Friday, November 04, 2011

OK, so it snowed

I measured about eight inches of snow at my house. Someone told me Wolfeboro logged 16. I don't know about that. Warm weather immediately started taking the cover away. Because of other necessities, four days passed before I could even think about trying to ride my dark-time path commute.

Snow survives in many shaded places. However, really shaded places didn't receive as much snow because the trees intercepted the sticky snow on the way down. The sun then melted it the next day, so it fell as warm water onto the thinner accumulation under the trees. Where we find deep drifts is in clearings that filled up, but where the low sun of late fall can't penetrate easily to bring the most warmth.

 The parking lot didn't look too promising, but I needed a ride after several days without one.

 Zoom! After the first ugly bit, the path appeared completely clear.
 Luck ran out, but for how long? I was committed to the route by then.
 This section made me work. Someone had been training a sled dog team with their off-season wheeled rig.
Woof! This was just one snowy section. I was running late, so I didn't stop to document every obstacle. Some were deeper than this, but for a much shorter distance.

The work day was pleasant and unremarkable. In addition to various employment-related tasks I also installed a helmet mount for a Beamer light to see how it might improve my lighting options.  The Black Diamond Cosmo headlamp I've been using as my "zombie spotter" is light and affordable, but I thought I might like to add a light with more range. The Beamer helmet bracket was cheap enough. I figured I could use the Beamer as my zombie spotter and the Cosmo as my dashboard lighting, aiming it down toward the computer on my handlebars while the Beamer sends its light out along my line of sight.

The term "zombie spotter" came to me as I rode alone through the spooky woods on a late October night. You know, you hear a noise from the dark forest and whip your head around to see what made it. Usually I don't see anything. Whatever might be crunching and crackling is headed away from me and that's just fine.
Zombie spotter and dashboard light

The day never felt warm, with a high in the 40s and a gusty wind, but it was above freezing. The snow had not miraculously vanished between morning and evening commute, but it was better at the end of the day. I never got sent sideways on the evening run, but I nearly did on the morning rush to town.

The augmented helmet light array picked up glowing eyes from the brimming swamp beside the path several miles out from town. If I lived in the south I would guess it was a 'gator. Up here I'm thinking it was a beaver. Can't think what else might be looking up at me from a pond when it's 38 degrees and dark. I suppose any northern aquatic small mammal is as likely. In any case it was just a glint as I hurried past. That section of the path was clear to the dirt, so I was taking advantage. No point giving the zombies a good fix on me by going slowly. I've gotten this far in life by making myself a moving target.

The Cosmo and the Beamer put out very comparable illumination. Neither one had a longer range, but they joined forces if I angled the Cosmo to place its light patch adjacent to the Beamer's. If I really want range and power from my helmet light I will have to invest in one of the modern super-lights. I don't know if I care that much. The dynamo light does a great job by itself down the road or trail.


Steve A said...

We had our first freeze today. I think we are past the 100F weather even down here.

limom said...

Your helmet sort of reminds me of the Halo dude.

RANTWICK said...

No snow here yet. Good thing because Mutant Winter needs some TLC before I take it out.