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Saturday, October 7, 2000

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Long rides again

I woke up bright and early this morning and was on my bike by seven. It was so cool I even took a light jacket and I was cold at first but then it was just nice. I rode down the Mountain Avenue Bikeway to the university and then east on Speedway to the post office to mail my bill payments. They weren't late and could have gone out on Monday but I just wanted to ride somewhere.

It was so nice I decided to go the Himmel Park, which was close by, to eat my breakfast. The tennis folk were out in mass. In the summer I've gone by Himmel and seen them as early as 6:00. They have quite a set up with their insulated water jugs and even coolers. In the corner of the courts were four dogs who looked at first like they were fighting but I decided they were just playing.

After my boiled eggs and toast it was still cool enough that I decided to go on to Reid Park. I wandered south on Treat Avenue through the lovely historic area east of the university. It's well signed with notices that there is no parking at certain times and on certain days as people trying to find parking to go to the football and basketball games would take over all the parking if they're allowed.

South of 6th Street it's becoming very upgraded. There is no more room in the more historic districts and now people are fixing up areas here. South of Broadway I finally got into neat, brick ranch homes. They're very nice but not something that restoration yuppies are interested in. I like this area as it's close to Reid Park and the Arroyo Chico Bikeway runs through it. I crossed the bikeway and turned east to Reid Park and exited on 22nd Street going south on Randolph Way.

Oh, yuk! I rode right into a chip sealing area. For those who live in more enlightened cities, this means the road department puts down a layer of tar and then puts loose gravel on top. As the cars ride over it the gravel is slowing ground into the tar and becomes a new road surface. It's hard on cars because of the gravel and tar being sprayed onto the finish. On a bike, it's the pits so I didn't stay on it long but turned west again to Country Club to get out of it.

I went south on Country Club to the Aviation Bikeway and went east to see if the gap has been filled, but it hasn't so I went north to Broadway and Barnes and Nobles. I was looking for a magazine that they didn't have but picked up a mystery and rested at their outside tables. I've been drinking a lot of sports drinks to see if it helps me stay hydrated better and it seems to be working. I usually drink plenty of water and it just goes right through me, but the sports drinks seem to keep me going better.

It was still early and staying fairly cool as the clouds kept coming over and blocking the sun. I rode over to Wilmot Library which involved riding north on Wilmot Road from Broadway to 5th Street. This street has narrow right lanes and no bike lane with a large traffic volume so I rode on the unimproved side which is not a nice riding area. After the library the lanes widen so it's much better even though there's no bike lane till Speedway.

At the library I picked up a bike map since I had forgotten my own and wanted to check on a couple of routes. I then went north on Wilmot till it turned into Tanque Verde, and passed Sabino Canyon Road. There were a couple of apartments I wanted to look at as I would love to live in this area as there are so many places to bike, walk and hike. They were very nice and even reasonably priced. I may even go for a one bedroom as I would like to have a private balcony and more storage.

It was nearly noon by the time I finished wandering around the apartments and I stopped at McDonalds for a cheeseburger. The poor counter person had orders mounting up and the kitchen couldn't seem to fill them very fast but I finally got my food. I even had a coke since I had only had one cup of coffee this morning as I'm trying to cut back on diuretics when I'm outside in the heat for very long, but I really wanted more caffeine. There's a fairly large dinosaur outside the restaurant with baby dinosaurs and all the kids were fascinated.

After lunch I rode to the university, mainly on the 3rd Street Bikeway to see how long it would take me to get to work in the morning from this area. I did it in fifty minutes which isn't bad considering I was already getting tired and there was more traffic than there would be early in the morning as I'm usually to work before the heavy rush hour hits. The worst part is coming south on Tanque Verde at Grant. This is a terrible intersection to get across on a bike as there is a right turn lane and the next lane can either go straight or turn right, with no bike lane so it's very dangerous. I went on the side walk and glared at the cars as the light turned green so I could get across before both lanes started turning.

Finally it was back home. I checked it on the map and had put in over thirty miles. It was thirty straight line but I took quite a few jogs and misturns so I'm sure there are a couple more miles in there. I was hot as the sun had come out of the clouds but feeling pretty good. I took a shower and had a second lunch and feel quite good.

I called my daughter after this afternoon and enjoyed talking with her. I'm always thinking about calling her at nine or ten at night when it's twelve or one in the morning for her. I do miss not being able to just pick up the phone but I'm glad she's happy. She'd just gotten back from a backpacking trip in the Adirondacks and had emailed me some great pictures.

I also finished reading "Never Buried" by Edie Claire. Leigh Koslow is baby (or mommy) sitting her cousin who's having a difficult pregnancy, while the husband is in Tokyo on business, and she finds an embalmed body in a hammock. The danger builds as they look into a mystery going back decades and involving people they thought they knew. It's set in a blue collar suburb of Pittsburgh and shows the community of the old steel town workers which I thought was an interesting setting. It's nice to read mysteries somewhere besides the east coast, the west coast or Chicago.

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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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