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Posts Tagged ‘Raleigh’

We’ve had a pretty nice spring so far here in Raleigh. The temperatures were below average for a long time, but have now risen back to what would be expected for this time of year… and the pollen has followed suit.

Pollen collects in the storm drainage water after a spring rain storm

Pollen collects in the storm drainage water after a spring rain storm

Every spring the numerous loblolly pine trees in the area start to pollenate, and the above picture is the result. A dry day and a slight breeze results in a yellow haze that engulfs the city. In the picture above, several days-worth of pollen were washed away in an overnight rain storm. I washed my car that night, and it was covered in pollen withing only a few hours. It gets pretty gross.

Despite the pollen, we’ve been spending as much time as we can on our bikes trying to get back into “cycling shape”. The Neuse River Trail near our house was under construction for most of 2012. Now we can enjoy it. The trail comes to an end eventually (picture below), but we can ride over 20 miles on an “out-and-back” ride from our driveway on the trail. This is great for us as we get our cycling legs back, since the trail follows the river and is mostly flat and traffic free. Once we’re back in shape we’ll be attacking the hills of the rural, eastern Wake County roads as soon as we can.

Stacy Cycling to the end of the Neuse River Trail

Stacy Cycling to the end of the Neuse River Trail

We’ll probably sign up for some charity rides this summer. We’ll have to look into what rides (and causes) are offered in the area, and we’ll plan and train accordingly.

Colby Cycling on the Neuse River Trail

Colby Cycling on the Neuse River Trail

In other springtime-related news, last weekend we went on a camping trip with the Soil and Water Conservation Society at NCSU, a club that I’ve been very involved with over the last four years. We went camping one night, then got some fishing in the next day. I caught a crappie and a white bass. Frank, my friend that was fishing with me, caught a small, small mouth bass. We also saw a hawk catch a fish right out of the water, several bald eagles, and a small cotton mouth snake while we were fishing. Here’s a picture of the group that camped overnight:

The 2013 SWCS at NCSU camping trip campers (Stacy was there, but was behind the camera).

As you can tell, we had our pooches there, and another student had his great big German Sheppard there too.

It was nice to get some camping in again. The dogs loved it too, although they thought it got a little cold at night.

That’s our news for now. Thanks for stopping by.

 

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With Le Tour de France officially underway this weekend, it’s only fitting that I put up a cycling-related post today. Maximum temperature records are being broken up and down the east coast this weekend with a huge heat wave. It’s been around 105 degrees F for the last two days here in Raleigh, and it will likely reach those temperatures again today. Stacy and I usually get a ride or two in on the weekends. We didn’t want the heat to get in our way so we set out early yesterday and today around 6:30 AM.

Yesterday we went out on a greenway trail that goes through Raleigh. It was about a 27 mile round trip. The night before the heat caused a huge wind storm that swept through town around midnight. There were lots of broken branches. The greenway trail was covered with debris that made the trip a little more difficult than expected. We also had other obstacles that were construction related.

Summertime is for bike path construction work too!

The above picture is an excavator that was parked on the trail. A crew has been working on sewer lines for a while along that trail, and this must have been part of that project. My dad works with these machines on a daily basis with his work. He is also a cyclist so I had to post that pic on his Facebook page and complain about the “darn construction workers”. Parts of the trail were very quiet, and other parts were busy with cyclists, runners, and walkers trying to get their workouts in before the temperature rose.

Today we went out early again. There is a trail behind our community that goes along the Neuse River. It is in the process of being paved, but there is just enough pavement that we can walk down to the paved part, and follow it all of the way to a new pedestrian bridge that crosses the river, and ride on into the Wake County countryside.

When we first went onto the trail, the first sign of life we saw was a man (who I presume was homeless) “popping a squat” on the side of the trail. It was very awkward so we just rode on at a faster pace. That was a weird way to start a ride. We continued onto the country roads and found this gem of a homemade slip-n-slide.

Homemade Slip-n-slide along our cycling route this morning

It is a kids playhouse with which they added some tarps and plastic to the slide, and dug out a “channel” into their front yard to make for one huge slip-n-slide. That family definitely found a fun way to beat the heat. You can’t have fun like that when you live in an HOA neighborhood.

The rest of this morning’s ride went well. It was a shorter ride, about 22 miles. It was still a good ride nonetheless.

We’re training up for a couple charity rides we’re participating in this month. On July 14 we will be riding in the Velo4Yellow ride, which is a benefit ride put on by a local cycling club to benefit the Livestrong Foundation. They have 30, 60, and 100 mile options. It’s a hilly course in the countryside north of Raleigh, so we’re opting for the 60 mile route.

On July 28 we will be riding in the Cup-n-Cone Tour in the Cary, NC area. It is a 67 mile ride with lots of good food and good ice cream. That ride benefits the MS Society.

I think July is a good month for Cycling around the world, from North Carolina with rides like the ones I mentioned, to Iowa with RAGBRAI, to France with Le Tour.

We’ve been busy lately, but we’ve had several big events that need to be blogged about. Look for those later today as I stay indoors with the AC during this heat wave.

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Millbrook Lodge #97 (photo by Bro. Dave Glackin)

 

I recently joined Millbrook Masonic Lodge #97 here in Raleigh. I now have dual membership with Millbrook Lodge and the Lodge I was raised in, North Star Lodge #447. Millbrook Lodge has a long and interesting history. It started in what is now the town of Wake Forest. At that time, there was a town close by called Forestville, which was located in Wake County. The lodge was charted in 1827 as Wake Forest Lodge #97 and is actually the namesake for the town of Wake Forest, which Wake Forest University was later named after. If you are interested in more of the lodge’s history you can read about it here.

The lodge holds two barbecues annually as fundraisers for the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford, and the Masonic and Eastern Star Home of North Carolina, a nursing home in Greensboro, NC.  Millbrook Lodge held their fall barbecue yesterday, Friday, October 8th. The brethren have been planning for the barbecue for months and they’ve been prepping food all week. I stopped by Thursday night to help prep some of the meat and some other random odd jobs. On Friday I picked up 10 orders of barbecue to deliver to the NCSU Dept. of Soil Science then I headed out to the lodge around 2PM to help with the cleanup efforts.

This was my first time making barbecue “Eastern Carolina Style”, so I’ll elaborate on the process a bit. The pork butts are defatted, then sliced on the fat side to add more surface area for the seasoning. Then each chunk of meat (from the shoulder of the pig) is oiled and seasoned, then kept in a cooler until it’s time to grill. The meat was put on the grills in batches, starting on Thursday night around 7Pm. The temperature is brought to 350 degrees then is kept there for 4.5 hours. Then the pork butts are put in a cooler where their own temperature and steam cooks the meat even more until it falls right off of the bone. The meat is then “massaged” on the cutting table, then chopped to break up the meat and check for small bones. It’s then put into a metal tray, mixed with boiling vinegar-based barbecue sauce, wrapped in foil, and put into a new cooler until its ready to be served – still right-off-of-the-grill hot. The chicken is grilled until done, then dunked in a boiling vat of barbecue sauce and kept in a cooler until its ready to be served. It was interesting to see the whole process. It was not interesting, nor fun, to clean up afterwards though but we got it done. Cleanup started around 3PM and I didn’t leave until 10 when it was all done.

The barbecue was a fun and very tasty event and the money is given to some very worthy causes. I was glad I could help out and I guess you could say I earned my “knife and fork degree”. Below are some photos from the event. Unfortunately I forgot to get a pick of the crowd in the lodge. They really fed a lot of people in this event.

Picasa Album: http://picasaweb.google.com/106430300860637143481/BarbecueFall2010?feat=directlink

Facebook (same pics): http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2465623&id=16908229&l=9d44e7fbf2

 

 

The Meat Cutting, Oiling, and Seasoning Assembly Line

 

I also want to add a plug for my home lodge’s upcoming food, fund-raising event. On November 7th, the North Star Lodge #447 in Estherville will be holding their Annual Pancake day. The money raised by this event will be put towards that lodge’s scholarship fund, and for the maintenance of the Lodge. Please attend if you’ll be in the area and have an apatite!

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