Sunday, September 6, 2015

Goatsnake – "Grandpa Jones" (2015)

You can't decide 
What to do
With your life

I like to look at the beach when I'm in Cape Cod, but I don't spend much time on it.  

This year, I was actually on the beach for less than five minutes – just long enough to take some pictures:

When I go to Cape Cod, I spend more time in the woods than on the beach.  Specifically, I spend more time in the West Barnstable Conservation Area, riding the less technical sections of the 21-mile "Trail of Tears" on my venerable Mongoose Rockadile SX mountain bike:

Here's a video that will give you a good feel for what it's like to ride the Trail of Tears:

When I say my mountain bike is "venerable," I really mean it's very, very old.  In fact, my Mongoose is older than my youngest child, who turns 21 next month.  But its shifters and brakes function flawlessly, and it fits me just right, so I'm in no hurry to replace it.

I feel all warm and fuzzy every time I ride my mountain bike.  You see, I bought that bike in Delaware, so I avoided paying sales tax on it.  (Feels good to stick it to the man, doesn't it?)

Delaware: home of tax-free shopping
There are dozens of intersections in the 21-mile-long network of West Barnstable Conservation Area trails, and I used to get lost there on a routine basis.  But a few years ago, those intersections were marked with letter-number signs (like "SW9" or "E14"), which are shown on the large maps at each of the Trail of Tears parking areas.

Here's a detail from one of those maps:

I simply pull out my Blackberry and take closeups of the parts of map that show where I am planning to ride before I saddle up.  When I come to an unfamiliar intersection, I look for the marker (which is attached to one of the trees in the vicinity), locate that marker on my map photo, and know exactly where I am.  

The new maps color-code the trail segments by degree of difficulty, although one man's "moderate" is another man's "moderate, my ass!"

A moderately difficult trail
Even when the trail isn't too rocky or steep for me to negotiate, it can be quite narrow, with dense shrubbery pressing in on you from both sides.

At times, I found myself riding through clouds of swarming insects.  Riding with only one hand on the handlebar so you can swat at the little bastards in your face is risky, and once I swerved into a large holly bush that was adjacent to the trail.  I'm still picking out the little pointy parts of the holly leaves that embedded themselves in my hide.

The other major hazard of riding the Trail of Tears is a thorny vine commonly known as catbriar or greenbriar.  Its thorns are more than sharp enough to puncture your tire if you ride over one:

Adjacent to the conservation area is the Cape Cod Airfield, a grass-field airport that is almost 100 years old.  It is home to 20-odd private planes, including an open-cockpit Waco YMF-5 biplane:

The original Waco biplanes were built in the 1930s.  The one based at Cape Cod Airfield is a replica that was built about 20 years ago.  For $175, two people can take a brief sightseeing ride in the Waco:

When I drove by the airport last month, someone was restoring a DC-3:

The DC-3 (which seated 21 passengers) first flew in 1935.  Over 16,000 were built, and some of them are still in use.    

Thirty-odd years ago, I used to fly to Cape Cod on Provincetown-Boston Airlines, which flew DC-3s like this one from Boston to Hyannis:

Goatsnake is a metal band from Los Angeles that released albums in 1999 and 2000, but broke up in 2001.  The band eventually reunited, and released the Black Age Blues album (which includes today's featured song) earlier this year:

I don't listen to a lot of metal, but you need harder music when you're mountain biking – metal, punk, etc.

I don't think today's featured song has anything to do with the late Hee Haw star Louis "Grandpa" Jones, but I'm not 100% sure of that.

Here's "Grandpa Jones":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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