Dance Upon the Mountains Like a Flame

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
― W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

Wind Turbines Blackwell, Oklahoma (click to enlarge)

Wind Turbines
Blackwell, Oklahoma
(click to enlarge)

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Sunflowers

(click for full size image on flickr)

(click for full size image on flickr)

I have been working too much – working through the weekends. But the other day I happened to be off. A friend of mine from Austin had posted some amazing photographs of fields of sunflowers taken somewhere between here and there. She posted on Facebook that she was driving up to get some more shots and I was able to drop what I was doing and go there.

These were taken along Interstate 35 south of Dallas, near the little town of Forreston, exit mile 391. The fields bloom in June – and I ‘m not sure how long they will be there. They were starting to wither in the heat – so I suppose they will be harvested soon.

My friend had the foresight to bring a stepladder, which was necessary for the wide shots. The sunflowers are taller than you expect, over six feet high.

They are an amazing sight – photographs don’t do justice. There was a constant clot of cars that stopped along the Interstate to gawk at the flowers and stop and grab photos. I’ve got some more, I’ll post them in a few days.

(click for larger version on flickr)

(click for larger version on flickr)

River Bottom Bicycle Route

View from the high point of the Jefferson Viaduct Cycletrack, Trinity River, Dallas, Texas

View from the high point of the Jefferson Viaduct Cycletrack, Trinity River, Dallas, Texas

I have been struggling with a nasty something – maybe nothing more than a stubborn cold – since Christmas or so. I took a look at my notes (the good thing about obscessive journaling – I have notes going back decades) and realized I always get sick on the days between Christmas and New Year. Maybe it’s an allergy to not going to work.

At any rate, since I have been unable to breathe (that oxygen addiction – a nasty habit) and the weather outside has been frightful I haven’t been riding my bike. I really miss it. Yesterday, I was able to get out and ride around the neighborhood. Though I was obviously out of shape and unused to the saddle, it was fun. So today I decided to take a longer ride.

A while back, I went to the Nasher for a lecture on Nasher Xchange – an ambitious art installation that involves ten varied works all across the city. During the lecture, the artists and organizers repeatedly emphasized the size of Dallas, how it is all spread out, and how much driving is involved in getting to all of the sites of the exhibition. One inspiration for the Nasher Xchange is the Skulptur Projekte Münster – which is held every ten years. Munster is so much more compact that Dallas, however, and they talked about how much different it is to have a similar exhibition in a car-based city like Dallas.

This is all true, of course – but I take exception to the whole car thing. By combining a bicycle with the DART train, you can move all over the city – a little slower, of course, but in a more interesting way – without a car.

So I decided to visit the Nasher Xchange sites without use of a car. Some of them are not really permanent, so it may not work out, but eight at least are doable. The thing will end February 16 – so it’s time to get crackin’.

I’ve been to three so far. I’ll write blogs about them when I’m done. I’ve been thinking about dear sunset by Ugo Rondinone and how best to visit it by bicycle. It’s a multicolored wooden pier jutting out into Fishtrap Lake, in West Dallas. There is no train station nearby, so a substantial bike ride will be needed.

Another thing in my “Things to do” list for 2014 is to organize a bicycle ride. An idea turned over in my head – organize a bike ride from the 8th and Corinth DART station, down the Santa Fe Trestle Trail and then north along the gravel roads in the Trinity River Bottoms to Hampton Road, on to Fishtrap Lake, and then back. It’s a six and a half mile route, one way, thirteen miles total. Not too far for a recreational ride.

Trinity River, Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

Trinity River, Dallas, Texas
(click to enlarge)

The only thing was, I was not familiar with the route at all. There’s a lot of construction down there, and I wasn’t sure of the condition of those roads – would they be muddy? Too rough?

So I decided to do the ride today. And it was a blast. The roads are bumpy in some places (they are actually paved in a few) but nothing a fat tire bike couldn’t get through. The route is, of course, flat, and the scenery is pretty impressive. If you’ve never been in the Trinity River Bottoms, it’s a surreal mixture of vast open floodplain with giant city skyscrapers looming up on the horizon.

Trinity River Bottoms (click to enlarge)

Trinity River Bottoms
(click to enlarge)

The only negative was that it was very, very windy down there. Thirty mile per hour southerly winds made it a struggle going one way (though I barely had to pedal going the other). I was pretty worn out by the end. But that’s… well, if not rare… not an everyday condition.

So I think I’ll go ahead and set a date, start the thing in motion. Next weekend is already spoken for, but I’ll see if I can find a Saturday in there sometime.

Hope the weather is good.

My commuter bike along the gravel road in the Trinity River Bottoms (click to enlarge)

My commuter bike along the gravel road in the Trinity River Bottoms
(click to enlarge)