View From the Gas Station at 21st & Charles

View From the Gas Station at 21st & CharlesIt was a short ride tonight, just down the hill to meet R. and friends for dinner, the last one before she and her boyfriend head off to Cambridge. I will miss them, and oh my, I get tired of leaving/people leaving! All good things in her future, though, so I’m excited to see what happens next. I rode home up Charles Avenue, a quick stop to say hi to R. and A. as they enjoyed dinner outside–I think they call that “al fresco” or somesuch. R. said it was going to rain, and about 12 seconds later the skies opened up and dumped a monsoon on the streets. I tried to outrace the raindrops, but I gave up as I crossed North Avenue, ducking under the gas station canopy that reminds me of my old favorite gas station where I spent many a night during just this kind of moment in New Orleans. I waited out the three minute downpour and then O. rode up on her bike, and it all just felt serendipitous. Where are you going? Can I join? Of course. We rode to the bar, I bought us a couple of beers, we toasted another successful community fundraiser, and then it was time to ride home, the air just a bit cooler after the storm, but still thick with Baltimore’s promised humidity, another reminder of New Orleans. That place was home, but now this place is, made that way by riding my bike and being willing to get off and say hi.

Train and Truck at Press Near Burgundy

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I woke up too early but early enough to meet M., D., and J. For a pre-brunch coffee and muffin. It was just after 9:00am on a Sunday, so the streets were empty, the air smelling a bit like somebody had a “good” time last night. I pedaled over to St. Claude to pick up the bike lane, but I got stopped by another train on the tracks at Press Street. Yep, the same Press Street where Plessy tried to take a seat, but now it’s where we regularly get stuck waiting for a train to roll up and down the tracks, switching rails, but it’s still Plessy’s street just the same. Most folks know to take a right here and beat the train at Chartres, but I was in no mood to race, happy to settle in and watch the thing rock back and forth, back and forth. But then cars were making their turns and going around the train, and I felt like some kind of rube, standing there waiting with my bicycle like I didn’t know I could go around. I gave in to the phantom peer pressure and went on my way, stopping to take a picture of train at momentary rest with yet another vehicle going around. it is rather amazing to me sometimes how much work I have to do to make myself stand still, and I wouldn’t have minded standing still a little longer this morning. And then I rolled up to the cafe just as M. and D. did, and I was just happy to see them. I am going to miss some friends something fierce.

Patrons at the Burrito Juke Joint on Dupre

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The weather was just about perfect today, though the wind would a bit slower and the temps a bit higher, if I had my druthers. It seemed like everybody was out today, and the traffic sure made it seem that way. I sped up St. Charles, beating the drivers headed to a home tour–I just don’t get the appeal of those–and the rest headed to Tulane for Crawfest and its 16,000 pounds of crawfish (or, as J. pointed out, two tons). I was feeling a bit crowd-averse, so I headed to Carrollton for lunch and the bookstore. By the time evening rolled around and I’d had my nap, I was ready for company. I pedaled to Mid-City to meet D., M., and S. We headed to Dupre Street to the new burrito speakeasy, “Burrito Juke Joint,” set up in the chef’s backyard. I snapped this photo of the early line as we waited for our orders. The line got longer and longer as the night progressed; we lingered, chatting with friends who had the same idea. The night ended with some porch sitting and some stoop sitting. I asked S., who is somewhat of an expert, if tonight’s backyard burritos resembled a juke joint in any way. Turns out, no. My curried chickpeas and potatoes with rice, cheese, and sour cream wasn’t really a burrito either, but tonight was just exactly what I needed. I rode home weaving through drunk prom traffic in the Quarter, glad to have a very different idea for the perfect night.

Nine Week Old Baby In Oakland

Baby Eli in OaklandI enjoyed another day in frigid northern California today, riding my bike around Oakland. As I mentioned in a previous post, I lived here for years, though it now seems like a lifetime ago. When I lived here before I didn’t have a bicycle, and my life was much, much different from its current incarnation (and not just because of the bike). Continue reading

Thunderstorms in Uptown

My dear friend S. is leaving in the morning, and I am so very sad. S. is the kind of friend you think only people on TV get to have–you know, the kind who see the world just as you do, except when they don’t, in which case they let you see something entirely differently. Now that is a gift. Continue reading