I understand good search tools that want to suggest alternatives, but this one?



Glen’s Tour Day 19 – September 24, 2011

Today I woke up around 5, ate some of my pizza from yesterday and went back to bed. Woke up again around 9 and ate the last of the pizza before hitting the road.

Oh, I followed a passage from the Bible of Heidi, Book of Cycling 1:1: “Thou shalt have breakfast before cycling.” I also followed 1:2, “Thou shalt eat often.” I violated 1:3, though, “Thou shalt stop for lunch.”

Instead I just stopped every 45-60 minutes, ate a food bar, drank some sugar water, waited 5-10 minutes and took off again. I find that when I stop to eat I have a hard time getting started again.

I finally got out of the room around 10ish.  Jim had the room across the hall and it was already being cleaned so he clearly left before I did.  I’ve no idea how much earlier though.  I only have a bit over 250 miles left to San Fran.  There’s no rush with 6-7 days of cycling left, so I figured I’d take it easy.

I stopped every 45 to 60 minutes to eat a food bar, drink some Gatorade or whatever it was, use the bathroom, wait five or ten minutes and then get back on the road.  I didn’t want to take the time to stop for lunch and I didn’t want to have to get started again; I do best if I just keep going.

I saw Jim just an hour our two out.  He caught up with me and we laughed about it.  He thinks he left the hotel just minutes before me.  He stopped at a bike shop and I wandered through town.  With the Garmin and the ACA maps being very different so it’s funny how close we were to the same place.  He joked that he’d recognize my panniers (pronunciation stressed) anywhere.  We only rode for a short while, then I followed the Garmin route while jim followed the ACA route.
That just makes it more humorous since we linked up again about an hour later when our paths converged.  I was just finishing one of my short breaks as he was coming down the road.  It was pretty funny.  We parted ways again, still going to the same place but opting for different routes.  I didn’t see him again.

I rode into Ferndale but didn’t feel like stopping at any of the places for food, so I found a park, used the bathroom, filed up my water bottles and poured in Gatorade mix, ready to hit the road again.  I was only going to go another 10 or 20 miles but just couldn’t find any place I liked.  Leaving Ferndale an older guy training for a bike race caught up with me.  We talked for just a few minutes and then he went on ahead. I trailed him by about a hundred yards for ten miles.
He turned around and headed back to town while I continued on.

I got to a place I thought I’d stay for the night but the guy wanted $65 for a room and I just didn’t feel like paying that.   I went across the street to stock up on food in case I ended up camping, but the prices were highway robbery. They wanted $1.65 for a small candy bar. I figured I could do a lot better than that and so continued on.  Only about five miles further I found a local grocery store which was quite reasonable.  I stocked up on enough food for a couple days, had two ice cream bars and headed out.  There were several candidate camping locations but each of the ones I looked at was over priced and really crappy, so I just kept going. Since I was fueling up so frequently, and possibly because of the great night’s sleep and little climbing, I was feeling pretty good all day long.

I finally ended up at Ft Meyers, a place I figured would be much further than I needed to go, but the campground is reasonable and nice, and the shower was good.  I had two packets of Ramen noodles – not great but the best I could find at the grocery store on the way here.  I also had several small packets of cheese and some crackers, finished off a bag of peanut butter M&Ms.

I sent a couple of emails off, am charging the GPS and the phone and think I’ll read for a while on my Nook, whose battery will probably die soon.  My food is hanging up so hopefully the raccoons and everything else will leave it alone and I’ll have breakfast tomorrow. I’m expecting rain tonight so the fly is on the tent.  If the weather is bad I might just spend an extra day here…we’ll see.

Glen’s Tour Day 18 – September 23, 2011

Today it was time to get back on the road.   I rolled out around 9am this morning.  I was already on the South end of Crescent City so there wasn’t any local traffic to deal with; I just headed straight up to the first climb of the day.

As I was leaving the city, not a half mile out, there were several cars stopped along the highway taking photographs.  Turns out there were quite a few elk on both sides of the road just standing there waiting for their photos to be taken.  There should be some video of it but by now you know how well that’s been working out.  We’ll have to see.

Just a few miles up the first climb I saw a hiker and cyclist on the side of the road.  I stopped to make sure they were ok and they asked me if I’d seen the bear.  Apparently I had passed one just a few hundred yards back.  It’s probably for the best that I hadn’t seen it because likely I would have panicked.  Yes, I have my bear spray with me, know how to use it, have it at the ready, etc.  Still, I don’t think I’m ready for an encounter like that.

For lunch I stopped at a roadside cafe in Orick.  I was having lunch of an omlette and pancakes when another cyclist came in and joined me.  His name is Jim and we chatted for a while.  He’s from the UI and is going from Vancouver to San Diego.  He took six months off of work for this ride (which he’s riding as a sponsored charity ride) and then to go down to South America and teach English as a second language.  (He’s already done that, by the way.  I’m really, really behind in getting this all documented :-)

We were headed to different places and I was done with lunch and itchy to get riding so I took off.  Most of the ride was uneventful but there were some really crappy roads which seemed to take a lot out of me.  I am surprised that I didn’t break something on the bike.  Some of the bad roads were to route around non rideable parts of 101, and some I don’t understand.  On one route option the Garmin was taking me miles out of the way to miss one short section of highway (this was through Trinidad and West Haven).  One section was so steep that I had to get off and push my bike up – and remember that I had been able to cycle up to the column in Astoria!  As I went further and saw the section I was avoiding, thought the diversion was completely bonkers, turned around, got on the highway and everything was just fine.  I should have stayed on the highway the entire time.  Granted, there was some beautiful scenery that I was able to take in and photograph, but the roads where unbelievably bad.
For one section  I had to ride in the center of the lane before it smoothed out.  That finally ended but there was some construction that was very confusing, like there was no safe place for a bike.  I took a while trying to figure out where I could actually get to find a hotel.  As I was headed up one hill, Jim from lunch passed me and said Hi.  He waited for me at the top of the hill and we worked out a hotel to go to.  His Garmin, same model, had us going on 101, but mine routed around it.  We followed his until just before the highway entrance where there was a no cyclists sign. After that we followed my Garmin which routed us around that with another 4 or so miles.  We finally got to the hotel, where Jim went in and arranged for two rooms.  I went in and paid for mine, the we agreed to meet in the lobby in 45 to go get some food.

We walked across the street to a pizza place where I had salad and pizza, plus enough for breakfast the next morning.

We had Sierra Nevada Ale on tap to go along with our meals.  We talked for quite a while, about our riding mostly, and his charity work and about trying to find something to do that actually has meaning, not just making money.

I drank water like a fish and still feel dehydrated (yet I had to stop to pee at least once an hour during the ride – unusual for me).

After diner we went back to our rooms.  Our schedules to San Fran roughly have the same dates although he’s going to try one of the alternate options I’m not going to.  It has 8500 get of climbing in one day and I’m just not ready for that, I think.

I called and talked to Alex for a while, did my laundry in the sink in the room and an now going to read until ready to fall asleep.

I only need to finish about 50 miles a day to get to San Fran in time, so I’m going to slow things down a bit.  If I can – I have a difficult time pacing myself.

Today included 76.8 miles and 7400 feet of climbing, ending up in Arcata.

Table Topic Lesson Learned – Too Smart By Half

I’ve been attending Toastmasters for the past couple of months and am really enjoying it.  I’m able to see several different speakers each week and am learning from each of them.  I’ve done my ice breaker speech and that went fairly well.  I’ve also given two of the Table Topics speeches.  That’s a different story.  The first one, where my topic was “iPad vs. the Bible”, I’ve talked about before so I won’t discuss that again except to say that it was rough but given the situation I was ok with it.

This last one though… Ugh.  I crashed and burned hard.

First of all, in case you aren’t aware of how Table Topics work here’s the rundown.  The person responsible for the table topics that week stands up and gives the topic, then calls on one of the members or guests to speak on that topic.  Here are some topics I used when I was handing them out.

  • You are a cloud.  Describe your typical day.
  • Steve Jobs didn’t actually die but instead is designing planned communities.  You are going to live there; what’s it like?
  • You’ve just found $1M in your bank account and the bank assures you that its all yours.  What does the rest of your week look like?
  • You’re the captain of a spaceship and come across your crew fighting over the last chocolate chip cookie.  What do you do?
  • You are single and NASA has invited you to go to Mars with 149 other people.  Do you go?  Why or why not?
  • What is the most important invention ever created and why?

The table topics are not pulled from some master list, but generated by the person assigned to run that part of the meeting, so it’s always different.  Everyone that I assigned topics to did a great job, by the way.

But this is about when I crashed and burned, not when I was handing topics out.

One of the things that makes it even worse is that the topic was one that should have been very easy for me.  I love science fiction and the person handing out the topics knew that.  So she gave me a topic that didn’t require me to think about something I have no experience with.  It was a topic that I should have easily identified with.  To make it even worse, I love creating sci-fi short stories.  This was a perfect opportunity to bring all of those together.

My topic – “You are an explorer for a planet running out of water and you’ve just landed on this earth.  What is your report?”

Now that I have time to think my response should have been something like this:

“Captain Lewis here.  I’ve just finished a basic exploration of this new planet and it looks like we’ve hit the jackpot!  There is water everywhere.  It’s in ice form, liquid form, even gas form!  It falls from the sky, covers large portions of this world and is found with and without salt in different bodies”, etc.

There’s so much to cover that my problem should have been how to keep the talk under 2 minutes.

I could even have brought in issues about water pollution, peak water (a real worldwide crisis in the making on this, our current Earth), desalination, aquifers that don’t fill as fast as we drain them, political fights over water use rights and more.

But noooooooo.  I had to go and get overly creative.

And this is the problem and the lesson that I learned: instead of sticking to what I knew and what everyone else would identify with, I decided to put a spin on it, much like a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode.  So instead of giving a report like I outlined above, I did something more like this…

“Everyone stay away!  It’s poisonous, the water, and it’s everywhere!  It covers the planet, it falls from the sky, it’s impossible to get away from.”

Huh?  What the heck are you talking about, Glen?  That’s what you’re thinking and that’s what everyone else was thinking as well.

See, instead of sticking to the topic, I decided to change it, twist it.  I knew of a story where an alien explorer had landed on Earth and did actually give a report about the water.  But to these creatures water was indeed a poison.  So I gave my report that way instead.  The problem is that nobody I was speaking to had a clue what was going on.  They didn’t know about the story, didn’t know that’s what I was reporting.  They’d heard the topic and instead of speaking on the topic I spoke on another topic.

So as a good friend says, I was “too smart by half”.

The next time I stand up to give a table topic speech, I’m going to stick with the topic provided and focus on clearly speaking about that, not some twist on it.  Yes, it’s good to be creative and table topics bring that out.  But creative by half isn’t a good plan.

Time To Drop The Lazy

Well, it’s been a few months since I finished my bike tour. I’ve done a little bit of running, a little bit of cycling, lots of drumming and piano and the smallest amount of weight lifting (think: strength training due to osteoporosis, not "Glen wants to be a body builder").

But with my first marathon only 5 months away I think it’s time to start working out regularly again. I’ve been building up the callouses on my feet for the barefoot running thing and ride hard on the bike for an hour or so every few days so it’s not like I’ve been playing couch potato, but I’m going to have to stop the 2 am bedtime.

The parenting schedule for time with my son means early morning and alternate weekends are when I’ll get my training in. Can you say 5 am? We’ll see how long this lasts!

Windstorm Video of Barn Falling Over

Ok, I finally have the video of the barn falling over.  Enjoy!

A Few Windstorm Pictures

We had a wind storm come through a couple weekends ago and there’s still a mess to clean up.  I can’t really do much with my barn until the insurance adjuster comes and checks it out and that’s not scheduled until December 27th.  But I needed some time outside and it’s a nice day so I figured I can at least clean up some of the branches that are cluttering up the back yard.  I finally got my phone camera working again (just had to uninstall enough stuff until the offending one was gone) so I’ve taken some photos.

I still haven’t been able to trim the video of the barn collapsing yet.  I can play it back but it’s 45 minutes long and none of the video tools I have for editing recognize the file type.  It’s from an older hard-drive based video camera and although tools like VLC will play it, I haven’t been able to convert it to extract just the 15 seconds that are interesting.

But here are some photos.  I was hoping to extract the ladder that got crushed because I need to get up on the roof of the house to replace some shingles.  What do you think, should I ever try to go up on that ladder again?  Yeah, me neither.  I took a couple photos where it cracked the concrete and then looked around and noticed that it seems to be that the ladder is the only thing holding the entire barn roof up on that end.  Hmm, maybe I should vacate now.


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