Friday, March 21, 2014

2014 Errandonnee, Day 4 (snow day bonus)

With two trips to work already logged, I can't count that as an errand anymore. Instead, we start off the bonus snow day of errand-running with more stops on the way in before afternoon route, just like yesterday. It worked so well, right?

Firstly, a trip to the bank- an actual real-life errand! I normally don't have any true errands to do on a bike- my miles are covered just going to and from work lately without any need to stop other places. I don't really spend money, and the weather is JUST starting to get nice. I'm out of the habit of riding just for enjoyment. But, a payment has to be made this month for my Beetle, and my husband knows I'm trying to run errands for this challenge. He is unwilling to leave the choice of toilet paper brand for the household up to my sole discretion, but this I can handle!

In the spirit of challenge with which rule #7 is written: 
7. The Wild Card errand is for any trip you make that does not fall into any of the categories listed on the control card and you somehow cannot figure out how to fit into the Personal Care category. 

I'm counting the bank errand under Personal Care! Here's why:

The car for which I am going to make a payment for is a 2007 gecko green New Beetle, named Sagra, purchased as a present for me last year during Spring Break (it's almost been a whole year!). Sagra is round. Sagra is green. Sagra has a sunroof. Sagra is a Beetle car, and most importantly of all, Sagra is MINE. Haircuts, massages, and manicure examples of the personal care category are all pampering activities which increase general happiness and feelings of well-being. Making the monthly car payment keeps Sagra in my possession, which is something that makes me very happy. Therefore, a trip to the bank is an errand in the Personal Care category.

Proof I was there:

My observation for this errand occurred while pedaling the 2 miles to Elevations: the shorts that I so gleefully removed leggings out from underneath this morning (yay bare skin!!) are NOT, in fact, comfortable to bike in. At all. This leads me to my next errand- I decided I absolutely HAD to stop at Goodwill and buy a skirt to replace the awful shorts with.

Turns out, I got distracted before reaching Goodwill. Ace is someplace I hardly ever go, but I love it. They allow dogs inside. They carry all kinds of nifty things, from cooking gadgets, to gardening things, to hardware and car supplies. What's not to love? Did I mention they allow dogs? Anyway, Ace was on the side of the road I happened to be on, while Goodwill was on the opposite side. I decided to stop here before crossing the road. My idea was to look for green ratchet straps. There is a free table right by work, but I would need to strap it securely in order to transport it home. No getting by with an optimistic tie-job of borrowed twine. My goal therefore was to find ratchet straps. The likelihood of finding green ones is very remote- most are blue- and so a purchase, while I absolutely would have made one, was likely not going to happen here.

Observation: Ace needs a bike rack.

Now on to Goodwill!

Would you believe they had NO skirts? Yeah, neither would I. Instead, I did find skirts, but only one side of a small rack full, where most of the sizes hung were far too large for me. The ones I found in my size were all not suitable, being too short, too raggedy (like jean skirts), too slim to be worn immediately on a bike without modification, or just plain ugly. Observation: Goodwill has NO skirts for me to buy! I was very disappointed.

A very bad photo proving I was at Goodwill. My old camera has a very tiny screen that makes aiming difficult.
I'm counting the errand to Goodwill as Personal Care also. It would have been a MUCH more pleasant and comfortable day of biking if I had been able to find a skirt. As it was, I suffered somewhat through the rest of my pedally day. It was the opposite of a generally happy and feel-good day. I TRIED to care for myself personally, I just failed at it. If riding nude was not frowned upon in public, I might seriously have done so.  I was very much not comfortable on the bike.

ANYWAY.

A trip to Bike n Hike was on my agenda, an errand that I'd been looking forward to since I found out about the challenge. I love Bike n Hike, which is a good thing because it's the only really convenient bike shop around. Acme is nearby, but its small and seems to be aimed at a specific crowd. I just find Bike n Hike nicer overall. My goal in visiting this time was very specific: return some tubes that I'd purchased a long time ago, if they'd let me, in exchange for the amazing thorn-proof tubes that have been on Zoomie since... September 2012. I'm fairly certain there have been ZERO flat tires since I put those things on. Obviously, I wanted more magic tubies!

It turns out, I had quite a collection of tubes once I gathered them all together. I was able to do the exact trade I was hoping for and the spare money I've been carrying in my purse since... birthday? I think it was, made up the difference- just under $10.

One pair will go on the tandem. Jamie got upset enough when I got flat tires a couple years ago and had to call him to tell him I'd be late, I don't want to see how irritated he'd be if he's the one experiencing the flat. :P

I even managed to swap out for a thinner tubes in the thorn-proof version, which will go onto my new Free Spirit!

My saddle bag full of goodies. I love this thing! I made it and yet I still get amazed sometimes by the amount of stuff I can get crammed in there. My observation for the bike shop errand is a reminder of the giant amount of cargo space I have- the rear rack is still completely unused!

Lastly, my plan had been to stop by the library, but I realized that I simply did not have any time left before I needed to be at work. My plan changed into either having more tea at the office (lame cop-out, I know) or reading a few pages of a book there. I've been working my way through a book on the shelf VERY slowly during late start days when going home would mean pretty much turning right back around for the trip back to work.

The universe had a better idea for me.

I was quickly pedaling along Main Street on the wrong side. I didn't feel like waiting for a light to cross when it was likely that I'd hit a red light to do that eventually anyway. I zoomed past the Pumphouse restaurant. As I was rolling along, I went through the next intersection and promptly hit the brakes. A few moments later (I really need to fix those brakes) I came to a stop, dismounted and left Zoomie waiting for me on the corner to go and get a better look at the thing I'd just seen lying in the crosswalk. It was someone's purse.

I picked it up and looked around to see if anyone looked like they'd dropped anything, but there weren't very many people on that block. I opened up the little handbag to see if there was stuff inside. Yep! There was a fat little phone I could see and a bunch of papers, and definitely some cards. I was about to look for a driver's license when it occurred to me that it was a useless thing to do. Sure, I could find out who the purse belonged to- but then what? I didn't have the time to contact the purse's owner and meet them somewhere to give it to them, and I didn't want to just hang onto some stranger's belonging for a few hours while I went to drive a bus. 

Then I remembered the police should be right around here somewhere. Sure enough, I got to 3rd Street and saw the familiar signs pointing to the library (which is why I remembered that I'd seen such signs before) and the police. I zoomed right up their cutely-painted bike rack and stepped inside without even taking off my helmet, I think.

There was a man at a window speaking with a lady behind glass. The other window had no customer, but also no person behind the counter either. I waited in line. After a moment, it was clear that the man was doing something which was going to take absolutely forever. I had to go to work!

I stepped to the side and waved an arm to catch the lady's attention and said "Excuse me" as politely as I could. She saw me and I pointed at the purse, at which point she interrupted the man who was going on about something so she could ask me what I needed. I'm pretty sure the guy had been being ornery, but I guess a nice "excuse me" works miracles because she smiled right back at me like I was the nicest person in the world and sent a second lady out the side door to see what I needed. I explained how and where I'd found the purse and this new lady told me I was a very nice person and they'd get it back to it's owner right away. I got to step right back outside and hop on Zoomie and I wasn't even late to work!


So my observation for this unplanned errand is that niceness goes a long way. It could help that I'm a tiny female wearing a happy flowered helmet too, but I like to think it was all in the smile and polite phrase.

This errand is going to count for a Wild Card, because I already used up 2 Personal Care errands. I WAS caring for someone's personal effects, though. So there :P I think that was a much better errand than pedaling to work and pretending like I went there just to read a book.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
That was 12 errands. I used 8 categories and covered 35.2 miles total. I win the Errandonnee!

2014 Errandonnee, Day 3

Day 3 of the Errandonnee, and that means it's time to get busy! I'm lucky that I don't have to cram all my errands in by midnight tonight due to the snow day, but I still have a lot to do.

I started by counting my ride from work to home during the middle of the day as a lunch trip. This was a one-way ride since Zoomie and I get a free hop to work in my coworker's truck in the wee hours of a dark weekday  morning. I COULD stay at work, but the whole point of coming home in the middle is to get more exercise, see my hubby if he's home, spend time with my beagle Grunt, get chores done, or relax with any other activity I feel like. This opposed to sitting all day at the office trying not to be bored and hoping they need me to cover a midday run.

I had chicken noodles swimming in butter and topped with yummy cheese, here is the proof:
Nobody Likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms!
Big fat juicy ones, long thin skinny ones, oh how they wiggle and squirm!

My observation for this errand is that these noodles are amazing. Also, I remembered why I took the cushion that I made OFF the rear rack. The thing is adorable (and still bright! not faded by sunshine) but it rattles and the noise drives me bonkers. It promptly came back off of Zoomie.

Atfer lunch, I left the house early to do errands before work. A new bike shop recently opened up very close to where we used to live (of course!). Touted as a combination bike shop and cantina, I've been wanting to see it ever since it opened, but I never had a reason to go on that side of town before. Thank you Mary for the excuse!

I got lucky in that the greenway is actually open from the main road near me, all the way over to the airport area where I used to live. This section of the path meanders between a few ponds, but it is mostly further from the river and slightly more upland than the rest of the path, which has been destroyed and won't be fixed for a while.

My kestrel was just off to the left. 
I neglected to check and see if he still exists, or if all the pebbles making him were washed away :( 
I should make another trip!


I miss this.

This is the first time I've been here since the flood. I'm surprised how bleak it looks. My official observation for the errand to a bike shop is this devastation of the landscape.

The awesome waterfall has become a cascade, really, and a trickly one at that.

I would love to go play in the new "cave", though!


After a wonderful scenic ride, I found Cyclhops. I feel like an idiot for reading it before now as cycle-hops, when its obviously supposed to be cyclops, as in a one-eyed giant. People who meet us might notice that it's my husband who might still make a claim that I'm smart, not I.

Proof that Zoomie and I were really here:

Ok, I have to say: this place is AWESOME! I would love to come eat here, although I didn't look at the menu at all. My husband came home tonight and told me about a giant sign he just made for them, and I got to share the news about my visit! Look how cool it is in here, and I purposely did not get a picture of the main decoration- a giant mural painted on the wall!

When you first walk in this skeleton cyclist is in front and above you, this really cool light is to your left where the tiny Reeb bike shop cubby is. The hostess stands behind a bench table to your right ready to seat you.

All around the window fronts to the right are tables and booths for dining, and a long bar runs through the middle of the room. The whole place feels open and airy with lots of natural light. The painted mural is to the left along that long main wall, and there is a nifty secluded room hidden behind it.

The bar and other flat surfaces are a neat gray marbly stuff, but look what is embedded in it! Chains squiggle all over and there are gears and chain links galore. I love it!

I WANT THIS.
This gorgeous light is the very first thing I saw in the hidden room. It's fantastic. It throws nifty shadows. It's shiny. What's not to love? The light is from one of those clear bulbs that looks like it is made of a rainbow.

Along one wall are cutout alcoves with art displayed in them.

On the wall opposite the hole-in-the-wall art displays. 
A big table dominates the center of the room.

Looking back at how you got into this nifty place. Not shown are three circular bench-cubbies on the other side of that hallway where you could sit and have coffee or maybe fiddle with a laptop in semi-privacy. Very coffee-shoppish. I'm a BIG fan of the green back-lighting behind the peek-a-boo outdoor block tiles here.

A painting above the coffee hall cubby seats. I have no idea what it says, but I like the goofy colorful way it's painted.

Any restaurant worth going to has amazing restrooms, and Cyclhops is no exception. 
Look at this awesome sink in the women's bathroom!

A decorative guitar on the separator wall for the tiny bike shop section.

I'm so glad I decided to go to Cyclhops, and maybe I'll get to come back here soon for dinner and tasty adult beverages :)

After Cyclhops, I decided to go to work. I really spent too much time ogling all the wonderful limey-greenness and decorations, so I took the previous short way to work, along the roadside. I'm glad I did, because I decided to visit another place that always catches my fancy when I see it, and so I just HAD to stop in. The Flower Bin. This errand will count as any store that is not a grocery store.

I thought I got a photo of the really nifty entrance gate with the name on it, but I didn't. You'll have to settle for all these frogs inside as proof of the visit:

This photo is my observation. Although I know you can't read it, one of these perfect bikey frogs is $179.99. My observation is that that's freaking expensive!! I plan to one day have a garden, and I'd like for it to be a pretty place as well as functional, but I will never pay that much for a piece of lawn art. I'll make my own first! 
That being said, I still really wanted one of these guys :(
Oh well.

Other froggies:












Not a frog, but I like it a lot anyway.

Flamingoes, because I'm a Florida girl and we're moving back this summer.

FISHIES! 



Then I went to work. Being so worried about getting there on time, I actually arrived early. So, instead of getting off and going to sit inside to wait for the minute hand to advance, I decided to ride around in circles around the parking lot and then the whole school district complex singing lyrics to the happy songs I was listening to as loud as I could. My observation: people give you strange looks when you do this. If not the first time around, then definitely when you pass them for the third or fourth time. This also happened to be a great way to add some miles in for the day.

Here is Zoomie parked at the bike rack again:

Did I mention I have passengers along for the ride now? 
(Oh and for those who don't know, I have a Brooks saddle now!! <3)

Ok, so these two photos are actually from the 20th when I added these little stuffed froggies on the equinox, but that trip to work didn't count as an errand, and I forgot to get a photo actually AT work this day. So I figure froggy photos count. 

After work, I went home, and that was the end of my biking around for day 3 of the Errandonnee!

View from the front porch.

Holy cow! I went a total of 15 miles exactly today. That makes my total up to 26.2 miles for the Errandonnee, and I only have 3.8 left to go! I have 5 errands left to do, and I'm fairly certain it would be impossible to go to 5 different places tomorrow and NOT cover 4 miles. Hooray! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 Errandonnee, Day 2

One errand down, eleven  to go. 24.7 miles still to go in order to meet the 30 mile requirement.
Day two.
GO!

Today Zoomie took me to work have coffee tea. We went to have tea! If it happened to be tea made from the cupboard stores at work, what of it? Still counts!

This Tuesday happened to be one of my husband's days off work, so I didn't want to stay out all day or night running errands. Besides, anyone who knows me well might recognize procrastination when they see it. Here you go folks! Not only am I beginning a challenge 2 days before it ends (3, thankyousnowday!), but I'm also deliberately NOT really doing errands in the first two days. WEEE! Hows that for a challenge, hmm?

So right. Tea.

Proof:
This tea really IS jammin'. I observed that I like ginger a LOT more than I thought. Or I would, if I didn't have a better observation, also with photo proof.

You see, yesterday was windy. Remember how I said it likes to make life miserable? Well, we just restarted the P90X workout program.
Guess what today was?

PLYOMETRICS.

What is Plyo, you ask?
It's freakin jump training. As in jumping up and down. On your legs.

Oh wait, the same legs you use for pedaling?
YES.

But....
Yeeeessss.... The wind. It's blowing at 20 miles per hour right now, with gusts of 29 mph, I know.

Proof of evil wind:

But that is not my observation for this errand.

THIS IS:
This would be my new top speed. 
27.18 MPH.

I achieved this with a slightly-helpful-but-mostly-trying-to-kill-me crosswind on the way to work going down the monster hill. I ran out of hill before I could see true top speed, but I assure you 27 mph is quite adequate for scaring me half to death. In the process of trying not to die by whizzing through the stop sign at the bottom of the monster hill, I also observed the need for better brakes. Still :P

My second errand was to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. I mean tea. My plan was to get a Mio flavor shot thingy, but did you know those are ridiculously expensive? There are no generic flavoring thingies with electrolytes, which was my whole purpose in wanting Mio. Water has been boring lately, and therefore hard for me to drink, but I've been really thirsty, probably because I didn't feel like drinking plain water. Thus, electrolytes. Anyway, no Mio for me. I'll make do with tasty teas. Instead, I got 2 zero-sugar Monster energy drinks. 

I thought a peek into my saddlebag would make a cute picture, so here is the proof of my purchasing errand:
 
My observation: wind sounds really cool.
I mean I hate it, it is evil, but it SOUNDS nifty. I have been listening to music on my phone lately because the sound of traffic just gets incredibly irritating after a while. Today, I decided not to put in the earphones, a decision made in part because the wind would make the long cord snag on everything anyway. Instead, I heard frantic wind chimes, creaky trees and rustling leaves. I heard howling past my ears. It was nice.
Also, despite my little bike computer claiming near-fifty degrees, it was way too cold to have fingers exposed. My husband will not be getting these foundling wool gloves back anytime soon.

That's all for today. 3 of 12 errands done. 11.2 miles covered out of 30. I'm beginning to think mileage is a non-issue. I had worried because my commute is so much shorter. That's only 18.8 miles left to go! Once upon a time I went that far in one single ride :)