Solbit Goes on A Virtual Bike Ride from Pennsylvania to Maine

Dear Nicalai,

Nona found them! The pictures of Papa’s long distance bike rides.  So, we had a rain day, and Papa said, “Hey, Solbit, let me show you some pictures of my bike ride with Dale from Erie, Pennsylvania to Bar Harbor, Maine.

He has so many photos that I wonder how they had time to ride bikes.  Here’s a selection:

Papa looks pretty happy to have made it from Erie, Pennsylvania all the way to New York — the state, not the city.

Papa looks pretty happy to have made it from Erie, Pennsylvania all the way to New York — the state, not the city.

Papa said their bike trip took 14 days, and they had rainy days the first seven.  This is day two.

Papa said their bike trip took 14 days, and they had rainy days the first seven.  That’s Dale holding up two fingers to show it’s day two of the ride.

Papa saw this monument to “steel monkeys” in New York. “Steel monkeys” is slang for guys who build steel skyscrapers.

Papa saw this monument to “steel monkeys” in New York. “Steel monkeys” is slang for guys who build steel skyscrapers.

After so many commuter miles in all weather and then this long ride, Papa had to replace this ripped worn tire.

After so many commuter miles in all weather and then this long ride, Papa had to replace this ripped worn tire.

Dale and Papa enjoyed the Erie Canal Trail with no motor vehicles and no big hills either.

Dale and Papa enjoyed the Erie Canal Trail with no motor vehicles and no big hills either.

You get to meet people along the way, because biking is slow. Dale stopped for some local Kool Aid. Papa said that’s a flavored sugar drink that I can’t have.  At 50 cents a glass, I couldn’t afford it anyway.

You get to meet people along the way, because biking is slow. Dale stopped for some local Kool Aid. Papa said that’s a flavored sugar drink that I can’t have.  At 50 cents a glass, I couldn’t afford it anyway.

Evidence that Dale and Papa made it to the south end of Lake Champlain in northern New York is this photo of Fort Ticonderoga.

Evidence that Dale and Papa made it to the south end of Lake Champlain in northern New York is this photo of Fort Ticonderoga.

Pancakes got them to stop at Eaton’s Sugarhouse in South Royalton, Vermont. “Did you have syrup, Papa?” I asked. “So, who has pancakes without syrup?” he asked.

You really want to stay away from Moose, Solbit.  They are big and dangerous,” Papa instructed me. “So, what’s a moose?” I asked. Have you ever seen a moose, Nicolai?

“You really want to stay away from Moose, Solbit.  They are big and dangerous,” Papa instructed me. “So, what’s a moose?” I asked. Have you ever seen a moose, Nicolai?

Papa says that New Hampshire’s state motto is “Live Free or Die.” Must be a human thing, because I don’t know what that means.

Papa says that New Hampshire’s state motto is “Live Free or Die.”  Must be a human thing, because I don’t know what that means.

Ta-Da! They made it all the way to the state of Maine on two bikes, and they carried all their things on their bikes in something called panniers. I think those are just bags with a fancy name.

Ta-Da! They made it all the way to the state of Maine on two bikes, and they carried all their things on their bikes in something called panniers. I think those are just bags with a fancy name. Dale must have been falling over tired when he took this photo of Papa.

First stop on arriving at their destination was the bicycle shop to have their bikes shipped home. They weren’t going to ride all the way back.

First stop on arriving at their Bar Harbor destination was the bicycle shop to have their bikes shipped home. They weren’t going to ride all the way back.

Well, that’s a lot of photos, but you get the idea what a long bike ride is.  Next time, when there’s a rainy day, we’ll look at more bike trip photos — a different trip. So, I’ll sign off now with “To Be Continued.” Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

January 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit’s Sort of Tour de Palm Springs

Dear Nicalai,

Guess what Papa did after we got settled into our rental place in Palm Springs?  He rented a bicycle, a good one, too.  Nona and I went with him to the rental place, because he was determined to rent a really good bike and she was determined to not spend too much money on it.

On the way, Papa told me that his friend Dale — they both went to Miami University, a long time ago — would come down the next week from Sacramento, and they would go on long rides around Palm Springs.  That sounded like fun, so I piped up, “Great, can I go with you?”  Nona jumped in, “Solbit, it’s a guys only thing.  You’ll keep me company.”

I guess Papa could feel the disappointment coming off me, and he said just the right thing, “Nona, if you would let Solbit go on our bike rides, Dale and I will watch our language, and Solbit will set a new record: first iguanodon ever to bike Palm Springs, sort of a Jurassic Tour de Palm Springs.”   So, that’s how I got to help Papa take this panorama photo.

The views Dale and Papa get on long bike rides reward them for their pedaling efforts.

The views Dale and Papa get on long bike rides reward them for their pedaling efforts.

Hey, did you know that Dale and Papa have biked the Trans-America Bike Trail?  They did that in 1997, but they only went from Missoula MT to Washington DC.  Both of them had more hair then, I’m pretty sure. If I remember right, it took them 54 days.  That’s a long way. I wonder: what’s the purpose in doing that?  Seems like a big waste of time, doesn’t it?

Papa liked the rental bike and Nona said it was affordable.

Papa liked the rental bike and Nona said it was affordable.

Papa’s rental bike had a big problem though: flat tires.  Four of them in two days is too much.  Papa learned that something called “goat head thorns” were puncturing the tires.  He needed to have something called “liners” in the tires.  Don’t ask me. I have no idea what those are, but now I do have a pretty good idea how to fix a bike’s flat tire on the road.

After a few days with Papa and Dale, I realized that they like to go on long bike rides for something more than the good views and the healthy exercise.

Here’s what I think Dale and Papa love most about biking: the reward at the end! Me, too!

Here’s what I think Dale and Papa love most about biking: the reward at the end! Me, too!

If more bakeries had been way out in the desert, I think we might have made many more stops along the way.  Hey, Nona says she can find me some photos of Dale and Papa on one of their long bike rides.  If she does, I’m gonna share those with you. I gotta send this and go.  Nona and Papa are taking me for a hike to something they call a “Palm Oasis.”  I can’t wait to see what that is!  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

January 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Farewell, northern CA; hello, southern CA

Dear Nicalai,

How do you Californians wear t-shirts — even tank tops! — in this winter weather? We gotta get outta here!

We took off to meet the warm and sunny skies of Southern California.  Couldn’t wait to get out of this chilly Northern California weather.

Please, don’t misunderstand me. We’ve enjoyed being with you during our December holiday stay in Los Gatos and San Jose, but we have to get back to what we do — what we do all the time — traveling…where the weather is warm.

Milo, the cat, said goodbye to me, and then went right back to what he does — what he does all the time— snoozing on someone’s bed…where, I bet, it is warm all the time.

Milo, the cat, said goodbye to me, and then went right back to what he does — what he does all the time— snoozing on someone’s bed…where, I bet, it is warm all the time.

Yep, goodbye Northern California and hello Southern California.  Nona and Papa have old peoples’ bones, and they like the warmer weather down there.

We traveled in Nona and Papa’s new car, a Prius C. It has that knock-your-socks-off bright yellow paint. It’s called “Sunglow,” and does it ever. Papa misses our old Civic, because “I want to shift the gears.” The Prius has automatic shift.  I guess old farm boys like Papa like the old ways. One thing he does like about the Prius is 47 miles per gallon of gas. Nona likes that too when she looks at our budget.

We stopped at a lot of places on our way south. One place we stopped was Morro Bay.  A gull surprised me there, when she walked right up to me on the dock.  I thought she was going to eat me! But I was wrong.

“Hey, I know you.  You’re a plastic iguanodon. Are you the blogger of ‘Tales of A Plastic Jurassic?’” squawked the gull.

“Hey, I know you.  You’re a plastic iguanodon. Are you the blogger of ‘Tales of A Plastic Jurassic?’” squawked the gull.

Imagine my surprise, when she asked me if I were a blogger.  Amazing! I said, “Why yes, m’am, I am.  How did you know?”  She said that she heard a woman with an iPhone on a beach talking about me, “Can you believe it? A blogging plastic jurassic. So what’s next? We’ll be reading a beach blog by a California gull?”

The gull said that the woman’s husband replied, “Hey, just imagine the pictures on that blog.” The gull told me, “He’s right, you know.  I could get some great photos as I fly over the beaches.”  Maybe I should do a blog. How hard is it to do? I said, “Wordpress makes it easy, so the most important thing is to get yourself a good editor.”  I also added, “Papa edits mine, and he does an okay job, but, don’t tell him, I’m looking into someone who is a bit more professional.”

We arrived in Palm Springs on New Years Eve, but we didn’t go to any parties.  Parties usually start after Nona and Papa have already gone to bed.  I think it was just six days later that I experienced my first earthquake.  4.5 on the Richter Scale and centered in Banning, California.  Did you know that earthquakes build mountains? That was news to me.

We have a great view of the mountains around Palm Springs, especially on our walks out by Araby Lane.  That’s where we go to see birds.

We can see all kinds of birds on our walks AND see the beautiful snow capped mountains, without getting cold.

We can see all kinds of birds on our walks AND see the beautiful snow capped mountains, without getting cold.

Another benefit of living in Palm Springs in the winter time is oranges … and grapefruit.  These tasty citrus fruits are everywhere.  We don’t even have to go to the grocery store to buy them.

We can just walk into our backyard and pick an orange or a grapefruit for breakfast or for a snack.

We can just walk into our backyard and pick an orange or a grapefruit for breakfast or for a snack.

Oh, I forgot, we have lemons too.  That won’t surprise you, because, even in San Jose, you have a Meyer Lemon tree, and it is full of lemons, I know. Hey, we’re going on our Thursday night walk to the street market to have those wonderful burritos from the booth at the corner by the old library.  Have to wear a jacket tonight, even though we’re in Southern California. See you later. Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

December 2015

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit’s Guessing Game: What city is this?

Dear Nicalai,

Hi. Wanna play a guessing game? I’ll show you four photos with a sense of place – all in the same city.  Maybe you can tell me what place we’re in; what’s the name of this city?  Here goes!

Photo #1:

Under construction, this building will be a museum among several other museums.

Under construction, this building will be a museum among several other museums.

Photo #2:

The pedestrian walk way and vehicle gate make me feel even smaller than I am, but they make the city look grand. Nona — she studied architecture — says that’s the effect the architect was going for.

The pedestrian walk way and vehicle gate make me feel even smaller than I am, but they make the city look grand. Nona — she studied architecture — says that’s the effect the architect was going for.

Photo #3:

Obviously this city has Bike Share, and people like to go touring around on bikes to see the buildings and monuments.

Obviously this city has Bike Share, and people like to go touring around on bikes to see the buildings and monuments.

Photo #4:

I’ve seen four of these big lion heads, two at each end of a bridge.

Here’s One Big Head! i’ve seen four of these big lion heads, two at each end of a bridge.

OK, now, in what city did Nona and I take these photos? Maybe you even know what the buildings and the one big head are. You get extra points for those! Did you guess right? Here are the…

Answers:

What city is this?

Washington DC. Yep, we’re still here. By the way, the “DC” stands for “District of Columbia.” I still have to look up what that means.  Do you know?

The photos show you …

Photo #1:

That’s the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. As you probably can tell, the museum is still under construction. I can’t wait to see it on our next visit just 8 months from now. It is scheduled to open September 24, 2016 on The Mall, but we won’t get back to Washington DC until mid-November, and that’s when I get to see it.

Photo #2:

This building is … Oh, no, I forgot what we took a picture of! Does that ever happen to you?  I’m guessing that it’s the big, fairly new building at the Federal Triangle Metro Stop.  What’s that called? It’s named for a president. The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, I think.  (I remember that when we visited that building, Papa told me that he liked Ronald Reagan as an ok-actor but not so much as president.)

Photo #3:

Nona, Papa, and I have no idea what this building is, but, trust me, it is in Washington, DC, and those are Capital Bikeshare rented bikes. If you visit Washington, DC, your whole family can rent bikes at a metro station and ride around town.  Oh, bring your bike helmets!

Photo #4:

That one big head is, of course, a lion’s head.  Speaking of “big heads,” Papa says that a lot of people in this town have them, but, actually, most of the people I’ve seen seem to fit into regular size hats.  Anyway, this lion is one of four that “guard” the Taft Bridge on Connecticut Avenue. That’s an old bridge that took ten years to build, from 1897 to 1907. Wonder why it needs to be guarded?  Anyway, nobody has stolen the bridge in all these years, so the lion guards have been doing their jobs well.

I have to go. Nona and Papa are taking me to see something called the National Portrait Gallery. That means we’re gonna look at a lot of paintings of people hanging on walls — the paintings, not the people, are hanging on walls — and that means I’m going to take a nap in Nona’s purse. Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

November 2015

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”