples, Italy during WWII… “Week of 01/25 through 02/01 has note “Huge Air Forces operating over Germany) Daily note for 01/29/44 – Go to air field. Joe E. Brown comes down and gives us some good laughs. Eat supper and go to Foggia to USO and see Humphrey Bogart and wife. Cold- …”

 

This may not be pretty… Even after a night’s sleep, I still may have a RANT getting ready to erupt. Just be warned. Maybe it won’t be more than a mini-rant. It will certainly be about my ongoing review of the ProForm Le Tour De France spinner bike.

But first… A cyclist’s dilemma…

Cyclist's Dilemma

(This is a test provided by a local survey crew…What’s a cyclist to do?)

Imagine if you will…

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A WEEK IN REVIEW…

January 22, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Naples, Italy during WWII… “Dug fox holes for shelter from strafing planes. Went to Foggi for belley tanks for P38 – P-38 leave with 2-1000 lb. bombs each…”

Our unseasonably warm, wet winter continues. As other parts of the country are getting hammered by heavy snows, winds, and frozen temperatures, we’re experiencing almost spring like temps with lots of rain. According to my weather station, we’ve already received 2.10” of rain this month.

I’ve noted a few cyclists out and about but, by and large, most cyclists seem to have retreated indoors or are riding at times when I’m not out and about to see them...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

WELL, THAT DIDN’T LAST LONG…

 

January 15, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Naples, Italy during WWII… “Work all day – Last nite one other flier broke his leg. Put some electric lites in my tent. – Still use a candle to write by…”

 

What a January workout plan I had. Note emphasis on “had”. You can file it under “Well, that didn’t last long…” But more on that later…

The last couple of weeks have been busy and the coming week isn’t showing any signs of letting up. Starting tonight, with the monthly meeting of the …

Thursday, January 5, 2012

THE “GREATEST GENERATION” DIMINISHED BY ONE…

January 5, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts while stationed in Naples, Italy during WWII…
“Nothing doing today. Rain and snow. Go to town – shave and lunch. For Spagetti and French Fryes it cost 150.00 Lira – In the states it would have cost only 35 cents.”

 

We lost another member of the “Greatest Generation” on New Year’s Day. The Navigator’s father, age 93, “passed on” after a full and rich life. G.C. was a WWII Veteran serving our country in the Army Air Corp. He saw action in Africa and Italy. One of the discovered treasures in his home was a day-by-day journal that he kept of his activities. I find it illuminating to stop today and consider what he was doing on this date time during the war…

GC Watts and Colin Powell

(G.C. Watts, Gen. Colin Powell, The Navigator (on left with camera) during the HonorAir Flight to the WWII Monument in Washington, DC)

Cycling Updates:

While the weather here in Western North Carolina has been less than hospitable for most of us, our fellow BicycleHaywoodNC members “Cross Country”Stan and his better half, Shirley, have managed to avoid our winter weather…