This was an interesting weekend! On Saturday we were mostly going to stay home during the day and do practical things. The day, however, was incredibly beautiful! Fall color here is reaching or has reached its peak, the sky was a beautiful blue with few clouds, and the wind (a strong one) was very comfortable in the 60s. The bottom line: we couldn't stay home. As an excuse to get out we went for a drive to a shopping area east of here. She looked at clothing, I looked at computer stuff. Then we went to the lovely city of Hudson which is one of my favorite places. Whilst exploring the small but wonderful Learned Owl Bookstore, I spied a beautiful block print graphic connected with a local fundraiser for breast cancer research and prevention — also funding free mammograms for those who can't afford them. We learned that the artist who created the image, Lori Biwer Stewart, had works for sale at the Hudson Fine Art & Framing Company so we strolled over there. Hudson's town square is beautiful, especially this time of year. I fell in love with Stewart's work — simple lino cut prints with poetic and "spiritual" depth to them. We actually gave in and purchased one framed image titled "Song." Then home for dinner.
Saturday night was a scheduled Observatory open house so immediately following dinner I headed out. Arriving in the dark I met two of my regular attendees: a woman and her 80+ year-old-mother. They drive up from a place about an hour away for every one of these sessions, even when it's the same objects for observation — in this case it was the Moon. The drive took less time tonight so they arrived early. By the time the event was over we had 19 visitors look through the century-old refractor; we might have had more visitors but there was a big Cleveland Indians baseball game on TV. Guests were treated to superbe views of the Moon, however, as the atmosphere was extremely clear and mostly steady. I don't think I've personally ever seen the Moon so clearly with my own eyes! I couldn't find the planet Neptune –very close to the Moon this night– in the orb's bright glare so I turned the telescope away from the Moon and targeted the Perseus Double Cluster: NGC 884 & 869. They filled the eyepiece with diamond-like lights delighting our guests more than I had expected. This night was also to be the peak of the Orionid meteor shower but I saw not one "shooting star." Best viewing was after Moonset but I wasn't about to stay up that late: She Who Must Be Obeyed had her heart set on a bicycle ride in the excellent weather predicted for Sunday.
Sunday morning we slept in ever so little, got ourselves slowly together, and headed out to Oberlin for a loop-ride out in the country. Fall colors were past peak out there and, anyway, the route didn't take us through woods, only through flat to rolling farm country. Very nice roads, for the most part, but a fierce southwesterly wind made the going tough on a long first leg of the ride. Very tough as in riding uphill for 10 miles tough. We made it, however, but could only muster about 12 MPH on most of that leg. The return trip, however, was another matter! Effortless riding at 17 MPH for most of the return portion of the ride over, again, smooth roads. We flew under gorgeous blue skies and on good roads with little traffic. Ahhhh. Back at Oberlin we enjoyed our late lunch at Quizno's (their new veggie sub is excellent) and then headed home. Oh yeah, it was only a 23-mile trip on the odometer but felt more like 35 miles, but then, so did the wind speed!