Sunday, December 07, 2008

Arizona Thanksgiving Trip

After a hectic Monday and a 13-hour day at work Tuesday, we were on our way Wednesday aboard an early flight to Tucson for the holiday weekend. Of course we had to fly to Altanta first, but that's normal for Delta Airlines. I guess our plane was slower than the one I saw passing us somewhere over Texas. Our reasons for going to Tucson were about getting me out of town and away from work, but the best part was having family and friends there to share some good times with.

We stayed at the El Conquistador Resort Hotel, a really nice place northeast of Tucson at the
foot of the Catalina Mountains.

Thanksgiving dinner was at the hotel grand buffet, with all the finest meats and cheeses in the land.

Cousin Sara joined us at noon for the feast, and she and Wifeunit talked all afternoon in the lobby while I relaxed on the cozy furniture. It was the most peaceful afternoon I've spent in a long while. I stared out the window at the mountains and dozed off while listening to the buzz of the girls' conversation, the sounds of the feast contiuing and a football game on a distant television in the lounge.

Not one to neglect my training schedule, Friday morning I ventured off on a run, down the busy road north to Catalina State Park, about 4 miles from the hotel. Wifeunit met me there with water and snacks. I ran another mile or so to the end of the road where some nice trails begin.

The running route was beautiful, and the weather fine. I did notice a difference in my effort since the altitude was higher than home, I think about 2600 feet.

Wifeunit and I took a short, 1-mile trail and enjoyed a nice sample of the desert landscape.

The Saguaro Cactus was an unusual sight for
Mississippi natives.

No fences, no billboards, no buildings as far as you could see.

We spent Saturday on a guided tour hosted by Vera and Larry, who moved from Mississippi to Tucson several years ago. We did some shopping, had some lunch and visited the historic Mission of San Xavier del Bac.

We had a wonderful day and lots of fun with our friends. Below are more pics, including a roadrunner, quail and two goofy tourists.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Best Time of Year

The weather here these past few weeks here has been clear and beautiful. The leaves on the trees are in full color and the temperatures are chilly at night, but warm during the day. October and November are my favorite months, and in spite of my working a lot of weekend hours, Wifeunit and I have been able to enjoy a couple road trips to the Gulf Coast.

We made our annual trip to Jamie & Bethany's in Wiggins for Jamie and me to defend our "Paddle - Pant - Pedal" Triathlon First Place Open Team title. (This was easy since all the other teams were in the relay or mixed categories.). We spent a lazy afternoon at the farm and at the creek, and that night sat around the fire with our favorite beverages.

The next weekend was our return to Ocean Springs and the Peter Anderson Festival. Another beautiful day and visit with ML and Harry. We took a boat ride late in the day and enjoyed a nice sunset on the Pascagoula River marsh. And I did not neglect my marathon training - I drove to Gulf Islands National Seashore - Davis Bayou Park for an early morning run.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Long Time No Post

I've been really busy at work, and that means working weekends. But I've managed to squeeze in some fun here and there.

The Wellsfest 5K was bigger than ever, had a new course, and the weather was almost perfect.
I'm in the crowd somewhere and was pleased that I'm running better every week without any pain in my knee or back.

Credit Wifeunit for this wonderful picture of the kids beginning the Wellsfest 1 Mile Fun Run. This photo really looks great in a larger size.

is an all-day event with food and family entertainment, including a dog parade.....

.....and yoga demonstrations, which Wifeunit joined.

I wanted to save some photos of our plants before the winter comes. These are basil, oregano, parsley and thyme - great for snipping and adding to the recipe instead of shaking out of a bottle.

One of our new plantings this year was Coleus we grew from seeds. It took a little while to get going, but we had several large plants with these wonderful colors.

This weekend I decided I'd had enough work and got in the canoe for a while. One of the islands was covered with wildflowers.

The white pelicans are back from Canada and the Great Lakes. They are a beautiful sight in the winter when they gather in big flocks and slowly circle catching the sunlight. I believe they fly this way just for fun.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Weather and the Weekend - Part 2

After a post-race shower and a short rest, we headed south toward home. On the way, we stopped at Indianola, Mississippi, birthplace of the blues legend B.B. King, and Wifeunit's childhood summer home. By coincidence, this day was also the opening of the B.B. King Museum.

We found the little town full of visitors and the downtown section closed to traffic. The streets were lined with food stands, crafts for sale, and musicians. The new museum was a bit too crowded for us, so we didn't go inside. We make it to Indianola several times a year, so we'll be checking out the museum on another trip. My sister ML later told us that there were probably some high profile entertainers there like Eric Clapton, but we didn't notice anything special but 3 large customized busses from the Gibson Guitar company.

Wifeunit had to sign the big birthday card, ending our adventure for this day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weather and the Weekend - Part 1

The weather here lately has been influenced by a couple of hurricanes. Not unusual for this time of year, but more creepy than in my memory since Hurricane Katrina changed so much of our world in the Gulf States. I read an email at work that mentioned an Ohio city was experiencing power failures and school closings from Hurricane Ike this week.
Ike was a factor at the Delta State University Triathlon this past Saturday. It was windy and humid. I had a great swim - it was a 500 yd pool swim - and I was one of the first out of the water. I even had to get spectators out of the path to the transition area. The bike ride was really strange, with a 25 mph wind from the hurricane blowing from the southeast. The ride was an out and back zig zag route, so half the time the wind was helping, but boy when it didn't it was a struggle. One of the guys who finishes in the top 5 every year said his bike leg was 6 minutes slower than his worst. I ran poorly in the high temps and humidity, but enjoyed the race. Everyone involved in this race seems to have great fun, even though they seem to have trouble with the timing and awards. This is not an official USAT race, just a fun thing put on by the DSU Swim and Dive Team.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ag Museum

I began this beautiful Sunday with some canoe paddling to a spot at least a half mile from any houses, at the east end of Pelahatchie Bay in the middle of the huge expanse of lotus pads. The weather had the first touch of Fall about it, and the forecast promised low 80's for the day. This spot in the pads was so quiet. There were very few boats out. I think the high-tech fishermen with their obnoxious bass boats must have gotten interested in college football or dove hunting. Or maybe they knew the water was a little muddy from Hurricance Gustav last week. The only sounds were an occasional flock of geese honking by or the sound of a far off truck with obnoxious loud tail pipes. Must have been the fishermen heading for the dove field.

Later, Wifeunit suggested we go to the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, where this weekend the Celtic Fest was going on. We paid the surprising $24 for two of us to get in and found the fest pretty weak. There were some interesting people playing unusual instruments but not much else, so we decided we'd seen enough.

We were headed back to the truckster when Wifeunit picked up the scent of a horse, her favorite animal. I picked up the scent of what the horse leaves on the ground. Anyway we had to investigate........

Here she's getting some of that horse smell on her, and she may not wash her hands for days.

Another irresistible critter gets as much massage as possible through a fence.

Wifeunit got a sloppy kiss from this guy, but I missed it. You can still appreciate his good looks and charm.

A goat. No less important, loved and admired.

This was the only farm animal Wifeunit didn't notice or spend time with. I could only think of my chocolate milk.

Best of all, the family had a great day!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One Year Totals

I've been recording my workouts on the Buckeye Outdoors site since September 1, 2007. Results....

450 miles of running

120 miles swimming

770 miles biking

1340 miles total

I know some of you readers may have done twice that distance. Actually two of you for sure, but I'm still pretty proud of myself. Blogs are all about bragging sometimes.

I'm about to check the radar again and decide whether to run in these remnants of Hurricane Gustav.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Fun of Triathlon

The Cotton States Triathlon in Lake Providence, Louisiana has survived for a 23rd year. The 24th is in question. The down home friendly nature of this little race is what makes it dear to me. It's perfect for beginners and comfortable for those of us who have no high ambitions to qualify for Kona, or even spend the grueling hours to train for an Ironman. The race is a major fund raiser for the small farm town of Lake Providence and deserves to survive.
The swim and transition area are across the 2 lane highway from the host Lakeside Motel where room rates are $30 regular and $35 for deluxe. Signs in some read, "Please Don't Clean Fish in Room".

The phenomenal fellow Flowood Fighting Flounder, KE, in her second full official triathlon without being on a relay team, won Top Masters Women. She was awarded one of the coveted Cotton Bale trophies pictured above.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fish Fear Me

On my rest days, I love to get out on the water in the canoe and paddle silently around Pelahatchie Bay, early in the morning before many boats have messed up the glassy surface and the wind is calm. This old canoe has been in the family for over 40 years, and paddling it around remembering its long life is part of the pleasure. It's aluminum and makes a little noise when the water is choppy, but it's like driving an old classic car or swinging an old golf club, maybe like using an old baseball glove that's been put away for years.

This day was a bit overcast but calm, and there was hardly a ripple as far as I could see. I remember being taught canoeing skills in Boy Scouts, and the importance of being very quiet, not banging the paddle against the gunwale. My uncle and brother and I would sometimes paddle out at night with a bright light and sneak up on beavers. We could get within just a few feet of them if you kept the light in their eyes, then the tail would slap on the water and they'd be gone. That was a thrill for a 10 year old boy.

Approaching my favorite fishing spot, I don't see the alligator on this day. It's only about a 5 or 6 foot gator, and keeps a good distance from me. It will disappear under the water when you get too close. I always take my camera and fishing stuff, since you never know which you'll have the most luck with.

Here's proof that I do actually catch fish while I'm out. I mostly fish with a fly rod since it's the most fun and you don't have bait to hassle with. I rarely keep any fish, mostly since they're too small, or I only catch a few on each trip.

I'm out for a couple hours at the most, since the wind will pick up to a point that makes handling the canoe a bit of a challenge.