when the weather gets warm like this in november, i don't ask any questions, i just gather up my gear and get my ass into the forest for perhaps one last hurrah in naturing. the night before i'd decided to go to noanet woods, a peaceful place in dover, up on a rocky peak, overlooking hills in full display of autumn colors.
at this stage in the season, there isn't a lot to see, other than the foliage. occasionally i'd meet somebody, always with a dog or two, either out walking or jogging. i'd been to noanet woods before, but this time around i had a better trail map.
at intersection 3-4, i heard knocking sounds. i wasn't able to identify it at first, but then i realized it's the sound of a woodpecker pecking. i stopped to look for it, and before too long i spotted what was making the sound: a woodpecker the size of a crow with a red crest - a male pileated woodpecker. i've never seen one before but it's unmistakable. i followed it around the woods for 15 minutes, trying to get a good photo, as it flew from tree to tree, knocking on dead wood, searching for insects, occasionally making its distinctive call.
it took about an hour and a half of walking before i finally made it up noanet peak. the view was spectacular, a vast expanse of autumn foliage, reds, oranges, yellows, browns, punctuated with the occasional evergreen. it was warm on the summit, and for some reason ladybugs were everywhere (i believe they migrate). i sat on the rocks, admiring the natural beauty of the landscape, with ladybugs landing on me ever so often. i relaxed, drank my bottled water, ate a stick of beef jerky. i was up there for probably half an hour before heading back down.
riding home, within just miles of cambridge, something happened to my motorcycle. i noticed i was losing control, and i looked back to see if i had a flat tire, but things looked okay, and i kept on riding, but it felt weird, and i looked back again, and saw i was down to the rim. i quickly pulled over, by then i was between the belmont cemetery and fresh pond. i was close enough to walk to my parents' place in belmont, but i couldn't push the bike home, not with a flat wheel. unlike a car, where you have a spare tire, with a motorcycle there isn't such a thing. so i called my father, who came by with the automatic tire pump, and we filled the back tire enough so i could roll the bike forward. we could see there was a nail embedded in the tread, and the tire quickly went flat again. we pumped it up one more time and i quickly rode the motorcycle to my parents' place before it had time to go flat. although it sucks to have a flat tire, i was lucky that i was close to home and not out on the highway somewhere. my father and i went to an auto supply shop and got a tire plug kit and came home to plug the hole. unfortunately, after we pried out the nail, patched up the puncture and inflated the tire, we could still hear it leaking air, and the tire once again went flat, so there must be another hole somewhere, or maybe the tire is designed like a bicycle tire, where there's an inner tube (which we can't easily patch from the outside). so like that my riding season grounds to a halt. i'm hoping i can still get the tire fixed by next week, but the season's ending anyway, and if that doesn't happen, i'll just wait until next spring.
i got a ride to the cafe, where i had an early dinner. suhan and i went to my place while we waited for jawei to come home so we could go into boston to see the basketball game. it was the first NBA game for both jawei and suhan. i got us some $10 cheap seats, but they were actually pretty good, we could still see everything just fine. i brought my monocular, which everyone took turns using.
the game was between the celtics and the detriot pistons. pistons were favored to win (and win by a large margin), but the celtics kept it close, even occasionally leading on the scoreboard. it's been a while since i've been to a basketball game, and i was surprised to see they have cheerleaders now; well, not in the classic NBA sense, but in the more traditional sense, with both boys and girls (although only the girls were dressed in matching spandex, while the boys looked like they were at gym practice). jawei brought some blank papers mounted on a cardboard backing and made a makeshift sign while we were there, hoping to get himself on television (no such luck). the half-time entertainment featured a chinese acrobat on a high unicycle kicking up bowls onto the top of her head. the crowd was really into it, but chinese acrobats are a dime a dozen.
the game was close and down to the wire. with seconds to go, mark blount made a miracle basketball to give the celtics a one point lead with 0.8 seconds left in the game. the entire garden was ecstastic, but 0.8 seconds is a long time in the NBA, and wouldn't you know it, the worst-case scenario happened, as a pistons player made a basketball just as the countdown clock went to zero seconds, winning the game for detriot. a heartbreaking lost, but at least we were all together in our defeat.
we walked to charles/mgh and grabbed the train to cambridge. suhan got off at harvard square to go home, while jawei and i returned to our place.