Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘adventure

Gonna Ride

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What else would I do? Eight months ago, at the end of the 2018 Tour of Minnesota week of biking and camping, I contemplated the possibility that it might have been my last long bike tour. I just don’t get out on the bike like I once did in years gone by.

The Tour of Minnesota is limited to 200 riders and the registration opens February 1st. It fills up fast, so I needed to make a decision yesterday about what I will be doing in June this year. Will I ride it again?

The significant factor inspiring my desire to do it another year was seeing the names of friends and acquaintances who had already registered. I jumped in at number 141, and many of the people before me were the key reasons I have returned for around 20 tours since I first took the bike camping plunge back in 1994.

It’s the dozen people who have become precious friends, and the community of over a hundred treasured like-minded adventurers whom also return, year after year, to ride long miles and sleep on the hard ground, through good and bad Minnesota weather, that draw me back.

Another factor in my decision was the thought that I have no other expedition adventures in mind if I don’t choose to do the tour this year. How would I cope with not having an adventure trip to look forward to?

With Sue and Paul Schurke in a park after a day of biking

This year we will pedal from Grand Rapids, MN up to Ely and back. I’ve got a real soft spot for Ely, MN. That is where Cyndie and I learned winter survival skills from Will Steger at his homestead back when we were in high school. Ely is also where we took our children for a 4-day lodge-to-lodge dogsled expedition with Paul Schurke.

Paul was a member of the Steger expedition to the North Pole and he is also an alumnus of the 2008 Minnesota bike tour, back when Jim Klobuchar was the illustrious Conductor of the ride, so I’ve pedaled miles on the road chatting with him.

How could I not sign up for this year’s Tour?

I’m definitely planning to ride the Tour of Minnesota again, and I’m looking forward to communing with friends, old and new, who share an affinity for this kind of biking and camping fun in June.

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Written by johnwhays

February 2, 2019 at 11:27 am

Weather Delays

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What a day of travel we endured yesterday. Florida was experiencing a cycle of non-stop rain and Minnesota was getting smacked with heavy snowfall. It impacted our plans on both ends.

I took one last photo of the pool before we left, in the dreary rain, all covered up for the cool week ahead.

By noon, we were at the Fort Myers airport for our early afternoon flight. Unfortunately, it didn’t depart in the early afternoon, as planned. In fact, it didn’t depart at all.

The initial delay was rumored to be because of a wind shear situation that was preventing our plane from being allowed to land. It circled the Fort Myers airport until it was so low on fuel that it needed to divert to a different airport to refuel.

Eventually, after several delays that pushed it to a 4:30 departure time, our flight was ultimately canceled. The next flight that airline offered was going to be in a couple of days.

That didn’t work for us.

Cyndie contacted her parents and they were able to find us seats on a Delta flight that was to leave at 6:30. We had to get to baggage claim to find our luggage and then make a second trip through security.

We got a little nervous when that flight announced a departure delay, but it only happened once. This time they said air traffic control in Minneapolis was dealing with bad weather and pushing arrivals out. Once our plane was in the air, we figured we were done worrying, but there was a moment of discomfort when we got stuck circling a couple times before final descent was able to happen.

Initially, we only found one of our bags at MSP baggage claim, a process complicated by their announcing the wrong carousel for pick up. The clock was ticking for us because every minute of delay allowed the snowy roads to get worse than they already were.

By 11:00 p.m. we were finally in our car and ready to forge our way on unplowed roads for the hour-long drive home.

It was wicked. Visibility was poor, and the snow-covered roads were treacherous. As we got close to home, the wind was creating bumpy waves of drifted snow across the pavement.

Surprisingly, the harsh conditions only added 15-minutes to our drive home from the airport. Unsurprisingly, the horrible driving convinced me that I would not be making the trip to the day-job this morning, like I had originally planned.

Looks like I’ll be plowing and shoveling, instead.

That’s one way to welcome us home again.

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Written by johnwhays

January 28, 2019 at 7:00 am

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Several Adventures

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The Gulf of Mexico

We walked the beach

and trails of Lovers Key State Park, where we also paused for a picnic lunch

While walking, we came upon an osprey dining on a fresh catch

Barb & Mike got a crash course on piloting a Segway (no crashing involved)

We toured the multi-million dollar neighborhoods of Naples

and I barely eked out a vague capture of the sunset for Steve R.

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Shopping Dining

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Yeah. Remember that thought I tossed out before we left, about considering posting one picture to portray each of our days. Never mind that.

Yesterday, we shopped the Miromar Outlet mall.

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In the evening, we dined at Divieto Ristorante.

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In between, we snuck in a little swim.

Rinse. Repeat.

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Written by johnwhays

January 23, 2019 at 7:00 am

Florida Chill

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The morning was cold enough that there were wisps of evaporating moisture rising from the heated pool. I enjoyed a swim to start my day, despite temperatures in the 40s (F).

Yesterday was Fred’s actual birthday, so we updated the chalkboard sign in the kitchen.

Fred was off braving the chill to get in a round of golf, so the rest of us went on an expedition to visit Farmer Mike’s U-Pick flower and produce operation.

On the way home from the farm, we stopped for some nourishment at Dolly’s Produce Patch and Eatery. It was a little early for lunch, thus our choices ranged from Blueberry Scone, to a slice of Key Lime Pie, to my cup of freshly homemade Cream of Broccoli Soup.

The soup was divine.

The bulk of the afternoon was filled with reading and a nap in the sun, and then preparing for the grand finale of the day.

Birthday dinner for Fred would be at Real Seafood restaurant in Naples. It carried on the theme of divine food. I honestly intended to take a picture, but was so immersed in the experience, taking a picture never crossed my mind.

We were extremely well fed in every way.

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Written by johnwhays

January 22, 2019 at 7:00 am

We’re Acclimatizing

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Our first day at Cyndie’s parents’ Florida home was a period of acclimatization to the dramatic change in environment. We are adjusting to the 1-hour difference of the Eastern time zone by soaking up the sun while lounging in and around the pool.

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Written by johnwhays

January 20, 2019 at 8:09 am

Plane Delay

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Our plan for the day played out perfectly, right up to the point where the pilot, standing next to his suitcase, took the microphone to speak to the throng standing in queue to board.

The walk-around revealed a leak that would require taking the plane back to the hangar for repair.

How can you argue with a delay situation that involves not flying in a plane with mechanical issues?

We didn’t settle into a bed until the wee hours of this morning, but did so safe, sound, and thrilled to be laying heads on pillows.

We’re here!

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Written by johnwhays

January 19, 2019 at 8:45 am