Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kayaking and the Black Canyon

It is Tuesday evening and I am sitting in an Applebee’s in Montrose, Colorado. I have just had tortilla soup and a side of broccoli. I had a long and productive day mainly because it was lovely weather all day with just a sprinkling of rain around 8:30. I got up around 7 and started drying out all the kayak and fishing gear. I put up a line and clothespinned all the wet stuff and then started cleaning up the rest of the truck when I decided to dry out the kayak also. I wanted to get it dry and I figured if I wanted to kayak the animas in Durango I could rent a duckie if a company had one. I decided to take a ride over to the whitewater park about a half mile away and there were a number of drift boats getting ready to put in. The whitewater park looked tempting but I wanted the kayak stowed away so I just looked fondly at the class 2 rapids. I was almost finished with my ride when I decided to ride back, check on my stuff, grab my breakdown rod and reel and some lures and head back to fish a bit from the shore. I fished one spot above the put in and it was promising water but I didn’t get a hit, and no hits at the two spots below. However, I enjoyed it quite a bit. When I got back I tried to get on the internet but it didn’t work well and I figured that when the drying was done I would go play golf at the course just outside of Gunnison. Then it struck me that since it was so nice, I should head for the Black Canyon. I checked it on the GPS and found that it was 55 miles away but it still seemed a good idea and I could spend an hour checking out the overlooks and the get into Montrose for the Women’s Soccer Semifinal, which the USA won against the favored Germany. The Black Canyon National Park was stunning, simply put and though I got to see three or four of the overlooks (the others demanded too much walking for my limited time) I was very inspired by this amazing place (I am thinking I may return tomorrow before heading to Durango. On the way out to head to Montrose I decided to take a look at the east portal and it was interesting but didn’t seem that great a place to come back and fish. So I drove into Montrose, got there with five minutes to go in the first half and then ate a salad and watched the second half. I had spoken to the fellow at the Black Canyon Golf Course and he said if I got there by seven, I could play nine and after the US scored its second goal I headed off and made it with ten minutes to spare. It was a long course and I didn’t shoot too well so I ended up with a 51. Still, it was nice to play. My kayak trip on Monday through the Bighorn Sheep Canyon on the Arkansas was fabulous. The early water was a lot of fun and the canyon was solid Class 3 and I couldn’t have handled any more. The guide thought I did very well and I can’t disagree. I am very glad I hired the guide (for 150) or I would have never been able to run such ambitious water. Later I drove to Gunnison and was just able to get in a little fishing up near Three Rivers just before dark. Then I had a nice pizza dinner in Gunnison before heading to my site at the KOA.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


I am sitting in Oscar’s Bar and Grille in dumpy little Limon, Colorado, having just finished some food and iced tea. I ended up playing 14 holes of golf and then I took another long bike ride about 40 miles from Limon, this one for another 50 minutes. I eventually got to Limon in time to watch the end of the Canada / England women’s world’s cup. I was hoping Canada would win but England prevailed 2-1. I am staying at the KOA here, certainly not the best one I have ever seen. A hot shower is a hot shower, however, and it felt quite good. I got a text from Kelly about the open house. There were 3 families that came and they thought the house was a bit overpriced. I think it will probably have to be reduced a bit, but I think that is to be expected. I have set up a kayak trip on the Arkansas with a guide since I couldn’t hook up with a rafting company and I do want to kayak the Arkansas. It is Sunday morning and I am in common grounds, a coffee shop in Denver just off the 16th street mall. I slept fairly well at the KOA in Limon. I did my laundry (so now I am set for 10 days) and got to sleep after midnight. The ride in was easy and I was bike riding along the Platte by 7:30. The river was way up so I couldn’t ride along cherry creek. I rode for almost an hour and I was struck by all the transients along the river, dozens, to be sure. I am going to walk some and maybe see a movie before taking another bike ride.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Almost to Colorado

I am sitting in a McDonald’s in WaKeeney, Kansas having finished an Asian salad and nursing a very decent cup of coffee. I took a lovely bike ride this morning besides a freshly mowed hayfield and acreage planted in soybeans. I saw a jackrabbit, meadowlark, nighthawks and a number of prairie wildflowers. After that I drove on to Wakeeney where I walked through the small downtown. The only building of distinction was the courthouse, but the downtown was quite clean and even the abandoned storefronts were decent looking. I played golf yesterday and took a couple of bike rides so my weight is holding steady. The only interesting event on this trip was an incredible thunderstorm coming into St. Louis that forced me to exit the highway with the rain coming down in sheets with my truck shaking while parked at a truckstop. Tomorrow I will be in Denver and that should be fun, biking along the trail I’ve ridden before and walking around downtown. Kelly sent me text thanking me for my help on Tuesday. She read my e-mail but hasn’t had time to respond. I texted her this morning wishing her well with the open house and praising the new house. We will chat soon but things are fine I think.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

first two days of the Colorado trip

It is Wednesday evening and I am waiting for my pizza at the Pizza Cottage in Buckeye Lake, Ohio. It has been a decent day, getting off at 5:30 from Catonsville, driving 400 miles, playing 13 holes of golf at the Lakeview Resort in Morgantown, West Virginia, riding my bike for 40 minutes along the Muskingum river—through a virtually deserted Riverside park (with loads of fields and not one being used at 6 pm). I was going to try for the KOA in Dayton but decided instead to stay at the KOA in Buckeye Lake. I signed in and eventually got to ride another 35 minutes mainly in a semi-abandoned shopping plaza after I found the sidewalk in front of the lake houses was not meant for riding and the gravel at the KOA was too bumpy to ride on. I am glad to be out of Catonsville. I did help Kelly and Alfredo but things got tense with Kelly when I told her that she and Alfredo were not landscapers. I was very tired and had to take a lot of rescue inhaler but I shouldn’t have pushed my point with the realtor, who reluctantly agreed with my appraisal. I think the new house is really nice, with lots of space and in a very good neighborhood. I wrote Kelly a long e-mail today and I hope it makes her feel better. Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone up to help but there is no doubt that the pictures of the house wouldn’t have been done on Tuesday. Playing with Lucia was a lot of fun and she seems very comfortable with me at this point. I left the hollow in very good shape with the road graded and the grass cut. It is Thursday morning and things are going well. I have finished 200 miles and it is a little past noon, did my lumosity training, talked to Gyorgyi and wished her a happy birthday, rode my bike for 40 minutes, picked up supplies at Walmart and took a 30 minute walk there because it was raining, and took a nap. I should get to Denver sometime on Sunday and that will avoid traffic. My breathing is back to normal and last night I slept quite well in my truck. I also am glad I am not watching much TV. When I stay in motel rooms I end up surfing too much and staying up too late and I think it affects my ability to sleep.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Waiting to leave for Colorado

It is Thursday and my friend didn’t contact me about kayaking so it may be tomorrow. I am anxious to get going but kayaking Ripplemead to Bluff City will be fun and I haven’t done it in years. I did a few more things around the house, dropping off the gas for the lawn mower (now I have plenty even if I don’t return home). I trimmed a little around the orchard, got the kayak ready, practiced the piano, weights and yoga. Yesterday I cleaned the front of the truck, vacuuming it and washing the other parts along with cleaning the seats. I can be ready to leave in two hours so as soon as I see if the kayak trip is going to come off, I will get ready and go. On Monday I recorded my babysitting essay at RU and that went okay. It is a pretty good essay and I am glad it’s recorded. I had a really fun lunch with Claire Hall yesterday and then a fine dinner with Maddie and Claire. Kelly called yesterday and her schedule as changed a little but she thought I should stick to my original since there will still be plenty to do. The closing is still set up for the 17 of July. I keep spending too much money but at least the big expenses are over. Of course the two trips are going to cost quite a bit but I absolutely need them both. My bike isn’t fixed yet and the loaner is not working so well although I did get a good ride at Radford after my nine holes of golf. I hope my bike will be ready tomorrow. Things at Radford seem to have settled down and I have a terrific schedule for the fall thanks to Rosemary.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

An unsettling few days

I am having some trouble recovering from the problem at Radford. Rosemary hasn’t been in touch with me so I am assuming things are okay. But perhaps Monday will bring more problems. I just can’t tell and that is upsetting me. I did contact my friend and things are normal there so I am assuming that whatever is going on isn’t too big a problem. I had a nice day so far. I decided to take off after sleeping until 9 (I got in at almost 2 after going to an 11 o’clock showing of Jurassic World. The special effects were quite good but the overall plot was uninspired. Chris Pratt was okay but Bryce Dallas Howard wasn’t very good, although quite lovely. I drove to Craig Creek road and drove that all the way to 311 and then headed to New Castle. I wasn’t sure where to go but I needed a bike ride so I rode out at the high school for 50 minutes, then drove over to Potts Creek where I turned up 18 North and drove for perhaps 15 miles, finally stopping to fish at a bridge with some fine pools below. I caught 4 bass, one about 10 inches and then drove back to New Castle in heavy rain, stopping to do my lumosity stuff at the Subway there. After the rain slowed I drove toward Salem but the clouds were gathering there so I turned down Newport road, wondering how it was going to get to Newport without crossing the Craig Creek road. I kept waiting for Sinking Creek to appear and amazingly it never did but I drove on and on, having no specific idea where I was but knowing I was heading toward the general vicinity of Blacksburg. Finally I saw a sign for Mt. Tabor road and one for the town of Blacksburg and I turned on my gps and found I was five minutes from main street. I got to Tech and was ready to do a second bike ride at 7:55 and rode almost to 8:00. I needed the second ride. Now a visit to Starbucks.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

a long, long day

Today was one of the hardest days of my life. Something happened in the morning that brought back all the stuff from my infamous date rape article and the slander that ensued. I was incredibly upset but Rosemary calmed me down and then I went in to talk with her and she was very calm and helpful. She is a great chair. Then I had a nice late lunch with Claire and we chatted for over two hours and that helped a lot. Following that I went over to Bisset to ride my bike and it wouldn’t steer so I ended up riding straight ahead for 12 laps. Somewhat dangerous but I really needed a ride. I then went to my office for a nap and read the five month late response from Dr. Schnecker. It was thoughtful and I responded right away but I still think he owes me an apology. We’ll see. I offered to come back if he apologizes for himself and his staff. I am now watching game 3 of the NBA finals and it is a decent game with the Cavs up by 105. I will be recording my radio essay so that is good news.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A great golf match

The biggest event of the last few days has to be the golf match between Craig and I. I started out with 2 double bogeys, then a triple and Craig was ahead by seven strokes and had won all three holes. However, I loosened up and we had a great match, Craig winning the front and the score by one, I winning the back and the match by one. Craig shot a 73 and I—even with a three 6 start—shot an 88. Impressive and a lot of fun. Craig invited me to come to Ireland next July and it is a possibility. I checked out the Freighter Expeditions site and there is a boat from the great lakes to Holland. Today I cut the rest of the grass in the morning, then cut up the drain pipe, fixed a line on the lawn mower, trimmed the grass around the house, did a laundry, yoga and weights and read some more of Ulysses. I also fixed the handle on my hiking stick, ate a good salad from the greenhouse, and practiced my four jazz songs on the piano. Very productive day and then I went into town to ride my bike (just getting in 50 minutes before the rain started) and do some shopping. I am planning to go kayaking on Sunday. I decided not to have the operation on my knee (I am wading the north fork, bike riding once or twice a day, hiking, playing golf). It is not the right moment to get it done. Kelly’s situation is all mixed up. It seems to me she really doesn’t want the house she is buying and I am not sure what she should do. The house does have a few problems (the main one, a lingering smell that the owners are hiding with perfume), but I can tell her heart really isn’t in it. Tough situation. Talked to Gyorgyi and I may see her next week. She is quite busy. Another good day. I brought the trimmer up to the cabin and cleared everything so I can stain it the next sunny day. I also fed the two sickly hollies and trimmed the saplings that were growing out of the hollies. I took a decent hike and trimmed all around the orchard. I practiced my jazz songs on the piano and did my weights and yoga. The house is in pretty good shape. I went in and played golf, shooting a 47 and a 48. I then watched the Belmont and I won but since I bet on 2 horses I just about broke even. It was fun to finally see a Triple Crown winner. Then I rode my bike for 40 minutes and headed into Blacksburg to work at Starbucks, which is open at University Mall until 11:30. Haven’t heard from my friend so I assume we are on for tomorrow’s kayaking .

Monday, June 1, 2015

Long Night Good Day

A long night but I think I have figured out a good plan. I want to be there for Kelly during the move, so I am going to head to Colorado around the 20th of June, get back around July 12th (and take care of the house) then leave for Kelly’s on the 16th then the closing on the 17th. I will help over the weekend and then head home until the following weekend when I return and then start my trip on the 27th . I will drive to Goose Bay (about 1500 miles from Kelly’s) then explore Coastal Labrador for 4 days, take the ferry to Newfoundland, spend 6 days there, take the ferry from Argentia to North Sydney, then drive home after a quick stop in Cape Breton. Had a nice lunch with Claire and she is doing very well. I got a hike in this morning, played 9 holes of golf and rode my bike for 50 minutes. I can’t wait for the playoffs to start although working in Starbucks for an hour and a half is not too bad.