Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

 We would like to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
 One of the new members at Christmas this year was Gus.

 And this is Nitro.  Don't click for big on this pic.  The photographer did a crappy job on this one.

 Turkey this year was cooked in a grease less fryer.

 Our son Brian has cooked a few birds in this unit.  They seem to be the ultimate in cooking the turkey.  There is no oil, so the fire risk is drastically reduced and most important of all is a very tasty bird.
 I highly recommend these cookers...especially if you are blessed with a chef that comes with it, as we are.  :-)
 We also had a ham.  It is our traditional Christmas dinner...Ham, Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, White Potatoes, Gravy, Stuffing, Cottage Cheese and a lot of desserts.  Now I like to eat and get presents as much as the next guy, but most important, is the family time we get...That is priceless!!  

Unless of course you were like me and homemade granola is one of your presents...just kidding.  Family is still on top.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ready to Ride...but

 I have the fixed gear ready for the winter riding season.  I mounted up the studded tires, put on the lighting and put a rear rack on.  Thing is...I think it may be a while before I get out riding.  I was on a ride about 2 1/2 weeks ago riding along Lake Superior.  I stopped to walk down to the lake.  As I was climbing back up the clay bank from the lake, I thought it would be easier to run the bank and not slip much.  It worked well for a bit until I thought I felt something hit the back of my leg.  I stopped and turned around to see what it was.  Instant calf pain is what it was.  It was bad enough to where I had to crawl back up and to the bike.  I tried to walk it off and that wasn't happening, so it was a one legged pedal back to the truck.  I searched on line and have been trying to doctor it myself.  Although it has gotten much better, the leg is still very sore.  I understand it can take quite some time to heal.  That is one stupid move I would like to have do overs on.    

 Studded tires mounted up and ready...teasing me.  That's what they're doing.  

This has been my view the last two mornings as I have been trying to ease back into riding.  The dreaded trainer.  Starting with 30 minutes.  I think I might be pushing it a little because as I said earlier, it still is sore, but I hate not riding.  We will see how it goes.

Get outdoors and have some fun!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's Still Good Riding

 This morning's weather was 38F and light rain, which made for a nice quiet ride on the back roads.  I was thinking, which is always enhanced while bicycle riding, that it will soon be time to get the studded tires off the wall and mounted up.   

 AND...that patch of water near the island in the above picture will be dotted with several ice shacks.
 If there is one thing this retirement thing has brought to the forefront for me, it is that time just flies.  I have been retired five and a half months and it seriously does not seem like five days.  There were a lot of things I had good intentions of doing this summer, didn't get them in and whether I like it or not, summer is history.  That's alright though, because there are things I want to do this winter too.  We will see how that goes. 

 One good thing this summer brought was some relief from a drought that has plagued us these last few years...but it is only a start.  This little lake is one of many in our area.  We call them pothole's around this neck of the woods.   There was not much water left in here last year, and still isn't for that matter, but it is making a comeback.
I bought these last February for cold weather riding.  I used them some last year and this morning was the first time for this season.  They are the Sidi Diablo's and they seem to work well for me.  Last year I tested them to only 10F, but I am sure they will go lower.  In the morning rain and 38F, my feet were dry and toasty.

Get outdoors and have some Fun!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

2011 Year of the Great Fall

 I got out for some gravel/trail riding recently.  The weather here has been unseasonably warm as of late, so might just as well take advantage of it.  This was my garb for this ride...mountain bike, backpack with lunch, camera, gps, and bear spray because I did some hiking on this ride also.

 I passed a few of these little grassy swamps yesterday.

 There has been some wind along with the warm weather, so the leaves are falling...already :-)

 This was the logging job the sign warned of.  It was a thin job and they are done now.  They only have a couple truck loads to haul.

 This little gravel trail came out next to two of the few farms in our area.
  It is unbelievable how widespread and destructive the July 1st windstorm that came through eastern MN and northwestern WI really is. This stand of Poplar trees is just some that suffered large scale damage.  
 The above picture is part of the North Country Trail.  There is a lot of hours going into to clearing these trails to be passable again.  One day a couple weeks ago while geocaching, I estimated I walked 3 miles of blow down with no trail cut.  I can attest to the fact that it is some very tough walking.  I often wonder how the critters manage in the blow down area...and how many perished the night of the storm.

 This is my favorite type of riding...the riding of little old gravel roads and trails.  Just doesn't get much better in my opinion...but that's just me.

This bike has been very good to me.

Lets get outdoors and have some Fun!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mountain Bike Geocaching

Sorry about the absence as I haven't updated the blog in quite sometime.  I gave it a good rest and have decided I will give it a go for a while longer.  In that time I have picked up the geocaching hobby.  It was through reading Joboo that I one day decided to give this a try.
Earlier this week I loaded the mountain bike on the camper and headed for Minnesota's Nemadji State Forest for some caching.  This particular area is a power cache area, as the caches are very close together. The mountain bike worked great for this.
The Nemadji Forest is a fantastic area.  It has something for any outdoor enthusiast from ATV'ing and motorcycling to hunting and of course geocaching.  It was great.  I just picked one of the many little pull offs and set up camp.  While I was sitting in the camper eating supper one night, I glanced out the window to see two Gray Wolves (Timber Wolves) skirting my camp.  There must be a lot on them in this area as the roads were loaded with tracks.  Also saw this little fellow above risking life to cross the road, although its odds of getting hit here during the week was quite slim.

I added a new blog to the blog roll called Midwest Chronicles-Alaska to Wisconsin.  It has some very nice pictures along with some great write-ups...good reading indeed!!

Get outdoors and have some Fun!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Riding the Local Roads

 I have been riding the local roads as of late.  I had thought with my long sought after time off, I would have had time to do some touring, or at least some long rides.  That has not been the case, as this has been an extremely busy summer and it is not going to let up for at least another month.  Our local roads are great to ride though...low traffic and mostly smooth.

 The view from the touring cross cockpit.

 Some may not like to think this, but fall is on the way.

The end of the rainbow was on our land...I wonder???

Get outdoors and have some Fun!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Namekagon Canoe

 Earlier in the summer, Janice and I made a four day canoe trip on the Namekagon River here in Northwest Wisconsin.  On that trip we had forgot an essential item for the trip and my parents dropped it off for us at a designated spot, along with some chocolate cake.  They had mentioned that they would like to make a canoe trip, and earlier this week we did just that.  The above pic was at our launch site, the McDowell Bridge landing.

 The river was high from the recent rains, which made conditions ideal.
 There are several campsites along the way and this is the one we chose for lunch.

Sore lunch of fish and fresh fried potatoes was on the menu.

 Lunch is served!!!

 The scenery of the Namekagon offers a little of everything, from high banks on the side to low land.  The above is some of the low land.

 I am not sure, but I think Janice was checking to see if I was paddling...and I wasn't!!

 This is where the Totagatic river dumps into the Namekagon.  The Totagatic is on the left.  From here the Namekagon continues on about another six miles before it dumps into the St.Croix river which then dumps into the Mississippi. 
 The two in this canoe represent a lot of river experience...Few canoe at eighty two!!  We have been very blessed to have them in our lives and love them dearly.

 A place for things to hide.

It was a perfect day...temps about 75, sun didn't beat us and about 17 drops of rain.

This was our take out bridge.  For years it was an old steel bridge and it was known as The Steel Bridge.  It was replaced a few years ago with this one, so I now call it The Concrete Bridge.  I think the real name is something like Namekagon Trail landing.  Not for sure...I am sticking with the Concrete Bridge.

remember...Get outdoors and have some fun!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ride on the Gitchi

 Janice and I made a trip up along the north shore of Lake Superior recently so that I could ride the Gitchi-Gami State Trail.  Although only about 25 miles of the 88 are completed, this trail will eventually lead from Two Harbors to Grand Maris MN along the shores of Lake Superior.
 This is a view from the top of the Blatnik Bridge.  It is one of three  bridges connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin in this area. 

 Our plan was for me to ride a completed portion of the trail from Minnesota's Goose Berry Falls State park to Beaver Bay and back...and while I was riding the trail, Janice picked a nice spot near the falls to read a book.

This was the bike I chose for this days ride. 
Goose Berry was a popular place on this day, as it is on any of days.
This is not a rail trail.  It has some nice hills and it is very scenic, because as I said before, it travels close to the big lake. 
The construction was the downfall to this ride.  The trail had little pieces of rocks here and there along the construction area.  One of this little rocks I hit, a person could quite literally shave with it.  Although small, about the size of a thumb nail, it was razor sharp.
It cut completely through the casing of the tire and of course punctured the new tube I had installed 9 miles previous.  That is the way the ball bounces sometimes.
A person can't let little things like a ruined tire and a punctured tube spoil the day...and we didn't.  We played tourist on the way back stopping at some of the access points to the beach, explored a new area to kayak I recently learned of and ordered some pizza for a lunch on the beach.  Goooood time!!