Thursday, December 3, 2009

South Africa

Greetings, I'm suffering from a cold that I picked up from traveling home from South Africa. It was a seventeen hour flight and I'm sure that's where I picked it up since I couldn't sleep and weakened the immune system. Of course after getting home Sunday I was told that Monday was going to be the last nice day so I took off on the bent for a 45 mile ride and was exhausted when I got home, which probably didn't help matters. But hey, I slept 12 hours last night and feel a little better.

We headed to Africa on November 14 and flew in to Johannesburg and then on to Port Elizabeth where the six of us picked up our VW van and headed south on the garden route with yours truly doing all the driving. I had to revert back to my New Zealand driving days of driving on the left hand side of the road. The roads were pretty good, but we had a lot of wind which kind of blew the van around and made driving tiring.

We drove to Knysna and was going to leave Ann there while we drove up to this pass that was supposed to be so beautiful, but decided I didn't want to leave her there by herself so we didn't go to the pass. We drove the road that I wanted to so all was fine and the scenery was superb. There is such a contrast in terrain as we drive along in the mountains and then drive in to a region of scrub and sand. We saw a lot of baboons along the road and they are considered a pest, but protected, in that they do a lot of destruction in the gardens, orchards, and homes if they can get in. They learn by observation and quickly pick up where the food is and how to get it.

We drove by shanty towns which are comprised mostly of refugees that have come to South Africa to get away from the violence of their homelands. They are often no more than plywood and corrugated metal forming a box. They get free water and electricity from the government and some have lines of toilets hooked in to the sewer system. Makes you feel pretty fortunate with what we have back home.

It was a pretty drive and we stopped at Hermanus to see the southern right whales come in to the bay at night to feed their young. The wind was blowing so hard that our hair was standing straight out, but we saw a bunch of whales. Nancy, Jack, Karin, and I went rock climbing along the coast which was fun and exhilarating while watching the clear blue waters for more whales. I thought I saw one, but wasn't sure so won't count it. Only later did we learn that the deadly puff adder snake lives in those rocks! We stayed in a nice place and went to the grocery and got bread, cheese, crackers, and wine for dinner and ate in the room and had a great time after a long day of driving.

We left there and stopped in Betty's Bay and saw the African Penguins and had an interesting talk with a couple of rangers that study and take care of the penguins. We saw a couple whales just off shore playing in the water.

Next stop was Stellenbosh. As we were driving we'd stop and watch the seals playing along the coast and sunning on the rocks. We stopped at Jack's Cafe and had a nice lunch while talking to the owner who was originally from England, but she and her husband moved here and started a cafe and the food was excellent and we had a great time. She told us about baboons watching a person taking off a sliding patio door and then later doing the same thing and trashing the house. We saw a lot of concentina wire and broken glass embedded in the top of walls and assumed it was to keep people out, but in reality it's to keep the baboons out. We made it to Stellenbosh where we turned the car in and the four days of driving are over. We stayed in a nice estate managed by a guy who couldn't even tell us where a grocery store was, nor could we find one! We did two wine tours in Stellenbosh. The first was educational and we learned some things, but the second wasn't that good. They basically said to pick 5 wines and taste them. Oh well. Danie was our guide and then he drove us on to Cape Town.

We stayed in a nice hotel near the waterfront, which was very much the lively place to be. They had malls and restaurants and great people watching. They had street entertainment and most of it was good. They also had people begging for money and they usually took no and left, but one was a little more persistent and I had to forcefully tell him to get out of my face. We took the gondola up to the top on Table Mountain where the view was breathtaking! Danie was our guide again and he then took us up another mountain to get a different view. We then stopped at a jewelry diamond facility to watch them cut and polish jewelry followed by a tour of Cape Town. Ann and I got out of the van at a garden and had lunch and then walked back to the hotel. We felt safe, but it was daylight and we stayed on the main streets. There is crime in Cape Town and you just have to use common sense.

We then headed to Kruger where we stayed at Perry's Bridge Hollow and it was nice. Dinner was included and I ordered a meat combination that was a little expensive so the next night they gave us special menus so we couldn't just order anything. We arrived at Perry's at 2 and headed out on a safari at 4 in a vehicle that had three rows of seats each one elevated a little so everyone had excellent views. We saw mongoose, rhinos, impalas, kudus, giraffes,warthogs, many birds, and more. Took pictures until the battery gave out, but there are three cameras taking a lot of pictures so we're sharing them which will be nice.

The next day Sam picked us up for the 'panoramic tour' and it looked like rain, but cleared up nicely. Sam drove us to Blyde Canyon which is the third largest canyon in the world. First is the Grand Canyon in the US and the second is somewhere in Africa, which I would think would be Victoria Falls. Blyde Canyon was beautiful and we took a lot of pictures. We bought nuts off the local vendors and they really hustle you as they really need the money. It was fun and we had more great food. Sam could speak eleven languages! His parents had a large farm and had sent him and his siblings to a private school. He paid 18 cows for his wife as they have dowries and negotiations. The women thought this rather barbaric and I guess I can see their point, but it used to be the other way around. We were up the next morning with a 5 am pickup for another safari, this time with Elvis, in to Kruger and this time we saw our first lions although it was a ways off the road, which we had to stay on. Elvis was bound and determined to get us a lion sighting and he came through. It was a good safari and I really liked Kruger National Park.

After the morning safari we were picked up and transported to Elephant Plains in Sands Sabi on a two hour excursion over some really rough roads through villages and quite a few people. The roads were wash board and dirt so it was also dusty and the driver didn't slow down too much, but it kept us awake once we hit that patch. Then we crossed into the private reserve and drove eight tenths of a mile to Elephant Plains and checked in. We saw a wildebeest on the way in plus impalas. Ann and I stayed in the Wild Dog room and we stood on our deck watching elephants which is just pretty darn cool. We had lunch at 2 and then it was time for our afternoon game drive. On this first safari here we saw giraffes, cape buffalo, rhinos, elephants and numerous brightly colored birds. This was so cool. We were driven around in range rovers with three rows of seats each a little higher than the one in front of you. This gave everyone a good view no matter where you sat. Wayne, our ranger, replete with a 458 cal. rifle on the dash, told us that the animals are used to the shape of the vehicle and people, but if we stood up our raised out hands that the animals would bolt away. So we didn't do any of that and had wonderful experiences. Conie, our tracker, rode on the seat that was attached to the front bumper and he was our game spotter and at night he shone a big bright spotlight looking for nocturnal animals. Then back to the lodge for dinner at 8 and to bed for a 5:30 game drive! Woohoo! There are five private game lodges here and they've taken down all the fences separating them so that they can all share a much larger area to view the animals. They are in contact with each other so they can share the good sightings.

There was a beautiful sunset last night and a nice sunrise this morning so life is good. We drove up to a female leopard with her three cubs who were taking turns eating on a freshly killed impala. As long as we were quite and not moving around the leopards didn't seem to mind us being there. So cool! The leopard completed our 'Big Five' sightings, which are the elephant, rhino, cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. I'm telling you, life is good! Next we got a call that there was a pride of lions headed to the boundary and going to cross in to Kruger so off we went only to have a tree that an elephant had pushed over, across the road. So with Conie on the front directing Wayne backs up and we start a true safari of off road and around obstacles until we were back on the road and made the lion sighting. There were 7 or 8 young males lounging around and one by one they would get up and walk a ways following each other and then lie down for a short period and then once again one by one they would get up and move on. We are just sitting there and they are walking right in front of us or we are sitting beside them, up close and personal. Definitely a great morning game drive! Returned at 8:30 for a great breakfast.

Then at 10:30 most of us went on a bush walk with Wayne and his trusty 458. We saw a giraffe and some impala and studied the termite mounds and he explained the workings of the mound. He showed us the different tracks the animals made and insects including an ant lion that is a beetle that makes a cone shaped depression in the sand and then buries itself below the bottom. Then when an ant walks in the ant lion will blow sand up and the ant slides to the bottom and he becomes dinner. Wayne was able to trick the ant lion into thinking there was an ant walking across and it threw the sand up, but nothing slid down. Then we saw a few vervet monkeys, but they stayed clear of us.

The termites keep the inside of their mounds to within a one degree variation by air tunnels that they open and close as needed. While we were out the night before we saw a lot of bugs flying around after dark and there were quite a few bugs in our room as well so we decided that the mosquito net around our bed was more to keep the other bugs out more so than the mosquitoes. I found a can of bug killer and dosed the window and door openings and that seemed to help some, but we're in the middle of a game preserve so that is to expected. The lodge was very nice and the people were great, except the bar didn't have any African tequila, which I've been searching for since I found out they made some there.
We hung around the Wild Dog room until it was time for our evening game drive. On the game drive Wayne and Conie both missed a leopard that was lying right alongside the road, but eagle eye Jack spotted it and Wayne backed up and the leopard started walking up the road marking it's territory by urinating on bushes as he walked along. We turned around and followed for a while until she had to lie down for a little while to rest.
I thought about jumping out and marking a little piece of territory for myself, but Wayne advised me against such a plan and I listened. We had our sun downer, drinks and biscuits, near the waterhole with the hippos swimming around. While we were there we watched an elephant walk along the far side of the waterhole. I thought it was going to get a drink, but another vehicle drove up close to it and it went on and was gone.

After it got dark we were spotting game and Conie spotted a young leopard lying in the grass and then a beautiful eagle owl sitting atop a tree. We were back for dinner at 8 and ate outside around a fire and it was nice. Then they brought out marshmallows and roasting sticks, but nobody wanted to roast them so when they got to me I took a stick, which could have been a little longer, and several marshmallows and roasted them and handed a few out and ate a few myself. One other brave soul came out after I started and roasted one. Then for dessert they brought out Jack's with a sparkler in it and we all sang happy birthday to Jack and that was fun.
For lunch they had made a cake for him and everybody shared that.
We were up the next morning at 4 along with the birds and got ready for our 5:30 game drive. We drove to the water hole and saw elephants playing in the water and then they got out and marched off while the hippos were cavorting and bellowing in the water. And then the highlight of the trip happened. We drove up to a tree that had a hyena lying at the base and up the tree a female leopard was lying down with all four legs hanging over the limb. One of it's cubs were in the tree with her along with an adult impala that she had killed the night before and carried up the tree wedging it between some limbs so the hyena couldn't get it. The cub would go up every once in a while and chew a little. Wayne turned around to us and said that it just didn't get much better than this, and I agree! It was just like National Geographic, but truly up close and personal. We watched them for quite a while and it was stunning. The pictures and verbal descriptions just can't and don't do it justice. Then all of a sudden the hyena and another that had appeared perked up and trotted off to our right only to return a short while later. The leopard kept on alert to see what they were up to and then laid back down content that all was okay. Then we went to the waterhole and had our morning sun downer, or should be be called a sun upper? What a way to finish out safari and our visit to South Africa!
We headed back to the lodge and packed up and headed towards the airport outside Kruger to fly to Joberg and then Atlanta. We sat around the game lodge until it was time to head out and Rufus was our driver and I guess he had a bad case of BO as it about made everybody sick, I was sitting directly behind him and didn't smell a thing so I guess there are some advantages to not being able to smell very well. It started raining a little as we approached the airport and by the time the plane was approaching to pick us up a real storm hit and the winds were blowing gale force so the plane had to return to Joberg and African Airlines said sorry bout that sh%$(, but we aren't responsible for anything. So we were scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. The airlines offered to get a bus and drive us for 5 hours through the mountains in a storm for 800 rand apiece and we still wouldn't make our flight to Atlanta. Eventually they got a plane in and we flew to Joberg where we got a room at Summer Sun right next to the airport and then sat around the hotel until they kicked us out at 3 when we went to the airport and sat around there until our flight left at 9:05. Oh, and did I mention that we had to pay $250 each to rebook our tickets? Just a little pissed. Now we have to hassle with the insurance company to get reimbursed, wish us luck.
The airport in Johannesburg had a machine that was wrapping suitcases and packages so I walked over and talked to the people wrapping them and asked them if the handlers were that bad that they had to wrap them and they replied that there was a lot of theft. They said that it was better than it used to be, but it was still bad. So they didn't sound too optimistic that our bags, which have been 'locked up' in the basement for a day, would appear intact. I really thought that our bags would not appear in Atlanta or at least with some things missing, but I was pleasantly surprised when they appeared and everything was there!
If I ever do a long flight like that again I will be drugged to sleep as 17 hours is just too frigging long to be in a plane! I didn't sleep and watched a ton of movies and didn't even get to sit with Ann. We were in the back row and I was on the center aisle with Ann next to me in the center seat. On her right was a woman with a 20 month old baby! I was thrilled to say the least, but then they asked me if I would move to a center seat in the first row of economy. Ann thought it best if I did so as not to do harm to the baby or her mother when it started screaming. I checked it out and thought it would work as I had more leg room and it would allow the mother, who was most appreciative, to put the baby down on a seat and sleep some. It was a rough flight in spots and Ann got sick so was glad I was up where I was as it wasn't bad at all there. Felt sorry that she got sick though. Got to Cincinnati airport around noon and Linda was there to pick us up and I was ready to get home and go to bed! Got up Monday and decided to go for a ride since Tuesday was going to get pretty nasty. I went out for a 47 miler and was totally exhausted when I got back and was chilled to the bone. When I got up Tuesday morning I was sick! I know some person on the plane gave me a cold!!! But in the grand scheme of things I guess a cold wasn't too bad and the trip was well worth it.
So all in all the trip was a trip of a lifetime and finishes off our quest to visit all the continents plus I can claim Greenland and the ice cap when I was in Air National Guard. So I'm ready to spend some time at home and the long trips are over for a while. I tried adding pictures, but wasn't too successful so will try again to post a few pictures. I can add them at the beginning, but I want to place them as they appear.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Big South Fork

On October 26 five of us headed south to the state of Tennessee to backpack the John Muir Trail in Big South Fork. We were there about two years ago and hiked some of the northern part of BSF and we headed to southeast side for this trip. BSF is a national recreation area and is open to hiking, horse back riding, and mountain biking. Some trails are only hiking and some are multiple use. I only saw one trail that allowed mountain bikes, although I'm sure there are others. When we hiked there before the trails were pretty torn up by the horses, but this year they were pretty good about it, but we were mostly on trails that banned horses thank goodness. Dave drove his van down and we all got in along with all our gear.

I used an internal frame pack as the low temperatures were predicted in the low 40's so I could use my cooler sleeping bag, although I will admit that I used a light pair of long johns to ward off the chill at night. We drove to Onieda and had lunch and then headed down Toomey Road wondering if we were going to be able to get back out this steep gravel road after the rains arrive. There is a longer, but less steep climb out on another gravel road if Toomey Road is too difficult to climb out. We arrived at the O&W bridge and this was the trial head. It was along the BSF branch of the Cumberland River and there was some good white water under the bridge as it was the end of a long stretch of white water. I would have liked to see some kayaks come through, but we had 5 miles to hike to get to the camp site. Some horse back riders came over the bridge and I talked to them for a minute as they were stopping for lunch.

We got to site and set up camp and Rich went down to the river to justify his $15 fishing license and he caught two fish so he was happy for the time being. We gathered wood and had a fire going and sat around talking and making plans for the hike the next day. I really like this area as there are a lot of big rock faces with undercut areas and it's just very pretty.

Had a pleasant night, but didn't sleep too well. The hike today should fix me up though. We broke down camp and hiked about 1 1/2 miles to the next camp site and planned to drop packs and just hike with day packs as we were going to hike 9 miles up a "brutal" climb to the top of Angel Falls Overlook. They wanted to cover our packs and set up the tents when we got back, but I talked them into setting them up as it was going to be raining by the time we got back and I didn't want to be setting everything up in the rain. So we set up camp and then headed up the "brutal" trail and it wasn't too bad going, but it did start raining. One section had a cable assist stretch to keep you from slipping off, but I think the only time you would have trouble would be if there was ice on the trail.

Up on top at the overlook the sheer rock face was splitting away from the rest of the rock, but people had been on it so we jumped over and enjoyed the view.

The rain started to increase so we headed on out the trial and it started raining even harder so we decided to head back to camp as the rain looked to be a long one, and it was. On the way back as we passed the overlook the fog and clouds had moved in and the visibility was near zero so was glad that we had stopped on the way up as we would have missed it. We got back to camp and set up Rich's rain fly and gathered dry wood and got a fire going. After a while I went in the tent and started reading and I heard the conversation outside turning towards packing up and hiking out as they were getting bored. At first I said that I would do whatever the majority wanted to do as did most everyone else, but then I said that we should stay the night and hope that the rain stopped by morning as they were predicting. So that's what we did and I slept pretty well as the river wasn't as noisy as it was the previous night.

Woke up Wednesday morning and it had quit raining and there was just water dripping off the trees. So we had breakfast and packed up and hiked out in the dry. So much better than packing in the rain, getting everything wet and then force marching out to the van. We hiked the 5 miles out and headed out in the van. Got to Toomey Road and spun out the first run and backed up and made it on the second attempt. Headed on out and made it home safe and sound. I was a little disappointed that we didn't hike the whole loop on top, but that will leave us with another reason to go back down there and do it at a later date. I think everyone would be up for that. A good trip as Dave did a good job planning and executing it. Thanks Dave.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Short trip to Brown County

I came home with Ann as the weather was not looking good and I can be choosy on when I ride if I'm not in the middle of a trip. I headed out Tuesday for Neil's farm in Brown County. I waited until I thought the traffic would be rideable on SR 222 and headed out about 8:30 and it worked out pretty well. I headed south through Batavia and on down to Georgetown where the hills started. I was a little surprised, pleasantly I might add, that the climbs were long, but gradual and I enjoyed them. Well, most of them anyway. The scenery was nice and the temps were cool and the sky cloudy, but dry. I found Neil's access road and after two boys told me the wrong way I looked at the map and went the other way and went to it.

I had to push the bent and BOB one mile to the camp site. I stopped at his neighbor's house to tell them I was going to be back there and they had a dog that was simply obnoxious! I smacked it several times and it just thought I wanted to play rougher. The lady and I put it in the garage so that it wouldn't follow me back to Neil's and thank goodness it didn't come back as I would have maced it had it appeared there.

Neil's farm was nice with a nice pond, but it was too cold to swim. The mile walk/push was a little longer than I liked, but it was easy enough with just a few hills. I had dinner #1 as soon as I got there at 4:30 and then dinner #2 about 6 and then read and looked at maps to figure out what I was going to do about the return trip now that I knew haw far it was, 75 miles, so decide to just stay the one night and head towards home and either ride it in one day or stop at East Fork Lake and camp the next night if I got there around when I thought the traffic would be too busy to safely ride SR 222.

On the way down the hills were at the end of the day which was nice, and there were a lot of hills, so Wednesday the hills were at the beginning and my legs were a little tired from the day before so they were hard and I enjoyed the ride. I ended up pretty much riding the same route back home with the exception that I took a bike route to stay off of a little more of 222. I ended up coming home as I got to 222 at a good time and had an easy ride home. It was a fun trip, but a little short. Ann thinks I wimped out as I got home sooner than she thought I would. Besides, this just allows me another short trip yet this fall. I want to ride Hocking Hills so maybe that will be the next trip.

I went out yesterday and rode 40 some miles on the trail and my legs were tired and even a little sore when I pushed. Good trip.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Southern Ohio Tour 9/24/09

I was up today at 3:30 and was out the door at 5 as Ann was going to drop me off below Columbus and I would head east. She dropped me off and I hung around until it got light enough to safely ride and still be seen. At 7:05 I deemed it safe to ride so I turned on the rear flasher and I was off. It was cloudy and they were calling for rain, but it never materialized until towards the end of the ride. I had a few sprinkles, but nothing that got me soaked as it was more of a damp ending.

I marked a route on the map and didn't really scour it like I normally do thinking I'll leave room to wing it. Later as I was looking at the name of a couple roads I noticed I was going on Chicken Koop Road! Then I saw Savage and Revenge Roads and I knew I was in trouble! These roads are three of the toughest three climbs on CFC, which is the hardest organized ride that I've ridden. So I hit Revenge and it was really hard as I pulled BOB weighing in at 52 pounds, but I'm feeling pretty strong as I always try and peak at this time of year for the CFC ride. I rode CFC for 18 years straight and then missed the last three years. One for my XC trip and then apathy the other two years. This year I felt like I rode it as I covered a lot of their route plus was dragging a 52 pound BOB up them and suffered like a dog! I was on Savage and missed the turn over to Chicken Koop, I swear it was accidental, and continued on Savage and I'll admit I had to walk a short portion of the steepest pitch! I actually had to push the bent twice today.

I finally got to Burr Oak and was really looking forward to a shower. I saw the sign for Burr Oak campground and turned up yet another hill to the campground and pulled in just happy that I was there and that I could really rest. So as I rode through the campground I saw outhouses, but no showers. I decided a sponge bath was better than nothing and I had the campground to myself, and it was lightly raining so I threw my tent up on a secluded site, took my sponge bath and felt a little better. Then cooked some dinner and wrote in my journal and listened to my MP3 player for a short while and fell asleep between 8 and 9 and slept until 6:30. I slept pretty good and it rained all night, but not too hard. I packed up the wet tent as it had quit raining before I got up. Cooked a little breakfast and headed out to Athens.

I had a couple setbacks right from the start as I found out I had stayed at Wayne National Forest Campground, Burr Oak and not the Burr Oak State Campground which was just a little distance on down the road, oh well. I had a nice camp site so I'm not complaining. Then the road I had planned to take out of there was gravel so I headed back out to Rt 13 and headed south. I asked one woman where a certain road turned off Rt 13 and she said, "go down by the Kroger's, now you can't see the Kroger's, but........", you just have to love it. So I soon got on a less busy road and started east towards Marietta. I lost my sunglasses along the way so I need to get a pair of those today. I got to Marietta and caused a traffic jam on the way to Ann's folks house, which they were caught in until they passed me. So today is a rest day as I decide what to do with more rain coming. I ended up with 94 miles Thursday and I know I had about 6000 feet of climbing. Then yesterday I didn't have my bike computer as I packed it up in my tent and was not going to unpack everything to get it. So I'm estimating yesterdays mileage at 65 to 70 with another epic climbing day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Started out as a century!

Hi, I went to Seaman to ride the BCBCBCBC ride planning on my second century for the month. I was riding by myself when after 40 miles I lost a bolt in my front derailleur and I was relegated to the middle chain ring for the rest of the ride. I rode up several hills on the middle and it wasn't bad, but there were bigger and badder hills coming up so I bailed and took a shortcut back to the start and ended up with 60 miles. It was a beautiful day too!

So Monday I'm headed to Ashland for 4 days to visit my Mom and a day or two of riding up there. I'll take the bent if I get a bolt to fix it or the Merlin if I don't. I'm headed to Lowe's tomorrow, where I've been told by a bike mechanic that I can find a bolt that will fit. Wish me luck as Kent and I are planning on riding a century while I'm up there. Later as that's all from here. Peace Paul

Friday, August 14, 2009

Long day in the recliner

Howdy, Again it's been a while since I've posted anything so thought I'd write about my PR day of 151 miles riding with Tom Wolf. Tom emailed me saying he was going to Xenia to ride 150 miles and wanted to know if there were any takers. Hello! I had ridden 70 miles on the Merlin one day last week and my butt told me to get back on the bent! I took the bent out and rode to Xenia and back with a hill thrown in for good measure and ended up with 104 miles and was tired and wondered how the 150 was going to feel. So I called Tom and said I was in. Won't know until I ride it.

I was going to drive up early Wednesday morning, but opted to go up Tuesday evening and start riding fresh. We were up at 5 and ate a good breakfast and were on the road a little before 7 for the first of two loops. We rode the first loop through mainly flat farm land with little traffic and sunny skies so life was good. We rode a loop so that we could end up at the cars to resupply our food and water supplies and then headed back out for a longer and different loop that had some rollers and a few short hills and the day stayed nice and sunny and not too hot.

We were riding in Greene County and I was really impressed with the riding conditions. I've ridden a little up in that area before with Tom and by myself, and I'll be returning there to ride again another day. We rode about 90 miles on roads and 60 miles on the bike trails and it was a good mix. Tom wanted to go out in to a cross headwind to start, then turn south and enjoy the tailwind, and then use the bike trail back to Xenia. The bike trail shields a lot of the wind so that cuts the wind factor a little.

All in all I felt really good after the ride. Tired, but good. That's the longest day I've had and wouldn't mind trying a longer one, but this took us 11 hours so it looks like I'm limited to not too many more miles. I stayed on for another night as I was too tired to safely drive home. Heck, I woke myself up snoring and I was just sitting in the bed! So yeah, that was a good call.

We got up the next morning and I had no pain so life is even better, but I will admit to taking three ibuprofen at bed time. We had breakfast and headed out for another 40 miles of easy spinning to refresh the legs. After those 40 I was tired and headed for home after two good days of riding. Life is good!

I'm heading to Ashland to visit Mom and do a little work for her and maybe, just maybe get one or two rides in while there. Oh yeah, I have to go see Dara as I need a haircut bad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Time, as life is flying by way to fast and I'm really behind in posting on here, but that is relative. We had a great time in Laguna Beach riding with most of the Peckerheads and called it training for the Peckerhead Invitational which is this coming weekend.

Laguna had a little of everything with several 24% grades (mountains!)I just have to teach Coondog what a proper warmup is, but then I probably would have said no quicker. Will cover the negative aspects first. The sun was hiding until the last riding day, but that kept us cooler just restricting the views slightly. A lot of cars, but they were courteous! The riding was a little of everything that is near and dear to a Peckerhead. The roads and highways had bike lanes and there were a lot of bike trails. Food, the food was great and I even ate a little sushi, which was good, but I'll only eat so much raw fish and that was pretty much my life quota as far as I'm concerned. So I'm very appreciative of Scott's generosity. Thank you again Scott.

Tom Wolf is out on a ten day bike trip and spent Sunday night here. I went out looking for him Sunday and was going to ride here with him, but after riding in the rain for a long time we didn't meet up and I came on home. I even rather enjoyed the rain ride as it wasn't cold and a little rain never hurt anyone. Of course I had just finished totally cleaning the Merlin and I don't think it was too happy about getting dirty again, but enjoyed the miles. Tom showed up Sunday night and he had missed all the rain. He then talked me in to riding to Xenia with him on Monday and riding home Tuesday. We had a nice 80 mile ride over trail and back roads to Xenia and then after a good breakfast I headed south and he headed north. He'll end up back in Athens Sunday and I'll be riding in Ashland Sunday if the Peckerhead Invitational hasn't destroyed me.

I would assume everyone is ready for the Peckerhead least most of us. Wait, am I? I have the miles and hopefully the hills as well. It's the age thing that will catch me if anything. The full Holmes will probably be hard, but then isn't any good ride hard? Have to really throw a compliment here to Jaybone and his family as putting on a ride like this takes a lot of time and thought. I mean just look at the invitations as a beginning. I always look forward to see what he comes up with. I think this years may have been a picture of Todd going for beer after discovering that his car was out of gas and his road bike had a flat tire! But I could be wrong.

I had a 266 mile week this week so am ready albeit slower than past Peckerheads. This could be wrong as I'll be on the Merlin instead of the recumbent, but time will tell. Looking forward to riding with all the Peckerheads this Saturday....even if it's raining, which is a real possibility. But hey, we're the Peckerheads! See you all Saturday hopefully!