Friday, July 31, 2015

almost to labrador

Tuesday was a return to Quebec, this time taking Boulevard Champlain for a couple of miles before parking next to the bike trail that headed toward Place Royale. It was about a 45 minute ride and I was glad for the break when I got there. Place Royale was full of restaurants and shops but the highlight was the Chateau Frontenac, now a grand hotel, overlooking Place Royale. I wasn’t sure I could get up to the chateau, located in old Quebec, but I decided that I’d try. After 45 stairs and some steep walking, I made it up to Old Quebec and the walk around there was fine, also loaded with shops and restaurants. I walked into the Chateau and it was as expected, rather formal but quite lovely inside. I walked along outside and then it was down to Place Royale for lunch at Cochon Dingue, and had a very good piece of cod. I was tired after the bike ride back to the truck (into the wind the whole time) so I took a well needed nap and then headed back to Levis to play golf. It was a long course but I played reasonably well and had a 47 and then a 48. Now I decided to drive back into town to get a novel to read and I found a bookstore that had some English novels and I got one of Ian McEwen’s. I then drove into Old Quebec and walked around before having a really good dinner at Bello’s, risotto with duck confit and carmelized onions. I wanted to go to Ant Man back in Levis but my GPS threw me off and I made a couple of mistakes so I decided to head back to my campground for a shower, intending to go back to the Tim Horton’s for coffee and dessert. Instead, when I got there I saw that the movie theater next to it was open (even though I had checked earlier online and couldn’t find it) so I ran in and since Ant man was just starting I got a popcorn and thought I was a very lucky man—until I found out that the movie was in French. I got my money back for the movie but I had to keep the popcorn, which I donated back to the theater staff. I got on the road a little after 8:30, hoping that traffic would be easing up and I made it out of town fairly quickly, passing an impressive waterfall park and then driving on. I stopped at a pretty tourist town and decided to get my fishing license, and after 4 futile stops, I finally got it at a sporting goods shop. The young man there recommended the local river and told me where to park. I got to the recommended spot but after trying it out decided to see if I could ride my bike upstream a little, and that worked out very well. I rode up about a mile, dropped down to the river with my bike and then walked along the river for perhaps 4 hundred yards stopping to fish a few times. No hits but a lovely river. And my knees held up very well even though I had to pick my way through rocks at points. I kept going, riding my bike once, doing my weights and yoga and ended up at Tradossuc, which was a very pretty and very touristy town. I rode my bike out by the famous dunes and then looked for whales at the big parking area at the end of the road. Then it was time for coffee and excellent New England clam chowder and some work on my outlines. I walked some and then ended up at an upscale burger/ pizza place where I had four cheese pizza and salad. Back to the campground for a late shower and a decent sleep. On Thursday morning, I headed toward route 389, the northern road to Labrador City. At Forestville, I stopped to play nine holes and though I was frustrated at first, I calmed down and shot pretty well, just breaking 50 on a long course even from the red. Back to driving and bike riding, weights and yoga, more bike riding when I got to baie comeau where I found a very nice bike trail, and then the turn north. 389 started out well enough, paved and not too curvy, and I stopped several times to fish the lakes right by the shore. There were dozens of lakes and some rivers but I had no luck. I had no way to really tell what I was going to find so I kept driving and finally stopped after driving in the heavy rain for over an hour at the Energie Motel (right near Manic 5 a huge hydroelectric dam). I was going to sleep in my truck but the bad weather made me choose a room for about 80 American dollars. It was small but clean and though the TV had only French channels on, I watched a movie and some of a CFL game. I actually figured out most of the movie and enjoyed it. It was the first room I got on the Colorado trip and after 6 days on this trip. It was quite nice to have my own shower and a little larger bed. The next morning it was back to dirt road at points and I stopped a number of times to fish. I had an interesting experience at The Torrent, which was about 60 feet down but there was a path that led to a very tempting pool so I decided to get on my waders, bring my fly reel and flies alone with my combo rod set up for spinning and started down—unfortunately too early and I got my rod all tangled up and I was crazily upset, asking the universe why I couldn’t enjoy myself even a little (what a crybaby) and had to backtrack and find the right path. It was very steep and loaded with alders and I almost gave up but after all this effort I needed to get to that pool—and I did. I started with my spinner and caught a small trout that probably was a parr, a baby salmon. I changed to a wiggly tailed lure and that brought no response. I went back to the spinner and got another parr and with the rain threatening I decided it would be best to try to make it back up and I did, slowly and with much difficulty, but amazingly, my knees weren’t too bad from all the abuse. They really are better, probably from the weight loss and the biking and other exercise. The road was mainly dirt the rest of the way and very bad the last fifty miles. Right near the end was a huge iron pit mine (I was later told it was the second biggest in North America). I’ll bet thousands work there. Fermont was kind of bleak, but I found a campground and they told me there was a restaurant in town that stayed open until at least nine and that was all I needed. I checked in—for 15 Canadian dollars—and then took a great shower in a brand new shower and bathroom.

Monday, July 27, 2015

the next two days provide a lot of interest

I ended up sleeping in a truck stop and it wasn’t too bad. I had to take a sleep aid pill because I was wide awake at 2, worried about the Kelly situation. I am still confused but it is clearer that my role can only be as supportive as I can be regardless of how frustrated I feel. I was so generous to her, hoping that she would buy the house she really wanted and instead she is not happy at all and my generosity seems wasted. I drove until I got to Binghamton and stopped to bike at Broome Community College for 40 minutes then it was time for a nap. 81 got close to Lake Ontario near the town of Pulaski and I headed for the lake. I found a boat landing that had a very nice wooded road leading to it and there was also a little bike path to see the lake, unfortunately shrouded in fog. I rode for 50 minutes and then drove on to eventually play golf at a fine course near Watertown. I shot very well, playing 14 holes, with my short irons way up in the air. I putted very well also. After golf I drove to the Canadian border and decided to head toward Montreal on 419 but then I saw a sign for 1000 islands National Park and that convinced me that it was worth rethinking my plan. I stopped at the visitor center and knew I needed another nap before I decided on a plan. When I awoke, I drove to a state beach and the woman told me that there was a KOA near Rockport and restaurants nearby. That decided it. I headed for the KOA, registered, took a swim, did my weights and yoga and then headed off to explore Rockport. It was cute and after exploring some more, I came back to the have a very decent dinner at Cornwall’s pub. Haven’t heard from Kelly and I am not sure when I will call her. I don’t want to upset her any further but my lack of calling may be seen as not being there for her, which I don’t want her to think. I got up pretty early and began my drive to Montreal. I stopped to pick up supplies at a Canadian Tire and then keep going into town. Traffic was very heavy but I was pretty fresh so I got through with little problem and ended up doing it without the GPS. The directions I got at the visitor's center outside of town were very helpful and I ended up at the dock in the old port where I parked. The bike trail was right there so I rode along it for probably 4 miles mainly along the lovely canal (where power boats were riding and kayakers were paddling), finally stopping at the very large Atwater market, and there purchasing a fine lunch of an interesting swiss like cheese, some wonderful olives and a roll from a boulangerie. I rode back to the Quai, then rode on into the old city and then headed back after a brief visit. I headed off and stopped outside of town for a nap then rode on, stopping again to do my weights and yoga. I decided to drive straight into Quebec City and again I didn’t rely on the GPS but the map the visitor’s center gave me. I wanted to ride down by Place Royale but the time and the traffic caused me to turn around, park, and ride for 3o minutes at a local park. After that I rode my bike down to the Cosmos CafĂ©, where I had an excellent Caesar Salad and then Halibut with mixed vegetables with ginger. It was excellent. I rode back to my truck and after getting lost briefly, I got to the KOA just before a storm threatened. There I took a very needed shower and shaved (also very needed) and then headed for a Tim Horton’s a few minutes away.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

a mixed start for the trip

A good opening day for my trip but I think I drove a little too much and then couldn’t find a campground. I will probably stay at a nearby truck stop rather than spending 100 for a room I don’t really need. I am presently eating at a Ruby Tuesdays and I will probably stay here until at least 10:30 then head off. I am waiting for a call from Kelly about the house. I was hoping she would be more comfortable with things by now but it appears not. I got up early, loaded the truck, then went back to sleep. When I got up I did my leg raises, weights and yoga, then showered and headed off. I drove to JMU and rode my bike for 50 minutes then kept driving and stopped at Shippensburg University for a 40 minute bike ride. I should have stopped but I kept driving and got to the Ruby Tuesdays just before dark. My call with Kelly didn’t go well. I am confused and I don’t think I am helping her right now.

Friday, July 24, 2015

tomorrow I leave and all is almost ready

A busy day that went quite well. I loaded the kayak and all the gear, checked the battery water, drove the tractor down to the gate and back evening out the road along the way. I also dug out three bucket loads by the spring and dropped them on the road to build up more of the edge. I took a nap and then went for a hike to the orchard, then back for leg raises, weights and yoga. Now it was off to lunch at Nagoya’s with Claire after dropping off my cooler full of refrigerated goods and picking up my inflatable mattress. I then went and played a comfortable round of golf, playing about 12 holes, then it was off to Blacksburg for a 30 minute bike ride before meeting Gyorgyi for dinner at Greens. I did my lumosity training at the Starbucks in University Mall and I plan to do a second bike ride later. Not sure if my plans to see Jenny are going to work out but I am going to try to meet her and her family.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

the trip is getting closer

A fairly restless night and I finally gave up on sleep around 5, then did things around the house until it was light enough to drive up to the orchard and do the lawn mowing. It went well and when I got back I was able to go back to sleep for a little while and when I awoke I decided to do the trimming and that also went very well with the trimmer battery running out just as I finished. I took a hike after that and that was fine. A few more flowers (daisy fleabane, chicory and white asters). I practiced some, did my leg raises, weights and yoga, and straightened up the house a little more. I am planning on leaving Saturday so tomorrow will be fairly busy, especially with lunch with Claire and perhaps dinner with Gyorgyi.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Closer to heading for Labrador

Today has been a good day. I hiked in the morning, pruning the road and the orchard. I added queen anne’s lace and common evening primrose to my flowering list. All of the fruit is gone from the fruit trees. I vacuumed the kayak so it should be fine now. I used the air conditioning today and that really helped. I practiced jazz piano and did my leg raises, weights and yoga. Then it was time to head to Nissan to get my tires rotated and the truck checked out for the Labrador trip. The truck was fine and then I went and played golf shooting a 45 and then a 46, so it was a good day, especially good putting. After a dinner of broccoli and shrimp at Nagoya I rode my bike along the river for 50 minutes then went to my office for a quick nap. Rob wasn’t available for a walk but perhaps tomorrow. I haven’t heard from Sarah Morris so I am not sure if I will be meeting her and Emma for lunch. I am set to have lunch with Claire on Friday and then hopefully dinner with Gyorgyi on Friday. I did read an article about the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s and I have a little of 2 categories but I certainly don’t seem to have a real problem right now. I guess a lot of people worry about this but I think I am still in pretty good shape. My lumosity training is getting better so I guess that is a good sign.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

good visit to help Kelly move

My trip to Kelly’s was very productive, and though Alfredo and I had a little disagreement, we worked it out and worked together to take apart the long and ugly storage piece that bothered Kelly a great deal. I made several trips over with Alfredo and one by myself and we got a bunch of stuff over to the new place. Lucia seems to really enjoy the playground right in the back, particularly swinging higher and higher on the swing. I think with a little landscaping change, the front will look nicer and the new carpets and the wood flooring should make it much more appealing. I rode my bike each morning for almost an hour, then did my yoga and sleeping in the guest room with no dander was quite pleasant and though it was warm inside, it was bearable with the fan in the room. I had a good chat with Kelly and that was nice. On my way back on Monday, I played golf at Sleepy Hollow in Charlestown, watched an hour and a half of the exciting British Open, rode my bike at Roanoke College, then went riding for a half hour at VT before going to the movies to see the new Terminator movie. Awful beginning but much better once it got going. Today I got my book order in and rode my bike at RU for almost an hour. I took a hike this morning (heal all, oxeye, wood nettle, white avens finishing, common St. John’s wort, wineberries almost gone, thin leaved cone, enchanter’s nightshade) and did my leg raises, weights and yoga.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

ten hours of sleep and almost no dizziness

I slept till almost 10 after going to bed around midnight. I felt much better with a very slight sense of dizziness. I did a hike, opened up the kayak to dry completely, did a wash, cleaned the dishes, did leg raises, weights and yoga. I went and did some pruning on the pasture road and got a nap before I headed out to go drop off the Miyazaki tapes at VT for Gyorgyi. After that I picked up my bike but as soon as I got to the CRC, the bike sounded awful so I had to head back and fortunately, they were able to fix the problems with an adjustment to the main sprocket and a new chain. It ended up costing me over $300 but I now have a good backup bike and a fully repaired original bike. Then it was off to meet Rob for a very good walk (I will see him tomorrow for my fatigue and dizziness) and then off to VT for the rest of my first bike ride, cut short by a big storm. I called Kelly and I hope she is well and I talked to Claire Gallo who is not feeling so well and wanted to not hike on Thursday, which is fine with me. Dinner and video games and/or bowling will be fine. I should have dinner with Cathy tomorrow and that will be fun.

Monday, July 13, 2015

the dizziness is getting worse

Today was a decent day but I was pretty dizzy at points throughout the day so I called Rob’s office to set up an appointment on Wednesday. I hope it is nothing too serious (perhaps my weight loss or my meds or the pre-diabetic stuff). I am starting to worry a little about driving and riding my bike. I don’t want to hurt anyone else or myself. I had one instance on my bike where I had to stop and I almost had to sit down. I need to figure out what is going on. I am a little dizzy right now. This morning I took a hike to the orchard and back and it was hard for me. I needed a nap when I got back but I was able to do my leg raises, weights and yoga before I headed out to meet Claire for lunch at Nagoya’s. She is doing very well and I hope she gets one of the full time positions at Tech or Radford. I went to play golf, feeling a little dizzy but I played okay. I was one over bogey golf for 4 holes (including the par 5) but I got an 8 on the next hole and then a 7 on the next. That meant I had almost no chance to break 50 (I would need a 4, 4, 5, not impossible but very difficult). On hole 7 I put my second shot in the water and then chipped to within 8 feet and fortunately made the putt for a 5. That meant I needed a 4, 4 to break 50 and it didn’t look good on the par 3 after my first shot rolled off the back of the green. Very fortunately, I putted to within 4 feet and made the putt for a 3. Now all I needed was a 5 on the final hole, a difficult, uphill par 4, and my first two shots were quite good. My third shot was good but it rolled way back off the green so I had about a 40 foot putt. I hit it well but I still had 5 feet and amazingly, I sunk the curving putt for a remarkable 49. I then went to RU for a nap and then my lumosity session, and then to the Perry Street Garage to ride my bike while the weather outside continued poor.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

back home and into the swing of things

Today, Saturday, was productive. I got up at 6:30 and cleared around the house all the saplings that were brushing the house and all the Virginia creeper that was growing up the side. After that I took a walk to the orchard (going back down twice more}. I practiced my piano—and I am getting better—did my leg raises, weights and yoga, then cleared around the house with the trimmer. I had a wasp nest in the door that I had to spray but I didn’t get stung. Friday was also a good day with a morning hike (st. johnswort, heal all, fleabane, Deptford pink, still some oxeye daisies). I ate some of the last wineberries and some black berries, and sliced up an apple and ate half of that. The grass is cut and the road is in pretty good shape. I did my leg raises, weights and yoga and then I practiced piano before heading in to play golf and ride my bike twice, once on the river trail and then on campus.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

the end of another western trip

I am back home, having gotten home in 4 and ½ days. The trip home was pretty uneventful with some bike riding, some golf, and not much else. The kayak trip on Saturday was a blast and the water seemed at points to be 3 plus, comparable to Nantahala falls. I almost flipped a couple of times and I was definitely lucky not to. The pictures are outstanding and I am attaching a few of them. We did two sections, the first a lot of non stop class 3, and the second, the Bridges (the rock at Killer Bridge was underwater) and I don’t think I ever paddled as hard. I should really buy a lighter paddle; that would give me a quicker stroke which would be very helpful. After a night of simple incredible rain at the KOA near Ashland, I was going to head right home, but I stopped at Castle Rock to play nine holes (48) and I needed some good holes at the end to do that. The rain threatened but I got all nine in and then I stopped to ride my bike for 40 minutes at tech, the rain cutting that ride slightly. Then it was home by 4:30 and unpacking the wet truck, doing a laundry, doing the leg weights and the arm weights and yoga, I heading into town for salad and coffee and I hope another bike ride.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Finally a few fish

It is Friday and the day started well with a half hour of fishing the Big Thompson, a very tempting stream. I got two hits on a Royal Wulff and had to stop when my right knee started hurting. I have to be very careful not to reinjure it. I am signed up for a kayak trip tomorrow and then I start home. I should get back by the following weekend and that feels like a good idea. Yesterday I entered Rocky Mountain National Park from the western entrance and at first I was not impressed. The first 15 miles were not very interesting but once you got into the middle of the park, it was quite grand, not as spectacular as the Canadian Rockies but very impressive. Later I fished a tiny stream above 10,000 feet on Old River Road, a winding dirt road that ended up at the Alpine visitor’s center. I later fished a lovely stretch of water at the start of the road, but the water was pretty fast and it was tough to fish. I did get 25 minutes of biking in along with almost an hour of riding earlier in the day. I am back to doing yoga and working out with a ten pound weight I bought. My upper muscle tone has really declined but three days of working out has already helped. I have done a good bit of evaluating where I am in life right now and I think I am in a decent place. I am a good friend to Kelly, Rob, Claire, Gyorgyi and Cathy and the girls. I am still teaching okay although my memory is not what it was. However I worked hard on the Lumosity training and have raised my scores to the highest level I have ever achieved. I have set some new top fives so I guess my mind is still okay. I am still writing some and my commentary on Ferguson, Missouri and my radio essay on babysitting were decent pieces. I am still in touch with Gloria, although I haven’t heard from Dolores and don’t expect to. My health is pretty good and I exercise quite a bit so I think I can put off the knee surgery for a few years. I still love living in my hollow and I think if my health remains good I can stay at least till seventy. I have mixed feelings about serious relationships. I cancelled Match because I wasn’t even checking it but there are moments where I feel too isolated and lonely, not too often but enough to bother me at points. This has been a very expensive year for me but I don’t expect my spending to continue at such a rate. I still have a chance of retiring after 5 semesters but it looks like it will probably be 6. I still get angry too easily and I have to constantly control that. Fortunately, that anger usually doesn’t affect my relationships but it is a trait I wish I didn’t have. I finally got a chance to fish some perfect water, a long pool on the Poudre, and had a ball, catching and releasing 4 trout and bringing up a few more on Royal Wulffs.