• 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.

  • Eat Sleep Ride

    Some recent rides:

    Yesterday Anne and I did a ride out to the “Snoopy Barn” in Nazareth with our cycling neighbors Mat and Diet, and our other neighbor Josh. Our true goal was Sweet & Savory Bakery in Nazareth; we stopped there for donuts and coffee on the return trip and had a picnic at the nearby park. We were out from about 10:00 to about 2:30, with actual ride time of just over three hours for our 33 mile round trip.

    Saturday we went with our friend Yani B, and Dwight and Rachel with their son Josh, up to the Game Lands in Jim Thorpe. We parked at the first Game Lands parking lot, rode out the the second overlook, then on the return trip we stopped to hike down to the big flat rock area at the top of Glen Onoko Falls, where we dipped our feet in the creek’s freezing water. We spent quite a bit of time at the overlook and the falls, and we also stopped for a picnic in town so it was a long day, but our total riding time was about two hours for seven miles on the old Broad Mountain doubletrack.

    These trails are, sadly, far less fun than they used to be, ever since the Game Commission put down ballast stones, but mountain biking was an exciting new experience for our friends, especially Yani (and Rachel — Dwight is an outdoorsman with quite a bit of MTB experience, and I’m sure he’s brought Josh on some adventures), so it was fun to share the general enthusiasm.

    Thursday was the make-up day for the Weekly Women’s Bike Ride, and I joined Anne and the ladies for a ride down the South Bethlehem Greenway and part of the Hellertown Trail. (Musikfest was in full swing, with Sand Island as ground zero, so riding the D&L was out of the question.) Thirteen miles total, about two hours at “conversational pace,” and then we stopped in at F&A Grog House afterward.

    Saturday a week ago I helped Anne run a Smart Cycling (i.e. LAB “road one”) course, with some classroom learning, skills training at a nearby basketball court, and a 5-mile “put our new skills to use” ride around town. I haven’t done anything like that in quite a while, and I was surprised at how much fun I had teaching.

    The Friday before was a road ride, just me and Anne, down to Milford for lunch. Forty-six miles, maybe five hours plus breakfast and lunch stops. It was a bit on the warm side (and we were out in the sunny hills at exactly the hottest part of the day), but what a beautiful day!

    Thursday was the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast at the Canal Museum, and I rode there on the Iguana. Twenty towpath miles — two 10-mile rides really, with a breakfast in the middle.

    All of these events were followed, eventually, by an afternoon nap.

  • Cellos: 2, Coffee: 1

    Morning weigh-in: 173.5#, 13% BF

    I grabbed the road bike yesterday and went out for a hilly ride through Freemansburg, but something was wrong with my front shifting, and when I stopped to look at the situation — just in front of the Freemansburg Hill Climb entrance, ironically — I saw that my front derailleur was pretty messed up, like it had shifted its position on the frame and the chainrings were grinding into it. Not an easy roadside fix… I turned around and managed to limp home, but once I had access to my tools and a bike stand I was able to get the derailleur back in place pretty quickly. I’m still not sure what happened, but the bike is working fine now.

    So today Anne and I went out for a morning coffee ride, out to Taylor Roasted in Northampton. On the way we passed our favorite bakery (La Luna), so we stopped in there to pre-game with a cup and a donut, then continued on — a two-cafe day! But, when we got to our destination we found Taylor Roasted closed, and not like we were there at an off hour or day either: closed closed. We were a bit put out but hey, at least we got some La Luna… We took the Nor-Bath trail home.

    At home I looked up what had happened to Taylor Roasted, and it was a doozy: there is a small park next to the shop, and one night someone took a garden hose from the park, stuck it in the shop’s equipment exhaust pipe, and turned on the water. The place was flooded out and ruined, and their roasting equipment was wrecked; they’re temporarily closed now while they do repairs. According to Facebook there has been an outpouring of community support, but man, people can be awful.

    This afternoon was cello duets with Donna H, where it seems we have upped our game lately: we’re playing a lot of new and more difficult pieces, feeling more confident about them, and playing them unexpectedly well.

  • A Wedding

    Yesterday was the big day for our friends Scott & Kellyn — who, as we told everyone, met at our party. They had a beautiful wedding (officiated by Donna F) and an awesome party afterward. Congratulations to the happy couple, and thanks for letting us be a part of your celebration!

  • More Ball Bearing Woes

    Posted on by Don

    Morning weigh-in: 175.5#, 11.5% BF

    I took my road bike over to the CAT office yesterday and took apart my freehub. What a mess! There are a whole lot of very small ball bearings in there, and the bearing cage basically fell apart — sound familiar? The slop in the freehub was basically caused by missing BB’s but the entire inside was trashed anyway. Maybe it can be serviced, but I think it’ll be better to just get a new one, if I can find something compatible with that wheel. I will also be replacing the cassette, the chain and the front rings, so maybe I should just get a new wheel as well.

    One good thing: while I was at CAT, Scott was able to get my pedals off, so now I can replace them.

    Today we had to run a bunch of errands, and when we got home we were hungry and tired and crabby. So, we hopped on the mountain bikes and rode to Freemansburg, maybe four miles away on the towpath. We got takeout at a place called Cherry’s Caribbean Palace (curried goat, mac & cheese, rice and plantains) and ate at picnic tables by the restored Mule Barn. It totally changed the afternoon’s vibe. I’ve been meaning to check that place out (it’s on my amenities map), and I saw online that they just got recognition as one of the best Caribbean food places around, so this was a pretty good opportunity to do some food exploring. Two thumbs up.

  • It Better Rain

    Posted on by Don

    Morning weigh-in: 174.5#, 15% BF

    Rest day today. The rest of the week is supposed to be rainy, so I did towpath rides yesterday and the day before, and in the heat they took a bit more out of me than usual. It’s so nice out right now, despite the heat (and the rainy forecast), that I’m starting to rethink my decision…

    We were scheduled to go camping in the Finger Lakes this week, and canceled because of the weather forecast: rain and more rain. I just checked the current forecast, and it looks like staying indoors will be a good idea hereabouts — we even have a flash flood warning for this afternoon — but the Ithaca forecast is starting to look much less severe. Oh well.

    UPDATE: We got some rain, and I expect we’ll get some more in an hour or so. Meantime, enjoy this view of LANTA’s routes and stops, suitable for framing on refrigerators everywhere. The routes are blue lines, the stops are green dots, and the municipalities are color-coded white to red based on how many routes and stops are within their borders. I did this to just see which municipalities are not served by permanent routes. Some, like outlying farmland, make sense, but there are other municipalities, centrally located and with sizeable populations, with no bus service. Huh. (LANTA does run a shuttle service in some of these areas, but it’s available by appointment only, and has no permanent routes or stops.)

    LANTA bus routes
    LANTA Bus Routes in the Lehigh Valley

  • New Phones

    Posted on by Don

    Morning weigh-in: 175.5#, 15% BF

    Anne and I just replaced our phones, and in the nick of time too: they were ancient, and falling apart (literally my power button just fell off), and the network they worked on was about to be sunsetted…

    We both got the new Samsung Galaxy A52, which is not top of the line but it still blows our old phones away, thank you very much, and it costs about half of what the top models go for. We bought them online, unlocked, and got new SIM chips from our phone company, and then we transferred our numbers and data to the new phones. Easy enough process, and everything seems to be working OK, now all we have to do is get used to them.

    Rain Comes At You Fast: We had plans to head up to the Finger Lakes for the 4th of July, Ben and Candace (and their new dog) and us, camping and cycling from tomorrow through the 5th. But the forecast has been getting more and more dire as our trip approached, and so we got together in a Zoom chat last night and changed our plans: they’ll be coming to visit us for part of the weekend, and we’ll do a hike if the weather allows.

    I got in another sweltering towpath ride this afternoon, super hot even though I was moseying, but it was beautiful out there. Still, I had the trail mostly to myself, except for a few kids at the swimming holes.

  • Back In The Game. Back In A Lot Of Games.

    Posted on by Don

    Morning weigh-in: 176#, 12% BF

    I’ve been trying to lose weight again lately, and to clean up my diet in general, trying to bring down my cholesterol, triglycerides etc. Nothing major, but I cut back — not stopped, just cut back — on meat, cheese, certain fatty foods, and beer, and now I’m starting to notice a difference. My weight has dropped some more, and I seem to have a bit more energy. I thought the beer would be harder to give up, but that was easy compared to, say, cheese.

    I’ve also been putting a lot of road miles lately, which I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying. (I’m also surprised at my surprise, if you know what I mean — I love riding the road.) That has also helped with the weight loss, and the hill rides especially have noticeably improved my fitness. The extra road miles have also revealed a whole slew of mechanical issues I’ll have to deal with: one of my pedals needs replacing but can’t be removed from the crank, the chain/drivetrain is starting to feel worn, and while I was trying to track down some other problem I discovered that the entire cassette/hub is loose, like “wobbling like a loose tooth” loose, and that’s bad — I might have to replace the wheel. Oy.

    Both of the other bikes are also showing signs that they’ll need more love before they get much more use: I had to tighten the Iguana’s headset (which I replaced just a year or so ago) , and I’m trying to track down yet another squeak near the bottom bracket on the Santa Cruz. The bike work area could also use some love, or at least a good straightening so I can find my tools…

    I got in a nice towpath ride this morning, before the day became too hot.

    Speaking of towpaths… I’m back volunteering at the Canal Museum again, currently working through their fleet of rental bikes and making sure they’re seaworthy. Nothing major, the majority just need a few minor adjustments and a little air. There’s probably plenty of other work waiting after the bikes get done.

    And finally, I’m playing music with others again. I played with Donna H this afternoon, and we’ve been getting together for duets for a few weeks now. The quartet (minus our viola, at least until until she gets back from England) has been playing a bit as well. There’s even been some recent talk of getting the cello/oboe ensemble back together.

    My days are getting full.

  • Moving Forward

    Posted on by Don

    We’re late this year, but I’ve been doing some planting in the garden the past few days. I got in some radishes, beets and various lettuce-like things (mustard, arugula) yesterday, and also planted several cuttings from a currant bush a friend gave us.This morning I put in a bunch of potatoes. I expect to be planting a few more things this week, and some warmer-weather stuff like tomatoes and peppers soon. Meantime, our new tree out front continues to thrive. I planted pansies around the base, and I water the lot of them, tree and flowers, every day.

    This afternoon I got back onto Project Creaky Bike: I removed the crank, then removed the bottom bracket bearing housings (they were in fact loose), cleaned and lubed everything and confirmed that the bearings themselves were OK, then put it all back together, nice and snug. I’ll find out soon enough if that solved my creak — hopefully success won’t conjure up a new one…

    I won’t be going riding tomorrow though, because we’re expecting the appliance service guy some time during the day — oven is on the fritz and probably needs a new thermostat or something. Since Tuesday is now also “cello duets day” with my friend Donna H, we’ll probably be playing here tomorrow instead of in her garden, so I can stay close to home. The expected rain held off today, but tomorrow and Wednesday are supposed to be wet. Maybe a ride Thursday?

  • Vaccinatus

    I don’t remember the whole story — I was young, and it was a long time ago — but I remember as a kid being told that people (like me) who’d had eczema could never get the smallpox vaccine, because instead of developing an immunity they would get smallpox from it. Therefore, since proof of smallpox vaccination was needed to travel internationally, I could not leave the USA. I didn’t really have international travel on my radar as a second grader — people weren’t telling me this to keep me from trying to leave the country or anything, it was just another piece of allergy folklore, passed like “whisper down the alley” from my allergist to my parents to me, and dumbed down for childhood consumption. But here in the present, fifty or more years later, I was wondering just how much of this I understood and remembered correctly…

    According to Google, I pretty much had the story right: thanks to vaccinations, smallpox was eradicated in the USA and Europe before I was born. So even though I couldn’t get the vaccine — vaccinatus eczema was and is a real syndrome — I was pretty safe. To prevent its reintroduction and international spread generally, people crossing borders had to prove they were vaccinated against smallpox (as well as other diseases, like yellow fever). There was a huge push starting in the late 1960’s to finally wipe out smallpox, and it was declared eradicated worldwide by 1980, and as of January 1, 1982, smallpox was removed from the list of required vaccinations, which was about eight years before my first trip outside the USA.

    This whole saga is why vaccine resistance rankles sometimes: Herd immunity is what protected me back then, even though I couldn’t be immune myself, and now people people come up with bogus reasons they “can’t” (won’t) be vaccinated, for things like measles, etc, as well as COVID, compromising the general immunity and putting those people who can’t be individually protected at risk — and the truth is none of us are wholly protected even by a vaccine: herd immunity, starving the pandemic to death, is the only way to really be safe.

    All of which us to say, I got my second jab of the Phizer vaccine on Friday. I felt a bit headachey, tired and out-of-sorts Friday and Saturday, but I’m not sure if it was the vaccine or just seasonal allergies. I’m feeling pretty spry now though, and just waiting for my superpowers to kick in.

  • Milestones

    So, eight years ago yesterday I wrote this, and I said it out loud in front of a judge:


    You brought things into my life I didn’t know were missing, and you’ve made me happier than I realized I could be. I love you with all my heart, and I’ll love you until the day I die.

    In my memory, our love has grown through a series of moments where, with some choice or decision, we were given the chance to deepen our relationship, and with some trepidation we took the chance, and each time it was like walking through a doorway into a better place. Now we’ve come to the next door, the next decision, a commitment that I think we’re both ready to make, and I want to take this next step and continue moving forward with you for the rest of our lives.

    I could say a thousand things here: how I love talking with you, and laughing with you, and how I love just hanging out, holding you and looking in your eyes, but I can sum it up by saying “I love you Anne.”

    Now let’s do this!

    We didn’t actually do much yesterday: Anne had some bike education work at CAT, and I went for an afternoon towpath spin. In the evening we got word that our neighbor got her PhD, so we walked across the street and offered our congratulations and a toast, along with John & Donna and a few other neighbors.

    Meantime, I’ve managed to keep my focus/patience long enough to read a book: The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales. Pretty decent, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s mostly action — so far, but I’m only about halfway through…

    Today, for the first time in months, I’ll be playing outdoor duets with Donna H. I expect we’ll be a bit rusty, but the time has definitely come.