Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Challenging He Says

You'll need to do some searching to find this one.

My goal of 25% more kms hit a bit of a snag this month. To date I'm at just under 10% more than last year after slipping for April. I can blame some of the slack on the weather but some on myself as well. May's goal of 1275 is the highest of the year so I better get with it and start pounding out some serious distances. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where In the World 5

As if the world needs another reason not to go to Mexico, now if the banditos don't get you, you can bring home something extra special to share with family and friends. And you thought this look was all because of the cold. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Where With a Twist

Somehow I don't think this one is going be a mystery for long. 

I got Jill out for a 30+km ride before the rain hit. It sure would be nice not to have to wear so many damn clothes. The worst part is coming down the hills in PA and freezing. 

You'll Need Some Clues This Round

Sal and I have decided to turn some of the back yard into a vegetable garden. We're heading to the library to pick up some books on the subject and so that she can refuel on some more novels. She got a new card last Sunday and devoured 4 novels this week. It's been a long time since she's had the time to read. Our entertainment outside of the tv has been a couple of rented movies. The new Bond 'Quantum of Solace' is pretty decent, lots of action and locales. The new series is lacking a few of the old characters, Q and Moneypenny being most notable but there are far fewer gadgets so his spot isn't really missing and she was aging and of course James never really does. A much better two hours was spent watching and trying to figure out 'Seven Pounds'. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it but it was worth the time and periods of frustration to finish. Will Smith has come a long way from his Fresh Prince days.

I got in a nice long ride with Dave Wadson on Thursday night. I'm looking forward to more non-solo rides. Riding alone has its benefits but being able to slow down and talk makes the ks go by. Dave rides a Trek hybrid so Jill is a pretty good match but I had Eyowen so I had to work a bit to keep up. We took in Mission Marsh and as far west as the new Parkdale bike path, about 35 km on a cool but clear evening. I'm slowly getting my mileage up after almost giving up on getting anywhere near my goal for the month. Hopefully I'll finish with about 700 km, a bit shy of the goal but higher than I expected a week ago.

Work seems to be picking up finally so 4 day weeks may be over and none too soon. We got in another reline job from a ship last week and have 4 bands to complete. I finished the first on Saturday morning and have about 6 hours in so far. I'm achy all over as the work is all done with hand tools and muscles that apparently don't get used too often.  

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Don't Look Now

It's snowing again! I waited most of the afternoon for it to warm up a bit and when I got out just before 3 the flakes were already in the air. It was pretty cool for a long ride but I got over to Mission Marsh and ended up with just over 28km. I spent 2 hours on Eyowen on Saturday, cleaning, adding a few links to the chain and running a new rear brake cable. I don't even want to look outside in the morning, guess I'll be hiking it. I'm off to Petrie's for another day of learning in the shop. I'm starting to get more comfortable as I spend more time at it. 

Round 2 of Where in the World, a little farther away this time.

Where in the World?

It's the hottest new game on the internet, Where On Earth? If you know just leave a comment. A clue for regular readers, it's one of my favourite ride destinations.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Back in the Groove

Coming home to another dump of snow had me on the outs with riding. I never expected to be walking especially in that much snow and my kilometres for the month seemed too far out of reach. I was down with everything going on, work, weather, blah blah blah. I finally got Jill out of the basement on Saturday and did 40+ km but even that didn't get me out of the grey mood. When I could have been riding Sunday and Monday I spent most of the time reading (Ludlum's Bourne Ultimatum) and watching the Masters. Maybe I just needed a break because coming home Tuesday everything felt good again, Eyowen got me smiling and today was even better. I may not get to the 800+ km for this month but the break might just have been what I needed. I've taken Eyowen on the same 40km ride on previous weekends and although Jill is new, geared and easier to move I didn't feel the same. I really feel comfortable on Eyowen even though there's no gears and she's 20+ years old. I know I can fix anything that might go wrong with her because I put it all together. Today I was seriously contemplating taking her to Toronto and giving it a go single speed, now that would be a workout. I have to find a way to easily get to a climbing setup or I'd be pushing her up the hill in Hamilton but there are ways to do it without losing the simplicity that I love about her.

I've seen the 3 'Bourne' movies but other than the title and some character names I can't find the books in any of them. The movie of the second novel would have been 6 hours long. The plot does not even take place on the same continent, have to Google that one just out of curiosity.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Coming Home, the Other Half of the 'Fun'

Up at 5am hoping to catch a sunrise since we had to be up for the bus to the airport anyway. No luck. The bus trip back was far less eventful because there was little traffic. We got through the terminal quickly enough but the flight coming in was late so were an hour behind already. Once we got on the plane we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the royal family of Mississauga again. I got some great views of Cuba, the Bahamas and thousands of other smaller islands and shallows. We hit some rough air for a bit but were released to a higher altitude to get out of it. Since we were late we had some zigging and zagging over Lake Ontario to fit into the landing pattern but it meant approaching Toronto from just east of downtown and then heading east so I got to view everything throughout the approach. Things got a bit bumpy and this freaked out the princesses. One of them turned to a flight attendant and asked "why is it it so...why is it so..?" Turbulent?God's trying to take you out and just can't decide if He wants the rest of us to go at the same time, I thought to myself. He decided to let us land but we were very late. AJ and Brad had only 2 hours to make their flight in another terminal so they ended up missing it as there must have been 4 flights going through customs at the same time and baggage was very slow. They had to pay another $150 and sleep in the airport overnight. We we tried to save them by volunteering to sleep over as our flight was overbooked but couldn't find them. While waiting in the ticket line I saw Curly Neal of the Harlem Globetrotters.

It was a great trip and even though I didn't get too excited about it before I did enjoy Jamaica. 2 days in hell for 6 in paradise is not a bad tradeoff. And it was all worth it to see the happy couple!!  No not those two, the other two.

The Smile (Jamaica Last Day)

I was on my way back from my last ride in Jamaica when I got 'the smile'.  Jamaicans have the most amazing smiles and their teeth are incredibly white. They obviously have very dark skin so there is alot of contrast but their teeth are very white. When they smile it is infectious. Most of the people around the resort were very cheery but some seemed pretty sullen. I guess cleaning up after what they consider to be rich people day after day would get to anyone, some handle it better than others. A young woman in a maids uniform passed me on the walkway and for a second her smile beamed, but she let it go before she had passed and I caught it. Was all this "No Problem, Jamaica" just a show for us tourists? I hope not because I enjoyed the people there. People like Stepper who was happy to show his pride and knowledge of his country. People like Keisha who made the most awesome omelettes every day, mine with the kitchen sink, while singing and joking with everyone who came along. Anyone in the entertainment gang could get people dancing, laughing or just involved in whatever activity was on that day. I just hope it wasn't all a show.

On the beach they had a huge party with jerk everything for lunch. Shrimp, chicken, sausage and a seafood and vegetable stir fry. We planned a trip into Ocho Rios after hearing from Jen and Curtis that it was worth the trip and the small area known as Island Village was free of any begging or aggressive street salesmen. We booked Stepper and took along Mel's grandmother. We wandered among the shops, I got a deal on tshirts and we picked up something for Ginko. I checked out some of the Bob Marley cd's and plan to find a couple when we get home. When we got back Sal actually made it into the ocean for about 30 seconds. We went to the Asian restaurant which was okay but it was nothing compared to the feast they had in the main buffet that evening. Live and learn I guess.  

That's Stepper (looks like Morgan Freeman's younger brother), Keisha and Sal with the Margaritaville parrot. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Wedding (Jamaica Day5)

Wednesday turned out to be the best day, weather wise and because it was the day everyone had been waiting for, the reason we all made the trip. Mike and Mel were married shortly after noon on the beach in Jamaica with a 3 piece Jamaican band and a small group of family and friends around them. It was a simple cermeony but special. I don't think anyone will forget it. Mel was beautiful and they both looked pretty relaxed. What could go wrong? Mel's dress had made it back from Montego Bay with more than an hour to spare, everything else was a piece of cake. I think the day was everything they had hoped for.

I was busy snapping pictures with Mike's new Nikon. I was a bit nervous as I really didn't want to mess things up and had never touched it before. The ceremony was followed by some time by the pool relaxing. Then  we all gathered again in a far corner of the resort for dinner with Karlton. He was our waiter and try as he might he just couldn't keep up with the guys drinking Red Stripe in 6 oz. glasses. He finally gave up and brought them a pitcher. When it came time to cut the cake the kids went about it as our traditions dictate, feeding each other. Then Karlton suggested what everyone thought was 'bare feet'. After the groaning and moaning about that being gross he demonstrated what he meant, some icing on Mike's lips for Mel to kiss or 'bird feed'. They roared over that one for quite a while. The kids brought thier own music and shared a first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kresack. Later on AJ managed to get them called up to the stage for another dance in front of the crowd during the evening's entertainment. 

In our room housekeeping had seen our anniversary cards and as they had every day adorned the king size bed with flowers and birds made from white towels and fresh flowers. Today was a four piece arrangement and a bubble bath to boot.

30th Anniversay (Jamaica Day4)

Part of the rationalization for making this trip was that it was our 30th anniversary, hard to believe. I got into the line to book a reservation for dinner at 7:45am after riding. Here's the deal. You can only book into one of the 'gourmet' restaurants from 8am to 4pm and only for the same night. People were sitting in chairs reading when I headed down to the gym and 6:45am. So I waited in the line for a bit and by the time I got to the front the only time left was 9:30pm. We walked by some of the restarants during the early sittings and they were half empty. Sal's dad went to the desk and complained and got the exact time he wanted for Thursday. Another couple reported that $5 could also get a reservation.We went for supper on Tuesday and most of the meal was a disaster. Fancy settings and presentation but not much in the taste department. We ended up eating pizza. I can't figure out why the big deal about restaurants that really weren't anything special. The buffet was just fine in my opinion and you didn't have to get up with the sun to eat. The food all came from the same kitchen anyway. I was hoping for more traditional Jamaican fare.
During the day we all jumped in a van with Roy Campbell aka Stepper Don. He was very friendly and had plenty of stories about the homes (Ian Fleming, Arthur Ashe, Sean Connery) and beaches on the way to Dunn's River Falls. 14 of us made the trip down to the beach and then up the 940 foot climb. It was pretty steep in places and the guide tried to have everyone holding hands in a line of 18. It is very hard to climb with no hands and by midway we had mutineed and left him behind. I had our camera in a ziplock bag in my pocket and was sure it would be done by the end but the bag held together and the camera survived. The return trip had us hearing more about Jamaica from Stepper as he was waiting for us in the parking lot when we came out. Wedding meals, local fruit, population and so on. He actually lived in Toronto in the 80's but came home after 10 years. Our adventure at the falls was a memorable way to spend our 10,950th day of marriage to say the least. 

Jamaica Day 3

Monday was just a lazy day on the beach, windy and sunny. I got in my 7am ride in the gym and Mel's grandmother stopped in to give the gym a try. I got her set up on a bike and then went for a plate of fruit and a walk on the beach. We tried the jerk chicken from the hut on the beach, it was great. The hot sauce was optional and wow hot. Saw the news that Lance Armstong had crashed and broken his collarbone, his TDF comeback may be toast for this year. Too bad.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another Day in Paradise (Jamaica Day3)

Sunday dawned overcast, warm and windy. The beach looked more like I like it with the surf pounding the sand. It had rained overnight quite a bit according to some of the early morning gym crowd, I never heard a thing. Mike, AJ, Brad, Mark and I played some tennis and then all the guys played some beach soccer later in the afternoon. We checked out the entertainment and it was pretty good. They had a name that tune kind of contest and Mel's brother Brad ended up winning. The huge crowd was split between the loud Canadian contingent and another for the US with a few Europeans mixed in. They also had a Miss Riu contest were 4 audience members had to do some embarassing skits. And the big prize for that one was a trip to swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove. Brad picked up a t-shirt and bottle of Viagra (Appleton Rum) for his efforts. 

We think it was some time during the show that Mel's grandmother had the cash and her room keys taken from her purse and her safe robbed. The resort did very little about it and it put everybody on edge. She found out a few days later thet even though her Visa was left the thieves had used her number to buy gas, how I don't know. I ended up carrying our cash and safe key with me everywhere, it even went for a brief swim. 

Pictures from this day were minimal so I think it's time to put up a wedding picture since I guess that's what everyone wants to see.