Sunday, September 03, 2006

More HHH; more new camera

My ride last Saturday wasn't actually my first experience at the Hotter'N Hell Hundred. My first experience was way back in 1988 when I was in high school. During my sophomore year, I became active in the Key Club at my high school. Key Club is a high school community service organization sponsored by Kiwanis International. Our club at San Angelo Central High was one of the top clubs in the Texas-Oklahoma District, and we were very involved in various activities throughout the district. Several times a year we would travel out of town for conventions, workshops, and sometimes to assist other clubs with large projects. In 1988, one of those was the Hotter'N Hell Hundred.

A fellow Key Clubber from San Angelo joined me on the day before HHH as I hitched a ride with a Kiwanian and his wife from San Angelo to Wichita Falls. I don't remember that much about the trip, except for stopping for lunch at the Arby's in Abilene. In Wichita Falls, I met up with some friends from a private Catholic school in Oklahoma. I had met them at a motivational workshop earlier in the summer. One of them was a girl named Mary, whom I liked. We became good friends and there was some early romantic interest between us, although nothing ever happened. At the HHH, we all slept in sleeping bags on the floor of a rec. room at a church or community center, and we were lined up to volunteer at the race the next day. We didn't get to see much of the race, and I don't even remember what we were supposed to be doing... helping to direct spectators to a parking lot or something, I don't know. All I remember doing is standing around, hanging out with Mary and her classmates. I do remember being surprised that some of the fastest riders completed the race in less than 4 hours, and by what a big crowd of cyclists and spectators the event had drawn -- and this was only the HHH's 7th year. And I remember that it was the first time I ever saw one of those enclosed bike trailers. After our shift, we visited the Wichita Falls mall (probably the highlight of the trip, how sad is that?)

You know what's cool about life? Back in 1988, in the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, as I hung around hoping to hook up with a cute girl from out of town, never in a million years would I have imagined that the next time I came to the HHH it would be as a participant! (Only two years prior, at the age of 14, I had survived a near fatal accident while riding my bike in San Angelo. Back then, I never expected to ride a bike again! Remind me to tell you about that sometime... )

Whiskey and Mary in 1988; Whiskey in 2006

And who would have figured that the next time I came to HHH, I would be 34, employed by the railroad, living in Fort Worth, have several published magazine articles and countless published photographs to my credit, have 2 kids, and be married to a girl I knew from my own high school (but who I wouldn't start dating until college). OR that I would learn years later (about the time I found out that K was pregnant with L) that the cute girl I fancied from Oklahoma City was now an out-of-the-closet lesbian! (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)

Isn't life crazy?

More from my new camera

I've been enjoying the new camera (Fuji Finepix F-470) ... it's incredibly portable, incredibly easy to use, and at 6 megapixels, the photos are pretty sharp. My Canon gear is great for my train photography and the other high-quality work that I still occasionally get around to doing, but nothing beats a good point & shoot for spur-of-the-moment shooting, especially on a bike ride when I don't want to lug around two camera bodies and three or four lenses.

Here are a few more shots from the past couple weeks...

yep, this thing is small...

(ball-point pen included in the shot for perspective)

a windy day for a bike ride in Keller

Despite my pleas for sanity, M insisted on routing his

main line through the roundhouse...

a southbound at Roanoke

* * *

... and a few boxcar logos...


nr: Jack Kerouac - On the Road

np: Asleep at the Wheel / Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys


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