Sunday, June 29, 2014

Alex Biking The Truckee River Trail - June 2014



Song:  A Simple Life

Artist:  Brian Crain





We live in the Northwestern mountains of Reno.

 The Sierra Nevada mountain range...
and the Nevada / California border...
are but a 10 - 15 minute drive from home.

Lake Tahoe is only 1 hour or so away.

It makes for a very easy and scenic drive...
a perfect start for a nice day trip.


Today...
 Alex and I went biking on the Truckee River Trail
(It is strictly for hiking or biking...no motorized vehicles).

The Truckee River headwaters lies at the Northwestern portion of Lake Tahoe...
and flows through Reno...and on to Pyramid Lake.

The last time we were here...
there were many forest fires burning in California...
and the air here was filled with a light smoke...
which had cut down on visibility.

Today, the air was clear.


It took us less than an hour to get to our starting point of the trail.

We started at the middle red marker...
then headed North to the left most marker...
and then headed back towards the middle marker.

My bike chain had actually snapped shortly after we had gotten to the turnaround point.
I had to "Flintstone it" back to the car 
(Using one foot on the ground to push me forward as I coasted on the bike).

Although Alex was a little disappointed that we had to go slower
than we had planned...we simply took advantage of the slower pace
and made many stops along the river (my hamstrings were starting to kill me  :)

At the conclusion of our ride...
we went to our old favorite Truckee River restaurant
(The right most red dot).




You can see the bike trail in this picture.





There were a number of rafters on the river.
The temperature was in the mid to high 80s...
however, there was almost always a cool breeze blowing.

This was our turn around point.

Within a short while...
my chain would snap during a downshift.

Perhaps I should stop all of my wheelies and rock hopping...
I am joking.  A link had simply given way  :)









The trail has plenty of shady spots along the route.






I know...
with all of this shade...
I still managed to get sunlight in the lens  :)







This is one of the spots of which we had stopped and rested.
Alex and I wet down our heads...and drank plenty of water...
and then just cooled ourselves in the shade for a few minutes.









This was our last rest stop before packing up the bikes
and driving to the restaurant (The Bridgetender).



The restaurant is next to the Truckee River...
just a couple of hundred yards from the actual head waters.


A waiter is greeting us as we enter the restaurant.

Although I am an introvert...
an occasional extrovert can really brighten the atmosphere with his antics  :)




We had originally been seated at this table...
however, the sun soon tracked far enough to leave us with little shade...
so we then moved to a fully shaded table.



Our view from the new table.


I had tried their BBQ Bison Burger.
I have always wanted to try Bison...
as I had never had it before.

Although it was a very good burger...
with the BBQ sauce and other condiments on it...
I really couldn't tell the difference between Bison and Beef.

They also sell Elk Burgers.
Perhaps next time.


A Bison 

Bison used to be the prime source of sustenance for the 
American Plains Indians a long time ago.


Alex had ordered one of his favorites...
BBQ Baby Back Ribs.

After we had eaten our fill...
we had a nice comfortable ride home.

Although I had gotten far more exercise than had Alex
(due to my unplanned Flintstone method of biking)...
Alex got to re-experience the Truckee River Trail.

We may return in a month or so.

My elder sister is thinking of visiting us next month.
She had expressed a desire to bike this route with us...
as she had really liked the photos of our last trip here.





Alex's Saturday Sports Day - Throwing And Catching



Song:  Hot Fun In The Summertime

Group:  Sly And The Family Stone



Yesterday (Saturday) was Throwing and Catching day for Alex.

This is the second session of his Saturday Sports day.

I am teaching Alex the basic gross motor skills used in most sports.


Alex and I went to the lower portion of the park to throw and catch multiple items.

We started out with the football.


Alex doing a running throw. 


Although they were not perfect spirals...
the football went where he wanted it to end up.


As the wind died down somewhat...
we switched to the boomerang.

We didn't have much luck at this time.
Alex has to get used to allowing his wrist to snap the boomerang
into the right amount of spin, and in achieving the correct angle of release.


We then switched to the velcro pad and ball for a game of catch.

I soon learned that Alex could catch the ball without the velcro catch pad.


We went to the Jai Alai skill set.

Even I had found it difficult to catch the ball with the curved launcher.



We then switched to the flying disc.

This proved hard to control.
It was not Alex's fault.
It was a cheap mock up of the original Frisbee.

I will be getting Alex a much better flying disc...
or perhaps a flying ring.



His angle of release was off...
but then again...
I also had a difficult time getting a smooth flight.

I used to be fairly good with Frisbees.

This one had only a partial lip.

The original has a lip which curves inward and has a much longer belly...
with much more heft...all of which adds to its stability.


The wind started to pick up once again...
so we switched back to the football.




Actually...
Alex had very few misthrows...


although he had a more difficult time catching the football  :)



We then switched back to the ball...
except this time...
we did it without the velcro pads to catch the ball.

Alex caught the ball much more easily than with the football
(the ball he caught is in this hand).

For never really having thrown or caught much before...
he has surprisingly good eye-hand coordination.





Alex learns quickly...far, far more quickly than I ever had.

He started using proper body mechanics during his throws
with but a single example from me.



Before leaving for the day...
we returned to throwing and catching the football.



Although his hands are not quite big enough to properly grip the football...
his throws had suprisingly very little wobble...
there was enough spin on the ball to remain stable in flight.


Alex caught one!

I am using the telephoto on most of these shots.

I would throw the ball...
then reach down to the camera around my neck to snap the shot.

We were much farther apart than it seems in these pictures.


Alex is doing so well in learning how to properly use his gross motor skills.

Had I tried to teach him earlier...
it may have been frustrating for him.

I had to ensure that his skill sessions were not only fruitful...
but filled with fun.

The first experiences are so important in laying a foundation
of success built upon success.

It is simple really...
make something fun...
a child will find his way.

Gross motor skills are now seen as a great adventure...
one which he may enjoy for the pleasures they were meant to be.

Although many on the spectrum have delayed gross motor skills...
once their body matures enough...
they can then learn the necessary skills without much problem.

When I was 8 years old...
my coordination just started to mature enough to be able to learn
gross motor movements without much problem.

Although Alex is older than I was when I started learning...
he is picking it up far more quickly than I could.

I couldn't throw a ball with much accuracy for a while...
and I was in a rookie baseball league.

Alex learned far more in one day...
than I had in many weeks of practice.

I want these Saturdays to be the starting of many rich memories for Alex.

He is learning valuable lessons...
and having a great time doing it.


Me?

I am living a Father's dream.

To be able to teach my son valuable lessons in life...
in beautiful surroundings...
with both of us laughing and having a great time...
and then when it is over...
looking forward to a nice hot shower...
and getting a nice hot dinner...
and then having the rest of the night off to relax...
well...it just doesn't get much better than this.


What could be better?

Well...
later today (Sunday)...
we will be going biking on the Truckee River / Lake Tahoe trail...
enjoying the river and mountain views...
and then eating at a restaurant by the river.

This is just part of our Summer fun...
and each outing presents another opportunity for magical memories to be made.


If nothing else...
Alex will always remember that I was there for him...
teaching him about life...
and sharing good times with him.

Each time we go out...
we strive to make it a time to deeply, and fondly, remember.

A childhood filled with magical memories...
sets a solid foundation for becoming a happy adult.
It takes away all doubt as to the beauty of life to be had
with but a little planning and very little effort or money.

He will forever know that the simple pleasures in life
are everywhere, and that they are there for us to go out 
and enjoy with a gusto of those knowing
how short and impermanent life is...
and so, something to be fully explored and savored. 

Magical memories are an investment toward a deeply happy life.

With so little capital needed...
and with but a small portion of your time invested...

what better return in life can be had?






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