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September 2, 2013

Hope you enjoyed your Labor Day holiday.  Like nearly the rest of the country, we grilled burgers accompanied with salads sprinkled with jalapenos that I grew in the garden and peppers grown by a coworker.   Just the right amount of kick to the salad.    I'm hoping to improve my product and food photography this winter, so this is sort of a baseline image of how not to do it.

There's this app called Strava that the runner and bikers use to plot and time their route with mobile phones.  Sort of a social network too since you can follow people and have followers.  Plus you can discover a route in the app then go and run or bike it and the app will post your times for certain select sections such as hill climbs, etc.  So I find that a route runs past my house and around the corner where the road goes a few miles and then becomes like a paved road in the Smokies with a very steep grade with switchbacks.  I notice a son of one of our camera club members has the fastest time in this section, he averaged 10 miles an hour.  So I take off up the road to that section and go down it.  Keep in mind that he went 10 mph UP the grade, then I found myself being in fear of my life going 10 mph DOWN the grade.  I got to the bottom and turned around and I had to stop 3 times before getting to the top, not one of those brief pauses but rather one of those stops where you stare at the ground for 10 minutes just hoping that nobody comes by and asks you if you're OK cause you would never be able to form words.  Finally I get to the top with rubber band legs and soon  pass a couple fellows who are using a small backhole on maybe a water line and I wave and keep on going.  A bit past them I hear one shout something about a stump at the top of the hill and I think he's wanting the backhole man to do something.  The hill gets steeper and I keep playing those words in my mind, what did he say again?  Watch the stump at the top of the hill? Watch out for the stump at the top of the hill?   So I stop out of breath, worrying about having a coronary, still working through the words and it comes to me.  I'm thinking about his yard, there were no stumps or trees in the yard.  Then I'm thinking this was meant for me but there are no stumps in the road and about then a big shepherd dog crosses the road in front of me.  There was my warning.  Watch out for the shepherd dog at the top of the hill.  The dog disappears up the road so I quietly and slowly walk my bike that way, I certainly can't turn back and go down that steep hill again, plus I'd have to make an embarrassing call for rescue.  So just maybe I can be so quiet the dog won't hear me.  The bike doesn't weigh 20 lbs, I could throw it at the dog if I had to.  I creep around a sudden turn in the road and here comes the dog, not the typical bark, bark, bark dog.  This dog lowers his head, remains quiet, and starts circling and coming in from behind.  It's a funny feeling knowing that you are under certain attack by an experienced attacker and not much you can do about it.   I spin around and use one hand to keep the bike between me and the dog and pick up the water bottle out of the cage with the other hand thinking I could spray him with Gatorade, then remember that just before I left I found a decades old can of the dog repellant Shout that I  clipped to the side of the other bottle cage.  Knowing it probably dated back to my earlier bicycling period of 1986, I had little faith in it.  Funny thing, though, the dog saw the can and evidently had previously been made acquainted with the product, he raised his head and took off in the opposite direction.  I raised my head and also took off in the opposite direction but making many quick looks over my shoulders.

I'm thinking trading the bike for a Canon lens is sounding better and better.