And the Moon Rises

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
Anton Chekhov

One of my favorite bicycle rides is the Full Moon Ride – put on most months by the fine folks at Bike Friendly Downtown Dallas. The idea is for a group to meet downtown and to ride down into the Trinity River Bottoms and watch the full moon rise over the buildings of downtown. here and here It’s a lot of fun – especially since the trails in the river bottoms are a blast to ride at night – but it’s not exactly a place where most folks feel safe riding alone in the dark.

I struggle with a desire to take photos of the moon rising over the city – or of the folks riding their bikes. It’s a struggle – the lighting conditions are not good (it’s dark) and I still have not figured out a good way to carry a decent tripod on my bicycle.

There was a ride last month, on Friday the 13th, and thinking about it – I went out and bought an inexpensive portable tripod. Unfortunately you get what you pay for and the thing was not sturdy enough for timed exposures with my heavy DSLR. Only one shot – taken before the sun had completely disappeared (and before the moon appeared) was even good enough to stave off deletion.

Downtown Dallas from the Trinity River Bottoms – click to enlarge

I see there is another full moon this weekend. Here are the details via MoonCalc. I might skip taking my camera this time and simply try to enjoy myself. That is always the problem with carrying a camera – you can get so caught up in taking a photo you miss the fun of life itself.

On the other hand, I need to take my good tripod out and practice night photography. Once I get the bugs worked out and some skills developed maybe I’ll give it a go again.

Kite

“A kite is a victim you are sure of.
You love it because it pulls
gentle enough to call you master,
strong enough to call you fool;
because it lives
like a desperate trained falcon
in the high sweet air,
and you can always haul it down
to tame it in your drawer.

A kite is a fish you have already caught
in a pool where no fish come,
so you play him carefully and long,
and hope he won’t give up,
or the wind die down.

A kite is the last poem you’ve written
so you give it to the wind,
but you don’t let it go
until someone finds you
something else to do.”
― Leonard Cohen, The Spice Box of Earth

Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

Dallas, Texas
(click to enlarge)

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
― Anaïs Nin

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)