Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cheap Cigars

I really would prefer Onyx Reserves, but the world being what it is - unfair and pay as you go, I don't often smoke them. The maduro torpedoes I smoke don't have a fancy embossed paper ring, no one is claiming them. Actually they are are La Tabaquerias (which I think means something generic like "the tobacco dealer"). Whoever rolls them they are pretty decent Dominicans, hand rolled out of decent whole leaf, they taste okay, stay rolled tight, burn even and stay lit. So why this posting? The other day one of them was burning strange, the ash was really long and firm, like there was a stick in it. I grabbed a needle-nose pliers and pulled out the "stick". The 3" bobby pin in the photo was at the core of that aberrant stogie. A free prize!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Trip Around the 'Boro

First, the horse I rode in on. Though reasonably lightweight, it is made of steel. It only has five speeds. It doesn't have drop bars and the shift lever is up on the stem where it belongs.  "We" don't want to bend over any more than is necessary. This is clearly a 70 year-old man's bicycle.

I finally broke down and bought a bag rack. The bag has been on my shelf for five years, originally purchased for another bike whose rider didn't like the rando look nor function. I have added interior padding to protect my Nikon Coolpix P600 camera. The rack is a Nitto made to Compass Bicycle specs. Small and neat. Because the Paul brake adjustment nuts move the typical bottom mounts forward I had to put a couple of spacers on the fork crown and mount the rack like a recessed brake. The bag attaches to the rack with a wingbolt into a rinko nut on the underside of the bag. (If you have ever had a rack and bag you probably understand all this. Or care.) The elegant bike stand and the wire toe clips were also made by Nitto and sourced from Compass.

Not so visible are the Paul fingerpull brake levers mounted backwards. This might seem like an odd setup, but over the years arthritis has stolen the strength from my fingers and this allows me to clamp the levers with my thumbs which seem to have more strength. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but I have to negotiate about six blocks of steep downhill every time I fly down Church Hill. It works for me.

Polished chrome cable housing. Wouldn't be right on every bike - probably most, but looks sharp on this one.

Trail pictures, first west to the Isinour turn off, then back through Lanesboro and east to the Whalan pie shop. Eventually back to the 'Boro and up Church Hill for a Fulton Expat.

The dam: 20' x 200', made in the 1870 from 2' x2' blocks of limestone held together by gravity, tension and  iron pins. It has furnished the village with hydro-electric power for almost 150 years.

An aside: In 1885 the Phoenix Hotel burned to the ground. It was a very large building - a square city block, three stories high of cut limestone quarried across the Root River. When the Phoenix burned (as did many of the original buildings) it left a hell-of-a pile of rocks. A lot of the village downtown was reborn and grew out of that Phoenix fire. This is the Old Town Hall - pieces of Phoenix rocks patched and pieced together as required. At one time it housed the fire wagon, the jail, the village offices and the meeting hall. The pull-chain on the side will still ring the fire bell in the tower, just to let the whole village know that someone has had one drink too many.

Now it is the local restaurant of our choice. We ate out on the patio last Thursday. While we were there an unshaven, bedraggled, rough-edged fellow approached our table carrying a large bag. The couple at the next table looked concerned. Opening the bag in my face, "Here, smell'em!" I did. It was John, the owner - fresh from a day of gathering ginseng and mushrooms. Knowing how I feel about mushrooms, he was proud and beaming; his bag filled with freshly gathered sulfur shelf mushrooms, the "chicken of the woods". Lorna and I ate a portion of our free fungi allotment this morning in an omelet. Thank you, John.

Window bars held over from the old jail. It is ALWAYS a good sign when your restaurant has a herb garden outside the back-alley door - not a pretty garden, not a show garden, just a functional garden.

Okay, back on the trail to pie. The Root River Trial follows the .... Root River.

What can you say about the Whalan pie shop? I dunno, they are homemade pies, the filling are made from fresh fruit and the crust is made from the fat of dead pigs. Those hogs did not die in vain. Possibly the best pie in the world, ... that's what you can say.

The back alley up to Church Hill. Some of the alleys of Lanesboro are lined with flowers. Our alley is lined with weeds, tumbled down garages and rusted pickup trucks. It is not a lane, it's an alley.

Back home on the crest of Church Hill - the view from the deck and a Fulton Expat in hand. There have been some complaints about my blog production and quality. I believe this posting explains it all.

Life philosophy on the back of a bottle.

 Live every day as if it is your last. We never know. -Gunnar