Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Almost Balmy

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

It felt almost balmy.

Downtown was pretty deserted.

I took this as I was leaving Downtown a little after noon. There wouldn't have been any trouble finding a parking place today.

Also, on the way home . . .

I captured what is probably the last flamingo foto of 2013.

This past year was a very stressful year for me personally. I'm interested to see what 2014 brings. May it bring delightful surprises and wondrous coincidences to us all.

Happy New Year!

  • 25F/-4C and fair for the ride in.
  • 41F/5C and a few clouds for the home ride.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vulcan Rider and Me

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

I wasn't the only one.

I didn't see any other bikes out on the road. Maybe Vulcan Rider and I were the only ones out early today. I did see a couple of cyclists braving the cold. Traffic continues to be light, but there seemed to be a lot more activity Downtown today.

Saturday it was over 60F/15C and felt like Spring. Heather and I went for a nice hike at Castlewood State Park.

Today it was just as clear, but some colder.

It did warm up for the ride home and it clouded over. Won't be as chilly for the ride in tomorrow.

  • 11F/-12C with a few clouds for the ride in.
  • 26F/-3C and cloudy for the ride home.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Seemed To Be More Traffic

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

There seemed to be more traffic this morning. This surprised me. There still certainly didn't seem to be very many folk Downtown.

I know I'm grateful it is Friday. I only worked four days, but I feel exhausted. It's funny how often that happens at the end of short weeks. It seems I end up doing five days work in four.

I hope you all have a great weekend. Tomorrow is supposed to be a nearly perfect weather day. Sunday? Plummeting temperatures and sleet.

  • 28F/-2C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 50F/10C and still a little cloudy for the home ride.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

It was much warmer than last Tuesday.

Jack Frost was out and about today, but the freezing fog stayed well to the south and west of us. Still it was plenty humid for my morning ride. At first I wondered how my visor got so dirty. I didn't remember it being that way when I put it up Tuesday night. Then it occurred to me, my visor was doing the same thing the car windows were doing. This was one of those mornings I was grateful not to have to scrape ice off my windshield. I was very thankful the moisture wasn't freezing on my visor.

Traffic was even lighter today than it was Tuesday morning. It was very subdued Downtown today. I don't think many of us were at work. At lunchtime here were only a handful of us eating at Subway.

It may be warmer tomorrow and even warmer on Saturday. Then guess what? Yep, colder. Ah yes, the roller coaster ride we call Winter.

  • 27F/-3C with a light mist for the ride in.
  • 48F/9C with a few clouds for the home ride.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

It was the coldest temperature I've experienced riding to work. It was no problem staying warm even without any heated equipment other than my grips. And Billie, my Symba, didn't stall even once on the way in. I was particularly grateful for this since it seems my electric starter is on the fritz again.

Billie parked outside in the cold all morning was my biggest concern. I knew even if my starter was working I'd be "kicking" her to life when I came out to leave at noon. Yes, we had an early dismissal.

When I went to start Billie nothing happened. I kicked three or four times and there was no sound. I kicked some more. Nothing. This was not good. But, then it up started. From nothing to started. I let her warm up a good long while and she ran great except for one stall.  Fortunately there was very little traffic and no one lost their Christmas Spirit before I could push off to the side and get her started again. I'll even take some of the blame for the stall. She was running so well I kind of forgot it was as cold as it was. I suspect if I'd been a wee more vigilant she wouldn't have stalled even that once.

On the way home I stopped to top off Billie's gas tank. I could have gone straight home, but honestly I was enjoying the ride. It was shortly after I left the gas station that I notice something in my peripheral vision. I looked. It was a hawk. It was maybe ten feet to my left and just a few of feet above my head. It matched my pace and we moved in formation for the longest time before it peeled off and up. Distance wise we probably traveled together at least three-quarters of a mile. It was the most wonderful feeling. Yes, it was one of those "This is why I ride" moments.

Tomorrow is Christmas and I won't be riding to work. It will be lunch with my son and his family. Every year we do Indian. My daughter isn't going to make it this year. She hasn't missed very many.

I have much to be grateful for and I hope you do as well.

Be safe and may joy be your companion.

  • 8F/-13C and clear for the ride in.
  • 18F/-8C and clear for the home ride.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Little Surprise

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

Our Spring moment has disappeared.

The temperature didn't change a whole today. It's clearing off tonight which well may mean colder temperatures. It didn't get quite as cold last night as they predicted. It probably depends on how soon it clears off.

I had a little surprise when I came out after work. It was snowing. It didn't snow long. By the time Billie was warmed up it had stopped. I'm not sure it would even qualify as a flurry.

  • 22F and overcast for the ride in.
  • 22F and still overcast for the home ride.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Vacation Day

Nope, I didn't ride to work today

But . . .

I did ride.

I took a vacation day. It's been scheduled for nearly a month, but I couldn't have picked better. When I got around to leaving my garage the temperature was 60F/16C. A couple hours later when I returned it was 70F/21C. Soon after I got home the temperatures began to drop. It looks to be a cold and rainy weekend with even some snow mixed in by Sunday. But, today was scrumptious.

Where did I go? I went to visit the Liberty Tree.

Here it is:

And here's its story:

It is located in Bee Tree Park.

Bee Tree Park is a walking park. The trails aren't long, but there are a couple of nice overlooks of the Mississippi River.

And, yes, my alley finally thawed out.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

It was nearly Springlike.

On the way in I had another wild turkey sighting.  She definitely seems to be thriving in the midst of urban bustle.

Last weekend we were under a Winter Storm Advisory. This weekend we have a Flood Watch.

Tonight the lights from a police cruiser splashed some interesting color on a familiar sight. I love it when something I see everyday is suddenly new and interesting.

I saw a couple of scooters and a bunch of cyclist on my way home. I didn't see any motorcycles, but I bet there were a few out and about enjoying our moment of Spring.

  • 47F/ with a few clouds for the ride in.
  • 57F/ and overcast for the home ride. No moon tonight.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Times Change

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

This morning my alley was much improved.

I really do enjoy these brisk December rides Downtown. A deputy asked me what was different in my genetic make-up that, "...allowed me to ride when it was so cold." I told him it wasn't a matter of genes it was a matter of having the right gear. That said, there is probably something about how I'm made that calls me out on these chilly mornings. I'm aware of others who ride in much colder temperatures. I wonder what he'd think of them?

I've been leaving a little earlier in the morning and skipping the stop at the cafe. Between the Bible Study Groups and the adding of a drive-thru, it just hasn't been as interesting of a place to spend time in the morning. I used to love going there. There was a group of us. It was a "They Know My Name" sort of place. Actually, it is where I met Heather. Alas, times change. For now, I'm enjoying some solitary time before my workday begins.

When I got Downtown the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon.

One of my favorite things about Downtown is sunrise time. I love the ways the the light plays on the buildings . . .

. . . and the windows, even if the windows are facing West, as are these.

It was almost toasty for the ride home.

  • 22F/-5.5C and mostly clear for the ride in.
  • 47F/8C and some cloud cover for the home ride.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Other Than My Alley . . .

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

My alley was still the most difficult part of my commute.

The streets I rode on today were all bone dry. There was some snow in the turn lanes, but no broken-water-main-skating-rinks like I found yesterday on my more usual way in.

I wasn't the only one to ride today. Vulcan Rider was already at work when I got there.

After work found me riding on one of the old Rte.66 routes from Downtown out to Maplewood. There was a full moon and it was just a delight to be riding even if traffic was surprisingly heavy.

I rode by this storefront. There was a sign in the broken window saying, "Open" and the lights were on. The photo doesn't do justice to how tattered, torn, and worn the STEVE'S AUTO SALES sign was. While I'm sure this destination wasn't the cause of the traffic, it did have an odd charm about it.

With the warmer temperatures during the day, I found my alley to be much less of a titillating experience than it had been this morning. Tonight the temperature will dip back below freezing. With my alley refreezing I may just walk the Symba out to the street. This is one of the things I love about the Symba. I can push it around almost as easily as I could a bicycle, which can come in real handy when you have an alley which likes to impersonate a skating rink.

  • 26F/-3C and hazy for the ride into work.
  • 38F/ 3C with some clouds, but not enough to get in the way of the beautiful Full Moon.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Clear Enough

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

Once out of my alley it was pretty clear sailing. There were a couple places where I'm guessing water mains had broken, but I saw them in plenty of time and was able to navigate my way through them without incident.

The motorcycle parking area was cleared enough.

The temperatures continued to hover around freezing. There was plenty of sunshine. There was lots of melting going on.

The ride home was even less eventful than the ride in.

  • 25F/-4C with some patches of fog for the ride in.
  • 31F/-.5C and plenty of moonlight for the ride home.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I Sure Thought About It

Nope, I didn't ride to work today,

But . . .

I sure thought about it. The forecast had been changed yet once again. Now instead of the rain beginning with sleet in the early afternoon the National Weather Service was calling for occasional rain mostly after 5pm.On the one hand it was beginning to look like a ride day, but on the other hand I've been down this road before. I know how quickly the forecast can change again. I know what it is like to be caught at work as it sleets and the rain begins to freeze on the bridges and overpasses. I know how much I hate ice. I've always made it home unscathed, but it only takes once.

I decided to drive. Heaven knows I've nothing to prove.

The day dawned quite clear. There were just enough clouds to make the sunrise over Candy Cane Lane interesting.

But, by lunchtime it was raining real steady.

The temperature hovered just above freezing and it continued to rain.

When it was time to leave work it stopped raining. I was glad to not have to walk to my car in the rain.

On my way, I wished General Grant a Merry Christmas. He'll be overlooking the Hot Chocolate Run this coming Sunday. With the proposed temperatures for Sunday, I guessing there will be a lot of hot chocolate consumed.

Since the temperature stayed up I could have rode today. I have no regrets with my decision. It is really better to be safe than sorry. It only takes a slight temperature turn to make things dicey. There are rumors of snow accumulations overnight, possibly significant. Maybe Billie and I will get a chance to play.

  • 24F/-4C and some clouds for the morning drive.
  • 35F/ 2C and overcast for the evening commute.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Yes, I rode to work today.

But . . .

By the time I finished with my doctor's appointment the temperature had risen to 18F/-8C. The sun was shining and it felt even warmer. I'm still fascinated at how warm the sun is here even in December. Last Saturday it was in the mid-twenties Fahrenheit and the snow was melting wherever the sun touched it. That certainly wasn't my experience of the December sun when I lived in Michigan.

On my way into the Courthouse I took a photo in the daylight of one of the sets of eagles. There is a set on each side of the 11th Street entrance. A friend pointed out how Mesopotamian they look. You think?

It was another clear night. The moon played peekaboo around the buildings until I got out of Downtown.

When I downloaded the photos I discovered this. I have no idea what it was supposed to be. I'm thinking I didn't get the camera turned off and this is what happen before it automatically shutdown. Still, I liked the colors and the movement.

Tomorrow ice, freezing rain, snow and if you'd believe the local weather outlets the Apocalypse are in the forecast. Even allowing for the exaggeration and only paying attention to the National Weather Service it is sounding like a drive day. We'll see.

  • 18F/-8C and plenty of sunshine for the ride to work.
  • 37F/3C and clear for the home ride.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Clear, Crisp, and Captivating.

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

Since my move last week to a new work area, my riding gear has become visible to a new group of folks. This has led to another round of "Don't you get cold riding your motorcycle" questions. When I first started riding I was very patient with these questions. Then I went through a time of being rather curt and/or sarcastic or both. I guess I just got tired of answering the same question over and over again. Now I'm back to being patient.

I used to say I was warmer riding then when I drove and had to walk from the parking lot, but that's not true anymore. When I drive, I dress for the temperature outside not for being in the car. I don't get cold on my walk to the Courthouse anymore.  I notice most of my coworkers do what I used to do, they dress for being in the car. No wonder they can't imagine anyone being warm on two wheels.

It was a beautiful evening for riding: clear, crisp, and captivating.

Tonight is going to be cold. The lowest temperature I've ridden in was 9F/-13C. There is a good chance it will be colder in the morning. Sadly, I have a doctor's appointment and won't be riding until after it warms up. No new records tomorrow.

  • 21F/-7C and a few clouds for the ride in.
  • 24F/-4C and clear for the ride home.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

All Was Well

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

It was wonderful.

The roads were all clear. My alley? Not so much.

The only real issue was a water main break. It was pretty iced over. Fortunately, I could keep a nice even throttle and didn't need to brake. All was well.

It got downright balmy this afternoon. I went a different way home and missed the ice patch. My alley? Still not so good.

It has been a while since I mentioned how much I enjoy the old buildings I work in. There are details to them which we don't value so much in this day and age of lowest bid.

  • 16F/-9C and clear for the ride to work.
  • 33F/1C and clear for the home ride.

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Error In Judgment

Nope, I didn't ride to work today.

But . . .

I could have.

Last evening there was freezing drizzle in the area and since my street isn't treated I expected there to be glazing. When I went to leave this morning I discovered I'd made an error in judgment. I should have checked the street instead of acting on my assumptions. My street wasn't clear, but it certainly was doable.

0710 CST
By the time I discovered my mistake the die was cast. I had to drive.

This is where we are allowed to park. The building in the background is now a hotel. It has a very distinctive paint job.
There did turn out to be sort of a silver lining to my driving. Right before the snow the leaves from the Condo grounds were all blown into the street. Because of the wee storm we had, the leaves didn't get picked up. Myself and others ended up having to park on the piled up leaves over the weekend. Today while I was at work they came and picked up the leaves. If I had rode, my car would have been obstructing the process. As it is the leaves are all gone. Even with this, I must say it really sucked driving to work knowing I could have rode.

  • 23F/-5C and some clouds at morning drivetime.
  • 24F/-4C and overcast for the evening commute.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Nope, I didn't ride to work today.

My street was just a little too shiny.

The main streets were pretty clear and I've ridden on worse, but first you got to be able to get there. Also, there was a strong possibility of more snow as the day wore on.

Once again, most of the afternoon snow stayed to the south of us. Here, there were no drive time problems.

The evening is going to be clear and cold. There is a good chance this cold snap will continue for a while. We may just be having a good old time December. We'll see. I'm becoming enough of a wimp to hope not.

  • 22F/-5C and overcast for the drive Downtown.
  • 21F/-6C and clearing for the drive home.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I Woke to the Sound of Freezing Rain

Nope, I didn't ride to work today.

When I went to bed last night I really expected to ride, but when I woke to the sound of freezing rain I decided to pack it in.

I scraped the ice from the  car windows and drove to work. The roads were all treated and not slippery at all.

I was only mildly surprised to see Vulcan Rider's bike parked in the lot. All the weather excitement wasn't suppose to start until late afternoon. I suspect he figured he'd be home before anything much developed. My guess is he probably rode to work before the rain even began.

My friend Maggie let me know she wasn't going to ride. She doesn't miss many days. I messaged another everyday rider to see if he rode. He responded, "I didn't have to work today, so no. But I would have. Smooth seas don't make skilled sailors." I hear what he's saying, but when it comes to ice I think its more often a matter of luck rather than skill. Both ice and deer are killers and rather skill immune.

It turned out the rest of the day was bone dry. Vulcan Rider probably rode in on dry pavement and rode home on dry pavement.

Me? I got to walk to work from the distant car parking lot in the rain, but after work I did get to walk the four blocks back to my car in the dry. My route took me by City Hall. I love this old building.

Since there was a Hockey game scheduled for tonight Scottrade Center was all lit up.

My route takes me past this art installation. It changes colors and intensity. One moment it is all aglow and the next . . .

. . . not so much.

Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow. Will I ride? I'd be surprised if I do, but I was surprised I didn't this morning. That's the way of it here. Here it is always, "Time will tell."

  • 29F/-2C with freezing rain for the drive to work.
  • 27F/-3C and overcast for the drive home.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Blessing

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

As I pushed Billie out of the garage, I was greeted by a light mist.

There was some fog, but visibility wasn't a problem.

Even Downtown closer to the River the fog stayed up.

It was one of those mornings when I sat in a seam of almost no traffic. It was almost spooky to look into my mirrors and see no one behind me

The earlier forecast called for plummeting temperatures today, but it was revised. It was actually a very warm day here in the Heartland and it felt like a friendly honest warm, not the warm which seems to be the herald of something terrible fixin' to happen.

It remained overcast all day. As the sun as going down the clouds opened up. I suspect there was a nice sunset somewhere.

By the time I left work whatever show there may have been was over. There was still enough light for me to see the clouds had broken up some.

I was also able to see the first sliver of the new moon. A blessing.

It is looking like the winter weather event is going to happen mostly to the South of us. Who knows, I may even ride to work tomorrow after all.

  • 52F/11C with a light misty and patchy fog for the ride in.
  • 65F/18C with some clouds, but clear enough to welcome the moonlight of Tevet on the home ride.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mostly Gray

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

There were lots of people out riding today.

Took this photo out of the cafe window as I was eating breakfast.

One of the nice things about living in St. Louis is being able to ride home in December with temperatures in the  near 60'sF.

Of course, the not so nice thing about living in St. Louis is the sudden weather shifts. Tomorrow looks to be a ride day, but Thursday and Friday look like sleet and snow. Still things can change. We'll see how it all plays out.

  • 50F/10C and mostly gray for the ride to work.
  • 57F/14C with lots of moisture in the air in the air for the home ride. It was almost like riding in a dew.