Here we go again, how fast a year goes by! On Saturday, bicyclists from all over gathered in our town for the 2016 Tehachapi GranFondo.
This year, I helped out at the entrance to our canyon. Only the best riders, those who sign up for the 100 and 80 mile rides, go down the canyon and turn around for a roundtrip of about 12 miles. Mary is to the left and I'm to the right in the above picture, and, as you can see, we had plenty of water. We also had powdered electrolytes and protein bars. And a tray full of doughnuts and muffins. (It went fast!) A more full service station with sandwiches and such was 10 miles ahead.
The pro and elit bikers come by so fast, look so great, but it's over in the blink of an eye, so no pictures. Then come the rest and they stop, they talk, use the port-a-potties, fill up their water bottles, grab a protein bar before they take off again.
The GranFondo is only a race for the best cyclists, for the rest it's more of a folkfest. For me, it's a lot of fun, a great time with friends, helping in a small way to make the event a success for our town.
These guys wanted to be in my picture and on my blog too. It was really fun to see so many older bikers participating in the event.
I thought the bike rack was really cool. We will need more of them for next year. A lot more people than last year came by this station, so notes were made of items we will need more of. In its third year, the Tehachapi GranFondo is a big success.
As you can see, people are taking their time, meeting friends, and socializing with fellow cyclists.
Then the pros returned from their trip down the canyon, still as fast, so I only caught this last guy.
Followed by this great old car.
Fun as it is to see the really great cyclists zoom by, it's those who had some bad luck early on, but who didn't give up, that I will remember best.
When Mary went away for a weekend a while ago, the guy who boards his horses there offered to feed her dogs, so I said I would come and play with the dogs and take care of Kitty, the cat.
Mary lives on top of a steep hill and has a gorgeous view of the canyon from her house. I forgot my camera on Saturday, but I brought it on Sunday. And left it in the Jeep!
I saw it as I drove away, and decided to just take some nature pictures. Mary lives deeper in the canyon and a bit higher and nature there is completely different from where I live. Her hillsides are very steep and covered in scrub oak, with some pines mixed in.
As I climbed up on a rocky slope to take some pictures of the canyon spread out below, I saw these round balls attached to a scrub oak. I was happy to know that they occur after wasps lay their eggs on a tree branch, but annoyed with myself, again, because I didn't remember the details, ack old age......
I found an amazing number and variety of galls on Google Images. These resemble those on Mary's trees.
There are many answers on Google, as these growths, called galls, are more common than I realized. They occur on many different types of trees and are caused by various insects from wasps to mites. They are a reaction from the tree's hormones to the eggs laid on its branches. I'm quoting here: "The galls have a long and complex development that takes two or more years. The inhabitants gain their nutrients from the inner gall tissue. The adults emerge in the spring." I wondered how they get out of there and found a couple of answers, including that the gall falls and breaks, but nothing to completely satisfy my curiousity.
I also came away from that rocky hillside with this picture of Sugarloaf mountain.
Mary boards two horses and I couldn't leave without saying hello to them.
Neither was thrilled to see me.
Driving down the final hill, I had to stop and take a picture of these rocks that I've never noticed before. In every picture you see here, where the hillside is cleared of weeds, that's Mary's doing. She has worked so hard and done such an amazing job this summer. She really deserved to get away for a few days to relax while visiting a good friend.
After I leave Mary's house, I drive for a while on a rather long road that leads to all these mailboxes by the main road through the canyon. I took my header picture one day while I waited for Mary there. I'm so glad you like it. Finally, to answer a question or two, the road from my house to the main road is short, which is good because the way these dirt roads get in the winter, the less you have to drive on them the better. I only have one neighbor and I can't see her house from mine. Oh, and these guys are my neighbors too:
Samson and Faith Say: Have a great new week everyone!
A bird on an improvised temporary fence that surrounded our vegetable garden a few years back. Attracted by the water, large numbers of birds would gather here. When a mama bear and her two cubs discovered the garden, Errol had to make a proper fence. Miss those days, miss him so......
I was cleaning out drawers in the master bedroom when I came upon this bandanna that Faith got last year from Gracie (the love of Samson's life, his virtual girlfriend, and her mommy Bobbi). I realized I had never taken a picture of her wearing it, so I tied it on and took her into my bedroom for a photo shoot. (OK, it was dark in the master bedroom and I didn't see how dirty she was. When I saw the pictures, I couldn't resist posting them. Sorry, Faithie, baby girl of mine.) But as you will see, Faith puts me to shame, as she questions my choice of words, and gets the last word here.
Faith: No, mommy, you know how I feel about that thing bursting flames into my face.
Me: There are no flames, just a quick flash to capture your pretty face.
Faith: You don't believe me? OK, I'll show you: This is exactly how I feel. Get it? Me: Oh, Faith, don't be such a party pooper, come back so we can show Auntie Bobbi and Gracie how pretty you look wearing the nice present they gave you.
Faith: Party pooper!!?? You have that? At your parties? Hmm, I don't want to be accused of that; us dogs are better behaved, for sure. So here I am, flash away and then let me get out of here. To herself: You could at least have washed my face first, sigh..........