Autumn Chores

Because of all the very very busy activities in my life the past couple months, many of my Summer Chores are now transmogrifying into Autumn Chores. Unfortunately, my ACs are now at the front of the queue…

So this weekend, The Mrs & I lowered the mast on the “Miss Mollie” (The Mrs serving as the Winch Wench and yers trooly as the Mast Muscler), removed mast/boom, and then with the assistance of my Mother-In-Law, putted over to the sailboat ramp and removed the boat from the water.

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View of CWLP Power Plant as we left the dock, and the historic Last Boat Ride of the year.

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MIL enjoying the ride…

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The Mrs & MIL waiting for me to back the boat trailer into water to conclude the Boat Removal Ceremony… No one fell in, no one got wet, and we got the boat on the trailer with minimal hassle!!! WooHoo.

The last task involving the Autumn boat chore was to Power Wash all the lake schmutz that accumulated on the hull throughout the summer. I accomplished this yesterday…

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Not sure what Chores are awaiting me today, but I am certain it will be fun, fun, fun….  oh yeah?

Thursday Doors – Starved Rock

I did not post a Thursday Doors last week because The Mrs & I were on a mini-vacation in northern Illinois and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, while my computer was still at home relaxing. My camera, on the other hand, was busy, busy, busy…

We drove to Starved Rock State Park in LaSalle County on Tuesday last week. The Park is located on the banks of the Illinois River near Utica and Oglesby, Illinois. The main draw for most people is the hiking… there are approximately 13 miles of hiking trails throughout the park. The architectural centerpiece is what the DNR website describes as, “… the 1930s-era stone and log Starved Rock Lodge offers luxury lodging, cabin rooms, and fine dining .” The Lodge was constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservaton Corps) during the Great Depression. My first door this week is the main entrance.

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On the other side of the building, almost directly opposite the main door, is the outside entry to the Back Door Lounge, a small indoor/outdoor bar and grill.

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We stayed in one of the cabins near the main lodge for two nights. Although the doors to the cabins are not overwhelmingly intriguing, the housekeeping staff do an incredible job of keeping the glass clean!!!

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My final door this week is of a door that I assume is an emergency exit from the Lodge, as there in no door knob… or maybe it is a Jedi Only entrance…

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates that well over 2.5 million people will visit Starved Rock in 2016…

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. It is courtesy of Norm 2.0

Impending Bloom!!!

Last week, while taking my morning coffee down at the dock, I noticed 2 things (actually, maybe more than 2, but only 2 that are noteworthy). One of the purple lilac bushes was just starting to re-bloom (for the third time this year!). And the chrysanthemum bush closest to the water was just about to bloom… see, Impending Bloom!

 

This past week, The Mrs and I took a mini-vacation to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We spent 2 nights and 3 days at Starved Rock State Park  outside Oglesby,  Illinois. We hiked, and we ate, and we drove a bit, and hiked some more. And ate more… Then we drove to St. Ignace, Michigan and took the ferry to Mackinac Island, MI. We stayed at a B&B on the island for 3 nights and 4 days. We hiked, and we ate, and we rode bikes a bit, and hiked some more. And ate MORE…Then we drove back home to Springfield, Illinois in 2 days, getting back about 3-ish yesterday afternoon.

The really exciting parts about all this? Firstly, I got lots of pictures of some really great doors that I will be posting for Thursday Doors!! And secondly, I will make three different postings this week to cover the three phases of our trip… In between these postings this week I may hike a bit, and eat a bit… you know the routine  🙂

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My Foto Friday

I blame this posting on Norm…  He sponsors a weekly feature called “Thursday Doors”, which results in lots of pictures of doors being posted by bloggers worldwide every week. I started participating a few weeks ago. So… while sorting through my picture files yesterday for some door pics, I saw a few cool non-door pics that I felt compelled to share. And, not one to let a captive audience go un-awed, I decided to add just a couple more pics & related thoughts…

Sunrise this morning…

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Pre-breakfast… (1.5 units of insulin)…

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From my photo archives…

Guggenheim Museum, NYC – 2015

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Guggenheim #2

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I found the architecture and people to be more interesting “art” than the exhibits…

Guggenheim #3

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One exhibit I liked…

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Grace finds herself in NYC…

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Welsh caterpillar

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Welsh, ummmm…. whatever…

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Me all dressed up going out on the town…

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Thursday Doors – Wales

Just over 1 year ago, The Mrs & I took a walking holiday along a portion of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales, UK. At the time, I primarily took pictures of the incredible landscape and scenery, but did actually capture a couple of doors. This first was a gorgeous little house in Marloes.

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A couple days later, we walked to St. Bride’s and saw this little archway that faces the bay…

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This is the front door to the lovely B&B/pub we stayed at in Solva, The Cambrian Inn.  Our room was on the top (3rd) floor behind the little 6 panel window you can see to the left in the photo…

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The last door is actually the gate of the main entry to the Flying Boat Centre Museum in Pembroke. We spent a couple hours in the museum talking to various highly knowledgeable and friendly staff members, and had scones and coffee and tea in their little refreshment area.

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Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. It is courtesy of Norm 2.0

 

Thursday Doors – The Critter Cottage

I have two doors to showcase this week… They are from a log cabin B&B (The Critter Cottage) The Mrs and I stayed at on a trip to the Marthasville, Missouri area. The log cabin was an original 1 room structure built in the 1800’s that was carefully disassembled and reassembled at its current location. Here is The Mrs standing on the front porch…

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The Critter Cottage B&B
Outhouse at The Critter Cottage
Outhouse at The Critter Cottage

This next door could be considered the most important one – the door to the Outhouse! To be honest though, there was a modernized WC inside the cabin that we used….

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. It is courtesy of Norm 2.0

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The Critter Cottage

 

 

It had to happen…

I got the call yesterday afternoon… The Mrs’ pontoon boat was fixed, tuned up, and ready to be picked up. Her pontoon has been at Josh’s Watercraft shop outside of Rochester, IL since late spring, facing significant motor repairs. The starter motor is attached to a flange that is part of the aluminum motor block. One corner of the flange broke, through one of the mounting bolt holes, and the starter broke free (danged free-range starters!) When I took it in and and discussed it with Josh, he said he has a couple guys who will come to his shop and bring their aluminum welding equipment. Since these guys are good at a fairly rare skill, AND will travel to job-sites, it is tough to get them in to a small shop for a small job. He finally got them both to stop in and both said they couldn’t weld the motor flange, the aluminum was pretty low-grade and wouldn’t take a decent weld. So… Josh built a bracket and fixed it…

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Starter works & is solidly attached again, yay! Did the tune-up and then started it to make sure everything worked… but it was only firing on one cylinder (boy, do I know THAT feeling!!) Turns out the CDI was bad! So he ordered one out of St. Louis, and had it shipped overnight. TA-DA! You can see the pretty, new CDI in the lower right corner of the photo above.

Yesterday afternoon I drove over and picked up the pontoon and brought it home…

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As you can see, it is still sitting in the driveway, waiting to be launched, motored home, and docked. And this is where “It Had To Happen…” is relevant. Since the pontoon was not here all spring/summer so far, I have docked the Miss Mollie between the two docks, nice and safe and secure. But that is the pontoon’s spot, so now I have to move Miss Mollie to the south side of the smaller dock.  I had to add a couple new cleats before the move could take place, and after a trip to the hardware store, I moved MM… She is now snugged up in her new digs.

I believe this is a good position for her, since  our prevailing winds come out of the south,  just off the starboard, so it should be quite easy to set sails and pull straight ahead from the dock… The weather dude is calling for rain later this afternoon, but I may go down now and take a quick sail as soon as I hit “publish”…

HikingTheTrail.com 365 in 365

Birthdays, Backpacking, & Olympics…

I wonder if I can adequately cover the three topics introduced above in a relatively concise posting…. sure hope so, otherwise I will bore myself!

Last Thursday, August 4th, Billy Bob Thornton, my buddy Garrick, and I all celebrated our birthdays. Billy Bob couldn’t make the party here in Springfield, so Garrick & I had to party on without him! My celebrations lasted for a couple days, which is funny because I really am happy not spending too much energy getting excited about another birthday. Nevertheless, I got a fair pile of loot, including Dr. Who stuff, Deadpool stuff, Archer stuff, socks, boat stuff, camping stuff, and…. a WOOBIE !!! Here are two links that pretty much cover everything there is to know about a Woobie:  Military Perspective   Civilian Perspective  .

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My new Woobie!!! It is presented tastefully in USMC Woodland Marpat and  Coyote pattern. And below is my other loot haul!!

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Not bad considering all I asked for was a Back-hoe, preferably one with metal tracks… And just for the sake of disclosure, this stuff was all given to a 59 year old guy!

Let’s talk about backpacking for a moment now. I haven’t backpacked seriously since I was in my twenties, the last time probably being when I spent 10 days in the Colorado  Weminuche Wilderness backpacking. I have camped and hiked and traveled a lot since then, but that was the last time I packed everything on my back and took off on foot. Until this weekend. My buddy (and adoptive brother cuz we adopted each other) Garrick & I decided to go backpacking at Ramsey Lake State Park, which is about midway between Pana and Vandalia, Illinois off US Rte 51. We had been preparing for a few weeks, getting gear bought, or found, and organized. Coordinating food and water supplies. And we both decided to try Hammock Camping, which meant we didn’t need a tent, just a couple trees each. And a camping hammock. Garrick bought a hammock and a separate mosquito netting add-on, while I bought a hammock with an attached netting… We did a trial set up in the back yard a week or so ago, which motivated us to change the hanging system to a strap system because it would be less stress on the tree bark. Here we are in our hammocks at Ramsey Lake…

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Ramsey Lake !  Saturday morning I drove over to Garrick’s just after 8 am in the TSV (Tactical Scooby Van), we sat and had a cup of coffee. Well 2 or 3, and chatted merrily away and then hit the road at the crack of, hmmmm 10-ish or so… I had already programmed the GPS for Ramsey Lake so we drove merrily along doing whatever the GPS told us to do until we got to Taylorville and stopped for coffee and a quick potty stop. All seemed to be going well until the GPS started taking us on very small and mostly unused little two-lane paths… The ranger at the park later told us that for some reason GPS devices are notorious for adding 6 miles to the trip from Taylorville area to the Park. We finally got to the Ranger station at the park about noon.

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We checked in at the Ranger Station, paid for my overnight camping fee (Garrick gets to camp free cuz he is an Army Vet), used the flush toilet, then headed out to park the TSV at the Horse Campground area. In no time at all we had our packs on, and Garrick started to try to figure out the Garmin eTrex GPS. He does like his toys! The Ranger had given us a route suggestion that kept us off the most used horse paths, and would guide us into some quiet wooded areas, so we took his suggestion and between the eTrex, our maps, and my compass … we were golden!

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Consulting the eTrex, Garrick is…

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Minnows in a small, clear creek in case we run out of food…

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A couple miles in and we got off the horse path and onto a walking path. We stopped to enjoy the butterflies fluttering among the wildflowers. We walked another 30 minutes and stopped at the top of a hill, in the shade, for a light lunch. We both brought tuna salad snack-boxes (a 3 ounce can of tuna and 6 crackers – 23 grams of carbs) and I brought a couple packages of fig newtons and pureed fruit/veggie pouches. A perfect light and nutritious trail lunch!

According to the GPS, we hiked a bit over 3 1/2 miles, although it was pretty hilly, so we didn’t break any land speed records. We found a nice wooded area a little distance from a fire road and walked into the brambles looking for some trees sturdy enough and spaced just right to hang our hammocks.

So we spent a little time clearing the brambles from under our hammock areas, hung the hammocks, then settled down for a quick cup of coffee.  I could have easily fallen asleep and taken a long nap! But we needed to do some more training with the eTrex. So, leaving everything but water and some snacks, we headed back out onto the trail. We logged a couple more miles on our “training hike”, and found some brackish water along the trail, and some potable water to refill our canteens.

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This is NOT the potable water, believe it or not…

By the time we returned to our campsite, we were hungry and tired. Fortunately, supper consisted of a package of dehydrated camping food…. Mexican Style Chicken & Rice. Just needed to add boiling water, which was easy because I brought along my “SoloStove“, a great little stainless steel wood burning base unit with a 60 ounce water pot on top. It is amazing how fast we were able to boil water using just twigs and small sticks for fuel! (This is a wonderful present The Mrs gave me last year, thinking we could take it on our Wales hiking trip. We opted to only take folding Esbit stoves for that trip, because all we needed to heat was water for our trail-side afternoon tea… and 60 ounces was a bit of overkill…)

{UPDATE: 8/13/2016 – Garrick was so impressed with my SoloStove that he just bought a smaller version of mine and is on his back deck right now boiling water for coffee for his bride and himself with it!}

We finished eating and cleaning up by 6:00, and I think I fell asleep around 7. I think it was 7:30 when I awoke enough to zip my mosquito netting closed, tuck my woobie under my head for a pillow, and started snoring. By about 1:30 am it was getting quite cool, so I got up, found my sleeping bag, and crawled back into my hammock cocoon, wrapped warmly up in the SB and my woobie. I lay there listening to the incredible cacophony of the various insects and owls owning the nighttime with their sounds. I slept soundly until about 6:30 am or so.

Sunday morning… quiet, cool, the woods gently brightening with the sunrise. I got out of my hammock, set the billy to boil, made coffee, and we sat in our hammocks just chillin’.

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We had a simple breakfast of golden oat biscuits and clover honey sticks, followed by a couple handfuls of trail mix (the kind with cashews, raisins, and chocolate! YUM!) We were in no hurry, so we drank coffee and told stories for a while, then we both decided it was time to break camp. Taking down and packing the hammocks & sleeping bags took all of about 6 minutes…

We eventually got our packs closed up… Oh, the packs! I forgot to mention that we had each weighed our packs before we started this adventure. Garrick’s with water in his camelback and side pocket bottle tipped the scale at just under 30 pounds. When The Mrs & I were walking the Wales Coast Path, my day pack was about 25 pounds, with water. Well, my medium ruck, with water, scaled out around 48 pounds! When we were sitting around in our campsite, I was comparing our respective equipment to see where I carried so much more weight… Food, first aid gear, and diabetic supplies. Don’t want to run out of food on the trail so have lots of quick carb snacks & glucose tablets. And carry two extras of everything for the insulin pump and blood glucose meter. And I want enough emergency first aid stuff to handle anything that we might encounter on the trail… I don’t pack my EMT gear, but I come close to my First Responder kit… I took pictures of my gear for comparison based on used and not used on this trip.  I will discuss that in my next posting.

So I’ll wrap up with a photo of the little path we came to as we walked out of our bramble patch to head back to the horse trail and then back to the TSV… more tomorrow! Olympics get to wait too…

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Thursday Door, and 3 in a week…

I mentioned in a previous posting that every Thursday I get notification that the Irish writer & blogger, Jean Reinhardt, has posted a new blog entry entitled, “Thursday Doors.” I also mentioned that I am continually planning to go out and take photos of cool/interesting doors around the Springfield area and post them here under my own Thursday Doors heading… and never quite got it done.  Until this week! I refinished the door/hatch/board/whatever that leads into the cabin of our little O’Day22 sailboat and took photos, and so here is my very own Thursday Doors entry!

Before:

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After:

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AND… here is the really cool thing. I just got my Thursday email notification that Jean has posted, and her doors this week are on boats in County Cavan, Ireland! She also posted a picture of her boat, which is quite unique and looks pretty darned cool I have to say.  So checkout Jean’s blog and then go to the source of this madness, and check out the original Thursday Doors at Norm’s blog.

So, 3 times this past week I have sweated off a Constant Glucose Monitor Sensor, which is a companion to my Medtronic insulin pump. The CGM gives me a moderately accurate reading of my blood glucose levels. Moderately because it reads the glucose levels of the interstitial fluid of the insertion site as opposed to the blood glucose levels from a finger stick. The IGL lag the BGL by about 20 minutes or so… So, the sensor is adhered to the skin surface by an adhesive base pad, then a special tape strip, and in the summer I add a second special tape strip, and the past couple weeks I then cover the whole thing with waterproof first aid tape.  And still I sweated 3 of the danged things off (they are normally left in place for 6 days). It has been so incredibly humid the past couple weeks, and then I have been running, and outside working on the boat, and outside playing, I mean, working to get gear ready for a backpacking trip with my buddy Garrick… and it seems all I do is sweat, sweat, sweat… Viola! off slides the sensor! Yesterday morning after the 3rd one detached uninvitedly, I figured I would leave it off while I went running. By the time I got home, the insulin pump reservoir had run out.  I walked around to the lake side to cool down and stretch down by the dock and saw The Mrs swimming in the lake, so I trotted down the hill detaching and unplugging the pump, then yelled, “I’ll save you, dear”, and jumped in the lake!  It is such a hassle to secure the pump and sensor to prepare for water immersion, I rarely swim these days… so yesterday was a real treat!!

Finally, this morning’s sunrise, followed very shortly after by the clouds rolling by southeasterly carrying rain to Indiana…

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Sailboats, sunrise & moonrise… & Turtle Rescue

Today is HOT and Humid .   <did you see I “bolded” the period there?  The temperature when I got up this morning at 6:10 was already 79F with 80% humidity.  I decided I needed a quick run early before it got too hot, but between feeding the cats, watching the local morning news and weather, and drinking coffee, I didn’t make it out the door until just after 8:00. And by then the temp was only 80, but felt like 90. I decided an easy 2.5 miles in the shaded path of the UIS Challenge Course extension would be just dandy. Within a minute I was called upon to exert my super-powers and rescue a poor turtle sitting in the middle of the roadway of West Lake Drive. Poor turtle was sitting in the middle of the southbound lane with its little head sticking out of its shell… looking but not going anywhere. And I could hear a car approaching from the other side of the hill. I scooped up the turtle and carried it as I ran. It was about the size of a softball. So…according to my Garmin running watch/gps, I stopped at the 3:35 minute mark, which would be when I stopped in the woods and put the turtle on the ground right next to the water… Yay! One turtle rescued!!! The run after that was totally uneventful.

Note: I am working backwards on the events noted in the title.

Last night, my sister-in-law texted The Mrs and insisted we go look at the moon…. right that second!! This is why…

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and a moment later

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Sunrise from Sunday morning…

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This just leaves sailboat stuff to mention.

The new Neil Pryde sail for the Hilu arrived… I originally ordered one built to fit a Sunfish, thinking that is what I had on the Hilu. (The Hilu is a 14′ outrigger sailboat kinda thingy built by AMF Alcort in the ’70s using the then Alcort Sunfish hardware and rigging.) Turns out, my Hilu has the mast/booms from a Minifish, which is smaller by a foot. I posted my mistake picture previously, so here is the follow-up picture of the Hilu with the CORRECT sized sail on it!!

This then brings us to the Miss Mollie, my O’Day22.  The past week or so has actually been pretty good for sailing on Lake Springfield… better yet, since The Mrs’ pontoon boat is still in the shop, she has been easy to coax out on the sailboat. I even woke her up early one morning after a glorious sunrise and we went out for a couple hours!

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So, now I just wait to see what adventures unfold today!