Ghost Faced Killer
Not on the trail but on the bus Wednesday morning because I did not feel like battling a 20 mph headwind tor 12+ miles just to get to work. I forget what stop he got on the bus but it was an early one. He sat in front of me in the seat up front that faces the center aisle of the bus. He was smiling. But then he started moving his hands in front of his face and having a conversation with people we could not see. This reminded me of my friend's son who is autistic and often waves his hands in front of his eyes for visual stimulation. But this guy was having a conversation. Was he talking to ghosts or invisible people? He would laugh on occasion and the longer he was there the animated he became. Perhaps he was reciting lines from a play, his voice never audible enough to comprehend. Or preparing for a conversation that was going to occur when he got off the bus. He never bothered anyone but the closer he got to his stop the more his hands looked like guns. After he got off there was a collective sigh of relief. I assumed that everyone on the bus knew him since I recognized most of the people in my field of vision from my January 2nd ride. Nope. He was new. then I suggested that he really was not that different from others that just stare at their phones and electronic devices except that he never needs to plug into an electrical socket.
Jason and Cassandra
I've written about this couple before. Their home is just off the trail south of the dog park north of the car wash. If I am at the right time I encounter them walking their two Airedales at 515 am or so. I've been riding past their home for 5 years now and we always say hello. Occasionally I stop and we chat. On other occasions Jason runs or bikes to work downtown and we stop and talk. Nice guy. He knows the name of my dog, asks where Mary is since until last November we rode together in the morning along this section of trail. She now works at Unity Point at Methodist Hospital and no longer has a long commute. I noticed that they are only walking one dog. They explained that the female is 11 years old now and is undergoing acupuncture to relieve leg and back pain. On Thursday Jason was running back from downtown and we stopped near the N Valley Dr intersection on the Walnut Creek Trail. He inquired about my impending transfer to PFG and said he had a friend that just started there. At that time I was not sure when the transfer was to take place because it appeared that my boss was delaying this change to ensure a smooth transistion and his boss, who had the idea of moving me, was on vacation. Just goes to show that if you take the time to be friendly to those that you see on the trail they become your friends. I will miss seeing them
Thursday, Water Works Park Bridge. I caught up with a gentleman riding a Giant hybrid with yellow panniers. I don't recall what started the conversation. Perhaps I politely announced my intention to pass. Hate to say this but he looked sorta homeless. Scruffy beard, forest green jacket and possibly a tent on the rear rack. But we started chatting for the next 3 miles. Ends up he works for the National Parks as a ranger. Just down in Des Moines because of a girlfriend. He is from northern Minnesota and considers the weather her balmy. This summer he will be back up north at a park near the Canadian border. we also discussed bike trails, touring and Ragbrai. He loves rails-to-trails but never has done Ragbrai. He would like to. My turn approached and we exchanged names and I quickly forgot which is not unusual.
Thursday was a fun day. After leaving work and dropping off my work clothing and the cold weather gear at home I headed off to the store. First stop was at the Smoke Shack on SE 14th for a rumored vodka sale. This involved taking the Des Moines River Trail and then sidewalk on SE 14th for a few blocks. Watch out for the missing chunk of sidewalk. I was able to score said vodka, UV Peach which goes well with OJ. After the purchase as I walked outside the store there was a custom forest green Chevy or GMC Denali Tahoe. The driver who just stepped out was the spitting image of General Colin Powell dressed as a pimp! I stopped in my tracks for a micro second. All that missing was a can with a huge fake diamond and a hat with a feather. Red violet trousers with matching vest. His jacket must have been inside the SUV. A woman in shorts exited the passenger side door. She was wearing a Department of Corrections ankle bracelet on one of her ankles. I assume they stopped for smokes.
|Bridge Beer and New Beer Thursday for UNTAPPD|
My kind of people! I eventually made my way to the new Hy Vee and on the way back I crossed the hump and got onto the Jackson St Bridge. Two touring bicycles were parked there. Kelly and Nancy! What a pleasant surprise! And I too was packing beer. A stop was mandatory. They were talking to a 55 y/o dude on roller blades. but Kelly had to take off to find a restroom so they left not long after I stopped. So I talked to the skater. We discussed architecture of DSM and roller blading marathons. "Yes 26 miles. Some can complete them in less than two hours. just like bicycle racing, one goes down and takes out a lot of others." "That proposed 50 story condo/apartment building for the East Village will cast a huge shadow on the EV. It also looks like a prison I saw near Chicago. Who wants to live in a prison structure? Ruins the character of the EV. Look at these new buildings across the river on 7th. They look like turn of the century housing for factory workers or something built in Soviet Russia." True. But it was time to roll on.
Every now and then Craig and I randomly cross paths on the trail. This time as I was going home he was leaving the ballpark, opening day for the Iowa Cubs, Does not take much to twist each other's arms and say "Hey, let's grab a beer. Just one." We went to Extra Innings just south of Mullets and grabbed stools at the bar. Eventually we text our respective significant others and told them to meet us there. Mary was probably getting worried that I have not returned from the store. Mary also honored my request to bring the red flasher I neglected to bring. I could tell it would be dark before we left. Always good to see Craig and Kim. It prolly has been a few weeks. This winter is lingering on forever and we have not had many opportunities to ride together or hang out as often.
They say it is going to warm up after today's snow. I hope so. I truly enjoy when the weather is nice enough to be able to talk to the people I meet on the trail instead of riding alone fighting for survival. My long commute will end when I reach home on Friday. 5 years. On the 16th I start working downtown and will have a mere 2 miles to ride each way. This should give me an opportunity to ride with Mary in the morning and get home with lots of energy and a desire to grab a different bike and head back out on the trail to different locations and see other friends.