(This post was never finished… I published it “as is” when I found it in the Drafts list.)
While out enjoying a couple of beers a weeks or so ago, my buddy Lorne mentioned he was going to up Boone to visit his daughter Ariel, who is a student at App State. Heading up Friday, heading back Saturday. Was gonna maybe do some riding up there. I got to thinking that I”ve wanted to do a Parkway ride from Asheville to Boone for a while, maybe as an out and back with an overnight somewhere up there. I’ve just never gotten around to committing to a two day trip. This gave me a perfect opportunity to do the ride one way, then catch a ride with Lorne back home. Also gave us a perfect excuse to sample beers from the two breweries in Boone, as well as Fonta Flora in Morganton on the way back to Asheville. Assuming I wanted to be in Boone by 2:00 pm, I worked my way backwards and decided I’d have to leave by 5:30 am. Since the sunrise was at a little after 7pm. I figured maybe I’d leave closer to 5am and get up to Craggy Gardens Visitor Center in time to get some photos.
Circumstances prevented that from happening, and the weather made it a moot point anyway.
My buddy Jon had been hounding me for months. “Are you signed up for Save the Trails?” “Are you signed up for Save the Trails?” “Are you signed up for Save the Trails?” The answer each time was “No”. I didn’t do it last year, when most of my mountain biker friends were. And I really wasn’t that interested in doing it this year. Jon is the ride organizer for what is a worthy cause.. funds raised go towards supporting the trail system at DuPont State Recreational Forest, which I have mentioned numerous times over the years and which does indeed have an excellent trail system. But I still wasn’t that interested. Why?
DuPont makes me tired.
Tuesday morning.. time to head back to Asheville. Julienne had an earlier flight than I did, since we couldn’t fly in together we also didn’t manage to arrange to fly home together either. I had a few hours to kill before I needed to head to JFK, so I requested a late checkout and spent a hot steamy morning running the streets of Manhattan. Today’s destination was the Manhattan Bridge, where I could get some views of the Brooklyn Bridge, and a side of the island I hadn’t yet seen.
I ran down Broadway, past a number of parks, once again through Greenwich Village, and Little Italy/China Town. And once again I stopped for a lot of photos along the way. The total run was about 9 miles, a little further than I had originally planned, but I got back to the hotel in plenty of time to clean up, check out and head to Penn Station to catch my train outta town.
After returning from Floral Park we again hopped the subway and headed downtown, this time to Greenwich Village to meet a friend of Julienne’s for dinner. We had a bit of extra time so we wandered over to Washington Square Park for a little bit.
I guess it’s not as weird as it once was, but we did see some pretty talented street performers and musicians.
On the last day of our NY trip, the weather changed dramatically and for the better. Abundant blue skies and nice warm but not hot temps. The plan for the afternoon was to take the LIRR over to Floral Park, and wander the town where Julienne is originally from. It’s a neat little downtown, especially when viewed from the railroad platform above. We first wandered down the street towards the house where J grew up, and she pointed out where all her friends lived and other landmarks from her childhood. Verdana street is a dead end street, butting up against Belmont Park, and her father dubbed her and her crew the “Dead End Kids”.
I’ve seen photos.. they look like they were serious trouble.
As soon as the rains came on the second day of my bike tour around New York, they disappeared. The day was still overcast and muggy, but Julienne and I decided to go for an evening stroll in the late afternoon before meeting more of her friends for dinner. We wandered from the hotel over to Bryant Park (which have since noticed is used opening scenes from Mad About You), the New York Public Library, and Grand Central Terminal.
I also stopped along the way and “grabbed a slice”, something I figured had to be part of the New York experience.
For the second day in NY with a rented bike, I had questionable weather forecast. Starting out was just overcast and then got progressively worse, first with light sprinkles and then some harder rain. It didn’t dampen my fun any though. Bad weather makes for good photos, right?
Well.. that’s somewhat true.
After picking up the rental bike I pedaled my way back to the hotel, once again going down Broadway, right through the center of Times Square. That was fun, dodging my way through cabs and busses and pedestrians and tourists – all the Manhattan traffic that normally exists in the middle of a weekday.
Yeah, that’s right… it was FUN.
Similar to my trip to San Francisco a while back, for the first two days in New York, I had made arrangements to rent a hybrid bike to travel around the city. Julienne and I had arranged separate plans during the day and would meet up in the evenings to dine out with friends of hers from her childhood. In order to get to the shop where I’d pick up the bike, I decided to run there, rather than take subway or other transportation. I wanted to do a loop run through Central Park, and the bike shop was nearby, so it made sense. I’d keep the bike two days, and then return it by riding it to the shop and then running back to the hotel.
I left from the hotel, and headed up Broadway, right through the heart of Times Square, before proceeding into “the Park” for a loop. All told I ran about nine miles by the time I reached the bike shop. The goal of the run was as much for sightseeing as it was for exercise, and as you might expect, I took a lot of photos along the way.
Following the SuiteWorld Conference in San Jose, I had to make a flight out of SJC airport to New York (Kennedy) at what some people describe as the butt crack of dawn. I needed to be at the airport so early that public transportation wasn’t even running yet. I took a cab at 4AM. 12 hours later, just before sunset, I arrived in New York, found my way to the AirTran, and headed off towards what what would be my first time in “The City”.
Along the way, I had a terrific sampling of craft beers during a layover in Minneapolis/St. Paul. By the time I got to New York however, nearly every device I had at my disposal for navigation would fail me. Phone battery – dead. Kindle Fire battery – dead. Laptop battery – dead. I knew how to get to Penn Station via the LIRR, and that my hotel was within walking distance of Penn. Fortunately, a nice New York City police officer looked up the Hampton on his (working) cell phone and pointed me in the right direction.
Two years ago I attended NetSuite’s SuiteWorld Conference in San Francisco. As part of the trip I scheduled a little bit of extra personal time and rented a cheap hybrid bike for 24 hours. In 24 hours I covered roughly 50 miles, exploring many corners of the city, seeing a lot of San Fran/Bay Area highlights, and visited a number of San Fransisco’s brewpubs. It was a blast, and I covered that trip in two posts, starting with How TO Tour San Francisco – Part I Fast forward to 2013 – once again I would be attending the SuiteWorld Conference. This time however, it was in San Jose, rather than San Francisco. And this time I didn’t schedule a little bit of extra time after the conference…
I scheduled a five day vacation.
Two years ago I signed up for 12 Hours of Tsali, which, as the name suggests, is a 12 hour race in… you guessed it, Tsali Recreation Area. The race consists of a roughly 10-11 mile circuit of the “Right Loop” (though in reverse). Like most [#] hour races, there are multiple categories, both 2 & 4 person teams, and solo. Not liking the idea of standing around half (or a quarter) of the day, I naturally chose to ride solo.
And then, just before the race, I got sick.