Bikes, computers, prairie dogs, yarn, and the like

The first part of this post is about my bike ride last weekend, in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Fair, and then I get into what I’ve been doing with the computer files . . . and a few other things. The first section will have lots of pictures. The computer part will be brief because it has consumed a lot of time and produced a small amount of information but no major change in the situation.

Biking back from the Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Fair

It’s just under 6 miles (9.6 km) from my house to the site of the Sustainable Living Fair. However, I love the bike paths and will travel quite a bit farther in order to use them rather than the streets. Like probably 9 miles (14.5 km) for this route.

This year I only rode back from the fair, because the large portions of the bike paths were closed all morning to accommodate a running event. My daughter and I had breakfast with a friend. In conjunction with that we transported my bike to within a mile of the fair in the back of my daughter’s car. After breakfast, she went home and I strapped on my helmet.

What was interesting, of course, was not the ride to the fair (less than a mile) but the ride home. I love it when I see "new" things in places where I’ve been frequently. I don’t live near this piece of the path, but I have probably walked and ridden here several dozen times. Or more. The city has apparently relocated part of the path, which may be why this structure, which I hadn’t noticed before, was suddenly pretty obvious, off in the bushes:


(That’s not the main bike path, which is wide and paved. It’s a dirt trail off to the side.)

It’s a bridge across the river. But what kind of bridge?


That’s my bike. I did have to leave the trail to get decent photos.


Not a foot bridge, although it could be made into one . . . or into a one-lane bike bridge. Far too small for a railroad bridge, although that’s what it most closely resembles. There’s a trough under the framework of metal.

Here’s a wonderful, sturdy cable that’s part of the bridge’s support system:


On the other side of the trail, in direct alignment with the bridge, is this:


Here’s the structure at the near end of the photo above, seen from the other side:


It’s a gate for the release of irrigation water, shaped to fit the trough that carried the water.

Interesting, curious, and somehow sensible (for this area) that this is a bridge apparently built to carry irrigation water across a river. Here’s the river itself:


And another view from very close to that:


The river’s under this big bridge. That’s why there are so many trees. Did you notice the cottonwoods at the end of the irrigation trough in the earlier photo? In this landscape, trees = water.

(The orange cone is left over from the morning’s half-marathon.)

There’s a big movement afoot to dam our river. I think it’s a lousy idea, for a lot of reasons, some of them relating to having lived very close to the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts. (There is no question that the Quabbin is beautiful; however, its history runs troubled and deep.)


Water is always a difficult issue out here. However, the existing supplies and structures are not being used as efficiently as they could be. (The Quabbin drowned part of western Mass to provide eastern Mass with water; a reservoir out here would not be built for the benefit of the people in the immediate area. The water would be moved elsewhere.)

Here are some other things I saw on my ride:




They’re prairie dogs. There are lots of places where they’re no longer welcome, even though they’re an essential part of the non-human ecosystem, but this is a spot where they seem like they’re still okay. They stand at alert outside the entrances to their burrows and chirp at each other about what they see. In this case, that was me. I love watching prairie dogs. I hope they like watching me at least a little bit. They didn’t dive for safety in their burrows, so I think I didn’t alarm them.

On such a gorgeous day, it’s possible to simply appreciate what I’m seeing and not think too much about the bigger issues: to be grateful for seeing and exploring the old bridge, to enjoy the fact that the prairie dogs have a colony in the city, that there are some places on the trail where I ride my bike past pastures that contain horses, that it’s a perfect day and that I am outside in it.

Here’s one of a sequence of signs along the bike trail:


Good advice. Especially considering what my work life has been like lately.

The computer stuff

I’ve spent a couple of days working on the things the latest tech support guy at Adobe suggested that I try. This has involved having Adobe Creative Suite (CS1), Adobe Creative Suite 2 (CS2), and Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) installed simultaneously on my computer and moving InDesign files back and forth between them using something called an interchange format (.inx).

I haven’t been able to successfully install a necessary patch in CS1, so that piece of the operation has failed (and it’s the most likely to solve my problems). When I’m moving the current book file, I get messages that what I’ve created is "not a valid InDesign Interchange document." Or the program just crashes. When I go through the same process with the file for Ethnic Knitting Discovery—which is almost identical to the current file in structure and complexity but which I successfully sent to press last year—the interchange process works . . . at least at the CS3 end, because the CS1 end needs that uninstallable patch (so the time I spent installing that set of programs has gotten me nowhere).

In sum: the book file has been corrupted. No one knows how to locate or quickly (ha) remove the source of the corruption.

Although there is one more thing to try . . . it will take at least a week of work to try that thing. And it will be an incredibly boring week. It involves removing all of the styles from the document, then rebuilding them, one at a time (there are a lot of styles). OR I could break the file into sections and try the process I went through (over two days) with the previous files to see if I can figure out that ONE section has the problem, and then work to eliminate it. Somehow.

There is no way out of this that is not astonishingly tedious and frustrating, and that includes buying Quark and rebuilding the book in an entirely different program.

Which is why I’m not talking about it here. It’s bad enough to have to just do this stuff. I don’t have to drag other people through it, too.

And in odd moments. . . .

I am cataloging more wool for the big sheep project that I’m working on that relates to rare-breed wools. Nothing much to see there, either, although at least when you wash wool you know you’ve accomplished something.

There’s good news and progress in the Rook-y department:


I think what I have in mind is going to work. I’m still not saying what it is because I don’t know for sure yet whether I’ll like it or will be ripping. Looks promising, very promising, though.


5 thoughts on “Bikes, computers, prairie dogs, yarn, and the like”

  1. Neat bridge — I love finding stuff like that when I’m out exploring too. What does surprise me a bit is that someone hasn’t come along and tried to detach some of the wire cabling and other bits to sell for scrap. (Or am I missing something in the pictures?)

    It’s becoming so rampant here that someone was found dead in an electrical cable manhole here a few months ago, having been electrocuted while trying to cut a live connection. He was discovered when the neighbourhood where it happened had a rather abrupt power outage….

  2. Yikes about the wire-stealing fatality.

    Nah, nobody’s messed with the bridge. There’s lots easier-to-obtain scrap around here, if anyone were so inclined. A scrap-collector could probably get people to give it away officially, just to clean it out of the way.

  3. Love rook-y sweater/vest/mystery object. It’s knitting up beautifully and I especially like the double rows of cables.

    Love the photos of your bike ride.

    Hate the further bad news re the computer problems!

  4. I miss seeing prairie dogs. I had kind of forgotten about them. We had lots in southern California. Not so many in downtown Seattle.

  5. Wonderful post. Love the photos, the images which let me take the trip with you. Love the sign.

    So sorry ’bout the computer stuff. I rebuilt a new menu system for my Y2K database client Friday and it almost worked.

    Started over with a totally different Plan B this morning and luckily it seems to be just fine. Hassle but fine in the end.

    At this point I’m seeing the digression to help a former client, as an unexpected income source. I’m grateful. Glad it’s over, but grateful.

    The client has always valued me very much, and treated me well. They pay quickly and without complaint. So “Happily Ever After” here, I wish you the same.


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