Showing posts with label Widows Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Widows Life. Show all posts

Monday, July 19, 2021

Bicycle Tour Da Falls… or Not

 I decided to bike to some water falls.  When I googled waterfalls near me, there were quite a few.  It appeared the closest one in the cluster was Kakabika Falls near Watersmeet and White City.

I packed up last night and then put my bike bags in the van so I could get an early start.  Google said the falls was 44 miles away and then I have to bike to a campsite which is another 12 miles.

This morning I was up and loading the bike by 6:00 a.m. a bit nervous.  I am used to using googlemaps for getting around.  But what happens if I need to re-configure my route and I don't have cell service?  I don't have a paper map, and if I did, even the detail maps don't tell me what roads are passable or bike friendly.

Last night I made a turn-by-turn list for me to follow.


First I moved the van to make it harder to steal Lilac if some bad person was so inclined.  I almost knocked over the bike!  

Starting from the campground I couldn’t get around doing some miles on Hwy 51.  A two foot shoulder and fast traffic.  I was much more relaxed once I got on the lower traffic County Highway M.

I met up with a Villas County trail along M. The are not rail trails and are hilly and curvy.  The hills are steep and require anticipating the gearing.  If you don't get it right, you will be walking up the hill.

Sorry about the order of the pictures.  I am doing this on my phone while sipping a lemonade.  My iPhone is putting all the pictures at the top.  I have to cut and paste them to the right location.  Not going to happen right now.  I am taking a break from the ride after I hit a snag.  

I was only about 17 miles from my first destination, Kakabika Falls..  I was anticipating riding by the Notre Dam Environmental Education Center and their church.  But went I arrived at Nortre Dam road there was a sign telling me it was a private road and there is a gate to keep me out.  

At this location my phone didn’t have service.  I saw two young boys pull into a yard with their small ATV's.  I followed them into their yard and found their parents outside too.  I asked them how to get to Hwy 2.  The man showed me his cell phone had the map and he told me. I would have to retrace my route, go East and then North.  I was tired already and this detour might add 10 miles.  

On the detour I stopped at a sign pointing down a road to a resort and restaurant.  I debated, but decided to pull in.  I am taking a break .  It is 11:00 a.m.  I am going with the the flow.  This is a nice place to sit and write to you!  If they had camp sites, I might even stay!  I have cell phone service!

Bents camp resort.  

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Are You A Volunteer Critic?

It is nice to be in one place.  No days spent packing up and driving to the next place.  

Physical Training

I have mapped out a nice nine-mile route that I ride my bike on several mornings a week.  Eventually I will add weight and practice the hilly route loaded.  
I am training my body for the 300 plus mile tour I will be doing in September with friend Joan.  We will be riding the Allegheny Gap Trail and the C&O trail.  The C&O Trail has some very rough surfaces, so I am training on my two-wheel bicycle.  Since I arrived in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, I have not even removed my recumbent tricycle from the van!

I set some physical goals for myself and went to meet with a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness.  Sydney is a slim young woman with a physical training degree and a cheerleader inside her.  

I told her I wanted to be able to jump up onto something.  I told her that I was afraid to even jump onto a rug for fear of catching my toe.  Well, I guess that was negative self-talk because the first day of training she had me jumping onto a step and by day three I had raised it up.  (Beating my chest here.)

Instead of one trainer one trainee, the training is done in groups.  Even though the exercises she gives me are personalized to my goals and abilities, she shows me what to do watches to see if I got it right, then goes onto the next person in the group.  
I like it and already I can feel I am making a little progress.
Goals are to:
  • Strengthen core and shoulders so that putting my two-wheel bike into the van isn't such a struggle and going to cause me injury;
  • Be able to do two perfect unassisted pull-ups;
  • Do ten wide and ten narrow mens-style push-ups;
  • Do down-dog to up-dog back to down dog with chin sweeping the floor ten times;
  • Be a faster, stronger rider in prep for the September tour in Pennsylvania;
  • And be able to jump onto something a foot or higher.

Improving on Book One

Yesterday I called my friend Jean in Mississippi.  She is slowly making her way through my first book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.  I laughed because I really know the book is too too long.  Even with pictures, 600 pages is too dang long!

Then I asked Jean if she would help me by making notes of where I could cut stuff out.  She was happy to.  She said she would mark the pictures too.  A ten, she said, would mean definately keep, and a one means it isn't needed.   Yay!  Some help with purging!

That is why on this third book I am glad to have a few volunteers to look through the first draft and advise me on what to add, what to take away, and where I could improve.  

Sometimes critics can stop us in our paths, but I already published the first two books.  My friend Margaret was a big help with the first book, helping me round out the beginning and the ends and catch a lot of grammatical errors.  

But it is time to go back and create a second edition, clearing out the fluff and focusing the storyline.

If you would like to help by volunteering to mark up your copy of the first book or making some notes and emailing them to me, I would love it, really I would!

Since the first book is the first book in the Trippin' series, it has to be good enough to tempt people to want to read the second and the third, right?  

I have so much to learn and do.  The days fly by! 

Progress on Book Three

I mailed out the first draft of Book Three to the three friends that volunteered to help me by reading through and catching flaws and making suggestions.  I am excited to see what they come up with!  Catch the errors!  Praise is good for my ego and suggestions for improvements will help me think through how to change it for the better.

My sister gave me an impassioned mini-speech about how I need to follow my heart and say what I need to say because that is what some people out there reading my books need to know.  Call it divine guidance or universal kismet.  I am driven for a reason, she said.  Don't let others tamp down what I need to write.  I love my sister!  She lifts me up.

Sister Time

This spring my sister's dog passed.  Spirit was a lovely quiet small dog. After Mary and Dave experienced the heart-breaking void for a while, Mary went in search of another small dog.

Arky is a wonderful little dog.  My sister is facing some challenges with needing to house train Arky.  (They are making good progress on that front.) Arky has a passion for chasing squirrels and chipmunks causing her to sometimes flip when she reaches the end of her leash. This instinctual drive to chase small things makes it impossible to have Arky off-leash unless she is in a fenced in area.

I have enjoyed my time taking Dave, my brother-in-law living with dementia, and Arky to the dog park.  Arky is pretty good at fetch, and chases what we throw with such speed and persistence she is an inspiration.

One day Mary and I took the kayaks up the Pelican River and floated back down.  Mary wanted to try taking Arky.  I had seen how Liz's dog, Diego, rode so well in the kayak.  Arky too, is going to turn out to be a great kayak dog.  We need to put a platform or rug on the front of the kayak for Arky to sit or lay on.  

Meeting Up with Others

I was riding my bicycle through the campground where I had stayed last year, Lake George.  There I saw the seasonal campers I met last year.  They were out having their morning coffee and cigarettes.  I stopped to chat and this year I got to hug them.  I invited them over to my place for a happy hour on a Saturday night.  

They are still young enough to have to work, so they are only around during the weekends.  

Lisa told me that over the winter a mammogram showed she had cancer!  She went through a mastectomy.  I later texted her a picture of a woman with lovely tattoos over her mastectomy scars.  I told her about a picture in my doctors office that made a deep impression on me.  A shirt-less woman with one breast removed is looking up at the sky with arms lifted high in a joyful prayer of gratitude. 

Last year Tom insisted on building me some stairs for my trailer.  They were wonderful and sturdy and I am sure kept me from injury. This year my camper isn't sitting as high, so the old stairs he built for me and I left with him to store, won't work.  Tom insisted on building me a new step.  One day I came home from my wanderings and there it was, a new, wider safer step.  Thank you, Tom!

Last year I rode bicycle on the Three Eagles Trail with the Northern Paddle and Trail group (NPT).  This year I joined them again.  They only ride about 16 miles.  So I arrived early and stayed late and biked 32 miles on that lovely trail.  

We went of ice cream in Three Lakes.  They had these suckers with real crickets in them!

I loved chatting and riding with new bike buddies, Mary and Susan.

 It was fun riding with them.  I have sent in some dates and times to NPT for other rides on the Bear Skin and the Manitowish Trails.  I have also signed up for a hike with a Northern Adventures Meetup Group.

A few days after our ride, Susan texted me and invited me to come to her beautiful home in the woods on a lake.  Susan makes stained glass art and I had expressed an interest in seeing her work.  I took Arky with me (I was doggy sitting that day).  I got to see her lovely work and she showed me how she works with copper instead of lead.  Pretty stuff!  And a lot more talent for selecting colors and transparencies that I would have.

We went for a walk on a narrow path in the woods.  Susan has a labor-doodle and Arky and he were playing and jumping.  Not streets around, and we were on a peninsula, so there was water on three sides.  I took the leash off Arky and let her run.  She was so funny, leaping high over ferns.  It was funny and cute until she disappeared over a knoll and didn't come back when called.  

Oh no!  Losing the dog?  It was a scary few minutes until she came trotting back toward us on the trail.  Lesson learned.  A bit more training in the come-when-called department is needed.  


Early Morning Messages

Yesterday my sister was able to spend a day with her visiting friend because I was here to have supper with her husband and make sure the dog was walked and fed.

Dave and I went to the dog park.  There Arky met up with Jake, a dog just a bit taller than she is, with longer legs.  They zipped and zipped around the park.  It was amazing the speed and energy they have!

I then drove us to Dave's favorite food place, Culver's.  He loves their fish dinners and always, always gets a chocolate malt.  I am always tempted to get a shake or malt too, but then I would defeat all my efforts of the day to not gain weight.  One sure way to gain weight is to get into the habit of sipping on shakes or malts.

We took our take-out meal to Hodag Park and dined while Arky wound his leash around the legs of the table.  I kept sneaking glances at Dave's chocolate malt, tempted to ask for a sip.  Then I told myself that Dave would be nice enough to allow me a sip, but then would probably never dine with me again.  Ha ha.

Our meal was interspersed with Dave expressing his gratitude for the free healthcare he gets from the VA.  "Though I worked my but off for four years, it's nice to get some pay-back," he says.  And then, "I don't know where Mary went."

Mary had gone for a pontoon boat ride with her friends.  

Later as we sat by the lake and watched a few pontoons float by way out, I wondered if one of them might be Mary and her friends.  Later I learned, one of them was and they were dancing!

Earlier in the week Mary had asked me if I had noticed a difference in Dave from last year.  I remember asking the same question of others who came to visit after not seeing George in a long time.  We need reassurance that the decline we see is not just our imagination or us just getting tired.  Care-giving while losing someone is very tiring.  

Yes, I had seen the progress of cognitive decline in Dave since last year, I told her.  As I write this I remember that Dave is a very private person.   I hope he won't mind about me writing this. 

Later, Mary and Dave and her friends visited my campsite.  It was good to see them, though the visit wasn't long enough, Dave decided it was time to go.  Keep 'em happy! When they need to go, and you can go, then go!

This morning shortly after my alarm went off, my cell phone alerted me that I had a text message.  It was my sister expressing her gratitude for our friendship.  Awww.  I am where I am supposed to be.  Content in my Weeroll.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Fun with Friends and Family

 If I don't journal every day, I forget the order of things.  In fact, I have to look at a calendar when I am traveling to figure out what is the day of the week.  The regular schedule that I have in Florida is gone.  No more biking on Tuesdays and Thursdays, yoga on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I am telling you this because the report of what I did the rest of my time at Brigham County Park may not be in order.  Of course, you don't know that, but those I visited or called, may remember it differently.

Let me just start by saying I have gotten to visit with my son and his wife much more than I did last year.  They were both so ill last year and COVID was so scary.  So this year's visit has been awesome and it is not over yet!  My next campsite is about an hour to the east of their home, so I will be attending Mel's birthday celebration on Saturday.

I took a picture of my heater so those of you in little spaces can see.  This little guy works all night sometimes and I don't worry about it.

The day after I gardened with Jeremy and Mel, I got a text from Roger Perkins.  He lives in Madison and last year we rode together after I had put out a call on a recumbent trike group on Facebook.

He asked if I could join him and his wife for a ride. 

Peter was featured in a commercial for the Hostel Shoppe lately.  It was hard to chat much as we rode because: 1) The trail went along noisy roads in places; 2) The trail was super busy and not as wide as the Withlacoochee Trail; 3) Roger and his wife wear headphones so they can talk to each other while riding.

We had a nice 20-mile tour and he took me through the Madison area Botanical Gardens which were wonderful.  Every once in a while we would ride past a mass of the white lawn clover that is so common here.  It smelled soooooo good!

There were some hills, and Roger helped boost me up a few because he has electric assist.

On the drive back to camp, I stopped at the new Mt. Horeb veterans memorial. 

I tried to make a fire that evening.  The kindling burned but even with the starter sticks, the logs didn't stay lit. 

I gave up and walked over to the hill side to watch the sun set.  I missed having someone to share this with.

The next day I went back to Jeremy's.  There was a vegetable garden to weed and plant.  I had another great day with family outside.  All three of us spent some time pulling landscape rocks out of a flower garden.  We would sit and scoop them into buckets.  A lovely, repeatitive, calming activity accompanied by wonderful conversation and connection.  Thank you Mel and Jeremy for a lovely day!

I had them check out the back of my head.  I had cut my own hair and didn't know how I had done in back.  It turned out I had left a long tail on one side.  Jeremy pulled out his clippers and helped me out.

I had stopped at Anytime Fitness on my way to Jeremy's house, this day I stopped and showered again on the way home.  I had gotten quite dirty.

Kayak with Kathi


Kathi and I are long-time friends.  If you have followed this blog or read either of my books you will see Kathi in them.  Each time we traveled to Wisconsin we would stop to visit Kathi and Karl.  Karl passed with Alzheimer's Disease shortly before George passed.

This year she had a great idea, we would rent kayaks and paddle a bit on the lakes in Madison.

I went to her home first and we chatted.  As we were leaving I had to laugh!  This was hanging on the door.

I have been wearing ribbons or flowers on my helmet for years.  One time our bike group with Kay and Kathi and Elinor were out biking and they all surprised me by all showing up with flowers on their helmets.  

They didn't keep them there, it was just a funny prank that gave me a good laugh.  Now it looks like Kathi has taken the plunge into excentric old lady like me.

Kathi has a huge heart.  She has a large extended family and she is often stepping in to help when needed.

Kathi has been embracing life.  She just returned from a trip to Hawaii with her sister Geri. 

We had a super-duper visit and float.  The lake was crystal clear this time of year.  We had lunch at a place nearby that was very yummy.  Kathi told me that the state mandate for mask wearing was being lifted the next day, June 2nd. 

On Wednesday, my last day at Brigham I went for a short ride on the Military Ridge.  I passed some women stopped on the trail.  They told me a fox was on the trail, down by that lump in the trail.

There was a grey lump on the trail, I thought it was the fox and that it was injured or dead or something.  The lump didn't move.  I slowed down.  Then a red fox peeked out at me from the long grass next to the trail.  It ran toward the lump, picked it up.  The lump, it turned out, was a large, dead rabbit.  The fox started running away from me down the trail and finally turned off into the brush. 

In Mt. Horeb that was a kiosk.  I was glad to see there was some information about I park I had stopped at on my way back from Jeremy's one evening.  Stewart Park became a place of recreation long  before it became a park.  Back in the late 1800's people started creating a dam to make a swimming hole.  The property was owned by a farmer who let them have fun there.

All along the roads and the Military Ridge Trail are wild Phlox.  Very pretty light lavendar and white blossoms in huge clusters decorate the pathways.

In the evening on Wednesday, Jeremy and Mel came out to share a meal and watch the sunset with me.

I was so happy to have someone there to share the lovely view with me!  Thank you Jeremy and Mel!

We played a lot with our cameras.  Jeremy took panaramic shots that showed the depth of the hillsides.  He took these orange shots too.

After they left and I cleaned up the supper dishes, I walked over to view the last of the fading light.

My next stop is filled with visits.  So you may not hear from me for a few days.  

OH!  I almost forgot to tell you the big news!

I have decided to sell my house in Florida.  The market right now is booming big.  A sellers market.  It is booming so much that it will bust again for sure.  So I am getting out while prices are high and maybe get back in when prices are low.

I have been pondering the idea for quite some time.  It helped to talk about it with my long-time friends.  Thank you for supporting my decision Kay and Kathi.

I am first looking for a place to live in Lilac near my Florida friends and the Withlacoochee Trail.  I certainly don't want to give up that!

Ohio - Part One

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