Thursday, July 30, 2015


This is just a brief entry to recognize a significant anniversary.  Three years ago today was my last major mountain climb.  My pal Pete and I did Mt. Rose from the Reno side.  That death march cured me from any interest in any future effort at an hors categorie mountain.

And for full disclosure, Pete made it up 1-2 hours in advance of me!!  He had time to go down to Incline and get the car to meet me at the summit.  He also was prescient enough to stock the cooler.  But who keeps the time, right?  It was a successful ride, whatever the clock might say. 

Pete and I are fortunate to continue have good times on the bike.  Here we are just last Friday departing Starbucks for a day on Ragbrai.  Don't look back!

So I swapped-out the Home Page pic to recognize my favorite tree...passing it again yesterday on the way back from Minny.  It remains a watchful sentinel on a stream of travelers who have lots of stories.

The quick-hitter that 2 and I did to the Twin Cities Tuesday-Wednesday was also a great success.  Not the worst traffic anywhere, even without my pal Roy's Cadillac to ease the passing on those two-lanes.  No traffic to the concert venue as we basically waited until the warm-up act was in full-throttle before we even left Harvest Path!  Shania was an entertainer.  Very Vegas-y.  A little loud for me, but well-worth the experience.  The crowd was fired-up...hardly sat down for any of the show.  Shania just had to start each song, and the audience carried it the rest of the way.

I also need to make KC Rosie the blog's Sister of the Day.  Happy birthday!  I know that you are three years older than me, but I can't count as high as we need to go any more.

OK.  Done.  How did it get to be Thursday already?



Sunday, July 26, 2015


I'm not being all that productive today. Those two days on the bike were not necessarily exhaustive, but a day of rest seems like the right call. Having all the comforts of home on Friday night (shower, regular bed rather than a tent and sleeping bag, and a great home-cooked meal) was the key to even doing two days of RAGBRAI. 2 is DAUGHTER OF THE DAY for acting as our hostess with the mostest. Thanks, Kiddo.

Here's a Top Ten list from those two days:

1. Our plans for getting to our targeted starting point, getting my pal Pete back to the Quads on Friday night, and getting my pal Ron's and my gear back here from IC all worked, but it wasn't the smoothest program.
2. We managed to make the small towns of Lisbon and Solon excellent adventures on Friday. A small town on RAGBRAI can be worth the visit.
3. I think 65 miles is about as much as I want to ride on a single day. The RAGBRAI organizers must have 65-70 as their target daily mileage. And on both of the days that we rode, they had to stretch the distance between the overnight towns to get their mileage by doing some back-and-forth, circular routing that I found unfulfilling. Whatever.
4. If you can't get along with people on RAGBRAI, you are in need of serious help. People on this ride are universally pleasant, willing to share, and courteous at every level.
5. 12-16 ounce Coors Light cans would go for $2-5 depending on the town. Those great bloodies in Lisbon were only $3.
6. Lots of state troopers and local sheriffs on duty at traffic points. Never saw any of them have to do anything other than keep traffic moving.
7. There was an ENDLESS variety of cycling jerseys and teams. The Maplecrest Cycling Club was a Top Ten look, of course.
8. Cell phone service in towns where the ride stopped could be spotty. Some of my tweets would be delayed in posting. I've run into the same problem at Kinnick on game day.
9. I'm not sure why people would ride for the full week. Two days is plenty. I mean, it's a little repetitive, yes?
10. Really glad I wasn't in a car in Coralville on Friday night. It would have been a lousy night for a drive.

The morning paper did mention some RAGBRAI riders who got up at oh-dark-hundred in Iowa City on Saturday morning and got to Davenport in time to run the Bix 7 road race that stated at 0800. Yeah, that was on my list too. Although really, it wasn't that hard of a task considering that it was just over 60 miles of predominately flat roads with mostly a tailwind. It was doable for even an average rider. At least my pal Pete didn't try to pull that stunt.

I reserved our Hertz rental car for the September trip when we will be making the transfer from Barcelona to Bordeaux. The daily fee is almost in the "cheap" range. The kicker is the $350 drop-off fee since we won't be bringing the car back to the same rental location. We ran into the same type of add-on charge last year when we picked up the car in SF and turned it in in Reno. In doing some checking on-line, drop-off charges in Europe can regularly go to $500. I'm guessing that a more experienced traveler could find a better deal.

I have so much work to do before Europe that it's scary. Real scary.

The TdF ended today in Paris. I didn't follow it as much this year. The winner had been in the yellow jersey for most of the last two weeks. The only mystery today was who would get the stage win on the Champs-Élysées...and the guy who had won most of the earlier sprints won this one too. Meh. Little doping news this year. They must be using better drugs.

Shania is here in Moline tonight. We see her Tuesday in Minny. From what little reading I've done, her recent concerts have been fairly well reviewed. It would be a bummer if it was otherwise, eh?

OK, here's my take on The Donald. I've never liked the guy, never watched any of his shows, and disregarded his opinions on anything. What he is doing is tapping into the segment of conservatives who were maybe Tea Partiers...who want a voice to stop the Obama-Clinton progression to essentially a socialist form of government. So Trump gets a little more time in the spotlight while all of the other GOP candidates muddle the screen. My fear is that the ultimate outcome is that he runs as a third party next year and literally hands the election over to HRC (or Fauxcahontous Warren if H wears out her welcome). I've stopped reading, listening or watching any of them.

All for now. I hope to figure a way to get back here more regularly.


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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Saturday, July 04, 2015


The week certainly got away from me. 

First off, let's give Lady Liberty her due.  It is the 4th of July.  Mid-year.  What happened to the first half?  Most of these three-day holiday weekends use the Monday for the extra day.  Friday as the off-day is harder to adjust to.  I spent most of Thursday thinking that it was Friday, and today definitely has the feel of Sunday.  Whatever.

Speaking of the 4th, is there a singer out there more identified with a single song than Lee Greenwood and God Bless the USA?  (Jim Nabors and Back Home in Indiana really doesn't count if you aren't an Indy 500 fan.)  I suppose Billy Ray Cyrus and Achy Breaky Heart...but who doesn't hate that song?

This is also the start-day for this year's TdF.  As what has become a bit of an annual viewer-grab, the Tour isn't starting in France...Utrecht in The Netherlands.  Never heard of the place.  Today's offering is a short individual time trial...called a prologue.  Serious racing starts tomorrow.  They've already had one rider accused of a drug problem.  As you can see from the map, they really don't see all that much of France this year.

(The original route had the Galibier (the hill I climbed on my first trip to Italy/France in 2009 with 2) included on the last mountain stage...which still has Le Alpe d'Huez...but there was something about one of the tunnels not being safe, so they had to re-route the stage.)

It has been minorly strange these last couple of days not having The Winniferous in residence on Maplecrest.  After a week, I had become used to the routine of getting her out on the walks, and of having her in my face any time I pulled something out to eat.  Being back in control of my homestead is good.  No way will there be a dog in my future.

The BEATER is back in the shop.  Water pump.  Each of these little repairs is a nuisance, but not quite enough to pull the plug.  But the recurring nuisances are collectively beginning to edge me closer to a change.  I like a back-up.  But it needs to be less of a hassle.

I forgot my iPad at the office yesterday afternoon when we left for the day.  I had thought I might do a blog entry from home late in the afternoon before I noticed it not being with me.  But with my time occupied by that first bike ride and the Friday puzzle, I found that the iPad was not worth the trip back to pick it up.  It makes you wonder about the electronic dependency that seems to grab us all.

All for now.  I may try to get back here later today.

Make it a Good Saturday in your neighborhood.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday II

Very successful day in NYC where 4 stepped-up to senior-produce three straight hours of non-commercial-interrupted national coverage on the capture of the second escapee in upstate NY. She's a star!!! And DAUGHTER OF THE DAY.

Way to go, Kiddo....:)



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Not really sure how we got to the end of the first half of the year already.  To say, "Time flies when you're having fun" just doesn't capture the speed that my life seems to be passing.

I need to offer up that Aunt Rosie has corrected my dates on Aunt Martha.  Date of birth is June 25 and anniversary is June 27.  Its not the first time I have mixed up dates in my past.  Both on the calendar...and on more than one Saturday night.

The Cardinals won their 50th game of the season last night.  Sorry Cubs fans.  Pretty impressive since they have their best pitcher (Wainright), two Opening Day power hitters (Adams and Holiday) on the DL, and some position guys in the lineup whom I have never heard of.  Of course, doing well in the regular season just means that you get into the play-offs.  In the second-season, they'll still have to beat the Giants and an American League champ.  And its a long way till October.  Lots can happen.

1.1 refereed numerous games of Tyus Jones' when he played high school ball in the Twin Cities.  With the Timberwolves making a draft-day trade with the Cavaliers to bring Jones to Minnesota, 1.1 will get more opportunities to see the kid in the NBA.  After just one season at Duke, Jones will now play with the big boys. 

 I was cruising through some channels last night or Friday evening while trying to get the StL game when I came across an airing of Top Gun.  (Remember getting that video tape at the baseball game in Davenport?)  I always thought Kelli McGillis was very pretty.  She and Val Kilmer (Iceman!) were both popular poster specimens back then.  I'm not really a Tom Cruise fan, but he seems to have had better results in the years since then with his plastic surgeon, dietitian and yoga instructor.  Just sayin'.

As I grab more couch-time in my injury recovery days, I've been watching more golf telecasts.  Both the regular tour and the senior tour are getting coverage.  I find the telecasts more visually appealing with actual green grass on the courses (as opposed to the browned-out fescue from the US Open last week at Chamber's Bay).  FOX has the Senior Open.  I haven't paid that much attention to their announcers...who were uniformly panned for their work at Chamber's Bay.  Holly (Eye-Candy) Sonders remains a work-in-progress, and Greg Norman continues to pontificate.  But the bar is pretty low...Jim Nance, Johnny Miller, Dan Hicks, et. FOX will survive.

That's about it for today.  Check out these Throw Back Sunday pics from the archives!

Make it a good day in your neighborhood.


Thursday, June 25, 2015


This has been a bit of a tough week. The body still aches from the bike incident on TOMRV. Mostly the left elbow. If it wasn't broken...and I'm not convinced that it wasn't...the bone bruise was as bad as a fracture. It's been difficult to sleep. It takes so long to do simple things like showering and getting ready for work. I've compared the experience to the pneumonia episode of a couple years back. I hope that progress to feeling better picks up in the next few days.

As I have reported on Twitter, The Winniferous is camped out on Maplecrest for a few days. 2 is headed to a conference in Austin. We will do fine together.

The latest rush to politically correct ground with the cause-of-the-week on the flying of the flag of The Army of Northern Virginia has greased the slippery slopes for our Thought Police enforcers. Are there any concepts on the right side of center safe from mob enforcement of progressive thought?

I was alerted to the absurdity of possible acceptable elements when Becky Quick offered the question on early Squawk Box yesterday to the governor of Arkansas as to whether his state needed to rethink their state flag because there was an extra star on it...that was a possible reference to the state's participation in the confederacy. There be a lot of history that needs to be rewritten to satisfy the righteous.

I want to recognize Aunt Martha...a day late. Her birthday was the 24th. She would have been 78. Her wedding anniversary with Uncle Doyle was the 25th. I actually remember the wedding day! Big days in their lives. I miss her.

I also missed noting the Summer solstice earlier this week. We now have to face the music of the days becoming progressively shorter for the next six months. I find that fact I choose to basically ignore it until September.

An item of big news in the local sports scene is that golfing star Jordan Spieth will be here in two weeks when they tee it up for the John Deere Classic. He won this tournament a couple of years ago for his first win on the tour. Most players return to tournaments that they have won in a prior year, and Spieth is doing the right thing by showing up to an event that treated him real well when he was just an up-n-comer. His presence will generate huge crowds here. Which will keep me on this side of the river that week.

Finally, there have been numerous stories in the press this week about different failings at the Internal Revenue Service. None of these revelations surprise me when it comes to efficiency, reliability or outcomes. The IRS folks I experience are the ultimate bureaucrats. Extend that reality to other government agencies like the VA and various entitlement programs, and it's no surprise that our government wastes billions every year.

Hope it is a Good Friday in your neighborhood.


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Monday, June 22, 2015


I'm giving Rosie the designation of Sister of the Day for the hospitality afforded to 2 and myself last weekend in KC.  (Who are the old people in that pic?)  Really a low key visit, but we managed to get through several bottles of vino, and generally catch up with our respective fam's.  They have a real nice place in a big golf course development, several miles West of KC in Kansas.  (They don't belong to the golf course...which is very high end.)

The shop that I found for early coffee just a few miles away set a new standard for over-priced coffee cake.  I think it was $3.90 a slice.  And the triple-shot Americano was over $4.  Hello!

Per the plan, I got away Saturday night to have dinner with my pal Jake (and wife Judi).  Always good to see Jake.  He never changes.

On the medical report, I'm still recovering from the bike crash.  That pinkie nail is a real nuisance.  And I'm pretty sure that I bruised some ribs high up in my chest: every time I sneeze, it hurts.  And the left elbow is still no more than 80% of normal.  I don't care what the x-rays showed or didn't show, its a problem.  Still taking drugs for the body aches.  The two stitches on the outside of my lip were snipped-off by the dentist across the parking lot last Thursday.  The interior stitches have mostly dissolved, but I have a couple of loose ends that refuse to fall away.  Yuck!

So my Yard Boy (YB hereafter) came for the first time Thursday night.  In addition to getting the yard done, I had him pull weeds in the mulch areas...and wash the Buick!  He did decently.  He's a little guy and needed some help with the top of the car.  He's due to stop by again for the yard tomorrow after work...and I may turn him lose on Margret.

Let me also give recognition to @srh4 as Master Gardener of the Weekend for her efforts to spiff up the driveway on Maplecrest as a Father's Day gift.  Normally, I plant some annuals in these spots, but my organizational attention to this task had been AWOL this year.  I think she felt sorry for me after my trip over the handlebars.  I'll take it.

I ended up watching a lot of golf over the weekend.  And I'm sure that 2 enjoyed listening to golf for several hours on the car radio as well!!  For a guy who is capable of enjoying the broadcast of a NASCAR race on the radio, it might sound incongruous, but golf on the radio is next to paint-drying in the excitement category.  Why is that? 

Anyway, the course for this tournament looked like a bombed out set of ruins.  And there was a lot of carping from players.  My take?  I thought it was a rinky-dink course that played like a miniature golf set-up.  Send in the clowns.  I mean, they had balls land in the center of a green, only to roll off to a bunker or maybe a collection area 30 yards from the pin.  It'll take some serious dinero for them to go back there for a big event.

FOX had the broadcast of the golf tournament on TV.  Joe Buck was the primary anchor.  I thought they were no better than so-so.  Greg Norman was a tool as a color guy.  Holly Sonders was the eye candy.  She was better at being eye-candy than an interviewer.  Awkward interviews on some serious questions about the course and on player comments.

All that said, I was glad to see Jordan Spieth win.  He's a competitor.  I feel bad for the guy (Dustin Johnson) who three-putted 18 to give Spieth the win.  Golf is a cruel game.

Maybe more from the iPad later.