Sunday, December 14, 2008

Not much to report here.

Sorry, for all of you that are trying to follow my existence. I have
not had much to report in quite some time. Get ready for the new year
though. I joined a new bicycle racing team, and I've started my
training for the road season. Goals include a trip to master's road
nationals in Louisville, and possibly master's track nationals in
Indianapolis. I'm waiting for some more info on the team, but I'll let
everyone know the very cool nature of it as soon as I can.

Can't wait for '09

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Training starts now

Jennifer has talked me into doing the Tour de Tuck again this year on
September 20th. I guess we better get some miles in before we tackle
the 108 miles with 11,000 feet of climbing, so we start tomorrow with
a ride on the Cherokee Watterrock loop. This one is almost 60 miles,
with one heck of a climb to Waterrock, the second highest point on the
Blue Ridge Parkway. The actual TdT will continue on the Parkway to the
highest point, Richland Balsam, then back to Sylva via Charlie's creek.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What a pizza

That, my friends, is a grilled-smoked chicken, garlic, onion, tomato, and basil pizza, on a whole-wheat oatmeal crust that I made here with my own two hands. A sort of celebration, I passed my boards (unconfirmed as of yet, but I knew all the answers), and Jen raced her but off this weekend (and won some good money). Email me if you want the recipe, but I must warn you, it ain't easy to make.

Monday, July 14, 2008

More yurt photos

These shots are from Jennifer's camera, and I realize they are out of sequence from the others that I posted earlier. This set covers the time we spent on Friday putting the liner, insulation, and outer shell on the yurt, and some shots of the gang from Thursday night when we were finishing work on the frame. Enjoy......

PS- There is also a shot of our temporary toilet, which is a waist deep hole I dug with a box and seat on top!  

Wow, what a yurt!

I spent 2 weeks camping on our land in Black Mountain putting up the yurt we ordered in February. My body is aching, I'm covered with bruises from falling off the deck 2 times, but we now have a yurt to live in. The deck is 8 feet off the ground at the highest point, 46 feet across diagonally. The yurt from Blue Ridge Yurts is a 24 foot model, fully insulated, with a regular door and a French Door opposite it. I could not have done this work by myself, and I wish to thank all of you that helped: Cousin Bob and his family, Carlos, Bill, Art, James, Brian, my wife Jen, and especially my mom, who stuck with me through the entire process even when I was ranting madly with frustration and exhausted. 
Here are some shots of the process, just follow the link:

The shots of the fabric and insulation going on are still on Jennifer's camera. I will retrieve them and put a full slide show together with narration as soon as I can. The deck is still lacking the final deck planking in some spots, but both doors are on and they lock, so we can stay there and feel safe about leaving our stuff overnight. There are many details I wish to share with all of you reading along, but I have to move on to the next project, NURSING BOARDS!!!!!! Yes, I have to take the national exam on Saturday, so the next five days are reserved for study. I will take some breaks and post more tales from the yurt raising process as the chance presents itself. Thanks again to all that helped out!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My last couple of days on the Balearic island of Menorca were spent in the city of Ciutadella, on the Western coast. I rode the bus from Mahon, checked into the cutest little hotel, $30 per night and it had an attached bathroom with shower! I jumped on the bike, and headed for the port. Along the way I stopped at the grocery and picked up some sardines, octopus, and bread for lunch. I followed the far road out to the lighthouse and sat by the sea and ate. On the way back I spotted a man descending some stairs to a concrete platform next to a cove at the entrance to the port. I said to him what a nice spot it was, and to my surprise he said, “there’s plenty of room here, you should join!” I did, and it was a stroke of luck. His name was Felix, and he spoke good English, lived in Barcelona, had another home here in Ciutadella, and was super friendly. We talked about the island, and I learned a lot, then he convinced me to go for a swim. I should have been in the water the whole time! It was perfect. The water was as clear as what comes out of the tap, and just the right temp to cool off. We swam for quite a while, then he invited me to join him for a meal. We went to a cafe in the top of the port, and I had the best meal of my trip thus far. Felix left to go back to his family in Barcelona, and I went to find a shop that sold swim goggles. I returned to the cove with goggles, and spent the rest of the evening swimming with the fish. I went back to the hotel, which had a beautiful courtyard with cafe, and planned tomorrow’s visit to the virgin beaches. The next day I rode the 14 miles on winding country roads to the Southern coast, to where the pavement ends, and if you don’t have a bike you walk the last 15 minutes to the beach. This beach, called Macarella, and the smaller Macarelleta another 10 minutes walk around the corner, were spectacular! I swam from the main beach to the smaller beach, then hiked over the mountain to take pictures. In the pictures, the beach that is on the left is the main one, and the one to the right is the smaller one. I can’t stress how much the pictures do not do this place justice. I was so struck by the beauty that I stayed all day. I swam for hours, and got burned to a crisp, it still hurts today. I got back to Ciutadella about 6pm, washed up, and went out to take some more pictures of the city. As you can see from the pictures, it is perfect. I did run into a local horseman practicing for the festival that would take place next weekend. On Menorca, they have a very special breed of horses, one of the only true all black breeds left in Europe. They walk with more pride than any horse I have ever seen, the Lipizzan Stallions have nothing on these horses. During the festival, the rider rears the horse up and the people gather around and try to hold the horse up, and keep him from returning his hooves to the ground. The closer to the heart you can touch the horse, the more luck you will have. They also race the horses on the natural clay area at the head of the port you can see in the photos. The next day I left Menorca via the “fast ferry” which could go a maximum of 46 miles per hour, and we did 46 miles per hour the whole time. What took 9 hours to cover in the conventional ferry only took 3 in the fast one, sweet. I can’t wait to go back to Menorca!!!!