Smoke City

This morning the AQI (air quality index) looked reasonably decent at “moderate.” Not having been out on two wheels in more than two weeks due to heat, fire, and smoke, I decided to cruise out the Greenway in order to determine if my legs still function. Smoke-filtered sunlight cast a hazy, yellowy pall over the landscape. Smoke blotted out hills and mountains in every direction. Each breath tasted like ash. But I managed to complete a quick ride and get home before the AQI deteriorated to something worse than “unhealthy….”

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They call me Old Grumble-Face. I have no idea why they do that....

15 response to "Smoke City"

  1. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: August 28, 2020

    Bill, you answered my question before I could ask it — I wondered about how the smoke might affect the grapes.
    We have had smoke in the upper atmosphere here from the CA fires — hoping for the best this fire season, but it isn’t lookin’ good. 🙁
    With everything going on, I think its fair to say — We are having one hell of a time!

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: August 29, 2020

      Our neighbor is head wine maker at Merry Edwards Winery, and she’s really worried about her precious grapes. Apparently everyone agrees smoke is bad for grapes, but there is some uncertainty about how much smoke and how long, as well as in what period of development grapes are most vulnerable. I think grapes very near harvest might be okay. But I only drink the cheap stuff, so I don’t really know anything.

      • By: Rich-Illinois Posted: August 29, 2020

        Yep, me too, just a matter of whatever the guy laying along the curb has — kinda hard to get it away from them sometimes. 🙂

        On the more serious side, one problem just begets another.

  2. By: BobinVT Posted: August 29, 2020

    Glad to hear you were able to get out. Can’t imagine how scary it is to be in that situation.
    By the way, you’ve now put the Ogre on my radar as a possible new bike. I’m getting tired of being a ‘one bike’ guy. That is, if bike shops ever start getting bikes in stock again.

    • By: Rich-Illinois Posted: August 29, 2020

      Hi Bob, Just a thought here, was just looking at Craigslist Vermont, some pretty nice bicycles listed there.
      I happened to find a near showroom condition ’84 Raleigh Olympian on CL here in IL, so ya never know …..

      • By: BobinVT Posted: August 29, 2020

        Good thought Rich. I took a quick look and was surprised at the number of bikes for sale. Didn’t quite see anything that got my interest, but I’ll keep an eye out.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: August 29, 2020

      Good luck on a new bike. I hope you and Greg don’t need to bid against each other for an Ogre. 😉

  3. By: gregblood Posted: August 29, 2020

    I feel lucky not to have to check the Air Quality Index before riding. It’s bad enough worrying about Wind Chill, Visibility, UV Index, Heat Index, Dewpoint, Wind Speed, Feels-Like Factor, Air Temperature, etc. Here’s hoping your AQI reaches “excellent” very soon.

    Fire danger aside, those lightning storms must have been quite spectacular.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: August 29, 2020

      The lightning really was spectacular. I got up at about 3:30 AM and went outside to watch. Of course, the dog went berserk.

      And you’re right about AQI. I shouldn’t need to worry about air quality, but now it’s one more thing to check before I venture out. I hope I don’t need to start monitoring radiation levels any time soon.

  4. By: Seasidejanet Posted: August 29, 2020

    Our air is finally improving here in Monterey!! The River Fire (which came within 50ft of taking out Morgan Vineyard) is now 48% contained and the Carmel Valley fire is about the same however the Dolan down in Big Sur is still only at 9%… we have smoke from the Santa Cruz fire as well. Let’s just say that we have a lot of ash in the air but/and we are safe and not harmed……it’s been a difficult couple of weeks. Glad you’re hanging in there ok but man we need a break from this.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: August 29, 2020

      Our news is so full of local fires, they don’t even have time to talk about fires down your way. I hope things settle down and the air clears. Stay safe and healthy.

      • By: Seasidejanet Posted: August 29, 2020

        Have you read about Big Basin? Nearly taken out….well all the buildings and infrastructure was but at first they thought all the trees too….but fortunately they are redwoods and they well some will survive but the park is nearly destroyed….one of my fav places since I moved to the Bay Area 50yrs ago. This was a particularly difficult week…Jack’s sister passed away last Saturday (long illness) she lived in Lake Charles, LA. Now the rest of the family her husband and her kids and grands didn’t even get to have a service as they had to evacuate for Laura!! They all got out and just back home today….most had minimal damage but her daughter had pretty severe damage….your Mom and your home in one week…..been difficult and I had surgery last Wed. Doing well……..thyroid removal and no cancer! Yea……2020 needs to be over. Take good care.

  5. By: Suzanne Posted: August 29, 2020

    The smoke and ash in the air sounds really bad – hope things improve soon.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: August 29, 2020

      Thanks, Suzanne. We hope so, too. The scary aspect of all this is the timing. It’s not really fire season yet. All these conflagrations were sparked by unprecedented numbers of dry lightning strikes from two highly unusual storms. In about another month we’ll be into the time of year when strong winds and extremely dry end-of-summer conditions mark what has historically been the beginning of fire season. Buckle seatbelts.

  6. By: The Navigator Posted: August 30, 2020

    All too familiar with those threats, that air quality and the loss of favourite places. Just different place names in a different country. Unfortunately, I think fire-prone places like where we both live, will just see more and more seasons like this. Stay safe and ride the trainer when you have to. Sending all my best and hope it eases more soon.

    And yes, smoke taint in the grapes is a real thing. Much of my region lost most of their harvest this year. An ex-coworker of mine runs a small boutique winery and lost all of it to smoke taint this year. In the 2006/07 year, all of Northeast VIC lost the whole vintage (except for a few varieties with taint that they could make into blended, cheap wines… that they sold to the American market… you don’t drink Yellowtail, do you?).

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