Just another Saturday morning our house, Festung Ebar, roars back to life. Been an ugly week or so and I was looking forward to a quite day of rest. Plans were made to take me away from my loved ones. Plans were quickly rescinded. But there were a few things we needed to get accomplished before running away with the Irish Biker Crowd. I needed to replace my mobile phone and we needed groceries. I am very grateful to God and global warming/global cooling/climate change and solar storms that it was the warmest and driest Saturday morning this year. Weekends have been nothing but crappy weather wise this year. 43F and sunny. Windy but what else is new.
Despite the destruction of the US and global economy by the previous regime and subsequent failure of the current regime to fix it, Best Buy did not want my $$ at 945 am. Mary and I rode bikes there since we sold our car as an act of defiance and our refusal to be sodomized by terrorist nations, Texans, Canadians and big oil companies. How much does gas cost? I have no clue. Besides, the bicycle keeps my weight in check without having to waste time and money at a germ ridden gym. Best Buy opens at 10 am. Wal Mart never closes except for in the Peoples Republic of the western Ghetto near Jordan Creek.
This was all sidewalk action up SE 14th from Park Ave. I wish they would rip out the current sidewalk and replace it with a side path like on MLK. There is no easy way to ride north and south on the Southside of DSM. Crossing SE 14th/US 69 was not an issue. Simply wait for the light. But Mary's chain fell off at the intersection. She had to push it across. Nobody honked.
We had a very pleasant consumer experience at Wal Mart. Despite being dressed as bike nazis and fearing that some armleutcher (German for asshole literally the arm that holds a lamp) would take our photo and Youtube it for a "freaks at Wally World" montage it was good. Well, the southside store needs a bicycle rack but then again this place is not very accessible via bike because it is on a highway. We locked up on the employees break shelter aka smoking lounge. Out of sight and there was a camera recording everything.
We use Virgin Mobile. No contracts. No fuss. Service is improving, Sprint network. If you are going to give your money to an evil corporation you might as well give it to a cool billionaire. Sir Richard Branson not only signed and subsequently screwed over the Sex Pistols when no one else had the genitalia to do so, he spends his $$ para sailing with naked women and building spaceships to take civilians into space. Now he is building a submarine to explore the deepest crevices of the oceans. If you can buy the ticket he will take you there.
What has AT&T, US Cellular an Apple done for you? Taken your money and invested it into more mundane ways to take more of your money. Steve Jobs was nothing more than a fauxhippie Bill Gates. Besides, I can replace my phone at any Wal Mart or Target at 945 am and get it up and running in minutes.
We were in and out in 5 minutes. Had the phone I was spying online and was not pestered about "insurance" or other fees. A quick glance at the bicycle aisle in search of the mythical Sting Ray I once obtained here. Not today. But we found a cheap 2-pack of St Patrick's Day socks. Holiday spirit! We decided to get groceries at Hy Vee on our way home.
I will say this. Our other alternative is the Hy Vee and Wal Mart in Windsor Heights. We notice, and this was verified by someone else last night, that in these two establishments we are constantly bumping into other people. Maybe the aisles are more narrow. Maybe their frequenters are too rude. maybe Mary and I are out of phase with these folks. But we do not encounter such issues on the southside. And another thing, if you bitch about the people at Wal Mart, and there are some truly disgusting and amusing shoppers there, you are an economic elitist. These people are poor. I can understand a Republican or rich snob bashing Wal Mart. But my liberal friends merely prove their hypocrisy when they do this. Cheap consumer goods for poor folk like me. I do not have the time or money for go support the greedheads and land rapers of Jordan Creek ect or the expensive trendy hippie stores that charge way to much.
My Lord, defending Wal Mart....we took the frontage road to McKinley Ave and then turned left on Indianola Ave. If and when they ever finish rebuilding this road it will be the way to go instead of the sidewalk of SE14th. The completed section has bike lanes. McKinley, on the other hand, sucks and needs to be widen and resurfaced. This took us straight to Hy Vee where we filled the 520's panniers with provisions. Mary and I swapped bikes and I rode the remaining 2 miles on the loaded 520. 8 miles total trip.
Back to SPERM!!! We missed the 11 o'clock meeting on the Raccoon River bridge at Water Works Park. I needed to set phone up and give it a decent charge. We needed to change clothing and dress festively for the ride. And most importantly, we needed to eat. We left our home around noon. First stop at Mary's ATM and then Abelandros for cheap Mexican food. There was a bet between us on the location of the bank and the restaurant. Mary lost and failed to pay her part of the bet. She will pay sometime when she least expects!
Leaving this establishment a group of 4 bikers came in. They said that people were already leaving Waveland. Yeah right. Jerseys were leaving. The bagger crowd was just getting in. And on the rest of the journey there we saw many bikes heading in the opposite direction. Nobody we knew or recognized.
And as we expected, the parking lot was overflowing with bicycles and bikers. I was told the line for a beer was 3 deep across the entire bar. We did not step foot inside except for the use of the restroom. Having great foresight from previous experience, the first stop after leaving home was to purchase a 12 of Busch Light and 10 lb of ice. This was a great $12 investment.
Big crowd. Many familiar faces. Good to see Crabb out of hibernation. Also nice to see Jennifer W Ulrich. Chad needs to stay home with the kiddies more often. Too many others to mention. Lots of competition for the ride given the first Fat Tire Fun Ride of the year and the run. But a great showing nonetheless.
When it time to leave we headed to Charlies Filling Station and filled up on $6 pitchers and ignored a 10 minute warning. Teena S M or Brad M lost their hat on the way there and apparently, while retrieving said hat, had a cash bag malfunction and lost valuable time time chasing their "green". Brad B had to stop on Polk Blvd and remove a beer can from his wheel. And I noticed a large pile of broken glass on Ingersoll. Somehow we all made it. Other people went to Orlandos, we did not. We stayed long enough to not wear out our welcome, some of us calling Harley riders "faggots" after South Park made this argument.
Next we got back on the trail south of Grand and made our presence felt. First we stormed on the trail at speed like a stampede of buffalo, soliciting comments such as "how dangerous" ect. Then one of us yelled at some trail users who stopped and parked their bikes on the trail. Not quite as good as Crabb's "GET THE FUCK OFF THE TRAIL!!!!" but Chad U got the point across. Later, we said the exception to this rule would be on the trail near Windsor Heights due to large amounts of dog excrement before and after the dog park. No where safe to pull over there.
|Brad M in typical SPERM or St Paddy's Day attire. Raccoon River bridge|
Nice weather sends everyone out to the trail. Today was no exception. Having not stopped riding since September 2007, I always a bit overwhelmed by the fair weather trail users. Had the temp been 10 to 20 degrees cooler, we would have had the trail to ourselves. Today we had to share. And share we did. I bet we pissed many people off when we occupied the Raccoon River bridge but we tried to keep out of the way and tried to stop spilling beer on the bridge.
|Craig and I, Jon by bike and Tara in background. Fingers provided by a public school teacher|
When trail traffic calmed down we made another move. this time to the Fleur Viaduct, rather, underneath it. This has been a favorite spot for me. Sorta secluded. Ample places to hide. Places to sit. Plenty of room that we never seem to use. Sunlight, moonlight. Shelter from the rain or snow. Shelter from funhaters. We consumed the last of our beers here not before a photo shoot and seeing more friends. Sean Seanson Johnson and Rebecka stopped, the later sporting a new hot pink and black cross bike. Then Stephanie and Tara stopped. I should have taken photos of the first two.
We were heading toward El Bait Shop. Craig made the decision to boycott Orlandos due to their inability to fix the path's connection to the trail. There is a large drop off from the trail to the path to this shithole and somebody may get hurt soon. Today I decided to form a FB group "NOT OCCUPY ORLANDOS". Details and invites coming.
Out of beer and with one bridge left we made the decision to resupply at the Philips station on the corner of SE1st and Jackson. Otherwise known as "Best Trip" by the sticker on their door. What should have been a friendly 2 mile ride became a race because of Mary. She was riding the bagless and rackless red Phoenix as her bagger bikes are out of commision and she did not choose her road bike. As I have blogged before, the FX 7.5 is a fast hybrid and she made the most of it. Acceleration is its strong suit especially against loaded touring bikes ridden by people who have been sedating themselves with beer since 11 am or earlier. Mary took off like a bat out of hell and it was all we could do to keep her in eyesight. Jon Cox and I we doing 23 mph and not making progress. She does this all the time. And when we arrived at Best Trip she had a 12 of Busch Light on the counter and was completing the transaction. At least her race was for a noble cause. Someone else purchased vodka due to a gluten allergy, beer being bad for that person. Slushie as a mixer.
Resupplied we retired to the Jackson St bridge. This is also known as the "green pedestrian" bridge. Plenty of places to sit and park bikes. Speedy, however, decided to crash the red bike as part of a clipping out failure. She may or may not have a black eye. She did this herself and I have witnesses. We all laughed. Craig busted out a bag of Jack's Links jerky and Jon a box of Thin Mint GS cookies. Life is good on the bridge!!!
|the view from the green bridge|
This is where we parted ways. Mary and I had a birthday party to attend. A friend of ours from Church, a converted Jehovah Witness, was going to be surprised by a large gathering of fellow Catholic parishioners at Jasper Winery. I was looking forward to a bottle of Bedhead Red. But given my intake of alcohol, mostly beer with a few shots of Fireball and a shot of vodka, I settled for 1 glass of North, a cab, and did my best to act sober. Food was catered in by an Italian American catering service and we were able to eat after a near 7 or 8 hour fast sans cookies and jerky. Different crowd. We were the only ones on bicycles.
All in all a successful SPERM ride. Only one crash. No cops. No fights. great people. Awesome weather and 21 miles of the best riding in DSM. I look forward to many more.