Monday Apr 21, 2008

Rail Trailing it

    I live in New England, which is notorious for bad weather and frequent changes. Still, the last week or so has been quite warm spring weather, including today, much to the chagrin of the runners in the Boston Marathon. But that is another story. Today's weather, and the kids being on April vacation this week, inspired us to make our first sojourn on one of our local Rail Trails. This one starts in Ayer and goes up through Pepperell, although we rarely ride the whole thing as a family.

    This was the first time on the trail for my youngest with his new multi-speed bike. We have been furiously getting rid of stuff and downsizing, and due to a miscommunication when our dumpster arrived, my youngest's mono-speed bicycle got put out by the side of the road and quickly claimed. Needless to say, he was quite upset, but a quick trip to our local Salvation Army and $20 later, he had a 'new' bike with 18 speeds. He did great, riding for a 4 mile round trip with no complaints and plenty of energy.

    We even had my Dad along, who has an electric bike, which is basically a 15 speed with a mounted, and heavy, battery and electric motor. With this he can start up quickly and get help on the hills. Since he is legally blind with severe tunnel vision from his triple bypass surgery, and this is his primary means of getting around farther than he can walk, I guess I won't chastise him for 'cheating'. :-) Unfortunately, our car bike rack really doesn't have room for more than 3 full size bikes, and while my youngest's new bike can fit in the back of the car, my Dad's is too much, so he rode to the trail head and back. Guess he ended up with more of a work out than me.

    Here are some pics I snapped on the way. I've never given cell phone cameras much credibility, but I have to admit that the one in my RAZR V3xx isn't bad, and really handy, even compared with the 2 small digitals I have.


Almost everyone is on the trail. :-)


Now we are all on the trail.


Including me. :-)


A break at the half way point, and some stone skipping too.


Nice scenery too.


Update

I was cursed with errors of '6' inn writing this post. First, I mis-heard my wife and accepted the '18' speeds of my youngest's bike. After she read this blog she suggested I was mistaken, and so during today's ride I checked. He does have 6 back gears, but only one pedal gear, so he has a '6' gear bike. Second, he lasted for the full trip, which was '6' miles round trip, not 4. And he was a champ today as well, going for the full 8 mile round trip. :-)

Saturday Aug 18, 2007

A night in a tent

    We are planning on going camping with several of our friends from Mosaic Commons on Labor Day weekend. We did the same thing last Labor Day, and had fun, despite our poor planning. Our tent, a free tent we got from turning in Marlboro Miles collected from discarded Marlboro cigarette packs many years ago, seemed a bit crowded, what with the kids growing every year, so we checked out our local Target and got a 'Family' sized tent, with a 'wall' splitting it into 2 rooms. Good price, good size, and it was tax-free weekend here in Massachusetts.

    That was last weekend, and yesterday my wife decides she will distract at least one of the boys with the lure of setting up the new tent. Actually went up easier than our smaller tent, and has some handy features I miss in the smaller tent, like a gear pouch on the back wall, and a section of flooring out front so you can get your shoes off the turf before actually getting them in the tent. It is roomy too, being rated for six, and plenty of room for six at that, so for us four are swimming in space. Mats down, sleeping bags down, everyone's got their pillows and reading material. Time for snoozing. Hmmm, why is it no matter how you lay out in a tent, your head always seems to be down hill.

    Now that we are all tucked in and done reading and settling, the fun starts. Is that thunder? Getting a tad breezy, isn't it? Yup, lightning, thunder, rain, very windy. The tent is holding up fine, although the wall does lean in a lot when the wind blows hard. My wife decides she can't sleep with this much noise and excitement, and as my youngest is having his 7 year birthday party the next day, she feels she needs her sleep in order to deal. Off she goes, back to the house, and I stay because I'm enjoying it now that I've gotten over my grump. Besides, what could be more fun than sleeping out in a thunder storm. Ur,ur, as they say on Tool Time. :-)

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A place where Perley Mears sounds off on topics relevant to his work at Oracle.

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