Saturday, May 29, 2010

Walking Around the Plaza

Today I was meeting friends near the Plaza for coffee. I arrived early and parked near the Capitol. I always enjoy walking downtown and looking at all the art and old buildings. So I walked up Old Santa Fe Trail passing the Capitol, Guadalupe Cafe, The Pink Adobe, San Miguel Mission, Upper Crust Pizza and eventually arriving at the intersection of Old Santa Fe Trail and Alameda. I took some pictures along the way. I crossed Alameda and walked around the front of Inn at Loretto and took a few pictures. Still on Old Santa Fe Trail I passed some galleries and Loretto Chapel - I took a picture of the church. I turned right at Water St. and walked along the back side of La Fonda Hotel until I reached Cathedral Place. Here I turned left and made my way to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. There is a beautiful little park next to the Cathedral and they were having an art and craft show there. I walked through hoping to find a friend who was going to have a booth in the park with her jewelry. I found Alina (a fellow PT I work with at the hospital) and visited for a minute. I didn't stay long since she was trying to get things ready for the show. I exited the park at the back onto Palace Ave. and turned left heading toward the Plaza. I walked past Sena Plaza, The Shop, The Shed and the Frank Howell Gallery arriving at the intersections of Washington Ave., Palace Ave. and Old Santa Fe Trail where the Palace of the Governors is located.

The Plaza was packed. There were tons of people here for the Santa Fe Run Around - a 5K & 10K race in and around the Plaza. Some people were there to run and some just to cheer them on. I took pictures and walked around waiting for the start of the race. I positioned myself a little in front of the starting line so that I could get some good pictures . There were quite a few runners lined up and then 'Ils sont partis!' (cajun for 'and they're off!'). Once the runners were gone I walked up San Francisco Street passing shop after shop, pass the Ore House, San Francisco Street Bar & Grill, some galleries and clothing stores, Tia Sopia's, Burro Alley and stopping at the Lensic. Of course I took some pictures along the way.

Then I backtracked a little ways on San Francisco Street to the intersection with Galisteo. I turned right and walked along Galisteo passing Maya's, Santa Fe Hat and the Blue Corn Cafe reaching the intersection of Galisteo and Water Street. Just across Water Street on Galisteo is Collected Works Bookstore. Here is where I met my friends for coffee. We had a wonderful visit and you can read about that at Meeting Bandaid. After about an hour and a half of chatting and coffee we left. I turned right out of the bookstore and walked up Galisteo to Alameda. Here I turned left and continued my walk down Alameda to Don Gaspar. I turned left here walking past Del Charro, Santa Fe Village and the Hotel St. Francis. I stopped at the intersection of Don Gaspar and Water Street across for Cafe Pasquals. More pictures along the walk. I found a spot to sit and read The Reporter.

Did I mention that the day was absolutely beautiful, sunny and warm. When I made it to the end of the paper I retraced my steps down Don Gaspar and crossed Alameda, continuing on Don Gaspar passing State Office Buildings until I reached the Capital. I walked around the outside of the Capitol and made my way to Old Santa Fe Trail. I crossed here and was back at my car. It was a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.

Sharing the Road . . . Not!?!?!

*NOTE* - This is going to be a rant, so if you aren't in the mood don't read any further!
And it isn't going to be politically correct either - this is my blog and I am going to vent.

You always hear "Share the road." when it comes to bicycles. I always felt okay about that and it always bothered me when I read about a bicyclist getting hit by a car. But things change and that changes our mind. And of course, we all know that the bicyclist are never at fault, it is always the big, bad car drivers are always wrong. I mean let's face it - they pollute the air, they have created the hole in the ozone and anything else you can think of. In case you can't tell I am being very facetious. Yes, there are bad drivers out there just like there are bad bicyclists. I encountered three today. And it just wasn't little things it was things that could have ended very badly.

Bicyclist #1 (Female) - wearing a helmet, dressed in all the correct clothing to be the next Lance Armstrong and seemed to be doing well. Then, she came to a crowd of people (this was on the Plaza in Santa Fe where there was a 5K run and Arts & Crafts Shows going on) where she barreled through a crosswalk full of pedestrians crossing the street. Two people jumped out of the way and just missed being hit. The bicyclist never slowed down and didn't even look back to see if anything had happened. The pedestrians had a few choice words and hand signals for the bicyclist.

Bicyclist #2 (Male) - again wearing a helmet and looking like a professional bike rider - whatever that is. I was parked in a line of cars trying to exit a parking lot and there were all these cars on the street that had a stop sign ahead. So they were stopping and moving and then every now and then would let one of the cars out of the parking lot. When I was the second car in line the car ahead of me was turning left out of the parking lot (the car on the street had stopped to let him turn) and all of a sudden stepped on his brakes and stopped int he middle of his turn. I wondered why! And then I saw a bicyclist come around the car in the street that had stopped and just kept going weaving through the cars ahead. Boy let me tell you that big bad car that was turning could have killed that bicyclist if he hadn't seen him and stopped.

Bicyclist #3 (Male) - again this was a bicyclist that had all the clothes and gear you see at the Tour de France. I was at a three-way stop and I was stopped. There were no other cars around. Directly ahead I could see a bicyclist but he hadn't quite made it to the stop sign. I start to turn right and low and behold the bicyclist turned left right in front of me - he didn't even slow down much less stop at the stop sign. Luckily I wasn't going fast and slammed my brakes on to avoid hitting him. I did sit on my horn for a good 30 seconds (secretly hoping that the noise would have scared him and he would have fallen off his bike). The road we both turned on is a 25mph road, so I was going slow and that meant that I didn't need to pass the bicyclist. On this road are four stop signs at street along the way and then you get to a signal light at a major intersection. This bicyclist did not stop at any of the stop signs. He even went around other cars that were stopped at the stop signs. Just before the signal light he put his left arm straight out to turn left onto a side street. He cut in front of the car in front of me - he never looked back to see if it was safe. I would say that the car and the bike were pretty close seeing how fast the car put on their brakes.

My point? I have had enough of this sharing the road crap and always hearing how bad the cars are. Roads were meant for cars not bikes. Roads are paid for by cars not bikes. So here are my thoughts and I don't care if you like them.
Since anyone driving a car needs to take a test and get a driver's license I feel that every bicyclist that wants to ride on the road should have to take bike safety lessons, take a test (written and practical), pass the test and pay for a rider's license.
They should also have to register (yearly) their bike and get a license plate for the bike (and pay for that as well). Someone has to pay for those bike lanes and it shouldn't be the cars (we already pay for our driver's license, license plates and gas which go to the roads). I don't mind paying for that since I use the road but I don't want to pay for bike lanes. These idiots today really pissed me off - you could tell just by their actions that they think they own the roads - they didn't want to share, they wanted everyone (pedestrians and drivers to yield to them).

If they want to share the road then they need to obey every traffic rule and sign that cars have to obey. Stop at every stop sign and only go when it is clear. Stop at pedestrian crosswalks (especially if there is someone crossing). Use turn signals at all time (and I will reiterate this for cars as well). Etc., Etc., Etc.! If they break these rules they should be ticketed just like a car would be if caught.

This is how I feel and I am glad I vented - if you want to share the road then practice what you preach. I realize that not every bicyclist is bad and it would be nice if bicyclist would realize that not all drivers are bad. When an accident happens it could just as well be the bicyclist's fault not the driver's fault - I witnessed three acts of reckless bicycling in the span of about an hour so my guess would be that there is a lot more of that going on.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm a Total 'Gleek' . . .

. . . and tonight's episode was the best one yet. It was all Gaga and there were so many emotions.
Some of my favorite parts . . .
* When the girls (and Kurt) dressed all Gaga and sang Bad Romance - fantastic!
* Puck singing Beth to Quinn - touching.
* Rachel and Coach Corcoran (two incredible voices) performing Poker Face - sounded great.
* Tina making Principal Figgins believe she was a vampire - a little silly but funny.
* Coach Corcoran singing Funny Girl - I love Idina Menzel.
* Finn wearing an over-the-top red shower curtain and coming to Kurt's defense - the show of a true man.
But the highlight of the show tonight for me was . . .
* Kurt's Dad's speech.
Being a gay man I believe every gay man would have loved to hear this from his father when he was a teen struggling with all the feelings of being gay. Support from your father would make an incredible difference in any young man's life but the effect it would have on a gay man's life would be astounding.
If I hadn't already been a Glee Fan tonight would have hooked me. I applaud everyone associated with Glee for covering all the things teens have to deal with and not sugar coating it. I hope this show last for a while.