Hammocks & Donald Trump

PB nike ride 01-17-2015Road Warriorette Anne and I took a nice bike ride on a coolish Florida Saturday. I paused to take a photo, then looked on the other side of the causeway that leads from the West Palm Beach mainland to the rarefied island of Palm Beach. There was a young woman reading a book suspended in a hammock between two palm trees. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

I abandoned Anne to get a closer look. A lot of bike tourists like hammocks because they are light and pack up very small, but I always thought of the big, heavy ones I remember from kidhood.

Two heads pop up

PB nike ride 01-17-2015When I got within range, TWO heads popped up. I wasn’t expecting that.

I didn’t get their names, but I DID get the name of the hammock, which packs into the little square pouch hanging from the front of the hammock. It ends up about the size of a softball. They said this was an ENO, I didn’t know enough at the time to ask if it was a double or a single, but I’m guessing it’s a single.

Lots of favorable reviews

The reviews for the Eagles Nest Outfitters SingleNest Hammock on Amazon are almost universally favorable. The women said it’s a snap to put it up and it doesn’t harm the trees. What I didn’t know to ask them was if the straps that go around the tree came with it. From the comments I read online and the photo of the hammock, they look like they are accessories. The doggone straps cost almost half as much as the hammock, and probably could be rigged on your own, but these sure looked easy to use.

Just south of the huge Kapok tree that is now off-limits to the public, darned if we didn’t see another young woman hanging between two palm trees along the Lake Trail. Her hammock was a no-name from the Dominican Republic, but it looked and performed like the ENO. She said she likes to stretch out in it to study.

Big pile of sand

PB nike ride 01-17-2015The public beach in Palm Beach was covered with huge piles of sand that had to have been close to three stories tall. Kids and adults were clambering all over them. This little girl was playing Queen of the World.

I was afraid she was going to take a tumble, but she enjoyed taking a step, feeling the sand slide out from under her, then rinse and repeat all the way to the bottom.

Donald Trump missile strike?

PB nike ride 01-17-2015On our southbound leg down Flagler Boulevard in West Palm Beach, we spotted some strange contrails.

Donald Trump has been in the news lately because he filed a $100 million dollar lawsuit alleging that Palm Beach International Airport is deliberately flying planes over his property in Palm Beach. Considering that the airport has been there longer than Trump has been alive, and that the property, Mar-A-Lago is almost directly east of PBIA’s main east/west runway, it should come as no surprise to him that jets, including his own personal jet, take off or land that way, depending on wind direction.

Figuring that his suit will probably be thrown out as having no merit, I thought maybe he had decided to take out a few jets to send a message. The vertical trail looks like it’s coming from about the right spot to have been launched from Mar-A-Lago.

Kapok Tree Blocked

PB Kapok Tree 01-17-2015You know from yesterday’s manatee post that Road Warriorette Anne in in town for a few weeks to escape the cold in Texas. Saturday morning, she walked on the beach with Wife Lila, then in the afternoon she suggested we do one of our favorite bike rides – the Lake Trail in Palm Beach.

It’s about a 19.33 mile round trip from the house to the Palm Beach Inlet, and I haven’t been on a bike in so long I’m embarrassed, so I wasn’t disappointed when she said, “Let’s just go to the Kapok tree by the Flagler Museum and call it a day.” (That made it a 10.35 mile ride.)

The first thing we saw when we rounded the corner by the big tree was a gate over the walkway, some fresh fencing and a sign that said “NO PUBLIC ACCESS.”

Palm Beach doesn’t care much for us

Sarah, Matt and Malcolm Steinhoff with kapok tree in Palm Beach 11-09-2008Palm Beach isn’t fond of outsiders (who don’t have ostentatious wealth). They make it difficult to get access to the beach, and parking is expensive and closely monitored. Forget about parking on side streets. So far as I know, there are no public restrooms in town (although the guys and gals at the fire stations will give you a break if you ask).

Still, restricting access to a landmark like the Kapok tree, which was seen by Henry Morrison Flagler’s guests as they were pulled by it in Afromobiles at the beginning of the 20th Century, is a particular affront. It must have just happened, because everybody who came by, including parents who wanted to let their kids climb on it, was surprised and outraged.

Son Matt played in its huge roots when he was a little boy, and he brought HIS son, Malcolm, and Sarah there for a family portrait in 2008.

Photo gallery of the Kapok tree

It didn’t take long to come up with a representative sample of photographs showing people enjoying the tree. I’ve posed out-of-state bike tourists with it, and photographed scores of kids (and adults) marveling at the living landmark. There was almost always someone there when I’ve ridden by it.

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

Riverbend Park Bike Ride

Anne Rodgers Riverbend Park 02-25-2014_6555I see SE Missouri may be looking at another wave of ice and snow, so I ALMOST hate to post this. Friends Jan Norris and George Primm have been talking up riding their bikes on the trails in Palm Beach County’s Riverbend Park near Jupiter, Florida.

When Anne Rodgers sent me a message saying she had an afternoon free for a ride, I set aside stuff I was supposed to be doing and decided to see if I could still ride a bike. For the record, the trail, is beautiful. It’s not long, but there are lots of loops and it is very peaceful. (At least on a weekday when very few people were around.) Click on the photos to make them larger.

I USED to ride a lot

Anne Rodgers Riverbend Park 02-25-2014_6558Before I started this blog, I did one on PalmBeachBikeTours.com. I was riding as much as 3,000 miles a year, with metric centuries (62 miles) a couple times or more a month and a century (100-miles in a day) a couple times a year.

Interestingly enough, I rode a lot more when I was working than after I retired.

  • This blog takes a lot of time and travel.
  • My long-distance partner, Mary, crashed while not wearing a helmet, fractured her skull in five places and hasn’t been able to get on a bike since.
  • Riding partners Osa and Anne have real lives, so scheduling rides is a lot more complicated and we never rode enough together to do long distances.
  • I don’t deal with heat as well as I once did, so I switched a lot of my riding to nights. Don’t worry: I’m more visible at night than in the daytime.
  • I have a feeling like a pebble in my sock when I ride more than about 35 miles. The foot doc gave it a fancy name, but it boiled down to I don’t have the padding around my toes I once did.

Trail is mostly packed shell rock

Anne Rodgers Riverbend Park 02-25-2014_6559My Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike has relatively wide tires that rode very well on the hard-packed shell rock trail.

Here’s part of the account I sent to Curator Jessica when she asked how my ride went: I am severely diminished.

The first loop was a beautiful shaded trail with abundant wildlife. Then Anne, bless her heart, (an old Southern expression) suggested we ride another trail. She, being young and eager, led the way. THAT trail led under a bridge and then into single track mountain bike country that took us to a part of trail with water and ruts that could have been called the Grand Canyon had that name not already been taken.

Shell rock turns to grass to sand

That trail changed from packed shell rock to grass. Fortunately, that didn’t last long. Unfortunately, the next segment was patches of sugar sand with stretches of mud and water. We had strayed onto an equestrian trail.

Anne is a twig. I looked at Anne’s tire tracks. She was sinking in about half an inch. I’m two Annes and was plowing a rut. I was operating at  wobble speed or less and my heart rate monitor was approaching the line marked “Red Fountain.”

I told Anne that I was on the verge of bonking and needed to fuel the furnace to tide me over until we could find a nice place to dive into the sub sandwich she had brought along. We each had an energy gel that is about like a gummy worm in consistency.

We hadn’t gone very far when I got impatient and bit down on the gel. On my second bite, there was a very un-gel-like crunch. I told Anne to hold up a minute while I fished around in my mouth. Just as I had suspected, I had pulled a dental crown loose.

I ended up pushing my bike about half a mile because it was too soft to ride.

Deer were a nice surprise

Riverbend Park_02-25-2014_6588Once we got back on the main loop again, we made much better time more comfortably. We weren’t going so fast, though, that we missed this herd of deer chowing down on grasses. They showed interest, but not fear, even when I got to within about 50 feet of them.

Another rider spots the deer

Riverbend Park 02-25-2014_6594Two guys on mountain bikes rode up while I was shooting the deer. They were nice enough to stand back to keep from spooking them, but I motioned the one guy forward so he’d have a better chance at getting a shot. The deer drifted away slowly, but they must be used to seeing people in the park.

The parking lot we started from is also where there is a canoe concession to float the Loxahatchee River. If you are in Florida and want to have a taste of what the region used to be like, Riverbend Park is the place to go. Just stay out of the sugar sand and don’t crunch down on a sticky energy gel.

Oh, by the way, right after the dentist got me all numbed up, he told me he wasn’t going to be able to reuse the old crown and asked if I wanted to discuss payment options. NOW would be a good time for you to click that big red button at the top left of the page to order something from Amazon to help me pay for my new crown.


Shari Tackles Palm Beach

Shari Stiver on bike ride in Palm Beach 1010-2013Friend Shari and Wife Lila have been touring South Florida while I’ve been trying to wrap up projects before hitting the road. I got a bunch of work done Wednesday, so I had a few hours free Thursday morning to take Shari on a short bike ride along Palm Beach’s Lake Trail.

When I mentioned that because I am folically challenged, I wear a Cool Max headsweat under my helmet to keep salty bodily fluids from splashing onto my glasses, she said she usually wraps a bandana around her forehead. Reaching into my back jersey pocket, I produced this souvenir from the Tour of Southern Rural Vistas. I didn’t notice the “Springtime” on the bandana until I edited the picture.

Where’s my Segway?

Shari Stiver on bike ride in Palm Beach 1010-2013A covey of Segways cruised by buzzing like a batch of angry bees while Shari was vamping next to this sculpture at the Four Arts Museum. “Why are we riding these? Why don’t have one of those?”

Some things don’t deserve an answer.

Feed it a kid first

Shari Stiver on bike ride in Palm Beach 1010-2013

No trip on the Lake Trail is complete without pausing at the huge kapok tree south of the Flagler Museum. We pulled up just about the same time a mother with several children arrived. When Shari started to elbow them aside, I said, “We find it works much better if we feed the tree a couple of kids before the first adult gets close to it.”

From the look on the mother’s face, I’m pretty sure my name has been added to some kind of registry in Palm Beach.