Monday, September 12, 2011

Folding What?

If you're on FaceBook with me, then you saw the posts about some good friends of ours loaning us their bikes. We can't thank our friends enough as the whole experience was quite liberating to us personally (though they shall remain nameless to keep them from getting "can I borrow your bikes" requests). We now have a much more positive outlook on our "truck life" health, as well as our mobility (that's another blog entry for later).

We now find ourselves shopping for folding bikes. The pricing ranges from $150-$5000 (seriously). The best I've found is the $2,200 (each) "IF Mode" by Pacific Cycles. Since we don't have that much cash in our petty cash envelope, and I hate writing checks, we will just have to look for something more reasonably priced.
We are shopping based on size, quality, and features. Size because we have very limited storage space. Quality because these bike frames are totally different from regular bikes and can break easily if not built well. Other things we have to look at are the greasy chain (which snags, rips and stains our pant legs), seats, etc.

Brompton is the most compact and one of the most respected brands. They have a chain though and that is an issue, so we are looking for chainless possibly (Kevlar belt or direct drive shaft made by Sussex).

For now, I'll leave you with pictures of an awesome concept bike we found...called the Locust. More on our Folding Bike experiences in later posts

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cumberland Falls State Park, KY

We had a chance to briefly visit Cumberland Falls State Park on September 8th and 9th of this year. It had been rainy all week and the river was extremely muddy. So, our pics of the falls aren’t the beautiful ones like on the postcards… but you get the idea.

They do have a campground, but only one space will allow a “big rig” (RV or Truck) – space 33 I think it was. You’ll want to call ahead and make sure it’s not reserved if you drive such a creature. It wasn’t reserved the night of the 8th, so we got one night in the campground, then spent the 9th walking trails, visiting the falls, and having lunch at the lodge. Here’s a park map if it will help you any. There is parking for RV’s and buses at the fall area (lower lot), but if it’s the busy season, you can forget it… cars will have the lot full (and it’s spaced for cars, though signs indicate RV’s and buses can park as well).

One thing to beware of is that the trail maps they give you aren’t very accurate at all. If your phone has a gps on it, I would highly recommend using an offline terrain map program while you’re there – you won’t have internet so the offline part is very important. Next time we go, we’re going to use a trail logging app to map the trails we walk, then post pictures and a map of that trail (overlay over terrain map). Sorry I don’t have it this time… so it goes, visit and learn.

You may want to visit the welcome center (not the store – leave that till last) before walking the trails. It has some great information on the flowers, wildlife, etc. that you will possibly see while there at the park. For instance, we didn’t visit it first, encountered a “flower” (?) and were quite puzzled. When we visited the welcome center we saw lots of information on vegetation found in the park – including the “thing” below that we couldn’t figure out. (it’s only an inch or so tall)

The lodge is “okay”, nothing spectacular. The food was pretty good. We didn’t get to eat the breakfast buffet. If you are wanting to do the buffet for any given meal, call the lodge to see if they had enough guests to put out the buffet. Rena had the catfish sandwich and I had the philly cheese steak. Both were great! Below is a picture of the view from the patio at the lodge – yes, you can eat here.

The campground isn’t much to speak of other than a place to sleep. If it’s not busy, you’ll have some scenery, can build a fire, etc. If it is busy, you’re going to be really crowded. There are horses to ride, but when we saw them we noticed they had just a muddy dirt lot to “be” in. No grassy meadow, etc. I just don’t think this is good for their health and quite frankly I’m considering complaining to the state to see what can be done. My heart went out to them. You can get to everything via the campground though… trails all interconnect. Just beware of cliffs… they abound in this park and there isn’t railing.

Trails range in length and difficulty. You can hike a 1/4 mile trail or a 10 plus mile trail with steep climbs. Like I said earlier, we’ll try to map the trails out for you on subsequent visits (yes, we’re going back).