Wednesday, August 27

Slower and Faster Sights

Seagulls Trust People Walking a Lot More Than Those Cycling
I’ve often heard people, when writing about their cycling, exclaim over the things they experience that you simply miss when motoring about. That’s true, though I hear far less talk about the things you miss when you are either going slower (as in walking) or faster (yes, as in motoring about). 
Somehow, I'd Have Missed this Mushroom on a Bike
Back in Ocean Shores, I find myself going for walks much more frequently than I used to do in North Texas. In North Texas, when it is hot, cycling represents a good balance between cooling air and effort that you simply do not get when walking except in the early morning or in the evening. That is not the case in Ocean Shores where a “hot” day has a high temperature of around 70F in the dog days of August. When walking, you see a lot more flora and fauna about. Seagulls, for example, tend to take flight as a bicycle comes near. Similarly, you simply don’t go where mushrooms abound and don’t often notice them when you do. My OS house may have one of the lowest walkability scores I've ever seen, but walking is VERY enjoyable around here. By contrast, the particular locale in the photo below has a "practically perfect" walkability score." Go figure.

This Will NEVER be "Bike Friendly!"
On the other hand, some experiences are pretty much out of reach for those not motoring. “26 miles of driving beach” that is accessible from Long Beach, Washington, is one of those. For those not from Washington, beaches there are considered State Highways and driving them is a common activity. Who says that recreational travel is limited to cyclists? A 26-mile beach is a LONG way to attempt to travel by either bike or by foot. And, of course, motoring about can include watercraft. On such, you see an entirely different view than you would when travelling by ANY sort of shore-based mode.
I'm Not Sure I'd Consider Tubing a Form of Transport
I Also Don't Think the OSRR Had Transport in Mind...

Wednesday, August 20

Caw Caw

Crow in Ocean Shores
Washington State truly IS different than North Texas. You see, North Texas has few crows. Instead, it has grackles. Grackles look vaguely like crows (they are NOT closely related), except they congregate in larger numbers and have longer tail feathers. Both are black. Washington has, on the other hand, LOTS of crows and no grackles at all as far as I know.

Crow PAIR in Ocean Shores
Crow Surveys its Domain

Lately, I’ve been noticing crows and grackles a lot more than formerly. The notice occurs partly because I’ve seen some good books and a DVD on crows. The first book I was exposed to was “Crow Planet.” It’s a good overview on crows and how they interact with humans. Perhaps even better for a “first exposure” to crow society is the DVD “A Murder of Crows.”
For those that already have gotten past initial crow interest, two other books are “Gifts of the Crow” and “In the Company of Crows and Ravens.”
Perhaps significantly, the Colleyville TX library has no books on crows. The smaller Ocean Shores WA library has two books on crows AND the DVD. Personally, I like crows a LOT better than grackles. They simply seem a lot more personable. YOUR mileage may vary.

FYI, the Amazon links are purely for convenience. Amazon doesn’t pay me to hype their site and I didn’t go to same for any of the four references.

Did Crows Snatch this Mailbox's Eye?

Monday, August 18

Two Steps Forward and One Back

Toto, I Think We're in Kansas! Jaguar en Route from Texas
It seems things go “two steps forward and one step back.” Such has been the case in Ocean Shores lately. We recently drove up from Texas with one of the Jaguars in tow. Step forward.
I’ve also been riding more each week than I was able to do in the previous five months. It doesn’t even hurt very much. Second step forward.
Coming Home. The Jaguar Offloads from the Trailer
A new restaurant opened up this week in a location formerly occupied by an EXCELLENT taco stand. They went to the trouble of taking OUT a bike rack that didn’t impinge on motorist parking at all. Luckily, I'm not sure I would have been likely to become a patron even had they left the bike rack unmolested. Stay tuned for a future inquiry. What’s more, the Ocean Shores Farmer Market has been relocated from its attractive location at the library to the far end of a giant gravel parking lot. Apparently the motoring public wasn’t happy with the amount of parking. Myself, my enthusiasm for the local farmer market is lessened when I have to ride past the local IGA and across a giant gravel parking lot to pay quite a bit more for produce than I did last year. One step back…

Despite the Loss of a Bike Rack, Many People Cycled to the Ocean Shores "Woofathon" Last Weekend

Thursday, July 10

Bike Parking at DFW Airport

It is Illegal to Ride Your Bike DIRECTLY to the Terminal - UNLESS You are Strong and Very Fast! From Google Maps
It Doesn't Help that All Exits are Off the Left Side of the Road
Since airlines have us travelling lighter recently by means of charging us to bring along "excess" luggage, bicycles and/or transit have become a possibility for those of us that travel by air. The TRE commuter rail comes fairly close to the airport from those living in either Fort Worth or Dallas. Just make sure you don't travel on a Sunday since the TRE takes Sundays off. If you are coming from Dallas and points east, there IS a DART bus (Route 408) that runs to the Remote South parking lot. Soon, there'll be light rail that you MAY be able to bring your bike on. We'll know after it starts up - partly it'll depend on where you get dropped off and what security decides.

TRE Centreport Has a Shuttle to Remote South. Remote South is as Close to the Terminal as You Can Get With a Bike
What's more, despite complete ignoring of bikes by DFW Airport and places that COULD provide low cost, secure bike parking, people DO ride their bikes to the airport. I suspect these are mostly people that work at the airport, though some of the bikes are a lot nicer than I'd want to leave at an airport remote lot. Definitely Remote South is where most cyclists park. They park at the "official parking lot fence for bikes since we don't really think about people that come here by bike" place.

Bicycle Parking Facilities at DFW Airport - Remote South
You'll Note the Motorcycle Parks Inside the Fence With the Other Motorists

Remote South Bike Parking Looking North Toward the Airport
What would I recommend for LONG TERM bike parking? Well, if I had to do it, I'd park at Bell Helicopter (a known, fairly secure place for bikes to park) or at another secure location within walking distance of the TRE (either Hurst Station or Centreport). Then I'd take the TRE and the shuttle in to the terminal. If I were just going for the day, I'd lock up at Remote South and take that shuttle in. Neither DART option would help me at all since DART only works for those coming from Dallas County, "Where the East Begins!"

If I were going to do it more frequently, I'd see if I couldn't cut a deal with one of the nearby hotels. Keep in mind that it only costs $25 for me to get from home to the DFW Airport by taxi.

Friday, July 4

When You Can't Ride

Well, continuing on my quest of getting in one piece before the end of October, I've begun to walk. I seem to have picked up an enthusiastic companion who's now double the size he was in the picture below.

Initial experiments with a bike trailer have been mixed so far...