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Spring Fling

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

My first day of spring was great. I managed to spend a good chunk of it outdoors. I went for a ride on the motorcycle, walked and later in the evening went cycling.

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

When I left home I intended to go for a short ride to Guysborough for milk and gas but on the way home I decided to keep going on Route 16. The kilometers quickly accumulated and before long I found myself in Half Island Cove. From there I figured it would be just as well to circle around through Port Felix and on home. Only a little further along I could feel the air growing cooler. Fog. I could see a fog bank in the distance above the trees. Lower Whitehead was completely engulfed. By this time I was cold. Usually I like fog but I hadn’t dressed well enough and decided it would be better to keep on heading home.

I made only one stop. I couldn’t resist the rotting ice you see in the little lake above. Normally I don’t ride around on my motorcycle for the sake of riding around but I made an exception on this very fine first day of spring.

Later, Carol and I walked and a little later, once it was dark, I took the bicycle out. The thermometer indicated fourteen degrees at 9 pm. The air felt warm. The clear sky was perfect for star gazing when I stopped where there were no home or street lights.

I played tennis a little while ago – the earliest ever for us. I wore shorts and a T-shirt and worked up a sweat. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to cycle again later tonight. There may only be a few of these nice days and I do not intend to take them for granted. I hope you are finding lots of ways to take advantage too.

Spring?

Environment Canada likes to play little tricks on us from time to time but I’m thinking this looks pretty good. It will be perfect for cycling and maybe going for a long ride on the motorcycle. Winter wasn’t harsh by any standard but because it wasn’t a ‘real’ winter I found it somewhat depressing. Sunshine and warm air will be a refreshing mental boost.

Serious readers appreciate word of mouth. I like when someone tells me they’ve just read an enthralling book. More than any ad or review I am likely to consider another person’s opinion valid. When it comes to the internet it isn’t quite the same but now and again I come across a list of links someone has compiled. It’s often worth checking out what has caught someone else’s eye since they have probably sifted through and eliminated lots of mediocre stuff as their recommendations were narrowed down. For what it’s worth here are a few things that caught my eye recently:

http://www.paddlinglight.com/  I recently found this site and like it because he combines coverage of gear as well as paddling.

http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2012/03/preparing-for-long-distance-rides.html  My favorite cycling blog – in this entry she talks about her approach to riding longer distances.

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/HikingCamping/Lighting/Headlamps/PRD~5026-869/petzl-tikka-plus-2-headlamp.jsp  This a link to MEC highlighting a product I’ve had and used for about five months. I’ve been wanting to mention it. It is an excellent value. For anyone who wants to try walking at night a headlamp is far superior to using a flashlight.

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Beyond-Belfast-Will-Ferguson/9780670069156-item.html  Carol received this book as a gift at Xmas. Early in the New Year I happened to begin reading the jacket blurbs and became interested enough to open it. From there I was hooked. One of the blurbs says the book is wildly funny but I wouldn’t go that far, he sprinkles lots of humorous anecdotes but he doesn’t go overboard, it’s not wild or obnoxious. In addition to being about the geography his book is also a tour through the minefields of Irish violence which I found quite insightful. What really impressed me about the book was his overall style. This is a very well crafted book. The descriptions of landscape features are first rate and a pleasure to visualize.

http://seakayakphoto.blogspot.com/  I always enjoy following the trips these guys make along various Scottish coastlines. They’ve been experimenting with small sails which is something I would like to try at some point. If you scroll down a bit you will see he has a good review of Adobe Lightroom 4.

http://www.lenscratch.com/  I recently came across this photography site. There is an extensive list of photographer links on the blogroll which provide links to a wide variety of contemporary work.

http://simon-willis.blogspot.com/  A superb kayaking and cycling site. The writer is a semi-retired guy demonstrating that vigor is not just for jocks in their twenties. He has a mix of equipment reviews as well as accounts of his outings.

http://landscapist.squarespace.com/  My favorite photography site. In my opinion it is always worth checking. Scroll down to yesterday’s entry for a photo of Marv’s distant cousin who is the Big Boss of Asgaard Farm.

Shed, Port Bickerton

I have not had the best of luck with weather during the last, almost year, since beginning this blog. A very wet spring eventually lead into some (too few) decent days through the summer then as fall colors began their annual display a wind storm decimated the canopy. Winter has been mild without much snow. Without snow or ice winter photography is limited and because photography is limited I’m not motivated to explore or go very far from home. Without photos I find myself reluctant to post but because I don’t want too much time to go by without registering some life here I thought I would re-iterate a point I’ve made a few times before: short repetitive outings are essential to remaining active.

The idea of practice applies to nearly everything. When it comes to an active lifestyle it means doing activities that don’t require too much time so they can be easily incorporated into each day. If you want to be good at something then you practice the necessary skills. If you want to truly excel then you practice more and more, each individual will determine their own goals. Sometimes practice will build strength and stamina as well as skills. It seems, however, the concept of practice often has a pejorative connotation. For many practice equates with boredom and repetition. Procrastination or other excuses largely boil down to the same thing which is to consider practice as a separate aspect of an activity or sport. Continue Reading »

Main Street

United Church at intersection of Queen and Church

Pleasant St.

Continue Reading »

And Even More Skiing

TCT runs horizontally through center of this shot

When conditions are right skiing truly is a great way to spend an afternoon. I love the sensation of a nice glide, the feeling of speed achieved with relatively little exertion.

Great conditions for skiing

Late in the afternoon on Tuesday I skied on the Trans Canada Trail near the village of Guysborough. I was able to park along the side of Route 16 with my car fully off the pavement. By beginning here I was able to go north toward Sunnyville then turn and go all the way to Cook’s Cove before turning again and making my way back to the car. The entire portion I skied is very flat, ideal for beginners and experienced skiers alike. There is a nice mix of wooded corridor with more open views, a pond, a tree lot and then at Cook’s Cove an impressive vista overlooking Chedabucto Bay.

Cook's Cove with Chedabucto Bay beyond

Marv and the box

It has taken two weeks for my new saddle to make it’s way from Wisconsin to Guysborough. I’ve thought about it off and on during that period but mostly the order was not on my mind. Now that it is here I am quite excited and won’t be wasting time getting it installed on my bike. I may or may not get out for a test ride. Doing so depends on ice. I won’t be going anywhere if conditions are like last night. At 8 pm I checked and the pavement was a solid sheen of black ice from side to side. I could only do a tentative shuffle as I walked and there was no chance I was going to ride my bike.

First impressions: this saddle is larger than I imagined but it is a high quality product, very nice. Of course the true test and verdict will be delivered via my buttocks.

Minimal packaging - nice to see

Side on

Straight on

Underside

The large screw is used to adjust the tension of the leather since it is expected to stretch with use.

Cost? $143 delivered. That’s a bargain if it delivers the comfort I’m seeking, a sizable waste if not…we’ll see.