DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,


In every summer in this part of the world there is always this one stretch of truly glorious days, days with bright sun yet moderate temperatures, little humidity, a nice breeze, and cool, comfortable nights. It always seems as though those stretches come during the work week when one can't really enjoy them as much as one would like, but this year it hit smack dab on the weekend. Friday was gorgeous, as was Saturday, and today. Tomorrow will be a little warmer with some rain later.

To celebrate this good fortune, I cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, painted some trim I'll need for when I replace the porch lights, and did a little laundry. Oh, and I rode my bike. Saturday I went out at mid-morning and did 16 miles on the bike path. Turned out I wasn't the only one with this idea, and there was a plethora of speed bumps. Lots of strollers, both the baby buggy kind and the elderly couple kind, and it was worse than usual, because most were staring at the sky, gawking at the paratroopers.

Did I mention the paratroopers? The RI-NG was holding it's annual Leapfest at URI, and the drop zone was a few hundred yards from the path. I will admit to sneaking a look myself, but mostly I was too busy watching out for the clueless down at my altitude. There was one particularly moronic roller blader I saw cruising down a grade as I was chugging up it, and at a distance she looked peculiar. Then I realized that what was odd was that she wasn't using both arms to maintain her balance as most bladers do. The reason she wasn't using both arms was because she was using one to press a cell phone to her ear. Bozhe moi. Twenty minutes later, I passed her again coming the other way, and she was still talking. Later I passed her yet again, but by this time she was sitting at one of the benches on the side of the path, still with the phone glued to her ear, but at least not endangering herself or anyone else.

Anyway, when I finished the ride, I sat in the parking lot awhile, and watched competitors from all over the world throw themselves out the back of helicopters. I gotta admit, it takes a special kind of lunatic to play a game of darts by throwing oneself from a perfectly serviceable aircraft at a target a thousand feet or more below. For years they held this event over at Schartner Farms, the farm stand about half a mile from my house where I buy my tomatoes and pies. I used to sit out on the picnic table at my old apartment and watch them, but it got to be too big an event, and the area around Schartner's got too busy, and was a bit too built up. The last time they held it there, it was a gusty day, and a couple of competitors were injured when they got blown into some power lines. So they moved it to the even more open spaces near URI.

It was diverting the first few times. One of the three or four big Chinooks would circle into position just east of Kingston Station, and four figures would plummet out the back of the big chopper. Unlike WKRP turkeys, though, olive drab parachutes sprouted almost immediately over each as the copter flew off trailing the static lines used to yank the chutes out. This is fascinating for about five minutes. The main problems were that I was half a mile from the landing zone, so I had no idea if the jumps were any good, and the static line sort of removes the suspense of whether the plummeter will actually pull the ripcord. And they only go in teams of four, so not even all that impressive compared to if it had been an actual invasion of West Kingston. Maybe if they'd had different colored parachutes or something. I went home.

I was back on the path this evening, and did thirteen miles, this time going on down through Peace Dale and on into Wakefield, rather than just doing a couple of laps of the Kingston part of the path. I don't ride that part of the path much because of the stupid fish ladder (like the ramps you go up and down in big ballparks) you have to traverse to get to Peace Dale proper. (I skipped going up the ramp on the way back, choosing to brave Rt. 108 instead.)

I saw one really neat thing as I cruised along the path into Wakefield. A couple of little girls had set up a lemonade stand on the path, a brilliant idea, if you think about it. I complimented them on their brilliance, but I didn't have any money, so no lemonade for me. The coolest thing about the whole setup was that whoever built the stand made it an exact duplicate of Lucy Van Pelt's psychiatry stand.

Plus, the Dodgers swept the Giants, so all in all, a good weekend.
Tags: aviation, biking, geekianna

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