Friday, September 17, 2010

Hangtown Tour

Wednesday I made it out for a ride in the hills.  The goat heads are so bad around my house right now that I can rarely get through a ride without a flat.  The only option is to drive somewhere.

I started at the parking lot on Missouri Flat and took the trail east towards Placerville.  This is the same ride I have done a couple times towing my son, but I would be alone this time—not towing an extra 75 pounds.  The plan was to take the El Dorado Trail all the way to the end in Camino.

The morning was cool and clear; for the first time in months I was a bit cold as I rolled away from the truck.

Fall always arrives with mixed emotions.  It is my favorite time of year to ride, without question.  However, the onset of fall means winter is on the way, and that is my least favorite season.

I did the ride up to where we turned around last time and continued up the dirt trail, climbing gradually up the old railroad grade.  Although you aren't far from Highway 50, you wouldn't know it by the scenery.

Nope, no civilization out there:

After a couple miles, the trail stopped at this fence:

I backtracked to a spur trail and ended up in a neighborhood.  I headed north until I popped out on Highway 50.  I crossed the highway and took Carson Road east for a while until I noticed the road was completely lined with the very goat heads I was trying to avoid.  That was my cue telling me it was time to head back.

I rolled back down the hill for what seemed like forever.  Like I have mentioned before, it's quite a treat to have a ride end with a downhill.

After about 25 miles I needed a coffee break:

Old Placerville can be irritating to drive through, but on a bike the slow pace and narrow roads are quaint.

This is the old bell tower.  After much of the business district was leveled by three fires in 1856, the need for an alarm system was finally remedied in 1865 with the bell tower.  Tucked up under the hood is what looks like an air raid siren.

It was a nice ride.  I'm going to get on Google Earth and see what I can do next time to extend the ride farther to the east, preferable on dirt or quiet roads.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Ball

We signed the boy up for fall baseball.  He is only six years old, so some of the skills he needs aren't quite there yet.  You have to be seven to play in Little League, but they let six-year-olds in fall ball if they will be seven by spring.

He can hit and throw and field a grounder, but the ability to catch a ball thrown to him isn't there yet.

I think I made a mistake when I checked the little box on the form that said "assistant coach."  Being an assistant to me is showing up, throwing the ball around a little, hitting a few grounders, and leaving while the poor schlep who volunteered to be the manager herds children and gathers equipment.

Well, looks like our team has no manager.  So the three "assistants" have been promoted to "co-managers."  Now I have parents sending me e-mails explaining why they can't make practice, or asking if it's OK if I babysit their kid while they go wine tasting.  Ugh.  Not what I signed up for.

The first practice had five stations:  hitting, infield, outfield, pitching and catching.

Here Spencer demonstrates his pitching follow-through:

The wind-up:

Even though it's highly unlikely he will ever catch, being a lefty, all the kids got to strap on the gear.

There's one more practice this Sunday, then we go right into games after that.  Should be fun.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Snakes and a Plane!

It's not often you see a couple big rattlers and a B2 Stealth Bomber on the same ride (OK, never), but that's what happened on Saturday.

This one was big . . .

and this one was even bigger.

All the cool planes were in town for the air show.  This is a horrible picture, but it was the best I could do with the compact camera.  Still, seeing a B2 in flight makes up for it.

Lately I am not leaving the house without a camera.  Even a boring ride ride on the bike trail usually provides something to take a picture of.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labor Day

We made it out for some kayaking on Lake Natoma yesterday.  It was a little hot.  I really worked up a sweat paddling around with 50 pounds of dead weight in the front.

This angle makes the lake look pretty serene, but there were quite a few kayakers behind me.

My navigator working hard . . .

Aside from a long rental line, it was a nice day on the water.