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Archive for the 'Family' Category

Great Christmas

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

I had a great four-day weekend, since I took the 24th off and the office was closed on Christmas day. I did a fun road ride on Christmas Eve Day, once again doing the Shilo Road route of which I am so fond. That was a good length, about 25 miles. Sarah and I exchanged our gifts on Christmas Eve. Her gifts to me followed a bicycle touring theme, including a book and a backpacking sleeping pad and sleeping bag.

They are incredibly compact and lightweight, the sleeping bag weighing exactly 1 kilogram. I’ve been talking about doing a bicycle tour for a while now and I’m feeling more and more confident that I’ll be able to do one sometime in 2008. Last year, fitness would have been the biggest concern but hopefully I can stay in some semblance of shape over the winter and be in better shape next year. And now I have a lot of the gear I’ll need to do some sub 24-hour overnight trips and/or a longer tour. Thanks, hot stuff!

Christmas morning, we went over to mom’s house to exchange gifts with my family. We had a great time. Mom made lasagna for dinner as is becoming a tradition, and after dinner, I proposed a hike. The high was 47 degrees, and it was sunny — an incredibly beautiful day and surprisingly warm. After some discussion, everyone decided to come. We decided to hike the Wolf Cave trail (trail #5) at McCormick’s Creek State Park. It’s an easy two-mile trail.

Everyone really seemed to enjoy the hike, including my sister Becky, who hasn’t gone on the past few family hikes. I was really glad that everyone went and had a good time. In fact, it had been a long time since Sarah and I went hiking, and I think I had forgotten just how much I enjoy it. Here are some photos from the hike. Sarah took some of these.


Sarah and me

There's a hiding place in there!
Avery (my nephew) showing me a hiding place in Wolf Cave

Avery, mom, and me

Wolf cave
Rock bridge with icicles

Fording the river
Avery and mom crossing the creek

Becky and me
Becky (my sister) and me

Becky, looking aloof

Hiding in a tree
Avery, hiding in a tree

Hiking into the sun II
Hiking into the sun

A weekend of houseguests

Monday, November 5th, 2007

We had a very busy weekend. My former roommate from college came to visit last Wednesday and was here through Saturday. We had a great time, watched some episodes of The Shield and some bad movies (just like old times), caught up and generally goofed around. Great times. I took Friday afternoon off and we went mountain biking at Brown County State Park. He came at a great time — the leaves are probably at about their peak color, and there’s no better place to enjoy them than Brown County. Josh did a great job on the trails and I sure enjoyed mountain biking again. It had been far too long since I hit the trails.

Friday night, we all went over to my mom’s house and hung out for a while. Josh gave my nephew Avery copies of the comic books he’s written, and signed them for him. Avery thought that was pretty darn cool and seemed interested in reading them. Josh, Sarah and I were planning on going out to eat, but my sister joined us as well. We all had a good time, and I was glad she came. I don’t see enough of her, and it’s ridiculous because she lives just across town.

We took Josh up to Indianapolis on Saturday so he could go to a couple of events there and then catch his bus back to Chicago. After dropping him off, we made an all-too-successful trip to Fry’s and went back to Bloomington.

Sarah’s friend Julia had called on Thursday to see about coming down to Bloomington from Fort Wayne. She and her adorable 3-year-old-daughter, Sammy, arrived at our apartment shortly after we did. We had dinner with them and her cousin Chris, with whom I’ve done some road rides. We had a pretty low-key night Saturday night.

On Sunday, we went to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, which is about an hour west of Bloomington. It was really out in the middle of nowhere, and the place is a bit odd. Right by the front entrance is where they cut up the meat for the lions, tigers, bobcats, leopards, etc that they have rescued, so there were miscellaneous animal parts laying around.

The cats were very impressive. I think I liked the tigers best, but they were all great.  A lot of them have pretty sad back stories, most were purchased as pets, but the owners got in over their heads. Some were in bad circus-type situations.

I took some photos with my point & shoot camera; I’ll post some of the better ones later.

Bloomington Rails To Trails

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Last night, Sarah and I rode the Bloomington Rail-Trail with Avery (my nine-year-old nephew) and my mom. We called them on a whim and asked if anyone was interested in going. They both came, although unfortunately, my sister didn’t.

Avery had ridden the Clear Creek Trail a few times before, which is a paved path near the Rail-Trail. When we told him we would be riding on the unpaved, rocky/gravel trail, he got really excited. He thought that was super cool (and it is). It’s nowhere near a mountain biking trail, being very flat and straight, and mostly smooth. It also has fine gravel along most of it. It goes through some cool areas by woods, by a couple of farms, and follows Clear Creek, but it also goes past a few less-desireable features, including some kind of retained body of water that stinks. I’m not sure what that is.

Everyone had a blast, and I took some photos. I was impressed with how well Avery and my mom did, because I’m not sure either of them has ridden off the road before. Some highlights were riding through gaps with rocky cliffs on either side, a deer running across the trail just a little bit in front of Avery, wildflowers lining the trail, crossing the creek on the 1887 Harris Ford Bridge, going under State Road 37, and above all, a lot of smiles.

Avery speeding down the Rail-Trail

Mom and Sarah crossing Clear Creek on the bridge

Sarah as she should be — surrounded by wildflowers

Avery and me at the end of the trail

Avery, clearing a rock garden

I took Avery’s bike for a spin when we got back to mom’s

Just goofing around!

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