Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to normal - whatever NORMAL is?????

First - I have a BIG BEEF. While I use the internet a lot (OK - I am NOT a super user like some people), but I use it for a lot of different things.

And to my limited knowledge there are TWO platforms to get here. One is Google Chrome and the other is Internet Explorer (from the PC world)

Now what the heck is going on with these products - especialy Google Chrome???????    While I appreciate all that Google is doing - adding in new products, some of them are just a pain. I installed SmileBox just before leaving on vacation and things are messed up. SmileBox (and other programs) will install their own tool bar (so many installed that you can't see the top of web pages), they pop up in your face when you just want Google. And then to get rid of them is equally a chore!!!!!!  

GOOGLE - are you listening - STOP MESSING with stuff. I am NOT HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And how the heck are we supposed to learn all this stuff - I mean you wake up one day and POOF things are different.

So I am in Explorer this morning and can only load ONE picture at a time which is a pain. GRRRRRRRRR - CRAPPY CRAPPY CRAPPY internet.   And what is the deal with all these POP UP ads????????    

OK - I feel better now, except that my keyboard is skipping keys like crazy. See what I mean - what the heck is normal???????

Back out on the bike last night! I KNOW!!!!!    Pretty crazy, but I took my road bike which weighs NOTHING compared to my touring bike with all that crap on it. I will have to evaluate what I carry if I go on a bike tour again. We only went 37 K in  1 1/2 hours. A nice little tour!!!!!

OH CRAP - I have to call my tech guys in India and the HP guys. THIS SITUATION is too much hassle. I will load my pictures later.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tour Atlantic - The Aftermath!!!!

Getting home was a bit of an adventure. And took ALL DAY!!!!!

My friend Joyce was flying from Sydney, NS to Toronto EARLY on the same day that I was flying home. So George and I hitched a ride with Joyce and her son. That meant we got up at THREE AM. I know - how crazy was that!!!!

Me and Joyce - yes my eyes are closed - I was half asleep!!!!!!

After dropping Joyce at the airport for her 6 AM flight, we got dropped off at Tim's. We had to wait for a half hour before Tim's opened. It was COOL outside and seemed even colder inside!!!!

We were waiting until 8 AM when the car rental place opened so we could pick up the van that we would drive to Halifax. Now the ideal plan was for those leaving Baddeck to take the bus. There was a slight problem with the bus - getting a ticket on the bus probably wasn't an issue, but ensuring that all the bikes would get on the bus - well there was NO guarantee. And it wouldn't have been good to get to the airport and not have a bike. Hence George rented a van and Mike and myself decided that we would split the cost with him.

After consulting the internet, we realized that the van rental place was 1 K away from Tim's. That was easy. We walked down, the place was open early. The lady seemed NOT impressed when we walked in early and said we were there to pick up the van (which was on their schedule for 11 AM). We even said we did NOT need it to be cleaned, but no they cleaned it and 15 minutes later we were off. IMPRESSIVE service Budget!!!!!

Took one hour to get back to Baddeck. We even passed the bus that was on its way to Baddeck to pick up the rest of the group.

Loaded up the van - thank goodness there were only three of us because that is all that would fit in the van. Don't forget we had THREE bikes and all our luggage.

Yes - that van was full!!!!

Then the long drive to Halifax. George and I napped in the car while Mike drove. I was so tired!!!! And seemed so funny to drive down some of the roads that we had just covered on a bike. We even passed TWO quilt shops and I didn't say a word!

We dropped George off where he had parked his truck in Halifax and then back to the airport. Mike and I put our bikes on the FREE luggage carts (thanks Halifax Airport) and got to the elevators - he was going to US - me to Canada. We got in separate elevators without saying good bye. Ooops - he was going to third floor - me to the second. Oh crap - well I'll try to find him once I get rid of my luggage. As I was standing in line, Mike found me to say good-bye.

For some reason, I had in my head that my flight was at 7 PM, but when I checked the paperwork - nope - 5:40 or something like that - so that was a bonus. As I am sitting at the gate - I notice that the flight is delayed. Crap - I have a connection to make in Ottawa. Then I look a bit closer - no that isn't even my flight. Turns out there were TWO flights to Ottawa about 1 hour apart (?????)  The plane for the first flight had been hit by lightening and they were checking it out thoroughly. Needless to say - I could have made money by selling my seat, but I didn't!!!!!  The gate for our flight was changed. It was a big confusing for everyone.

A major switching of seats - I was asked to switch my seat before we got on so a couple with a baby could sit together. No problem - I got to move up one row. Then on the plane, two sisters were apart and the lady made such a big deal about it (she was RUDE and annoying because she had to put her OWN luggage in the over head bin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Anyway - I switched seats and again moved up one row. Then another couple wanted to switch seats (all this happens because people DO NOT do the on-line check-in. I offered my seat again - I could have moved up 5 rows, but this other couple that seemed to be together, but turns out they weren't or they were having a major fight! - so I stayed where I was. The hostess thought she had a seat for me right at the front - but that didn't work out!!!!

Normally I like to watch the take off but I don't remember a thing. I was asleep and woke up to the beverage service.

Landed in Ottawa and made the connection to Toronto and got to sit in the front row (behind the business class). Then got my luggage home and I was home. Sat around and caught up with the news at home before crashing.

Although it is exciting to go away, the best part of the trip is coming home. My girls were certainly happy to see me - the four legged ones and the two legged one too.

Now to see if I can edit that darn video and load the pictures from yesterday's blog.

Here are MY stats for the entire trip - pretty cool numbers to brag to your friends about!!!!!

Distance: 1,372.22 kmTime: 77:59:56 h:m:sElevation Gain: 13,854 mAvg Speed:17.6 km/hAvg HR:121 bpmCalories:42,924 CAvg Distance:114.35 kmMedian Distance:120.30 kmMax Distance:163.65 kmAvg Time:6:30:00 h:m:sMedian Time:6:08:25 h:m:sMax Time:9:14:01 h:m:sAvg Elevation Gain:1,155 mMedian Elevation Gain:1,123 mMax Elevation Gain:1,465 mElevation Loss: 13,849 mAvg Elevation Loss: 1,154 mMedian Elevation Loss: 1,177 mMax Elevation Loss: 1,472 mMax Avg Speed: 22.5 km/hMax Speed: 70.9 km/hMax Avg HR: 129 bpmMax HR: 166 bpm

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tour Atlantic - Day Fourteen

Well the tour is over and I am at home - on a FULL SIZE keyboard. Don't ever underestimate your keyboard - bigger is better!!!!

The last night in camp was interesting because we had a pretty high wind. Some of us had a bit of an issue putting up our tents because they tended to want to fly away before we could get them pegged down!!!!

Oh dear - I hope we don't end up in Kansas!!!!!

We didn't have internet access where our tents were set up, but as usual the router was down by the showers/laundry facilities. So after dinner while I was blogging, lots happened at the camp. They took a group photo and I wasn't in it!!!!   Sharon is going to try and Photoshop me in - let's see how that works. But since I am pretty UNPHOTOGENIC - it is just as well. And if Bruce ever publishes a certain picture - he is DEAD!!!!!

Then I found out that we had to empty the truck because it wasn't going to end up in Baddeck with us. Yikes - I only brought one duffel bag so I had to use a garbage bag. Make sure that doesn't go astray - PLEASE!!!!!

Now we all had our stuff on shelves in the truck. And NO I did not take a picture of the shelves. Drat - every year when I get home, I think "I should have taken a picture of this or that". I guess if I do the trip enough times, I will get it down one of these days. Some people kept their stuff in bags on the shelf, I had some of my stuff loose and despite the fact that I had bungy cords, there was never a day passed when something would fly off the shelf while the van was transported from location to location. The worst were my sandals. They seemed to be everywhere EVERY DAY. I know - you think I would learn and I eentually DID. With about three days left in the trip, I remembered to put them on the bottom shelf (which was empty) so they were always waiting for me. I eventually just blamed Spencer (who did the driving) for moving my shoes. But I found one of them in the stove one day (under a burner) - thank god I found it before they made dinner - another day one sandal was in the box of Coke cans. Well - it became a joke. And one day, I could only find ONE. I was tired and it wasn't funny at that point. So I put the one sandal on the bottom shelf. While I was in the shower, Spencer yells in - I found your sandal. YEAH - I yell back. When I get out of the shower - I realize he "found" the sandal I put on the bottom shelf. It was funny. But he came through and found the other one - in the box with the cans of Coke.

That wind lasted ALL NIGHT. I was lying in my tent and it would be calm. Then you could hear the RUSH of the wind as it went through the tree tops and then dipped to the open field where we were tenting. The wind would slam into the tent and shake it. It was a tad unnerving at the beginning, but when I realized things weren't going anywhere, I did manage to get some sleep, but not as much as I would have liked.

Then we were off on our last day of cycling. Sharon, Ainsley and myself took off together. The day had a small side option that would add 6 K to the trip. At this point - we all said NO and took the slightly shorter route. After taking off those 6 K - we still had 130 KM to ride that day.

I am not sure how I can describe the day in words and have you really feel what it was like but I will try. We had a head wind, we had hills, we had a head wind, we had ONE mountain to climb, we had a head wind, we had high temperatures, we had a head wind.

Did I mention that we had a head wind for 130 KM???????    Honestly it was a tough day and it wasn't all physical - I had to dig DEEP inside myself to pull that day off. Ainsley was on her Canadian Tire SUPER CYCLE which she named Charlie the Chariot (Hey - too bad it didn't come with a horse!!!). She did amazingly well on that inexpensive Canadian Tire bike. I was IMPRESSED.

Thank god the mountain wasn't that bad on the climb - nothing like the other two the day before, but my legs were pretty tired. The heat didn't help - it just seemed that we couldn't get enough water into us - I had never stopped to buy so much water and juice ever. The sweat was trickling in my eyes (or perhaps that was the sun screen) and my face was on fire from wiping the sweat away with my grubby gloves and the wind burn. My arms glistened with sweat for most of the day despite the fact of the wind and at one point, all of us felt that we were going to be ill. The thought of food made me want to barf, but I did manage to down TWO chocolate bars and part of a sandwich.

Yes - this time when we saw the Baddeck sign - we were actually heading that way!!!!!!
At one point close to the end, we were all pretty shaky which was probably due to the heat and the stress of riding into that wind all day. We stopped about 10 K away from our final stop. One last push - we CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!!     And when I saw Ainsley disappear around a corner with her fist in the air - I knew we were close. And there is was - like a mirage - BADDECK. Wow - I could not believe that we had made it.

And then Ainsley disappeared off the road - OH MY GOD - we have arrived at our destination. I was never so happy to get off my bike. I do have to say that I did NOT have any problems with chaffing or major butt soreness (thank you Brooks Saddle), but just over all fatigue.

I really have to play mind games with myself in order to pull through some of those days. Wow - it was a challenge. But a HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to Ainsley and Sharon for pulling each of us through that last day. I would have been able to do it on my own (I think??? - perhaps I would have had a melt down by the side of the road), but it made it that much "better" or "nicer" knowing that they were suffering more or less right along with me. Thanks!!!!!!

I felt very ill when I arrived - but never did have to barf, but we all felt like it. But I needed something and could not stomach the thought of food, so I had something I haven't had in a LONG LONG LONG time. I had a CAN OF COKE!!!!!!!    I know - there I am about to barf and collapse from heat exhaustion and I'm having a coke!!!!   But it did help - I slowly started to feel better, but now I was bloated!   Just can't win!!!!!

Sharon, me and Ainsley at the finish line!!!!   Notice the product placement of that COKE!!!!!
And here we are - pretending to barf
Then I got a WELCOME to Baddeck from an old friend. Through my posts on Facebook, I found out that Joyce Re (not Monday Motivator) was going to be in Baddeck on the day that we arrived. I contacted her and she was walking distance away. She came to visit. Drat - I DID NOT get a picture. It was so cool to see her.  She is a cyclist as well so she could appreciate what we had done. Thank you Joyce for popping over.

Enough wasting time now - it was time to disassemble the bike and put it in the box ready for travel the next day. Always seems so much of a let down - arrive - pull the bike apart and then go home. To do what???? Just kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ian packing up his bike!
Funny - when you put the bike away, there are little bits of stuff everywhere!
Had a shower and was starting to feel slightly better.
Waiting for dinner - we were all pretty mellow at this point

Brian - more than most!!!!!
We had a GREAT lobster (OK - so I had salmon - who wants to waste all that time picking your food out of a shell) dinner. After dinner - Bud handed out our certificates. Yeah - I should get those things framed and hang them on my wall of FAME.

Spencer showing us his lobster he is about to eat
We had two waitresses and one was faster than the other. So we had the "haves" and the "have nots" at dinner!!!!
Oh yes - I forgot to mention that we had a MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR descent off that one mountain. I managed to get my helmet cam working again - DUH - charge it up stupid!!!!   So that is on video - I just have a bit to edit off it and then I will post it.
This is from the bottom of Smokey Mountain. See that dip in the middle of the hill - that was part of the road we descended!!!!!!

Here is the link to the video that I took via my helmet cam of the descent of Smokey Mountain. Sorry - next time - I will add sound effects. I think I was too focused to say anything.

Smokey Mountain Descent via helmet cam

Last year on Tour Pacific,  I "handed" out awards to the group. It was a great time to reminisce about who did what and some of the highlights. But dang it all - they all kept talking. Then when I sat down - everyone was eating dessert and I didn't get any.

Turns out they were going to bring out my "birthday" cake dessert, but I was talking and then they were talking to distract the waitress and me and well - anyway - it was a fun way to celebrate my birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are the stats for the day

Tour ATlanctic - Day Fourteen

I do have some pictures to post, but I will edit them in a bit. And the others took tons of pictures as well and will try to incorporate those into the mix.

Anyway - there you have it - another AMAZING trip from Cycle Canada (check them out at Cycle Canada)

I will post the awards later, and I will edit the blog to make it a bit more readable - some times, I think my brain was affected by fatigue and distractions - some of it probably doesn't make sense!!!!

I want to thank each and everyone of the participants - Diana, Diane, Scott, Frank, Bruce, Brian, Mike, George, Sharon, Ian, Mia, Dorothea, Ainsley - it was great to meet all of you. I had a BLAST!!!!!!

And thanks to Renee and Spencer (our cooks and drivers) - there was never a dull moment around camp.

And thank Bud and Margo - for organizing some amazing trips (despite the fact that I used your names in vain on NUMEROUS occasions) especially on days with a head wind!!!!!!!

And I want to THANK all of my friends and family who followed me on the blog and Facebook. I LOVED all the comments - it was VERY MUCH appreciated and I thought of you all as I slogged away on the bike.

Some of the scenery - it was gorgeous

More scenery

More scenery 

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tour Atlantic - Day Thirteen

Today was THE day that we have been dreading - the MOUNTAINS. Mike has already done this trip before and he has been VERY secretive about the hills. Yes - there are climbs, but he kept the information pretty tight. Probably sparing up the gory details.

Here are the stats..................

Tour Atlantic - Day Thirteen

Yes - those hills were every bit as gory as they look!!!!!!!

Ainsley got out on her bike and she was IMPRESSIVE. She took to those hills like a pro. And it was a Canadian Tire bike. I can only imagine how well she would have done with her own bike. Way to go Ainsley!!!!!!!!    She rode with Sharon and myself.

The day started out with a couple of decent climbs and then we hit the first mountain - French. Just as we were starting the first climb, my chain got jammed in the back wheel - just like Ainsley did the other day. I was going slow so I managed to clip out and hop off. As we were surveying the mess, who should come along, but Mike, George and Brian. So they rescued me and got me in the right gear (which I did not change out of the entire climb of French). I was a tad worried to touch the gears in case something went wrong and then I would be screwed for the day.

French Mountain was a tough climb - a lot of the climb was in the 8 - 9 % grade and it stayed there. NO RELIEF. Constant climbing for about 4 K. Then it was a nice gentle climb at the top as we rode along the ridge. Before we knew it we had reached the summit of the second mountain - McKenzie. It really was a non event - something I am very grateful for.

\Then we got to a MASSIVE descent and I mean MASSIVE. I don't think my video was working but I will check later and see what happened. The switchbacks were carzy and they were recommending 30 K on the corners. Well I think we were going faster than that - or so it seemed.

We stopped often to take pictures which I will load later tonight.

Then THE climb of the day - North Mountain. This was an INSANE climb. I mean there were some points where the grade was 17% and for some stretches - it was 13 - 16%. When it dropped to 12% you felt LUCKY. The worst was the climb was constant - there was NO let up.

We had to stop a couple of times for a break - my legs felt like limp spaghetti and then we were at the top but it wasn't really the top because the summit was a k away but it was a big deal.

Then came another MASSIVE descent. It was crazy - but the scenery was absolutely amazing. Breathtaking.

It was only about 20 K to camp after that, but honestly I didn't really care although we had some climbing to do - it wasn't that bad.

Let's just say that after yesterday and today - my legs are tired!!!!!!

The tent is up FOR THE LAST TIME on this trip. And there is a nasty wind that has come up (thank god we are in camp) so hopefull said tent is still in place. Currently sitting at the campsite office in order to get wi-fi.

Well there you have it - we have one more day. I will try to edit the pictures and get them loaded later.

Renee wanted to sleep in her hammock. So she choose last night to so do. One of the coldest nights. I hear she stayed out until 2 AM

Sign for North Mountain - see the grade and the mileage!!!!!   Yikes and that is the side we came DOWN!!!!!

The summit of McKenzie Mountain which really didn't even count

Summit of NOrth Mountain (I took a picture of the other mountain with the other camera)

Some of the pictures we took while on the mountains. Again you CANNOT appreciate the beauty and depth and height -

Just before our first climb on French Mountain

Yep - that's me!!!   I look like a dork with my helmet cam - that didn't work!!!!!!    GRRRRRRRR

Ainsley and Sharon at one of the numerous look outs along the route

The view were breath taking

See that road down below - we had to get there and we didn't have much road to do that!!!!!    This was the descent from McKenzie Mountain about half way down.

This is looking UP at where we just came down on the descent for North Mountain. Pretty amazing that we actually rode down that!!!!!!

AGain - looking back up NOrth Mountain

Looking out over the valley from North Mountain

Oh yes - let me say the roads were in EXCELLENT condition. We had a bit of a tail wind for part of the day and the weather - you couldn't get better weather. It was AWESOME.

Sharon - at lunch. She was stretching while she fixed her water bottles - and you say we can't multi taks!!!!!

Ainsley having lunch

The view from our camp ground - this field is now covered with tents. - We are near Digwall

Mia, Dorothea and Ian after they arrived at camp

Our last supper!

Frank and one of his TWICE daily packets of pills

This campsite was FAMOUS for its fresh oysters. Only a few partook in that activity!!!!

The guys checking out the oysters

Mike slurping them back like a pro

Ian - a master oyster shucker!

Brian - tentatively eyeing his second one

Way to go Brian!!!!!!

Sharon - interviewing Frank! 

Mia putting her tent up in the wind

And there you have it - I am UP TO DATE again. One day left to ride!!!!!!!

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tour ATlantic - Day TWelve

Sorry - could not post yesterday - NO internet. But I did write up the info otherwise I can easily get confused as one day leads into another.

Here are the stats -

Tour Atlantic - Day Twelve

What a day!!!! This was a LONG day - we had to cycle 100 MILES. Yes that is MILES.

Everyone was a bit apprehensive so we all got an early start.

Thank goodness for the -10  C quality sleeping bag because the nights seem to be getting colder. I even got my big booties out to keep my feet warm - not from the wet, but from the cold.

Our camp wasn't all that close to the showers and the camp site so that was a bit of a pain.

Anyway - we all got off to an early start. Not that 100 Miles is such a big deal, but add the hills and that is a BIG deal. I was very surprised because although there were hills, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. There were a couple of big ones to climb, but most were pretty gentle (or so it seems now that we are in camp!!!!) How quickly we forget!!!!

The sun was out, the temperature was perfect and for the most part, the roads were in pretty good shape. Although there was one section that is up for repaving - well they need to be paving it NOW. It was disgusting. Huge holes, cracks and other bad things.

And then there was a couple of sections where there were cracks and after hearing "thump" "thump" "thump" for a while, you get tired. Actually I didn't get tired of hearing it - my butt got tired of feeling those cracks.

I rode with Sharon again and we did pretty well together. However I have to say that between 80K and 100 K - I was having a rough time. My leg/butt joint was starting to hurt and I wasn't comfortable on the bike. I even entertained the thought of getting a ride - everytime a truck or a van/trailer combination went by - I was tempted. Then I took an advil, took a little stretch and the road got better and I was able to ride the next 60K with much better comfort.

I must say that I was GLAD to arrive at camp as was everyone else.

Now if you remember Ainsley had a crash yesterday and was unable to acquire the parts for her bike. So she stopped in Port Hawkesbury at Canadian Tire and bought herself a NEW bike. You have to understand that her original bike is a Cervelo which is a fairly high end bike. And so quite the differnce between the two bikes. When she got to camp (on the truck) she switchd as many pieces from her Cervelo (pedals, seat, etc.) so that she could ride the "new" bike.

So we are now ensconced in the Provincial Park outside Cheticamp (which is a pretty neat town - although I saw little of it as I cruised through to get to camp). I dropped Sharon just before the camp - I just wanted to get to camp and I couldn't wait! Sorry Sharon.

But the BEST news of the day awaited me when I got to camp. I was thinking that we had to ride 136 K tomorrow including the THREE mountain peaks. Yeah - three mountain peaks to climb. However I see by the map that we only have to ride 73 K. Yes - only 73K - now we still have to climb the three peaks, but once we are done - we are done!!!!!! I am so excited, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. That was the best news EVER!!!!!!!!

I jerry rigged my helmet cam to my helmet since I misplaced the actual strap before I left home. I just could not find the darn thing. So I got zip ties and another mount and I set up the camera and it seems to be working pretty well. I took a couple of videos today - so I will try to load the video later. And then I hope to get some of the video tomorrow while we are on the Cabot Trail.

Yes - we are on the Cabot Trail. Here I am thinking that we were going to spend FIVE days climbing major hills and climbing mountains, but no - it appears that there is really only one bad day of climbing and one long day of cycling. So it really isn't as bad as I thought it was all going to be.

Ainsley is walking around with socks and sandals - a scandal. And people keep walking around taking pictures. No fire tonight - shoot - it is now DARK and we have no internet or cell service so I am just writing in notepad to keep everything organized.


We rode along the coast and for some reason - I keep thinking that I am in Newfoundland. DUH!!!!!!! We saw the ferry that goes to NFL, but no we are in Cape Breton. I even saw two quilt stores today, but I don't think they were open - and even if they were standing on the edge of the road handing out fabric - I could NOT have cared less. I just wanted to get to camp!!!!!! We arrived shortly after 4 PM which was my goal time.

It seems that some of the others have gone to watch the movie at the camp ground. It is almost two hours long so that is not going to happen for me. I am off to bed to try and finish my book.

And did I mention that we are eating like KINGS and QUEENS. The food is great - lots of it and I have STOPPED taking second helpings!!!!! Or I will arrive home much heavier than when I left which would be a bad thing!!!!! 


Mike suggested that I ask the others what their highlight of the day was and I got Frank's comment.....

Frank's interesting note - his bacon/egg on a bun, no mayo and half the cheese. He is shying away from his heart doctor. Frank also got chased by a dog. Although we are not sure how BIG that dog was!!!! He seems to get bigger with each telling of the story.

Hard to see - but this is Ainsley's injury. She was VERY lucky

Ainsley's Canadian Tire special!!!!  


George cleaing his bike

Team dinner
Bridge to Cape Breton

The other end of the dinner table

That's me by the Cabot Trail sign. That road behind me would have taken us to Baddeck - our final destination. But NO - we had to take the long way around and over the mountains.

Frank with his pants - trying to pull them up to his arm pits??????

Some of the landscapes. Honestly the pictures just do not do justice. And the weather for the last couple of days has been PERFECT!!!!!!!

Looking out to the ocean

Another ocean shot

A beach along the way

Cyclists welcome??

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


PS - I will load the pictures later - they have to be edited and my laptop battery is going to die soon.