Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Bike Tour

Well, calling it a tour may be a stretch, but it was an over-niter for both of us and we used my pannier bags for our luggage. We hit the Prairie Spirit Trail in eastern Kansas. I've been wanting to try a rail-to-trail bike ride with motel so that Wilma and I could do it together. She doesn't sleep on the ground anymore so my loaded touring method with camping gear doesn't work with her. That will just be my solo thing.

All went well, and Wilma would almost agree with that assessment. It was a bit warm Saturday. I wanted to be off the trail by the time the day's heat arrived but we were running a little late. We hit 95F and there wasn't as much shade on the trail as I was hoping for. It took the wind out of our sails. But we made it fine and recouped in an air-conditioned motel room. We just waited for the sun to go down a little before we hit Ottawa for eating and seeing the sites.

I love cruising small town Kansas on a bicycle to see the sites. I learned that on my two trips with Biking Across Kansas (organized ride), where we'd cruise the cities each night where we stayed. Sunday we got up early to beat the heat and the going was better. We watched the sun rise as we were pedaling South, back to Garnett. We gave a dozen farmers having coffee at the local dive pit-stop something to talk about with our biking attire as we came in for a bite. I had a nice chat and ear-scratching with a blue healer in a pickup in the parking lot as we left, waiting for his gossipy master inside.

That all made for a 58 mile two-day outing, which was the most Wilma has ever done. I'm proud of her! Also, we're still married . . . so far . . . I think.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some Scenery on Business Travel

I spent a day inspecting some utility construction of one of our member coops. Coming back I drove through my Alma matter, K-State. I love to visit Manhattan, with it's coffee shops, grab a bite, and visit either the K-State Union bookstore or its rival, Varney's bookstore. This time it was Varney's and I picked up a new product for me - Art Alternative's "Pen & Ink" fountain pen and their 3.5"x5.5" sketch book that copies the Moleskine style. Then, while driving out of town I stopped at a scenic overview of the Kansas River Valley at sundown to try it all out. They built this neat stop after I graduated. So, here's the first sketch with that pen and that sketch book. The pen is $16, a bottle of ink was $6 and the book was cheaper, too. Seems to be entry level stuff, but it seems to work good so far. Next I'll check the claim that the ink is waterproof for using watercolors.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Omaha on Business

Well, time for our quarterly SPP TWG meeting. This time in Omaha. Our hotel is down by the restored Old Market area, so we can walk around after the meeting and check out their neat restaurants, bars and shops. Meeting with my peers is great but I like to get away from it, too. I knew there would probably be a big chain coffee store somewhere, but I like the small independents and if they were here, they'd be on the outside fringe area of the high rent district. Wednesday night I was in the mood for a decaf latte. I found Scooters in the high rent district, but they had no decaf. He recommended a competitor, and it was an independent! It's a neat little shop on the fringe of the developed area and they had my decaf. I decided to stop by the next day after our meeting disbanded at lunchtime and do a sketch and, since I'm there, have another cup of joe as I write the text. Sometimes I love business travel.