it’s interesting what one finds in the woods. I found these today while Nick, Marty, Pete, and I were doing initial flagging for a mountain bike trail in River Bends Park. I think they’ll be cooked up in some very nice pasta and a cream sauce, or perhaps served over toast ala this meal in Brussels.
Today I took Roxie out to some parks and now she’s tired, wet, and with some rather dirty fur from playing in the mud along the banks of rivers.
Here is a photo of her standing on one of the ramps on the dock into Lake Sixteen (yes, that’s really the name) at Orion Oaks Dog Park (Bark Park). Since I’m watching her while Danielle is in Europe I need to take her out for regular play and exercise, so I figured that some playtime outside with other dogs would be a good idea, and this is a particularly nice park. Amusingly, after she feels that she’s done at the park she will actually walk back to the main gate, stopping only to look back for me, waiting to get in the car.
On the way back home I decided that we should stop for another walk, so I took her to Holland Ponds and we walked through the park and out along the Clinton River, through Yates Cider Mill to Yates Park and back. With today being a rather warm and humid day (73°F, 78%) she kept wanting to stop and lay down in the river to cool off. I let her do this a few times, and she’d usually go wallow around in the water for a few minutes, lay there for a while, then stand up and shake off.
Lake Orion High School (LOHS), site of the Dragon GAP Winter Race that I participated earlier in the year, was the site of today’s bike ride. I met up with someone from the MMBA Forum named Mike in the parking lot, then Mr. Steve Kinley, builder of all the great (and difficult†) trails at LOHS. While I’d ridden the trails before, it was only during races so I only got to see bits and pieces of the single track. As he led today’s ride Steve clearly illustrated the route through all the single track, and a nice outer loop around the trails at Bald Mountain South Unit. I’d imagine that I won’t have a problem finding my way through the trails next time I’m out there.
Amusingly, while riding through Bald Mountain we came upon a group of ten or fifteen hikers / walkers, most with children, who were congretating at a particularly hidden intersection. As we slowed to make our way past / through where they were standing, most of the adults were commenting to the kids about us wearing helmets and using us as some sort of example. One kid piped up, rather amusingly “can we eat them?”. In retrospect it’s possible he was talking about some found berries or whatnot, but the timing was perfect.
† Mr. Kinley is a very good rider, and I feel that he builds trails which are challenging to him. Therefore they are particularly challenging to normal people like me. In this case it’s just a solid overall workout, leaving both my legs and lungs feeling a bit worn out.
Here, have some new photos posted to my moblog:
· I rolled up the rim and did not win.
· My Specialized is now lacking a fork, as the Fox is being sold and the new rigid fork has not yet arrived.
· UPS RMA label for sending back the damaged Belleville 700 boots received from Botach Tactical.
· Six bottles of Blenheim Ginger Ale in the fridge.
· Garlic and sesame bagel, part of my breakfast before going to work on the trails at Addison Oaks.
· The urinal at Pei Wei in Rochester, MI is rather close to the ground. It would be good for urinal pooping.
· Sending my census form in. This makes me feel like an adult.
· Ice and snow around a drain pipe on the Paint Creek behind Rochester library. Seen while wandering around before an MMBA marketing meeting.
· Forlorn bag of salt in the parking lot at work, with a bit more context.
· A cut open bag of salt left leaning against a curb at work. I imagine it was caught in a plowed pile of snow.
I should set up a more automated method of posting these than simple manual uploads.
After trying out cross-country skiing a coupletimes I decided it’d be good to get my own set of skis and supporting equipment. Thanks to end of season clearance sales at REI I was able to get everything seen above for US$243.40, after tax, plus another $16 for the REI shop to mount the bindings and give the tips and tails of the skis an initial hot wax.
I had one problem with REI, as when I went to pick up the skis this afternoon I noticed that the bindings weren’t sitting flat against the ski, and there appeared to be a bit of flashing around the screw. The person I was working with immediately agreed that was wrong and looked into it. It turns out that the skis are pre-drilled for NNN bindings and the person doing the installation of my SNS bindings simply screwed them into those holes. Apparently that doesn’t work quite right and also put the binding at the wrong point for the skis to be properly balanced. While this was immediately rectified, had I not noticed this I would have ended up with improperly set up skis.
Tomorrow I’m meeting some friends at Stony Creek at 11am for skiing. Hopefully the conditions will continue to be good and I’ll do well with the new equipment. I’d spent almost an hour weighing out the UK11.5 vs. UK12 boot size, but I’m pretty sure that the final choice of UK12 was the appropriate way to go. The skis are sized based on weight, and the poles are the same as I’d last used at Stony Creek and felt comfortable with, so they should be fine.
Today Erik, Kristi, Jon, Jeff (who is in town for a long weekend) and I headed out to Stony Creek for some cross country skiing. It was an absolutely wonderful day for and I finally got a good feel for the motions involved. Now I really want to get some equipment of my own so I can head out without needing to locate a rental first.
Everything went really well today, except for two equipment failures. Both Jon and Jeff’s left shoes, which use the older Nordic Norm bindings, had their soles partially let go. Jeff’s was bad enough that he couldn’t lift or turn his ski. The point where his failure occurred was particularly bad, as we were right in The Pines, a particularly twisty mountain bike trail. Thankfully my belt was of a style that allowed his shoe to be lashed back together near the binding (photo) and he was able to continue out the day happily (photo of a happy and warm Jeff with a lashed up shoe).
Just before the ride, right when getting to the parking lot, Kristi gave me the incredibly nifty hat seen above. Beyond just warm and water-shedding wool, being hand-knitted by her, and include nifty random binary it’s also large enough to fit on my head and cover my ears. It’s great! I immediately donned it and wore it for the ski instead of my boring, not-great stretchy stocking hat and was very comfortable the whole time. This is now my go-to winter hat. Here is another photo of it laying flat, but the image above (or here) shows its structure and design much better. And yes, I am eating a pancake in that photo.
Here’s a KML of today’s ski if you want it, and here’s a photo showing my belt frozen into a D after Jeff removed it from his foot. Now the belt is hanging in the bathroom to dry so I may wear it tomorrow.
While out for a bike ride this afternoon I removed this proselytizing sign from the pedestrian bridge which parallels 22 Mile Road as it crosses M-53. I’ve seen tens of similar signs bearing some religious message all throughout the Detroit area. Each is somewhat poorly constructed and tied with a messy knot of white yarn to the cyclone fencing over bridges. I did my best to rip the sign and yarn down, but as a few knots and tassels remained I’ll have to go back another day with a knife and properly remove those bits.
Being made of poster board with stenciled and filled lettering under two layers of what appears to be contact paper lamination these signs would likely have lasted a few months then torn off in the wind. The holes in the corners were also punched through the lamination. I can only imagine how bad these would look after weather has done its thing and they are left dangling in the breeze. Then again, this person who wants to shove their rhetoric in everyone’s face must not have much concern for the community or environment, much less the interests of others.
Today, for my first time since a ~30 minute session in fifth grade and Danielle’s first time ever, we went cross-country skiing. At 11am we met up with Erik, Kristi, Nick, Marty, and Jon at Stony Creek, paid the $20 to get some (fairly decent) rental equipment for the two of us, and headed out. While difficult, I managed to not fall and enjoy it, although neither Danielle nor I could keep up with everyone else. Danielle fell a few times, some of which were frustrating and others were comical, particularly as Marty then slid right into her.
It’s quite a fun activity and a nice way to get outside in winter time. Since there’s loads of local ski trails available, I really think I’m going to consider picking up some skis and equipment. After all, all that’s really needed is skis, bindings, boots, and poles. While initially saying that she never wants to do it again, Danielle did say that she’d probably give it another go, possibly in a few weeks or sometime next year.
Here’s the photos taken today, including the one above:
· Marty, Kristi, Danielle, Nick, and Erik while cross country skiing at Stony Creek.
· Looking down at my rented skis and poles at Stony Creek, cross country skiing for the first time since I was in fifth grade.
· Jon, Nick, and Erik way ahead of me while heading back towards the beginning of the ski trails.
· Danielle, Kristi, and Marty skiing along at Stony Creek.