Monday, December 30, 2013

A temporary return to Reese Hollow

I am back into the swing of things after returning from Charleston. I took a nice hike this morning, checked the solar batteries (which did need some water), and switched back to the 500 gallon tank (with 67% in the 100 gallon). I rode the stationary bike for 40 minutes and did my weights and yoga. My side still hurts a little but not too much. I screwed in the storm door screws and it hurt just doing that. I have to get my package ready to send to San Antonio for the 2nd. I won’t need a lot of stuff but I have decided against carrying all the stuff on the train with me. With Gabe having paid me back fully, I am now in pretty good shape. I shouldn’t have to touch my 403B for two years and by then I will be close to retiring and have about 12K extra in my 403B and my TIAA account. I did not sleep well last night (my first back) and after 5 days of very steady sleep at Wild Dunes, I wonder if I can figure out why I am having a problem again.

Friday, December 27, 2013


My visit to Wild Dunes had been very pleasant. I have done bike riding every day for about 10 miles, fished a couple of times and caught what I think was a 2 pound sea trout (which I released), played the Links course on Christmas Day and shot a 46 from the red tees. I have done a number of beach walks during the day and then I have spent almost every evening sitting out on the Grand Pavilion listening to the roar of the ocean. Very calming and a little mysterious in the darkness. I had a great Christmas dinner at Marv and Joyce’s house, with Aunt Theresa there, and stayed until almost 11, and I am planning to go back to play golf with Joyce on Saturday. I had a wonderful dinner with Gabe, Francesca, Julian and Arlene. Julian has certainly grown and he was fun to play with but he was also very obedient at McCrady’s. Gabe finished paying back so now I should be okay for the next two years. I finished my poem for Lucia and then I wrote a new one for Kelly based on our second tree decorating experience when I visited them recently. I think it is one of my best, and Kelly though it was lovely. My stomach has been pretty good even though I have put on a few pounds so I am not sure what causes it to hurt so much at points. Perhaps it is just when I work with drill guns and things and that stretches the scars. I have basically finished me outlines and rules and I will finish as soon as I hear from CEA about when I am presenting my paper. The paper itself has been sketched out and I think I have enough ideas to fill it out. I am so glad that my brutal semester is over. I hope I never have another one like that.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I am relaxing (having finished my Lumosity training for the day) and having ridden my bike on the Huckleberry Trail and played nine holes of golf (43) along with a fine walk this morning. Yesterday was awful. I waited all day for Suburban Propane to deliver and at 4 when I called to check I was told that the driver (who had gotten stuck before) had tried to deliver and couldn’t. I was beside myself and I gave it to Travis, the manager, and even sent him pictures of the road to show him that it wasn’t muddy at all. Anyway, on this morning’s hike I tried calling Suburban (to see if they could deliver since the road was rock hard) and I couldn’t get in touch with Travis so I gave up and figured I would try to get a delivery after I returned from Charleston. I was annoyed and frustrated and what happens but just as I start back from the orchard, I see a Suburban truck working its way through the pasture. I was more than amazed and though I couldn’t catch the truck until it was up at the house, I did see that the driver (not yesterday’s but one who had been up before) had no problem getting up. I was very happy to get 180 gallons even though the price was close to 4 dollars a gallon. Now I have enough gas to at least early September. No worries about gas this winter. I called Travis and thanked him immoderately and life was once again good. I made my reservations in Charlotte and Columbia and I will be off on Saturday for Charlotte and golf I hope. Tracy did thank me for my birthday greeting, so that made me feel good. I wish I could see her but that is unlikely to happen since she doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with me.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

enjoying my free time

It is Tuesday, December 17 and I had a good day, starting with a hike in the hollow and then some sorting of the cards and letters I have collected over the past 30 years. It was interesting to go through some of them, especially the ones from Kelly and from Beth. Kelly and I have a solid relationship and I am very fond of her daughter Lucia and I very much like her husband Alfredo. The letters are full of moments of tension but obviously there was a strong enough relationship to keep things going. The letters from Beth were more painful and I know that I should have handled things better with Beth. I wish I could apologize to her but I don’t think it would be a good idea to try to contact her. The other letters, from Dolores, Gloria, Sheila, Barbara were okay to read, although the ones from Judy Isacoff brought back some unpleasant memories. I have about half the box left to go through and I’m sure there will be more interesting moments. At my present pace I should have the cabin fully cleaned by the spring. I also fixed the cabin shed so no insects can get in. The bike repair class was pretty solid, although I don’t think I will do much out in the field. I had a great visit with Kelly and Alfredo and Lucia, and I will see her again when I give my paper at CEA in late March.

Friday, December 13, 2013

semester almost over

I have spent the whole day in the hollow because of the threat of a significant ice storm but I think that threat is lessened. Today there was some sleet and freezing rain but not enough to affect my two hikes to the orchard or my getting up to the cabin to continue cleaning it up. I got three more bags of garbage out and I have finished getting everything out of the loft. I did some work up in the attic in the log house last week and I really have most of the stuff I am not going to use cleaned out. It was a peaceful day, to be sure, with several naps and watching football and golf, but it made it clear to me how restless I would be with a steady diet of staying in the hollow all day. When I was younger I could do a lot more activity so the days went quicker, but now as I’ve passed 62, I can only do so much physical stuff (maybe three hours a day), perhaps an hour or two of writing, perhaps an hour or two of reading, an hour of biking on the stationary bike, some yoga and weights and still much of the day remains. I certainly wouldn’t want to have to be running around doing things for a partner, but being by myself is not ideal. I have about 20 weeks off a year so I already have more than enough time to travel. I think the solution will be to do some volunteer work after I retire or I will be very bored. I always liked volunteer work in the past and I think I will again. Perhaps I should try a little bit now but during the semester I am often very tired and I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. Since I am going to work 5 or 6 more semesters I will have more time to figure things out.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

the end of the semester draws near

It is the 3rd of December and classes end on the 5th with a week of finals coming up. I have basically made it through, although I still have the 202 final to give and grade and I will have to look at some rewrites. My left side is hurting (probably from all the cleaning I have done in the cabin and the house). I took an easy hike this morning and rode my bike very gingerly after my 444 class. I have gotten almost all the stuff out of the loft (and the rest is right up front) and I got rid of a lot I took down. I bought a shredder and shredded a lot of old documents (getting three big bags full of shredded paper). The propane is at 62 percent so I can get a delivery soon (minimum 100 gallons) and that will guarantee me no problems until the spring. I have to put some tape on the leak in the septic but David thought that a small leak while purging would not be a problem. I have insulated the septic pumps. I covered the lettuce trays with 2 inches of hay and I won’t go back in until March. I stayed home through the break and that was a very smart move. I got all my grading done in a relaxed manner. I think this is the way to handle Thanksgiving. My finances are okay but it will be nice when Gabes pays me back the rest of the money. I can get by but January and February may be tight.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving break off to a good start

I decided to drive down to Charlotte on Sunday to avoid the bitter cold (in the teens) and it was a good choice. I got to play golf at Regent Park (45 for 9) and I rode my bike there also. It’s not a great bike trail but it is right next to the golf course. I had some pizza and then graded a couple of papers and then headed back to the Wingate for a nap and some yoga. I went off to P.F. Chang’s for dinner and it was excellent as always, though I had Buddha’s Delight and pan fried shrimp dumplings for a change. I watched the first half of the Denver/New England game and Denver looked unstoppable. The second half was much different and it was 31 all when Denver punted and a Denver player, because of Wes Welker’s mistake, touched the punt and New England got the ball and kicked the game winning field goal with 2 seconds left. I didn’t sleep very well but I graded a few papers and a poetry portfolio and I will go for a walk in Charlotte later and a bike ride before heading home at around 2.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Break Begins

It is the 22nd of November, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and it certainly brings back some somber memories. I was 12 back then and it remained the most powerful event in my life until 9/11. I have just started my Thanksgiving break and it is very needed. I have graded about half the poetry portfolios and now I have the tougher ones left. I have about 20 papers to grade so that is 2 per day and that should be manageable. I finished fixing the road this morning and it is in terrific shape. I also sanded the new stairway to the roof of the tractor barn and charged the batteries to 93 percent. After fixing the road I drove into town, played 9 holes of golf (46 from the white tees), road my bike and then headed home for a nap and a walk where I finished the waterbars. I talked with Kelly this morning and things are fine. I was a little down yesterday and I told her why and she cleared up a few things (she hadn’t gotten my second e-mail about visiting during Thanksgiving and she hadn’t gotten my phone message and I hadn’t gotten the birthday card from her and Lucia). I should see them in December. The greenhouse is almost done but the house is in terrific shape, the best in years. I hope to stay until 70 but who knows.

Friday, November 15, 2013

the last two weeks

It is Thursday night, the 15th of November and I only have two weeks of class left. I can’t wait. I got real sick last weekend and that threw me a curve. I felt awful on Thursday night and then Friday I had to take Hunter with Natural Resources around and then work with Mike. It was the hardest working day in a long, long time. However, the tiles are cleaned and sealed in the bathroom and kitchen. The radiator in the bathroom is painted. The guts in the toilet are replaced. I have an easy access ladder to the top of the tractor barn and I have sweep off all the residue and I don’t have to repair the other shingle. The house is completely stained (two coats on the back porch) and I have put the treads on with staples and caulk. I repaired the walking stick with a new tip. All the recycling is gone. The greenhouse is still producing some lettuce but the cold snaps have hurt output. I got the batteries almost full without using the equalizing charge so they are really changed correctly, from 1240 to 1270. My classes are going okay but I am ready to finish up.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

only four weeks left in the semester

It is the 30th of October, one day before my 62nd birthday, the date I could start collecting social security. It has been a busy two weeks and I have done a number of hikes, played golf a bit, traveled to Chincoteague last weekend, and had a number of evening hikes with Rob. The stain on the house is done although I am going to re-stain the back porch. The generator oil is changed and I charged the batteries to almost full (1250-1265). I have been eating lettuce and sugar snap peas from the greenhouse. My date with Susan was okay but I am not interested in seeing her again but I am willing to meet other women.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

sixth week done

My sixth week of classes is done and I am doing pretty well. I don’t have much free time (outside of my exercise time) but the courses are going well and that is all that really matters. I had David out today and he is almost done with his fall work. One more day should do it. He made it clear that this will help cut back on the ailanthus but it certainly won’t eliminate them all. I walked up with him to the big poplar at the boundary and it was pretty rough since there is no trail but I made it okay without hurting my knee. I also took a hike this morning and checked the oil in the generator, ate a fine salad from the greenhouse, trimmed around the yard with the electric trimmer, sprayed the posts with termite spray, and fixed the storage netting in the cab. Earlier in the week I trimmed the road and up by the cabin so I am ready to cut the grass whenever I need to. I also straightened out the tractor barn and checked the battery water, which was fine. Gabriel wants to extend his loan a bit and I have to really sit down and figure things before I agree. Cathy is feeling much better and that is of course very good news. I had a nice hour playing with Sarah Morris’ 14 month old daughter Emma. I took her to the bowling alley and to the playground by the Waldron building. She is very sweel.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

fifth week of teaching complete

My fifth week of teaching is done and it was a pretty good week. My two British Literary History II classes went well and my other classes were both okay. I took a trip to Big Stone Gap (which I had never seen) and overall it was a disappointment. I didn’t find any pretty little trout streams although I did fish the Clinch and the North Fork of the Holston. I didn’t even get a hit although I fished the Holston seriously. Instead of walking around a cute little town, I ended up at an Applebee’s in nearby Norton. I guess I am glad I finally got out that way. Everything in the hollow is fine. I have done some more road and orchard trimming and I have been eating lettuce from my greenhouse. I have replanted the spinach and I am hoping the second planting does a lot better. Cathy Gallo sounds much better and I am very glad. I was pretty worried about her.

Friday, September 20, 2013

fourth week of classes--still slightly sane

It is Friday the 20th of September and my fourth week of teaching is over. I had a good class on Keats and a decent class on introducing the Victorians so I feel a little better toward the Literary History course. My other classes are going well but I don’t have many decent poets in my Poetry Writing class. I have the house in good shape and I will try to cut the grass on Sunday. It rained heavily this morning and we really needed the rain. It is supposed to rain tomorrow and that will also be good. I will see Gyorgyi for dinner and a movie tomorrow and that should be fun. I have made my reservations for Wild Dunes for the 23-27 of December (where I will see Gabe and Francesca and Julian) and I paid for my Big Bend tickets today in Lynchburg. With the thousand dollar voucher the train trip will only cost me 339 dollars. It should be a fairly inexpensive trip. David is supposed to come on Sunday and start work on the ailanthus infestation and I hope the weather is okay. I should be eating fresh lettuce from the greenhouse this week although the spinach hasn’t worked out to much. I will replant tomorrow and give it another try. I talked to Rosemary about this semester and explained how hard the Literary History course is and I asked her to give me the American Literary History course next time. I do have a good schedule of the spring and that will make my life a lot less difficult. I talked to Dean O’Brien today and we had a nice chat. He is doing well and I will see him over Thanksgiving. Cathy Gallo isn’t doing too well but hopefully the antibiotics will help soon.

Friday, September 6, 2013

a very busy and stressful second week

My blogging will have to be pretty occasional with all the work I have to do this semester. 331, British Literary History, is killing me. TV dish and up by the solar panels. I played golf for the first time in a week since I have been so busy, and though me back was aching (I had to take some ibuprophen) I shot a 45 with some very lucky shots. I am riding my bike every day and I practiced my sax for the first time in a week this morning. My greenhouse is doing well with the peas at least six inches tall and a lot of lettuce up. I should be eating some within two weeks. I had a talk with Jeff but he refuses to admit that Edward Snowden is a criminal and there is really no point of discussion. Snowden clearly broke some major laws and to me the question is whether his criminal behavior is justified. There is no doubt he is a criminal. I am too busy to waste time trying to get Jeff to at least accept the facts of the case. My health continues good although I am tired a lot. Part of that is my irregular sleeping and part of it is the heat and the pollen, which is very high. I got Dougie the GED book and I offered to help him with any things he doesn’t understand. I think he really appreciates my offer. I will be glad to celebrate with him when he gets his GED. I got my first walk in this week this morning and the wildflowers are still blooming. I saw touch me not, white snakeroot, great lobelia, heal all, thin leaved coneflower, heart leaved aster, and several others. It was great to get in some aerobic exercise.

Friday, August 30, 2013

first week of classes finished

It is Friday, August 30th and my first week of classes is over. It was a pretty easy week and I should not be too pressed to prepare for next week, when the work really starts. My biggest problem is how tired I am and I hope when the weather gets cooler I will feel more energetic. I have lettuce and sugar snap peas up in the greenhouse and that is a comfort. The house is half stained and it looks very good but the color is so different that I am going to have Mark’s workers do the back porch and the deck. The new receiver from dish is working fine so that should last for a number of years. I have been riding every day on my new bike and I really like it. I also am doing regular walks in the morning and practicing my sax. I am also continuing with the yoga and weights. I have played golf a few times and on Wednesday I shot from the white tees and scored a 48. I do think I am playing well and should be able to give Craig a good challenge when we play next. My finances are holding steady but when Gabe pays me back some of the money, I will pay down my equity line debt a little. I have made reservations to go to New York for 4 days at Thanksgiving (planning to see Gabe, Francesca and Julian) but if I am too busy grading, I will have to pass on that trip.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Students Move In

I actually slept pretty well last night (Thursday) and I was pretty rested when I awoke. I went to Radford and helped out with the students moving in and I did quite a bit of work, mainly getting stuff out of trucks and autos and then getting the vehicles down to Dedmon. I also sent my e-mail to Steger at VT to complain and the loud and violent movie last night fifty yards from the memorial to the shooting victims. The secretary I called thought I should send it. I have everything ready for the new semester and I hope I can handle it. If I don’t overcommit to things and stay on top of my classes, I should be okay. I pick up my new bike tomorrow and it will be great to go for a non-stationary ride again. I realize that if I retire I had better have very good plans to keep busy or I am going to be restless as hell. Kate and I talked a little about my novel and I don’t think it will work in its present incarnation. I think I need to make it humorous so that will be my goal.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The hollow is back to normal

I took my regular walk this morning and stopped to cut the grass by the house and cabin. It was getting pretty long. I saw a number of wildflowers in bloom, including heal all, tick trefoil, horse balm, southern harebell, indian tobacco, white wood aster, touch me not, thin-leaved coneflower, great lobelia, queen anne’s lace. I cleaned up the house some, did my yoga and weights (my left arm is much better), practiced my sax, washed the dishes and rode the stationary bike for 40 minutes. I have gained 6 pounds over my 208 weight so I have to slow down my eating at night. Last night I saw Elysium with Matt Damon and it was entertaining. I was ready for a movie. I am feeling a little better about starting teaching again and I found out a lot of info from Larry at HR and I really think I can retire a year earlier than I thought, in June of 2015. Health care will be about 585 a month and I can get a 120 dollar credit so it will be 465 a month. I will get the 2500 sick leave put into my 403B to avoid taxes. If I don’t get a sabbatical I think I will finish in two years so I may only have 4 semesters left.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

end of Alaska trip and getting ready for a new semester

Wednesday was another fine day as I took Dave out for a late breakfast, then we went kayaking in the harbor, then I took my 11 mile bike ride, then I treated him to dinner at a fancy restaurant, 333, that was very good. We watched the Yankees lose in extra innings and then it was time for bed. I got up early, anxious to get going, but I instead did my yoga, went for a bike ride, and then took a nap. I was watching TV when Dave got up around 9:30 and I told him I had to get going and we bid one another goodbye for another year. I drove up 76, then got on I-15 north, then 215 north and finally reached I-40 at where I stopped and played the Marine Logistics course at Barstow. I played from the white (over 3200 yards) and I needed one very good putt on nine and one absolutely amazing chip on eight to break 50. The chip was in the thick rough but fairly high up and there was a mound between me and the pin and the pin was within 10 feet of the mound and downhill so I really had no chance to get close. I was hoping to get within eight or ten feet but my chip just cleared the mound, dropped on the fringe and rolled ever so slowly to within five inches of the cup. After that I drove on and took my bike ride. I drove on to Seligman and had a late dinner and some writing at the Roadkill café. I stayed at a gas station RV park and it was fine although I didn’t sleep very well and got on the road just after dawn. I decided to try to do a lot of driving on Friday and I did, ending up with over 400 miles (which means I’m about 1600 miles from home) but though I took a nice bike ride in Petrified Forest National park (not as interesting as the badlands), I was pretty bored until I got through Albuquerque and saw signs for the Sandia Crest and I gave up my 500 miles plan for a hike up on the crest and a stay in a local RV park. It was impossible to sleep (the altitude and a humming noise) so at 4:30 I got on the road and made some decent time until dawn. I stopped in Gallup for some lunch at the highly recommended Jerry’s café, an outstanding Mexican place. I stopped in Oklahoma City and rode my bike around the downtown area on Sunday morning. It was a pleasant ride and I stopped at the Memorial to the OKC bombing and that was pretty powerful. Monday was another drive day and I ended up doing over 380 miles so I am within easy reach of home tomorrow. I stayed at a combination RV park and Catfish farm, a fairly unusual mix. I couldn’t sleep very well because of the heat but I drove hard on Tuesday and arrived home in the afternoon. My 44 day trip is over and it was a good one. I got a little tired of driving a few times, but I saw some amazing things. It is Tuesday the 20th and I had a fun day playing 18 holes at Draper with Craig (I won the match; he won the stroke). I then went home and did my yoga and rode my stationary bike, although I must have pulled my left shoulder since I could hardly move it. I had a nice late lunch with Emily yesterday and I will have dinner with Rhonda on Thursday. I will be at the meetings on Thursday and then I will help the students move in on Friday and then meet with Kate to discuss my novel. The summer is almost over and I have few complaints.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Aug 3 through Aug 6 Alaska Trip

I really enjoyed being with Gloria’s friends and I wondered why I don’t have conversations like that back home. Rob and I have a good relationship but he doesn’t invite me over with friends and family and Jeff and Rachel are good to talk with but not much humor. I don’t have much of a social life and I wonder if I should try to change that. Sunday was another walk through the Coyote Hills with John and Rick and then Rick and I went to play golf at Mission Hills, which turned out to be a very short nine hole course (with six par threes), perfect for Rick’s ability. I shot a 69 for 18 holes and with a 4 stroke per hole handicap, Rick beat me in match play but I came back and beat him on stroke. We both had a lot of fun though we were pretty late for dinner. Nella and Jill were there and it was fun again. On Monday morning it was time to leave and after showing John the five basic jazz chords, I started for Oceanside. The drive was pretty easy, but after stopping to chat with Kelly for a half hour, I could see that I wasn’t going to get a ride if I didn’t do something quick so I stopped and rode for 45 minutes about a half hour from the magic mountain Rodeway where I had made a reservation. The ride was rushed, dinner at the Mexican restaurant was not very good (they were closing and washing the floor), the rodeway was kind of dumpy and I didn’t sleep well. Better planning would have prevented this and on my return home I have to do that so I arrive back in Virginia relaxed. On Tuesday I drove toward Oceanside, leaving I-5 for I-210 as I got close to LA. I was moving well until I hit Pasadena and then traffic stopped me cold so I got off and played a par 3 course and that was fun. I drove on and reached Oceanside just before 2 and Dave was there a few minutes later. We chatted and it was great to see him, then I went for an 11 mile bike ride along the river, and that felt great. When I got back Dave and I went for a nice happy hour dinner at a local restaurant and then back to his place for the evening. The view is spectacular but the noisy harbor seals and the train kept me up and Dave’s couch isn’t the most comfortable place to sleep. He is involved with someone and I wish him the best. He seems pretty confident and happy and who can speak against that.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Days July 28 through August 3 Alaska

Sunday turned out very well. I set up to run with High Country and had a lot of fun doing 4 miles of the McKenzie. That was more than enough and I was cold when I finished. I paddled very well and stayed out of any trouble. Monday morning was a drive day although it was planned to be pretty relaxed since I only had to drive 270 miles. I stopped for a nap near Eugene then went to a Starbucks to do my writing. The novel has a little more energy and I may have to main character go back into drug dealing. I drove on and when I saw a sign for a gold course, I stopped and played nine holes in a cart since it was a hilly course. I was shooting pretty well, on my way to easily breaking 50, when I got to the seventh hole. As is often the case I just swing away without scouting the hole and the shot I hit, not a bad one, ended up in a weird out of bounds area I couldn’t see from the tee. I had to take a penalty stoke and then I blew my third shot and I lost my focus and ended up with an 8. That meant I had to shot 10 on the last two holes, one a very difficult par 3 (5th hardest hole on the course) and the other a very long par 5. This meant a 4 and a 6 or a 3 and a 7 to break 50, not an easy task. The par 3 was very hard looking, traps and bushes around the green and over 140 yards to the pin. I decided to go for it and hit my driver. It was a great shot and hit the green but trickled down to a few feet in the short rough. I needed a great putt and got a good one but missed the six footer and ended up with a 4. That was a pretty good score and now to the par 5. The tee shot looked okay but you had to go over some bushes to get to the fairway and those bushes were pretty far out. I hit a line drive and it bounced a few feet in front of the bushes and shot up and seemed to go right into the top of the bushes. My hopes were dashed but I went to look anyway and there was no ball right in front of the bushes. I was ready to drop another and take the penalty when I noticed that there was a ball about 30 yards up and it was mine. I guess it had pushed right through the bushes. My next shot was solid but to the right and my third shot was a tricky one that easily could have gone out of bounds to the left if I didn’t come real close to the trees on the right. I shot a very nice shot that went a little too far to the left but ended up just in the left rough about ninety yards from the pin but having to go over a small pond right next to the green. That is probably my hardest shot and normally I would have gone with an extra club to be safe but I needed to be close so I hit my pitching wedge and just made it over the pond and the ball ended up just off the green, 40 feet away. I needed a great putt to get me within 2 feet and a gimme but instead I got a good putt 5 feet away. Make the putt and a 49—and I did. My earlier double ball was a 49 so I had two 49s, which really perked me up. I drove on and when I got to Grants Pass I could see that I had trouble. Smoke from forest fires was obscuring the sun and I had seen this before. I stopped in at the visitor’s center and they said it was way down, at least to cave junction but that the road was open. I drove with the windows up and the air conditioning on and the smoke extended almost to the coast. I couldn’t bike ride but I had to get a nap and I took one about 20 miles from the coast. I drove on and then decided to camp at a county park campground which was fine and I rode my bike around the campground for a full hour. I then went for a walk at the Citizens Dock and then dinner at Harvest Café, where the food was very decent. On Tuesday morning I got up very slowly and found out that I had slept till 8:30 and I went to do my laundry and go to the post office before going to Denny’s for breakfast and writing. It was time for my Boy Scout Tree Trail hike, and it was lovely and serene as usual. My knee held up very well and I walked a lot further in than I usually do. I was walking for almost two hours which is great. After the hike I started driving down the coast and stopped for a nap before doing my beach walk. That was also very rewarding though it was overcast. I kept driving, had some salmon candy and garlic salmon, rode my bike for a hour at one of the really long beach pullouts, and had a shower at one of the state parks. The eel had toxic algae and though I saw plenty of people swimming, I didn’t want to take a chance. I drove on to Eureka and found a place to camp about then minutes south of town and then went back to the movie theater and watched Wolverine. It was not great but I was ready for a movie. Wednesday morning found me driving toward Fremont and when I called Gloria she told me that her results were in and it was not cancer. I was very excited and happy and when she told me Rick wasn’t going to be back until Friday, I told her I would drive down and meet her for dinner. Traffic was very slow so I didn’t get here until almost eight but she made me a nice pasta dinner and we chatted for a few hours. Thursday morning we went for a long walk in the bird sanctuary and then for coffee and almond croissants at Peet’s. Later I rode my bike on the creek trail nearby and I took Gloria out to p. f. Changs, which is always a treat for me. I met her friend John who was a very interesting guy and we had some good conversations along with rick. Friday Gloria and I went into San Francisco on BART and had a fabulous lunch at The Slanted Door. We walked along the waterfront and there was a lot going on for the America’s Cup races. I went for another long bike ride and then Rick came and some guests and we had a very entertaining night talking about movies and literature. I stayed up with Rick and John. On Saturday, John, Rick and I went for a walk in the bird sanctuary and then I drove in to meet Dolores and had a very good lunch with her at Chez Panisse. Then it was back home for another dinner and more good conversations.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

days 26 and 27 alaska

    I got up early as usual and headed into Victoria for the morning.  I stopped for writing and coffee and then parked at a pay lot right downtown.  I rode my bike all over, for the first time to Ogden Point where the big cruise ships come in and then back to the other side past all the new condominiums.  I heard they are going to put in a sewer treatment plant.  I then took the harbor tour on one of the water taxis and then lunch at a restaurant in Chinatown.  I couldn’t play golf by myself so I went for a swim in elk lake and then drove out to Swartz Bay. 

     The cruise across was lovely and when I got to Vancouver I first drove to Granville Island and had a great dinner at Dockside with a wonderful view.  I then went to Robson street for a walk and for an ice cream cone and then made it to Capilano River RV place which was incredibly packed together, a real urban RV resort.  I had stomach problems just before bed so I made much use of the bathrooms as I walked around. 

     I slept okay and when I awoke I got going to Stanley Park and rode my bike around the whole park in about 35 minutes.  Then I was going to Sumas but I made a mistake and headed down 15 and had to wait over an hour to get across the border.  I called Gloria and she will know more about the lump on the MRI on Monday.  She is very upset, as she should be.

Friday, July 26, 2013

days 22 through 25 Alaska

I drove on, figuring I would make good use of my time and I did, making it all the way to Burwash Junction near Kluane. It was raining hard most of the day and the campground I was going to stop at was flooded, too dangerous to even get in to. When I finally reached Burwash, I was exhausted and it was almost midnight. I did get a bike ride in during a break in the rain. The next day (Monday) was overcast so you really couldn’t see anything of Kluane so I drove on to Haines Junction and had coffee and Danish at the village bakery and got caught up on the internet. After that I drove to Whitehorse and played golf at Meadow Lakes with my round ruined by a very stupid 11 on the par 5, ending up with a 55. I went back to the salmon place and had an okay lunch then went biking up to the dam and then back along the river on the town side. I drove on and the only restaurant in Teslin was crowded so I drove on, stopping to fish at my spot on the swift but I got skunked although I did see a fish right below me. I luckily found a place still open a little after 10 and gassed up, and they said they could make me some simple food, and I had good pea soup, a cheese sandwich, tea and dessert, all after I thought I was going to have peanut butter and trail mix. I drove on and found another place open very close to Watson Lake and checked into the RV park there, taking a hot shower with a double shampoo and getting to sleep around midnight. I got up early on Tuesday and was going to deliver the check to the campground but since my gas was a little low I decided to drive on and mail the check later. I got very excited as I approached Beady Creek and no one was parked there so I calmed down a bit. The weather was fine so I got ready slowly and started fishing the first pool. Nothing. Now I was a bit worried but I remembered that the lower pools weren’t very good so I moved up to the second and again nothing. Now I was concerned but I moved up to the third pool, one I have caught many grayling in, and I got one fish on and had two other hits. Now I knew it was going to be fun so I moved on and got two grayling before I reached the big pool. The water was up so getting there was a real feat and the big news was that the camper that had been parked there in the past now was part of a small gold mining operation, and clearly the little bulldozer forded the stream when I was lower. I finally made it to the pool and caught 4 fish, two grayling and two rainbow trout. On the way back I got one more small grayling in one of the lower pools that I had fished earlier. I was very happy that I made it to the big pool so my knee is really much better. And I caught the most fish of the trip, which was fun. I drove on and halfway to Bell II I stopped to ride my bike and saw a bear in the distance so I turned around and stayed pretty far away. It was another break in the weather and then I drove on, eventually having to stay in Kitwanga at the Cassiar Campground where it rained all night and mosquitoes bothered me a bit. On Wednesday I got up early and headed for Prince George. I stopped in Smithers for gas and groceries, recycled some stuff, and had coffee and a breakfast sandwich. The weather cleared a bit and I ended up playing golf in Houston and shot a lovely 45 after the disaster of a couple days ago. I tried calling Tim at the kayak place but got disconnected so I will call later. I did talk to Tim and he was sympathetic. I think he understood that his staff should have handled things differently. When I got to Prince George, it was time for a bike ride and I found a short bike trail that led to a park and had a good ride. After that I really wanted a hot, unhurried meal so I stopped at a Boston Pizza and had pizza and salad. I was going to drive on but I stopped almost right away at a Tim Horton’s and did some writing and then stopped again at an RV resort. I slept pretty well and when the showers were filled with young kids and a line had formed I decided to head out right away. I was planning to perhaps reach Hope and stay there, but I got an extra hour on my clock (it had been showing Calgary time) so I decided after a nap to try to make the 8pm ferry and I was able to get on the 9pm one. I rode my bike in the parking area and got a full hour in. It was lovely to watch the sunset and I had a decent salad and soup buffet on board. When I got in it was after 10:30 so, after failing to find one RV park, I used my GPS to get me to Oceanside RV resort and slept in the parking lot since no sites were available.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Days 16 through 21

When I woke up I did my writing, had a light breakfast, did my yoga and was about to leave when I saw that my computer was installing some 132 updates and was on 83. I didn’t want to risk messing up the installation so I decided to go bike riding at the University of Alaska and that was a good idea. Rain threatened but stayed away and I was able to ride for a full hour. It is a decent campus and I rode past the botanical garden which looked pretty tempting. After my ride and doing my recycling, I drove back to the super 8 and found the computer still stuck on 83 so I turned it off and hoped for the best. I drove slowly toward Denali and I got there around 4 so I headed off to Highway 8, the one that cuts across the state, and after driving in about a mile I found a tempting stretch at a bridge that had obviously been heavily fished but I didn’t care. I got a couple of small grayling and a lot of hits on my royal wulff from small fish but I gave up after about 45 minutes and decided to drive further on 8. I saw a nice section but it was posted all around so I headed back and found a decent looking stretch that was steep to get to. I walked along the rough trail and when I thought I was far enough I started fishing and got a couple of decent fish. I moved further up and realized that I was very close to where I had fished before. I kept fishing and ended up with 11 grayling with perhaps three decent fish. Now it was time to head back to the very developed Denali and check in. That went quite well and they recommended Nenana café in the Denali Chalet Hotel and it was very good especially the bacon wrapped potatoes and the halibut. I took a walk along the river and then decided to head to the Alpenglow Resort up on the mountain to have dessert. The view of the Nenana was impressive but the service was very slow. I did work on a new poem about returning to Alaska after five years of bring cancer free and how much more relaxed this trip has been. It was time to head to my camp site and I dropped off quickly with almost no mosquito problems. The next day I got up early, hoping to shower and perhaps do the laundry before my bus tour, but the staff wouldn’t let me in until 7 and that seemed too close for comfort. I instead dipped into Riley Creek and it made me both clean and very cold. I got to the wilderness access center in plenty of time and at 8 we were off, 10 of us and a talkative and informed bus driver. I leaned quite a bit but the animal viewing was a disaster. A couple of moose and a caribou. No grizzlies. It was overall pleasant enough but I was glad it was over and after a good nap. I was ready to head to Homer. I stopped to fish a couple of times but the first stream was too fast and the second, though absolutely perfect, yielded not a hit. I fished for a good hour and went almost a half mile so my knee is doing quite well. The salmon were in on the Kenai so traffic was pretty slow. I stopped at a combination Laundromat/shower place and did my laundry and took a very needed shower. After a nap I played 9 holes at Birch Ridge with 3 fellows who invited me to join and were pleasant enough to play with. I drove on toward Homer and ran into some road construction so I didn’t get out to the end of the spit until around 7, and it was time to ride my bike back to the mainland and back to my truck at least 9 miles. Dinner at the Harbor Grill followed and it was a decent enough seafood sampler. I did some writing and after I finished it was 10:30 and I ended up at the Town campground on the ocean side for 8 dollars. I awoke early and was on the road by 6:30 hoping to miss the construction traffic and I did, working my way toward seward. I finally stopped at Ptarmigan Creek and met a fellow from Virginia Tech who had left Floyd in 1978. We chatted amiably and he advised a small nymph. I worked my way to the Creek and it was too fast but I did find a few spots and had on fish on using a small royal wulff and a hit on the little nymph. Not very productive but very pretty. I napped and then drove into Seward, finding it a pretty little town with plenty of camping right by the water just like on Homer’s spit. I went for pizza (I’ve had too much fish) and the place the guide recommended was not very good. Rather bland to be sure. After dinner I took my bike ride through the touristy section and on out of town and it was good enough. When I returned I had dessert and coffee and worked a bit on my writing, then headed off to find a campground, eventually ending back at Ptarmigan Creek where I couldn’t find a site but paid and slept in the day use area. At 6 I started my drive to Whittier, the rain started and I stayed in the rain until I got to the tunnel. Riding through that tunnel is pretty intense and if you were claustrophobic, I would stay away from the tunnel: one lane, rocky walls right next to you, a railroad track sharing the pavement. Intense. Once through the tunnel, I stopped at the first café and got breakfast and coffee, my first cup of the day. Luckily I was able to get my phone internet to work and I saw that Tiger was tied for first in the British Open after 10 holes in the third round. I didn’t plan well so my kayak trip will be during the final half of the final day. It would be stupid to miss the kayak trip so I will try to stay up with the first few holes and then wish Tiger well. I did my bike ride—riding against perhaps the strongest wind I have ever ridden against—and then went for a terrific shave, shower and double shampoo, well, well needed. Then it was time to get ready for the ferry and I drove over there and fixed things up a bit and then got on a little before 1:45. The ferry was not that big but the scenery was immense: glaciers regularly appear and we saw a couple of humpback whales breaching. I have time to relax and I worked a little on my novel and thought a little about proposing something for the conference in the spring with the theme of horizons. I met an interesting guy from New Zealand and I gave Rex my e-mail and number and invited him to visit. He also invited me to visit New Zealand. My attempts to fish didn’t work out but I did have a nice walk in the Valdez harbor. I ran into Rex again and we had a nice chat. An interesting guy, an engineer with a wife and six kids and an 8,000 acre farm. The next morning I lucked out since the restaurant next to the kayak place was open and the owner let me come and have breakfast with the tour bus and watch the british open. When I left at 8, it was clear Tiger wasn’t going to win (Phil did). The kayak place was awful. They were condescending and I finally backed out when they told me I had to go in a double kayak, which was not mentioned in the brochure. They agreed to refund my money but the guy said some very rude remarks about me giving back their dry bag and the female guide accused me of stealing it when I had already given it back. Awful.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Days 14 and 15 Alaska

After I finished dinner, I was too tired to do anything but drink coffee so I drove to the Tim Horton’s, had coffee and two chocolate chip cookies and checked my e-mail (only a few, which surprised me), worked on the novel and worked on and published the last almost week of my blog. It was as I started to look at my finances that I realized I had made a big mistake and put the Visa check in the Watson Lake campground envelop. It had the credit card number on it and it was not made out to anyone since I was just able to call Visa and find out who to make it out to. I panicked and tried to e-mail Yukon Parks but I couldn’t get through. I was worried but I figured there was little chance that a public servant would do something that would put his job at risk. I went back to Pioneer RV to take a well needed shower to find out that you needed tokens which I did not have so I had to take a pretty cold and very quick shower. It stayed light until almost 12, but I did sleep well, probably helped by the OTC sleeping pill. When I got up, I contacted the Parks people and the fellow there said he would try to contact the fellow and have him call me. Sunday morning saw me waking early and heading off for Tok. My drive was fairly slow due to the buckled highway but I did have a nice veggie pizza in Beaver Creek and an hour’s bike ride along the Tetlin Wildlife Refuge. I stopped to camp at the Tok River campground and then drove into Tok for gas and dessert. Besides the annoying ATVers who rode into the campground after midnight, the mosquitos were bothersome for the first time on the trip. I awoke early on this bright Monday morning and after coffee and donuts, I headed off to Delta Junction and took a long nap before I got there. I set up my ferry ride from Whittier to Valdez for Saturday, then my kayak trip on Sunday, which leaves McCarty for Monday and then starting back. When I got to Delta junction, I had a late breakfast (and I have to stop eating so much even though I am doing a lot of exercise), picked up some supplies, got an Alaska license, and headed to Fairbanks. I stopped at Harding Lake to ride my bike for an hour and then I went to the Harding Lake Recreation Area for a swim. I had to walk out to the lake and then walk out 100 feet to get to three feet of cold and refreshing water. I saw no streams to fish (most were dry) and I decided golf was the ticket so I headed to the North Star golf club and played a very slow round, but ended up with a 44 on the double hole and 48 on the single. It was fun and when I finished I headed for the famous Pump House for crab cakes and Copper River salmon, which was very, very good. I went to check in at the Super 8 (the second time in 15 days that I have stayed at a motel) and took a long nap which was very hard to get up from. I dragged myself to the Denny’s next door and had an ice cream sundae and coffee and I finally began to wake up. Somewhat revitalized, I went for a walk, it still very light at 11:00. I did my yoga and then shaved and showered and finally felt pretty good.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

days 8 through 13 Alaska trip

I got the work on the bike from Soul, and the news is not good. The bottom bracket needs to be replaced and it is unclear if Soul can do it. I called Dicks and Eddie said they would refund the entire price if I brought it back or sent it back by UPS. However, that might cost more than a hundred and fifty dollars and would be a big hassle. I went and had coffee and wrote my blog –nothing going on with the novel—and then I went to see Despicable Me 2 and it was a real treat. I then went to Earls for an okay meal of salad and fish tacos, then for a walk in downtown. It was after 11 when I got back to the campground and I went to bed almost immediately. I awoke around 4 and couldn’t get to sleep so for the first time this trip I took one OTC sleep aid and that eventually worked. Gloria had mentioned that I might be sleeping well without all the daily stresses of home life but the bike situation is pretty upsetting. However, I realized during the night that my bike rack can handle two bikes so I can just put it on the rack and return it to Dicks and buy a second bike for the rest of the trip. That gave me some relief. I got up at about 5:30 and showered—much needed to be sure—and then headed into town to work on my 331 outline at McDonalds. The rain put a damper on much of the rest of the day, but I took several walks and worked on my outline a few times. Finally it got to be six and I went to Soul to see how my bike was doing but the mechanic didn’t know he was supposed to work on it. He was friendly and told me to come back in a half hour and he would see what he could do. I got back in a half hour exactly and he was just finishing up. He had taken the bottom bracket off and cleaned it, found that it was still usable, and then put it back together—and at a cost of 26 dollars. I gave the mechanic 20 dollars and went off for an hour’s ride ending up at the Vermillion Lakes. Then it was time for dinner at Nourish, pricey but pretty good. The beet and goat cheese ravioli were fabulous but the halibut was only good and the lobster ravioli was tough. I was finished by 9:30 so I thought I should try out the 9:50 showing of The Lone Ranger and I actually enjoyed most of it. It was a bit slow but overall it kept my interest. Johnny Depp is always fun. I slept well and rose at 6:00, showered and then headed off for Johnston Canyon. I drove slowly and saw one huge bull elk but that was it. I was the first person in the canyon and I saw alpine bluebells, twin flower, heart leaved arnica, bunchberry, and indian paintbrush. I made it to the lower falls and the stream was very high. It was very rewarding to return to such a special place, though sad to be there without Tracy. I remembered her saying that fishing the section above the upper falls was the loveliest place she had ever fished. It was time to drive to Lake Louise and the place was just started to get crowded so I took my short walk, snapped some photos and took a nap. I was going to go biking along the bow but there were warning signs about a bear in the area so I decided to ride later. I stopped at highway 11 and rode for an hour along it, mainly slightly downhill so the ride back was rather strenuous. Very good workout. I drove on and took another nap before the icefields and then stopped to fish a small creek about 50 miles from Jasper. It was a lot of fun even though I didn’t get a hit. I was able to hike up above the many cascades without my knees giving me too much of a problem so that was very good news. I drove to my campground and found it fine, then headed into Jasper for dinner at the Fiddle River Seafood restaurant but though the mushroom soup was very good, the ceasar salad was average and the bison lasagna mediocre, not really a lasagna at all, more like a sweetish stew. I walked around some more and then drove back and took a well needed shower before turning in. The next morning (Wednesday the 10th) I was a little nervous as I had to get things set up for my kayak run at Beckers. I decided to start about a mile above Beckers and I had things set up by 8:30 so I had plenty of time to do little chores. To my surprise the rafting company drove up and told me that yes Jeff worked for them and yes they would watch me at Beckers. I met a young man who was paddling the smaller version of my boat, and I followed him through Beckers and just catching the edge of the wall. It was a lot of fun and I felt so good about paddling again. After riding my bike up to the truck I changed and then went to pick up the kayak and gear. I then chatted with Cathy Gallo about Claire and started my drive to Fort St. John, 360 miles away. It started to rain just past Hinton and it didn’t stop till I reached Grande Prairie, where my check engine light also went on. Luckily, I called the Nissan dealer and they were able to check it out though I will have to return in the morning for one of the mechanics to look at it. I decided to try to play golf and there was a combination golf course and campground only a few minutes away so I was able to play 9 holes (and shoot a 46 on the double hole round) and a 48 on the regular round. I then went to a nearby park and rode my bike for an hour before heading to Boston Pizza for dinner. I got up at 6 and was at the dealer at 6:50 and they had me in at 7:15. It turned out the kid in the gas station had probably tightened the cap wrong, but the from axles bearings were leaking and fortunately that 600 dollar job was covered by the warranty. I also replaced the cabin filter and had an oil change. While they were working I drove back to the park and then into town, which was dusty and some of depressing. I went back to the park after some soup and a bagel and coffee and rode along the stream to where it warned about bear and moose, nice to think about so close to town. It was almost one by the time I got off and I drove and drove, making one early mistake trying to find Buick Creek which turned out to be muddy and slow. The rain started and followed me the rest of way. The Sikanni Chief was fast and murky and though the Buckinghorse looked fishable, the rain was too much. I took a few short walks but it never cleared enough for me to consider fishing. I got into Fort Nelson at 9:30, filled up with gas, paid for a campsite (only 15 dollars), and had a fine dinner at Boston Pizza, where I worked on my outline and my blog. I think I have made up my mind to cut out Vancouver and California. Alaska will be enough, especially all the driving with traffic coming at you. I will spend a little more time in Whitehorse, then spend more time in Alaska before heading down the Cassiar and then home. I will be too rushed and exhausted if I do more. I woke around six on Friday, showered, grabbed a coffee and treat and was off. I figured out where Tracy and I had fished, just below Summit Lake, so that is where I headed. I was now back in the Rockies and it was clear it had snowed at the higher elevations. It was going to be pretty cold when I started fishing. I got to the Tetsa around 7:30 and it was certainly fishable but I didn’t want to waste my fishing time on the main branch. I kept driving as the Tetsa narrowed and I finally arrived at the pull off, delighted that no one was there even though I had seen no one fishing anywhere on the Tetsa. There was a light snow on the trees as I carefully rigged up, zipping the liner in my gore-tex jacket, and working my way down to the stream, full of expectations. A few casts later I had my first rainbow on, the trout hitting my royal wulff. Amazingly, that was it. I worked pool after pool and couldn’t bring up a fish. A few pools before the waterfall I shifted to a bead head gold ribbed hare’s ear but nothing hit until I got to the final pool where I did get a solid hit and then had a fish on for a few seconds. I switched to a grasshopper but no luck then went back to the nymph as I worked back to the truck. I was now back at the pool where I caught the first fish and finally I had another fish on and then a second. That made me feel a lot better and I climbed back up to the truck and changed out of my gear. I drove on and finally stopped at Liard Hot Springs, where I took the kayak and other stuff out to dry, started a wash, rode my bike for an hour, and lucked out with the sun holding until I had everything done. I started on the last push to Watson Lake but it soon became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to play golf, especially since the rain came back and made the drive more difficult. I got into Watson Lake around nine, had an okay dinner of salad and fried cod, and worked on my outline, my novel and my blog. I ended up at the Watson lake provincial campground and it was pretty deserted. I took a site next to the only other campers in the place and after a short walk, went to sleep with no mosquito problem probably because it was so cold. I awoke at a little past six and began driving toward Whitehorse. It was rainy and I thought I would skip the Swift but by the time I got back into BC, the sky was clearing and I stopped at the Swift. Nothing, not a hit, on a Royal Wulff, wooly bugger, big stonefly, bead head hare’s ear. Still, it was pleasant to return to some memorable water and I will probably try on my way back. Later I stopped at a very tempting little stream, but dries and nymphs had no results. I did hike up a few hundred yards so I really thought I would have some luck. Anyway, fishing was over for the day and though I didn’t get a hit I had a lot of fun. I had lunch in Teslin, at the only restaurant left in town, the gas station/rv park/restaurant and it was a very good garden burger. I drove on and after a good nap made it to the meadow lakes golf course. I’ve played this short but challenging course before, and it proved to have some very tricky shots but I shot a 48 and a 49 on the double holes, both scores coming on excellent very long putts that left me short finishing putts. It was now time to find a campground and I found a decent one at Pioneer Campground where I took a nap, did my yoga and then went to the Robert Service campground to ride the bike trail into town. I crossed the Yukon and followed it up to the dam, watching the powerful rapids and the amazing torrent of water right below the dam where the entire Yukon comes out. Now I was ready for dinner and I decided to go to the Klondike salmon and rib place and the wild salmon was delicious as was the side of smoked salmon I ordered.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 7 Alaska

I got the work on the bike from Soul, and the news is not good. The bottom bracket needs to be replaced and it is unclear if Soul can do it. I called Dicks and Eddie said they would refund the entire price if I brought it back or sent it back by UPS. However, that might cost more than a hundred and fifty dollars and would be a big hassle. I went and had coffee and wrote my blog –nothing going on with the novel—and then I went to see Despicable Me 2 and it was a real treat. I then went to Earls for an okay meal of salad and fish tacos, then for a walk in downtown. It was after 11 when I got back to the campground and I went to bed almost immediately. I awoke around 4 and couldn’t get to sleep so for the first time this trip I took one OTC sleep aid and that eventually worked. Gloria had mentioned that I might be sleeping well without all the daily stresses of home life but the bike situation is pretty upsetting. However, I realized during the night that my bike rack can handle two bikes so I can just put it on the rack and return it to Dicks and buy a second bike for the rest of the trip. That gave me some relief. I got up at about 5:30 and showered—much needed to be sure—and then headed into town to work on my 331 outline at McDonalds.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Days 5 and 6 Alaska

I got up early and was on the road by 6:30 but with my naps, bike ride, walks and golf (a 49 on a very wet course), I knew I wasn’t going to make it to Banff so I planned to head for Strathmore, where I stayed at the rather nice eagle lake rv campground and went to Strathmore Station for dinner. I showered when I got back around 11:30 and then went to sleep and slept well, not waking until after 8. I didn’t rush but certainly the Rockies were on my mind, and as I approached Calgary I got my first view and was very moved. They have been very important to me, back to when I was 18 or 19, and I must say that this visit felt right. I went to check in at Tunnel Mountain campground and I have a decent site. Then I went for my bike ride along the bow, and I did the steep part twice. The bike is starting to give me more problems. The river was high and murky but I figured that the smaller streams would be fine for fishing. When I went to get my license It turned out that a record flood a few weeks ago washed out all the fish so I won’t be able to fish until Jasper. I am having the bike looked at but it is very frustrating.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Alaska day 4

I drove into Canada at around 4 and that is always a relief. There is something pure about Canada and at one point my ex and I even looked into becoming Canadian citizens but the US never got too bad so we never pursued the idea. I stopped as soon as I could to ride my bike and it the shifting gave me some problems at first. I tried riding with the earphones on but I couldn’t hear the traffic coming so that didn’t work. It was pretty hot but the fields were comforting, especially the corn. Next I had to work on my phone, which could make calls but the GPS and internet weren’t working. It took a couple of calls to Verizon but the woman solved the problem by switching from the global setting to the lte network. I was tired and hungry so when I saw a comfort inn right on the corner (which I think I may have stayed at) I called and changed my reservation to this one even though it was a little more expensive. I then grabbed a fish sandwich at McDonalds and checked in and took a very needed nap. I woke up wanting to eat and to watch the Macy’s fireworks so I pushed myself out of bed and headed for the restaurant that the comfort inn staff had recommended, Michael Ps. I think I had eaten there before and the menu was not very interesting so I drove down Pembina and stopped at an Indian restaurant that was not very good. Actually, the samosas were okay but the korma and the garlic naan were not very good. I ate about half and headed off to watch the fireworks and caught the last ten minutes. However, I found that they were repeating the whole display so I got to watch it and fix my fishing gear and do a number of other little tasks before I went out for a walk, which was very pleasant in the cooling, slightly breezy air. I slept very well and though I am stuck with what to do with the plot of the novel, I did get my other computer working and connected to the internet.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Alaska Day 3

Well, my visit ended up in St. Paul and it wasn’t very pleasant. It started out okay, parking by Mears park and then walking down to the Mississippi which was at flood and very fast. I decided to get an early dinner and when I got to Senor Wong’s, the place recommended at the Hilton, I found out it was only 4, my phone still on eastern time. I ordered salad and fish tacos and just as I finished, I realized that my meter would run out and I quickly paid and ran to my truck and found a $160 dollar ticket which absolutely floored me. I called the Parking Office and Caroline said to call back in 10 days and they would see what they could do. I started to drive just to get out of awful St. Paul but traffic was awful so I got off the highway and parked in a U of Minnesota parking lot and took a nap. Feeling much better I stopped for coffee in the college shops section and that was fine. There was still some traffic but I eventually got out of town and ended up at Lake Carlos State Park, getting in a quick ride and a great shower. This morning I was off by 6:15 and I stopped to walk around downtown Fargo and then I went to play golf in Hillsboro. It was a long course but no obstacles and I shot a 44 and a 45. Now I am in Grand Forks and I should be in Canada in a few hours.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

second day of the Alaska trip

I drove from Batesville and stopped to play golf at the Trophy Club just north of Indianapolis. Very nice course and I broke 50 easily. Fast greens and I putted well. I did my hour bike ride out in the corn and soy fields and that felt very good. I kept driving and I finally stopped at Rock Cut State Park for the night. My spot was very isolated so very quiet. I took a walk just before going to bed and slept well until a little after six. I drove on and I have almost 200 miles done by 11:30. I did my fiction writing and I will stop soon to ride my bike. I hope to stop in Minneapolis for dinner.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The first day of the Alaska trip

My trip started on Monday, July 1, and it was a decent start on a day where rain was the main theme. I woke at 4, worked for a hour getting things together and in the truck, napped for a half hour and then left at 8:10. I had put a little more water in the batteries so they should be okay until I return. The drive to Blacksburg and then to the West Virginia border left me a little sad, as leaving my lovely state always does, but once I was on 77, the trip was on. I stopped to ride my bike on the campus of West Virginia State University, and that was very pleasant and I just beat the rain. I had almost bought a cargo pod earlier at Sears but it would have taken a lot of work to get it attached so I gave up. Instead, I thought that strapping the second spare on top would open up a lot of space and I did it just before my bike ride. I pushed the kayak and kayaking gear up to the front and had plenty of space for most of the other gear (tent and sleeping pad, fishing gear and waders and wading shoes, hiking boots, yoga mat and blocks). The tire on top will also give me a place to put a small gas container and that will be a good idea. After the adjustments and the ride, I began to drive on I 64 and head toward Cincinnati. I should have checked my GPS in Charleston and I think it would have told me to go north there, but I stuck to I 64 and ended up driving in the rain for many hours, finally stopping at Batesville, Indiana where I found LaRosa’s Pizza to be quite good. The side salad had a garlic-stuffed olive in it and the roasted garlic on the pizza was delicious. I settled into the comfort inn and then walked a bit with an umbrella in the rain. This morning I went back to work on my novel and I have about 3200 words.

Friday, June 28, 2013

leaving on Monday

It is Friday afternoon and I have finished playing golf (a 45 on the back nine with a 6 on the first hole) and getting my second spare tire. Scott came out from Dodson and treated the house and there are not too many things left to do. I have the Canada maps together and I just have to get the national forest maps ready. I also have to pack the kayak stuff but I should do that tomorrow since Sunday is going to be very busy with David coming to cut the leaning trees and my dinner plans with Cathy Gallo. My walk this morning was pretty good even though it was hot since I didn’t sleep well and I got up at 8:30. The flowers include Oxeye, enchanters, wild hydrangea, deptford pink, heal all, white avens, Canada anemone, honework, common St. John’s wort. On Wednesday I finished trimming the road and the orchard so that is done and this morning I cleaned out the truck and washed the cupholders. I am within a few hours of being ready to leave. I have to pick up meds on Sunday at walmart. Issac came and replaced the broken fan so that is all finished.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

more trees down in the hollow

On Sunday I got up pretty early, and started on my way home. I did not write but I did ride my bike at JMU and then play golf at Ingleside where I shot a 49 by sinking a seven foot putt on the last hole. I got home around 4:00 and ran into the campers. I joined them for a dip in the river and then headed up to the hollow to find that a windstorm had knocked down a number of trees and there was no way I could clear all of them. I walked down to the pasture, called David then called Mike and fortunately Mike and his friend were able to come out in an hour and clear the major blowdown, a tangled mess of three big trees. I paid them well for coming out on a Sunday and then I was back home. I decided to go into town for a movie and got to see Monsters University, which was good but not as good as the first movie. On Monday I did my walk and then did yoga but I couldn’t do weights because I hurt my back cutting up the first bunch of trees. I went into town and got my truck checked out (during which I got back into writing on my project), ordered another spare for the Alaska trip, and then drove back to the hollow to meet Corey and get the generator back. That went well and then I went into BBurg to walk the trail with Rob and catch up on the news, none of which was very crucial. Following that I went to see Mud, which was a great movie. Tuesday morning I did my writing and then took my walk up to the orchard where I trimmed the briars and called Gyorgyi to wish her a happy 60th. Next I talked to Alfredo about my planned gift. I do hope he and Kelly accept it and I know it will help them with their house hunting. Back to the house for some flower identification (Canada anemone, enchanter’s nightshade and honewort), some more trimming and some yoga and house cleaning and then off to Barnes and Noble. My preparation for Alaska is going well.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

my trip north 2

The photo shoot turned out well but it was hard work. Jose was fine and he knew what he was doing but the fishing was very hard. I got no hits on the main branch and only two fish on Biscuit Brook. Jose got one after I showed him the roll cast. We drove back and after a mediocre dinner at Bella Fortuna (still quite expensive) I dropped him off in South Fallsburg. I drove toward Roscoe and stopped at a McDonalds to send Nina my photos of the Catskill Center. It was very trying since my computer kept telling me my e-mail box was full so I had to delete a lot of stuff to be able to send. I stayed at the Roscoe campground again. On Tuesday morning I drove up to the Beaverkill and rode my bike then headed for Bennington. I stopped to play golf in Stamford and though I played poorly, I still broke 50. I decided to camp out and I ended up at the place I stayed last time, Greenwood Lodge. It turned out to be pretty easy to get to and it was actually a lovely place even if the owners were a little weird. I went back into town after fishing the stream that goes up the mountain and I caught one nice trout. Then I drove into town to eat at the Madison Brew Pub and then watch the rest of the game at Ryan’s before I headed back to the campground. I slept well and then I did my yoga and showered before I headed into town for coffee and an egg and cheese bagel. I decided to start on a new project (which I will reveal when and if I write 20,000 words). I decided to fish Roaring Branch near East Arlington and the hurricane damage was significant, with the road washed out after two miles. I fished an absolutely lovely stretch but only got one trout on a dry before switching to a nymph with no luck. I drove up to Manchester and stayed at Camping on the Battenkill, and that was a good idea. The river runs right next to the campground. I drove into town for dinner at the Equinox Inn and it was superb (maple glazed salmon being the entree). After a short walk to the falls, I watched Man of Steel and found that pretty good despite the mediocre reviews. On Thursday morning I did my yoga and then rode up to the Duncan Donuts to keep working on my new project. Then it was time to head up to Poultney to play golf and fish the Mettawee. I was pretty awful playing but I still shot a 47, with my play much better in the last few holes. My fishing wasn’t much better, and though I fished very hard, I got only one hit. I drove back to Camping on the Battenkill and practiced my sax (the second day in a row) and then did my hour bike ride. Now it was time to head to Mulligans to watch the seventh game and it was something. It was close throughout and if Tim Duncan hadn’t missed an easy shot late and Manu Ginobli hadn’t made a couple of mistakes, the Spurs could have won. It was the best series I can remember and I did feel bad for the Spurs who really should have won it in six games. On Friday morning I did my yoga and then drove to New York State where I stopped to write on my project and then to drive toward the Catskills. The drive along Catskill creek was quite scenic and I eventually rode my bike near Sundown and then went for an icy dip. I found a place to camp and then just made it for Monsters University at 7. After it was over I decided to head on toward Scranton to cut down tomorrow’s drive and I ended up at a campground about 20 miles from Scranton, exhausted and upset about the terrible signage leading me to campground.

Monday, June 17, 2013

my trip north

My visit north has turned out quite well. I stopped at a KOA near New Market and then went to the Shenvalee for bike riding and dinner. The next day I stopped and biked along the Potomac near Sandy Hook road and that was very nice although it was crowded. There were a number of people on the trail and I had to drive very carefully. My visit to Kelly was a lot of fun. Lucia monopolized my attention but she was a great playmate. We went for a walk to the concert across from her house and we played soccer and Kelly and Lucia beat Alfredo and me. It was pretty intense. I had a fine visit to Manhattan also. I walked and walked, from the ferry to the Highline at 14th street, Times Square, Central Park, Hunter College, just my normal meandering. I had a great time with Tina and Alana and she is a very nice young lady and very smart. I stayed for three nights at the Hampton Inn on Staten Island and that was pleasant and not that expensive. I don’t mind driving to the ferry and I used the closer lot so I don’t have to get the 9PM boat. I stayed at Gabes’ apartment the last night and that was fun. Julian has certainly grown up a lot and I enjoyed reading to him and playing with him. Gabes was very sweet and Francesca and I had a good talk. They took me out to dinner and refused my offer to pay for the plane tickets for their visit in October. I drove up to the Catskills, stopping at Wallkill Golf Club and shooting a 95, which was very nice. I ended up at Roscoe Campsites where I biked for 40 minutes and then went to eat at Raimundo’s Italian restaurant where I had a good dinner and watched the Heat play poorly and lose to the Spurs. Two games left and they have to win both. Today is the photo shoot with Jose and I am a little anxious about that. The water is up so I am not sure I will get a fish.

Friday, June 7, 2013

hectic last week of maymester

This has been a trying week to be sure. I have had problems with a student that I think is finally resolved. I had to dig out two deer ticks and I am on antibiotics for two weeks. My generator was having problems and it is at All Seasons to be repaired (which no doubt will cost me over two hundred dollars). It means I had to turn off the septic and the fan for a couple of days but I did get the solar charged up to 100% (what the specific gravity was I have no idea) and it was at 94 when I left this morning (drawing .4-.5). It is supposed to be sunny on Saturday and if it charges a bit I might put the septic on and maybe even the fan. I have the hollow in very good shape, with a lot of cleaning done and all the little tasks fixed. I will probably miss the cherries and the greenhouse is basically finished for the summer. I had a very interesting experience a few days ago. I was getting ready to leave for school when I heard the phoebes going crazy. I ran out and a 4 foot black snake was up in the nest with one of the chicks in its mouth. I thought to leave nature alone, but I couldn’t. I got the broom out and with the handle pushed the snake off the nest. It fell to the ground with the chick still in its mouth and unfortunately another chick also fell. I could see that there were still 2 chicks up in the nest, so I thought it was a fair balance. When I got home in the evening, the female was back on the nest so my good deed worked.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend is proving relaxing

Golf yesterday was quite good, shooting a 47 and making a lot of decent shots. I then went to dinner with Cathy and we talked and talked until after 10. There are things going on that she has to address. I drove home and the campers were still up so I chatted with them for a half hour and then went home and watched a Denzel Washington film, Déjà vu. I got up around 8 and slowly went on a hike to the orchard (3 times to the top) and then went back to the house and got rid of two bags of junk from the shed, got the rake out to replace the one at the orchard, checked the tire behind the cabin (it will not fit), and moved the rock on the path to my orchard. I did my weights and yoga and I headed out about noon, and I will see Jeff at Nawab at 7.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

first week of Maymester is over

It is Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend and I have had a pretty good day so far. After a hike out to the campers in the pasture, I hiked up to the orchard and continued to trim it. I got home in time to do weights and yoga and then I headed out to find that Chris needed a jump which I gladly supplied. I then went to the CRC and rode my bike, ending up on the Huckleberry trail to the library because it was so windy. After my bike ride I took a nap and I am relaxing in Starbucks before I play golf and then have dinner with Cathy. I talked to Gyorgyi this morning and we are going to have dinner on Thursday. I also spoke to Lazlo for a few minutes. My first week of Maymester has gone pretty well, although Bryan has only come to 2 classes so far and that may cause me a problem. It is great to spend so much time with each student’s writing and they are all improving. I have eaten strawberries and lettuce from the greenhouse and I fixed the new knee brace with a neoprene patch. I will fix the old one tomorrow. The house is in good shape, and I don’t have much to do on my project list. It was special to see the scarlet tanagers two days in a row.

Monday, May 20, 2013

opening of Maymester

I was sad today about Tracy’s response but I screwed things up so certainly I can’t blame her for her feelings. I did not sleep that well and when I got up I went on a good hike to the orchard where I ate a few spears of asparagus, checked out the fruit trees and saw that 7 out of 8 of them have fruit. I think the two new ones are pears. When I returned I had a fresh greenhouse salad and a half dozen strawberries, the first of the season. I then rode the stationary bike for 25 minutes, weights and yoga then off to teach my first day of maymester. The class went very well and I spent a lot of time working with the students, which I think they appreciated. I am going to see Cathy this weekend and that will be fun. Yesterday I went up to see Jeff, Rachel and Benjamin and it was a good visit. Benjamin was a little calmer and I had fun playing with him and watching the Spurs kill the Grizzlies. Jeff and Rachel and I had a good chat and I will see him for a massage on Wednesday. I wrote a poem this evening called the abuse of women and it is pretty powerful. I may send it to Kate so she will get a more balanced picture of my relationships.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tye River and Chincoteague with Richmond and Wintergreen thrown in

My trip to Chincoteague went very well although day one was one of those take the lemon and make lemonade out of it. I was on my way pretty early and I expected to make Richmond by lunch for my ride to Belle Isle but when I got Buena Vista I decided to play golf at the Vista Links and I ended up playing 14 holes. I then drove to Waynesboro but I-64 was closed so I waited in detour traffic for a half hour then turned around and decided to drive to Steele’s tavern and go across the Blue Ridge there. It was a lovely choice after a nap and an hour bike ride up on the cool and windy Parkway, I drove down route 56, which was a real joy, especially when I got to the Tye River, the river Tracy and I passed on our trip to Wintergreen. I had to stop and fish, even though I had little left in my legs. I waded for about a half hour, fishing some perfect looking water, but nary a bite, even though I tried dries and nymphs with a strike indicator. I did slip once and I could feel my knee bending too far so I simply fell in the water, saving the knee and only getting my sweater sleeves wet. I finally got to Massie’s Mill and it was almost 4 so I knew I would be hard pressed to even reach Richmond before the 7 o’clock start of the Miami game. I decided to head down 29 and get back on 64 in Charlottesville and I made a reservation at the Comfort Suites near Short Pump and planned to eat at the Maggiano’s in the Short Pump Town Center Mall. I got to the mall a little after 7 and went into the first restaurant with TVs and watched the game while having an okay piece of salmon. I spent the night at the Comfort Suites and in the morning I drove with a little trepidation to find the Belle Isle Parking Lot. I ended up on the other side of the river, but I made a u turn and took the first exit which led me right down to Tredegar and the parking area. The river was at flood (9 feet) and the rapids were very powerful (I would guess at least 5 and maybe 6) and I rode the loop three times before heading back across the bridge and along the canal. The ride finished I drove on to Virginia Beach and got there around 1:30 so I had time to walk along the beach and along the shops before Jenny and Paloma got there at 3. There were two miniature golf courses near where I parked and Paloma chose the Pirate one first, but then got scared and we went over to play the Jungle one. Paloma played about 9 holes and then started to put on mini plays and sing and after a snack and some drinks, she wanted to play again although she mainly put on her mini plays and sang. It was very cute and I put her in the hippo’s mouth for a photo and she loved it. We drove back to pick up Mark and then headed back to the restaurant we had eaten at before, where we had a very good meal and I gave them 1000 to help out with their increasingly dire finances. Things will get better when Mark gets a good job and he is hoping to get a job with the fire department. I stayed in the area and watched some of the other playoff games before heading to Jenny’s parents’ house where I slept in the driveway. I got up early and headed off for the Bay Bridge and then up to Chincoteague for my hour bike ride and my beach walk. I then headed back and ended up playing nine holes (2 balls per hole) at Royal New Kent and shooting a real 49 and then 100 on the two ball, mainly because I was very tired on the last two holes. I drove past Richmond and stopped just outside of Charlottesville to watch the Heat game at Applebees. The game looked like a blowout so I left and decided to go to the KOA, not wanted to spend 100 for a room in Charlottesville. The KOA was fine as they usually are and I thought about heading back to Charlottesville when the Heat game tightened up but I was too tired and the ride seemed too long. I did listen to the game on the radio and the Heat won a close one, 93-91, to eliminate the decimated Bulls. D Wade is injured and big teams like Indiana and the Spurs could cause them a lot of trouble. In the morning I drove toward the Tye and took a detour to Wintergreen where I walked around a little and looked at the Devils Knob golf course which looked stunning. I drove back to the Tye and ended up fishing at three different spots with only one two inch fish on a Prince nymph. Still, the river was impressive and I enjoyed every second. After the fishing I drove to the Parkway and decided to drive south on it, take a nap, and then take my bike ride as a storm approached. I headed down to Natural Bridge and got to my house just after 6:30 after saying hello to Chris and Danny who were setting up for camping this weekend. I did a load of laundry, did my weights and yoga, practiced for twenty minutes and then drove into town to leave off my bike and to watch the Knick game.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The semester is over

It is Sunday the 12th and I had a very good day. First, since I stayed up until 12:30, I slept through the night. When I got up around 9, I decided to take a hike to the orchard and I was almost there when I called Rob and he wanted to take a walk so I went straight back, got dressed and met Rob at the trail at 11:15. It was a nice walk and we saw a blue grosbeak pair at the end of our walk. After our walk I drove out to Narrows and Wolf Creek, though high, looked like it might be okay upstream. I drove for about 15 miles, took a nap, drive to Rocky Gap and then followed Clear Creek up about 5 miles, finally fishing on the way back even though the water was still pretty high but clear enough to fish. I then drove back to check out Wolf further up but it was no better. I drove back Radford, rode my bike for nine miles, then had dinner at Appleby’s while watching Tiger win the Players by two shots in an exciting ending that was tied at 17. I walked a bit near Barnes and Noble and then sat down to my coffee and cookies. On Saturday I attended graduation and did a good job keeping the photographers from getting too close to the college ceremony where Kate was shaking hands and posing with the graduates for photos. After the ceremony I went and played golf without getting rained on and also got to ride my bike eight miles. My grades are in so I am free until the following Monday when I start Maymester. Tomorrow I head off to Richmond where I hope to go bike riding on Belle Isle and perhaps have dinner on that street near the Omni.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

the septic is fixed

Today, Thursday, May 9th was a wonderful day. It started with a full night’s sleep, then a fine hike up to the orchard. I did my three pushes up the hill, ate a couple of stalks of fresh asparagus, and then walked back home in brilliant sunshine. After weights and yoga and washing the dishes, I headed off to play golf with a stop at the landfill to finally get rid of the old blue camping propane bottles. Golf was very good and I shot a 47 although I could have scored a few strokes better. After golf I headed off to my office, and entered almost all of my grades. It was now time to head to the Blue Ridge Parkway (mile marker 99) for about ten miles of biking. The scenery was stunning and the warm sun rich like new coined gold. After my biking I drove to Carrabba’s for a very good meal (only two little pieces of bread) of salad and pasta Weesie. Following that I headed to the Salem Starbucks. Yesterday David King came out and easily fixed and serviced the septic. The heater mat was staying on so he disconnected it and checked everything else out. I only had to spend 300 but I gave him a nice tip. My upper culvert project was basically a waste of time, although I will keep a small ditch clear to run the spring and rain water to a spot below the bad part of the road. The culvert itself is under 2 feet of thick mud. I took the heavy gear oil out and I will give two of the containers to Mike tomorrow. I am getting more and more cleaned up and I like the feeling. My aunt Marie is doing better and I think I will head off for Chincoteague on Tuesday at the latest (since I may have dinner with Gyorgyi on Monday).

Sunday, May 5, 2013

the mysterious 5 amps

It is Sunday, May 5, and though it is drizzling outside, I am comfortable in the Barnes and Noble. I knew it was going to rain so I got my hike in early (and finished almost all of the orchard road trimming), then weights and yoga, then off to play golf at Castle Rock, where I ended up playing 17 holes with a 49 somewhere in there. I followed the golf with a bike ride along Craig Creek for 40 minutes, then I drove to Appleby’s to watch the Knicks but I got too tired and went out to take a nap. I awoke ready for Iron Man III and just got in to the 5:20 showing. It was very impressive and I enjoyed it very much. I called David King about the septic (the 5 extra amps are going to the septic system, which I ascertained this morning) but I hadn’t heard from him so I shut off the septic when I left. I hope that it won’t cause a lot of problems but otherwise I will have no juice and I don’t want to damage the unit with the mysterious 5 extra amps. It may be time for David to put in the alternative system, and I will try to talk to him tomorrow. I did send Herb a congratulatory e-mail but I haven’t heard back from him and I really don’t care what happens. Both he and Susan have acted poorly in my view and that is sad but not something I am going to continue to be a part of. My aunt Marie is okay so I won’t be going up there right now but I have no idea about what is going to happen. I failed again to see a scarlet tanager but indigo buntings were singing along with the worm-eating warbler, wood thrushes, meadowlarks and gold finches. I felt much better today even though the septic system is causing me some concern.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

a difficult day works out in the end

It is Saturday, May 4, and what seemed to start out as a difficult day ended quite well. I slept reasonable well and when I got up I decided to take a needed hike because I went overboard on my diet the last two days. I was down to 208 and I’ll bet I am close to 212. Anyway, my overeating bothered me and then Mark Burnette coming at 11 got me a little upset (I got myself worked up that Mark should be more appreciative of my generosity and that he should hustle today), and then I couldn’t see a scarlet tanager (my fourth day trying, though I hear many all the time), and I felt a little lonely. So I was all over the place but the hike did calm me a little. The wild geranium was at peak, and star chickweed is also peaking. The lovely fire pinks are at their best but the major spring thrust is over. When I returned to the house I packed up 4 bags of garbage from the cabin (7 bags this week) and decided to get gas and get rid of the garbage. That went well and I got back by 10:20 so I went back up to the cabin to get rid of the last box of books. When Mark came I was much calmer and I had him go to work on the road to the orchard while I took a nap then practiced then did my weights and yoga. After picking Mark up (with about 2/3 of the road cleared), I had him finish off the ditch I dug with the tractor (it has dried out quite a bit) which I think will keep the road dry. Then I went up with the tractor and got rid of the pieces David had cut and Mark’s strength was a great asset. I also scraped the road up to the panel and they should be fine till at least midsummer. After that I had Mark clear a path up to the cherry tree in the cabin orchard, and clear the path along the orchard, while I took a shower. I drove into Blacksburg and rode 4 times on my CRC path to try to burn a few more calories and then I drove to Radford to e-mail Pat about her Mom and then watch the Kentucky Derby (where I won over 300 dollars on Orb). I had a nice chat with Kate and it is time for a walk.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

winding down

It is Wednesday, April 24, and I just finished 18 holes of golf with Craig Waggaman on the River Course. I played pretty well, missed four short putts, but hung close, took the lead for the first time on 17 and then won 18. I treated him to lunch and it was a fun morning. After a quick nap, I rode my bike for 7 miles along the river and then headed to my office. Mark and David came over on Sunday and David finished up thinning the trees near the smooth coneflower and Mark treated the two bridges, the porch, the shed and I treated the wood by the gate. The greenhouse is producing and the new lettuce is fine and the peas are all doing well. The strawberries have a lot of flowers. The orchard trees are loaded with flowers, and I will put a grease band around the sweet cherry to protect it from ants. My schedule in the fall had to be changed so I will be teaching 5 days next semester, with a 12 pm MWF 200. The advantage is that I will have Monday and Wednesday early afternoons free so golf will be easier.

Friday, April 19, 2013

second bombing suspect captured

Friday, April 19 and I only have two weeks left of class and one week of finals. My teaching went well this week and I don’t have too many poems to read this weekend. The big news is that they captured the second bombing suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. That is a great relief. Things in the hollow are fine. I took out the solar charger pole and cut the ground so all is covered now and seeded. I also scraped a path to the shed and seeded that. With rain the last couple of days, the grass should do okay. The heavy rain today beat up my road again so I will be out on the tractor in a few days fixing it. I found out the propane people came and now I have 92% in the 100 gallon tank and 90% in the 500. My road is much safer. Gyorgyi’s visit with Andrew, Sylvia and Laura on Wednesday went very well with the bluebells at peak. Gyorgyi wasn’t feeling so well so we went back after a quick viewing. I got to play a quick round of golf and shot a 43 with my driver working extremely well. I hit one on the first hole that went close to 200 yards, very unusual for me. The Coleman and Nan Lacy reading went well, with about 25 people in attendance.

Friday, April 12, 2013

the house is almost completely clean

There was an incredible rain last night and my road is a mess again. Oh well, it is good to have rain. I took a hike this morning to the orchard and the trees all have leaves starting or out. The solar charger is dead so I shut it off and cut the wires so I will be able to drive my truck right up to the shed. I will get rid of the rest of the wires soon. There really is no need for the electric fence anymore since the trees are all at least seven feet tall. There is going to be plenty of fruit this summer. No asparagus yet but bloodroot, rue anemone, cut leaved toothwort, spring beauties in the hollow with ground ivy up by the orchard. Dutchman’s breeches and twinleaf along the pasture road. I got my check from the feds so now I shouldn’t have to touch the equity line until September, when I return from the Alaska trip. I should get 1450 back from the Savannah trip and then I will get 3800 from Maymester. I played golf and shot a 46 on a very sunny and slightly windy day. Later I watched Tiger shoot a 71 with a really unfortunate break on the 15th hole when his third shot hit the pin and bounced in the water. He is three behind Jason Day so he still has a good chance. On my way out I rode my bike in the second pasture and it was quite beautiful with the twilight coming in softly. I have almost finished cleaning the entire house with the new Dyson vacuum. It has amazing power and all I have to finish is the bathroom. I got rid of all the books that I can’t keep because of the dust and mold, so I can now open up the guestroom again.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

savannah and the return

I am down in Savannah, having given my paper on Cooper (with an audience of 4). I also rode my bike out to Forsythe Square even though it rained a little and is still overcast. Tomorrow I will be playing golf at the Sanctuary Golf Club with Marv and Joyce, and then have dinner with them up in Beauford. Yesterday I visited my aunt Theresa and Joyce and Marv in Goose Creek and had a nice lunch. Driving down to Savannah was tough in the rain but when I got close I saw a sign for the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and the rain stopped so I rode my bike along the canal there and saw several alligators along with herons, egrets, anhingas, and red winged blackbirds. My book selling didn’t go well. Most of the books were too damaged so I only got 40 dollars for the twenty they could use, and I donated the rest. I am going to donate all the other ones when I return home and then vacuum the house real well. My asthma is subsiding, due most likely to the medication and not being at home. David is coming out this coming Wednesday to work on thinning the trees near the coneflowers. I will stay with him until 1:45. Gyorgyi called me and I am going to see her and Andrew, Sylvia and Laura the following week. That should be fun. I found out that the propane truck almost tipped over trying to come to my house (that is what did the damage to the road). I was able to switch tanks so I will try to get a delivery when things really dry out. I could get another 100 gallon tank if I run low but with the weather finally warming, I think I will be able to get through till June. I think I am going to call Mark to help me get that culvert working again. That would be a big help, but I have to wait a while for things to dry out. This is an addition to the earlier stuff. It is April 10th and David came and worked on thinning the trees in the coneflower habitat. I worked on the road this morning, clearing a lot of dirt so the propane truck can easily get up. I will address the wet stuff and the culvert at a different time.