Rain gear, who needs it.

It was early in the morning and I was wide awake, early enough that there was still an hour or so before the sun would be coming up.
Outside the air was warm but not overly hot for this time of the year. I decided to take the bike out for a ride.

Before I left I went and checked the weather and a peek at the radar. There was a band of rain showing north of me but it was moving west to east and not moving south in my direction so I decided to go for it.

On the bike the air felt cool and comfortable, I ended up riding for almost two hours before I decided to stop for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.

Ending up at a Starbucks I settled in with my coffee and sandwich, I had my Kindle with me and checked some emails and did some reading while I was there.
A few times my eyes glanced to the sky and I could see the dark clouds looming north but I had myself convinced they weren’t going to make it close enough to rain on me.
Finally I decided to get back on the road and head south, it was still early enough that traffic was light and quiet.
A few drops of rain splattered on me; the big ole fat rain drops. When I looked at the sky it was just a small cloud and again I kept going on my way.

As I was going through one area I saw a sign for a local Tai Chi Society and I decided to stop. I’ve been interested for some time but had never made a big effort to pursue it.
I talked for quite some time to the folks there and gathered some information on when the next beginners classes were coming up.
As I was getting ready to leave one of the ladies I was talking to said, “I hope you don’t get wet.”
That was when I looked at the sky and how it had changed, the clouds had moved south, they were dark, low, and ominous.

Not much I could do at that point so I started riding, heading back north.

At first it wasn’t bad, I made some good time and there was just a few light sprinkles of rain. I began to think I was going to make it without any problem.

The sky opened up on me. The rain came down in torrents, luckily I was close to a shopping center and I was able to duck under there till the rain let up.
I was wet, but not soaked at this point, so when the rain let up I moved on.

No more then two miles up the road the sky opened up once again. This time I was not so lucky, there was no where for me to duck and cover.
I kept moving, at this point I was soaked. Having an open helmet didn’t help any either, the rain kept getting in my eyes.
It was another mile before I came to another shopping center I could pull over into. I left the bike at the curb and ran under the overhang.

The only spot on me that was dry by that time was the top of my head because of the helmet.
I stood there and watched the rain pelting down and watched the sky. It didn’t look good at all. It had turned into the kind of rain that looked like it would keep up all day.
While I stood there I head a door open at one of the stores and the owner came out, he greeted me and said he wasn’t sure if he was seeing right, that someone was out on a bike.
We talked for about an hour and with the weather he had no business coming in so it helped to pass the time till the rain let up.

When it finally did let up I hopped right back on my bike in the hopes I would beat the next wave of rain.
I was doing pretty well almost out of the last town which would have then put me on fairly open road and a straight shot.
Luck wasn’t with me, the road was flooded and it was too deep for me to try and go through. Then I had to sit and wait as no one would stop to let me turn around and go back the way I came.
Finally someone in a truck stopped and let me get back out on the road.

I began going through side streets to make my way around the flooded road, it took a bit but I did find another route, but not before it started raining again.
Thankfully though it wasn’t another gully washer of a downpour so I kept going.

When I made it back to the house I was a sight to behold; I was ready for a hot cup of coffee and a hot shower.

I will be investing in some rain gear very shortly.

Long and short of it all

I woke up way earlier then I needed to this morning and in a way I was rewarded by it by being treated with a magnificent night sky. I had a lot on my mind and I was a pleasant distraction.

As the first hint of dawn began lighting the sky I decided to take the bike out for a ride. It had rained during the night and the air has a crisp fresh feel to it. As I hit the main road picking up speed the cool air blowing past my face my senses woke up and I became more aware of my surroundings.

I needed the time to think, the time alone to process some information.

Back in January I began noticing a pain in the middle of my back that at tines would come around thee to the front just undress my rib. I went to the doctor and after a number of tests it was determined that I was healthy as a horse. After a while the pain began to diminish and I put it down to a pulled muscle.

The pain resurfaced and I decided to persue it once more so again back to the doctor. My doctor decided to take a differeñt route this time and ordered an MRI of my back.

Two days later my doc called and said she was refferring me to an orthopedic.  I made the appointment and off I went.

What happened was not quite what I expected. He told me the scans showed my disks in my spine from my neck to the top of my lower back are either bulging or herniated, hence the cause of my pain.

Since then I’ve talked to two other doctors, the prognosis is the same, my thoracic spine is degenerating. The bone itself is fine but all the disks are bad.

Monday I have an appointment with a therapist for an evaluation to start physical therapy. Then in two weeks an appointment to meet with a surgeon.

Will it come to surgery, I don’t know yet. Most of it depends on how my back responds to physical therapy.

The long and short of it is my back is not going to get better over time it will continue to get worse.

I’ve been processing a lot of information.

Wall Springs Park

With TS Debby now a fading memory I awoke to a beautiful morning.
The air was crisp and cool with not a cloud in the sky.

I was itching to get out on the bike so as I was up just before dawn I was on the road by 6:30

My ride took me to Wall Springs Park which I hadn’t been to in many years.
So I stopped and took a walk around. I was pleasantly surprised to see some new additions to the park and was able to take some pictures.

They added a number of new benches to the park. Benches you say, benches are everywhere, along the streets, at bus stops, etc, etc.
But not benches like these, they were made from old Cypress trees and left pretty much in their natural shape .

They are more like art work in and of themselves even though they are functional.

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Rain Rain

It started raining here last Thursday (6/21) And the forecast was for rain through the weekend.

What ended up happening was Tropical Storm Debby. When the rain first started the weather forecasters said there was no chance of it forming into anything tropical.
Surprise, surprise!
All said and done the 24hr. rainfall total ended up between 12-15 inches with more expected by later today.
Quite a bit of rain and then some. I could have floated my kayak down the street.
Tornado warnings all around the Bay area throughout the evening. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep last night.
Lots of localized flooding and more expected as rivers crest and high tide comes in.

Took a quick drive this morning and saw many streets under water one of which included a car underwater past the windows.
Wanted to take a few pictures but police were out in force moving people along.

I’m not sure what possess people to want to drive through water when they have no idea how deep it is.
It seems that they have to try it anyway. I drive an SUV and while it sits higher then most I wouldn’t want to try it.

Thankfully there was no damage here, lots of rain so I won’t have to water the garden for a while.
The wind is still blowing but the sun is peeking out a bit.

It seems even tropical storms like to vacation in Florida as they now say Debby will hang around with us for a few more days.

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Sunday Ride

Again it was an unseasonably cool but very welcome morning today and I took full advantage of it by going out on a early morning ride.

I do love mornings; especially just before the sun comes up its so quiet while the world still slumbers.

One of the small towns I pass through; Palm Harbor, looks especially silent in the early mornings. Along the main street there are several restaurants, a coffee shop, barber shop. and book store.
Any other time of day there are cars parked along each side of the street.

This time I did remember to bring my camera with me and take a few photos.

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Early Morning Ride

It rained last night, the usual summer showers it actually cooled the temperature down quite a bit.
I woke up early this morning, early being 5AM and I couldn’t go back to sleep.
When I stepped outside it was still so very cool out I decided to take the bike out for a ride.
It was 6:30 when I left, it was just getting light out but the sun wasn’t quite up yet.

The air felt crisp and cool against my face. I decided to head south.
Riding clears my head, you have to focus on the bike and everything around you and it doesn’t leave room for much else.
Heading down Alt. 19 I could smell the salt air as I passed over the river heading into Tarpon Springs.
The Sponge Docks were still quiet and there were no cars on the road as of yet.
I passed through town and continued south and I decided Palm Harbor would be my turn around point.

As I passed by Innisbrook they we’re watering the golf course where it ran along the road there and I could smell the sulfur in the water.
I find it amazing how much clearer senses are when out on the bike.
When I reached Palm Harbor I turned onto Florida Ave and drove up passed all the shops and restaurants.
No a soul stirred there, it was so quiet, peaceful.

From there I turned back north up Alt. 19 and at Klosterman I turned west. I cruised up along there till I got to Sunset Beach.
The sun was just now making it’s way up over the horizon. The water was perfectly calm, mirror like, broken only by some jumping mullet
and a group of early morning paddle boarders out on the water.

After leaving there I rode around the bayou in Tarpon Springs, the water now reflecting the rising sun.
It was glorious! I need to remember to start carrying my camera when I’m riding so I can take some pictures.

I rode back through Tarpon Springs and headed to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and some breakfast.

After leaving there I headed north again but this time taking a side road. Anclote Road.
It twists and turns along the river for a bit then turns and parallels the coast.
It passes by three parks and a bird sanctuary and changes name 4 times before it ends in New Port Richey.

It was still cool and I didn’t want to stop so I headed up Grand Blvd through the city of New Port Richey.
Once past Main Street the road winds along the Cottee River.
Again it was wonderful seeing it in this manner, slow moving boats making their way out to the Gulf.
A few people walking along the path on the edge of the river.
Where Grand Blvd ends at US 19 I turned around and headed back.
All in all I put on 50 miles this morning.

 

An exhilarating way to start the day.

R.I.P Ray Bradbury

This week the world lost another truly great icon of the science fiction world, Ray Bradbury passed away at the age of 91.

His books were a staple of my reading in my younger years as I was apt to devour books and still am.

It was Bradbury, Asimov, Heinlein, and Clark that were always there on those lazy summer days or cold winter nights.

While many of his works are looked upon as literary giants in the sci-fi world it was not always so.

Bradbury actually began his career at the age of 13 when he submitted several scripts to the Burns and Allen radio show. Burns even took notice of one and sent Bradbury back handwritten show notes on the script.

Fahrenheit 451 was written as an excuse to get out of the house as he couldn’t stand being cooped up in his house with his wife and new baby. He would go to the library at UCLA and rent a typewriter at the rate of 10 cents for a half hour. He would write till he ran out of dimes. The book was actually a rewrite of short stories he had written and felt that there was a novel in there waiting to come out.

At first Fahrenheit 451 was not successful until he was approached by a young publisher who wanted to serialize the story in his new magazine. Bradbury agreed to only be paid for the first installment with the other two payments to come later if the magazine was a success. The publisher: Hugh Hefner, the magazine: Playboy.

Bradbury was also good friends with the likes of Walt Disney and Ray Harryhausen; Bradbury would even play with clay models in Harryhausen’s garage.

It was on a family trip with Walt Disney to a carnival that was a bit dingy and unsavory that Disney made a comment to Bradbury that he should write a book about the seemy side of carnival’s and from that Something Wicked this way Comes  was born.  Bradbury commented to Disney that he should use his money to build a decent park for their kids.

Bradbury was also a staunch supporter of NASA even to the point of prank calling journalists and media figures that put down NASA.

Ray Bradbury you will surely be missed.