Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Locals Only

A road by any other name would ride as sweet.

Most roads have numbers, but when you’re out riding look for the local names—Hawstone, Axeman, Ridge—the ones you need to ask for. Some of their names appear on the maps. Others are local designations with no real beginning or end, just a section of blacktop between here and there.

When I first started road tripping, there was a certain alchemy to finding your way. You asked your dad and his fishing buddies, or old guys at gas stations. In my case, they were one and the same. After a while, you wise up, keep a topo in the car, and hope for the best.

Now every spleen rattling mile of back road is on the Web—packaged neatly along with distances, estimated trip times, and recommended restaurants. If there was anything that ever sucked the fun out of being lost, it’s Google Maps—and the GPS chip in your phone. Throw them both away and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Summer Classic Has Arrived

I stopped at a little restaurant in Renovo for a late breakfast on Saturday. Blueberry pancakes, a side of bacon, and a cup of coffee—my usual road trip fare. It wasn’t until I was ready to pay my bill that I noticed the jugs of tea brewing in the window.

Sun tea always reminds me of summer. You couldn’t go to anyone’s house after Memorial Day without seeing a gallon jug brewing on the back porch. Sweet, lemony, and strong, and when mixed with just the right amount of Kool-Aid, it became a deadly combination of sugar and caffeine. It was the high-octane mix that fueled our summers.

My taste for sweet drinks has lulled over the years. A good drink on a hot day now means a slice of lime, a jigger of gin, and a little tonic. Let the kids suck up the sweet stuff. I’ll keep cool with the other summer classic.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mail Pouch

This is what the old guys at camp chewed.

Nearly every back road of my childhood had one of these signs on the side of a barn. Renovo has two. Painted on downtown buildings, the advertisements have nearly faded out of existence. I miss advertising like this.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Choose Wisely

Your choice of ride is a direct reflection of your personality—most of the time.

Pink. Fun. Retro. I’m thinking cat-eye glasses, rind stones, and a leopard print scarf. Of course I could be wrong. I wonder who owns this little gem, and what she—yes, I'm gender stereotyping here—thinks it says about her.

I like it.