Friday, April 4, 2008

Working for the Weekend... Ride

Boy, its been a long week! This morning's alarm sounded at 4:35 just like every weekday morning. I'm whooped! I'm guessing I was in the shower for at least 3 or 4 minutes before I even opened my eyes. It's no wonder really. A short recap of the week includes:

Monday
I spent time at the hospital with Mom for her knee replacement surgery. I had after hours work to perform on our servers in the data center. I stopped work around 11:00 and still had to be at work early.
Tuesday
I spent time with Mom again today. The after hours work on the servers was completed and I was able to hit the sack around 11:30.
Wednesday
I was able to ride to work this day. On the way in I visited Mom, she was discharge this day. In the evening, I had a meeting that didn't end until 9:00pm and hit the hay around 10:00. On the way home I rode county roads for the last 25 miles of the commute and this time I slowed down (not much more than 45mph) and took my time, enjoying my surroundings.
Thursday
I was able to ride to work again. It seemed awfully cold in the morning. It was probably fatigue. 5½ to 6 hours sleep each night for the past several nights is taking its toll. I took the same route home last night and enjoyed the country side. After work I spent about 3 hours mixing sound for the band's rehearsal. We had an fun time, but it was 10:30 before I crawled into bed.
Today - Raining cats and dogs! It smells like worms and wet concrete outside but at least its warmer. There's a dinner and fund raiser we must attend tonight. If we can get home by 10:00 it'll be a miracle.

Busy, busy week. Sometimes I burn the candle at both ends. Sometimes I just slide it into the microwave! But tomorrow is the weekend. And there are 2 things I especially am looking forward to:

1) Sleeping in... to maybe 8:00am. I just can't seem to break the 4:30am wake up habit.
2) A group ride to the Ohio Amish country in Holmes and Tuscarawas counties.

Yepper. Two events (or in the case of item number 1, a non-event) for which I am soooo ready. And to put icing on this weekend cake, the weather is going to be spectacular! Spring has finally come to this neck of the woods and the temps are forecast to be in the mid to upper 60's for the next several days with the sun deciding to join the party, too! I have grown weary of the cold temperatures.

The riding group consists of several folks from the church and a few bike enthusiasts that probably fall into the friend of a friend category. Usually not more than a dozen motorcycles. The group leader and the sweeper are both experienced riders with several years under their belts and they are careful not to out ride or push those less experienced riders. They make this neophyte feel comfortable.

There are a couple of routes that will get the group to Sugarcreek, Ohio, all of them filled with twisties, most of them in excellent condition. We'll probably see Sugarcreek, Walnut Creek, Millersburg, and Killbuck. The plan is to ride up there and, (what else?) get something to eat then ride back. An afternoon ride, at most.

Twenty years ago I worked for a company that laid natural gas transmission lines and we spent 6 weeks during the fall in and around Walnut Creek. The area was special.

There were cars and trucks, of course, but lots of horse drawn vehicles, too. The corn fields were harvested by hand and the stalks were gathered and stacked. The "English" houses that we saw in town had been there since the 1960s, if one could judge by the architecture, but the farms were Amish with windmills and horses, and no wires running from pole to pole nor television antennas.

With all of the heavy digging equipment we used to lay the gas line parked all about and crossing pastures and property lines, it seemed like we were intruding into a domain in which we didn't belong.

But at least one Amish gentleman was happy to see us working. He approached me during a lunch break one day and with a heavy German accent asked how soon we would be connecting the gas line to the public elementary school in Walnut Creek. It seems he was the custodian at the school and he was tired of shoveling coal for the school's boilers.

Unfortunately, the line we were laying was only a transmission line and the hookup to customers in the area would not happen until the following spring. Yes, he was disappointed.

Were he still above ground today, which he may very well be, I think he might be disappointed still. We visited again a couple of years ago and had a difficult time finding the quaint, nostalgic, and slightly anachronistic village of 20 years ago. Development has encroached here, too, with hotels, and eateries, and a retirement and assisted living center replete, I'm sure, with all the amenities including cable TV.

There were souvenir shops selling crafts and quilts and furniture stores selling "Amish" oak furnishings that were probably manufacture in a factory in Indiana.

I know, however, that somewhere beneath all of the commercialized exterior the Amish lifestyle still exists. It's just not found on Main Street.

I'll have pictures and a story to share after the weekend. I'm keeping the cheese and meats for myself.

Ride safe.

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