Saturday, July 28, 2018

My Rather Short Bucket List

After 32 years, 952-892-6617 and I have parted ways. Technically, when I was first assigned the number it had a 612 area code. For the longest time about the only calls we've been receiving on it have been from telemarketers but the landline was bundled with our cable package and it was simply cheaper to keep it. That's no longer the case. And speaking of area codes, did you know that the area code for Cape Canaveral (where they launch the space missions) is 321 as in 3-2-1 liftoff!?

I really only have one item on my bucket list, and that's to spend a week or two in San Diego riding some of the same roads on my bike that I rode when I was stationed there in the mid to late '70s while in the Navy. I can't imagine what feelings and memories being on those roads again would evoke in me so I need to find out. Honestly, the thought of it gets my heart racing a little.

Sometimes I feel like the years are slipping away much faster than I'm comfortable with and I find myself counting how many years I have remaining where I'll still have my mobility to live the active lifestyle I enjoy. I don't feel old but how will I feel in 15 years and how fast will those 15 years race by?

The boy in me has always been the dominant force in my life. Where some people have an old spirit, I feel like mine is young. Perhaps it's my first go-round on this planet Earth, while others with their older spirits have been here possibly many times before. Yes, I sometimes toy with the idea that reincarnation is a real thing and that some of us are destined to live lives in the next life in the shoes of those we spat on in this life. I would be concerned if I was one of those slamming the door shut in the faces of refugees in this life -- just sayin'. To me, it's no more ridiculous a belief system than any other. I used to think I'd leave this life and find myself standing in the presence of Jesus but I just don't know anymore. And to be honest, the idea of spending eternity singing praises to God does little for me. But then I'm speaking from my human perspective on this beautiful floating planet. Who's to say what's beyond this life and this dimension?

I still believe in a higher power but I'm just not as confident as I once was about what or who that higher power is. As I've said here before, those who claim to be the most loyal followers of God too often give me reason to pause and question it all. I will never stop seeking because that's my nature. Life is a journey and if you're not questioning and changing and learning along the way you're maybe just going through the motions.

I installed a simple device on both of my road bikes to keep the chain from falling off the small inner chainring when I shift the chain from the large ring. It's called a chain catcher and it works great! I dropped my chain 3 times on a 2-hour ride a few weeks ago and I figured there must be a better way. It's nice to now shift with no worries that I'll drop my chain. Here's a link for any of my cycling friends who may be interested in getting one.

The video below is from a ride a few days ago. It's a 9.5 mile (15 km) loop and an old favorite of mine for when I want to work the hills a little, and it's close to home. I don't listen to tunes too often anymore when I ride but this day I was listening to a mix of stuff from David Baerwald (another old favorite of mine) so it seemed fitting to overlay the video with a song of his. Enjoy!

That's all I've got.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Supertramp? Yes! And A Trip Back In Time

I just finished burning a few Supertramp CDs for my daughter. She's recently developed a love for '70s rock music (Supertramp in particular), and Supertramp was and still is my favorite band. I saw them twice in concert when Rick and Roger (the main forces in the band) were still together. I've seen Roger's solo shows a couple of times since their split in 1983, and I flew out to Los Angeles in 1997 to see the reconstituted band play at The Greek Theater -- a great experience! I couldn't have been more pleased to hear that Rachel's interested in hearing more of their music.

And speaking of Rachel -- Tammy and I spent last weekend at (her boyfriend) Drew's mother's cabin in northwestern Wisconsin with the 3 of them. Jenny's cabin is less than 15 minutes from the city of Webster where my parents owned 40 acres of land from the early '70s to the mid '80s. We kicked around the town of Spooner for part of Saturday before driving to Clover Meadow Winery to taste some wines. The atmosphere there was fun and we enjoyed ourselves but the wines were disappointing -- and we're by no means wine snobs. As Tammy commented, "They all tasted the same!"

I took off for a couple of hours later in the day to try and locate the property my parents used to own. With the help of my brother Keith, I was able to find the land. They purchased the 40 acres from sisters Anna and Susan Rollinger who lived in a house across the highway from the property. Their older home has been moved a few miles away and a new home was constructed further back from the road which confused me as nothing was jibing with my memory of the area from 40 years earlier. I phoned Keith and with the help of Google Maps, we were able to determine where the property was.



I visited with the people who live on the land that Anna and Susan used to own. Jack is the mortician in town and he told me that he purchased the property from Anna and Susan in 1984 when they decided they had become too old to continue living in their home and doing the necessary maintenance. He said it was his father who purchased our 40 acres from my parents for $10,000 and that he later sold it for the same price to the druggist in town who has built a home on the property. Anna passed away in 1990. Susan is also buried in the same cemetery but I was unable to locate her gravesite before the deer flies chased me out.

I also took some time to drive around Bass Lake where we'd sometimes spend a few hours in the afternoon soaking up the sun on a small sandy area along the north side of the lake; then and now.


My parents and Keith and Tim would drive up to the property on Fridays after my dad came home from work. They'd spend the weekend living among the trees, mosquitoes and deer flies. It was fun. They'd tow a small camper which was actually quite comfortable. I'd sometimes make the trip with them but more often than not I'd stay behind putting in hours at Penny's Grocery, bagging groceries for customers and working the parcel pickup.

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The Emerald Ash Borer has arrived! It's been slowly but steadily working its way toward our city for a number years, and now it's been detected in our neighborhood. Here's a photo of a flyer I noticed on a walk 6 years ago. It's decision time. We can treat our 3 ash trees at a cost of a little more than $100 per year indefinitely to keep the beetle at bay or we can choose to have the trees removed for around $2800. I considered having them removed but Tammy would like to keep them. It didn't take much convincing for me to agree with her. It's possible that whatever tree we'd choose to replace them with will fall victim to some other form of beetle 20 years from now, and that played into our decision. Our corner lot would lose much of its character without the trees.

And speaking of decisions -- I called a couple of tattoo removal places to inquire about the cost of having my small ankle tattoo removed.I figured I'd be able to have it done for not much more than $150. I figured wrong. I received an email reply telling me, "You're going to be looking at a total of 7 to 10 treatments for complete removal. Price per treatment will be between $65 and $80." Hmmm -- what to do?

I've been golfing with some retired controller friends lately. It's been fun. Eight of us met up at Montgomery National Golf Club Tuesday morning on a beautiful day for golf. I hope to get out with them more often in the coming months.

Keith, Tracee, Claudia, and Dan came over Wednesday night for dinner. It was such a nice time. We sat around after dinner and chatted until it was nearly dark out. It was especially nice to catch up with Dan. I can't remember the last time we've been able to do that. Maybe never.

That's all I've got.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Bike Speak and the Geek in Me

Fourteen years ago tonight I was putting the finishing touches on one of the best days of my life; a 266 mile (428 km) bike ride from our home in Lakeville to Tammy's parent's home in Babbitt, Mn. I doubt I'll ever attempt such a distance again but I've learned to never say never.

I received a group email from a friend last Thursday inviting me to take part in a longish ride the next day. It would be a ride with some of the riders from Lakeville's Silver Cycling bike group. I first rode with them in the spring of 2005 when our paths crossed on Hwy 246 south of Northfield. Although I'm mostly a solo rider, I rode with them a few times. Steve and others in the group are experienced, competent cyclists and I enjoy their company. I've been lacking any long rides this year so I scrapped my plans for a round of golf and joined the ride. It was a lot of fun! (See embedded video below.)

I appreciate the way Steve (aka Silver) and others in the group sniff out some more-off-the-beaten-path routes for their rides. Friday's ride was no exception. We worked our way toward Faribault on roads I'd never taken, much less considered taking. I chatted with Steve while we rode and he mentioned their Dawn to Dusk ride, a 200 mile (double century in bike-speak) ride on Saturday, September 1st. Without much hesitation, I committed to the ride. It's been 7 years since I last did a double century but this gives me something to work toward, and I like that. Here's a video from that ride. It's not as slick as my more recent productions but I sorta like the narration aspect of it.

People who know me well won't be surprised to hear that I'm a numbers geek, in that I like to keep stats on all of my workouts, going back to 1984 when I became a runner. My involvement with endurance sports predates 1984 but that's when I started taking notes.

The sort of data I track has changed over the years and varies depending on the activity, but for cycling, I'm currently logging the following: distance; time; average speed; max speed; average heart rate; max heart rate; cadence; wind; temp, and feet climbed. I'll also make notes of how my body felt and any other thing that I think may be noteworthy. It's what I do. Not all of this data makes it onto my online workout platforms (I currently use 3, never knowing when one of them may be axed), I save that for my logbooks of which I'm filling in my 34th this year. I don't expect anyone else to understand why I do this. I just do it.

From my records, I can see where my peak riding years were from 2004 to 2010 (age 47 to 53). After that time is where I began to incorporate walks into my routine along with our elliptical and Concept 2 rower.

2002 -- 1797 miles (2892 km)
2003 -- 3800 (6115)
2004 -- 7552 (12154)
2005 -- 7452 (11993)
2006 -- 9002 (14487)
2007 -- 7529 (12117)
2008 -- 5848 (9411)
2009 -- 5847 (9409)
2010 -- 6884 (11079)
2011 -- 2936 (4725)
2012 -- 2825 (4546)
2013 -- 3896 (6270)
2014 -- 4604 (7409)
2015 -- 3652 (5877)
2016 -- 4975 (8006)
2017 -- 4242 (6827)
2018 so far -- 2363 (3803)

After Friday's ride with Silver and the others, I felt like my desire to crank out more miles again was rejuvenated. I had so much fun out there that I went back for more on my own Sunday morning and finished the week with 310 miles (500 km). A good week of riding.

I was just writing in my blog recently about finding a balance between my outdoor activities but I've got to go with what my heart wants -- with what makes me excited to get out of bed in the morning, and for now it seems that's my road bike. I'll be golfing with some friends tomorrow morning but I'm already looking beyond tomorrow, to Wednesday, when I'd like to spend a good part of the day on my bike doing my homework for Silver Cycling's Dawn to Dusk ride. It's good to have a goal.



Independence Day Ride