Gordon

CWE Street Lights

The remnants of Hurricane Gordon are forecasted to arrive in Saint Louis this weekend. It is supposed to start raining Friday and all day Saturday, bringing with it over 3″ of rain. Normally, we would have been planning to do the Bike MS ride, as we have done many times in the past, but our lack of training had convinced us not to ride this year. Gordon’s advent only confirms this decision.

I’ve done the MS-150 charity ride in bad weather before and it is no fun. A similar September hurricane visitation caused the MS Society to revamp its route. On that year, everyone rode out, away from their cars and overnighted in Mexico, MO. The storm moved in Saturday night and left stranded some 2,000 cyclists with the prospect of riding back in the rain. Many bikers wanted to be sagged home, but the MS Society wasn’t equipped to handle this. I gutted it out and the next year and on all subsequent years rides have been structured as two one-day out-and-backs. With the rain coming mainly on Saturday, will make this year’s ride especially hard, since Saturday is always the more popular day.

This year aside, we haven’t given up on biking. I still ride most days in the park and once Anne finishes her long-term sub gig, I’ll get her back out on the bike. We signed up for a new multi-day cycling tour, Cycle Zydeco. We’ll join some of our Saint Louis bike buddies next April, down in Cajun country. 

Before Gordon began to loom over this weekend, we had planned to attend the Saint Louis Art Fair. This fair always conflicted with the MS-150 and it has been years since I’ve attended it. I was looking forward to visiting it this year, but the weather makes this seem more doubtful now. 

Spring?

Crocuses

It is still February. There is still morning frost. However. It was in the sixties when I bicycled in Forest Park today and these beauties were blooming when we walked past them yesterday. Could this be spring? Maybe. There are still plenty of names left in the Weather Channel’s alphabet of winter storms. I first thought that naming blizzards was a dumb idea, but now I believe that it is a good idea. Personalizing them makes one more aware and better prepared. I won’t worry about that today. I’ll worry about that tomorrow. Today, I reveled under that big boiling ball of gas (plasma actually) in the sky and I plan on doing this again tomorrow. So, I guess I’ll have to push off any winter worries for another day or two or maybe more… 

Schooners Returning at Sunset

Schooners Returning at Sunset

We’ve gotten over 2″ of rain in the past three-day. Further south of Saint Louis the region there is in full flash flood conditions. And to think that we started this week in a moderate to severe drought. With all of this rain and with the help of MSD has turned our front yard into mud. I’ll have to go out there, with a shovel, just to clear off the sidewalks. If I didn’t know that MSD would be coming back and that we are expecting AT&T to plant fiber soon, I might breakdown and buy some sod, but this is not the year for that. Instead, I’ll seed again and hope for the best, all the while knowing that that is a fruitless endeavor. At least it is nice and sunny today and should be halfway warm too, while I’m shoveling mud. Later, Anne and I got out for a walk in the sunshine. Walking around, I noticed that quite a few of my neighbor’s yards were similar muddy messes. So, it’s not just me who has a crappy lawn these days. 

The Great State of Maine

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

Dan sent us some photographs. He got them from the film company that he is about to start working for, on the coast of Maine. They were taken at the cottage that was rented to house the movie’s art department. It’s not my work and I loved them, but in the end I decided not to share them. I think that they were taken to alert the cast and crew as to what kind of weather they should expect and to motivate them to prepare for it. It worked, because Dan was asking us about the REI gift card that Jay and Carl gave him for Christmas. He wants to order some better gloves. It looks pretty cold. Even though the water temperature is warmer than the air, I wouldn’t recommend going swimming. Dan will be working there for the next six weeks.

Meanwhile here in the Lou, the mercury hit 81 ºF, a record. This week, with this warmer than normal weather, I managed to squeeze in back-to-back bicycle rides. This warm weather has also prompted MSD to pick up their pace. They have trenched and laid new pipe past our driveway. The stack of pipes in our front yard had begun to diminish. Work has now progressed about halfway up the street. Two weeks? If only it that could be true.

Thaw

Trumpeter Swans

Today featured a high in the upper fifties. Quite the change from even this last weekend. The warmer weather seems to have unlocked all of the moisture that has been trapped in the soil. This thaw has unleashed both fog and mud. A particularly drab combination. Anne and I got out for a walk today.

On our walk we surveyed all of the construction that is occurring in our locale. Closest to home are the dueling utility projects. We have AT&T installing fiber and the sewer district uncrossing the streams. Both of these activities seemed to had gone dormant during the cold weather, but today both are being worked in full force. The sewer district had moved a block closer to home. They’re on the next block over now and new hieroglyphs, scrawled on the asphalt, appear daily in front of the house. The drilling rig is back again. I’m not sure what they are drilling for, but I don’t think that it is oil. On our walk, we encountered a weird audio phenomenon. A strange deep basal echo that appeared to bounce from one side of the street to the other. It was caused by the phone company’s pushing of fiber cable beneath the ground. 

In addition to the ongoing utility work, which to the casual observer appears to be rather amorphous and disorganized there are also a number of construction projects in the neighborhood. The biggest one is where a new hotel, restaurant and shopping center adds to the advancing retail sprawl that has been moving ever eastward towards us for years now. At the other end of the neighborhood, a quaint old retail building that had featured a florist and an antique store, for longer than we have lived in Saint Louis, is slated for immediate demolition and replacement with a doctors building.

Dan’s old middle school was demolished in prep for an almost 200 unit, five-story apartment building, but the site has sat idle now for almost a year, while the developer tries to get funding to commence construction. Word is that the old Schnucks property that has sat idle for two-decades may soon be developed. Plans include a new smaller grocery store where the old store building still sits and a high-rise apartment building where the parking lot is now.

All of this work will be good for property values, but much of the new building will only exacerbate local traffic, which is already bad. Not as bad as when the New I-64 was under construction, but do we really want to return to those days? I certainly don’t, but I must admit that this is a desirable area to live in.