Saturday, July 20, 2019

50 Years Ago Tonight and I'm In!

On this night 50 years ago I was 5 weeks shy of my 12th birthday and about to enter 7th grade. Our family was vacationing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where we spent at least two weeks each summer. My parents had recently purchased the farmhouse my mother grew up in and its 200 acres of land—a mix of prairie grass and forest with a small stream and a strawberry field. Our nights were usually spent in the company of aunts, uncles, and cousins at either our farmhouse or Eva and Elvin's home in Winona, about 35 minutes away.

I made a lot of memories during our summers in the U.P. but none more lasting than the night we'd gathered at Eva and Elvin's home (50 years ago tonight) to watch TV coverage of Apollo 11 and man's first step onto the surface of the moon. The actual event of Neil Armstrong stepping off the ladder of the landing module that brought them to the surface isn't what stays with me all these years later, though. Rather, it's the memory I have of stepping outside (after Neil uttered the first words spoken on the lunar surface) and looking up at the moon, trying to comprehend the achievement that had just taken place, knowing there were people up there. It was truly awe-inspiring.

Our quest to put a man on the moon had been something I'd grown up with (President Kennedy proposed the ambitious endeavor eight years earlier). In junior high school, whenever there was a manned rocket launch or re-entry, we'd gather in our school's auditorium to squint at the relatively small TV monitors placed in front of the stage and watch the events unfold. It was exciting to witness and it captured my imagination. The launch of the first Space Shuttle in the early '80s evoked in me those same feelings of awe once again. I'll leave it to others to decide if the cost was worth the risk and the loss of life along the way. I personally feel it was a great achievement and one that helped unify us as a nation, if only briefly.

We have much more pressing needs and likely less discretionary tax dollars today to once again reach for the stars but what an elixir it could be for a divided nation such as ours; or even a way for countries to share the cost and work together for an even more ambitious goal. But that's just me dreaming. It's not lost on me that there's a lot of hurting people on this blue suspended ball we share and that their needs should matter most. Can we do both?

And where did those last 50 years go?

Edit: A friend gave me a link tonight where you can listen to the Apollo astronauts converse with Mission Control throughout their entire flight with the associated video of the events. It's an amazing website with more detailed information than you can imagine all compiled in one place. Check it out.

I golfed Valleywood Golf Course a few days ago with Lyle and Chuck. It's been at least 25 years since I last played there but memories of some of the holes were still stored in my internal hard drive. As I got to my car after the round and looked at my phone for messages, I noticed a data usage notification. The 18Birdies app I use for tracking my score and other details of my round had used a whopping 45.5 GB of data the previous 4 hours and my phone's battery was nearly depleted. Our service provider, Google Project Fi, has a limit of 10 GB of data that we can be charged for, otherwise, at $10 per GB of data, that was going to be one expensive round of golf.

I contacted 18Birdies to tell them what happened and they told me there's an update to the program to prevent it from happening again. Apparently, there are videos in the app's background that were set to play automatically and that's what was using up the data. A recent update has fixed the problem. I responded that this does little to fix my current overage dilemma and they told me to let them know what the additional cost is and that they will cover it. That's more than I expected. I'm pleased.

I've decided to take part again in the annual Dawn to Dusk ride on August 31st with the guys from the Silver Cycling club out of Lakeville. It's actually a bit more than a dawn to dusk effort. Last year I left home on my bike 70 minutes before sunrise and returned in complete darkness 216 miles (348 km) later. I hope the training doesn't take me away from the links all that much but I'll need to seriously increase my weekly mileage in preparation for the ride as I have little time to spare.

Video from last year's Dawn to Dusk ride.

My Tuesday Night Gravel rides will still be a part of my training plan.

Video from last Tuesday night below.

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