Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘vacation

The Race

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As unlikely as it seems, one current feature for me of being up at our beautiful lake place is the access to television channels we don’t receive through our antenna at home. The Tour de France bicycle race is of most significant interest to me this time of year. Yesterday, we lucked out with an incredibly dramatic series of race moves in the mountains during stage 11 of the race.

There was a classic series of attacks on the leader in the yellow jersey, Tadej Pogacar, by riders on the Jumbo-Visma team that forced him to expend extra energy to respond to each sprint. By the time the riders reached the last monumental climb, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visa rider who was 39 seconds behind the leader at the start of the day) seized his opportunity for the ultimate attack on the yellow jersey at about 5km from the summit finish on col du Granon.

Not only did he make up the 39 seconds to claim the yellow jersey, Jonas put 2’22” of time between himself and Tadej. That’s HUGE!

This morning, my broadcast access to stage 12 is going to be time delayed, so I will avoid the news and watch the taped version in the afternoon to preserve the excitement of what happens today. After the monumental effort yesterday in the mountains, it is hard to imagine how these riders get any decent sleep and then get up and compete at the same level for another grueling mountain stage, let alone for all 21 stages of the race.

I plan to take a leisurely stroll on my bike this morning and then watch the racers do battle from the comfort of the couch this afternoon.

Last night we were treated to a gorgeous moonrise over the lake. Cyndie stepped out to capture a picture of our view.

We are having a wonderful time. Wish you were here!

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Written by johnwhays

July 14, 2022 at 6:00 am

Home Fields

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As we rolled up the driveway on Saturday after Cyndie picked me up upon my return to the Cities, I asked her to stop at the barn. I wanted to let the horses know I had returned home. The unpacking of wet things could wait a few more minutes.

Swings greeted me first from her spot against the fence rail under the overhang. She breathed in the scent of my hands and lifted her head to let me scratch her neck. It feels pretty special to have developed a relationship with these horses after all that they have been through. I moved from Swings to Light and then to Mia. The chestnuts had each waited patiently on the other side of the overhang space. They breathed in my scent and accepted a few scratches

Finally, I looked to Mix who had yet to approach. She stepped up to the gate when I looked toward her. The herd welcomed me home.

Home to our fields. Cyndie took the above picture while I was away. The horse is standing in the back pasture. Beyond the fence is the hay field and it looks very different today. Yesterday the field got cut by a neighbor who will be taking it as round bales for his cows. It looks pretty good freshly cut. I’ll have to take some pictures.

Cyndie was in that spot to capture the grazing horse because she was taking pictures of the limb that had broken off one of the old maple trees near the back pasture.

It’s nice to be home but it means I have to get to work using the chainsaw first thing. After I finish mowing, that is.

Something tells me I’m not on vacation anymore.

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Written by johnwhays

June 27, 2022 at 6:00 am

Returned Home

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Traffic from the holiday weekend added about 40-minutes to our drive home from the lake. The usual intersections that tend to cause backups were significantly more backed up due to the increased volume. Other than those choke points, we rolled along reasonably well.

The highlight sight when we reached our driveway was the view of our fields freshly cut and dotted with multiple round bales of hay. We’d gone from telling our renter that the fields wouldn’t be available because we planned to let the horses graze them, to asking him to do us the favor of cutting them because the horses didn’t eat as much grass as anticipated.

The chickens have grown enough over the weekend that an unknowing eye wouldn’t be able to see a difference in age. At the same time, I am not ready to claim it obvious which of the Rockettes are going to be roosters.

Upon our return, I finally was able to unpack my travel gear from the bike trip, the weekend memorial for Cyndie’s dad, and the following weekend of 4th of July events. I am ready to be home for more than just a brief visit.

I still feel as though I have yet to process the joys of bicycling and camping with fellow adventurers back in the middle of June, let alone the whirlwind of happenings since.

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I met some wonderful new people who richly enhanced cherished moments when I was able to reconnect with precious riding friends from previous years. It was a little disorienting to depart the ride a couple of days early, but I am clinging to my memories of the notable times I shared conversation with several special people and the many laughs with groups of others achieved before I had to make my early exit.

One particular extended climb stands out for me among the many we faced because it forced me to stop partway to take a break and shortly thereafter had me walking my bike at the steepest incline. I’m afraid I no longer have the lung capacity to feed the needs of my leg muscles to endure hill-climbing like I used to.

Luckily, cleaning up horse manure in our paddocks doesn’t involve hill-climbing of any significance. I can do that all day, and after being away for another weekend, there is about a day’s worth available for the scooping. I am at another transition point where it is very possible the bike will be hung up for the rest of the summer while my time pursuits will be focused on projects on our property and up at the lake that don’t require pedaling.

One thing I’d like to accomplish is to convert some of the old deck boards into a small covered firewood storage rack for the lake place. I’m looking forward to being home again for a few weeks and resuming the rhythms of my usual routine. Hopefully, it can lead to time for a little extra-curricular carpentry.

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Written by johnwhays

July 6, 2021 at 6:00 am

Tour Nightmare

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During my final hour of slumber this morning, I was deeply occupied with a new version of a recurring nightmare about the bike tour. The usual scenario involves a classic concern of seeing everyone around me departing well before I am prepared. A common second version I experience has me searching for my shoes or a wheel or some item that I should have but inexplicably discover to be missing.

This morning, it was rather specifically related to my early departure from the ride. I found myself needing to ride my bike back to the original start by myself while the rest of the group was already showered and departing for their homes. I said goodbye to them and set off on my own, trying to figure out how to backtrack the route I had previously ridden at the start.

Multiple disruptions ensued and my slow progress was leading to the hours passing and daylight waning. I was so ensconced in the dream that I continued to work on the details as I awoke and wondered if I was trying to reach our home in Beldenville or the start of this year’s tour in Hastings.

Alas, I am in Hayward and slept late into the morning after a glorious day prior filled with special attention for the occasion of my birthday. The evening was topped with a fabulous outing to the Tally Ho restaurant where the service was superb, the food delicious, and the laughs plentiful.

That was no nightmare.

Now I’m watching television coverage of the second stage of the 2021 Tour de France and contemplating a return to Wintervale today. There are a few animals that I need to get reacquainted with and some chores awaiting that will mark the completion of my days of vacation.

In a lot of ways, I am looking forward to it, but that isn’t a reflection of how I feel about the past week. It’s been grand.

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Written by johnwhays

June 27, 2021 at 9:54 am

Yep Indeed

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Trying to capture the essence of my adventures of last week on my abbreviated version of the Tour of Minnesota has been difficult due to instantly being transported from one world into another. I am still immersed in the second phase of my vacation, the Friswold family gathering at their lake place, which keeps me distracted from pondering long enough to write about either experience.

I was born on this day back in 1959, and that fact, combined with the focus of this weekend –the one-year anniversary of Cyndie’s dad’s passing– is keeping things spinning faster than my writing brain processes.

And that’s okay. It’s just that I really want to tell my stories and exercise my writing muscles. A lot of life-affirming experiences have occurred for me of late. The occasion of my birthday is the least of them.

Julian has given me another wonderful present in the form of his coding expertise that astute readers may have already noticed this morning. The random wayback feature that I love so much is now a permanent option available on the margin, or trailing the initial posts on mobile devices.

Maybe if the dreary cloud cover that has arrived over Hayward this morning will lend itself toward my finding a quiet corner to collect some words to describe my adventures from the last week. Maybe not.

I’m going to go with the flow. Right now we are in the sunroom with windows all open and family stories and belly laughs are frequent. Breakfast is nigh. I’m sitting here trying to multitask between participating and typing.

Until now. If you want more, click the wayback machine for a random archived post.

Love.

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Written by johnwhays

June 26, 2021 at 8:37 am

Mentally Preparing

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Today is my last workday before I leave for my bike trip and it is obvious to me that I will not have all my work done before I go. When you can’t change something, acceptance becomes an attractive option. There will be plenty to do when I return.

Yesterday after work, I did some of the dustiest mowing in my life. The dryness resulted in clouds of soil dust covering me and the tractor. Much sneezing ensued, but I am very happy to have that task checked off my list.

I’m mentally preparing myself for being away from our animals in the coming days by thoroughly appreciating every moment with them before I go. As I mowed along the perimeter of the back pasture, the horses came over very intentionally to graze near the fence as I passed.

We are definitely developing a bond with them.

The area around the chicken coop has been receiving increasing pressure from the raccoons during the nights. We’ve reached the point where we might have to give up on this idea of coexisting with the masked bandits.

Both groups of chicks continue to grow so much every day it seems like the Rockettes will never catch up to the older Buffalo gals.

It’ll be Cyndie’s decision if she decides to try merging them while I am away, but I’m guessing that will be unlikely.

She may be too busy trying to keep up with the produce coming from the garden. Salads have been locally sourced lately.

Those peas are so prolific we almost have more than we know what to do with already.

The lettuce is superb. What a treat!

Meanwhile, my mind is trying to run through all the things I need to gather for successfully tent camping and biking for days in a row. It’s not like I haven’t done this trip before, but it has been an extra year since the last one.

The clock is ticking on my days of planning. Tomorrow, Cyndie will drive me to Hastings and drop me, my bike, and camping gear off and I’ll consider myself on vacation.

It’s a green vacation, too. All these people riding bikes for days instead of driving their cars.

We haven’t had any measurable rain for weeks. What are the odds that will change while we are on the road?

I need to mentally prepare for the possibility.

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Written by johnwhays

June 17, 2021 at 6:00 am

Away

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Words on Images

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Flying North

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Today, we fly back to winter, just in time for a blast of snow and Arctic cold air to put an exclamation point on the end of our 9-day visit to Florida. We ate like royalty, played cards, laughed, shopped, explored, watched movies and never wore mittens once.

Yesterday, maybe as a primer for our return, the temperature hovered on the cool side of comfortable, compressing our outdoor activity to a couple matches of bocce ball and a walk back to the house before the next rain shower.

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Barb was the difference maker in both close competitions, despite the missing sunshine that would have allowed for much more relaxed muscles during tosses.

We expect to arrive to the Minneapolis airport in the late afternoon today, and hope to drive the hour toward home without suffering any delays that may result from snow-covered roads.

Whether I will be able to execute my usual commute across the Twin Cities in my return to the day-job tomorrow morning remains a mystery, at this point.

The forecast (as of late last night) is rather ominous:

The predicted high temperature on Wednesday could remain in the double-digits (F) below zero. That will be the warmest part of the day.

One tiny shred of consolation about coming home to this brutal weather, is the fact that the polar vortex pushing down into the middle of the country will have an impact all the way to Florida. Cyndie’s parents had us put the insulating cover on their pool last night, in preparation for the cool week ahead.

Good thing we are going home, so we don’t have to suffer in any of the cold Florida weather they will be dealing with down here.

It’s all relative, isn’t it?

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Written by johnwhays

January 27, 2019 at 7:00 am

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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Party Expands

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Our final weekend in Florida has expanded with the addition of our friends, Barb & Mike, joining us for a few days. Luckily, they brought some sunshine with them from the frigid north, because the morning started here with thunder and rain yesterday.

Just as they were landing, we started to see spots of blue sky. The air warmed up quickly and soon we were all changing into swim wear for a dip in the pool after lunch.

With the added energy and distractions of another couple, I didn’t end up taking any photos the rest of the day, while we gabbed and read, napped, and played cards.

I snapped one shot of the moisture from the rain on the screen in the background behind Cyndie, doing her nails before we drove to the airport to pick up our guests.

The day went by way too fast for my liking. Given the forecasts I’ve seen for next week’s weather back home, I want to absorb every second in the warmth here to the fullest possible limit.

I asked if there was some way we could pack some of the warm air in our suitcases to bring home with us on Sunday, but nobody offered any hope. Eating dinner in shorts, with bare feet, beside the pool under the lanai, is especially luxurious given the conditions in the Twin Cities this time of year.

Today should provide plenty of opportunity for more photos down here. Cyndie, Barb, Mike and I plan to visit a beach somewhere south of Estero, and then continue down to Naples for a Segway tour.

None of our activities involve anything related to temperatures below zero. That’s something we definitely aren’t taking for granted.

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Written by johnwhays

January 25, 2019 at 7:00 am

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