Didn’t get any photos on my morning ride, but did manage a few snaps during our day trip to Savannah, Georgia. We didn’t see much (limited by my mother-in-law’s low mobility), but we did have a great tour of Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace/family home (she founded Girl Scouts of America), and a short respite in Wright Square. Most of the visit was spent on a tourist trolly bus (my least preferred way to explore a place).
Looking out on Calibogue Sound from Hilton Head Island during my morning ride today.
A whole lotta boats at the Palmetto Bay Marina on Hilton Head Island, taken from the top of the Charles E. Fraser Bridge.
After some lunch tacos, I was riding my bike past Maymont and around to Kansas Avenue when I saw first one, then two, then at least half a dozen deer ambling beside a house. There were several large-racked bucks, a few younger fellas, and at least one or two does. Once they spotted me they picked up the pace toward the woods or I’d have stopped for a photo.
On my way back from Church Hill I had rounded the corner from East Leigh Street onto North Third Street when I noticed something on my shirt just on the edge of my field of vision. I hadn’t felt it, just caught a glimpse. It was a fuzzy, fairly large honey bee (definitely not a bumble bee). I was rolling at about 15 miles per hour and didn’t want a sting on my belly, so I sort of gently pulled my shirt out quickly to get the bee to fly away while simultaneously putting some distance between any potential frightened sting and my flesh.
Last night I stopped into the original downtown location of Triple Crossing Brewery to grab some suds in the middle of a bike ride. I heard a pretty awesome song on the speakers and Shazam’d it to find out who it was. The next song came on and sounded like the same band, so I checked it out and, yes, it seemed they were playing the whole album from what turned out to be Montreal indie rock outfit, Plants and Animals. Specifically, the 2020 album The Jungle was tickling my ears.
This album has just the right elements of Arcade Fire, Talking Heads, Radiohead, and miscellaneous Scandinavian electro-pop outfits. All of this combines for a sound that is at once contemporary and reminiscent, at times, of some more obscure 60s rock tunes that Wes Anderson might use on one of his soundtracks.
CONTENT WARNING: health, body image
I recently posted about some of my health improvements. My doctor, of course, focused a lot on my losing weight for a while, but I can’t keep a scale in my house; it’s bad for my mental health. I focused on healthier eating and exercise. Sure, I expected that I’d lose some weight over time as part of those behavioral changes, but I wasn’t trying to lose a number. I wasn’t chasing a target weight.
But I did have two goals related to losing weight.
Rollercoasters, man. I love ’em. I remember a rare vacation with my family when I was six-and-a-half years old, traveling to Williamsburg, VA (years before we’d move to the Commonwealth). We visited Busch Gardens where I was *furious* at my height preventing me from riding The Loch Ness Monster. Back home in New Jersey we lived a short distance from Six Flags Great Adventure where I longed for the day when I was tall enough to ride the classic wooden coaster, Rolling Thunder.
As a teen, I eventually travelled to Kings Dominion north of Richmond and finally enjoyed a slice of what rollercoasters had to offer. Anaconda, The Hurler (RIP), Shockwave (also RIP), Outer Limits, and especially Rebel Yell (now the less problematically-named Racer 75), running backward. I loved them all. I was fortunate that my wife also loves rollercoasters, but unfortunate that I was already starting to get a bit bigger shortly after we married.
A few years later, my wife and I spent the weekend in Williamsburg with a couple of college friends. We visited Busch Gardens and went on all sorts of rides. For the most part I had no issues until we went to ride Apollo’s Chariot. This was the first coaster I encountered with a deep bucket seat, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the restraint to lock closed. After fussing for several minutes, I had to get off the ride while my wife and friends went ahead without me.
The humiliation! The shame I felt, in front of my wife, friends, and a thousand strangers (who, let’s be honest, probably didn’t even notice) having to get out of the train because I was too big to ride. I wasn’t getting any smaller, and that experience was so scarring that I stopped trying to ride most thrill rides, let alone rollercoasters. For *years*.
Once my daughter was a few years old, our family started visiting Busch Gardens on the regular – mostly because we had access to free lodging in Williamsburg on occasion (thanks to my mother-in-law), but also because Valerie and I both remembered loving the rides and park itself. Even when our daughter was too young for rides, my wife would still enjoy the rollercoaster in the park. I mostly just hung out with our kid. But then that kid started growing up and started to love rollercoasters, too. Here was something we both loved, but I still couldn’t share it with her directly. I don’t resent my wife riding with her all those times – they should be able to share this excitement, too. But this was one of many things I couldn’t share with my family because of my health at the time.
The first weight/size goal I had is pretty vain, honestly. No, I don’t want a “beach body” or to look good naked. But when you’re over a certain size, you clothing options kind of suck. Even if you find something from a quality and/or reputable brand, I feel like clothing designers and manufacturers sort of give up on actual structure and fit for larger body sizes. I wanted to be able to buy clothes that fit well—not because they flatter my body—but because I wanted comfortable clothing without feeling like I’m walking around in a denim pillowcase. Fine, I’m starting to find this goal fulfilled. Hooray for me, I guess.
The *second* goal, however, may sound more silly. But it really was for me to lose enough weight that I could ride rollercoasters with my daughter. I missed them enough on my own, but I wanted so badly to be able to share that with my kid that it’s one of the main reasons I wanted to get a bit smaller. And today we visited Kings Dominion for the first time this year.
Several of the marquee rides in the park have test seats now, to help avoid exactly the humiliation I felt in my 20s. Last fall I couldn’t quite get some of these test seats to work for me, but I could feel and see that I was close. Today, I passed every test seat. We were at the park for nearly 6 hours (holy smokes, I’m tired), and I was able to ride old favorites that are still around, as well as some newer top-flight rollercoasters. And I rode every one of them with my daughter.
It was a spectacular day.
I don’t know a lot about Beau Miles (if I learn he’s problematic or something this post is coming down *so* fast) and I don’t subscribe to his YouTube channel, but every now and then I watch one of his delightfully eccentric documentary adventures. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about this latest video that delighted me for its full 21 minutes. Maybe it’s the way he carried out another eccentric project. Or the way he used two completely divergent activities to break up the monotony of each other over a long period of time. Enjoy.
Today I watched the most recent stream/interview from The Path Less Pedaled (a favorite channel of mine) where Russ spoke with photographer and cyclist Erik Mathy. Mathy has a number of projects and professional jobs involving the cycling world, but what was most fascinating was his preference for and cycle touring with large format photography gear (and some other film goodness, mostly). Whether it’s a Travelwide or an Intrepid, with a classic or homemade lens, he’s keeping film alive while he gets from point A to B on two wheels. The perfect intersection of my two favorite hobbies!