• 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.

  • Infrastructure Week Continues

    I got the new Garmin battery today, the last of my purchase items from Amazon, and I will be installing it today if I can find the instructional video online; the battery came with tools and an instructional DVD, but my laptop’s DVD player has decided it no longer works, so it’s either YouTube today, or I have to email the battery company to get a link to where they keep the video online. There will be some delay I’m sure, but we’re always moving forward…

    Several light bulbs burned out this week. I don’t know why, but they do seem to die in clusters, even these newfangled fluorescent/LED ones (some of these actually were fluorescent bulbs, which probably means they’re years old by now). I got all but one replaced, an outdoor one for the back porch light. So, off to the hardware store I go. I’ll be skipping Lowe’s because I am still looking for a kitchen clock and they didn’t have them; if whatever hardware store I hit is similarly lacking I’ll just go to Amazon again.

    Also up: food shopping. I’ve been eating like a king the past week, steaks with roasted veggies, ham & beans, etc until yesterday, when it was time for dinner and I realized I had no food. Since I was totally absorbed in that routing program — I’m trying to add a feature, but it seems to be putting up a struggle — I just sat home dinnerless, pissing the hours away until I went out to get some late-night nachos at Brew Works. Oops! So, food shopping.

    What’s not on the list? Cycling. I keep hoping that my toe will feel better day by day, good enough soon that I can put anything other than sandals on (I actually wore sneakers last night), but the truth is I have a broken toe and it takes 6 weeks to heal, so I’d better man up and get used to light duty for a while. Maybe in a few more days…

  • Housebound and Alone

    Well not really, but Anne is now into the second week of her bike adventure, and my stubbed toe — can you believe it? — along with the weather, kind of keeps me from wanting to be very active. So, what have I been up to?

    Well, for one thing, I’ve been trying to stay ahead of domestic disaster, here on my own. The Trail Summit kept me busy for a few days, then I went on a round of house cleaning: I straightened, dusted and vacuumed upstairs one day, then did the same downstairs another day, and in between I did some food shopping and ran errands. I also had a bit of an “infrastructure incident:” the support at the wall for one of the clothes hanger rods broke in my closet — I hung up some suits from the drycleaner the day before — so one errand was to Lowes, where I got the support but no other thing I needed. (We need a new kitchen clock, among other things.) This came on the heels of a completely wasted trip to a new phone repair place, which claims in their advertising, and in the “grand opening” article in the local paper, that they can fix just about anything. I show up, looking for a new battery and a replacement dust cover for the charging port — “we can’t fix that.” Yeah I was doing a slow burn after those trips…

    Anyway, I’m continuing with some minor repairs here, changing light bulbs, keeping busy, trying to stay on top of things. I got the phone parts, as well as a new Garmin battery, from Amazon, so when they show up I can do a little DIY repair. There are also a few things at Anne’s office that need doing, which I’ll probably tackle in the next few days. Keeping busy.

    The big thing I’ve been doing has been putting some finishing touches on my Lehigh Valley Commuter Bike Routing Project. I need to update the big database of streets (a daunting task), but I developed a way to quickly get streets that are a part of preferred routes, routes to be avoided, etc identified and updated. This has been a stumbling block, because I’ve had unused logic on the code, to prefer or avoid roads based on which preferred routes layers were visible, and I had no realistic “preferred routes” developed. With this new trick (short scripts to do the updating, based on spatial joins), I drew up a bunch of easy routes, more advanced routes, legal but inappropriate roads, and dirt paths, and added them to the database. Son of a bitch, it all worked!

    I also did a little site cleanup, making things work and look nicer; its close enough to done that I may show it to someone soon — it still has to live on my laptop, since I still have not found a free host that can/will handle pgRouting.


  • Start The Day Right

    Got up this morning, and pretty much the first thing I did was stub my toe on some furniture. It was the toe next to my left pinkie-toe, and it didn’t hurt too much at first, but walking was tough, and when I put my boots on it was torture. I tried other shoes, the only things I could wear were my sandals. Today is the start of the Trail Summit too, and today’s schedule included biking to Easton in my sandals, riding the canal boat — something I’ve never done, until today — then going on a two mile walking history tour before the return ride. It wasn’t too bad, but I think my toe is broken, and I think I’m going to take a nap.

  • Ham & Eggs

    That’s what’s for breakfast — Anne is out of town for a bit, on an epic bike-touring ride down the East Coast with two other women. They met yesterday at the start point (a two-day drive for Anne) and they are leaving either tomorrow or, if they move up their schedule, today. Meantime, I’m holding down the fort and doing my own cooking… I normally have oatmeal for breakfast, but hey it’s the weekend.

    Got in some mapping yesterday, moving some recent OpenStreetmap changes (ones that I’d made) over to my PostGIS/QGIS towpath project, as well as adding more stuff to OSM; I also worked through a bunch of yardwork and laundry. The car was in the shop for an oil change, inspection and (surprise) a new pair of rear tires, so I was sort of hanging around the house, awaiting developments.

    Later in the afternoon I went over to Southside. I got a haircut at Eskandalo and went to Bonn Place for a pre-dinner beer, which is where I ran into old Brew Works compatriot Brian. Haven’t seen him in years and we did a little catching-up, and then I walked over to El Jefe’s Taqueteria to meet Scott S for dinner. Nice place, I’ll be going back.

    After dinner I caught up with John & Donna at Molly’s, which was a fun change of pace, at least until the DJ started in with the club music. At that point we left, walked back over the river and through the last of Celtic Fest, and called it a night.

    Today is house work and (more) yard work and laundry — make hay while the sun shines — then I may do a towpath ride.

  • Rainy Day

    It’s another rainy day, in fact it came pouring down in buckets this morning, and I spent the morning doing some more OpenStreetMap mapping. There’s a new development in Bethlehem Township, mixed apartment buildings and single-family homes, with its own shopping center, swim club, bike paths and retention ponds, and I rode over there yesterday to gather information. GPS, geotagged photos, and now I’m just trying to put it all together. I think I need another trip over to get more street data, so for now I’m focusing on the stores in the shopping center — I did some last night, and a bit more today, and will probably finish the stores a little later this week. Meantime, here’s a photo from the yard:

    bee on flower
    Bumblebee on a Mexican sunflower.

    I took this a few days ago, playing with the “selective focus” on my camera phone since it doesn’t actually have a “macro” function… The summer is winding down, but the yellow and reddish-orange flowers are still doing great; the bumblebees are really enjoying the Mexican sunflowers right now, and there are usually dozens on each plant every time we walk by.

  • Lazy Day, Sunday Afternoon

    Just kicking back this afternoon. We woke up at the crack of 10:30 to a rainy day, bad weather ahead of Hurricane Florence — the “pre-math” of the hurricane? — and since it looks like a good day for housework, nobody here is moving very fast. It’s actually a bit chilly out, mid 50’s, and I am wearing a long-sleeved shirt Anne got for me yesterday while “back to school” shopping with her nieces (who all have school-age kids, and who are all in education themselves). I can do without the rain, but it feels like the start of my favorite time of year.

  • More Nashville

    We did a bit more sightseeing yesterday, and managed to go out to the Parthenon replica they have here. It was built for the Tennessee Centennial, and I’m guessing it was part of the same impulses that influenced the Greek Revival type buildings throughout the town. It was a pretty impressive building, and the inside (the basement, really) is now an art museum.

    Nashville Parthenon
    A full-scale model of the Parthenon in Nashville

    After that, the group split up, with some going to Reese Witherspoon’s store while the rest of us went on a brewery tour, in a section of town called “The Gulch.” The first place we went was Yazoo Brewing, and — we planned it this way — I met my old Manalapan friend Scott and his family. (They live nearby and were going to a College football game.) Really nice to catch up, and meet his wife and kids in person rather than just Facebook.

    After Yazoo Brewing, we went to the Jackalope brewery where the Reese Witherspoon crowd caught up with us. Again, awesome place and really good beer — it was kind of strange to see so many breweries with serious local cred that I’d never heard of, but it was also kind of fun… BBQ dinner after that, then we split again, the youth among us heading back to the honk-tonk part of town, while us olds checked out the free concert.

    The less said about that the better: we are probably a bit too old but it was loud, and crowded, and the act we saw — Matt and Kim — was just plain horrible. They seemed to be a cartoon parody of  a bad techno act.

    Today we’re going on a hike at a local park, and the wedding is tonight.

  • Greetings from Nashville!

    We interrupt this Michigan vacation report to say: we are now in Nashville, Tennessee for the wedding of Anne’s nephew. We left on Thursday about noon, stayed over in Christiansburg VA, and arrived here yesterday in time to go out on the town with a big portion of the wedding crew. The strip here is basically nuts — Nash Vegas, as one homeless guy said — but we got some really good BBQ, and did some serious honky-tonking, before bed.

  • Manistique: Big Spring and Indian Lake

    We were only able to reserve one night at Tahquamenon Falls, but I did get two more nights reserved at Indian Lake State Park, between Lake Michigan and the much smaller, but still huge, Indian Lake. We were almost glamping at this one: our site was near the bathroom, and we ate out for breakfast and dinner. We were right on the shore of Indian Lake, which was forbidding and choppy when we arrived. Llater that afternoon the wind picked up; it felt like, if we were back home, an incredible thunderstorm was about to begin, but all it did was blow — all afternoon and all night.

    The next day was much nicer weather, and we rode the seven miles to Big Spring, which was a huge, crystal clear pond, fed by springs coming up through fissures in the bottom. They said it produced 10,000 gallons a day, which then exited via its own stream and fed Indian Lake. Incredible color, with huge trout just swimming slowly around in the water.

    That night we ate at Big Spring Inn, and the next morning we took off for Marquette.

  • The Searchers All Say We Made Whitefish Bay

    We didn’t quite make it to Whitefish Point, but our first night on the Upper Peninsula was spent pretty close to the bay, at a campsite in Tahquamenon Falls State Park, right where the Tahquamenon River enters Lake Superior. It was pretty serendipitous, actually: the campground was supposed to be full, but I took a chance and called, and we got a reservation for one night — in the RV section. (We got a good look at RV camping here and at our next campsite, and it’s a really weird, alien world.)

    Anyway, we made it to our site in the middle of Thursday afternoon, set up camp and took a short walk down to the river mouth and lake shore, and saw a bunch of pileated woodpeckers, all hopping around on the ground eating bugs. The sunset was pretty; we watched from the riverbank as the sky grew dark, then crashed for the night in the hammock. We’d been warned about serious mosquito nastiness, but the bugs were not too bad, and it was also mush warmer than we were expecting, mid-eighties during the day and maybe 70 at night.

    Friday we packed up, then we did a road ride out to the Lower Falls on the river, about 30 miles round trip. This area is so flat that we were doing a good 17 mph  with almost no effort — it was a bit of a surprise  that there could even be waterfalls here, when we actually found ourselves at the falls they were really big (though not tall), and beautiful. It was another hot day and people were swimming;,and some teens were even playing behind the falling water.

    It was mid-afternoon when we got back to the campsite. We showered and changed, and then hit the road for Manistique.