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Road biking, dirt road riding on Frankenbike, tandem riding, group riding, time trialing, randonneuring - I love to ride, and I love to write. As I've traveled along on two wheels, I've learned one thing: Expect Adventure. Join me on the journey!

Betty Jean Jordan

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Race Day

(Wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah...waking up to Charlie Brown's teacher on my radio alarm) Wha...?  Oh, yeah, I've got a race this morning.  If I didn't have to race, I'd be able to sleep in.  Not that I'd sleep any later than about 7:00 AM anyway...

Mmm...I love oatmeal - rocket fuel!  Glad I've got time for a cup of tea, even if I can't linger.

Good thing I loaded my TT bike and equipment into my car last night.  I'll go ahead and put on my skinsuit.  Not too far to the race.  Chamois time!

(Driving through town, I see a few friends out running)  They're crazy to get up just for a workout!  At least I'm up early because I've got a race.

Thinking about the race.  Focusing on the race.  Nervous about the race.  Beautiful sunrise - I need to let that sink in and not get so worked up.

At the race in plenty of time.  Checked in, got my timing chip.  Did an adequate job of pinning on my number without assistance - really need one more safety pin.  I'll pick one up when I go back by the registration table.  Need to trim the zip tie off my timing chip, too - even more important.  Now to set up my TT bike on the trainer.  It eases right in - like buttah!  Glad I practiced at home last night.

7:20.  Good - that gives me about 40 minutes of warm-up time.  I'll do a one-minute hard effort at 7:35, 7:45, and 7:55.

Feels good to spin my legs.  Whew - it's warm this morning.  I sure am sweating.  Wringing wet.  Is that my sweat on the grass beneath me or just dew?  Must be dew - it's on all the grass around me.  The sweat on the sun-bleached hair of my arms looks like dew-covered spider webs.

A little nervous.  Why do I do this?  Because it's good to challenge myself.  You can do this.  In an hour, you'll be finished - no pressure the rest of the day.  Focus.  Focus.

Just a few more minutes and then I'll head over to the start line.  It's time.  Put the trainer back in my car, drink some water, lock it up, hide my key.

(Rolling to the start line)  No barfy.  Remembered to trim my zip tie.  Got an extra safety pin; more aero now.  (Checking out the field)  All these young pups.  Is there anyone in my category even close to my age?  Whatever.  Let's get this going.  No ramp - good.  But someone is there to hold me on my bike at the start line.  Glad I've gotten used to that.

Not sure if this is going to be a 5.3-mile course like the online map says or if it's going to be 7 miles like Robert said.  Either way, it's a lot shorter than my usual TT's.  Need to go a little harder than on longer TTs.

(The official counts me down...5...4...3...2..1..)  I'm off!  Go, go, go!

One mile in - I'm averaging 27 mph!  Don't want to overcook it.  Need to rein it in a little.  No power meter today.  Have to go by feel and speed.  But remember to push harder than usual with the short course.

(Approaching a young boy who filled an empty spot a few ahead of me)  Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.  Not enough breath to speak.  (Giving him a thumbs up as I pass him)  You go, young cyclist!

I'm always so much less nervous once I'm actually out on the racecourse.

First turn.  Got here pretty quickly.  Watch out! Sand.

If the course is 5.3 miles, I'm about half way.  We'll see...

Not sure if my lungs or my guts are going to explode first...

No one at the turn onto Dixie Road.  Racers in front of me are going straight.  Hoping they're right...

(A short distance later) Good!  Sheriff's deputy at the upcoming turn.  I made the right call.  It's definitely the 7-mile course.

Wow, 3K to go!  A mile is about 1.6 km, so I've got how many miles left?  Don't try to do math right now!  Just ride - hard!

Keep going.  See if you can finish with a 23-mph average.

1K to go.  That's less than from my house to Bethany's.  You can do this.  Less than 5 minutes.  You can do anything for 5 minutes.

There's the finish line.  Head down.  Give it all you've got.  Follow through all the way across.  Can hardly breathe...

Lot's of commotion around the finish line.  Ref directing me to the left.  Just gotta get across the line...

Made it!  Keep riding; get your breath.

(Riding along the first part of the racecourse)  Need to turn around but don't want to interfere with other racers.  Look carefully.  Got it!

(Pedaling back to the parking lot) That was actually pretty fun.  Yeah, I'll race again.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sensations

I had several excellent high school English teachers, but Mrs. Phillips in 10th grade was my favorite.  I think that's because she was the first English teacher who had us read books and then really discussed them with us.  Before that, my English teachers would assign a book and then give a test designed primarily to determine whether we read it or not.  For example, one test question was "Did they wear hats on the trail?" as if this would give us some great literary insight into the human condition.
 
Mrs. Phillips rather inadvertently introduced me to one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury.  Her original assignment to the class was Lord of the Flies by William Golding, but my mother didn't want me to read it because she thought it was too violent.  That's the only book my mother ever objected to my reading.  Mrs. Phillips was fine with letting me read another book.  Mother suggested The Color Purple by Alice Walker.  Mrs. Phillips was rather flummoxed, wondering why my mother preferred that I be exposed to the violence in The Color Purple.  Instead, Mrs. Phillips recommended The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.  I loved it.  I went on to read other Bradbury works.  My favorite was Dandelion Wine, which I recommended to Mrs. Phillips.  Summer is my favorite season, and I love the imagery that Bradbury uses to evoke the senses as he describes the summer of 1928 as experienced by 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding.
 
(Side note: I read The Color Purple a few summers ago and thoroughly enjoyed it; see my blog entry “Middle Georgia Author Ride” on 8/10/14.  Also, I plan to read Lord of the Flies between September 25 and October 1 this year to celebrate Banned Books Week – a little delayed teenage rebellion.  Heh heh.)
 
I always have dozens of books on my to-read list.  Therefore, I can't remember the last time I re-read a book until now.  I'm re-reading Dandelion Wine.  It's the perfect time of year for it!
 
With summer and words and Mrs. Phillips floating in my conscious/subconscious, I rode the Fried Green Tomatoes 200K brevet this past Saturday.  The ride started at 6:00 AM.  The first light of day shone pink and gold through the trees.  The roads were mostly quiet.  The air was cool yet warm as only early morning in the summer can be.  A word came to my mind: sensations.
 
I remembered another assignment from Mrs. Phillips's class.  She had us do a writing exercise in which we were to imagine ourselves in five different situations of our choosing.  We were to write down everything we saw, heard, smelled, felt, and tasted.  I really got into the exercise and actually enjoyed doing a class assignment!  One of my scenarios was sitting by a pond at my favorite vacation spot.  Another was being at a Braves game.  I was a huge Braves fan back in the 80s when they were terrible.  Mrs. Phillips happened to be a big Braves fan, too.  She did the writing exercise along with the class and also chose a Braves game as one of her scenarios.  She and I had fun comparing notes.
 
This past Saturday morning as I drank in the beauty of my surroundings, feeling happy to be alert and alive, I decided to pay particular attention to what I experienced through my senses and write a different kind of ride report.  See if you can envision yourself on the ride.
 
What I See

  • Bicycle headlights and taillights before the sun is fully up
  • Julie's blinky light - is it on the back of her helmet, or is it a ponytail holder?
  • Silhouettes of trees in the twilight
  • Brightly colored kits: blue, green, yellow, red
  • A small commercial strip in a semi-rural area: $7 for 7 tans and a vape store.  You know those maps that show the unhealthiest places in America?  This is probably one of the red dots on the map.
  • Kudzu monsters formed by prodigal vines covering trees, buildings, power lines, and just about anything else that stands still
  • The Sac o’ Suds next to the Ocmulgee River.  The Sac o’ Suds was the scene of the tuna theft in the movie My Cousin Vinny.  The real Sac o’ Suds sells souvenir cans of tuna.
  • One... two... make that three dead armadillos at various places along the route (I avert my eyes as much as I can from any kind of roadkill; it makes me sad.)
  • At least four bananas in Eric's jersey pockets.  He's a new randonneur.  I'm glad I learn his name; otherwise, I would have to call him Monkey Man.
  • Eric's legs spinning furiously as he rides downhill on his fixie
  • Lynne Jordan at the farmers market on the square in Monticello.  It’s kind of cool when you can get your cousin to sign your brevet card at a control.
  • Other friends and neighbors and all the familiar surroundings of Monticello and Jasper County.  I love my home and am glad my riding companions are here to share it with me.
  • Something big and black on the pavement that I don't want to hit - oh, it's an eastern lubber grasshopper!
  • The Smokey Bear sign at the fire tower next to the Piedmont Wildlife Refuge (PWR)


  • A deer darting into the woods as we ride through the PWR
  • Several of my cycling buddies from Macon riding in the opposite direction on Highway 87
  • A hound dog that looks like the one from Hee Haw
  • The answer to the information control question at the bridge on Highway 42.  The testosterone-laden dudes have surged ahead, and I know they didn't think to get the information.  When they wait for several of us at the next turn, I coyly offer to sell the guys the answer for $5 per person.  I'll tell them what time we got to the control for another $5.
  • A slightly overcast sky that keeps the temperature down a bit
  • Hmmm... that raincloud in the distance looks pretty dark
  • Road grime sticking to my sweaty, sunscreen-covered legs
 
What I Hear

  • The wind whooshing by my ears
  • A car honking at us; we must be on "their" road
  • Robert's voice challenging me to go for the QOM on the Strava segment on Jackson Lake Road next to Lloyd Shoals Dam.  (He didn't think I'd really do it, but when he threw down the gauntlet, I couldn't resist!)
  • Andrew doing an excellent impersonation of Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies
  • The summer serenade of cicadas
  • A train as we ride parallel to the tracks near Hillsboro
  • The yap yap of the little piranha dog chasing us out of Juliette
  • The voice of a man in line behind me at the convenience store in Jackson as I'm getting my brevet card signed: "Y'all playing Pok√©mon?"

What I Smell

  • The unique fragrance of Coppertone, which I actually like, as I slather it on before the ride
  • Roadkill (sadness)
  • Ripe cantaloupe and watermelon at the control at Highway 87 and Highway 83 (Thank you, Wayne!)

 
  • David's watermelon flavored energy chews that he pulls from his jersey pocket (Hint: they don't smell as good as Wayne's fresh watermelon.)
  • Petrichor – that distinctive earthy smell after a light rain.  This cool word comes from the Greek “petros,” meaning “stone,” and “ichor,” the ethereal blood of the gods in Greek mythology.  Petrichor is caused by miniscule amounts of increased humidity that fill the pores of rocks and soils, releasing aromatic oils.
  • Testosterone.  Well, not really, but I definitely sense it several times as the guys throw the hammer down!

What I Feel

  • The delightfully warm summer air that makes me grateful that I don’t have to wear as much gear this time of year
  • The wonderfully smooth surface of brand new pavement on Highway 11
  • The dampening effect of my endurance bike that makes shake-and-bake roads a lot less rough
  • A comfortable bottom thanks to my Adamo Prologue saddle
  • The stretch of my legs as I stand to climb a hill
  • A heavy heart as we stop for a passing funeral procession
  • A few drops of rain.  Maybe it won't do much.
  • But it does – a good shower for a mile or two, just enough to make the ride interesting
  • Road spray from the rider in front of me
  • A slight chill after the rain
  • The warmth of the sun coming back out for the last few miles.  I feel like broccoli that will be perfectly steamed by the time we get to the end.
  • Amazingly strong at the end of the ride!  I could do a 300K today if I wanted.  Good form comes and goes, and I’m grateful that today I have it.  I wish I could bottle it; I’d make a mint.
 
What I Taste

  • Two flavors of Skratch Labs electrolyte drink mix – green tea with lemon and raspberry – that Robert and I try for the first time.  They are pretty good; slightly salty and not as sweet as Gatorade or PowerAde, which can get icky during a really long ride.
  • The flaky, luscious crust and sumptuous peach filling of one of Laverne's fried pies at the farmers market on the square in Monticello
  • Cold water from the spigot at the forest service building by the fire tower
  • The refreshment of delicious, chilled watermelon and cantaloupe (Thanks again, Wayne!)
  • The zing of spicy V-8.  What a treat!  Convenience stores usually just have the plain kind, but spicy is my favorite.
  • A chocolate mint Clif Bar
 
I have a confession to make.  When the word "sensations" came to my mind at the beginning of Saturday's ride, I thought of something else before I thought of Mrs. Phillips's writing exercise.  I remembered this hilarious video of Triathlete Man and Road Cyclist.  When Road Cyclist talks about "sensations," I just about fall out!
 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Blueberries with a Side of History

Every summer I look forward to picking blueberries at Hard Labor Creek Blueberry Farm.  It's even more fun when I can incorporate a bicycle ride.  The farm is about 35 miles from my house, and there are all kinds of terrific roads between and around both locations.  The only trick is that a vehicle has to be involved because I can't carry my blueberry haul home on my bicycle!  I was debating my approach this year when my friend Ken unknowingly provided the perfect plan.  It all started with an excellent book that I recently read, Georgia's Civilian Conservation Corps by Connie M. Huddleston.

Started by FDR during the Great Depression and lasting until WWII, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) provided work and valuable skills to hundreds of thousands of young men. Their projects ranged from soil conservation to forestry to building state parks. As US involvement in WWII loomed, CCC enrollees even built several military installations. Many of the young men entered the CCC malnourished but gained weight and health during their enlistment. A number also received education, obtaining literacy, high school diplomas, or even college degrees. The skills they learned in the CCC were highly sought during the war as well as in the workforce.

I was so interested in what I learned that I posted about the book on Facebook.  Ken, who lives in nearby Madison and is involved in historic preservation in Morgan County, responded with a link to a driving tour guide from a few years ago:


Not only did I enjoy reading about the CCC in the tour guide, I saw that the tour went right by Hard Labor Creek Blueberry Farm.  Aha!  My bicycle/blueberry plan came together: drive to the blueberry farm, do a historical bicycle ride from there, and pick blueberries afterwards. 

I excerpted the driving tour information from Ken to include the parts that particularly interested me.  I carried this condensed version with me as a reference.  It was also fun to reread the information after the ride.  In fact, I discovered that I had focused primarily on public works.  I guess that’s not surprising since I’m a civil engineer.

I had hoped that my friend Julie would be able to join me on the outing, but she couldn’t make it fit with her schedule.  However, Katie, another cycling friend, did join me.  Also, my husband Robert met us partway into the route and picked blueberries with me afterwards.

Katie and I met at the blueberry farm and headed out about 8:00 AM.  The first point of interest was less than two miles from the start:


This is the dam for a new reservoir to serve Walton and Oconee Counties.  The reservoir is scheduled to be filled by 2017 and will be a 1,370-acre lake, about a tenth of the size of Lake Oconee.  The lake will supply 52 million gallons per day (MGD) to the residents of the two counties.

Following blueberry picking, I took Robert by car to see the reservoir since he had missed the first part of Katie’s and my cycling route.  He noted that the City of Monticello water plant pumps about 0.5 MGD, which shows how massive a project this reservoir is.  Robert also pointed out the accordion shaped weir at the spillway, called a labyrinth weir.  This type of weir provides about three times the crest length of a straight weir.  A spillway’s discharge capacity is directly proportional to its crest length for a given upstream headAdditionally, insufficient spillway capacity is a major cause of dam failuresTherefore, because of its small footprint, a labyrinth weir can be an efficient and cost effective way to increase discharge capacity and, thus, safety.  By the way, the labyrinth weir is kind of the one-dimensional analog to the answer to every biology question: increases surface area.  For example, why does the small intestine have all those fingerlike villi?  They increase surface area, providing more absorption of nutrients.  (totally nerding here...)

Katie and I looped around on the northern arc of the route and approached Hard Labor Creek State Park.  This was the CCC part of the ride.  The CCC built Hard Labor Creek and a number of other state parks, such as Indian Springs, Cloudland Canyon, and Pine Mountain (now FDR).  The eye-catching rockwork in the buildings, bridges, and other structures at these parks is a distinctive reminder of the CCC’s legacy.  Interestingly, while many state parks have CCC-built cabins and other buildings that are still used by the public, Hard Labor Creek has the only remaining buildings from the CCC camps themselves in the state of Georgia.

The driving tour guide provides a couple of first-person narratives from two former CCC workers.  Willy Oliver, who was 96 in a 2014 interview, said, “the CC was good for men back then. It gave them something to do and kept them out of trouble… It wasn’t nothing but the army. They were training us for the army, and we were going to be the first ones called up. We wore uniforms, slept in barracks, drilled, and everything. We just didn’t carry guns.

Deacon George Williams, another CCC worker, said, ““… you had camps all over America, you know. Young men built roads, built bridges, planted forest trees and did it all. And it was a good thing that they had done a lot of that work because, [had they not]… when the war broke out… we’d a been in bad shape. Cause you see, Japan didn’t give us no notice, they give us a sneak attack. [Before] we knew anything, they done bombed Pearl Harbor, and… the army wasn’t so large at that time but most of these CC Boys had enough training that they could come out and go right into it.”

A couple of years ago Robert and I did a wonderful nighttime kayak tour at Hard Labor Creek State Park.  The ranger that led the tour explained about the two lakes at the park, Lake Brantley and Lake Rutledge, both constructed by the CCC when they dammed Hard Labor Creek.  Lake Brantley is upstream and serves as a sediment pond for Lake Rutledge.  At the time the lakes were constructed, farming practices across the country were generally very poor, best exemplified by the Dust Bowl in the Midwest.  As I rode past the lakes this past Saturday, I wondered if the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS – originally the Soil Conservation Service, or SCS) was formed during this era.  That’s the great thing about a historical bicycle ride; it inspires me to do more research.

The SCS was established on April 27, 1935 as Congress recognized that “the wastage of soil and moisture resources on farm, grazing, and forest lands . . .  is a menace to the national welfare.”  (from www.nrcs.usda.gov).  The SCS had technical experts who advanced scientific understanding of erosion processes and developed effective conservation practices.  The CCC provided labor for SCS projects, cultivating seeds and plants and conducting reforestation.  How interesting to learn the connection between the SCS and the CCC!

Although the SCS started out primarily to improve farming practices, its scope of conservation increased in subsequent decades to include watershed protection, nonpoint source pollution control, and wetlands protection.  Today’s NRCS has an important role in my own work as a civil engineer because many of my projects involve land development.  Sediment from construction sites is a major pollutant of waterways.  Therefore, any construction project that disturbs more than 1 acre is subject to federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations.  The NRCS provides NPDES regulatory oversight for many smaller jurisdictions in Georgia without their own review staff.

The driving tour guide provided additional, earlier history of the area that is now Hard Labor Creek State Park.  This area of Georgia was part of Indian Territory until 1802, when Native Americans ceded it to whites.  Unfortunately, combat between the Native Americans and white settlers continued for a number of years.  In one particularly bloody skirmish on November 6, 1813, Creeks killed at least nine settlers.  Lake Brantley is named for the Brantley family who were killed in that massacre.

Prior to white settlement, noted naturalist William Bartram explored the region in 1773 as part of a four-year documentation of the Southern colonies.  This description of a forest he encountered gives a vivid picture of the area before it was converted to agriculture: “… the scene opens, and discloses to view the most magnificent forest I had ever seen. …many of the black oaks measured eight, nine, ten, and eleven feet diameter.”

One other note about Hard Labor Creek State Park: It was the filming site for three well known “camp” movies: Little Darlings (1980), Poison Ivy (1985), and Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986).

Katie and I pedaled through Rutledge and headed east on Dixie Highway.  Local cyclists love riding on this smooth, straight road.  (It would make a great time trial course!)  After a few miles, Robert joined us.  He had ridden from our house.  He was just in time for some more public works history.  Dixie Highway was originally part of Hightower Trail, one within a network of Native American trails between Augusta and Alabama.  (Other noteworthy roads in this network include Seven Island Road, which goes through Jasper County, where I live, and The Federal Road, which goes through Bibb County, where I work.)  Hightower Road was also a stagecoach route between Charleston and New Orleans.  Railroad tracks were built in the 1830s, crisscrossing Hightower Trail.  In the early 1900s, the portion of Hightower south of the tracks became part of Dixie Highway, the first highway to link the rural South to the urban North, from Florida to Michigan.  The 10-mile section of Dixie Highway between Madison and Rutledge was paved in concrete between 1914 and 1921 and cost $30,000/mile.  Today, a project like this would cost more than ten times that amount.  By the way, the parts of the old Hightower Trail north of the railroad tracks remain gravel to this day.

The three of us continued into Madison, famous for its antebellum homes, which Sherman spared from burning on his March to the Sea.  The driving tour guide pointed out a unique feature of the Madison historic district.  Some of the houses were built to face Old Post Road, part of the previously mentioned stagecoach route between Charleston and New Orleans.  When Main Street became the main road through town, many landowners reoriented the facades of their houses to face Main Street.  Therefore, some of the historic houses appear to have two facades.  Additionally, I noticed a house with two and half stories.  I thought I remembered something about historic houses sometimes having a half story to avoid tax on the top story.  Based on a little Internet research, this is a myth.  The half story was simply a popular style.

We circled around the northeast side of downtown Madison.  I was interested to learn of a couple of land planning tools that Madison is using to redevelop this area.  One is a Downtown Urban Redevelopment Area (DURA), which seeks aesthetic and economic enhancement through a combination of commercial and residential development.  In addition, a historic-inspired multifamily complex that is under construction is using Transferable Development Rights (TDR) to shift density from sensitive greenspaces to a more developable site.  TDR is an advanced planning technique that allows both pro-growth and pro-greenspace advocates achieve their goals.

Next, we headed back west on Dixie Highway.  We didn’t go straight back to Rutledge, though.  First we explored areas south.  The biggest delight of the ride was unexpectedly coming upon a beautiful field of sunflowers.  I pulled my phone out of my jersey pocket to snap a photo as we rode by.  Robert and Katie wanted to stop to look – even better!

L-R: me, Katie

Bee happy

The driving tour had a couple of out-and-backs in this area.  To make it better suited for cycling, I tweaked the route by adding a loop.  The loop included a couple of roads that I had not ridden before, and so I checked them out on Google Earth.  I didn’t check quite carefully enough, however, because we came to a dirt section!  It didn’t look too bad, and I didn’t expect it to last terribly long.  Therefore, we continued on the route as laid out.  Fortunately, the dirt section was only a little over a mile long.  Expect adventure!

Soon we came to the home of Hilda and Blue Chilton.  Hilda is a Master Gardener with lovely vegetable and flower gardens on the property.  Even more striking are Blue’s sculptures.  We stopped to look at several near the road:


Some cross training for our ride
Here be dragons

I especially love the dragon and posted it on Facebook.  Ken commented on “Here be dragons” being an ancient map reference.  According to general knowledge, cartographers put this phrase at the edge of maps to indicate unexplored territory.  I looked online for an example to include here and learned some more history

There are zero known historical maps with the phrase “Here be dragons” – at least in English.  Centuries ago, the language of learning was Latin.  Therefore, the phrase in Latin is “Hic sunt dracones.”  But you know what?  Only one known map has the phrase in Latin.  “Here be dragons” is still a pretty cool myth, though.
Genuine imitation old map
We rode the few remaining miles back to Hard Labor Creek Blueberry Farm.  After changing clothes, we started picking blueberries.  Katie picked a partial bucket and then headed home to Atlanta.  Robert and I kept picking until we each had a full bucket.  We’ll eat some fresh, but most will go into the freezer for use throughout the year in smoothies and other goodies (see recipes below).

As I was leaving the picking area, a guy asked me why the birds don’t eat all of the blueberries.  I told him that the owners have big spray cans of Bird B Gone.  He actually believed me, and so I told him my real supposition, that there are simply so many blueberries that the birds don’t eat them all.



Because we picked a full bucket of blueberries, we got a free watermelon.

Big fruit, little fruit
Robert and I wrapped up our outing with lunch at The Caboose in Rutledge.  An old boxcar was converted to a caboose during WWII.  In 1971 the Nolan family purchased it to use as a playhouse.  Then, in 1996 Ed Hogan and Molly Lesnikowski bought it, moved it to downtown Rutledge, and turned it into a sandwich shop.  The sandwiches are mighty tasty, too.  Robert had the Amtrak (turkey, bacon, and provolone), and I had homemade pimento cheese.  We even sprang for dessert – a strawberry milkshake for Robert and an ice cream cone for me.  I picked Yellow Brick Road ice cream, which looked and sounded pretty exciting.  A little girl standing next to me at the counter asked what flavor I had.  I told her Yellow Brick Road, then added that it had flying monkeys in it.  Her eyes got wide.  Her grandfather, also standing there, smiled at me conspiratorially.  As I sat at a table eating my ice cream, they walked past me toward the door.  I said, “I’m melting!”

Although I’m really not a huge history buff, my cycling this July is turning out to be quite historical.  I’m enjoying the ride.


Company Blueberry Pancake for Two

3 T butter
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 C blueberries, thoroughly drained (can use frozen)
1 lemon
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  When oven gets to about 350 degrees, place butter in a heavy 8- to 9-inch square casserole or cast iron skillet (I recommend a cast iron skillet) and place in oven.

Meanwhile, combine flour, milk, salt, and eggs in a medium bowl.  Fold in blueberries.  Remove pan from oven and pour batter into sizzling butter.  Bake 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and squeeze lemon juice over the pancake (use entire lemon).  Sprinkle liberally with confectioners' sugar.  Serve right from the pan.

Yield: 2 servings

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Blueberry-Yogurt Muffins

Nonstick cooking spray
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 C orange juice
2 T vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C vanilla or plain low-fat yogurt
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
1 T granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  Make a well in center of mixture.  Combine egg, orange juice, oil, vanilla, and yogurt.  Pour into well and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tin and sprinkle 1 T sugar evenly over batter.  Bake about 18 minutes or until golden.  Remove from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 muffins

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Blueberry Pound Cake

1 C plus 2 T butter
2 1/4 C sugar, divided
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 C all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 C fresh blueberries

Grease a 10-inch tube pan with 2 T butter.  Sprinkle pan with 1/4 C sugar.  Cream remaining butter; gradually add remaining sugar, beating well.  Add eggs, one a t a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla and mix well.  Combine 2 3/4 C flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until well blended.  Dredge blueberries with remaining 1/4 C flour.  Fold berries into batter.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for one hour 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely.

Source: Hard Labor Creek Blueberry Farm