Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Katy Trail and Grape Nehi

Each time I take a long distance ride I find out

America's Still Out there

I have a notion to build a bicycle rack for the motorcycle

I miss running the Choo Choo and I hate to see history pass us by.
I'm involved with Rail to Trails. The plan is to ride at least a bit of as many of the Rails to Trails as I come across.  As an example the Hiawatha Trail... \

I'd like to go back to a more gentle time.  A time of
Soda Fountains and Grape Nehi and Girls in Dresses for cryin' out loud
But that is a different blog post (see earlier posts here on the blog) but the same recurring idea.

For this reason I avoid the Interstate, the Freeway, the Superslab, the wary people and all the rush.

Some ways into this journey I made a wrong turn and stumbled into and onto the Katy Trail Rails to Trail Bicycle path. At Clifton City, Missouri on an afternoon so hot the air shimmered. I unloaded the bike and stripped off the Aerostich. There was a park and a wee bit o' shade and and restrooms.  But it is so hot there is no one around.  Only the smell of fresh cut grass and the drone of Cicadas and off in the distance a lawnmower.  A big one from the sound of it.

I walk up the hill toward town and to the sound of the lawnmower.  I have not seen a car nor another soul.  About halfway up the incline I see signs for Renting bicycles.  But the properties are overgrown and there are no rideable bicycles.   I locate the mower and she stops.  I ask where I can rent a bicycle.  She says, "Oh, that was ages ago"  But she has one I can borrow if I don't mind riding a girls bike.  I gave up being cool ages ago.   Back down the road to he place on the south side of the Katy Trail.  We rummage through her shed and dig out the bike.  A Huffy, new tires or at least never ridden much.  And flat.  She has a compressor.  Turns out the valve stem is tore out.  That's OK, I say, I'll just walk down a ways down the trail.  At this point she reveals she is with the Volunteer Fire Dept. and is a EMT.  I don't want to put her out but she insists and away we go down the middle of the trail in her Chevy Blazer.  Some great old signals still  standing.

And then there is this old boy... usually the hounds lie in the middle of the road in rural Missouri.  Not today, this old boy is in the shade.  He reluctantly comes out to say hi.

 Wave goodbybe
 Back on the mower... The only person I saw for hours.  And to think the RR provided passenger service here, back in the day.  All I gotta do is find a Soda Fountain or a Grape Nehi... a craving not fulfilled until Tennessee or Kentucky, I forget where it was.  I was on a quest.
America's Still Out There

Days later
A wooden floored General Store on some backroad in Tennesse
doesn't have Grape Nehi... that's just wrong.

And finally a Grape Nehi... I'll make it now.

All the photos from the Trip are here on Smugmug

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kids give Rocks

Father and Son

America is Still Out There

It has been said or quoted "If a two year old hands a play phone to a Big old tough lookin' Biker, he'd better by God answer it."

A variation on this theme is, "When an eight year old gives you a rock, it might be a silly thing, but it's a big thing to them."

As I went over to Saint Maries again, this time for the Jet boat Races, it reminded my of another America is Still Out There Story.

I really enjoy the P1 highway in Idaho. It runs from Kennewick south to Orofino Idaho. I rode it again on the way home.  I kept a lookout for these two old guys. Notice the harmonica in the cup holder... It's a Hohner Marine Band Key of "C" Now don't ask me why, but a couple of years ago I stopped to have a chat.  The old boy is ex Navy, I wish I could remember the ship... South Seas anyway. I ask him about the harmonica after a bit.  Now he picks out a tune kinda like I do... not that good but we enjoy it.  His Harp is a "C" which I think is a mistake as I always carry a "G" harp.  It's much lower and pleasant soundbut precluded us from playing together, at least at our ability.

We talk some more and I notice that among the stuff they have to sell are some Rocks that have been cut in two.  I ask them, "Do they have a Rock Saw." They do.

Now I'll tell of a little girl who I have become close to. She is the Daughter of one of my Student Engineer's"  Now, she is your average little girl. Enthusiastic, energetic, smart. pretty all of that.  But most of all she took a shine to me.  She is almost exactly my Grandaughters age but so I am reminded.

I went camping "Up the Joe" with Alison and her family a couple of years ago. This is along the Milwaukee Road. Alison , of course, spent much of the day in "The Joe" as it was quite warm outside.  She would bring me Rocks. When an 8 year old brings gives you a rock, act like it's a treasure, huh? A few of them were interesting and one in particular was unusual in that it did not seem to weigh enough.  My FATHER was a Geologist and even though I tried not to listen a fair amount of Geology crept through.

On the way home I rode the P1 again. And that is where I met the two old guys above. I had them cut the rocks in half intending to pick them up. On the way to Sooke and WeSTOC last year I picked them up in the shack.

This trip, the 3rd trip, the shack, the road side stand and the two old guys were gone.