Saturday, April 26, 2014

Colorado River Bikefest

Colorado River Bikefest
Ballinger, Texas
April 26, 2014
Registration was fast and easy with all of the Lion volunteers.
Ready for the ride.
Across the street from the registration table, and on the Court House lawn, stands the Charles N. Noyes statue. Charles was 21 when his horse fell and Charles broke his neck. His parents wanted to memorialize his passing and commissioned the statue. At first it was to be placed where Charles fell, but in 1919 it was located on the Court House lawn.
Some of the flowers lining a pathway to the Court House.
Ready to ride--a short ride as her arm/shoulder hurt after she rides a while.
Ready for any distance.
You can tell he has serious plans for the 30K ride.
Trail blazer on the 60K ride.
Adam, talking with Loyd. I am not sure what distance Adam rode.
Line ready. One official said that over 60 riders showed up. Not bad as a lot of the San Angelo regulars did not make this day.
Christine is lining up with the short ride bikers. She was planning on just an out and back so she could ride as much or as little as she wanted--and felt like.
It looks like a nice pretty day with gentle rolling hills, but of course this was straight into the wind. I will have to admit, the wind did not get to the predicted velocity but enough that one was well aware of the "breeze". 
We have had a couple of light showers recently which has helped the vegetation somewhat.
Brian slowed down to let Loyd and me catch up.
Jerry at the 30K turn off. He burned up the rode and came in second place for that distance. He was already gone by the time we finished so I didn't get to see his prize.
Not only had Brian slowed down to let us catch up, but he lead the way a lot to allow us to draft. We took turns but Brian would scoot ahead when we would approach an incline and would lead us up the hill.
Finally. A cross wind and level terrain.
This was the second and last rest stop on our 60K route. For the last 16 miles we had a tailwind. The ride became pure fun.  
Jesse seems happy that the wind was going to be in our favor. And he took advantage of it. This was the last time I saw him on the ride.
Brian is showing his pleasure as we get closer to the finish line.
And just down the road is the finish line. A lot of volunteers were there greeting the riders as they finished.

And they were giving out awards. Loyd and I show off our "major award" ribbons. We are looking forward to next year's ride and calm winds.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Philipsburg, Saint Martin

Saint Martin panorama
Saint Martin is under the sovereignty of France, however, Philipsburg is on what is called the Dutch side.
According to legend, Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Saint Martin on November 11, 1493, the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours. In his honor, Columbus named the island San Martin. 
We had decided not to take a tour on the island so we disembarked for our own walking tour.
The vendors were getting ready for tourists to do their Christmas shopping, although Thanksgiving was not yet past. 
The early decorations just provided additional photo opportunities.
Although the island is divided between France and Netherlands, all nations and their tourists are welcome.

Hillside on the edge of town.
If one stays within the immediate vicinity of the docking area, the "sights" to see are vendor shops and
plenty of entertainers.
After a short stroll through the pier area, we headed back to the ship. Happily I found other ways to amuse myself. 

I had mentioned one time that it rained almost every day of the trip. Today's rain provided a great rainbow display.

Rainbows over the Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.
Dual rainbows.

Rainbow seeming to touch the bow.
Soon it was time to set sail and we cast off from the docks.
As we passed part of other islands, sea birds gave us an airshow. 
As this one sailed off into the sunset and so did we.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Having completed the Southern Caribbean portion of the cruise, we docked at Fort Lauderdale to let some of the passengers off, and to board the ones who were to cruise the Eastern Caribbean.
While at Fort Lauderdale, we thought we would take a tour to see parts of the city. We chose a tour that was called land and sea. First part of the tour was on land, the other part was "at sea".
 One of our first stops was the museum of history.  
Then a walk through the park. 
The King-Cromartie House had an interesting past. It was moved by barge to its current location to be preserved as a historical house. But it has become famous for being haunted. Louise King Cromartie suffered and died of yellow fever in the 1920s. She was still at a young age and not ready to go to the other side. As such, she is to have stayed in the house she loved. Her translucent apparition has been seen looking out her second floor bedroom window. She is described (accurately)  as wearing her blonde hair in a bun with ringlets on the side of her face, wearing a pink dress. She is said to be an affable, benign spirit, who likes to watch people from the second story window of her bedroom.  
"I'm not afraid of a friendly ghost". So on with the tour.
 This has nothing to do with the tour; the cat standoff just interested me.
Philemon Nathaniel Bryan House
This hollow concrete block home was built in 1905 by Edwin T. King for Philemon Bryan. The Bryan House features Classical Revival architectural detailing. It functioned as a boarding house during WW II. It now houses the Historical Society advertising agency. 
 While gazing at the nice mural, another story of one of the houses comes to mind. During prohibition, legend has it that Al Capone ran whiskey from Fort Lauderdale to Miami and other parts. The Feds were on to Al but he and his men were tricky. They would hide the liquor bottles in big boots, walk across the street, and board a train, thus getting the liquor past the Feds. This is reportedly where the term "bootlegging" originated. (Don't boo me. This was the tour guide's story).   
 As we walked to our "sea" part of the tour, we got our first glimpse of the Fort Lauderdale boat-lined fingerlets that make up the better part of the city's coast line.  
 Our sea boat was a paddle boat. But it was fun.
 Fort Lauderdale sky line.

 High rises were plentiful.
 Then we "paddled" along the canal lined with large, fancy houses of the rich and famous.
 Plenty of room for guests.
 There were so many nice houses that I thought a collage would be appropriate.
 This was really yacht's alley. Above is a "small" one decker.
 On down the way was a two decker.
 And then a three deck yacht.
 Not to be outdone, a four deck yacht.
 No, this was not a baby yacht. It was one of the tug boats that helped the cruise ship to get safely away from the dock.
 All of the new passengers had boarded so it was time for us to continue our journey.
Surprisingly, some undeveloped land just off the coast. Want to bet it doesn't stay "pristine" long?