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…

a World War II veteran, who served his country with honor and distinction at a time of great crisis for our country. He was a Navy man – through and through! Babe, along with many of his high school classmates left school early and enlisted in the armed services. He was on the first destroyer that went into Normandy on D-Day although being a Machinist Mate, he was below deck and didn’t “see” much of the action. He was like so many other WWII Vets, who didn’t talk about their experiences. In his last couple of years of life, he began to open up some about his experience and talked of  hearing D-Day from below decks. Babe lost a brother (my namesake) on Saipan and had yet a third brother serve in the U.S. Army. Among other things, I seem to have inherited his love of coffee. Dad talked of drinking coffee in the boiler room of the destroyers to “cool down”. He always had a pot “going” at the local newspaper where his career as Head Pressman continued until very near the time of his death. Coffee is still my preferred drink of choice and I often think of him as I enjoy a brew during the day.

As Bro Dave put it so well this morning, “I miss him still…”

What a beautiful day…

Our streak of great warm February weather continued today. We had clear blue skies once the morning fog burned off and mid-afternoon temps rose to the upper 50’s. Today was my day to work with local NC DOT engineers to adjust the sensitivity of a traffic signal in nearby Clyde, NC.

I managed to get to the site a little early so pulled the Salsa Fargo off of the bike rack and took the time to enjoy my first leisurely spin in way, way too long. I felt my clumsiness after not being on the Fargo in a while.

The traffic light we were working on adjusting is the only light that directs traffic along what we hope will be the approved route from a new Park ‘N Pedal (the first of its kind in Haywood) to the local community college.

Clyde intersection traffic light

(Approaching the intersection from the south)

This was the side of the intersection previously reported to not recognize cyclists. My experience today was that it picked up my CroMoly frame and BB quite easily and tripped the light so that I could cross the main, very busy highway. This is the approach that riders would take coming from the college on the way to the Park ‘N Pedal on Glance St. From the college, it is all downhill to this point. Of course, that means it is all UPHILL making your way to the college.

Park 'N Pedal site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(The suggested Park ‘N Pedal lot on Glance St.)

Glance St.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Glance St. leading to the Park ‘N Pedal site)

Haywood County government owns this portion of land after buying it following severe flooding that wiped out many of the buildings along this block. The county Recreation and Parks Department oversees the use of what is now called the Glance Street Park. The land lies in what is now the new 100 year flood plain and, in fact, is now in the new 500 year flood plain. It is a great place for doing bike rodeos and for families to take their kids to ride in a non-traffic area. In this image above, you can just make out one side of the loop that is a paved track around the small park. We (BicycleHaywoodNC) were fortunate to co-sponsor a bike rodeo at this site last year with the local Viet Nam Veterans Chapter, Town of Clyde, and Haywood Country Rec Department.

Our hope is that staff, students, and the general public will park here and ride, walk, or jog to the campus of Haywood Community College. This fits in nicely with the college’s sustainability program and provides yet another excellent opportunity for the school and town to cooperate on a joint venture.

While the approach to the traffic light on the south side is very gentle, the opposite is true on the northern approach. A short but steep incline leads riders to the traffic light on the northern approach near the Shook House. The detector loops are very noticeable here and it was easy to find the “sweet spot” for tripping the traffic light to allow me to cross the road. This side of the light would not be tripped by Fargo so it did require some fine tuning. Unfortunately, you are starting off on an incline, which will be a challenge for some new and newly returning riders.

NC DOT workers adjust the signal!

(NC DOT workers adjust the detector sensitivity)

This was my second experience with NC DOT in working on traffic light sensitivity. I was glad to see the same two fellows from our first effort at the Super Wal-Mart in West Waynesville. It was, again, a pleasure to work with them. In both of these requests, I’ve found the local DOT engineers and workers to be supremely pleasant and helpful. THANKS GUYS!

So, one more step has been taken to move us toward our ultimate goal of a multi-use path connecting the Town of Clyde and Haywood Community College. We have some time to spend with property owners along the way and, of course, raising funds to complete the work. Hey, one step at a time…

Until later,

- Zeke

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