Tag Archives: video

The Importance of Summer Evenings – Baltimore Bike Party, July 2013

Deep in winter, when the weather is steely and cold, I dream of nights like this. When the air is a soft caress and the night is inviting. Languid. Delicious. There’s no huddling for warmth; no running for shelter from icy winds. Instead, amid the singing of katydids, the night invites you to stay. Maybe extend your arms into the sultry evening air and take a few spins. Is it the spinning making you giddy or the extravagantly pleasurable evening? Hard to know and hard to care. Life’s delights are to be savored, not analyzed.


At the midpoint. As night fell, this woman’s dress came alive (with David’s spare batteries to the rescue, as she had forgotten her power source)!

On Friday, we took a ride with the Baltimore Bike Party on such a night. Each month, a bike ride is organized, guided by “The 3 R’s”: RIDE, RESPECT and REVELRY. The ride through Baltimore City as night falls is short. Just five or six miles through wildly divergent neighborhoods. Parks and slums. Mansions and museums.


We rode in golden midsummer evening light

The thousands of people on bikes make this ride a safe one. Safe enough for even the most timid and safety-minded individuals to take a tour down the hard-bitten streets that are home to Baltimore’s poorest citizens. And those citizens come out onto the sidewalks to view the parade passing by in the warm summer evening.

We, the cyclists, have a unique opportunity to send them some love by way of a happy greeting. A smile, a wave and an invitation to join us next time on the last Friday of the month. Maybe, just maybe, one or two of the folks we see can gather a little hope from us. Or, perhaps they just enjoy the spectacle of thousands of nutty people on bikes shouting, singing, waving, laughing and having a really great time.

Make sure to turn your sound on to enjoy the party!

Can you spot these things in the video?:

– a small person shadowing us, riding a small bike on the sidewalk

– two rats on bikes

– people out on their stoops and sidewalks

Each ride has a theme. This month, it was “Moonlight Madness” with as many lights on bikes as we could muster. (Last month, the theme was the ’80’s. See David’s post). David rigged our bikes with a Dewalt drill battery pack and plenty of LED lights from Ikea. Other folks found ways to add lights, too. Almost all of the bikes were sporting head-and-tail lights. What an awesome pageant of lighted bikes it was! A turn around Lake Montebello revealed the parade to be more than a mile long.


David’s bike was a sailboat. The red light in the middle is his tail light. He added extensions to front and back to create this fantastic ship in the night!

There’s always a stopping point about halfway through the ride. The revelry starts in earnest here! Meeting new friends and greeting old friends. Lighted bikes were admired. There were some truly awesome rigs! Those so inclined break out the alcohol and make it a real party atmosphere. Even David and Jane partook of a generously offered cold(!) beer.

Then, before we knew it, we were at the end of the ride, in Druid Hill Park. We lingered only briefly in the velvet dark, lit by decorated bikes and illuminated party pavilions. My bed was calling, loudly by this time. A day of driving had preceded the ride for me, so off we went into the night, back to the car and home. But, not without being extremely grateful for a night like this one. A happy, happy bike ride on a beautiful summer evening…

– Jane

Commerce on the Mississippi River 12/13/2012

It was interesting to see how current and crucial the great Mississippi still is to shipping and commerce.  We know historically that rivers have always been centers of transit.  We saw the pioneer examples at the Canada Creek log landing in the Adirondacks and the strategic needs at Fort Ticonderoga before and during the Revolutionary War.


As we waited for the Belle Chasse ferry we saw the tanker Overseas Texas City moored across the river, just a couple of bends in the river from downtown New Orleans. The Overland Texas City is at right in the picture above.

To see where the she is now, click the link HERE. This is a fun website. It tracks vessels going into and out of ports around the world. By the time you click on the link, Overland Texas City may be “out of range” but it’s still an interesting site!  All you need is the name of a ship and you can see what it carries, learn its port of origin, heading, speed and destination.

We knew that this river in particular was historically heavily used. At this plantation we visited, Oak Alley, the Mississippi was the primary artery that connected people and moved product.


Even today, the river at the end of this avenue of 300-year-old Virginia Live Oaks at Oak Alley Plantation is a conduit for commerce.  All along the river in Louisiana, there are docks and ships and industry of many types.  Domino Sugar has a big presence, as does petroleum, and apparently plastics of many types.


We saw the Point Lisas Pearl, pictured below, at Vacherie, LA. Click HERE  to see where she is now. This is a fun website. It tracks many vessels going into and out of ports around the world. By the time you click on the link, Point Lisas Pearl may be “out of range” but it’s still an interesting site!


Down the road, pipes and conveyors of wild design convey things to the to docks at the river, where boats move unfathomable tons to ports unknown.

Here’s a video:

Farther downriver, oil refineries and plastics companies transport goods via the Mississippi.


The river is just on the other side, behind the refineries. We saw many more boats and barges than trucks leaving these plants

Here’s a giant pile of green plastic. Ready to go downriver or maybe just unloaded from a ship on the Mississippi.  The smell reminded me of styrene models I built as an adolescent.  I was happy to keep driving and get further away.


– Jane and David

DAY 76 -11/29/2012 Solace for a cold

100_7184Leaving the idyllic Jekyll Island, I knew further rest was needed.  We sought refuge in a refuge of sorts.  We found a National Forest campground at East Delancy, Ocala National Forest.  Our National Parks Pass, picked up at Acadia, Maine levered us a $5 per night rate and there wasn’t another camper, tent or anyone in sight.  We silently filled out the envelope, added our five dollar bill, and didn’t even see the camp host til noon the next day.


What I saw at dawn, or rather heard was of great delight.  Silence all night broken by an insane trumpeting from pairs of Sandhill Cranes.  I barely caught glimpses of them through the trees, but was afforded a range of tones, calls, and answers from their discussions.

Later in the day, I hung a hammock and found my own solace in Steinbeck’s East of Eden.  If you know me you’ll be surprised to hear I read about half of it in one day.  Half a book.  A real book!  I normally fall asleep after reading about 3-5 pages!  Even some of my most quoted reads lately take me two to three months to read.  Jane and I well knew “I was sick”.

Hammocks are uniquely able to support rest in many positions and fold over lots of book-propping options.   I look forward to our next restful campsite with just the right paired trees.  Thanks Jack the hammock and book donor!

– David

DAY 67 – 11/20/2012 Foxfire, Mountain City, GA

Driving into Georgia, we saw the word “Foxfire” on the map.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It conjured up some old memories. What started in the ’70’s as a book was now the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center.


I’m so old I remember when the very first Foxfire Book came out.




Hippie folk everywhere avidly read about life in the past; specifically, about the ways and traditions of rural Southern Appalachia.


Today, what began as a school project is now a center of learning and a functional museum.

Here's David, trying out the stilts. I would have hurt myself!

Here’s David, trying out the stilts. I would have hurt myself!

The proceeds from the sales of books and magazines funded the preservation and construction of log cabins arrayed in a community on the mountain.


We visited Foxfire on a beautiful Autumn day. www.foxfire.org

– Jane

PS: Here’s a bonus video. I love things that make noise so I was thrilled to ring the church bell in the little Chapel. Most of the video was shot sideways. To learn how to make it straight would take me until next year at this time, so I put it in as-is. Turn up the volume so you can hear the bell!

(David, ever the Physical Therapist said “Good body mechanics, Jane!”)