Posted by: David | June 22, 2008

Summer Solstice

Summer is officially here now. Unfortunately, now the daylength begins to shrink toward the next solstice in December. It was a beautiful day. We had our customary weekend breakfast early and I got out on the road by 8:30. My wife went to our daughter’s apartment. I figured I’d make that one of my ride’s destinations. I was back home by 3:30. It ended up being the longest ride so far this season- 75 miles. I would list the route but that would be a crashing bore. Just the highlights … as always, my eyes stray to the roadside for interesting objects … You may not know this, but when I post these ride pix, I compulsively place them in the order in which they were taken. Big deal, huh?

IMG 2281
Unusual roadside detritus. First and only time I’ve ever seen a musical instrument (pennywhistle) on the roadside.

Not too much further up Route 103 I came upon a mysterious (and amusing) home-built shrine. There’s a decent little cairn. There are 6 painted disks of cast concrete. One looks rather devilish. But there’s also an angel statue. It might take archaeologists years to figure out this site. Usually such sites also have a plastic trash barrel overflowing with Old Milwaukee empties. While stopping to take the photo, I hoped that no angry natives in loin cloths would come running out of the house or garage to yell at me for stealing their souls with my camera. None did. Phew!

IMG 2285
Looks like a little Easter Island in Newbury, New Hampshire.

On my way through New London a couple of other bikers passed me though I’m not sure why. As they were pedalling ahead of me I caught up with them riding at my normal speed (about 13mph). Usually cyclists that pass are the younger stronger fitter types that ride in the 20+mph speed range. I chatted them up … where’d you start from? where you going? wow nice bike, etc. They were nice guys, roughly my age, and one had a fresh injury on his elbow. They revealed that they’d had nearly simultaneous mishaps at a drink stop earlier in their ride, and thus decided to call that place “Doofus Corner”. This turned out to be foreshadowing. Their ride ended in New London.

Continuing on, I stopped and visited at my daughter’s place for a few minutes, sampled a piece of cranberry Amish Friendship Cake (a current fad circulating in ziplog bags hereabouts), visited the bathroom (which was spotless!), refilled my Camelback with water, and was on the road again, continuing to Salisbury, then Webster.

IMG 2290
Saw this awesome restored Mercury in Salisbury.

I made a big loop through Contoocook and Henniker. Stopped at the covered bridge for a drink, a rest, a tube of Gu Energy Gel. It was there that I realized that Propel Fitness Water sucks. So does Vitamin Water. It’s either Gatorade or plain old H2O. There I was about 60 miles along and somewhat tired. As I mounted my bike and started to pedal I lost my balance and flopped over. I scraped my left forearm and elbow, but no bleeding, luckily. This was foreshadowed earlier. Sim sa la bim. Don’t know what that means. How ’bout I say “wa la” instead?

At mile 72, I am happy to report, I saw that the Route 114 cairn had been restored! O happy day!

IMG 2294
The cairn is rebuilt on the adjacent piece of ledge.

It’s quite an impressive structure in this incarnation. I’m attributing it to the same builder, though I have no way of knowing for sure. When Oliver and I surveyed the site a few weeks ago, I looked around in the woods for stones that might be used to rebuild and didn’t really see any. So cairn builder either dug them up or brought them to the site. You gotta love the way those top 2 rocks balance on that really long 3rd rock. Thanks cairn builder! Outstanding work! And happy summer solstice to all!



  1. I can’t believe you biked 75 miles, that’s so impressive! 🙂 And oh how I love your bike-riding descriptions, i.e. “I hoped that no angry natives in loin cloths would come running out of the house or garage to yell at me for stealing their souls with my camera”……hahaha…keep up with the biking diary throughout the summer please! 🙂

    Thanks Romi for the encouragement. Those biking photos are the backbone of my silly little blog, for most of the year anyway. I hope to work up to riding a “century” this summer. That’s 100 miles in a day. And at my speed it takes all day. 🙂

  2. OOoOOh! I love that cairn!!

    Me too! Yay cairn builder! Thank you!

  3. LOVELY! I must say, that I now think of you whenever I’m driving past bikers, and I always give a little wave so they don’t feel like all those blasted cars are irritated with them. My bro just completed the 460 mile Bike-Across-Kansas and somehow didn’t have to ride during any thunderstorm.

    Oh, I heard ‘and Bob’s your uncle’ the other day on the radio! I was floored. Gave me quite the chuckle.

    Thank you C. That was a very sweet comment! If you’re ever driving around the Sunapee region of New Hampshire, I’m usually wearing yellow. Yay Bro on the BAK. (they have a great website too) 🙂

    The Brits have some really wonderful slang expressions. A professor at my school spent a sabbatical year in England and came back with a fine list of these. It was a while ago and I don’t remember many, but when you’re having a bad hair day, they would say that “you look like you’ve been pulled through a hedge backward”! Ouch!

  4. When you say “shrine”, do you mean a holy site? Of what religion? In the background there is something like a little house. One of those disks is painted; there is a face similar to an internet “smiley”, and the other disks seem to be empty. Are these disks the size of a soup plate? Is this what they mean when they say that they do not like “organized religion”?

    I went to see the widgets yesterday. Surprise : Oliver’s widget had again an “edit” button and so I could change its title.

    Funny you should ask about this. Only because I used Blogdesk for this post (I’ve been using it a lot lately, so thanks again for letting me know about it 🙂 ) and for some reason these photos didn’t post as links. This means that they cannot be clicked on for a larger view. A larger view might have helped with viewing this shrine, by which I mean a meaningful arrangement of artifacts rather than a particularly religious one. The disks are about half a meter in diameter, some are painted, there are some little cows to the right, an angel in the back, and wind chimes. It’s a lousy picture. I’m sorry. Maybe I’ll get a better one on some later ride.

    I see that you fixed the widget on your blog. It looks nice. I really like your new banner too. I want to comment on your fascination with bridges again but don’t know what to say …

  5. I see you posted in bicycling, culture, flora. I think it should be biking, flowers, gardening, farming.

    Flowers ! Your readers are are women! “Flora” is a kind of margarine. And “culture” = ? Might as well add the holy ghost.

    Cantueso, you want to know something? It took vermonter and I quite a while to figure out that you were a woman. You’re right most of my readers are female. I don’t really know what this means. IRL I seem to have more female friends than male.

    Flora is used in the sense of plant life. I like that word. We don’t have that margarine in the USA. We have margarines with truly idiotic names like “Promise” or “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter“. We don’t use margarine. Only butter.

  6. I so want a statue for my Oasis. I found one at Design Toscano of King Arthur. It’s four feet tall but I have to save up for him. I’m so happy someone rebuilt the Cairn. I hope no one takes it down again. I can’t believe you can bicycle that distance. That’s amazing. You must be in great shape.

    King Arthur, the flour guy? What a hoot! I hope he’s not too expensive. I hope you’ll share a picture of him installed in the Oasis!

    I’m glad the cairn makes you happy too. That way I don’t have to feel so silly all by myself.

    I am in pretty good shape, but it’s like drugs, you get addicted and can’t stop or you start to get crabby and sore. Cycling was such a good match for me, and nostalgic too. 🙂

  7. Pennywhistle my ass. It looks more like a gemshorn to me. I can’t believe you didn’t bring it home and sanitize it, then sit in your yard playing it to welcome the summer solstice, a little something from the Middle Ages. I am so disappointed in you. 😦

    Well believe it Wendy! And if that looks like a gemshorn to you, then it’s time for some new spectacles. I suggest the 3X readers.

    What, you think I’m some kinda hippie?

    And I’m sorry to disappoint, but hey that’s the one thing I’m really really good at!

  8. “Cantueso” means “lavender”. From Moonbeam I found out that on Google “cantueso” is listed first of all as an alcoholic drink made of some lavender plant here. I realized that many people thought I was a man and I did not like the idea, so I put the picture of Alba in my sidebar to signify that I was.

    I can nearly always tell a man from a woman by the style. I have an American friend here (mentioned before) that can tell male from female in a drawing or a painting at a glance with a 99% accuracy. We tested this many times at local painting contests, of which there are many.

    I thought it was obvious that I am a woman. I like flowers, knitting, cooking, clothes, shoes, trashy music, trashy places, even trashy shows and magazines, and I am only choosy about things made of words.

  9. Here I am back again. You said somewhere that you liked my “new header”. My old header disappeared. I spent some time cleaning up my “media library” and accidentally threw out my header. I put in the template header which I also like, except for that butterfly, which is “a tad” (says the Vermonter, but you too) too conspicuous. I hope to get my former header back again soon, because, though this one is nice, it is a tad too New Age idea of nature.

    As to your explanations of “the shrine” : but what is the point of the collection? Is it an exhibit of some sort? The way the soup plates stand around the grass reminded me of those porcelain dwarfs
    that were formerly used to decorate gardens.

    I would bet it belongs to a lady.

    And welcome, my most frequent and thoughtful commenter! Why clean up the media library? Running out of space? It seems impossible with the 3G that WordPress gives unless you’re not in the habit of compressing your image files.

    Anyway I bet you’re right about the shrine belonging to a woman. I will photograph it again, and in so doing maybe I’ll get to see or talk to the creator(s). It’s a garden type decoration as you allude, and the purpose of that is, um, well … I don’t know. My calling it a shrine is pure sarcasm. 🙂

  10. Back again!
    Could you tell me again where the Vermonter has her new blog?

    I googled for “Vermonter wordpress” and got “The Gay Recluse”, but it seemed different from what I saw some two weeks ago, when however I was in the tax paper deluge and drowning.. Yet I believe I thought at the time that her blog’s name was a tad difficult to remember (like yours, which is a real howler in that regard).

    Vermonter’s newer blog is called This Day As-Is and it’s in my blogroll. I really like her tag line: Go on about your business; don’t mind me.

    I don’t need to explain my “howler” of a blog title to you, do I? I don’t know how you ever found it in the first place, but I’m glad that you did. 🙂

  11. Hello…I came your way via Eclectically. What a fun idea. I should do this on one of my bike rides, though I usually don’t ride more than 30 miles so I would have far fewer details to chronicle.

    Maybe I could take pictures of the dogs who chase me. Maybe not.

    When I was riding my bike on a beach vacation a few weeks ago, a jogger passed me. I blame the 30mph+ winds. Surely they affect bicyclers differently than they affect joggers. That’s what I’m telling myself.

    Anyway, thanks for the fun pictures 🙂

    Hi Allison, thanks for your comment! Coming here via Eclectically is way cool!

    I started carrying the little snapshot digicam on bike rides a year or so ago (along with a ziploc freezer bag to put it in if it starts to rain). Action shots are pretty cool, but not worth the risk. The disadvantage is that the camera makes me dismount more often than I would if I wasn’t trying to gather images to post.

    And yes, the jogger has the leverage advantage over the cyclist heading into the wind. The cyclist’s momentum is geared down, while the jogger’s momentum is not. So there’s some physics behind what you’re telling yourself. I guess. I’m not a physicist, and I don’t even play one on TV. 😀

  12. I think I saw you at moonbeam’s.

    OK. I saw you too. It’s good there, isn’t it?

  13. […] like it (not to mention the cardio benefits).  I was inspired by Dave’s (at Thoughts-O-Dave) pictorial bike tour to document my own bike travels (in the order the pics were taken, of […]

  14. About trying to clean up the data library:

    I know there is immense space. I still have 99.8% free. But it is the same with every computerized data base where the new stuff tends to bury the old stuff. And I would like to prevent that.

    I would like to prevent that too. But the new stuff seems to really WANT to bury the old stuff. It’s probably the only way it can appear to be new in the first place. Soon, it knows, it will be old stuff too.

  15. And as to the howling blog title : it is enigmatic. Now that is something that can safely be said of it.

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