Anne and I took the canoe out for a short paddle the first day we arrived, but later in the week we went out on the lake “for real,” in kayaks with Laura also in a kayak, and Joe & Alex in the canoe. We had a good time exploring the pond and the lake, but I really don’t have much to say about it so here are a bunch of pictures.
- Category Archives day by day
This is the category closest to just being a plain diary. Places I go, things I do, people I see, what’s happening in my life.
This was our first full day on vacation. Joe and Alex and I were on our own, so we decided to do a moderately difficult hike, maybe four miles or so up to the top of Saint Regis Mountain, just outside the nearby town of Paul Smiths. We took off in the morning and arrived at the trailhead not long after, and started on our way. This map shows the gist of our hike — my GPS didn’t start recording position until we were maybe a half mile in:
The trail was easy to follow, fairly well maintained, and kept to an easy grade as it slowly ascended over rolling terrain, until we got to the halfway point and started the real climb. Even this was pretty doable, and the views at the top were well worth it. There was a fire tower at the summit, and we climbed that too. Some photos from the top:
So we’re back from our vacation trip — a little over a week in the Adirondacks with a part of Anne’s extended family (Lorraine & Ray, Joe & Laura with Alex, and Holly who came up with us), plus a few days in Montpelier for Ben’s graduation. All in all a great vacation: hiking, biking, canoes and kayaks, and a whole lot of reading or just hanging out, and the weather was beautiful the whole time. More stories and photos are coming, but for now here’s a shot of the cabin’s yard:
I think that’s Holly in the hammock, but we all got our fair share…
The return to reality was a bit abrupt though, hot humid weather and thunderstorms all the way back, followed by more of the same once we were home. We got home Monday night, and Tuesday morning we went to the funeral for Kris’s father Frank. Ninety years old, a fun and just plain decent guy — he helped on the PPRAC rides, driving support vehicles — with a love of life and a great sense of humor. (It sounds cliché but he really was all that.) Kris’s sister and Mom also passed away over the last year or so, so this was especially rough for her and her siblings. Rest in peace, Frank.
We’re now back long enough to get into the groove of things: I was at the museum yesterday and did a Trail Patrol ride today on the towpath, and Anne is now at orchestra. Tomorrow we go picking blueberries with Renee.
We had a few chilly days this week, including a rainy day or two, but the past two days have been in the upper nineties. Sunny and hot, classic summer weather — like the weather at the Battle of Monmouth, whose anniversary just passed. Anne and I went to Mauch Chunk Lake yesterday and rented kayaks, and spent the day along the shady lake shore, but today will be a bike day: she went to the Hellertown Farmer’s Market by bike (to hang with her spinning group), and I’ll be joining her there later for the ride home. Ugggh — maybe we can take a dip in Saucon Creek on the way home.
I helped Scott S with his Road Scholar rides this week, but only biked two days: I helped with a towpath ride on Monday, and with a road ride on Wednesday from Cherry Valley Vineyards to Delaware Water Gap — in the rain. (It felt awesome; I wish I was there in the rain right now.) Interesting crew of people, ranging in age from about 50 up into the 80’s, and ranging in skill from neophyte to fairly experienced.
I’m still not sure why, but Monday was a totally wasted day. Maybe it was residual exhaustion, maybe it was the heat or pollen, but I was tired and headachey, unable to concentrate, and just plain out of sorts all day, and I basically did nothing. I got up yesterday and I felt much better (it was also a bit cooler), but I seemed to be on track for another “do nothing” day anyway. Until…
I was out in the backyard putting away some party things when I realized it was a beautiful day, and I really needed to go for a ride. I also wanted to keep up on my D&L Trail patrol obligations, so I saddled up and went off for a long towpath ride — I went first to the end of the Lehigh Towpath at Canal Park in Allentown, then turned around and rode to Easton before coming home, for a total of of 34 miles. I was beat by the time I finished, but I was glad I did it, and not just for the mileage: I managed to find two things to report (a down tree near the train yard, and a missing footbridge in Freemansburg), and also helped two women walking their bikes. One had a flat tire, a slow leak that just needed filling so they could get back to where they parked, but they had no pump. So I pumped it up, and off they went. Finally, some things to put in my trail report!
I also came a across two guys on the Albert Street footbridge (my Allentown turnaround), and we all marveled at the giant fish — easily 30″ long — swimming under us in the canal. We exchanged a few more pleasantries, then they went back to ignoring me and continued their conversation, which sounded a lot like drug-dealer gossip, and I took that opportunity to move on. This interlude did not make it into my report…
Back home, I had just enough time to brown the leftover ground beef and toss it in the crock pot with some beans, before going out again with Anne for her Tuesday Night Ladies Ride. It was just us and one other woman, and we did maybe 12 miles total at a pretty mellow pace, which was just fine by me. I did manage to bump into my old friend Bob R, and we rode together for a bit.
Home, had some homemade pizza and some beer, and we (or I) fell into bed exhausted — but it was the right kind of tired this time.
What a busy weekend! We had an afternoon/evening barbecue on Saturday, which meant that we spent much of last week getting ready, especially in terms of the yard: I dismantled two raised beds — they were under the persimmon trees and didn’t get enough sun — and re-seeded them for grass, then mowed and trimmed and weeded and generally cleaned the yard, bought food and beer, and also did a bunch of indoor, house-cleaning stuff. This meant that by Saturday morning we only had an enormous, as opposed to overwhelming, amount of preparation to do. Got through all that just in time for the first guests…
The party was a success as far as I was concerned, and I think everyone had a good time, but I pretty much forgot to eat I was so busy, and the same was true for Anne. Too bad, because we had pizza from the bread oven, and burgers, and hot dogs, and various salads & desserts brought by our guests. (Luckily, we overdid it on the food shopping and have tons of leftovers, so we won’t miss out.) We fell into bed around 11:00 with just a minimum of cleanup.
Yesterday I did a bit of backyard policing while Anne went to the Hellertown farmer’s market, then we went to Glassboro for her niece’s HS graduation party. That was really pleasant, and the drive was fairly painless despite having to get through/around Philly. We managed to be home before dark, grilled up some chicken kebabs and eggplant, and were in bed fairly early.
It’s stinking hot out, yesterday and today, and it’ll likely continue for the rest of the week. We had water balloons for the kids at our BBQ, and I am thinking of going down to the Monocacy for a dip. I was ready to write off and re-re-seed the newly seeded areas in the back, but the trampling they got Saturday seemed to do them good: the new grass sprung up overnight. A win is a win; I plan to do as much nothing today as I can.
Anne and I did the Sojourn thing today. We volunteered to monitor, and direct the bike traffic through, a busy intersection: Race and Lehigh Streets in Catasauqua. Race Street is a tiny two-lane road, but it’s insanely busy (it handles about 18,000 vehicles a day, I looked it up when we got home), and the riders had to go about two blocks on the street, before getting into a left turn lane and making a left onto Lehigh. My job was to direct the riders to their left turn, and Anne stood on the other side of the intersection, sending them on their way.
It was an interesting, and sometimes hair-raising, day. The ride is billed as a multi-day ride on a towpath or rail-trail, and I don’t believe that many of the riders were expecting or prepared to ride on busy streets. Some few came through like champs, obviously able to ride as part of traffic: they took their lanes, controlled their situations, and made the turn with no problem. Others were able to pedal and steer their bikes, but had no real skill or confidence in vehicular cycling: they clung to riding the gutter and were trapped there by a wall of cars when it was time to go left. Finally, there were the riders who looked only marginally competent on their bikes, and were truly frightening to watch — they mostly ended up walking across the intersection.
Anyway, we were out there for just over four hours. Then the last riders came through, Scott S rode up from the intersection he’d been working, and the three of us biked back to Bethlehem for some Lehigh Pizza. It was a warm and sunny day, and by the time it was over I got all the sun I’d missed yesterday, and then some. I now sport a serious “farmer’s tan:” white forehead, lobster-colored everything else.
I was going to be leading a ride today, up on American Standard in Jim Thorpe, but the weather — which was beautiful yesterday, and has been really nice and sunny all week, dry even, despite repeated dismal forecasts — just isn’t cooperating today: there is much rain coming down, and the radar says it’s going to continue. Oh well, the garden could use it; I’ll reschedule for another rainy day…
Yesterday was “errand day,” meaning I drove around and bought things. I mostly picked up cleaning and yard products, but I also hit Cutters and Saucon Valley Bikes — I got new gloves, chain lube and other standard things, and also got new brake pads. Yesterday was my first time replacing the pads on this bike, and it seemed easy enough, though I may have to bleed the brakes at some point once the pads have seated. (I never know what problems I’ll encounter, or cause, when I start messing with real bike maintenance.) I also tightened some pivots and re-slimed the tires, things that I’ve been putting off for a week or so. “Errand day” sort of morphed into “bike prep day,” but that bike was ready for today’s ride.
Meantime, on the mapping front: I got jazzed again about trail-accessible amenities along the D&L, mainly because we did an event with CAT at the Canal Museum and met some people, including a woman representing the Hotel Bethlehem, who would like to see the trail become a tourism draw. I also found out about a B&B outside Freemansburg, sort of a “rural retreat” kind of place, just a few hundred yards from an access point. I decided to add the B&B to my “accessible amenities” database, developed a workflow to do that fairly painlessly, reorganized my QGIS project …and then decided to update both OpenStreetMap and my database with new and missing restaurants, shops etc, in Bethlehem. In other words, things sort of snowballed.
Tomorrow, which is supposed to be a sunny day (sigh), I’ll be volunteering again, this time to help direct bike traffic for the Rails-To-Trails Alliance “Summer Sojourn,” as they navigate the missing parts of the D&L trail near Catasauqua.
Took a rest day today, as Anne did a road ride with Julie G. I had my party yesterday, when I joined a few friends in an MTB pub crawl: Riding up the hill through South Bethlehem and into SMB, out to Lost Tavern and Hop Hill in Hellertown, then taking Black River Rd and SME to Yergey’s and Funk’s in Emmaus. We did some more riding in Allentown, but the bars were closing — it was Sunday afternoon — so we took the towpath home. Here’s the first half, before my Garmin died:
Pretty good time, even if I did feel sketchy and tentative in the more technical offroad stuff. Cheers!
Reading: I’m almost done with Jeff VanderMeer’s book of short stories, The Third Bear. This is working out a bit like N.K. Jemisin: after reading an awesome trilogy, I picked up the author’s freshman effort and found it a chore to read. I’m finding that VanderMeer is big on weirdness — I’d read before bed, and every night I’d finish one story and say “Well, that was fucked up.” — but he isn’t really into closure or answers, and in a short story format, where things keep starting over, over and over again, it wears thin.
I just got my new eyeglasses in the mail, from Zenni Optical. I love them! What I love best — aside from the fact that I can see again: the prescription hasn’t changed much, but my old glasses were pretty scratched up — is that one frame cost $9.00, and the other cost $6.00. (Stylish too, they’re not low-priced dogs.) There were other costs in there, total cost was probably ~$60 each but that’s still pretty hard to beat.
I also ordered a new thru-axle adapter for the bike rack, one that is the correct size for my bike; this should come with in a few days. I am now also contemplating new summer sandals — my Tevas are getting a bit worn — but that’s for another day.
Anyway, carry on…