Riding Indiana 2015: A Tour de Corn Vacation

Henry-County-Corn-Rows

Not the Tour de Corn ride that’s an annual Missouri event – this Tour de Corn is my own annual vacation activity in East Central Indiana.  Every year my family drives up to Indiana for a visit at the farm and, since 2012, I’ve been taking a bike and riding around the local farmland on chipseal backcountry roads and, lately as the economy has continued to worsen, on roads unpaved that were formerly paved. 

Here are my previous posts about riding through Indiana’s corn and soybean country.  Ordinarily, once I get back to Stepford, I spend a lot of time writing up Indiana ride reports, illustrating them with pictures.  This year, I think I’ll spend only a little time writing a brief narrative framework for the illustrations.  If you click on an image posted here, you’ll be shown a (usually) bigger version of the picture in its own page.

Bike Choice

Because the weather projected for our nine days stay was a good chance of rain every day, and because I remembered how the Miyata, shod with Gatorskins, was not best suited for unpaved and formerly paved surfaces encountered last year, this year I took the Jamis Supernova rain-and-rough-bike with its recently installed Clement X’Plor USH tires

Speaking of the X’Plor USH tires, the people at Clement never did respond to my email about inverted tread patterning.

This year, I noticed I was not taking pictures of things that formerly interested me on previous cycling jaunts.  Some of the novelty of riding through miles and miles of farmland, as well as upon a dedicated Rails to Trails Greenway, has worn off.  This year, in several Indiana counties, gigantic windmills are turning, and I observed them across the state, during my visit.  Their construction was last year responsible for the poor state of some of the farm roads, but it appears that compensation to municipalities for the repair of roads may have been diverted to other uses.  As I said, the worsening economy in the United States has a real effect at ground-level.

Greenway 500 Bike Shop

On the day I rode to Prairie Creek Reservoir, I stopped by Greenway 500 bike shop, near the Medford trailhead of the Cardinal Greenway Trail, to see if Mike had time to diagnose and correct a problem with the Supernova’s Ultegra front derailleur.  Turns out it got a bit bent one of the times I crashed the bike.  While I was there, shop discussion centered on the bad effect large, online retailers have on local bike shops – difficulty selling new bikes, difficulty competing with accessory and garment prices.  One of the other customers in the shop that day talked about a friend who makes a living writing reviews and who receives, as additional benefits, all-expenses-paid travel to annual events showcasing new products, bikes, etc.  The consensus seemed to be that in order to continue writing reviews in exchange for money and products (which the reviewers may get to keep and sell), the reviewer’s likely to turn out little more useful than positive ad-copy.

I don’t feel badly about buying from Nashbar/Performance, Bike Tires Direct, Jenson USA, Amazon, etc., because I don’t have a local bike shop at Stepford.  On the other hand, while riding in the Greater Muncie area, out of deference for the several bike shops in the area, but especially Mike’s, I mostly refrained from wearing my BTD jersey.

Where’d I Go?

This year, I didn’t ride into Muncie for lunch at Chic-Fil-A; I thought it would be a good idea to avoid any Obama-inspired interracial strife in that depressed, formerly industrial, urban locality.  Anyway, I wanted to ride through areas that were new to me, as opposed to repeating what I’d done in prior years.  That said, as far as I know, there were no Obama Race Riots during June/July at Muncie.

I think I rode eight of the nine days we stayed at the farm logging about 239 miles, according to Magellan Cyclo 505.  That works out to just under 30 miles per day.  A lot of riding, for me, not so much for a serious cyclist.  Of course, some days my rides were much longer, and others much shorter.  I rode MKS Lambda pedals wearing 5-10 “Canvas Guide Tennies”, and wore my usual motley collection of lycra cycling attire.  One day the temperature was sufficiently cool that I rode wearing my orange merino wool Kucharik long-sleeve jersey with bib-shorts, and was quite comfortable.  My other Kucharik garment was a “sublimated” bib-short I’d got on sale last year – a satisfactory purchase that compares favorably to the Sugoi bib-shorts I bought back in 2012.

Because temps most days were in the low to mid-seventies, I drank plain water on my rides.  Except the day I forgot my water bottles and realized it about three or four miles into the ride.  Then, I stopped and got bottles of Gatorade at a gas-station, filling one with water at lunch after I’d drunk the original contents. 

Farming Disaster

While the lower temperatures, overcast skies, and occasional rain were a treat for me, the wet conditions this season have been disastrous for many of Indiana’s farmers.  At the farm, there are about a hundred acres that could not be planted with soybeans as intended, as well as many ponded places in the beanfields that had only dried enough for planting while we were visiting.  The corn was mostly small and an unhealthy yellow-green in color.  The fields had been so wet that no side-dressing had been done when we arrived, and by the time we left, only a smaller percentage had been done.  In former times (1950’s ?) the adage had been, “Knee High by the Fourth of July.”  But corn that’s only knee high by the Fourth of July these days indicates the likelihood of a meagre harvest.  By July 4, the corn’s usually more than head-high and a healthy, dark green in color.

Animals

During my rides I saw numerous chipmunks, maybe three rabbits, several red-wing blackbirds, several large sparrow-looking birds, several bright-yellow finches, several cardinals, many geese, a woodpecker, a deer, a small herd of longhorn cattle, one small groundhog, dead possums, dead raccoons, dead field mice, and got chased by five dogs.

Snapshots

Although I took photos every day I rode, many are so similar that I’m only posting snapshots from a few rides.  Here are some of the pictures I took during the week, in rough order:

Summit Lake State Park

This year, thanks to the Magellan Cyclo 505, I was able to find the lake; I wasn’t even close, last year.  Many of the Henry County roads were unpaved, but reasonably well-maintained.  The Clement X’Plor USH tires handled these conditions very well – much better than the Gatorskins did last year while riding the Miyata 610.  Summit Lake State Park has camping areas, regularly scheduled activities, much less boat traffic than Prairie Creek Reservoir, and much more user-friendly beach area, as well as several well-maintained playgrounds.  Nicer, all around, than Prairie Creek Reservoir.

Henry-County-Sign-&-RoadTypical-Henry-County-RoadPuny-Henry-County-Corn

Found-Summit-Lake

Summit-LakeFlooded-State-Park-Road

Lakeside-Trail-1Lakeside-Trail-2Henry-County-Animal

Prairie Creek Reservoir

This year, I only rode out to Prairie Creek Reservoir one time.  I was disappointed not to find Cave Baby Smokers set up for the coming weekend’s triathlon, but my ride was pretty early in the week.  Muncie Sailing Club’s water was on, so I was able to refill one of my water bottles from their pavilion’s spigot.  This year, I noticed that mountain-bike and ATV trails have been opened up around the lake’s western shoreline; maybe I’ll ride them next year.  While at Greenway500 Bike Shop, I meant to buy a set of cleats for Shimano SPD pedals I haven’t tried out, yet.  Also, wanted to buy some cycling togs to replace my aging collection of same – and I like Greenway500 and Dirtway500 kits Mike’s got for sale.  Justifying the expense of new cycling clothes to Caution-Lady, however, was something I didn’t feel like tackling last week.

International-Harvester-BarnMuncie-Sailing-Club-SignSailing-Club-Lighthouse

Lake-Route-House

Richmond & Rain

Welcome-to-Richmond

This year I returned to Richmond for lunch at 5th Street Coffee & Bagels – a long ride and much of it on the Cardinal Greenway trail.  About three miles in to my ride, I realized I hadn’t brought my water bottles with me.  When I got to Losantville, I stopped at the gas station and bought a couple of 28 oz bottles of Gatorade Citrus Cooler and an egg, cheese, bacon, lettuce, onion, and tomato breakfast wrap.  That breakfast wrap was HUGE and highly recommended for a long ride.  The Gatorade bottles just fit, when I forced them, into the Supernova’s bottle cages.  They were too difficult to pull out and stow back to drink from while riding, not to mention the screw-to-tighten lids, so I drank pretty sparingly.  Had a fried egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion bagel sandwich at 5th Street Coffee & Bagels. 

Richmond-Coffee-&-Bagels

For this ride, I’d mapped a route at www.ridewithgps.com and exported it as a GPX Track (or some such type of file), then followed the Ride With GPS instructions for installing the file on the Magellan Cyclo 505.  Pretty easy and it worked fine until the last couple of blocks before getting to the coffee shop.  Then it routed me up and down a block here and a block there.  I followed the directions to see what it would do, then got bored with the activity and asked a neighborhood person for directions.  Her directions were accurate and I rode to the coffee shop and ordered lunch.  On the ride back, I got rained on a lot.  Once I accepted the annoyance as unavoidable I found it was not at all uncomfortable and rode without mishap or problem.  My Magellan Cyclo 505 unit, however, had a lot of trouble.  In the rain, it’s touch screen became ENTIRELY unresponsive, and that was an annoyance I was unable to accept.  I was only able to get it to work again after drying the screen with a piece of toilet paper from a trailhead outhouse.  After that, I left the stats screen alone.

Soybeans, corn, and wheat looked better in Wayne County than in the counties further north.

Some of the pictures I liked best from the Indiana trip were from the rainy segment of this ride – I couldn’t get the camera’s lens totally cleared of water drops, but was not able to see in the LCD screen how the water distorted the image.

Almost-to-RichmondGreenway-Bridge-View

Richmond-Greenway-Sculpture

Richmond-Trailhead-View-1Richmond-Trailhead-View-2

Wayne-County-CourthouseRichmond-Old-House-A

Richmond-Old-House-BRichmond-Old-House-C

Rain-Blurred-1Rein-Blurred-2

Rain-Blurred-3Rain-Blurred-4

SoybeansWayne-County-CornWheat-For-Harvest

Tree-TunnelTree-Tunnel-Other-Side

Winchester Ride

This year, instead of riding to Selma, Farmland, Muncie, and getting bad lost in Henry County, I rode out to Winchester, Indiana.  I’ve previously posted snapshots of the county seat’s interesting American Civil War memorial.  That time, I drove through Winchester after buying a canoe in Ohio.  Last week, however, I spent time riding around what turns out to be an attractive small city (about 5000 residents, I think).  I enjoyed riding through the older neighborhoods networked with rough paved alleys.  My approach to Winchester routed me along some of the worst formerly-paved and badly potholed-but-paved roads I’ve seen.  The Supernova with X’Plor USH tires more than compensated for the horrible condition of the roads, though. 

Civil-War-MemorialLet-it-RingCourthouse-Eaves

Tank-LeanMeridian-Street-HouseWestwood-House

Courthouse-SquareGreen-Building-SideStreet

Lost-FarmhouseLost Farmhouse Arial View

Patriot-BarnFarm-GateRibbon-of-Road

LonghornStrataWind-Farm

WindmillWindmill-18094Windmill's-Blades

 

Indiana Tour de Corn 2013

Panoramic-View

For the second year running, I took a bicycle with me on our annual trip to visit my wife’s family in rural Indiana.  I also piled paddling gear in the car, too, but the weather forecast indicated cooler temperatures and a good deal of rain which contraindicated much likelihood my wife would herself or would allow our boy to accompany me on a river float in the 17’ aluminum canoe named Caution-Lady.  Although I’m not certain my paddling days are over, I have spent a great many more pedaling since buying my first adult bike a couple of years ago.

This year, as I mentioned in the previous post, I have a much better grasp of the rural geography of the environs around my wife’s family home.  Additionally, this year, I have an Apple Iphone – one of the cheap 8 gig devices my wireless provider was giving away last winter to spur data-plan sales, but still way cooler than the flip-phone I’d had for seven or so years.  Even though Apple Maps don’t always work, they’d suffice to keep me from getting totally lost like I did last year.  In addition to the Iphone’s Apple Maps, I’ve got a paid app, Cyclemeter, that usefully tracks distance, speed, elevation, ascent, descent, calories burned, and has a pretty good map feature, all using the phone’s GPS.  Sure, it’s a spy in my seatbag, but if it makes me mad, I can destroy it by emptying a clip into it.  Practically speaking, however, I am not at present too freaked out about it.

Indiana by Counties

The Razesa had a flat the morning we left Stepford, so I took the Miyata, a bike I generally only ride in fair weather; in fact, I’ve pretty well named the bike Fairweather.  As noted elsewhere, the Miyata is a 610 touring model – a mid-range bike manufactured in 1981.  It has a complete Suntour grupo with stem-shift “Power Shifters” that have a ratcheting feel to them as they are used to index-shift.  All though Rivendell claims their downtube shift levers (which replaced the Simplex shifters on my Razesa) are better than the Suntour Power Shifters, that is mere sales puffing as the Rivendell product is inferior in terms of feel and accuracy. 

Although mostly original, the Miyata’s factory saddle was long since lost by the time I purchased the bike from Mike Carroll of Old Bikes Belong.  The day I bought the bike, Mike installed a Selle Italia saddle racing saddle I’d brought along, but it proved unsatisfactory and I quickly replaced it with a hideous red and black mountain-bike saddle.  Although strangely ugly, the newer saddle quickly became less visually disturbing because I noticed the red trim matched the Dia Compe center-pull brake’s red trim.

Mongoose-SaddleB4-Stepford-Storm

Regarding the name, Fairweather, it was one of a fictional monk’s five friends, as I recall from a novel I read for a Church History class in seminary back in the 1990’s.  Fairweather and Tune were a pair of snakes that, if I recall this correctly, shared the monk’s hermitage until, in an act of penitence, the man banished so he could bear his guilt alone.  None of that has anything to do with the fact that I generally try to ride the Miyata in fair weather – I’m trying to keep it in as near-new condition as possible yet still ride it regularly.   A few weeks ago on a short ride in the area around my house, I did get caught riding the Miyata in a thunderstorm, so got over worry about getting the bike wet and dirty.

My father-in-law thinks Tennessee’s rural scenery has “the Wow Factor” in spades, but I am of the opinion that Indiana’s farmland is no less beautiful.  I think Jim’s so used to his surroundings that he does not “feel” the Wow to a conscious degree any longer.  I’ve taken rides for six of the nine days spent at the farm but have taken fewer pictures while riding than I did last year.  This is in part due to my reliance upon the Iphone as my primary camera (although I took the Pentax with me on Monday 1 July with indifferent to bad results). 

Greenway-500-Fuji-Cambridge

Most of my Indiana rides this year have been greater than 30 miles; all but two greater than 20.  I stopped in a couple of times at Greenway 500 Bike Shop – Mike identified the snick-snick sound my bike was making as a worn-out pedal I might make right by the application of grease to its inner workings.  He has a Fuji Cambridge with eight-speed internally geared rear hub and dynamo front hub that I coveted.  Mike wouldn’t swap it for the Miyata saying he already had enough old bikes, but I would have swapped.  I did take the Fuji for a spin and liked it very well.  For $1100, it could have been mine, but the wrath of my wife would also have been mine.

On my first long ride, I stopped in at a gas-station mini market and bought a sausage/cheese/fried-egg biscuit and two quarts of Powerade (not as good as Gatorade, but available at “Two for $2”); on two other occasions, I stopped by the lakeside tent set up by Rob Cline and family – Cave-Baby Smokers, and again purchased and ate sausage/egg and egg/cheese biscuits to fortify my constitution during my travels.  The first day I met Rob and his son, and the following day, Rob and his wife, Holly.  My photos of the Cline family and their smokehouse tent can be seen HERE.  What follows are some of the photos I took while riding rural Indiana – click on a picture for a larger image.

First-Lunch-StopSpokesRoad-I-Took

Road-Not-TakenSea-of-CornPinch

Muncie-Sailing-ClubNew-Burlington-UMCIndiana-Chip-&-SealIndiana-Farmland

Sky-High-by-4th-of-July

Tour de Corn–Riding Indiana, Part Two

Corn Maze Conclusion

With only about five miles to pedal back to the house, eating the rest (all three) of my Wal-Mart generic fig newton cookies and quaffing the remainder of my Gatorade was a pretty safe bet.  I knew where I was and where I was going.  No problem.  I was about spent, however, when I rolled up to the garage.  I think I took a shower, changed clothes, ate a quick lunch, and then conked out beside my little boy for a much-needed nap.

Independence Day Ride

Hwy-35-NorthLong-RoadRough-RoadFarm-Country-Vista

On Wednesday, I rode another 25 or so miles, and this time I studied the map more carefully, then set out across the county as opposed to along the main highway.  After the previous day’s tri-county corn-maze ride, this one was easy.  Or mostly easy, because when I got to the place where the road  T-ed, it took about two miles of false starts to figure out the right direction to pedal.  But I never mistook my turns again that week.

The road pictured third from left, above, was the roughest unbroken surface upon which I rode last week.  All of them, save the greenway and the main highways, were pretty rough, though, and examples of chip seal paving.

War Memorials and Independence Day Decorations

Courthouse-TankMain-Street-Welcome

On previous trips to Indiana I’d driven through one of the local county seats and there observed an unusual war memorial on the courthouse square.  Wednesday afternoon,  my father-in-law and I drove out there and I took some pictures.  A large column with four free-standing figures below and one at the top, the monument featured four inscribed plaques, representations of cannon, crenellations and four small towers, a colonnade in relief, and a relief depicting scenes of battle.   Click on the thumbnails below to view the images larger.

Full-Monument-1Full-Monument-2Full-Monument-3

Monument-figure-2Monument-Figure-1Monument-Figure-3Monument-Figure-4

Monument-Relief-1Monument-Relief-2Monument-Relief-3

Monument-Inscription-1Monument-Inscription-2Monument-Inscription-3Monument-Inscription-4

Thursday’s for Resting and Test-Rides

Having done more cycling in four days than I usually do in two weeks, I thought it would be a good idea to rest on Thursday by spending an hour or so at the YMCA in town.  Because I’ve been neglecting the development of my upper body’s strength since I’ve taken up cycling, all I managed at the gym was about an hour.  On the drive back to the farm, I stopped and snapped a few pictures of a large derelict brick building I’d guess is over a hundred years old.  Most of the photos were a bit dreary-looking, so I haven’t included any here.  Well, just one.  I tried the door, but it was locked and I sought no other means of ingress.

Upper-Facade

I can’t remember whether it was this day or a previous day that my father-in-law and I drove to Selma to see what Goldman’s bike shop had in stock.  Duane (hope I spelled that right) has usually got about a dozen used bikes for sale out front, and heaven knows what used parts in the workshop portion of his building.  For awhile, I’d been trying to get my father-in-law to take the Trek Navigator 1.0 I formerly owned once I decided it was not something I wanted to keep riding, but he would not accept the bike as a gift thinking that it might wind up disused in the barn if his enthusiasm waned.  Jim tried out a used Diamondback mountain bike.  I tried out a Giant Defy, having read a good review of the model.  I learned after falling (and receiving a compliment on my ability to roll out of it) how to get in and out of toe-clips.  I loved the bike – especially the very wide handlebars.  Duane said he didn’t have a three-ring Shimano Biopace touring crankset (which I want for the Miyata), just a two-ring, like the one I’ve got on the Razesa. 

Later, on Thursday, I drove out by myself to Greenway500 to try out a Fuji Gran Fondo, the one with the Italian flag colors that I nicknamed The Pizza Box.  Michael thought, and I can’t now recall why, the blue and white version of the bike would be a better fit for me, so he got that one ready.  He explained how to shift the gears – brake levers are shifters on that bike, and there’re smaller levers behind them to shift the gears back the other way.  The gears are indexed and that, taken with the ease with which the levers shift, was a revelation.  The Fuji handled the rough chip seal road in front of the bike shop easily, and was fast on the greenway’s smooth paved surface.  I tried out a Scott straight-bar road bike, but the seat height was wrong, I disliked the gearing, and I hated it.  After returning it, Michael got the Pizza Box ready.  That was a GREAT bike.  I probably rode it three or four miles.  I liked everything about it – the only thing that would’ve improved it would’ve been Biopace or, possibly, modern off-round chain rings.

Sitting in the shop after riding that second Gran Fondo, I must’ve looked like I was having a small, bad seizure – staring blankly while deep in thought – because Michael asked whether I was okay.  Yup, I said, I was reflecting on whether I was ready to abandon the obsolete tech I’ve been riding since January to enter the world of modern bicycling – a much harder choice than you may imagine.  Finally, I told him I’d check with Caution-Lady about the price, said goodbye, and drove back to the house.

The Cautious One said, “No.”

My father-in-law and I got the old bikes out of the barn – a child’s Murray 10-speed, a Huffy women’s three-speed, and brown Raleigh Sprite.  I pumped up the tires on the Sprite and rode it around the drive; it didn’t shift well, but the Brooks saddle was surprisingly comfortable and had a 1974 Honolulu bike license plate hanging off it.  The Murray must have weighed 30 pounds; the Huffy had internal gear hub in back.  We talked about the bikes, and I put them back in the barn. 

Thursday night I had a series of strange and entertaining dreams.  In one, I starred in a long Dr. Who episode that brought us into contact with the Rabbit People – that is, human-looking people who were actually very large rabbits.  Great dream.  Thoroughly enjoyed it.  That was followed by another dream with just the Rabbit People, no Dr. Who, and another wild adventure.

Friday – Another Ride and a Rabbit

I can’t remember which day I bought them, but I got a set of Serfas USB rechargeable front and rear lights (the kind designed to make one visible to motorists, not the kind one should expect to see by) to replace the execrable-because-unreliable Blackburn Flea lights I need to see about returning.  Every time I hit a bump with the bike, the red Blackburn light shuts off.  Can’t ride more than a minute anywhere, much less rural Indiana, without riding striking an imperfection in the road’s surface sufficient to disable the light.  Super irksome.  The Serfas lights have only one LED each, whereas the Blackburn lights have four each, but I’d rather have two bright LEDs (one front, one rear) that works reliably than eight that only theoretically provide better light or visibility.

Farm-Road

Friday morning, I suited up and set out after breakfast for what had become my habitual ride across parts of two counties to the greenway then a longish but relatively easy ride to some point I’d make up my mind about as I was riding and then back to the house.  Near an overpass close to Muncie I saw a rabbit in a park, posed my bike for a photo by some strange wooden structure adjacent the park’s drainage lake.

Muncie-RabbitPark-Structure

I rode through Blountsville, again and got some pictures of houses that looked inhabited and lawns that looked tended.  I finally snapped a photograph of a greenway flower I’d been meaning to photograph all week, but hadn’t, yet.  One of the things that I liked about Blountsville, even though it’s deteriorating streets bespoke a ghost-town, was that several of the houses that looked properly maintained were decorated with flags or bunting for the Independence Day holiday week.

Greenway-White-FlowersBlountsville-YardsBlountsville-Flag

Saturday

On Saturday, the rest of the extended family drove to a many-miles-distant town for a picnic with cousins, uncles, aunts.  I stayed at the house to get some work done.  After about midday, when temperatures were about as hot as they were going to get, and after I’d eaten a large-ish lunch, I squeezed my middle-aged legs and torso into my by-now-in-need-of-another-wash cycling garb, filled up the water bottles with powdered Gatorade/water mix, put some pretzels and some other quick snacks in a bag and headed out again.  This time I planned to ride only as far as the Greenway500 bike shop and back again.

I and my bicycle were about the only things moving on the country lanes I rode to the greenway.  And upon the greenway, itself, I think I passed only one or two other cyclists during my ride.  Pedaling seemed to take much more effort in the heat and I became thirstier faster consuming more of the Gatorade faster than any previous day.  I refilled my water bottle from the sink at the bike shop.  Michael was distracted with a computer software problem he said had been plaguing him all day and tying up a lot of his time with tech support calls.  I needed to eat, I was a little shaky.  I took some more pictures in Blountsville and ate my snack under a blue-window in the side of church building the purpose of which was made known only by its size, shape, and roof shingles patterned in a cross either side; no sign with words proclaimed any denominational or other affiliation. 

Blountsville-Lighting-RodBountsville-Dirt

Blountsville-Blue-WindowBlountsville-Star-House

Eventually, I made it back to the house, showered, changed, ate something for supper, and tried to work on my project.  Thus ended my 2012 Tour de Corn visit to Indiana.  I did some riding every day, and most days covered more distance each day than I usually ride at home on a Saturday, the day I reserve for longer rides.  Not once did I even seriously consider getting the Grumman canoe out of the barn-loft.  It was way too hot to expect the family to indulge my whims with a lakeside picnic, and the White River, over near Yorktown and Daleville, I guessed, would have little enough water flowing in these days of rain-free and drought-like conditions.  I don’t know whether I’m ready to ride in Stepford wearing Lycra yet, but we’ll see.  Nobody ever really looks at cyclists, anyway, to identify them as individuals.  So on a bike, my anonymity is mostly assured.

Horses

Last photo of the day, Saturday 7/7/12

Purchases

Last week bought a Sony Handycam with 60gb harddrive and a memory card slot so that Caution-Lady can record the vidworthy antics of little 76. It arrived yesterday, so maybe I’ll try it out today and post some video of my now much-faded Campsis Radicans – a name no longer matching the kayak’s deck color.

First assembly of E68 in September, 2005.

Yesterday I bought a replacement skin for the E68 that will, I hope, likewise confuse, due to the brightness of its red, those expecting the boat to somehow match its botanical name. I’m ordering some 303 Aerospace Protectant to evit future fading.

Compare the photo above with the photo a couple of posts below taken Monday 30 June 2008. That’s quite a bit of fade in a little less than three years of use, especially in light of the fact the boat’s been stored, for the most part, disassembled in its bags in a clean, dry boatshed. Here’s a video I took late this morning with the Sony illustrating the deck’s current fade:

When the new (slightly used, actually) skin arrives, I’ll photograph it next to the old and post the picture here. The replacement skin will have a hatch on the foredeck I plan to make use of for a couple of small drybags and lunch, thereby reducing deck-clutter.

Why am I writing this stuff instead of paddling today, Independence Day 4 July 2008? I guess I want to finish reading a novel, lift, do some housework, wash the car, instead. Freedom, ain’t it grand?

Yes, it is.