Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Rolling slowly

Today was a day for an earlier and shorter ride. I was still a little tired from my heat exposure yesterday, but a combination of sunshine and the prediction for a very hot and possibly rainy week ahead told me that today needed to be a riding day. My 36-mile loop within a loop was relatively close to home, and covered some roads that I haven't ridden in a while. Trees shading the roads helped keep me dry; there was no repeat of yesterday's sweat bath.

Ride done, time for quiet relaxation. My plan was to do some explorations via maps, books, and web sites in preparation for my non-planned voyage to Nova Scotia just five and a half weeks from now. I started, but somehow I didn't get too far; it was too good a day to laze with a good mystery.

Yes, that really is me, rolling down the road. My work colleagues have given me a hard time about my on-the-bike self-portraits - but the funny thing is, I'm not alone in these solo photos. And of course, I liked one of my photos so much that I used it for my non-business cards.

A curved mirror mounted on the side of the road, probably to help drivers see what's coming - but I couldn't resist playing with my camera

Thistle, sans flower (and color)... still beautiful

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Dripping sweat, red face, hot...

This was a weekend that easily could have been three different weekends. I toyed with the idea of heading out on my bike for a short two-day trip, but the weather forecast (sun on Saturday, but a possibility of rain on Sunday) kept telling me it wasn't a good idea. I thought of heading to Philadelphia to spend time with family, but a funny under-the-weather feeling took over and nixed that idea. That feeling did manage to disappear by this morning, but when it was time to make plane reservations, well, it just didn't seem to be the right thing to do. The third weekend? Stay at home, wander somewhere on my bike, try to spend some time reading about places in Nova Scotia that I might want to visit (during my vacation there in September).

Bright sunshine ushered in the day, which quickly became very hot and a bit humid too. The desire for a slight change of scenery sent me off to the coast. Unfortunately, it took me a bit longer than usual to get to the start of my ride; somehow I forgot that traffic heading into New Hampshire and Maine on Saturday mornings in the summer is more than a little bit heavy. There was a 3-mile backup getting to the Hampton tolls on I-95.

For the next time I need to remember to leave home a little earlier, or to be prepared for a slow jaunt through the toll booths.
My car dropped me off - and happily waited for my return - at the corner of route 1 and 111 in New Hampshire (I think in North Hampton). From there it's just a 3-mile ride to the coast. Ah, there's the water. And there is a large flock of cormorants sitting on rocks not too far out to sea. Beautiful.

I headed to the north and east, followed the coast to Portsmouth, walked across the bridge to Maine after waiting for the bridge to return to a solid surface (no cycling allowed on this bridge...), and continued on rolling roads for a bit further before deciding that it was probably past time to head back. Out and back, hot, somewhat humid, wind in my face as I returned.

It was a wonderful ride - even though it took me a while to cool off when I was finished. My one regret was that I didn't snap a picture of my very red and sweaty face when I got back to me car! When I saw myself in the rear view mirror, my immediate hope was that my red face was due to being very hot and not due to sunburn (through my very liberal application of SPF30 sunscreen). And yes, it was from the heat...

Luckily my car had picked a parking spot just across the street from a well-stocked (gas station) convenience store. As soon as I had stashed my bike in the car, removed my helmet, and traded cycling shoes for my Chaco sandals, I headed into the store for some cold drinks. I had gone through two quarts of Gatorade and two quarts of water while I was riding, but I definitely needed more liquid. Cold liquid was definitely welcome.

Oh, you think that riding 49 miles on a hot and humid day wasn't a great idea? You're probably right, but other than the pool of sweat I left behind it was a very pleasant ride.

A bevy of cormorants, soaking up the sunshine, drying wings

Waiting for the bridge to return to a solid surface provided a quick rest and some good conversations with other people waiting to cross.

From fake flamingos hanging out on an island... ducks, paddling quickly away from (my) human presence

More pictures of today's wanderings can be seen in my Glimpses of water - coastal New Hampshire, 2006 photo gallery on pages 5 and 6.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A wild (weather) evening

Friday evening after what seemed like a very long work week... a quiet start to the weekend, light gray clouds covering the sky but with a severe thunderstorm warnings in effect.

Kushboo - an Indian restaurant in Lexington - was a good place to start the weekend providing good food, and a good place for Barb & I to sit and chat. We enjoyed our conversation and food, watching the still light gray sky from our table in the window. The sky started to change just as we finished.

Darkening, from light to dark gray, darker yet... Ah, the fascination of watching lightening decorate the sky, cloud to cloud, cloud to ground... Rain starting, getting heavier. And heavier. It's pouring! Rivers running down the road, flooded sections. Water everywhere.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A week to forget

I wonder, is there any way to make the memory of a week just go away? It's been one of those weeks...

From bad days at work, to a hint of a summer cold (not a cold so much as "stuffed" ears), to worries about my brother, to weather forecasts for heavy rain keeping me from commuting to work by bike, to a return to heat & humidity, to...

You're right, I'm whining. Yes, I promise, no more!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A game of hide & seek

...with the weather wizard!

The weather wizard brought rain this weekend, and there was no hiding from the water.

I chose not to ride to work on Friday because there was a forecast for severe thunderstorms. As it turns out I could have ridden and I probably would have made it home before the storm - but sometimes it's better to avoid the chance of getting caught in a downpour. And the rain that started just after I arrived home Friday evening was the kind that created zero visibility; I was happy not to be caught on my bike in that one!

The forecast Saturday called for rain, but not until after noon. Well, the weather wizard wasn't playing fair, because it started sprinkling early in the morning just as my bike & I rolled two miles from home. Hmmm... sprinkles, I can ride in these. Uh oh. It's turned to light rain. I turned toward home, and as I got closer the rain got lighter. Oh, look, it's stopped! I decided to keep riding; the roads were barely wet, and while the sky was dark gray (gray enough for me to be using clear lenses in my sunglasses) the water had disappeared. I headed back out, still hoping for a decent ride. Riding, rolling along, and the weather wizard decided to give me the gift of light but steady rain. I thought about ignoring it, but I'm really not fond of riding in a downpour. Home again - with just 13 miles under my wheels - and as soon as I pulled into the garage the skies opened up. Good timing, I guess. I really wanted to do a longer ride, but I did get home before the bike was trashed. (Yes, riding in the rain really trashes the bike. All of the grit on the road kicks up and just sticks!)

Sunday... another day, another puzzle. I woke up at 6AM to light rain. Luckily I headed downstairs right away to retrieve the newspaper. The delivery person hadn't bothered to even try to drop it close to my front door (where it would be somewhat sheltered by an overhang). Instead, I found it in the road. Just as I opened my front door, water started pouring from the sky once more. It was raining hard enough that I grabbed an umbrella for my short dash for the paper. OK, I guess an early morning ride isn't going to happen today either!

Ah, noon rolled around, and since the weather wizard stopped the rain by mid-morning, the roads were dry. Time to head out... The weather wizard was quite finished yet; I was just a mile from home when it started sprinkling again. I kept riding, and the sprinkles kept coming too. It finally dried up after about 20 minutes, and I managed a decent afternoon ride.

I wonder, is it too much to hope that the upcoming week includes a few dry weekdays and a dry weekend too?

Friday evening... just as I was thinking of going for a quick ride or a walk, a downpour started. It was so amazing that I ran to get a camera to see if I could capture the rain. This doesn't really do it justice, but it's the best that I could do. From dry pavements, to rivers flowing down the sidewalk and huge raindrops splashing in newly formed lakes!

Sunday afternoon... clouds were still filling the skies, but it was dry. And I was lucky enough to catch these two bugs on the beginning (or end) of a flower.

...and a beautiful blossom that survived the storm.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

An almost oops day

This week started with a continuation of last weekend's weather, very hot and humid. A return to more reasonable conditions was predicted for Wednesday, and based on that I planned to ride my bike to work on both Wednesday and Thursday. Yesterday's ride was wonderful - no more humidity definitely creates riding pleasure.

I checked the forecast when I woke up today, and saw that it called for mainly sunny skies and a 10% chance of showers. I thought I'd count on the 90% chance of no showers, so I headed out on my bike. Funny though, when the sun was fully up, the sky was mainly gray with very few blue patches glowing through the clouds. I checked the forecast again when (my bike and) I arrived at the office. Hey - it now shows a 40% chance of rain. That's definitely a potential ouch, since I prefer to ride on dry roads.

I kept an eye to the sky and to the radar throughout the day, thinking that if the weather started to turn in what I considered the wrong direction that I could head home early and work from home for the rest of the day. It was a lucky day though - no rain, and I was able to leave at my normal time. Success!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Seeking a dry weekend

I've been dreaming of another weekend bike trip, destination: coastal Maine. Dreaming of travel by bike, and dreaming of dry weather...

At the beginning of this week it looked like the coming weekend would satisfy my needs with forecasts of sunny days with temperatures in the 70s. Perfect.

Uh oh! The weekend forecast has changed, and it's now showing a chance of rain both days, with heavy rain predicted for Sunday. I suppose it's a good thing that I didn't take the next step and find a B&B for Saturday night. And I guess I'll just have to keep dreaming.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hot, muggy, rolling...

The weather forecast for today was pretty grim from a comfort standpoint, with temperatures predicted to be in the mid-90s with high humidity too. I decided to ride before work today as opposed to riding to work and back again. My thinking was that I could then skip riding in the late afternoon heat.

That didn't work! I rode in the morning, then used my 4-wheeled (and air-conditioned) vehicle to get to the office. Back home again in the late afternoon, I felt my bike calling me. And yes, I did ride again. It was 95 degrees out when I rolled away from home. Although it was hotter than yesterday, the temperature actually felt (slightly) more pleasant. I suspect that was due to sticking to nicely shaded roads for my early evening ride. My mileage total for the day was 36, just 4 miles short of my usual ride to work and back again. Not bad, especially considering the gift of heat that the weather wizard insisted on providing.

Amazing light emerging from behind the clouds...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sights of a summer weekend

Snapshots in my mind, beautiful sights captured as memories...

Riding next to a body of water, looking up to see a beautiful bird circling... A great blue heron flying, long legs following, wonderful...

Leaving a restaurant after a pleasant dinner with friends, sunshine glowing behind clouds, blue sky peaking out... Turning, looking in the opposite direction, a bright rainbow... Soaking in the sight, looking higher to see a second rainbow with colors arranged in the opposite direction...

My camera didn't stay hidden for the entire weekend though...

Flowers emerging...

I wasn't able to catch the butterfly flitting through the flowers, but this bee very nicely agreed to pose for me.

...can you see the wind?

Riding, heat increasing

The weather is definitely showing a strong propensity for following the forecast this weekend - just when I wish it would head in the other direction. Hot, hot, humid!

I was glad for the heat and sunshine on Friday. It signaled an end to a wet and threatening week, and it gave me a wonderful day for a commute by bike. By this time of the year I am usually riding my bike to work three days a week; this week and last my commute days numbered one (each week).

But my weekend rides have been hard. Not hard because of distance or terrain, but because of the heat and humidity. Yesterday's ride was more problematic. I felt slow and my energy level was much too low. I don't think I can blame that one on the weather though; I really believe that my slow ride was dogged by lack of sleep. For some reason I woke up at 5 in the morning, and that was it for sleep. Ouch!

Today's ride was much more enjoyable, even though I could feel the waves of heat coming off of my body. And as soon as I stopped riding, the sweat just started pouring.

Tomorrow's forecast is for more of the same. My plans are to ride to work but I wonder if that's a really dumb idea given the forecast published by the National Weather Service:

"Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high around 95. Heat index values as high as 104. West wind between 3 and 6 mph".

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A deer greeting

A morning smile...

Another day with forecasted water falling from the sky means driving (not biking) to work. As I headed down a wooded section of route 125, the car ahead of me slowed. I wonder why?

Ah - a deer is prancing across the road, a beautiful creature. What was a nice greeting for the day!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dark afternoon sky

Wow. At 3 o'clock the sky turned absolutely black. The sun was so hidden that the sky looked like it was 10 at night. Flash... rumble... flash... crack!

The lightening and rumbling thunder continued, and then the sky opened up. I couldn't stay inside and watch; I just had to be outside. I stood at the entrance to my office building, sheltered by a large overhang. And I watched in wonder as the rain poured down. The sky started to lighten. Looking to the west, I could see a line of white overtaking the dark gray. And then, a torrential downpour started. It was if a faucet - not a shower - was opened at high pressure, and the entire sky was the faucet.

Noisy water, dark sky. Lightening sky, rain drops still pouring down, but easing up from the earlier torrents. Rain...
Heading home, still in rain... driving slowly through somewhat flooded roads. Ah, it's stopping.

When I arrived home the roads were almost dry, but it was clear that there had been rain. Five minutes later, the sky got dark again. Rain, another downpour... A short one this time, and look - the sun is out! A beautiful evening beckons.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A tree with a face

Yesterday afternoon I wandered down an odd road. It was odd for me in that it is a dead end, and while it is possible to cut through on foot or on a bike, it's a road that I don't often traverse. There was a tree that made me wish I had a camera with me. I didn't have one with me yesterday, but I made sure to grab one as my bike and I headed out of the house this afternoon.

Yes, this tree really does have a face! Just as I leaned my bike against the mailbox so I could walk closer to the tree, the woman who lives there came out. She said that her daughter has faces on all of the trees around her house and insisted that this tree needed one too. Funny.

Prize number two for heading over to this house today was that I really thought I was seeing things when the woman of the house came into the yard. Nope, it wasn't my imagination. She was accompanied by a little bunny!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Visiting plus playing with cameras

A quiet weekend made for visiting...

I headed to Utica for the weekend to share some time with my folks, and with (crazy) Bailey too.

You do know that he runs the household, don't you? You haven't met Bailey? He's a somewhat wacky dachshund.
It was a visiting weekend, and as seems to be my now normal habit, my cameras came along for the ride. I hoped to try to capture some photos of hummingbirds, but wouldn't you know that they decided not to visit this weekend. I suppose they were off drinking the nectar from real flowers as opposed to the hummingbird feeders.

It was a good visit, sharing time together, and unfortunately sharing worries too. It's too bad that sending healing (or soothing) wishes on the behalf of a friend or family member (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't ease pain or cure diseases.
And yes, Neal, of course it's you I'm referring to. For what it's worth, I'm still sending hope and good wishes your way.

Are we going for a walk now? Oh, we just came back? Well I guess I can hang out on the deck for a while.

More pictures of Bailey from this weekend can be found at

Bright spots of color emerged from the green along the side of the road.

Isn't it nice to have a pool for drinking and swimming too?

More pictures of flowers along with a few birds & a mischevious chipmunk can be found at

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

By foot with macro...

...macro lens & camera, that is!

Home after work... the sun was shining, the pavement was dry, the temperature was pleasant. It was really hard not to roll out on my bike, but four days in a row with a total of 173 miles under my wheels means that I deserve a rest. A real rest would have been smart, but my feet were anxious to walk.

I headed out with a small pack on my back, carrying a camera equipped with a macro lens. There are some beautiful flowers blooming in gardens, just waiting to be captured by my camera. I've been grabbing shots of the flowers with my little camera; now it feels like the time is right to experiment with my SLR and macro lens. Somehow while the SLR often joins me on bike rides, I usually only have one lens with me; changing lenses while standing by my bike doesn't always seem like a good idea.

Fun, but I have to admit that it's truly a challenge to capture a close up of a flower when there is a constant wind blowing.

Beautiful, purple...

...and a focus challenge. This close, and I have to choose which piece of the gone-to-seed flower that I want to be in focus!

You're right! Looking back even I am having a hard time believing I was standing there with my camera trying to capture a photo of a bee.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Riding, resting

It was a slow ride day today...

The forecast called for possible thunderstorms this afternoon, so I headed out on my bike early. I really did overdo it yesterday; I'm normally a slow and steady rider but I'd have to say I was slower than usual today. No matter, it was a good day.

Riding, stopping occasionally for pictures, coming home to a relaxing afternoon, watching the Tour de France, reading, relaxing.

...and it still hasn't started raining yet!

A beautiful flower cooperating with my camera...

...and another too

A house celebrating the 4th

As I was wandering to the New Hampshire coast on Sunday, I spotted this house all decked out for the 4th of July. That's one big flag!

Monday, July 03, 2006

A little over the top

I think - no I know - that I overdid it (just a little bit) today. It was a workday sandwiched between a weekend and a holiday. The weather forecast for today was hot & sunny and the forecast for tomorrow seems to imply that there will be thunderstorms.

It was a ride-to-work day for me, which usually means I ride between 36 and 40 miles. But somehow my normal mileage jumped out of the window... It was a quiet work day, and the few of us who were in all decided that an early end to the day was in order. That meant I rolled out of the door with plenty of time to ride. My total for today? 51 miles!

Yes, I do ride that far on non-work days - but it was a bit of a stretch for me with that kind of riding sandwiching a 7-hour work day.

I'm a tired but happy cyclist tonight.

Pavement returns!

What a nice morning surprise...

The most direct route to work heads down route 125 from my house, but there are stretches of that road that are in the process of getting widened. The highway constructors chose to groove those sections in preparation for repaving, but they haven't yet finished some work along the shoulders. The road has been in a grooved state for quite a few weeks now (or is it months? I think I'm losing track of time) - and that is definitely not a pleasant surface for riding.

My alternate route is to cut over to route 28 and follow it down to where it joins 125. That's about a half of a mile further, but a very acceptable alternate. Well, about a week and a half ago that road was grooved too, in preparation for resurfacing. I had visions of bad road surfaces for the summer, and I was about to try to find another route to work. Don't get me wrong, I know lots of alternates, but they would extend my commute by a number of miles. I don't mind the extra miles on the way home, but I'd prefer not to do that to myself in the morning.

It was a very nice surprise this morning to find that route 28 is now sporting a new smooth surface. That made my morning commute by bike doubly enjoyable - there were very few cars on the road on this non-holiday Monday sandwiched between a weekend and a holiday Tuesday, and the new road surface was very welcome. It's amazing that such a small thing can make me happy, isn't it?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Variations on a (coastal) theme

Today was a day when I should have ignored the weather forecast. Instead, I used it to decide when & where to ride, choosing to believe the starting times of the predicted rain. That caused a bit of wet riding for me, since instead of heavy rain in the afternoon there were showers and rain in the morning. Sometimes I guess I just can't win!

I headed for the New Hampshire coast, but I changed my usual (ride) start location so I could avoid riding through the center of Hampton Beach. My entry to the coast was from North Hampton via route 111; that road was a real pleasure to ride. One of these days I guess I'll have to take that road in the other direction too. I thought that I'd test out a loop ride today, heading north along the coast and then wandering inland on the way back to my car. Not only did I not avoid the weather, I also ignored my own plans to try that loop, sticking with an out-and-back ride staying along the coast as long as possible.

The rain? It was dry when I rolled away from my car, and it stayed dry until I hit the coast. What's that? Sprinkles came and visited for a while, changing to heavier sprinkles for a while and then stopping. The pavement dried out quickly (must have been because of the steady wind), no water falling from the sky for a while. Becoming gray. Getting darker. Sprinkles. Ah, time to turn around. Sprinkles continue. Getting heavier. Rain. More rain. Time to stop and pull the raincover over the bag that is protecting my cameras. Ride on. Sky getting lighter. No more water from the sky! It even dried out enough for me to pull out my cameras again.

But - my poor bike was caked in sand by the end of my ride. Even though I know it's going to happen, I'm still surprised by the amount of road muck that flings itself off the road in the rain and that insists on sticking to my bike. Luckily, it had dried by the time I got back to the car, and most of it could easily be brushed off. Home again, time for a good cleaning and lube.

It's funny though - the predicted heavy rain for later in the day never materialized.

My camera jumped out to grab a picture of these beautiful animals.

Before the rain, watching a kite dance through the sky...

...and catching a sea gull soaring overhead

The water lilies may clog up the ponds, but I still find them beautiful

Pictures! Downeast Maine & puffins too

Camera clicking away, visions of Downeast Maine...

Sorting, throwing out, keeping pictures... I've placed what I think are the best of the bunch in my smugmug galleries. You can access the top level gallery for my short trip to Downeast Maine at I've split the photos into four galleries, and I've included the individual addresses here just in case you want to go directly to a gallery:

Heres a sampling of photos from the galleries.

A little puffin interaction!

View from the top of Raven's Nest, Schoodic Peninsula

Water on rose petals... beautiful

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Against the wind

Listen. Can you hear the wind?

It was a beautiful sunny day today, but the wind was constant, coming from the south and west. My planned ride for today headed north and east from home, which meant I would be fighting the wind on the entire return trip. I suppose I could have changed directions, but somehow that didn't appeal to me. Coming home was noticeably against the wind, a bit of a fight, good exercise...

These geese were clearly a good excuse for a camera stop!

I couldn't believe how many geese were prancing across this field. I wish that it was possible to get a little closer - but crossing a fence onto private property just didn't seem like the right thing to do. Watching from afar had to suffice for today.