Another glorious morning

Sunrise this morning
Sunrise this morning

Today was cool and calm when I awoke. I wandered down to the dock with my cup o’ coffee and Lester to watch the sunrise. The Hilu sail was still up because I let it dry overnight… yesterday we got some good speed and the lower quarter of the sail got sprayed, and the upper all of me too… Which was great because it served as my pre-shower, which I needed. I did go running earlier, 2.5 miles, and it was hot in the sun so I was pretty well drenched in sweat when I got done.

Plan today is to migrate to the newly released Windows 10 update…. fingers crossed that it doesn’t screw everything up. The Mrs was reading reviews on how it does not play well with Firefox… We shall see.


Hilu kinda morning

Sun's up!!
Sun’s up!!

I got up this morning shortly before sunrise, the house was cool and fresh. I opened the windows last night before going to bed as the predicted overnight low was 62 degrees. The weather guy this morning just announced it is 61! Temps in the low 80’s today, and the humidity is only predicted to be in the low 60’s! After yesterday’s heat index of over 110, this is truly a reinvigorating relief…

Hilu waiting...
Hilu waiting…

So, first a quick run (we will walk again tomorrow because The Mrs has to work today or some such silly thing), then HILU TIME! The wind is a fairly steady 6 mph with 12 mph gusts, and supposedly increasing as the morning progresses. I find the Hilu likes winds between 10 ~ 15 to begin to wake up… at least with ME at the helm.

I had an email waiting for me this morning from a friend (Glenn). He recently had a heart attack and is in rehab, and recovering marvelously. We have talked sailing in the past, and we had planned to sail the O’Day last summer… then the diabetic retinopathy changed MY plans and I never even launched the O’Day… So in Glenn’s email this morning he told me he and another sailing friend of his bought a San Juan this spring and it is moored at a private club on the Big Side of the lake. And he has extended an open invite to go sailing with him anytime… We both now have lots of free time, and between the two of us with our disabilities, we probably equal one capable sailor… WooHoo!

But the highlight of the day will be MOWING THE LAWN!  We have had so many hot/humid days that made it impossible for me to consider mowing that if I wait any longer, I will have to bale the lawn. And as a kid I spent plenty of days pitching bales of hay, and don’t have any great need to start doing THAT again!!!

Preparations for Blue Water time…

We are starting to organize our trip logistics including snack items and boredom deflectors.  Amazon has proven to be a really great source for finding packaged food items that we can carry in our packs and/or pockets for a quick carbo boost. And at reasonable cost. This is important as:  1) I am a type 1 diabetic wearing an insulin pump, and 2) our hiking trips will be pretty much done all day in countryside without passing through any towns/villages.

One new item I just tried is an Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze by Munk Pack.  I read about these on another hiking blog and thought they sounded just about perfect. I got Apple Quinoa Cinnamon. Ingredients are pretty simple:  oatmeal, apple, apple juice, flax, quinoa, cinnamon, & citric & ascorbic acids. 19 carbs (3g of that is fiber), 2g protein, 80 mg potassium.  I like the flavor, it is easy to pack, and easy to ingest. These are going in my pack! And I checked the UK regulations to make sure I can bring with me… No Worries!!!

Munk Pack... yum!
Munk Pack… yum!

I have finished the arduous task of selecting reading material for the transatlantic voyage and the down-time during our hiking.  Eight books made the final cut. The toughest part now is not reading them before we travel!!!  The first two at the top of the list were written by Jean Reinhardt, an Irish writer I met through mutual blogging.

Jean's first 2 books
Jean’s first 2 books

These are historical novels set during the time of the Great Hunger in Ireland and afterwards. Some of my Irish ancestors came to the States at this time, so this holds a special fascination for me. I bought these copies on Amazon, and they are also available on AmazonUK. Jean’s 3 other published books are also available, which I intend to purchase after I read these first two.  Our Ireland walks will be a couple hours north of Jean’s location, so I will have to wait for our next trip over to get her to autograph my copies!  🙂

The Bad Tempered Gardener
The Bad Tempered Gardener

This next book is by a Welsh author, Anne Wareham, with photos by her husband, Charles Hawes. I found Charles first as he is an avid hiker and has a great blog about hiking in Wales. He has been my “answer man” throughout our struggles to organize our trip to Wales. Anne is an accomplished author on the subject of gardening, and her gardens (Veddw) are open for tours. We will be visiting their gardens on our trip!!  I am hoping to convince/cajole/bribe Anne into autographing my copy….

Enough about books… I was hoping to take the Hilu out on the lake today, but storms were threatening early this morning, then as the temperature and humidity rose, the wind petered out to a galeforce of 2 mph.  Now it is clouding over again, and the radar is indicating more rain.  I guess I might try to mow the lawn instead…

Watching the skies, and no wind...
Watching the skies, and no wind…


I am filing this under a new Category ~ Equipment….

I took a bicycle trip in Ireland in 2004 from the Cliffs of Moher north along the coast to Galway Bay. In preparation for the bike trip, I began a search for a small, waterproof/resistant, digital camera. I got into 35mm SLR photography in the ’70s, including building my own darkroom in the basement of my parents’ home (I suppose they tolerated the chemical smells coming from the basement because my Dad was a pharmacist and educated as a chemist…).  I had considered taking my Minolta SLR on the bike for about 30 seconds, but between the size of the camera, the extra lenses, AND the film I decided I wanted to get into this “NEW” digital photography craze. And I hoped it would be a better bet than some of my previous investments in technology – Video Disks (Visc) (a sylus readable video system predating laser disks or dvd or blue ray…); Beta tapes; 8-track tapes; Linear under-seat steering recumbent bike, a Mazda RX4 Wankel powered sedan…

I settled on an Olympus Stylus 410 Digital. Olympus describes this camera as “all-weather, splash-proof”.  It is  4.0 mega-pixel with a 3x optical zoom and 12x digital zoom. The lens is protected by a sliding cover when the camera is off. Opening the cover turns the camera on. The battery/memory card/cable plugin compartment door has a rubber gasket to make it water-resistant. The battery compartment is similarly gasket protected. It has an optical view finder as well as a small 1″x2.5″ video display screen. There are 10 “selectable shooting modes”.  Image transfer is either via USB or by unplugging the xD card and plugging it into the computer. In the 11 years I have owned and used this camera I have bought one extra Lithium Ion battery (last year since the 2 original 10 year old batteries were starting to lose capacity) and two extra 128 mb xD cards. I have had this camera with me on a bike trip in Ireland, a bike trip on Mackinac Island, a bike trip in Germany and Austria, a bike trip in Scotland, and numerous hiking, camping, kayaking, and boating excursions.  It has worked flawlessly and was easy to carry and use while on the go.

So, when The Mrs and I began planning for a walking holiday in Wales and Ireland, we started our list of “required items” My list included my Olympus Stylus. The Mrs felt the Oly lacked sufficient mega-pix to do justice to the scenery we are anticipating (she compared photos from the Oly with photos taken with her PHONE! Not fair, I say…. that’s 10 years of technological progress there!) She gently suggested I consider buying a NEW camera… I dutifully dug-in my Troglodyte heels and said, “My Olympus works just fine, is water proof…. errrrrr, splash proof, and the pictures seem good enough for me.”  Shortly thereafter, The Mrs presented me with an early “going on holidays” gift.  A FujiFilm FinePix  XP70. In what I like to call Neon Dreamsicle Orange.

The XP70 is slightly larger than the 410, but thinner. 16 megapix. It has no optical view finder. The video screen is a 2.7″ lcd. It is water-PROOF down to 10 meters, and can be used for taking pictures underwater!  It is claimed to be drop-proof from 5 feet. I hope not to test this claim. 5x optical zoom. It has what they call Intelligent Digital mode, but not sure what power it is… There are 22 shooting modes available. Image transfer is via USB, WiFi, or unplugging the SD card and plugging it into the computer.  I have been taking this camera on our hikes as of late, and so far it has worked perfectly, and the image quality is great.  The pictures below are from this morning, the one on the left is the Olympus 410 and the one on the right is the Fuji XP70.

Fuji XP70 Beach mode
Fuji XP70 Beach mode
Olympus 410 Beach Mode
Olympus 410 Beach Mode

Advice from Tech-Savvy WordPress users requested

I am seeking a bit of advice from WordPress users… The Mrs has a WordPress blogsite that she has had for probably 10 years or so ago  ( . Since I started my Walking/Sailing blog just a couple months ago, she has notice some significant upgrades between her version of WordPress and mine. She would like to upgrade/update her version but is afraid to lose all her archived materials plus her personalized appearances/format of her current site. Anyone have any suggestions? Thank you!

Follow up from yesterday

No  steak last night… The Mrs & I went to dinner with our neighbors (Rich & Bernice) last night. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, Abe’s Hideout. They serve a nice varied menu, and even some good healthy stuff! Their special last night was Plank Salmon, which all 4 of us ordered!!! The salmon is marinated in an apple and lemon juice bath, then grilled on top of cedar planks. I enjoyed mine, it was tasty and HEALTHY! Bernice said it was the best salmon she had ever had, Rich said his was fabulous, and The Mrs said my plank salmon on the grill was better…. I love that woman!!!!

Abes’ Hideout – The video!!

Caught up, July 24th…

3rd day in a row to walk, which is good and right on schedule.  Our first 3 days in Wales will be walking days, then a rest day.  I am hoping to walk five days a week within the next few weeks to get well above the demands of anything the Pembrokeshire Pathway has to challenge us with.

We again got up early and had coffee/tea and cereal. I was feeling a bit sluggish until I put my boots on, then I felt excited and energized! That is a neat thing… So out the door and headed down the road before 8 o’clock. No driving today, just walking.

029We walked around the UIS soccer fields, up and down a couple hills there, across the sunny grass fields….

UIS woodsWe did a big loop around the fields, then along the woods/fields perimeter on the west edge of campus, then over to LLCC campus. We started aiming for shaded areas as the sun rose higher and the air warmed up. We walked under a line of shady trees east of the stadium, then past the Prairie Restoration area. We followed the shade past the LLCC Child Care Center and saw two men intently walking around what looks like a golf practice tee-off area… lots of astroturf on top of a cement footing it looks like, and a long wide open field beyond that…

026 028

That took us back towards the soccer fields and Disk Golf course where we walked along the treeline seeking shade until we got to the woods path just west of the Spencer House. We use to walk our dog, Mollie, through those woods sometimes up to 6 days a week. The path use to be pretty clear and both the The Mrs and I could run that path. Now it is pretty overgrown and even walking it was a bit tough in spots!

We got home in just under 2 hours and credited with 6 miles of walking. I think we have earned a steak dinner tonight!!

Heavy dew = wet boots (outside)
Heavy dew = wet boots (outside)

July 23rd – Another day, another cemetery…

Overnight temperatures had dropped to the low 60’s so we both got up early, I cooked up some healthy steel-cut oatmeal w/ raisins & craisins, restocked our snack pockets in the packs, and drove to Lincoln Memorial Garden. Our plan today was to make a “warm-up” loop around the perimeter of the Garden then head south to the KOA Campground. The Mrs uses Map My Run on her iPhone to track our course mileage and times, which works okay most of the time. This morning, 30 seconds into our walk, it suspended its tracking and it wasn’t until we were over half way around the perimeter loop that we realized what had happened. oh, pooh…. So we completed our first loop, stopped at the Main Building for a potty-stop, then did another loop so we would know what our distance was… No big deal! The Garden was awash with children who, once they got out in the woods, were hootin’ & hollarin’ as kids do so we were glad to finish the warm-up laps and headed out to the road in search of Brunk Road. Brunk Road is almost right at the property line between Lincoln Memorial Garden and Villa Marie Retreat Center.

008We took Brunk Road east to Lake Service Road, then south on LSR to KOA Road. Walking on LSR we went past a Morgan Horse Farm on the west side of the road, and an old ruin of a big old brick farm building on the east side. A little research enlightened me that this is the Brunk Farmstead  aka Cotton Hill Farmstead. The Farmstead was posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 17, 1999. In 1893, Joseph Brunk established a Morgan horse line named the Brunk Line, one of the more influential lines it turns out! The Morgan horse breed is honored as the First American Horse Breed!!

As we walked along KOA Road, we came to the intersection with Brunk Cemetery Road. I asked The Mrs if she would like to check it out and she agreed. We walked along the road which at one point had been paved over with asphalt, and was now a mix of asphalt, crumbled asphalt, and dirt. Our exploration took us to the gates of the Joe Brunk Cemetery.

Brunk Cemetery Road

Joe Brunk CemeteryAt the time we knew NOTHING about the Brunk story or family, other than they have a road and cemetery named after them. We decided we should look for the biggest and oldest looking grave-marker to find the Brunks… It didn’t take us too long to see a promising marker in the northeast corner of the cemetery. We wandered that direction, stopping to read numerous tombstones along the way.

George BrunkIt was George Brunk III’s (1804-1868) grave marker we found, well, George and his 3 wives. #1 – Mary Boyd (d. 1847); #2 – Eliza Armstrong (d. 1860); #3 – Emily Talbott (d. 1903).

Geo Brunk

Just to the west of the Geo. Brunk family plot The Mrs pointed out a marker for a member of the Civil War unit – 114th Illinois Volunteer Regiment, Co. E.  Near that was a marker for a Revolutionary War veteran Thomas Royal, who also fought in the War of 1812. I am a member of the 114th Illinois Volunteer Regiment, Reactivated (Co. A & Co. G) so I feel a special affinity to the  past members of the 19th century 114th…

114th Co ERev War Vet

It appears, from the sources I have at hand, that Thomas Royal was the 2nd husband of Eleanor “Ellen” McCue,  the widow of George Brunk II. I’ll have to return to this cemetery to do more research!!!

We returned back down the hill and road to KOA Road and marveled at the beautiful assortment of native flowers, and the standing water in the ditches and fields to either side of us. It was quite pretty almost the whole way to the campground.

017 019

The KOA is a nice campsite, the sign was easy see!!!The Mrs at KOA entrance

We walked around the campgrounds checking it out, then went into the office to get a cold drink and chat with the owner. She told me they have been busy since Father’s Day weekend, which they are quite pleased with. We wished them well, and headed back down the road back to the Lincoln Memorial Garden.

deerWe got back to the Garden and decided on another perimeter loop was in order to wrap up the day. It was much quieter now, the children were either snacking or sleeping or gone or some thing or another. We came upon a doe and her fawn… They walked up a pathway to the left, we took the path to the right.

Our last mandatory event was to stop at the 1787 oak tree and pay our respects and take a break on the nearby bench enjoying the great breeze blowing in off the lake. After a snack of fig bars and water we walked back to our car and clocked out with 8 1/2 miles under our feet this day.

July 22nd & Fairgrounds again

The day dawned clear and cool and we drove to the Fairgrounds and met up with Jill for a supposed easy stroll around the Fairgrounds, Lincoln Park, and Oak Ridge Cemetery again. No lost/stolen wallets to be found today… Jill didn’t bring her water bottle so we didn’t have to shuffle things around in the packs, The Mrs just assigned her one of her two bottles. We went around the horse track areas, cut through part of Conservation World, and walked all the way around The Arena. We were only going to cut across it, but there was only one gate open so we ended up walking the entire inner perimeter. Once we escaped the Arena trap, we stopped to take a picture of this interesting sign!

Jill & The Mrs
Jill & The Mrs

We walked across Lincoln Park, past the horseshoe pits, up through the woods along the Disk Golf course and across the street into Oak Ridge Cemetery through the restored Original Main Gate.

We walked past the GAR Memorial, which I had mentioned in a previous post. I lamented then that a number of the cannon balls had been taken from the memorial…. here is a picture of it from this walk…

004We walked areas we were not familiar with, primarily looking for hills, and Jill brought us to Baby Land. It is so sad to think about… We walked past the Lincoln Tomb, down the hill by the old Receiving Vault, and exited through the old Main Entrance again. We climbed a couple hills in Lincoln Park and returned to the Fairgrounds parking lot to our cars and ended our walk at just about 8 1/3 miles.