Was I supposed to do anything today? I couldn’t remember, so I made up an answer: No. Then, I rolled my bike out of the garage and went for a little ride.
First, I rode a route from my house straight up Monona Drive and Atwood Avenue to Walter Street, where I could catch the Capital City Trail into town. I don’t like riding in the road, for lots of very good reasons. For instance: Monona Drive is in about the worst shape of any city road, including the ones that are dug up. There are potholes and pothole patches all along the right-hand side of the road, and I end up hitting almost every one of them because they’re either too big to miss or I’m crowded over there by traffic.
Or, for instance: I can ride pretty fast, but not so fast that the rest of the traffic doesn’t seem to be rocketing past me. It makes me a little twitchy when they do that, especially now that almost every vehicle on the road is a pickup truck big enough to make a county snow plow look cute and cuddly. Most drivers are surprisingly accommodating when it comes to making room for me on the road, but there are still people out there weaving all over their lane, the lane next to theirs and the lane of oncoming traffic while they’re texting. Hence the twitchiness.
But, as it turned out, riding straight up Monona Drive was the quickest way to get to the trail. For safety’s sake I’ve tried riding up the sidewalk, scofflaw that I am, but the sidewalk is in even worse shape than the road is so I can’t ride very fast. Also, I try to avoid hitting pedestrians. That adds a lot of time to the trip, too. And I’ve tried finding a route along the back roads, but that takes me on such a roundabout route no matter how I do it that it almost doubles the amount of time to get to the trail. So straight up Monona Drive it was.
Once on the Capital City Trail it was a quick and easy ride up to the Yahara River trail, which goes literally right past the back door of the building where I’ll start work a week from Monday. I tried to bike the trip as fast as I could today without cranking so hard that I made it uncomfortable – I don’t want to get to work all sweaty or totally crapped out. Elapsed time from door to door: thirty minutes. When I go slow, it takes forty-five. Now I’ve just got to make myself do it.
After the dry run I wended my way back to Willy Street to stop at Saint Vinnie’s thrift shop to see what goodies were lying around, waiting to be adopted and taken back to a good home. I found a Smith-Corona Coronet electric typewriter that would have made an interesting addition to my collection, if only my collection weren’t already too damned big, or I owned a pole barn along the highway where I could start a typewriter museum. There would have also been the problem of getting it home, since it didn’t fit in my backpack. I left this fantastic bargain for someone else to snap up.
Since there wasn’t anything else I felt a need to take home from St Vinnie’s I saddled up and headed down the street to take a few photos. My first target: the pharmacy across the street from St Vinnies that used to be Schaeffer’s. It’s just reopened in the last two or three weeks under new management and the sign over the door indicates it’s now a pharmacy and costume shop … because nothing says Halloween like prescription medicine, right?
Then there were the Pac Man ghosts. I don’t know if they have some special significance, or if someone working in a local print shop had a little extra time on their hands and they were just feeling playful. Either way, Blinky the Ghost first appeared on the boarded-up door of a house on the south end of Willy Street and, shortly after that, on the wall of Mother Fool’s coffee shop. That’s it. Nothing else I wanted to point out. Just wanted to snap the photos and blog about them, because it didn’t happen if you don’t blog about it.
I made just one more stop at Batch Bakehouse, because it was on the way home and I was getting hungry. I knew they baked deliciously fluffy baguettes, because we pick them up at the co-op all the time, but I didn’t know they also baked yummy muffins, rolls and other pastries. “Is that a blueberry muffin?” I asked, pointing at a fat, sugar-encrusted gut bomb in the display case.
“Blueberry and lemon,” the smiling young lady behind the counter answered. My tongue dropped from my mouth and I covered the countertop in drool. She correctly interpreted my response and sent me home with one.