As planned, I did drive up to Massamachusetts yesterday to try out the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway. It's been a year since the last time I drove up in the general direction of Boston, and driving on Rt. 128 is something I really don't miss at all. Parked in a lot in the center of Lexington right on the path, and headed off in the direction of Cambridge.
It's about seven miles to Alewife from Lexington, and it turns out all most all of that is downhill. I'd sort of expected that, given that Cambridge is a lot closer to the coast and sea level than Lexington. I suppose it makes the morning commute a fairly easy one. Tough going home at night, though. Still, the grade isn't steep, so it's not that bad a climb, just long. The Arlington part of the path is a lot like the Cranston path, although with fewer auto salvage yards. The path goes on hiatus at Arlington Center, and it took me a couple of minutes to figure out where the frell I was supposed to go to find the rest of the path. Man, there's nothing like riding a bike along Mass. Ave. But find the path I did, and the rest of the trip to Alewife was uneventful. Then I turned around, and headed back up the hill.
When I got back to Lexington and kept going on towards the Bedford end of the path, I hit something unexpected. The path started heading downhill again. In fact the grade was steeper heading north than it had been going south. There was another annoying thing as well. All of a sudden there were clutches of people everywhere blocking the path. Didn't these people have jobs? Then it dawned on me that they did have jobs. They worked in all the office parks along this part of the path, and it was lunch time. Finally got to the end of the path on Bedford, then turned around for the climb back to Lexington. Still not all that bad, but I was running out of gas by the time I got back to the truck. I did take some pictures, which are here.
After the ride, I stopped in at Harris Cyclery, but sadly there were no Sheldon Brown sightings. Then I cut up to Rt. 20 and headed over to Marlborough. US 20 between 128 and 495 is a neat little road. Very pretty in spots, with neat things to look at, including Kirkside, an old This Old House project.
I went to Marlborough to visit a great hobby shop, one I hadn't managed to get to in a very long time. The good news is that it was even better than I remembered. The better news is that there's now a Price Chopper in the same shopping center. Yes, I get excited over supermarkets. I like Price Chopper because they sell raspberry jelly. Not jam; not preserves; jelly. It's my favorite kind of jelly, and as near as I can tell, PC is the only chain in the northeast that still sells it. I know. I'm weird like that. There are foods that I like that none of the local chains carry. Things like Ralston and Taylor Ham. (Side note—my local Stop & Shop just discontinued carrying Ronzoni pasta, which just boggles me.) So when I'm out on the road and see a different chain of markets, I check it out to see if they carry any of my faves. I discovered Price Chopper had the jelly while on a trip to Saratoga.
Giddy at having not only restocked my supply of raspberry jelly, but also being able to buy a loaf of Nissen Canadian Oatmeal bread (another favorite discontinued by not just one, but all of my local markets), I then made an error in judgment. Rather than hop on 495 for the trip home, I kept going on 20, knowing that I would eventually get to 146, which seemed the easier way to go. US 20 between 495 and 146 is not a pleasant road, although I did notice a Big Y supermarket, another market not found in Rho Disland. Maybe another time.
When I got home I realized that I'd listened to the same mix CD four times on the trip. The CD is 80 minutes long, so I was driving around for more than five hours. Yikes! New guidelines, I think. No more driving to bike paths where the trip to the path takes longer than the ride itself.
Spent this morning installing new hardware in my computer. My old DVD burner died. It won't even read disks. Tried cleaning the lens, but no joy, so I bought a new one on sale at CompUSA. $69, about half what I paid for the older, less capable one it replaced. So it goes. I also installed an internal card reader, which caused me some angst. I didn't read the fine print, so I thought it was designed for a 5¼" bay. I have a couple of those free on the machine, but it turned out it's for a 3½" bay. I only have one of those, and there's a floppy drive in it. Well, not anymore. Sign of the times I guess, but it's weird not having one. I still have a lot of old games on floppy, but I also have spare machines with floppy drives that I can attach to the network should the need arise. Now that I've got a camera that stores images as 14MB RAW files, the reader is far faster than just connecting the camera to a USB port. I also picked up an external 500 GB drive for cheap, bringing total storage on the machine to just under 1.5 TB. Whoot! In addition to installs, I also cleaned out all the lurking dust bunnies in the machine, and neatened up the cable web.
I spent the afternoon shuffling overhead light fixtures, but I haven't finished yet, so that's a tale for tomorrow night.