Monday, July 21, 2014

Urbane, Urban Yaking: Kayaking the Charles (7/20/14)

Flotilla sneaks below the Esplinade footbridge
Trip: Charles River, Brighton to Kendall
Distance: 5.25 Miles
Sights: Harvard, MIT, BU, Downtown, Esplinade

I have been trying to do the Charles River Canoe and Kayak's One Way Rental for a while.  Yet, everytime we tried there would be some reason the Kendall Square Location was closed.  This year, Urvi and I were finally able to do it.  We met Jess and Mark in Harvard Square and walked over to the Brighton location where we met Eric and Andy who had paddled up from Kendall and were going to paddle back with the four of us.

The Charles became the third river Urvi and I have taken on this year.  In June we did the Ipswich and the month before that we did the Trinity in Dallas.

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRun

Eric and Andy with Downtown in the Distance

Esplinade footbridge

Mark & Jess as we paddled through Harvard

Mark, Jess and Andy with MIT in rearview

Weeks Footbridge

Kendall Landing
After Landing in Kendall Square, the six of us headed over to Meadhall for a couple of pints and some Urbane, Urban Pub Food.

All photos by Urvi

One from the Vault:
That time Andy fell into the Seljalandsfoss Spillway, Iceland, 2012
Well, At least she has her puffy coat on

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Breaking up the Ride: Orange-Blue-Green Ride (7/12/14)

Atop Great Blue

Trip: Orange-Blue-Green Red Ride
Distance: 27.25 miles
Sights: Blue Hills, Shuttle Buses

The trolley pulled into Mattapan Square.  Marc and I grabbed our bikes to head aboard.  The inspector stopped us: "You're not planning to get on with those are you?"

"yes... he's bike is busted."

"Sorry you have to get on the 24 bus to get to Ashmont."

And thus a mini-odyssey home began.


Threes hours earlier, Marc and I had started in Davis Square for my Orange-Blue-Green Ride.  It takes the Orange Line Bike Trail to Franklin Park, then Blue Hill Ave out to Milton and up Great Blue, and finally home through Stony Brook Reservation and the Emerald Necklace.

We successfully made it down t the Orange Like Bike Trail via the Fresh Pond and the River.  It was great to show Marc other parts of the City.

After riding out of Franklin Park, we took the left onto Blue Hill Ave.  "See those bluish looking hills over there," I said...

"They seem like a far way off."

"Probably 4 or five miles," I said.

We made our way across the Milton Hills on Blue Hill Ave - including the tough one up to the Fire House and the slightly easier one you think is the Fire House - but isn't.

To finish off the first half of the ride, is the Category 4 Blue Hill Access Road Climb: 400 feet over 0.9 miles.

Since I had my commuter Baske Ostarije, instead of my faster (and MUCH lighter) road bike I decided to take it easy early.  Eventually as I got near the ski area, I realized i had the energy left to just charge the rest of the way.

I made it to the top next to the Observatory.  BAM!

I waited for Marc to finish up.  And I waited.  And I waited.

Eventually, I thought it was like when I did it in 2012, my companion had to walk up.

I started to head down on foot to see if I could see Marc.  Sure enough he was walking up.

"Well," he said. "At least, I didn't start walking because I was tired."

I looked down and saw his chain hanging off with the derailleur disconnected from the bike.  Marc had shorn the derailleur off his bike:
Broken Derailleur
Marc and I stood at the top of Great Blue without a clue what to do.  "I have a chain wrench... at my Apartment in Cambridge." I said.

Fortunately, a guy with a chain breaker did finish the climb.  He lent it to us.

Unfortunately, Marc and I couldn't figure out how to make his bike into a single gear bike.  We did get the chain off and decided to ride/walk the mostly downhill from Milton back to Mattapan, in an attempt to get on the trolley and Red Line back to Cambridge.

Marc atop Great Blue
We sailed down Great Blue and most of the hills back to Mattapan.  After being denied a trip on the trolley (or Ghost Train), we got on the 24 to Ashmont and then onto the Red Line - but the Red Line was running shuttle buses from JFK to Broadway - stupid Red Line.  So after a Shuttle Bus to Southie, we went for Burgers and Brews at the Cornerstone before hopping back on the Red Line.

Now Emerald Necklace so it's the Orange-Blue-Red trip today.

All photos by Marc MacDonald.

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

Congrats to Urvi for finishing the two day 150 mile Tour de Cure over the weekend.

Monday, July 7, 2014

"There is Now a 3rd Ferry Involved": Fourth of July Weekend on Long Island (7/4-7/6/14)

Jeremy and Dan - the grooms

In the summer of 2007 we were driving from Zurich to Munich.  We intentionally took the long way to go through Basel and Freiburg.  Then we drove a bit through the Black Forest, only to then unintentionally take the longer way.  Virtually lost in Baden-Wurttemburg, with our only direction being the soft melodic German voice of the GPS, the five of us: Andrew, Gabe, Jason, Thomas and I had no choice but to keep following the GPS as the signs kept directing us back toward Switzerland.  Then in Konstantz, the road ran out and there was a sign: Willkommen auf der Fähre. 

Grant, who had been patiently waiting for us in our hostel in Munich, texts, “where are you?”

Andrew had nothing to respond but: “There is now a ferry involved.” 

Since then, that has been our response to every ferry ride.

As Urvi and I boarded the Long Island-New London Ferry on Sunday, I sent a third text to Jason, Grant and Andrew to continue an old joke: “There is now a 3rd ferry involved.”

Jason: “That’s 2 too many ferries”

Andrew: “Jesus. That’s a lot of ferries!”

Grant: “But seriously where are you?”

It is a lot of ferries, but if one looked at the map and considered driving from Orient Point to Amagansett without the two Shelter Island ferries, they’d conclude it wasn’t two too many.

“Rock Me Like a Hurricane.” (7/4/14)

As we drove through the night roads of Bayern after the Meersburg ferry, the song of the trip became “Winds of Change.”  Twice the song came on during that ride: once in English and once in Italian.  As soon as I hear the whistle – or the balalaika singing what my guitar wants to sing* – I am carried back onto those dark roads and the Radler we drank on the ferry.

Thomas, Gabe, Jason, Andrew and I on the Konstanz - Meerburg Ferry, 2007
If there was to be a Scorpions’ song of the trip this year, it would be “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”  No the song didn’t come up during the trip, but Urvi and I drove down on Friday into the squalls and squirms on the edges of Hurricane Arthur’s Excalibur. (“I mean, if I went 'round saying I was an emperor, just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!”) 

Waiting in Line at the New London - Long Island Ferry, 2014
After we got into Amagansett and met up with our housemates – Bex, Katy, Liam, Max and Butterballs – we went to the pre-wedding party and lobster bake to catch up with friends and watch Brasil “roll their way into the semis.” 

Springs – Amagansett Trail (7/5/14)

Springs Amagansett Trailhead - Springs

I love to go on new runs when I’m in a different place or city.   And I like to do it as a bit of sightseeing if possible, like Golden Gate Park, the Tiber River or Central Park… So, on Long Island, I found a great little trail through some county and state land.  On my 10 mile run along the Springs-Amagansett trail, I saw countless birds and squirrels.  But also I had three deer sightings.  But in an odd way – like The Village – I saw no humans except for when I left the trail and found streets.

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRun

Congrats! Dan & Jeremy (7/5/14)
Urvi in her lovely dress and I

Robert, Dan and Max

Dan & Jeremy exchanging vows

Exchanging rings

Dinner on the lawn

A Fitzgerald-esque setting

Homewardbound (7/6/14)

On the ferry home with a Mystic Bridge IPA

Urvi enjoys the ride

Lighthouse off Orient Point

New London

* - And in one of my favorite misheard lyrics, Gabe asks: “Why are they going to Donkey Park?”

One from the Vault
That time Jason met a bear in Freiburg, Germany, 2007
What bear?