Thursday, July 31, 2008


Last Friday (yeah it's been a week or so since my last post) Melinda, the kids and I headed to Ohio to see my folks. We decided to take the Subaru rather than the truck due to gas prices so it was kinda tight. Not to mention we we're hauling a piece of furniture with us that my Mom was going to help Melinda recover.
I had originally planned to use our Thule box on top but I realized the furniture we were hauling could hold our luggage and help us even more with the gas mileage by eliminating the roof drag of the Thule Box. I decided I was going to try and drive the speed limit the whole way there to see if we could make it on just one tank of gas. I ended up driving about 5mph over and had to stop to refuel before we made it. Driving that far at the speed limit was hard for me to do, I hate long drives.

I'm not used to having the dogs in such close quarters for an 8 hour drive so we stopped at the Cracker Barrel to get a book on CD to block out the fact that we almost always had one dog panting in our face the whole trip.

Saturday morning we all got up and headed to Akron to board a train that runs along a bike path. You can get on the train in Akron for $2 with your bike and ride as far as you want then get off and ride the bike path back. The path is an old tow path used by mule or oxen to pull boats up a canal. It's pretty tame compared to the VA Creeper trail.

Before we left I had planned to go check out Ray's indoor mtn bike park in Cleveland but I found out that they are closed for the summer. I looked around online to try and find some trails in Canton but I didn't have much luck. Everything in the area would have been at least an hour and a half drive to the trailhead. I did visit a couple of cool bike shops around town but they all seemed to carry the same thing, roadies, cruisers and commuters. Most of the shops only had a couple of mtn bikes.
One of the highlights of our trip is this little ice cream shop in my parents neighborhood that's a family owned business. We usually make one or two stops there every time we visit. Since it's so close to my folks house we always walk and take the dogs. One night as we were walking down the street Moonshine decided she was going to take a crap right in some one's front yard. She did it so fast that I didn't even realize it until a lady yelled at us about cleaning it up. I was kinda confused at first but once I figured it out I realized I didn't have anything to pick it up with. I assured the lady who we never saw (she was hiding on a dark porch somewhere) that I would be back. I ended up having to walk 2 blocks back home to get a bag to clean it up and then carry it all the way to the ice cream shop to throw it away. It never fails when we're at home Moonshine never needs to go but get her out in public and she'll drop one at the most inconvenient time. I've really trained her well.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weekend riding

Last weekend Melinda and I road the trails at Bay's Mtn on Friday afternoon and Haw Ridge in Knoxville on Sat morning. They are 2 very different places but both can be fun. Haw Ridge offers over 25 miles of tight singletrack full of rocks, roots, and ladder bridges. Each we visit there it seems they've either added a trail or made some kind of change.

Here is a video of a log crossing/ladder bridge that we rode. During the rainy season you can usually find this area to be swampy but not lately with the lack of rain we've had.

Melinda climbing the Hill of Truth

Here are a few pics from our ride at Bay's mtn. There is very little singletrack but that is something I hope is going to change over the next couple of years. Right now our club, (NTMBA) is building a new singletrack trail that's about 2 1/2 miles long and we hope to have it finished in the next couple of workdays.

Saturday night a bunch of friends got together to cruise around downtown. I had a hard decision to make, take the cruiser or take Mary. Since I've been wanting to do a little urban assault action I decided on Mary but we ended up just cruising.

Melinda on her newly restored cruiser.

Brad broke out his new ride, a Surly Crosscheck sporting the fatest slicks I've ever seen. I'm jealous.

Bob brought out the tandem.

Bob and Scooby
Anthony and Amanda on her first cycling outing with us.

We saw this toilet sitting outside an empty house and I had to stop for a picture.

This weekend we're heading up to Ohio to see my folks for the weekend. My Dad has been talking for some time about a train ride that you can take, I'm not sure of the route or destination, but you take your bikes and ride back. We may get to do that so it could be interesting.

Friday, July 18, 2008

whew! what's that smell?

Today Melinda and I tried our hand at making pickles. This is a first time for us but I have canned various types of peppers for the past 3 years and they've been awesome. We adopted the same brine recipe from our peppers and canned 11 jars today. I even threw in a few jalapenos to spice them up a little. I don't know how they'll turn out because some of the cucumbers had a funny taste.
After we cleaned up the canning mess we headed over to the trailhead to do a little hiking with the dogs before going to work. I've said for a long time now that Melinda can smell things before they begin to smell. As we were hiking along she kept telling me that the dogs stink. I could smell something but we were out in the woods and I wasn't sure if it was one of the dogs. We let them swim in the creek as much as possible just in case it was them. After we got home I entered the kitchen and whew, it hit me. Moonshine smelled like she'd rolled on a decaying carcass. She didn't smell bad before we left the house so there's a good chance she did. We immediately took them both outside for a water hose bath in the yard. I've heard dogs will do that to cover up their scent but holy crap why would you want to smell that bad. After their bath they both got sprayed down with pina colada dog spray that they both hate. They went from smelling like death to smelling like something out of a Jimmy Buffet video.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lookin for the weekend

Not much going on in the way of fun in my hood. Working nights this week through Thurs but I have the weekend off. Friday I hope to get some riding in before heading over to Bristol for some bowling and beers with Amanda and Anthony.
Saturday should a fun one, maybe we'll get to ride somewhere before we head to JC for the unofficial ride that we can no longer speak of. That's going to have to change.
Sunday we have a trail workday on the schedule for Bay's mtn. It will be really cool if we have a ton of people show up and get the trail finished.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

No racin', no runnin', but plenty of ridin'

We had a pretty fun day yesterday at the Tour De Possum Creek and the Crazy 8's. I ended up riding in the 27 mile ride instead of the 45 and we had a blast. We had a newbie with us yesterday, our good buddy Brandon who has always said we would never catch him on the road He came out yesterday for the ride on my CX bike and now he's on the hunt for a new ride! Towards the end of the ride yesterday a few of us decided to get a paceline going just for fun. Melinda has never been in a paceline before but I did teach her to draft last year. I was really impressed with her, she did a good job staying right in line and she rode really smooth even at high speeds. Way to go sweetheart!
I didn't run last night at the Crazy 8's either, but I really wanted to. Me, Joe , Josh and Scooby and a couple other guys I didn't know led the HUGE pack of runners through the dark, screaming fan lined course late last night. It was alot of fun but I'm not sure we were really needed. Our job was to make sure none of the fans got in the way. I gathered up all my blinky lights, 5 total, and arranged them all over my bike. I think I looked a little like an emergency vehicle without the sirens. It was fun none the less but next year I totally plan on being back in the pack of runners. Melinda and I took a bunch of pictures yesterday but I haven't had a chance to download them from my camera yet. I'll try to get them uploaded soon. Today there is a Crit. downtown Kingsport which I may go try to watch after I get off work. It supposed to rain so that could be interesting.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Melinda's new/old ride

Last March Melinda and I bought brand new cruisers from our local bike shop. After a couple of rides around the neighborhood Melinda decided that she didn't like hers and she wanted a pale yellow bike without flowers. I had heard that Dave down at Norris bicycles would take an old Schwinn of you choice from his huge collection of rusted heaps and restore it back to it's original state or what ever crazy custom creation you could think up. I suggested to Melinda that we sell her new cruiser and go talk to Dave about starting up a project.

I called up my sister Beth who had been talking about wanting a new cruiser and struck a deal. The next day we were off to Norris bicycles. It didn't take Melinda long to find what she wanted and the color had to be pale yellow. She picked out a Schwinn Breeze from either the 1960's or 70's, we're not sure exactly but I plan on doing a little more research soon. I should have snapped some pics of it when it was complete but I forgot the camera.

I managed to make it back a few days later and snap this photo which is one a of a few that I've posted before.

Here is the frame shortly after Dave finished painting it. I'll have to say he did a pretty good job for someone who has set up a make shift paint booth at home. We could have probably got a better job done somewhere else but the overall cost of the restoration couldn't be beat. It didn't turn out to be the pale yellow Melinda wanted but she knew that going into the process. Dave told her that the finished product rarely comes out looking exactly like the swatch in his catalog. The swatch was labeled "creme" which is what it looks like in my opinion.

After a couple of months, (Dave's original quote - 2 weeks) lol, Melinda finally got the call, it was finished.
Here is a pic of the original 3 speed Sturmey Archer shifter.
The original Sturmey Archer 3 spd. internal hub. Dave completely torn it down and rebuilt it. It actually feels like a new one.
This is the original child seat that was on the bike when Melinda picked it out.
Here is what it looks like after Dave transformed it into a sweet rack with wooden slats.
I was pretty impressed with the turn out. Most of the bike is completely original except for the seat, grips, pedals and tires. The seat and grips were still in decent condition but since they were red they had to go. Now all we lack is to get some new decals to put on it.
She did take it for a spin down on Kingsport's Greenbelt and it road as smooth as silk.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Here comes the rain

Here comes the rain and man did we need it. It's really been a dry summer. My yard looks like crap and we been trying to water all the new plants and flowers we planted this spring. I'd hate to see all the money we invested on the landscaping go to waste.

There is one thing that's growing like crazy in our garden. Check out those cucumbers! They're huge and I've barely paid any attention to them. We originally planted two but one of the plants mysteriously disappeared one day roots and all. I thinks is was a good thing because the one that's left is taking over the entire garden and moving into the yard. I think next year we might expand our garden to 2 more and start growing even more vegetables.

Poor Moonshine and Jackson, between the T-storms that have hit this weekend and the fireworks surrounding the 4th, they are a nervous wreck. We were outside mowing a few minutes ago when one blew in and now they're trying to hid under the computer desk as I type. I figured this would be a good time to blog a little since I can't do anything outside.

I have decided that I'm going to ride in the Tour De Possum Creek this year. I had thought about backing out since my back decided to flare up this weekend but I think I'm going to be okay. The TDPC is a ride that's put on by Larry's Bike Shop here in Kingsport as part of Fun Fest and the Pedal, Paddle, Skedaddle. I usually compete in the TDPC and the Crazy 8's road race which both occur on the same day and I also manage to go to work for 6 hrs. in between. This year I'm just shooting for the TDPC and I plan to help out at the Crazy 8's. I don't think I'm going to shoot for the 2 hr cut off time either. I plan to just cruise and enjoy the ride stopping at all the checkpoints for free grub.

I'm off for the next few days so I may try and get out to the trails some before this weekend. In other cycling news our local mountain bike club meeting was last night which I missed due to work but I found out later that night that my name was thrown into the hat as a nominee for club president. Very interesting. Have a good one and get out and ride your bike.


Monday, July 7, 2008

I managed to get a couple of videos to upload and they seam to have better quality than they did on Picassa. Nothing special but I hope they're entertaining. More to come.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dupont trip

Our trip to Dupont started off a little hectic this year. The Pancake Shack has been in the shop since April and the week before we were supposed to leave we found out that we were finally going to get it back. I talked to the guys at A&L on Wed and they told me it would be ready Thursday, I said that's fine but I can't pick it up till Friday. Friday rolled around and Melinda and I headed over to JC to pick up our missing camper. On the way I decided with all the problems we've had I should probably call ahead to make sure it was ready. Well my hunch was right, it wasn't. We went ahead anyway because Melinda had enough and wanted to talk to the owner and tell him all that we had been through. After a nice chat the owners told us they personally would make sure it was finished quickly. We decided to run a few errands around town while we waited for them to call. About an hour and a half later we got the call that after the rebuild the top would still not stay up. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. To make a long story short the manufacturer left out a key part during the rebuild and we we're there until 7:30 that evening trying to figure out a solution. I finally told them to put it back together and I would use my original supports to hold up the top like we did in Savannah.
Somehow we managed to get it home and packed up in time to leave just before noon Sat morning. I was beginning to wonder if we'd even make it. I even took our tent as a backup just in case. Once we got there we only had 1 issue with it, a small wiring problem but my genius bro-n-law remedied that problem and everything was smooth sailing from then on.
It turned out to be a great week with even better weather. Very little rain, cool temps and almost no back pain! Well at least no pain until the end of the week.

Here's my girl all set up and ready to camp in her Pancake Shack.

I got the truck loaded down with bikes, looks pretty good I do say. I think I could easily manage 2 or 3 more up there.

We started the week off right with a pancake breakfast on the porch of the main house at our campground. The fine folks at the Black Forest campground con their Mom into cooking homemade pancakes every Sat and Sun morning and man they were good.

We got about 5 good days straight of riding and I thought before we left that we might get tired of riding Dupont everyday but we didn't, in fact Melinda wanted to stay an extra 2 or 3 days to ride some more. We hit trails we'd never been on in previous trips. There are a lot of really great trails out there that go unnoticed.

We had to hit Bridal Veil falls of course but I decided against trying to ride across the river this year. It just wasn't warm enough to risk going for a swim that day. Last year I tried to cross and the river bed is a solid piece of granite covered in the slickest moss on top of a pretty swift current. Needless to say I made it only about half way across. Here's a link to the video from last year if you haven't seen it.

Olga was the only one to crash that day and luckily Dustin manage to catch the carnage.

We did go for a swim a couple days later in the nearby lake which was crystal clear. Dustin tried to talk me into recreating the "Dirty Dancing" lake dance scene with him, me being Baby and him being Patrick Swayze but I wasn't having any of it.

Mary performed flawlessly all week, she just may be a keeper. We rode down the old abandoned airstrip and I thought this pic looked kinda cool. "Mary your cleared for take off."

Amazingly the only mechanical we had all week was a broken chain on the Monkey. Yeah I took both.

We only ate out once at this cool little Mexican joint in Brevard that sold Margaritas by the pitcher.

My mother-in-law won't let you take a picture of her unless she poises so I had to have a little fun with her and accessorize her ensemble a little with a tortilla chip on her shoulder. She had no idea it was there. And of course we didn't want Olga to feel left out.

One day Melinda and I decided to leave the bikes at camp and go out for a hike with the dogs.

We saw this really cool water snake but I don't think he was as excited about seeing us as we were about him.

On the last day Dustin and I decided to get up early and climb up the Big Rock Trail just after sunrise.

Dustin battle scar from that nasty downhill run off the top of Burnt Mountain.

I swear I could go back this weekend and ride 5 more days. I just can't get enough of that place. Black Forest campground is a great place to stay, they really cater to mountain bikers. I have only one complaint about Dupont, having to share the trails with horses, I get tired of having to get off my bike and off the trail because an animal that's 4 times my size is scared of my bike. Why would you bring a horse that's scared of bikes to a trail head that is a very popular mtn bike destination. I don't understand it, my bike isn't scared of them and it sure doesn't leave turds on the trail. I'll try and get some videos posted up but the quality seems to get cut in half when viewing them online so I need to try and remedy that. Hope you enjoy!