Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘at the lake

And Then

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Suddenly, it was Saturday, August 13 in the year 2022. I woke up in the loft bedroom at the lake place, emerging from typically bizarre dream scenarios to gaze upon damp forest scenery under a hazy gray sky. Knocking off this morning’s Wordle in four, and burrowing deep into comments on Reddit about how fast time flies when looking at decades past, I luxuriate in loitering in bed until Cyndie wakes up.

Yes, I grew up before personal computers or cell phones, but waking up in the morning is pretty much the same as it has always been for me. As best possible, I try to trust my perceived reality is accurate and true. I always sensed that the ads at the back of a comic book or magazine hawking some sensational product like x-ray glasses were more hype than reality. Get rich quick schemes and miracle cure-all formulas, beach wimp to muscle-bound stud plans, or pounds melting away with ease all seemed dubious at best.

What is it about today’s technological advances that have led masses of people to swallow the loads of crap that grifters are dishing out in this day and age? I have no idea. How did typical dream-type bizarreness become everyday headlines? It’s weird.

At the same time, creative minds are still creating fascinating storylines for television series that stream on more platforms than I can keep track of. The ability to discern the fictional drama from what shows up in the news is getting tougher to maintain, but at least I can parse the fiction in measured doses. Binging does happen, but it’s optional.

The daily news keeps coming at us 24/7. I usually preach turning off the news but as time passes I find myself checking it out more than I used to. I think it is in large part a result of the unbelievableness of it all. Am I really living in a time like this? I guess so.

I failed to hit the water when I got up here yesterday. The wind was strong and the rain had just let up making it much more of a “sweatshirt by the fireplace” type of day than a “soak in the water” one.

Does the middle of August mean autumn is any closer than it’s always been at this point of the year? Maybe it just seems that way to me because time flies faster the older you get. It was never like this back when there were no cell phones or internet.

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Written by johnwhays

August 13, 2022 at 9:27 am

Other Pursuits

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With my left quadricep still complaining about being overworked, I took the day off from cycling yesterday and power lounged much of the morning away on my own. I enjoyed the opportunity to catch some Premier League football on television which also provided a chance to nod off and rest more than just my leg muscles.

Paul and Randy did a short bit of biking before Randy headed back to the Cities. After some of the golfers finished one round, other pursuits beckoned. Ultimately, everyone who wasn’t still on the golf course migrated toward the lake. An attempt at water skiing was interrupted when the speed boat under-performed, behaving like the engine couldn’t get enough air, fuel, or both to keep up with demand.

Attention shifted to the pontoon boat and a three-hour cruise around the lake materialized.

The phone-camera selfies all became “us-ies” and David K and Steve kindly shared a couple of group photos capturing the fun. The vague possibility of stopping to check out Powell’s restaurant on the far side of the lake, “maybe for a drink,” became an excuse to have dinner out.

While the threat of rain lingered throughout the day, the few sprinkles that occasionally fell hardly got anything wet, including the drips that fell as we waited for our meals to arrive.

Back on shore as day turned to night, the benches around the fire pit were put to good use and old Derek & the Dominos songs played through a bluetooth speaker as a perfect evening for hanging around a fire transpired.

It was a day that served as an excellent example of how to spend leisure time on the lake. Sure beats workin’.

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Written by johnwhays

August 7, 2022 at 8:04 am

Riding Makwa

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That was a heck of a ride to start my long weekend of biking in the woods of the Chequamegon area, especially since I haven’t been on my mountain bike for what feels like forever. It reminded me why I am more of a road rider at this point in my life.

I’m up at the lake again, this time as a member of an annual golf weekend that two of Cyndie’s brothers co-host. Since I don’t golf, I serve as companion to any former or part-time golfers who are also cyclists. Arriving early enough yesterday to sneak in a first ride with Randy and Paul, we picked the Makwa Trail as the nearby familiar option.

One of the main advantages of Makwa is its lack of any long or severe climbs. Other than that, it provides a brutal dose of unending roots and rocks on a meandering single track that taxes strength and forces constant quick navigating decisions. There are countless hairpin turns and tricky obstacles that show up right when the elevation makes a distinct change. Talking to self, “Do I go over this rock or around it? Should I downshift before I hit these roots? Do I have enough strength to recover from careening off-trail, holding tight as I muscle the bike back on course?”

It is, in a word, exhausting.

In a sentence, it is exhausting with several moments of fun rolling that don’t actually last long enough to catch my breath before rapidly finding myself holding on for dear life again to muscle through the next challenge.

We drove to a spot near the middle of the full Makwa length to start our riding toward the north trailhead. My computer logged it as being over 8 miles of trail. We opted to ride a parallel gravel fire lane road to return to the car. That distance was somewhere around 5 miles. That reveals approximately 3 miles of extra twisting and turning on the singletrack.

What it doesn’t expose is how much more effort it took to conquer the rocks and roots of the singletrack compared to the much smoother graded gravel.

Back at the lake, a soothing swim did well to help me forget how exhausted I was during the ride. We then dined at a nearby restaurant before driving to town to meet up with a majority of the golfing crew at Angler’s Bar. Festivities continued back at the “cabin” vacation home which kept many up much later than common sense would dictate.

I will be lobbying strongly today for a jaunt on our road bikes this morning before we return to the woods in the afternoon for more off-road punishment, I mean, fun.

I forgot, …why is it I don’t golf?

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Written by johnwhays

August 5, 2022 at 6:00 am

Superb Escapades

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Superlatives. Yesterday was as wonderful as the day before and served to amplify the pleasantries we enjoyed tenfold. The weather helped to accommodate anything and everything we found to do, including replacing an ailing screen door.

It looked simple enough until the door Mike and I picked up at the lumber yard in Hayward proved to be an inch taller than the one we were replacing. It appeared the old one had been cut down to fit so we borrowed a circular saw and did the same thing. After much searching, we found an old can of still viable stain and successfully completed the unplanned project.

We also received new insights about our trees from an arborist whose services were enlisted to analyze the health of trees around the group of properties that form the Wildwood Lodge Club, of which Cyndie’s family are long-time members. Near the end of winter last year there was a storm that brought down a lot of big branches and a few trees. The size of some of the limbs was enough to inspire seeking professional advice.

Between those events, the day allowed for paddle board and kayak excursions, we swam and sunbathed, and played a mini-tournament of games. Horseshoes, ladder golf, corn hole bag toss, darts, cards, and an encore round of “Fishbowl,” the triple-game of Taboo, Charades, and Password.

On a walk around the property, we twice enjoyed a close encounter with a doe with three very young fawns. They did not stray far after we came upon them the first time such that we found them again, a little further along in the woods where they were munching on ferns.

Cooking dinner on the fire was so good on Friday that we ended up doing it again yesterday.

Today will be a smidgeon less superlative as we adjust to the early departure of our friends, Barb and Mike as they head back for time with their grandkids this afternoon.

Superb, nonetheless.

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Written by johnwhays

July 31, 2022 at 9:48 am

Lake Fun

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We enjoyed wonderful weather for anything we wanted to do at the lake yesterday, starting with a run to town to buy a replacement screen door for one that wasn’t holding its shape anymore. Yes, we measured first but upon arrival back at the house, we discovered they sawed an inch off the old one to make it fit.

Had to borrow a saw that will allow us to complete the installation today.

Gave us a chance to hop on the pontoon and venture out on the lake for a picnic lunch.

After some beach time and swimming, we played cards out on the deck. I built a fire in the firepit for cooking a flank steak dinner.

That gave us a chance to finally sit on the benches I built from wood left over after our deck rebuild at Wintervale, which Mike helped us accomplish.

Topped off the evening with a triple-game that Barb introduced as, “Fishbowl.” Each participant writes a word on three pieces of paper and tosses them in a bowl. You form teams and take turns playing “Taboo,” charades, and “Password,” reusing the same batch of words each time.

You’d think that would make the solutions easier, but the belly laughs came from how many times people goofed up despite the obvious answer if we don’t stray from the 15 choices we created. Simple pleasures.

We are having tons of fun! Now it’s time for a waffle breakfast before cutting the bottom inch off the new screen door…

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Written by johnwhays

July 30, 2022 at 8:40 am

Scenic Cycling

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Being up at the lake isn’t all about the water. I did get in a swim yesterday afternoon shortly after we arrived but soon after, I hit the road on my bike to ride through the wooded countryside of Sawyer County.

I made my way through the Chief River State Wildlife Management area enjoying the cool air of the forest wafting out onto the hot pavement as I rolled in and out of shade. I didn’t see a deer on the side of the road ahead of me but I suddenly heard the sound of branches and spotted the animal standing broadside and looking at me calmly through the foliage it had just stepped behind.

As I try to write this now I am constantly distracted by coverage of the time trial stage 20 of the Tour de France.

Such fun!

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Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2022 at 9:59 am

Posted in bicycling, Chronicle

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Early Start

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Like a couple of young newlyweds, Cyndie and I got an early start to the holiday weekend and hustled north to the lake by ourselves a day before the massive crowds that will follow. A stop at Coop’s Pizza for our favorite choice in Hayward, then some authentic ice cream decadence at West’s Dairy for dessert, and we were in full lake-place weekend mode before ever reaching the “cabin.”

For the record, I splurged with one scoop each of Coconut Magic Bar and Chunky Musky.

There was some reminiscing about dining at Coop’s on our honeymoon almost 40-years ago, back when it was located in a former gas station on Highway 63. Cyndie burned her lip so bad when hot cheese pulled off the crust that she blistered.

After we unloaded the car, we topped off our night with access to satellite television Tour de France coverage rerunning the stage of day 6 and another Mark Cavendish sprint to the stage victory. We were happy as clams.

It has been longer than I can recall that we have been up at the lake two weekends in a row. This could get to be a habit. Thank goodness we have found a willing animal sitter in Anna, a student at UW River Falls.

It feels particularly summery, which is just as it should now that we are into July. Obviously, we don’t live in the southern hemisphere.

Watching the professional cyclists racing after having just spent some extended time on my bike tour along the Mississippi River in Minnesota provides a valuable perspective. Their accomplishments are so much more amazing than they make them appear.

I hope they get to have ice cream at the end of their daily races.

I visited a couple of Dairy Queens after my days of biking.

It was an early start to foiling my goals of eating less sugar than my addiction longs for. I can attest that doing so wreaks havoc on my attempts to control the brain’s tendency to crave sweetness full time.

Good thing my healthy routine will be able to resume as soon as this weekend is over. My summer brain is starting to think I should have ice cream every day.

I’m afraid the rest of my body takes exception to that kind of thinking.

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Written by johnwhays

July 2, 2021 at 6:00 am

Not Suffering

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Just a little rain up here at the lake yesterday afternoon, but we are living the life of luxury, regardless.

Breakfast on the deck.

But earning it by taking care of that too-long neglected task of tending to the gutters on the backside of the house. Out of sight, out of mind, you know.

After I dug for long enough, I actually found a gutter underneath all that mess.

More family arrived yesterday afternoon and we dined like royalty and stayed up too late playing cards.

It’s another classic summer weekend ‘at the lake.’

Aahhhhh.

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Written by johnwhays

August 22, 2020 at 8:15 am

Coolish Fun

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For a weekend at the lake, we are spending more time away from the water than in it. That hot summer sun is not so prominent and the temperature of the lake is a little chilly, inviting us to pursue alternative activities. Cyndie and I started with another exploratory trek through the forest across the road with Delilah.

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Julian brought up his Onewheel and provided Steve an introductory lesson on the basics of starting and stopping. No participants were injured in the exercise.

Julian and Allison also brought up custom-made cornhole boards that were a groomsman’s gift from a friend whose wedding Julian was in. With a fire in the firepit and pork chops on the grill, the bag toss game fit nicely as further entertainment up and out of the chilly lake.

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Written by johnwhays

September 1, 2019 at 8:45 am

Storm Damage

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By the looks of the driveway alone, up at the lake, it is obvious that there was some heavy rain. There is evidence of a flash flood of runoff that washed gravel away into the woods. Farther along on the property, we discovered that the big eagles’ nest had also succumbed to the deluge. There was debris of sticks and dead fish on the ground at the base of the tree. Looking up, the size of the structure had shrunk considerably.

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Still, the two youngsters remained perched, one on a branch above, and one on what was left of the nest. We occasionally hear them calling out to the adults who are the source of their meals. I would expect the stinky fish that landed below to eventually be picked up and delivered above again. It’s not like they’re past their expiration date or anything.

Getting the fish bodies up off the ground would make it a little easier to walk Delilah that direction. It takes a lot of muscle to steer her clear of trying to roll around in all the stench.

On a whim, I decided to be adventurous and take Delilah for an explore in the woods across the highway from our property. As soon as we made our way beyond the thicket of growth along the berm beside the road and got into the spacious forest beneath the spectacular canopy of the tall trees, I discovered the hazard of my decision.

All that rain seems to have unleashed a ferocious new batch of teeny mosquitos. They were unrelenting in their onslaught. I tried to keep moving to foil their attempts to land, but Delilah –lacking the exposed flesh I presented– didn’t share my urgency. She kept stopping to smell every enticing forest odor and, still on leash, frequently chose a path that had us at odds over which side of tree trunks to be on.

I had to cut our expedition short and set a course straight back to the bright sunlight of the roadway.

Things were much calmer when we got to the beach and I let her soak in the water while I stood on the sand taking a sunbath and listening to loons.

By that point, the storm damage was out of sight and out of mind. Almost the same for the chaos of the preceding week.

I will continue this course of therapy for a couple of days. It seems to be just what a doctor would order for what was ailing me.

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Written by johnwhays

August 10, 2019 at 7:51 am