Monday, April 4, 2016

rabid bobcat and my paper in Denver

At least I have some real excitement to report. On Monday morning, I was considering doing me usual hike down to the orchard. I am not sure why but for whatever reason I decided against it and went down to the river to fish for an hour. No luck but it was fun and I returned home, did some practicing, some weights and yoga, and then got ready for class and left. When I got down to the pasture, the fellows fishing stopped me and were very excited. Mike Young, who was delivering stone for my road, had come up with a load and had his truck attacked by a rabid bobcat. He said it was clawing and biting at the wheels and that it chased the truck a fair distance. Mike is a big tough guy but he was scared. This was certainly upsetting and I was so glad I didn’t go for a hike in the morning since I easily could have run into the bobcat. That night when I returned to the hollow, I had made up my mind that if a tree had fallen on my road, I was not going to stop and cut it up with the battery chain saw I keep in the truck. Instead, I was going to back up and go to a motel. When I got to the road it was passable so I drove up to my steps, got all my stuff together for one trip, scanned the surroundings with a flashlight, and then moved as quickly as I could into the house. The next morning I drove down to the pasture (after starting up the generator after it was light) and called Mike and he was kind enough to show me how to shoot my shotgun (which I had never shot) and go over shooting my pistol (which I shot when he sold it to me). I did feel better having used both guns and I left the shotgun in my car on my way to Radford just in case I saw something when I was leaving the hollow or when I was returning that night. On Wednesday morning I had to do some things outside and I was very careful, looking all around before I got off my steps. I loaded the truck, attached the soaker hose so the greenhouse should be fine while I am gone and then left, no bobcats in sight. I called Gabes to tell him what was up and then texted him that I would put him and Julian up in the Hampton Inn in Blacksburg since Francesca was worried. When I got to Clifton Forge, I talked to the Police Chief and he faxed my new loan document and showed me where to park while I was gone. I rode my bike around the railroad museum and over by the Amtrak parking and got in over an hour. The train was right on time (4:15) and it was comfortable enough and I had a new chat during dinner with a realtor who knew VT and Radford. When we got to Chicago, we were about 15 minutes late but I still thought I could get a bike ride in and I hopped in a cab and in 10 minutes I was at navy pier where I was disappointed to find that the bike rental places hadn’t opened for the season yet. There were the city bike stands and fortunately one of the employees was there to guide me through and rent a bike, which I drove with my backpack on and holding my walking stick parallel to the wheels across the handlebar. Awkward at first but at least I was riding and I went along the lake for a good 45 minutes before returning the bike to a different stand, which three young men helped me get it secured and with the green light on. Now I should be able to use the city bike in New York and maybe on this trip to Denver. I walked back to the Amtrak station, stopping for a healthy spinach goat cheese salad, and then a few minutes after I got back to the first class lounge, train 5 was called and we loaded up. That meant that I should get to Denver on time so there will be no problem giving my paper on Saturday morning. The trip to Denver was uneventful although my room was pretty cold Thursday night (the room attendant had turned off the floor heat because on room was much too hot). We were on time getting in and now I had to get to the Grand Hyatt. No cabs were available so I asked a fellow if I could walk to it and he said yes. It was cold but I didn’t mind it at first since I needed to walk but after 5 or 6 blocks I wished I had done something else. If I had used some common sense I should have walked down to 16th Street and taken the free bus but it didn’t occur to me since I really didn’t know how far away the hotel was. I asked another fellow and he said it was only a few more blocks so I walked on, pretty cold and getting pretty tired. I could not wait to check in and get a long nap but when I finally arrived, my room wasn’t ready so I registered for the conference and then briefly dozed in a comfortable chair in the main lobby until my room was ready, about 10:30. I was scared I was going to get sick but I did not and after I got up it was time to try to bike. I walked down Welton and fortunately ran into a B-cycle stand where I was quickly able to rent a bike and in a few minutes I was on the Cherry Creek trail heading toward Confluence Park. There was another B-cycle stand at the REI Store at the park so I rode up to the Broncos Stadium and then back to return the bike (you had 30 minutes to check it back in or you were charged 5 dollars more) and then check it back out. I rode for at least an hour and a half and it had warmed up to almost 50 so that was very pleasant. I ended up back at the stand on Welton then walked to Marlowe’s and had a terrific Ani Tuna Salad then went back to the room. In the evening I returned to Marlowe’s for a buffalo meat loaf entrĂ©e then off to see Zootopia, which had gotten great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I could see why. What a wonderfully made film. I got up at around 6, showered and headed down to the conference. I had a cup of coffee and a egg and cheese sandwich from Starbucks and then it was up to the my panel. It was typical academia, but I got through it even though my paper was last. I gave it well and had a few questions after so I made a good impression. Later I spoke with Crystal and her husband (who was a sheriff’s deputy) and he agreed with many of my beliefs about how women should protect themselves by being careful with alcohol and by paying a lot of attention to their surroundings. We talked about political correctness being too much these days and that the Title IX stuff was often making people into victims. I had read about a number of cases where the accused person was not able to question his accuser, which is a basic constitutional right. I think this will be changed back to a more reasonable process in time. It was time for more bike riding and during the rest of the day (you pay 10 dollars for 24 hours access) I rode almost 3 hours. I didn’t have my bike pants or a helmet (I rode pretty slowly and very carefully). It was time to watch the NCAA final four but both games were decided very early and though I think the Villanova/North Carolina game could be a good one, I should be on the train when it begins.

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