It’s been over a year now and Pri and I knew where we’d be moving into, and that whole time I’ve been imagining a certain bike route.  When I worked downtown and lived on the west side, I had a route in my mind that was sort of the “long way home” route, about 12 miles, takes about an hour, and a nice way to get some exercise spontaneously.  Then I had a couple of other “after work” routes that I’d sometimes do, again about an hour, and focused on exercise.

I work at home now, so forget about the “long way home”.  But the “after work”, roughly-one-hour route should still be part of my repertoire.  And since the new house is on the south east side, there’s new side-streets to explore!  And although we only moved in last May, I never got around to this kind of thing last year.  :(  I mean, I was busy, but of course I wasn’t busy every single hour.  It should have happened.

But today, it did!  After a nicely productive afternoon and whiltling my inbox down to an amazingly small FIVE messages, I felt like doing something different before I dug back into more hopefully productive stuff this evening.  Well, remarkably, after some rather scary rainstorms this afternoon, the sun came out and it wasn’t even very windy…  It was 6:44, as I recall, but it still seemed light out.  “Oh right!!  Daylight Saving Time!”  So, I decided to celebrate the extra hour of evening sunlight with a spontaneous bike ride.  Finally!

And so, I present my first draft of the first south-east-side “after work” loop.  Only 8.5 miles, so I’ll probably try to have a “longer option” to go for a full hour, especially once I get used to where I’m going.  Today there was a heavy exploration factor, but I was still home about an hour after I had the original idea and got out the GPS, and all the other bike gear…

… and the new Heart Monitor that Pri and I purchased (thanks for the recommendation, Fiona! We love it!). According to it, I burned 627 Calories on the ride.  Based on that and another recent experiment, I’m starting to use 70 Calories per mile as my estimated fuel efficiency. I don’t know how that compares with other bikers, nor do I have extreme confidence in the data that the heart monitor puts out… But still, I’m sure it’s not completely crazy, certainly in the right order of magnitude…  And yeah, I had to pause and thing that when I do serious bike rides like the Hilly Hundred or the big bike ride to Indy I did with Erik years ago, I’m burning multiple thousands of calories. Multiple days of normal eating.  Wow.  No wonder I feel tired.

Not too tired after today’s run.  I should finish this up though so that I can still feel like the whole experience took less than 2 hours.  :)

Well, after wondering how I would spend the day yesterday — with the extra hour! This snuck up on me!! I guess it’s not surprising, since this is the first year that Indiana has done it since I moved here in 1992 — I decided to go for an impromptu bike ride. It was sunny, and even broke 60 Degrees F! And the leaves have been beautiful.

Actually, not from the bike ride, but a similarly beautiful day last weekend...

It was well into the afternoon by the time I got things together, though, so I figured I’d just go for the standard Lake Griffy loop. It reminded me that I made this trip last January, on an unseasonably warm day. This is probably what started me thinking if this was my farewell bike ride for the year. It’s getting cold, and in fact I was surprised that it got as warm as it did today, and especially when it’s rainy, I’m not going to feel like biking…

So, who knows, we’ll see. One thing I can say for sure is that being out of town for so long left me out of shape on the bike. I got stomach cramps and moved slowly, even on this short and familiar trip. Still I’m glad I went, it was good to enjoy the nice weather.

There are lessons to be learned from keeping a blog. One that I’m in
the process of learning is that my blog serves as some kind of a
barometer of what’s going on in my life. There’s obvious sense to
this, I write about things going on in my life. But what I’m finding
interesting is when I am not writing in the blog. I think it’s an
indicator that I’m feeling at least mildly overwhelmed with something.
This can be as simple as being busy with other things, but it can also
be more complicated, and both simple and complicated factors have
contributed to the 1.5 month hiatus that I’m ending now.

It all started with a bike ride. After the disturbing feeling of
being interrupted that I described in my previous post, I decided to
set off in the same direction again the following Saturday, which was
the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. This ride felt much better to
me. Adventurous, in control of the experience, several unexpected
experiences (from the rite of passage of repairing a flat on the road
to a surprising number of animal encounters). I had a great time, and
I came home excited to make [my map]( of
the experience, share [my
and write about it.

I got to work on that, including play with some new options of the
[GPS Visualizer](, but then a most
unusual thing happened. I got a phone call the next morning from the
roommate of a co-worker of mine, Jim Hurd. He called to tell me that
Jim had died. That morning. In his sleep. Seemingly peacefully.
But without much warning.

The rest of the weekend felt totally bizarre to me. I got off the
phone and thought “I was going to make an omelet. Do I still make an
omelet even though Jim is dead?” I decided that, yes, I do still make
the omelet, but … yeah, it was really weird. We all spend so much
time thinking about living long and healthy lives, the simple finality
of Jim being dead seemed bizarre, not to mention very sad.

Making the omelet was one thing, but writing in my blog about a bike
ride suddenly seemed too inane to put effort in to. I did continue
about the weekend with several other activities, notably taking many
of my Informatics friends out for their newly earned Masters’ Drink.
Like everything else, though, this had a surreal tint to it for me.

Getting back to work was actually very therapeutic in this situation.
I was around other people who felt weird in the same way I was, and
that was ironically helpful to my sense of feeling weird. Things
started to settle down a bit as the week progressed. Looking back at
it, it would have made good sense to write something in the blog the
weekend after Memorial Day. But, I didn’t. I did have a wonderful
Ethiopian meal with Amy and Kathleen on Saturday night, followed by a
fun festival of short films. And, on Sunday, Priscilla and I spent a
delightful afternoon, a bike ride followed by a few hours of eating
and talking.

At the same time, I knew I was gearing up for a full month of busy
schedule. My garden/yard was yelling for attention, and I needed to
deal with this before I left town on the following weekend. I did get
a fair amount done that weekend which was good. But this busy-ness
definitely made it hard to imagine sitting down to the blog,
especially since I still didn’t know what to say about everything.

Well, another week rolled by, and it was time to leave town. I stayed
later than I expected so that I could attend Jim’s memorial service on
Saturday June 10. I drove straight from there to Dance Trance in
Lexington, KY, which was good fun. Tom put me up in his home in
nearby Berea that night, and I left the next morning on the *long*
drive to Emerald Isle, NC.

I had geared up for a long drive. I had *Harry Potter and the Order
of the Phoenix* on tape, the fifth in the series that I am slowly but
methodically making my way through. As usual, it succeeded
wonderfully in keeping me company on the long drive. And, being as it
lasts 27 hours, I was in no danger of running out of material before I
got there (I *was* wondering if it would last me for the whole ride
home (which it almost, but not quite, did)).

The drive started off nice enough, my plan to drive through Cumberland
Gap seemed to be a perfectly reasonable way to enjoy the trip without
adding much time. However, the definitive moment of the experience
was when I learned that I-40 near Great Smoky Mountains National Park
and just west of Asheville, NC, was *closed*. Totally closed. No
detour. Three highway workers were handing out slips of paper with
the official “detour” (I am not normally one to complain about highway
workers, but… three workers to hand out slips of paper??!?) which
was to drive most of the way back to Knoxville, TN, and take I-81 and
squiggle back down south for a while. Seeing little alternative, this
is what I did, now keeping myself company with a loud stream of

I estimate that this problem added 2-3 hours to my already
ridiculously long trip. I am very upset that the signage was not
better. But, I do not want to relive that rage, so I’ll just leave it
at that.

Harry was starting to study occlumency by the time I was nearing the
coast of NC. I had an enjoyable but confusing conversation with my
brother Steven on my cell phone, trying to figure out the last 4 miles
of my drive. But, once I was there, I was surrounded by food, drink,
and my loving and fun-loving family.

I liked the way my cousin-in-law (?) Josh described it… something
like: “People at work said things like ‘wow, that sounds like a great
vacation! So relaxing!’. I tried to explain… ‘it will be fun,
low-stress, a nice change of pace from normal responsibilities, but I
don’t think that I’ll be coming back to work feeling at all rested.'”
Basically, my family members and I just can’t resist having fun when
we’re together. So, every day for a week was a bunch of swimming and
beach games during the day, eating, drinking, and strategy/chance
games by night. I’m pretty accustomed to that pattern, we’ve done
this kind of thing together all my life. What’s newer is that many of
those in my generation now have young children. So, the party still
ends at 2am or later, but now it starts up again around 7am. For me,
this definitely gave the impression that the party was really going on
the whole time. Grand fun. But not exactly restful.

The drive home was thankfully more boring than the drive there. I
left on Saturday, slept a good long while in a rest area, and arrived
home early Sunday afternoon, plenty of time for a nap and then an
evening at home. This was good, because it was time to start the
annual ritual of the week-long preparation for my Decadent Garden
Party. This I did, thus spending most of my free time that week
cleaning, cooking, researching recipes, and grocery shopping.

Sue and Michael arrived from Portland on Friday morning, and all in
all the party went very well. The weather was nearly perfect, we were
able to eat outside and there were only a few small unexpected
problems… This was the tenth party, and a number of the guests
conspired to get me wonderful place setting and other adornments.
Very very nice. And, the party, the surrounding activities, and the
presence of Sue and Michael provided good instigation for spending
quality time with some long-time friends who I don’t see very often,
and to introduce them to some of my newer friends and vice-versa. So,
that was all very fun…

But, to return to the theme of this post, having all that going on was
not conducive to sitting down to write a blog post, which by this
point had felt like it had grown hugely in significance since it had
been so long since the previous one…

Before I knew it, we were on our way to Sue’s sister’s house, (well)
outside of Indy, to spend the July 4th holiday weekend with Sue’s
family. This was also good fun. Sue’s brother in law is a brilliant
carpenter and the house that he built his family is amazing. So, we
spent a few days playing games, notably a highly spirited game of
basketball the first day that left me moving a bit more slowly the
rest of the weekend.

Michael left on the 4th, and Sue and I both flew out on Saturday
morning. She returned home, I headed off to Philadelphia for the
wedding of my friends Dan and Reena. I started this post on the way,
and now I have just arrived home. The wedding was fantastic, Reena and
Dan showed off their remarkable creativity and organizational skills,
and created a fun, meaningful, and beautiful ceremony, not to mention
the associated parties. Perhaps the best thing about weddings,
though, is meeting your loved ones’ other loved ones, and this was
also very fun and satisfying.

Today I toured around Philly a bit, which I hope to write about in a
separate post! Because I hope that *this* post represents my return
to more regular blogging! Because, for as much fun I’ve had in the
past month, traveling, entertaining, and visiting some of the most
important players in the history of my life, I do love my more normal
daily routine, my local friends, and my home. So, an irony of the
information age, I’ll stay home more, but perhaps be in better touch.
We’ll see….

Even after Saturday’s trip to King’s Island with Priscilla, I woke up on Sunday feeling well rested and motivated to go for a bike ride. It seems like something one shouldn’t fight when it happens, so I started looking at my maps. I didn’t want to go back to the route that I’d [failed on last time](, I wanted something new. I’d been wondering recently if I’m just used to all of the reasonable ways to exit Bloomington on a bike. Then I remembered that the collection of trips that I bought from the Bloomington Bicycle Club includes a sheet called “The ins and outs of Bloomington”. So, I studied that. The answer is yes, I am pretty used to all of them, but it’s nice to have a list before you so that you can remember ones you haven’t done in a while and think about where they might go that’s different than places you’ve been before. And so it was that I decided to head north on the West side of Highway 37 (which is sort of the great divide of biking around Bloomington). It looked like I might be able to make it to the White River if I was feeling good, and that sounded like a fun adventure.

Read on for more of the adventure, and more [unbelievably cool stuff one can do with GPS data in this day and age](


It’s spring! You’d think I’d be doing lots of weekend bike trips! Well, April saw a lot of special events on the weekends, so I didn’t really have time. Last weekend would have been a possibility, but it seemed like it was just about to rain the entire weekend, and besides, I was hosting that after dance party, so I had to get ready for that. So, ironically, my bike computer tells me that I biked substantially more in both January and February than in either March or April. Weird, huh? Two contributing factors: I’d rather bike in cold than in rain, and in each of Jan and Feb there was at least one nice weekend one which I biked (I even [wrote about the January ride](

Well, yesterday (Saturday) the weather was very nice, and I had very little planned, so… the beginning of the Summer riding season! Yahoo!

Well, not quite. I got out my gear, cleared the data on the GPS, and got on the bike. I needed air in my tires, which I prefer to get from gas stations because I don’t like my own pump. So I started out towards the gas station on 2nd street a mile or so west of my house. I knew they used to have free air, but they’ve changed brands since then, so I wasn’t sure (it’s now a Sunoco).

Well, I got there, and saw the air hose right where it used to be. But when I went to use it… there was no tip on the end to connect to my Schrader Valves (a term that I’d heard on Car Talk just a few hours previous so it was already swimming around in my mind). Shoot.

I took a roundabout route to the next gas station on 2nd St., a Citgo near the Sportsplex. I rode all around before I finally found the air hose hear the carwash. It was free too! And it worked! Man, having enough air in the tires makes a huge difference…

So, I was off! I biked down Clear Creek Trail, all the way to the end. Trying to work my way west of highway 37, I got onto a road called Church Lane. I realized that I’d been there before (it’s getting harder for me to find good bike routes outside of town that I haven’t been on). There was a decent hill on it, and I think I remember hearing a popping sound of some sort as I was fumbling with my gears. But, whatever the case, only a few difficult strokes into the climb, I knew something was wrong. I was in a much higher gear than my shifters indicated.

Sure enough, the cable that controls my rear derailleur was no longer attached to my gear shifter. Ugh. I didn’t know if it could be fixed or not, but a small investigations suggested that there was at least enough (or not obviously insuffucient) cable to attach. I set myself down right in front of a house there (there were no sidewalks or anything on this road) and investigated.

I am happy to say that with the possible exception of a wire cutter, my unbelievably cool bike tool did have every tool I wished for during the investigation. I used three or four different allen wrenches to loosen up a variety of things and investigate. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure it out. Members of the family that lived in the home I was in front of walked by a couple of times, and I felt a little bad for installing myself right there. There weren’t a whole lot of options, though…

Anyway, I eventually gave up and just rode back in perma-high-gear on the rear derailleur. Once I was moving it was fine, but starting was definitely more annoying, and climbing hills was a real chore. *sigh* I did ride into town to Bikesmiths, but they told me that I’d need a new cable and they couldn’t fit me in in the last 1.5 hours of the day. *shrug* Ok. So, Monday…

And, when I got home, I figured I’d at least make sure I remembered how to get data out of my GPS, and after a little investigation I realized I hadn’t turned “tracking” on, so I had no data to retrieve!!

So, the first day of the summer biking season was kind of a bust. I still biked about 13 miles, actually, so I got a bit of exercise, but I had thought I’d bike about twice that… and I thought I’d have more fun…

I haven’t written much to the blog lately, and I attribute that largely to the holidays. I like the holidays, and they play an important role in my life and the lives of my loved ones. So, I was busy. This is the first weekend I’ve been home in a while.

And, thanks to xmas, I’ve got a bunch of new presents! My family and friends are very generous around xmas. In fact, I am struck by how often when someone asks where I acquired something I own, I say it was a gift. Really, a surprising percentage of the durable goods that I own were gifts. Of course, I try to be generous as well, and so does everyone, so perhaps the same is true of most everyone I’m close to. But I think my aversion to shopping in general probably raises the percentage for me.

Anyway, I think I was particularly easy to shop for this year because of my increasing interest in cycling. So, I had a new:

  • handlebar bag;
  • frame bag;
  • bike gloves;
  • long underwear;
  • (unbelievably cool) repair tool;
  • (and the biggest gift of all) GPS

Well, much to my surprise, the weather was very nice this weekend. Actually, I’ve loved the weather so far this winter… seems like it’s either snowing or clear. Clear, cold, and sunny doesn’t bother me at all, although I admit that cold does not make me excited about long bike rides. But still, what I don’t like (and what we typically get a lot of in the winter) is cold, overcast, and drizzling. Yuck.

Anyway, yesterday was very sunny, and I thought “I could bike in this.” Then, today, it was not only sunny, but even quite warm! It topped 60 this afternoon! Woah!

Well, how could I resist? I installed my new handlebar bag (with my new unbelievably cool repair tool), figured out a way to attach my GPS to it, strapped on the frame bag, donned the gloves and the long underwear, and set off! I rode a variation on one of the easiest routes that I do, one of my “12 mile after work” routes that can be ridden in about an hour. Usually I do these routes for the exercise and the mind-cleanse, so I usually push myself a bit. Today, though, I was telling myself to “play”. Every time I thought of something I might adjust or check with my new gear, I tried to check it. So, definitely a slower ride than usual. And then I went out of my way to go to Staples to buy me a new Flash/USB drive (I should write about that in a different post).

The ride went well, it did feel relaxing. But, part of my excitement to bike was to unveil the new abilities made available to me by the GPS, and some very cool software. So, now, thanks mostly to here is
a google map version of where I biked today
and [an elevation profile]( as well! I found the software and stuff necessary to do this yesterday, and I’ve been very excited about the ability. Very cool.

Furthermore, I’ve been having good luck with finding perl modules and the like to play with the GPS data myself. I was hoping I’d do a total ascent graph to post up here as well. Unfortunately, though, the data is.. not reliable. I have to learn more about some of the stuff that the GPS does with elevation, because it seems to make these corrections, often when I’m standing still. I calculated the total ascent to be about twice what the GPS said it was. I tried to correct for the corrections, but I never got it to within 20% of what the GPS said. And I’m not sure I trust what the GPS said anyway (it said ~1700 feet for this ride, that seems a bit high to me. One of my estimates came back closer to 1400 feet, but I don’t know whether to believe that or not). I wonder if part of the confusion was that it was very windy today, and that maybe the variable pressure confused the GPS’s internal barometer. Weird, I don’t know, I’ll have to research it and/or get used to it.

I could say tons about the bike ride, but I’m trying to get to bed, so I’ll just highlight a couple of things:

* Why did I ever bike up the hill on Old 37 between Dunn and Bethel? I can bike up the same hill on much more pleasant back roads. Doesn’t make the hill any easier to climb, but at least you’re not also worried about cars.
* Both of the climbs I did near Griffy were about 250 ft vertical. So that’s: from the bottom of the dam (~600 ft) to around the corner of Bethel and Hinkle (~840 ft); and from the causeway at Griffy (~650 ft (50 feet higher than the bottom of the dam!)) to the crest of the hill near the corner of Jordan and 17th St. (914 ft! I had no idea there was such a high point over there near the frats!)

Ok, enough geeky reminiscing. I’m going to bed.

Matece, Michael V, and a few other people I know all drove down to [LEAF]( this weekend. Jan K was also going down from Urbana. Emily and Casey both live down there, and were also very excited about the event. All of them encouraged me to go too. I definitely considered it…

But, it turned out to be the weekend that *everything* happened. The [Hilly Hundred]( being the big one, but Saturday was also the night that Ira Glass was speaking at the IU Auditorium, and the night of the [Eroticon]( Tad then scheduled his housewarming/pumpkin carving party for Friday night, and just to round things out, Mark R invited people over for soup on Sunday afternoon (which I thought was a courtesy to the Hilly Hundred riders, but I don’t actually know how much that motivated him).

Well, I decided that since I didn’t go to the dance, I’d better make sure to have a really good time doing all the things I could this weekend. Ok! So, my motto became “doin’ it all!”

It got off to a bad start when dinner and conversation with Kynthia lasted much longer than either of us really intended on Friday night. We almost missed Tad’s party! But there were still several people there when we got there, and it was fun. But, I didn’t want to drink a lot or stay out late, since I was scheduled to pick up Erik at 8am, so we were only there for a short bit. Some other people there certainly were drunk, though!

Saturday, I picked up Erik. We rode to indy together, so this was our second experience with long distance cycling together. I think we’re a good match for each other. I think I slow him down a bit, but he doesn’t seem to mind, and we have good conversation and otherwise seem to be good company for each other. Amy N went with me last year, but bailed this year because she had a wedding in MN. Sad! But oh well…

The ride went really well. According to my bike computer, we averaged well over 13 mph both days, which is far better than my typical 12 (it may not sound like much, but it’s probably a 10% improvement over last year). But, what was more striking was that I just wasn’t that phased by any of the hills. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly treated several of them with due respect, I thought a lot about strategies for getting over them and certainly had to cope with a lot of difficulty. But, almost without exception, I finished every one thinking “that didn’t seem as bad as I remembered it being”. My only theory on why is that the biking I’ve been doing has just resulted in me being in better shape/better conditioned, which is nice to think about… but so much so that I hesitate to believe it because I know I’d be biased towards believing it. But what? The size of the hills didn’t change significantly so… *shrug*

After Saturday’s ride I took a bath, talked with Sue, went to dinner with Kynthia, and then raced to the Audirium to see Ira Glass. It was good. I didn’t know what to expect, but he basically just sat and chatted about doing the show and what he thinks about it and stuff. He did an amazing job connecting with the audience, giving us all (if I may speak for everyone) the feeling that we were his friends and he was excited that we were willing to let him expound on his opinions for a while. I left feeling like if I passed him on the street, he’d recognize me… which is ridiculous of course, but that’s the feeling I got.

Of course, I’ve got my mild issues with him and his show. I was glad that he acknowledged that they should have a greater variety of background music. His descriptions of the formulas and tricks that they use in producing the shows were very much in line with a lot of the things that I’ve noticed about the show, I found it a wee bit odd that he was just unabashedly admitting to us how formulaic and “tricky” they are with it. I am a bit bothered by that kind of thing, but he obviously isn’t, and indeed seems to think that all journalism should be done that way. Of course, all journalism is formulaic, so what’s my beef? Not much, but I guess I’d like to believe that information could be broadcast in a number of effective ways that didn’t all follow some formula. Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be an entry about my opinions on those things, I’m just talking about my weekend.

After the talk, Kynthia took me to her house where I picked up my car and went home to get ready for the Eroticon. I had decided to go, but as partial compromise I’d decided I wasn’t going to spend lots and lots of time on my outfit. “Just throw on a dress and go check it out” is what I said, again thinking that I shouldn’t drink much or stay out late. So, that was the goal. I chose a dress that Sue had gotten as a DGP possibility, but that was beaten out by another possibility. A bit hard to imagine, because it was a nice dress, and I thought it fit me well. I wore a red “tissuey” scarf and that was about it… Oh, I had a funny pair of cheap but “fashionable” black flip-flops that I wore, which was good because I was worried about what shoes I might wear. The were too small, though, so they bothered my feet a bit.

The event was good! *Lots* of people there, which was nice because the last couple similar events were not very well-attended. I saw a number of people who I know (and I’m not going to try to list them in case they don’t want their attendance broadcast on the ‘net) but mostly hung out with Renee and Jeremy and some of their, uh, circle of friends. I like them, it was fun. And I did a good amount of chatting/dancing/flirting with other people. I was glad I went.

I stayed out just a bit longer than I’d intended, but I was in bed before 2a. At about 7:45 I woke up, two minutes before my alarm, and started getting ready to go. My socks and pants that I had hand washed hadn’t dried yet, which I was disappointed in because I’d hoped that the synthetic fibers would make them dry that fast. Alas. However, they did both dry incredibly quickly in the dryer. Like, less than 5 minutes. Very dry. Impressive.

Not much too different to say about the Hilly today. It was fun. I guess the biggest surprise was a rift in the usually flawless organization of the event. When we got to the lunch break after riding 28 miles and climing well over 1000 feet of hills, there was no food there! Some logistical problem resulted in the food being late. I don’t know the details, but would sure like to know what happened. If anyone reading this knows, please share! Anyway, as I suggest above, I typically think of the organization of this event as exemplary for anyone planning any major event, and this one problem is not going to turn that opinion upside-down. Still, it cannot be denied that it was a blemish on their previously (for me at least) spotless record.

But, other than that, the Hilly went well. I’m still amazed by one hill very near the end that just doesn’t look like a hill. Surrounded by farm land, it really feels like you’re on level ground. But, just as with last year, I was getting totally demoralized feeling like I was pedaling really hard and just not getting anywhere. However, it turns out that this section is a hill, similar in many ways to “water tower hill”, which is just after it (check out the Sunday [elevation profile]( and you’ll see the two hills right near the end) and which we all respect greatly for being a difficult hill to climb. So, yeah, it’s weird. So, even though I was trying to convince myself of that, it was still demoralizing. Ironically, I felt much better as I trodded very slowly up water tower hill, just because I totally felt like I was on a hill.

Anyway, we finished the 51 miles of today’s ride in 3 hours and 45 minutes of biking, which felt like great time to me. It was shortly before 2p when we left the road. I gave Erik a ride to the School of Informatics and then headed over to Mark R’s for the soup/party. I was the first one there, which was surprising to me. The only other people who came were Ann and Nancy from Urbana, also fresh from the Hilly. It was fun to see them and to compare notes on the ride. And Mark’s straw bale house is really cool. And, as Ann and I independently observed, the soup really “hit the spot”! Great thing to have after the ride. I was pleased.

I came home, talked with my mom on the phone, and took a bath. Now I’m winding down and will go to bed early, aiming to be to sleep as shortly after 10p as my body wants to sleep. It’s been a busy weekend! But, I’m finding recently that I’m enjoying being busy. As much as I like being alone, it feels good to my psyche right now to feel like I’m doing lots of things. Of course, some of the things that I do are alone, not social events. So, it’s not the being with other people as much as feeling like I’m living life with lots of energy going in to cultivating joy. There are many kinds of joy, so it makes sense to do many types of things to experience it.

my bike, loaded up for camping Yup, I loaded up the bike and headed out towards Brown County State Park. This was my first major ride since the bike to Indy, and I had such a good time writing up [a plain-text log of that trip]( that I thought I’d do it again for this one. Could be a regular feature here on my blog. But whether that’s true or not, here’s this one…


Got home from work today and there was another box on my porch. This was my new (used) turntable! Sadly, my old turntable, which was awfully cool when my brother Allen bought it ~1980, started having serious trouble. I eventually took it apart and discovered a [broken piece of plastic]( Dang. I didn’t want to mess with it, I have enough projects going on. So, I found [one on eBay]( and bought it. The seller was fast, it was here surprisingly quickly!

I opened it up, the whole thing was wrapped in bubble wrap. It was hard to get through it all, but I did it! But what I found was that the [needle was totally broken off](!! Ugh. I wrote to the seller, and he wrote back *amazingly* quickly and took responsibility and said he’d send me a new needle. Kudos to him. So, I’ll be waiting on that.

Meanwhile, though, still playing with the last shipment, I found a [list of stuff to take bike touring]( online, written by the same guy that wrote the book I liked! I put that onto my Palm (using a [nifty little palm app that converts memos to todo lists](, via a [nifty little basic implementation for PalmOS](, and packed up my panniers with just about everything I’ll need for an overnight. It’s a bit heavier that the simple test from Tuesday, I think I’ll still be under 30 pounds, doing pretty well, I think. I then put some directions onto my palm… I’m pretty much all set for that adventure!!

Now I have to convince myself to go to bed. I’ve sure been staying up late this week…

Well, as I was hoping, my order from Campmor arrived today, featuring a variety of stuff, but mostly bike related gear… most notably [panniers]( and a new [sleeping bag]( I’m quite pleased with the sleeping bag, lightweight, compresses well, and seems comfortable. The panniers are smaller than I expected, which is disappointing. Still, I was able to stuff the sleeping bag into one of them, strap my new tent (a very generous gift from Sue, who had a very lightweight tent she wasn’t using) and a thermarest onto the rack, and still have one whole pannier free. I threw some stuff into it: a liter of water, a “double” sized can of beans, a bunch of random camping/biking/other stuff, mostly just looking to add some weight. There was still plenty of room available.

I went for a ride around town with what I believe to be fair simulation of a reasonable load for an overnight (ie, one night) biking/camping trip. I went about 4 miles, and was quite pleased. Although I wish those panniers were bigger, they still hold quite a bit and they are safely out of the way of my feet, and they hold their weight well, apparently.

Of the three bicycle touring books that I picked up at the public library (all about 15 years old and all relatively randomly selected (thanks to Kynthia for prompting me with the search!)) my [favorite]( said that in the author’s experience, everyone who ever mounted a loaded touring bike for the first time said “I can’t believe how *different* it is!” I was afraid of that experience as I lifted my bike out of my back yard, because it felt heavy! But, once I got on it and started pedaling, I was surprised by how *similar* it was! Basically, I could tell I was pushing more weight… I don’t think there’s any getting around that. But I was expected to have some concerns about staying steady on the bike or something, but… nope. It rode just great. Woohoo! I weighed it and I had just about 20 pounds loaded on there… I think I’ve read that people suggest sticking to under 40 pounds. I’d have to pack a lot more stuff to go on a long tour, but still, the heaviest and most essential items are all there, I felt the excitement of possibility!

When I got home from my ride, I started thinking about where I might go camping this weekend. I had already thought some about this, considering the Martin State Forest (East of Bedford) and McCormick’s Creek State park (near Spencer). When I was back home, I started looking at maps, and pretty well decided that if I go I should try Brown County State Park, near Nashville. A very nice place that’s a bit touristy, but definitely deserving of more attention than I’ve given it. I plotted out [an adventurous, ~35 mile route there]( and a 20 mile, [much more direct route back]( I’m not settled on this plan by any means. So far the weather prediction is good, but I’m not going to go if the weather is bad. And regardless, I might just change my mind. But, that’s where my mind is about it right now. I’ll probably try to reserve a campsite there if I do it, because I don’t want to go there just to find out that I have to bike back. We’ll see….

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