Sunday, January 31, 2016

Not So Fast!

It was only a few days ago when I wrote here, "We're officially into the scooter ‘off season’ here with consistent temperatures at which it's just too uncomfortable to ride for any reason."  It wasn’t so much a matter of my having spoken (written) too soon, but rather a day, today, that was a noteworthy exception to that recent consistency which gave me the delightful opportunity to take the scooter out for a relatively long ride considering that we’re still in January.
While I didn’t go anywhere beyond the usual up and down the same section of “da valley” that I typically haunt on two wheels when I just want to go for a spin, there was a distinct delight in the realization that had today been a typical January one I might have been trapped indoors watching it snow or turning up the thermostat to force the dragon downstairs to blow a little more heat.  Likewise there was a certain je ne sais quoi in taking the new camera (ION SnapCam Lite™) to put it through its paces in time lapse mode.
It took a little experimenting to figure out where to put the camera so it would more or less capture what my eyes were seeing.  It doesn’t come with a secure system by which to attach it to anything so I came up with my own using Scotch adhesive strips with some heavy duty magnets.  I attached it to the cap I wear under my helmet when it’s cold out and it worked well in spite of giving me a quite dorky appearance.
In spite of it feeling warm outside by human standards, the scooter wasn’t quite as eager as I was to get moving.  It took me a good deal of pressing the starter button to get the engine to turn over.  A few more attempts at getting it to fire up and I would have given up on trying, but just when I was close to calling it quits I heard the familiar putt and purr and was soon heading up the alley toward the street.
Since I started this blog I’d wished for a way in which I could make pictures while riding that wouldn’t require me to press a shutter button to render a rider’s eye view.  While it might have been feasible to make a video clip of an entire ride and grab frames from it, I’m no fan of using up gazillions of bytes of hard drive space on videos, and simply prefer still pictures to videos of most anything.  I’ve found through the years that while I love looking at photos, I don’t have the patience to sit through videos that I made.
I wasn’t the only two wheeler on the road.  I got and gave the wave to a number of fellow “bikers” who were out, like me, taking advantage of a chance to ride smack, dab in the middle of winter.  Okay, we’re a little shy of the middle but the extra half hour or so of daylight these days does makes my heart sing.
The little camera didn’t do as well a job as hoped when riding into the sun.  The picture of the other guy on his bike was snapped with beautiful golden sunshine all around us.
A colossal thrill for me was seeing that the county park is still open!  I rode there deliberately to see if it might be because in a typical year it’s locked up tight by the middle of December not to reopen until sometime in April.  Annually I ride there every nice weekend starting at the beginning of March to see if the big, yellow gates are open to herald the arrival of spring.
There’s nothing there that’s particularly worth going there for, but when it’s nice out I’ve been known to enjoy a mid-afternoon snack at a picnic table under a familiar pavilion and to grab a picture or two of me on or beside the scooter.
I had to pause in front of the plate glass windows to get a picture of my reflection.  I like the way it turned out looking a little like a shot in front of a funhouse mirror.  Despite riding for nearly nine years now it’s still somewhat weird to see myself on a two-wheeled motorized contrivance.  Anybody who knew me as a kid would have voted me least likely to ride anything on two wheels beyond a bicycle.
Before I knew it I was heading up the home stretch, this time with the sun at my back and with the camera giving a much better view of what a gorgeous day it was.  I might have looked for excuses to stay out longer, but since I have to take two fistfuls of pills a day now I find myself getting tired by mid-afternoon and ready for a nap.  I parked the Piaggio under the deck and traded in its purr for a lap full of cat as I settled into my recliner.

In a day or two, with weather being as fickle as it usually is, it might seem that the ride I took today was only in a dream.  Luckily, I'll have the pictures to prove that it wasn't and some great memories of being given a very welcome respite from the "off season."

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