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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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Cloud Sky Wheel Rolling stock Motor vehicle
Some might be familiar with a folk song called "The Wabash Cannonball". Popularized by the artist Roy Acuff, the song references a fictional train run by a then real life company, the Wabash Railroad. The song proved popular enough to inspire the company to rename one of its express lines which ran the Rock Island Railroad Route. Like the Katy, the Rock Island Route is now a rail trail.

Water Cloud Plant Sky Natural landscape
A bittersweet view, as it marks my furthest Eastward progress on the trail. It ends some 20mi from here at the town of Machens. I started my day headed West, finished it pushing just a bit East of downtown St. Charles. Turning back from here hurt, but after a fully self supported metric century, I was about done. Ended the day with 64mi.

Cloud Water Sky Plant Window


Bicycle Cloud Tire Wheel Sky
Wonderful riverside park adjacent to historic downtown St. Charles.

Plant Natural landscape Road surface Branch Asphalt
I definitely need to put together a return trip, this time to ride the whole trail!
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
Life During Wartime

Apparently, Flatahoma is taking this heavy weather more seriously than I had imagined. The next storm won’t find us defenseless.

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Wow! Is that an urban camouflaged bike? You know, alongside the apparently functional WWI tank? I imagine there's a story there. I feel like I may have seen a tank like this in Anime, with eyes and an attitude. Alas, my Google-fu is as weak as my memory.
 

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Old, fat, and slow
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1,271 Posts
It's a mystery story. I was finishing up my day's ride, looking at some empty lot where apparently heavy equipment for a road destruction project was parked .... I assume the crew drove through a time-warp and parked there while looking for coffee and groceries.

I might have to check the local news and see if there is a less plausible explanation.

That's what I get for not bringing a DSLR on every ride .... but most days I don't even have my phone camera, so I am not complaining.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
It's a mystery story. I was finishing up my day's ride, looking at some empty lot where apparently heavy equipment for a road destruction project was parked .... I assume the crew drove through a time-warp and parked there while looking for coffee and groceries.

I might have to check the local news and see if there is a less plausible explanation.

That's what I get for not bringing a DSLR on every ride .... but most days I don't even have my phone camera, so I am not complaining.
I'm glad you got pics, regardless. What a cool random find!
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
Can you ride across the lake or do you need bigger tires?
I'm pretty cool, and Robbyn the Ice Cream Truck is even cooler, but even at the lake's present low level, crossing it by bike would require the use of SCUBA equipment. Alas, I am unqualified to use such advanced gear. Please forgive us both for the terrible let-down :D.

Crossing the (reduced) river pictured in the last shot is definitely possible, but sadly illegal as the far side is reserved for pedestrians only.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
A few from a recent visit to the beach town of Seaside in the FL panhandle. Our AirBnB included cruiser bikes, which would have been just fine for getting around town. The thing is, I drove. That meant I got to stop in St. Charles, MO at the halfway mark to ride part of the Katy Trail.

An injury to my elbow caused a last minute change of ride from my Novara Safari touring bike to my Surly Ice Cream Truck fat bike. The latter didn't hurt my elbow to ride while the former still does. That in turn meant Mrs. Newleaf's fat bike had to come along for the ride, too. We were stylin' amongst the beach cruisers. Perfect way to attend a wedding in a town seemingly marked by horrific traffic 24/7. Indeed, we beat the wedding party from the chapel to the reception without even trying: they rode in a bus while we rode our bikes.
Tire Wheel Crankset Bicycle tire Bicycle frame

For the record, I think these bikes are a bit much for our Thule T2 Classic rack. With the installed fat bike kit, it is rated for up to 5" tires. On paper. In practice, getting two fat bikes mounted was...interesting and unorthodox. The first is not too bad. The second, is. Credit where it's due: though paint was lost :mad:, both bikes made the 3200mi trip safely and in reasonably good order.

Plant Cloud Sky Plant community Building
I somehow don't think this road was named in honor of the hip-hop group...:D.

Plant Sky Road surface Asphalt Shade
This is how one beats the traffic in Seaside...sort of. This road parallels the main drag for a good ways and is much less heavily traveled, but equipped with enough cross streets and stop signs to make the going nearly as slow as on the main drag. Here it is less necessary to dodge scads of pedestrians and cruiser bike riders, seemingly none of whom are paying attention to anything other than their phones.

Water Sky Natural landscape Plant Tree
The trees with the long, mostly naked trunks are called 'loblolly pines' and are native to the SE United States. I always enjoy seeing them when I'm in the area.

Water Cloud Sky Daytime Plant
I initially hoped to paddle a bit of this area, but in the event, timing considerations forced a one or the other choice between the paddle board and bike. I chose to ride. Right answer for that day.

Bicycle Wheel Tire Water Sky
Note that the majority of the dust on my bike is actually from the Katy Trail rather than the classic FL sugar sand which is ubiquitous throughout the community. The two matched one another almost seamlessly. Reasonable, given that the Katy is 'paved' in crushed limestone.

Plant Plant community Natural landscape Tree Land lot
The whole community is shot through with a network of mild singletrack. It is really pretty to ride and reminiscent of 'old Florida'. Very pleasant, also quite crowded with tourists on cruiser bikes. Tourists in varying states of sobriety and with varying but generally low levels of situational awareness. That is less a complaint and more an observation of objective reality. It is also possible that I can't complain because at times, I was one of those in a varying state of sobriety, or with an impaired ability to track the goings on around me. Just possible, you understand :D.

Plant Tree Branch Natural landscape Road surface
These trails were really pleasant.

Plant Plant community Tree Terrestrial plant Natural landscape
My favorite section of singletrack. The pine needles were literally 3" deep on either side of the ribbon of white sand as it wound through the pines and palmettos.

Plant Sky Natural landscape Land lot Tree
I don't know what sort of plant these are, but their near ethereal blooms took my breath away. Like smoke floating close to the ground.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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Plant Car Tire Land vehicle Wheel
One of the more interesting rides spotted in the area. Note the 'Hoonigan' sticker on the side of the hood extension. Having heard this thing running a bit later in the day, it's entirely possible that the owner put more than just the sticker onto and into his ride. I'm not a big fan of the sound of high performance, low displacement engines, but I do recognize the sound of such an engine which has seen the investment of a lot of love and even more $$. Much more than you get from a low restriction muffler and a chip. If this car goes like it sounds, it ought to be a pure party to drive.

Bicycle Wheel Tire Plant Bicycles--Equipment and supplies
Please accept my apologies for the automotive digression. We will now return to scenes of bikes and/or nature ;).

Sky Cloud Natural landscape Asphalt Mountain
The dunes at Grayton Beach State Park, a bit to the west of Seaside, after the community of Water Color. It cost $2 to enter the park by bike. There is not much cycling to be done there: the main road runs from the entrance station past a campground and boat launch area before dead-ending at a beach front parking lot with dune access. I'd hoped to ride my bike on the beach while in Seaside, but in town, that involves negotiating a ~30' vertical climb over the dunes and down to the beach on wooden walkways. Not ideal. Unfortunately, bikes were not allowed on the beach at the State Park at all. So be it: the ride out was sweet, the Park's road short but pretty. Totally worth $2.

Bicycle Tire Wheel Water Sky
I wasn't clear on whether this is a tidal estuary or a body of fresh water which happens to sit really close to the Gulf of Mexico. I didn't see any gators here, but did spot what I believe was a water moccasin. Not pictured here; he was swimming in the vegetation on the extreme left.

Water Plant Natural landscape Lake Grass
Stay out of this one's way. Moccasins are known to be territorial and can be highly aggressive. As with most predators, I love to see them in places where I can enjoy their beauty while staying out of their way.
Bicycle Wheel Tire Sky Plant
Best 'share the road' sign, ever :love:.

Plant Sky Plant community Natural landscape Cloud
Classic FL, love it or hate it. I fall into the former category 🥰.

Plant Sky Building Tree Road surface
Back into the built up areas adjacent to Seaside. There are a string of these little communities running along the beach, all hugging the '30A' local access road. Seaside is but one. Their names blend one into the other due to the fact that there isn't any real difference between them. This is pure 'new Florida': huge budgets, monster new construction everywhere, multi-million dollar homes stacked one on the other. Each such 'house' (read: mansion) was more luxurious than the last, but in an example of developers destroying the very attraction they seek to profit from, the agglomeration of mansions and businesses are utterly lacking any discernible sense of community, culture, or any of the other refinements which often make very expensive destinations worthwhile despite the added cost.

In the final analysis, Seaside has one of the best beaches I've ever seen, hands-down. In a word, it is extraordinary. Despite that, I have little to no interest in ever returning. The quality of the beach, really is that good, but it is offset by a community where prices are incredibly high while service and quality leave much to be desired. Mrs. Newleaf and I expected the high prices going in and were okay with that: usually such prices are accompanied by excellent service and good food or other products.

Not here. One day, we spent over $300 on breakfast and lunch alone. I had 'Gulf Shrimp' which were clearly farmed, not wild caught as claimed. I've literally eaten tastier (and actual) Gulf Shrimp here in Colorado, and paid significantly less for them. The shrimp which did appear to have been wild caught seemed also to have been more or less flopped out of the truck and into the pot after time spent away from the refrigerator. Poop chutes were full and the shrimp themselves...not right. Expensive as they were, I threw some away as simply inedible.

Everywhere we went, service was terrible, the staff obviously short for the traffic levels, and badly stressed out. Fresh seafood was advertised everywhere, but I'm not convinced we got any: quality was on par with fast seafood places, only they tried to make it fancier and generally failed. Nothing about eating anywhere in this community appears to be 'fast' except in that doing so rapidly depletes bank accounts. That wouldn't be so bad if the food was at least good. It is not. We were there for 3 nights and ate out at a different place for every meal during that time. The very best I dish I was served rose to the level of mediocre. Mrs. Newleaf found a single lobster roll which qualified as 'really good'.

I'm glad to have visited this community, and paddling on the Gulf of Mexico is not to be missed 🥰. The Gulf is a big place, though, and I think next time I'll enjoy it from somewhere else. Credit where it's due: the beaches here were amazing. Also, there truly are some sweet bike trails, but they are hard to utilize due to the volume of beginners on cruiser bikes and pedestrians. FWIW.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
Adventures on the Frozen Daquiri Truck?
On this ride, no. Seriously. On other rides in this area? Let's just say they weren't Daquiris, but adult beverages may have been consumed here and there. The wedding's reception may have featured a beautiful location...and an open bar. Not that the latter fact has any bearing on...well...yea. o_O.

Many parts of the trip were fun. Some parts were conducted in a somewhat less responsible manner than were other parts. I really wish I'd had the presence of mind to ask someone to take our picture before we headed to the reception from the wedding. It was still light, and we were both dressed for a wedding. I rode in slacks and a sport coat, she in a sweet little dress. I used a voile strap to keep my right hand pant leg out of the chain. It was awesome.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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Today, I got to ride the Ice Cream Truck in falling snow for the first time. Sadly, a compound wardrobe failure cut my ride shorter than I'd have liked. Still, it was great to make it out for the season's first measurable snow, and the failure happened close enough to home to be merely inconvenient rather than catastrophic.
Plant Sky Wood Tree Water
Yay, snow!

Bicycle Tire Wheel Sky Bicycle wheel
After this pic, I rode some singletrack into the forest on the left. There is nothing like snow over fall color. So beautiful, and the way to enjoy it is by bike!

Glasses Bicycle helmet Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Smile Helmet
Funny thing: I hate for my bikes to be rained or snowed upon unless I'm out in it, too. Then it's just fun. Usually. Sometimes, the fun is of the Type II variety :D.

Sky Snow Plant Natural landscape Twig
After emerging from the forest.

Sky Plant Snow Natural landscape Tree
In a sense, this was more a chilly rain ride than a frozen snow ride. It's just a tad warm for snow to stick on the bare ground or pavement. Still, a beautiful day to be out.

Bicycle Wheel Tire Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Bicycle wheel
Here is were I stopped to swap gloves. Bad idea due to the equipment chosen. My own fault. I brought a newer pair of gloves as spares without remembering that their liners basically turn into superglue upon contacting wet skin. I could not get my hands into the [email protected] things to save my life. Good thing I wasn't far from home. I am not a fan of riding bare-handed through falling snow at 34*F. Thus did I prove the old Norwegian saying, "there is no bad weather, only bad clothing choices." Today I made two such bad choices and got bitten.

Plant Natural landscape Wood Tree Twig
Bad clothing choices and all, it was still a good day to be out on my bike. My hands have warmed back up pretty nicely.
 

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From yesterday’s ride:

Just inside a covered bridge.
If you’ve never ridden through one, CAUTION!! While I didn’t have trouble this time, the groves will gobble up a skinny tire!!!!



Through farmland with old farm houses is a great feeling to me.


The section that weaves ribbonlike through the rocks & pines is pure sweetness to me. I grew up around white pines. I love their aroma and how they whisper with the wind. Rushing through this is a prize to me.

Sky Plant Leaf Infrastructure Natural landscape


Plant Road surface Asphalt Tree Sky


Cloud Sky Plant Branch Natural landscape


Wood Engineering Automotive tire Beam Machine
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
From yesterday’s ride:

Just inside a covered bridge.
If you’ve never ridden through one, CAUTION!! While I didn’t have trouble this time, the groves will gobble up a skinny tire!!!!



Through farmland with old farm houses is a great feeling to me.


The section that weaves ribbonlike through the rocks & pines is pure sweetness to me. I grew up around white pines. I love their aroma and how they whisper with the wind. Rushing through this is a prize to me.

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View attachment 55647
Wow. Great ones, as usual. I would love to ride a covered bridge at some point, but never considered what all that lumber might mean for bicycle tires. Yikes!
 
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