Friday, October 19, 2018

The Fifth Anniversary Of A Wonderful Ending

This is the fifth anniversary of the end of my second Camino.  Five years ago Gv and I arrived in Fisterra and left our footprints in the sand before watching the Sun set over the Atlantic Ocean.  A day of wonderful, and melancholy, memories.

The end of our second Camino on the beach near Fisterra.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Crisp Air

What a difference a few days make.  After a fairly substantial 3 inches (7.6 cm) of snow on Sunday, the temperatures finally stabilized at a comfortable and slightly crisp fall-like 60℉ (15.5℃).  Combine these temperatures with the changing of the foliage and I'm finally getting into the Fall spirit.

A red tinged leaf with morning dew on the trail in Indian Cave S.P.
Over the past three or four weeks I have been going to Hitchcock Nature Center and Indian Cave State Park and over this period I have watched the trees turn gold, yellow,orange, and red.

Indian Cave has the most colorful foliage.
In the past I have always been either too early or too late to see the Fall colors in 'full bloom'.  Hiking a couple times a week has given me the opportunity to admire the change.  Hitchcock's colors are predominantly gold and yellow.  Small bushes add pops of dark red and parasitic vines added orange.

Orange leaves of a parasitic vine.
I wish the colors would stay all winter but the leaves will soon be falling.  On a walk earlier this week I walked on some sidewalks covered in green leaves that fell after the Sunday freeze, never getting the chance to turn colors.

A pop of yellow at Hitchcock Nature Center.
Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons.  This year has been a bit strange with the higher than normal temps and rain.  The Fall has also taken on some melancholy hues with the memories of 2016.  Nevertheless, I still have a warm place in my heart for this change-filled time of the year.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

First Snow !?!

The weather this fall has been weird.  Record high temperatures followed by record low temperatures.  I always look forward to the crisp fall days but this year we haven't had them yet.

A late fall flower wondering what this white stuff is falling from the sky.
Today we had our first snow of the season.  It was supposed to be a light dusting but it turned out to be a bit more substantial triggering a Winter Weather Advisory.

Our oak tree's leaves haven't changed color yet but they are covered in heavy snow.
It's a bit early for snow here.  I do remember a snowfall this early sometime in the last ten years but I don't remember which year.  Usually the first snow is in November or December.  Like the last time it snowed this early, it won't last long.  This week - a month late in my opinion - the crisp fall air will finally arrive bringing the temperatures back to normal and melting all the snow.

Visibility is a bit limited by the falling snow.
I wonder if this is a preview of the winter to come.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Book: Jon Meacham's "The Soul Of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels

I needed a pick me up so I checked out Jon Meacham's "The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels" from the library.  I hoped it would give me some perspective on what's happening in our world today.  I don't think it did what I expected.

Meacham wrote this book to show that America has seen the current problems before and the country has always made it out the other side of each crisis.  Racism, misogyny, fascism - our country has seen them all over and over throughout our history and each time we made it through.

This should have been encouraging to me but it wasn't.  What I read was that racism, misogyny, fascism, and all the other evils have been beaten down over and over again and they just come back.  We have never, truly defeated them.  I finished this book a little bit more pessimistic.  Sigh.

I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  You can't knock a well written book because it exacerbated my pessimism.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

E*A*R*L*Y *** V*O*T*I*N*G Is Here!!!

If you live in Nebraska you are allowed to vote up to thirty days before election day.  Today I exercised my right and my duty and voted in the 2018 midterm elections 

In the past I have posted about my voting urging other people to get out and vote no matter who you vote for.  This year I feel different.  I still think everyone has the duty to vote.  Voting is important.  What has changed is who you will be voting for.  I cannot vote for any candidate from the Republican party.  No matter how flawed the Democratic party and their candidates are, they will never sink as low as the current hypocritical, anti-science, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, 45 rubber-stamping Republican party.

The electorate has to take a deep breath, carefully consider the choices in front of us, look at the facts, and choose the non-Republican candidates.


Saturday, October 06, 2018

Happy Birthday to the Wife!!!

To My

It is an honor and a privilege
to be married to her.

I can't wait to see where our
lives take us next.

Monday, October 01, 2018

A Different Side Of Bill Murray

On Saturday the Brother-in-Law told us that Bill Murray was going to be in town at the Holland Center.  Turns out it was Sunday night so we bought tickets.  This was a bit short notice for us but we'd done things with shorter notice before.

The show was Bill Murray on vocals with Jan Vogler on cello, Mira Wang on violin, and Vanessa Perez on piano.  It was a combination of storytelling, poetry, spoken word, and classical music.  It was a semi-sophisticated Bill Murray.

Our view of Bill Murray - mostly in profile with emphasis on his bald spot.
When I realised what it was going to be I wondered what I'd gotten myself into but it turned out to be entertaining and, while no Sinatra, Murray can carry a tune when he needs to ... and he does a mean tango too.  The readings were interesting and often humorous.  Murray was a bit self-deprecating and didn't shy away from some minor political commentary.  His reading from "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was considered by the Wife (an English teacher) to be one of the best she's ever heard.

After the encore Murray was given a bundle of roses which he began to throw out to the woman in the audience.  He spotted the Wife.  We were in a second tier box seat to the right of the stage.  He threw a rose up but didn't make it.  To his credit he didn't give up.  He threw a couple more until the Wife, perilously close to going over the rail, caught the rose to the cheer of the crowd.  The last rose went to the unnamed piano music page turner after she got the loudest cheer from the audience.

In the end, we had a great time with our new friend, Bill Murray.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Hiking Hitchcock In The Rain

When it comes to hiking in the rain I'm a chicken.  You would think that I thought I would melt.  I am trying to change.  Today I went hiking at Hitchcock with a 34 lb pack in the light drizzle.

It wasn't raining too hard but I think a drizzle is a good start at changing my feelings about walking in the rain.  I was wearing my Ferrino Trekker backpacking rain coat so I was fairly dry.  I love that coat.  It keeps me nice and dry from the knees up and I didn't overheat like I did with my old rain jacket.

Cool Fungi (???).
There is one secret to keeping cool in rain gear.  If you push your sleeves up to your elbows, exposing your forearms, you will cool down.  Yes, your forearms will be wet but you won't sweat like you are in a sauna.  I figured this out on my last Camino and it worked well on my hike today.

There is more rain in the forecast this week and I'm sure I will be doing more hiking in the rain.

Monday, September 24, 2018

I Have That Rising Water Feeling

I went for a bike ride today heading south and east along the Papio Creek and Missouri river.  The rivers are high with the Missouri river approaching flood stage which, I believe, is unusual for this time of year.

The Keystone and Bellevue Loop bike trails run on top of or beside the levees along the two rivers.  The trails dip down to pass under road overpasses.  The last dip under was along the Papio creek where it feeds into the Missouri river.  The river was backing up into the creek raising the water levels.  This is what that underpass looked like this morning:

A flooded Bellevue Loop bike trail.

I ended up going over the road to get around the water.  The trail ends at Haworth park which is closed due to flooding.  There is a farm field between the trail and the Missouri river along part of the trail.  Today this field was a lake that was being enjoyed by three pelicans, a rather rare sight near Omaha.

In the end, I ended up riding 41.5 miles (66.7 km) which is the longest I've ridden since RAGBRAI back in 2015.  My thighs are still screaming.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Happy First Day Of Autumn!!!

It is the fall equinox today and I went out to celebrate with a hike at Hitchcock Nature Center.  I've been going to Hitchcock once or twice a week for a while now to train myself for hill climbing.  I've been training with a 35 lb (15.8 kg) backpack to give myself a good workout.

We've had a hot August and the past few weeks have been tough hikes.  Between the heat, humidity, and clouds of starving mosquitoes, it's been a struggle to meet my distance goals.  Fortunately fall has arrived and with the changing of the seasons the temperatures have dropped nearly thirty degrees.  The lower temperatures and the blue skies made today's 6 mile (9.6 km) hike much more enjoyable.

Over the past few weeks I've seen the Monarch Butterfly migration come through.  Soon birds will start migrating through the area and the leaves will start changing.  I think I seen something different every time I visit Hitchcock.  I even saw some Iowan Hemp this hike - might explain why Iowans are so happy.

A little Iowan Hemp along the side of the trail.
I think Autumn may just be my favorite season.  I hope you all have a great first day of Autumn!!!