A day off, part 1 of 3

posted in: Serendipity | 1

This selection will come in three parts, because there are more images than usual. Of course, it’s taking more several days to get it posted.

I actually took a day off last Saturday. This doesn’t happen often. I wouldn’t change my current job for any of my previous ones, even though it doesn’t offer benefits like a salary, insurance, or paid time off of any sort. I can have all the unpaid time off I want! It’s just not wise to goof off very often. The repercussions follow pretty darn fast.

I think I managed to go all of Saturday without working . . . well, I think I only worked an hour or two.

It’s fall in Colorado, which means the days are bouncing between 90 degrees F (32C) and sweltering and 40 degrees F (4C) and overcast/rainy.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Fair was taking place on the grounds of New Belgium Brewing Company. New Belgium is on the opposite side of the city. Fair attendance was predicted to be more than 7,000. I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like dodging for parking spaces.

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There were biodiesel-powered shuttles going to and from the fair and one of the stops was about 2/3 mile from where I needed to start. That was an appealing option.

However, last year I got this:

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Bike parking was going to be made really easy at the fair. The day looked like it was going to be beautiful—80s, not 90s. I figured that even
if the fair was a mob scene and I decided to turn around and go home as soon as I got there, it was a good excuse for a bike ride.

Next, I’d rather not get run over by a car or truck and I don’t like breathing exhaust.

However, with the help of an outdated map and some on-the-ground experience with the city’s trail system, I figured out how to get from one side of the city to the other without riding on any streets. My aha! moment came when I quit trying to find the shortest route and looked for the one that was likely to be the most pleasant. It required about a detour of about four miles away from the straight course, but on a bike that’s not a problem.

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That’s a one-mile (1.6 km) scale marker at the lower edge.

Throughout the the trail system, bikes are low on the right-of-way totem pole: they have to yield to both pedestrians and equestrians. The upper sign (cropped out) says "no motorized vehicles."

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Most of the other people on the trail on Saturday were on bikes: recumbents, tandems, racing, meandering. I saw a few rollerbladers, some folks walking, a handful of runners. With a few notable exceptions (like one bridge crossing that involved about ten people), I had the trail to myself. No horses, although I’ve seen them in the past.

I traveled seven or eight miles and crossed five streets, three major (and controlled by lights) and two that were so minor that watching for traffic was almost a formality.

When I arrived at the fair, there was free valet parking for bikes in a secured area staffed by volunteers. I didn’t have to use my lock, and I could leave my helmet, too.

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And while the fair was full of people and booths (175 exhibitors, which I’d browsed online at home in order to reduce potential sensory overload), it was laid out well and felt leisurely and uncrowded while I was there.

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I spent a few hours, saw several friends, learned that I still can’t afford solar power (when I bought my house in 1991, one of its appeals was a south-facing unobstructed roof, in case I ever could convert to solar). Although I learned about this interesting alternative.

One of the promotional activities at a booth for Annie’s was a drawing for a year’s supply of organic mac and cheese. That would be a cool thing. The staff was taking photos of people willing to hold a white board with an idea about what they do to lighten  the load on the environment. The friend I was with at the time could say, "Lives off-grid." A picture might end up on the Annie’s website some day that shows me holding a sign that says, "Belongs to www.greenpressinitiative.org. Look it up!" I came up with Green Press Initiative, and the young woman with the camera thought of the extra nudge. (The tie-dye t-shirt came from the Saturday farmer’s market. Locally made by a guy who looks like he’s still in the 1970s.)

I discovered Kombucha, which it turns out I like quite well. There was a beer garden with lots of terrific beer—which Stephanie would probably have loved, especially along with the abundant vegetarian food (non-veg food also available)—from New Belgium and Odell’s, as well as mead from Redstone Meadery.

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  1. lynne s of oz

    DH and I were at the fair both days. Met some very interesting people, and they got to meet my husband, who is a very interesting person himself. He is vey into solar thermal. We biked up but we live a bit closer – off E Stuart.
    Have you thought about getting solar hot water if PV is too expensive?

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