“It would be naive to think that the problems plaguing mankind today can be solved with means and methods which were applied or seemed to work in the past.” – Mikhail Gorbachev
Posts Tagged With: biking
“Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction.” – Will Rogers
“I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.” – Anne Rice
“It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s a very rainy day here, perfect for daydreaming and reminiscing. There’s inside work to be done, however a link to a several week old MSN news article about an accident at an airport near McKinney, TX [history of McKinney] led me to a Google Maps search for its location since it is one I’m not familiar with. I grew up in that area but “things” have changed considerably since I lived there. It’s no wonder I’m not familiar with the airport mentioned, it was farmland when I cruised around those parts.
This search started me thinking about the tiny community where I spent a substantial portion of my youth, the little town of Altoga, located in the gentle rolling hills of northeast Texas, only a few miles from the airport mentioned in the news article.
When I was there the community consisted of 2 general stores – 1 in operation and 1 closed long ago (it is my understanding the closed one also housed/served as both a bank and a pharmacy), a doctor, a church building, a cemetery where several relatives I never knew are buried plus one I knew very well back in the day, an old yellow school bus where some of the senior residents played checkers to wile away their time, a handful of houses, and thousands of acres of farmland. I’m told there was also a public school which I don’t recall ever seeing, and several other businesses.
The Ray family, who also has family ties to Altoga, was generous enough to allow me to post a couple of pictures of the Altoga high school class from several decades ago. One is posted here and the other can be found on my Old School Cycling Facebook page along with several other article-related photos. Unfortunately I have been unable to locate any photos of the school building itself. Looking at this photo made me think… the youngest person in this photo would now be around 85 years old. That’s amazing! I can’t even begin to imagine the memories they would have of their youth. How the world has changed since that time.
For quite a few years the closed store still had a variety of items on its shelves, as well as a very heavily built “manual-style” cash register that still worked, and a rusted pot belly stove. Memory tells me the cash register was gold-colored, but it was probably brass or something similar. The picture here is exactly what I remember the register looking like. The store also had a couple of places in the back where you could sneak in if you were small enough, I was, or daring enough, ditto, to play with the cash register while imagining you were selling the dusty old bottles and boxes of goods to imaginary customers. I was sorely disappointed the day I found the access had been secured, and really crushed when I looked through a window some time later and saw most of the “play things” and the cash register had been removed. I don’t know if these things were stolen or taken away by whoever owned the property, but those are two days I’ll always remember.
My dad lived in Altoga as a youth, his girlfriend who later became his wife, lived on the far side of McKinney near Celina. His nickname at the time was “daddy-long-legs”. Seems appropriate since he stood about 6’6″ tall. If the stories he used to tell me about his days there were true, and I do believe they were, he was quite the rascal and I’m a chip off the old block. lol I’m particularly fond of one involving him, a neighbor and friend called “Poley”, a Model-A Ford truck (probably similar to the one pictured on my Old School Cycling Facebook page), a rope, and an outhouse. Need I say more? For those who are unfamiliar with the term “outhouse”… it’s a wooden (usually) outdoor restroom with no running water and only one or two seats.
There was also one about an old abandoned house used as sort-of a community theater, a drunk, and a Cold 45… the Peacemaker revolver, not the drink. Seems my dad “shot” the drunk during a performance he (my dad) was in. Actually the drunk just thought he’d been shot, but it was enough to temporarily sober him up. I guess his getting hung up in a barbed wire fence didn’t hurt the sobering up process any either. I made my own memories with that house in the mid to late 70’s. You might call it a haunting experience. I also remember my dad telling me about a tornado that hit just outside the nearby town of Blue Ridge causing substantial damage and killing almost an entire family of 9 or 10 members, and how the citizens of Altoga went to not only feed but to help the affected neighboring residents. They rebuilt a few houses and a couple of barns, re-strung barbed wire fences, and cleaned up debris, all for no pay of course, because it was the thing to do. That was a time when communities helped other communities, and neighbors helped neighbors.
One of her stories was about the time a neighbor hired some workers to bring in their crops. One of the workers decided he’d come into her house and “take advantage” of the women who lived there. Mama Sis was only in her early teens when she shot him dead with a Colt Navy pistol, a pistol she showed me, and kept, until the day she died despite my continued efforts to persuade her to let me buy it. She said it had belonged to her father during the Civil War and she could not part with it. Her family was terrified about the repercussions they were sure she would receive for the shooting, but after the sheriff heard the story he told them the worker had been trouble since he began working in the county, he believed the women’s story, and that nobody would cause any problems over her actions. I can’t imagine the relief they must have felt. Also, knowing Mama Sis, she had to have been really upset over taking a human life.
I’m going to shift gears here, then continue these recollections in another post. While I was looking up the information on the airport that started all these memories flowing I noticed a link to an announcement of a cycling trip that took place in mid 2011. It took cyclists through the rural areas mentioned above, then into McKinney. While reading that announcement I found myself wishing I had somehow known about the event and would have been able to participate. It would have been great fun to experience. Even with all the times I was in Altoga I never once rode a bicycle there. What was wrong with me? I rode almost everywhere else! Oh well, that’s in the past. What I do with the future is up to me. Hope some of you will be able to join me for some of my upcoming cycling adventures. I’ll be setting up a list of rides and locations before long so please check back for that occasionally.
Please check out the full-size pictures, and some additional ones, on the Old School Cycling Facebook page. I am also in the process of moving the pics from the old Facebook page that never worked properly to the new one as time permits, so please check back periodically for those.
Note: The thoughts and activities discussed in this post occurred in mid February, 2011.
The weather today was gorgeous for this time of Winter. It was fairly warm with bright sunshine and only a few fluffy white clouds floating around a deep blue sky. Today was a shuttle day. A couple of hope-to-be thru hikers on the Appalachian Trail needed a shuttle from the Atlanta airport to Springer Mountain, the Southern terminus of “The” trail a few miles outside of Dahlonega, GA. The ride typically takes about 3 hours so we had plenty of time to talk and discuss a variety of subjects. When we finally got out of the heavy Atlanta metro traffic, and onto the half-way deserted two-lane roads, our talk turned to the weather and the natural beauty which surrounded us. We were in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains now. The winding road rose and fell as the miles clicked on with each curve unfolding a vibrant new scene before us.
A few miles from our destination we came upon a group of cyclists peddling hard up the mountain road. As I cautiously passed the cyclists, my hikers began discussing biking trips they had taken in preceeding years. I listened as they described the grandeur of places they visited, the friendliness of people encountered, and the thrill of completing different types of road courses. My mind flashed back to the days I rode my bike often, days I took the time to enjoy some of the simpler things, days I not only biked through small towns and observed the old historic buildings, but stopped at a small family owned cafe or diner for a snack and to talk with people gathered there. Whatever happened to those days? I have always thought of myself as being basically the same now as I was last year, 5 years ago, even 15 years ago. Something was different now. Somehow I had changed without realizing it, becoming much like the person I told myself back then I would never become, rushed and too busy for the things that matter most. I missed those old times. Is it true you can never go back? Possibly, but you can always try to recreate them again if you have the gumption.
After I dropped the hikers off for the start of their 2,100 plus miles of adventure and discovery I headed home, my mind filled with memories of past excursions on my bike, some of them long, others short, but all were fun and exciting in their own unique way. My hikers may be on a path of discovery but I had discovered something also. Feelings were surfacing I hadn’t experienced in years, and it felt good, really good. I wanted those experiences back. I had to have those experiences back. I would get those experiences back, along with the excitement, exploration, and adventure that had been put on the back burner oh so long ago. My mind’s made up. I’m going to pursue this thing everyone now calls cycling. I have a bike somewhere in my mini-warehouse that needs to be dug out of all the mess, cleaned up, then ridden. There are websites to visit, stores to browse, and miles of roads just waiting to be explored. Yep, a good dose of rediscovery is just what I need. 😀
Hello, and welcome to my blog. The theme here is “old school” or “shoestring budget” cycling, with a goal. This is a first for me. I’ve visited other blogs from time to time but never hosted one. Together we will trace my journey from re-discovering a much-loved activity (bicycle riding… or “cycling” as it’s called now) from more than 15 years ago (and almost 1,000 miles away from where I now live), through the realization that this activity could lead to what I feel is a much-needed service for millions of Americans, then hopefully on to the implementation of this idea/service. From that point who knows? Hope we find out together! 😉
There are really only three rules here: 1) This blog is intended for all ages so when commenting keep it G rated. 2) Stay on topic. 3) No spam or advertising. If you follow these rules you’re welcome to comment as often, or as sporadic, as you wish. If you don’t follow these two rules your comments and/or link will be deleted.
This initial post to my blog will be followed as soon as possible by an About Me page. [Now Posted] My schedule is currently rather full, or I should say haphazardly full… some days I barely have time to eat, others start out at a frenzied pace then fizzle to near-boredom. You’ll see what I mean as we go along and delve into my lifestyle and activities. For now I will be adding posts/pages as free-time permits, making a concerted effort to do so at every opportunity, so please check back often for additions. I’m not sure what all to put into the About Me page other than basic information about myself, so if anyone has a suggestion as to what should, or should not, be posted please feel free to let me know. Like I said above, this “thing” is a first for me. lol
After I post the About Me page I plan to explore more about the reasons behind starting this blog on a page to be titled “Purpose”. [Now Also Posted] I believe you’ll find this a bit more interesting than the About Me page so please check back soon.
Out of necessity, since I started this blog in August, 2011 and can’t back-date/start the entries in the late winter/early spring of this year when my journey actually began, the first few blog entries other than the “About Me” will be sort of retro entries. I’ll discuss the thought processes which occurred then as if they’re happening now. It will be obvious when I catch up to the current time.
In conclusion, as blogging is something I currently know little about, I’m open to suggestions regarding the addition of widgets, links, photos, etc to this blog. When suggesting these things please be specific, and if possible include some information about the item(s) you’re suggesting, such as how they’re implemented, what they do, and/or why you feel your suggestion would be a good addition here. Also, if you like what you read here, please let me and your fellow readers know by “liking” this blog below, and sharing it with your friends.
A Facebook page has been set up for this blog which contains photos, most of which are full-size whenever possible, and in the future a bit more information than is found here. Please visit that page when you have a chance. I’ve noticed recently (Winter 2011) that for some reason Facebook keep changing my page to “unpublished” periodically. Each time I find this I correct the problem by re-publishing it and notifying Facebook about the problem. Hopefully they will resolve the issue soon. If you try to visit the page and it’s not available please drop me a note and complain to Facebook about the problem, then check it again in a day or two.
Thanks for the time you took to read this. I hope to “see” you here again soon as you follow my adventures in the world of cycling!