Miss Orchid in Her Glory

She has finally opened her final blossom. Miss Orchid’s stem carries eighteen gorgeous phalaenopsis flowers. I promised to show her off when she was in full bloom so those who have never seen this type of orchid in bloom could have that opportunity.

I posted a photo of her first blossom in my piece titled Brighten Your Day With a Bloom in January, 2011. On that day she began her bloom cycle. Today, on Valentine’s day she gave me all her love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Greasy Donut Recall

Selfridges has a Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop wh...

Image via Wikipedia

This morning the devil made me eat a greasy Krispy Creme donut. I savored it with great enthusiasm. I know it is bad for me, but how long can one live anyway? Grandma Peggy read the advertising on the box and was surprised to learn that the company has been making donuts since 1937. That means Krispy Creme has been selling heart plugging fat loaded tasty sugary treats one year longer than I have been on this planet.

When Krispy Creme became a rage back in the ninety’s I followed the crowds to a local store to learn what it was all about. I also wanted to buy a dozen of the freshly made donuts. My friends were explaining the automated machine they used to make the donuts right in the store. It is a tradition at the office to bring donuts on your birthday.  I especially loved birthdays when we celebrated with Krispy Cremes. When I bit into my very first one, my brains cells awakened from deep within. The taste brought back childhood memories.

On the day I first walked into the Krispy Creme store in Oak Forest, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There, right in the center of the store, was an automated donut making machine.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of the process. Wait a minute, my brain told me. You’ve seen this machine before.

When I was seven years old, my mom went shopping on 63rd and Halstead. There was a cluster of large stores there, Sears, Wieboldt’s, Goldblatt’s. It was the shopping center of its time. To get there we took the streetcar. Two transfers, and an hour got us to the commercial center of the south-side.  She loved to window shop and never bought anything she didn’t absolutely need. One of her favorite stores was Hillman’s. A large grocery store on the lower level of another large store. Hillman’s was unique, because she got foods there that were not available in our community of Burnside. It was in that store, that I saw my first Krispy Creme donut machine. I was fascinated by the thing. I could spend hours watching the thing spit out raw donut dough and turn the glob into a glazed donut. Mom saw this quickly, and realized that she could shop while I watched the donuts.  The donut machine became my baby sitter.  Every once in a while, Mom bought some donuts to treat us for being good.

The whole memory came alive this morning when I bit into that sumptuous sweet glazed donut.

Enchanting Racism

Cover of "The Rodgers & Hammerstein Colle...

Cover via Amazon

A week ago, I was cleaning my office and found a bare DVD disk of the movie ‘South Pacific.’ The backside was all scratched up. Should I find a jacket for it, or toss it? In order to make a good decision, I watched the movie.

WOW! What a fantastic story. I had forgotten the plot, but recalled of it from a reading of James Michener‘s book ‘Tales of the South Pacific.’ I love James Michener books. The first one I read was ‘Poland.’ A Polish friend loaned it to me. My wife Barbara was Polish and I wanted to learn all about her heritage. As are most of Michener’s books, this one was over a thousand pages. I was riveted to the narrative for three days, finishing five hundred pages before getting tired. I set the book down on the end table to keep it handy. The book lie there for a solid year before I picked it up again on a summer weekend that was too hot and humid to go outside.  I read the remaining five hundred pages.

I fell in love with Michener’s style and the historical perspective he gave to his writing. The jacket cover on Poland mentioned him as a Pulitzer Prize winning author. I searched for the book that got him the prize, it was ‘Tales of the South Pacific.’ This story was one of his earliest. Contrary to later works, his early books were only three hundred pages. When I finished ‘Tales of the South Pacific,’ I had a clear understanding of the conditions our service people lived through in the Pacific during WWII.

Not all sailors were involved on carriers and cruisers fighting the Japanese. A large number were stationed on remote islands that were thousands of miles from home. They served as maintenance, supply, and hospital stations for those who engaged in battle. Needless to say, when there was no ship to service, these men and women let their own creativity fend the boredom of remote island living. Michener’s narrative of their exploits are both hilarious, and sad, but always factual and entertaining.

The movie, ‘South Pacific,’ is Michener’s story. Rogers and Hammerstein adapted the characters and derived the plot directly from ‘Tales of the South Pacific.’ I was amazed at how closely they followed Michener’s work. He included a racial theme in the story, and it was probably one of the first times we got a dose of reality on the racism that existed in our country during the nineteen fifties, and how the distance from home allowed some service people to break barriers.

Roger’s and Hammerstein wrote it as a musical play, and staged it on Broadway where it stayed for many years, finally  making it into the movie.  It became one of the best-loved films of all time. If you watch this movie, and don’t leave it humming, or singing Some Enchanted Evening, you are not alive.

I found a jacket for the DVD and placed in the library with all of  my classics.

Who Cares About Jobs?

A good friend handed me a booklet titled “Breaking the System, Obama’s Strategy for Change,” authored by David Horowitz, and Liz Blaine. It took all of ten minutes to read the informative, but scary facts.  Basically, the author describes how the Cloward-Piven theory of overloading the welfare system is actually working. Blaine makes numerous references on how Barack Obama is using the principles to transform America.

I became exposed to the Cloward-Piven principle in July, 2009 when I wrote my piece titled Radical Overload.

The principle is so simple, yet seems to be so effective in heading us toward total government control. By itself, it is merely a strategy. What has made it evil are leaders with names like Clinton, and  Obama who embrace it. How can we be so stupid as a nation as to allow ourselves to be duped into letting a choker-leash be put around our necks?

I thought about current events and came to realize that Barack Obama is not really interested in creating jobs, or fixing the economy. He is smart enough to know that nothing the government has ever done to fix the economy has worked. The economy corrects itself with time. Meanwhile, he uses the high unemployment rates and the lousy business climate to his advantage. By extending unemployment benefits, he is training millions of new people to depend on the government and ultimately onto the welfare rolls. It is helping him transform the country toward socialism under the cover of helping those without jobs. As he soulfully asks conservatives if they are willing to let millions of unemployed go hungry, he has been busy regulating business. The new rules make it harder for business to turn things around. He has also used the economy and the use of the word ‘jobs’ to hide the fact that he has quietly refunded ACORN, an instrument of his transformation.

The president is resistant to fix the illegal immigration problem because he wants the flood of illegals to overload government agencies. Anything that overloads the system is a step toward his objective of total government control. Do you realize that the motor-voter law allows one to register to vote when he gets his driver’s license? Has anyone ever asked you to show proof of citizenship when you apply for a driver’s license?  This slick little loop-hole allows any illegal who can get a driver’s license to get a ticket to vote too. Doesn’t that right belong to legal citizens only?

Obama has left Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unregulated and untouched. WHY? Because he needs them to continue overloading the system. None of our elected representatives will take responsibility for the housing bubble, but it is they who created the conditions and encouraged banks to make sub-prime loans. They will argue that they didn’t have anything to do with making bad loans, but didn’t our presidents and our representatives pass and sign into law the Community Reinvestment Act? Does that count for anything? Our reps basically underwrote every bad loan without any legislation and authorization to do so. By the way, ACORN played a big role in pressuring banks to make sub-prime loans alongside our leaders.

What will happen if the country goes bankrupt, and millions more are dependent on the system? If the government has no money, they begin printing dollars. The flood of extra cash devalues the dollar and puts a burden on all of us. Think about paying ten dollars, or more, for a loaf of bread, or a gallon of milk. Those commodities did not become more valuable, but your money has lost its value and it takes more dollars to buy the necessities. Seniors living on a fixed income will be the first to suffer. Next, will be those with low paying jobs. Eventually, even those who make big money will live the life of the social utopian.

When the government has printed so many dollars that cash is virtually worthless, how will it continue to finance its debt?  They probably won’t worry about paying the debt, but they will have 400,000,000 people to take care of. A lot of them are fat-cat-government-workers whom they will care for before they worry about us. Where will they get the money? Tax the rich. The rich will pay taxes paid with worthless money. Does that work?

It is my guess that Uncle will look at your nest egg. It could be your 401K, but by this time it has probably evaporated. No, they won’t want worthless money or paper vehicles like stocks and bonds, they will go after real things like buildings, land, resources, businesses, banks, factories, oil companies, etc. At this point we have entered the realm of marxist-socialism and Uncle owns your soul.

Read the booklet titled “Breaking the System, Obama’s Strategy for Change,” by David Horowitz and Liz Blaine. Click on the link, you can download the entire twenty page booklet.

After you read it, tell me if you are not convinced that Obama’s transformation of America is not happening, and that it is not based on the marxist Cloward-Piven strategy.

Better yet, tell me if you want to live in a marxist country.

An Apple Atta Boy

Yesterday, I did something really stupid. I was in a hurry, and I paid for it in time. The night before, I had attended my Lions Club 70th Anniversary party, and took about a hundred photos. I promised to post them on the club website, “WE SERVE.”  In the past twelve months, I have observed a trend on this website. The day after a major Lion event the number of views jumps. It happens because people want to know what transpired at the event. They are looking for news while it is still hot. It was my goal to capitalize on that observation.

The first thing after breakfast, I whipped open my trusty little red point and shoot Nikon and removed the media card. In one smooth move my hand went to the computer and shoved the card into the media card slot. Or, at least, I thought it was the media card slot. It wasn’t. I missed that slot by three-eighths of an inch and shoved the card into the CD drive slot instead. My pictures were swallowed by the iMac, it iAte my media card.

Don’t panic, I said to myself, just figure out how to open the thing and pick the card out. The iMac design is a thing of beauty as well as function. I looked everywhere for a screw or tab or anything that would give me a clue as to how to open the case. I found nothing. Don’t Panic. I shot off an e-mail to  my son Mike who owns the same model. I asked him for the key to opening the box. His reply was not encouraging. He didn’t know, and he reminded me that the warranty is probably void if I attempt to open it myself. Smart kid I thought. Don’t panic. I went online and found an Apple Service Center in Orland Park. They didn’t open until ten and it was still before nine. I called anyway, they were closed. Don’t Panic.

Grandma Peggy tried to console me. I reminded her that every time we visited an Apple Store in Illinois, Arizona, and California, it was the only store in the mall to have people. I’m sure this will take forever to fix. The last time I had a laptop fixed by a local service known for its great response, it took two weeks to get it back. That is, after I paid a premium to have it placed on their “look at it” within 24 hours service special. They didn’t say “have it fixed” in 24 hours.

After what seemed like eternity, ten  rolled over on the clock. I dialed the Apple Store. Amazingly, I got an answer after listening to Apple commercials for a minute. A real live human answered the phone, and he sounded like a bona-fide U.S. of A. all American kid. I expected to hear a heavy Indian dialect. Phew! the panic began to subside. I took the first appointment they had open. It was at 11:40 a.m. on the same day. I didn’t even know if I could get there by then, but I took the appointment.

Grandma Peggy helped me wrap Baby in a blanket to keep her warm and from getting scratched in transit. It was seven degrees yesterday.

I didn’t want to hear Peggy’s lecture on asking for directions so, I printed the instructions for getting there before we left. I parked exactly according to the certified instructions. I told Peggy to wait in the car as I ran into the mall to find the store. Baby is very heavy, and I didn’t want to carry her far. It is a good thing, I did the scouting trip. We parked at the opposite end of the mall from The Apple Store.

As I expected, the store was crammed with customers. Most played with iPhones, some played with MacBooks, others sat with blue-shirted staff receiving one-on-one instructions. They gave me  instructions over the phone to check in with a staff member. I crossed over the line and ran head on into a blue-shirted kid with headphones, a microphone, and an iPad in hand.

This blue-shirt met me with a body block as I crossed the line. Within ten seconds he had me checked in and arranged for another blue-shirted staff member to meet me at a specific entrance to help unload and carry Baby to the store. Then, with my  problem noted, he alerted the service staff  to look for a guy with a heavy brown jacket and a plum-colored shirt. All of this was done while we stood within four feet of the line.

I rushed back to the car, and we drove to the opposite side of the mall. Within a few seconds a blue-shirt with bleached white spiked hair popped through the mall door pushing a cart. He gingerly lifted Baby out of the back seat with the blanket intact. I parked while Grandma Peggy escorted the blue-shirt and Baby to the store.

Grandma Peggy and I stood around looking lost and wondering what happened to Baby, she disappeared. A completely different blue-shirt saw us looking bewildered. He asked if he could help.

“What’s your name?”

“Joe,” I responded.

He searched his iPhone.,”yep, you are checked in.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Is this the best spot to wait?”

“Actually, no,” he replied, the front of the store is best.

“Good, I will look over the MacBook Air while we wait, but how will I know when it is my turn?”

“Someone will find you.”

The blue-shirt escorted me to a MacBook Air, and  quizzed me on how I wanted to use it. I told him, and he began to steer me toward an iPad when I felt a light tap on the shoulder.

“Are you Joe?”  asked another blue-shirt, this one with tattoos from his wrist to his elbow.

“Yes.”

“Follow me.”

I looked at my watch, it was 11:40 a.m. He led me to Baby. Blue-shirt with the tattooed arm asked what was wrong with her. I explained my stupid move.

“Don’t feel bad, lot’s of people have done  the same thing.”

“I’ll be right back.”

He disappeared with Baby in his arms. Peggy’s blue blanket was on the floor. I picked it up before she saw where it was. I handed it to her and she smiled, “I saw that.”

Within minutes, blue-shirt with tattoos came back with Baby in arms; the  media card clenched between his fingers.

“Oh thank you,” I said. He handed me the tiny card and I stuck it into my wallet with my credit cards.

Blue-shirt with tattoos, and I had a technical discussion about how to get the computer open. He graciously explained the process. I was glad that I hadn’t been brave enough to attempt it. We kidded back and forth as he tested the CD drive to see if it had been damaged during the fishing process. They do this so often that they developed a fishing tool to find media cards without opening the computer. I can see why. Opening an iMac would have taken them much more time than it did to fish the card out.

Blue-shirt with tattoos arranged for another blue-shirt to assist me with transport back to the car. This guy was built like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and carried Baby under his arm.

I looked at my watch as we drove away. It was 12:15 p.m.

This was my first Apple Store experience. I bought the computer on-line to avoid the crowds at the Apple Store.

I cannot say enough great things about the Apple blue-shirt staff. Every one of them was courteous, and treated us with the greatest respect. They all had one goal, to make certain the customer was satisfied and being taken care of. They have something that is missing from other major stores,” SERVICE.”  When I was a  kid, most stores had great service and attitude toward customers. Sears was one of them, but they succumbed to the competitive pressure of K-Mart , and now they are owned by K-Mart. Had they remained a service oriented organization they may have done better. Apple has found that service pays. As my son often tells me, when you buy an Apple product you pay a ‘Apple Tax.’  Apple can charge more for its product because  of two things; Quality, and Service.

I give Apple and the Orland Park Apple Store five stars for their best practice of treating the customer right.

Last night, I finally got back to reporting on the Frankfort Lions Seventieth Anniversary party; only twelve hours off schedule.

America by Heart

I just finished reading Sarah Palin‘s book “America by Heart.”  She really lets her feelings hang out in this narrative. The intent of the book is to give the reader an understanding of her depth of knowledge of history, and the world. She didn’t need to convince me because all of  her values are in line with mine. I like to think that I represent a fairly large contingent of people in the USA.

I was impressed by Sarah’s list of references, and her knowledge of American history. She is a better read person than given credit by Katie Couric. In fact, I would predict that Sarah is a better read than Couric.

Palin’s conservative values, love of family, and love of God hang on her sleeve in this writing. Everyone who is a Palin-hater should open their minds to read America by Heart. Those of you who are Sarah supporters should also read the book to better understand what makes her tick. unfortunately, most people will get their insight from tabloid news and jerks like Chris Matthews, Bill Mahr, and Keith Olbermann. All three of them were born with a defective lobe. What we don’t understand is that Sarah Palin is you and me, and the liberals hate you and me too.

It is my opinion, the liberal element knows full well and understands her to be the Anti-Progressive who can kill their movement. As far as women who hate her, that is a little harder to understand. Again, my opinion; women hate her because she represents what men see in a woman. She is beautiful, loves family, loves God, is not afraid to raise kids, loves the outdoor life, and can still become Mayor, Governor, and even President while juggling babies and making cookies. She can do all of it without the likes of the Woman’s Liberation Movement. No modern woman wants her daughter to take on Sarah Palin as a role model for fear of losing the daughter’s respect as a mother.

I am not ready to support Sarah Palin as president for several reasons; first she isn’t running yet, second there will be a huge number of very qualified candidates to sort through when the time comes. While we are waiting for the field to show up, begin reading America by Heart.

A Bicycle Ride Around Nova Scotia

This account is the companion piece to my web page on Nova Scotia. It is written by my good friend and cycling companion Lou Dini. We shared many rides together, and have many great tales to tell, some of them are tall; this one is Lou’s. Mine is on the tab under Bicyclist. The photos are mine.

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A Bicycle Ride Around Nova Scotia, Canada

The First Half of the Story

By Louis A. Dini

The time had arrived! All the training, (rides to Dahlonega, big hills in the development, rides on the Silver Comet Railroad Bike Trail with a good friend Jeff Daxson, my daughter and grandson) and work to get in shape are past and the day of truth has arrived.

We met Joe Rohaly and his wife Barbara this morning on the “CAT” in Bar Harbor Maine. The “CAT” is a hydrofoil ferry that took us across the ocean to Yarmouth Nova Scotia. The Ferry speed was forty-eight miles per hour and the trip took less than three hours. The water was rougher then I expected but we made it without any incident or seasickness.

Yes, we arrived at our starting point and were anxious to get moving. The ride was to start in the morning and we had all day to load up on food and prepare our bikes for the ride. Joe was smart and had a bike rack allowing him to do very little assembly work. I, on the other hand, had disassembled the bike and stuffed it into the trunk. Surprisingly, I remembered how it went together and everything worked once it was assembled.

Joe had made reservations at a small motel in mid-town Yarmouth for both of us. (strangely enough it was called Mid-Town Motel). At night we found that many of our soon to be fellow riders also stayed at the motel. We tried to meet as many as we could and of course it was fruitless for me because my worst attribute is names. Anyway, we met many and exchanged some of our experiences. Joe was the topic of the conversation with his recumbent bike. Everyone wanted to look it over and have their questions answered to learn all the details about its operation. Of course Joe didn’t ham it up or anything. Ha! I on the other hand would have my turn to find out about it as the ride unfolded. That’s another story and later you will hear about it if you want to or not.

It was extremely hard to sleep that first night with all the adrenaline flowing. We woke early or should I say we gave up on sleep at 6:00 a.m. Guess what? The weather was horrible, rain had moved in and there was so much fog that one could not see across the street. We proceeded to go to breakfast hoping that the weather would break before we had to start riding. Now what do you think a person in training should eat for breakfast to have a good start on the ride. Wrong! It was McDonald’s scrambled eggs, sausage, and hash browns with lots of coffee (and all the grease I could get).

We returned to the motel and joined others that started to put their gear together. About 9:30 am we moved from the motel to the visitors center where the ride was to start. Okay, we are ready to go! But the weather is still horrible and the fog has not lifted (talk about adrenaline, no I think it was just fright). Remember the song about the soldier not wanting   to follow Custer (Hey Mr. Custer I Don’t Want To Go), well that is how I felt. I was not ready to go! You guessed it stupidity won over common sense and we (thirty seven of us) left for our destination, Villagedale. Amazingly the first historical site we came to was St. Anne’s Catholic Church. Guess what? I went in and said a prayer hoping that the good Lord would over look my stupidity and protect me on this ride. I guess He listened because that day and the rest of the ride went without any serious incidents.

I quickly learned to take Joe’s estimate of the mileage and add about one hundred percent. Joe insisted that he try the popular Acadian dish rappie pie. He led me off the trail, supposedly a mile, to indulge in the special dish. Well, Joe’s mile turned into almost three and we added another five plus miles to our daily ride. After that detour, when Joe would say it was a mile or two, I would ask if it was a U.S. mile or a Joe mile. By the way, Joe agreed the pie wasn’t worth the ride.

The weather slowly cleared but not fast enough to afford the luxury of good scenery and photo opportunities. By the time we arrived at the campsite the sun was out and that was as good as it was going to get that day because the fog started to roll in early in the evening. Along with the rain and fog we missed the food stop, so after we set up our tents, if we wanted to have supper we had to ride seven miles back and forth. Okay, so you say what is fourteen miles anyway? It was horrible as it brought the ride for the day to eighty miles and before we got back the fog had become very thick.

Well, that is day one (80 miles). We rode long and hard, missed our food stop, I broke a spoke, we got to the campsite and the black flies ate us alive.

The second day started out with full sunshine and the black flies that were still very aggressive. Sleep came easily last night after the hard ride yesterday. The first thing on the agenda was to repair the broken spoke and dry out the rain fly as the dampness was extremely heavy last night.

Well, I completed the repair even though there were millions of black flies trying to carry me away. Joe was all packed and we started out at about 10:30 am. Guess what? We were the last ones to leave the campsite. We soon became known for being the last ones in and the last ones out each day. The others were nice about it and ribbed us at every opportunity.

By the way I forgot yesterday to explain that our wives (Delores and Barb) did not stay in the campsites or should I say they refused to stay in the campsites. Joe did an excellent job of finding them motels along the route. He planned it so they would be in the same town we were every other day. This gave them a chance to enjoy our company and take us to supper (ha!). The ladies fit right in and were on first name basis with most of the riders. In short order Joe and I got ribbed about ladies picking us up for supper. As they came in sight the crowd would say here come the girlfriends, it must be date night.

The ride was better today, because the weather stayed mostly sunny. Of course we had some pretty good head winds. I suppose this is a good time to explain how familiar I became with Joe’s recumbent. I literally saw nothing but Joe’s back all day and then not at any close distance unless we had a tail wind. Damn that bike flies! In the whole trip I think I led or stayed close to Joe about forty miles out of four hundred miles. With my weight and the way I tune my bike, I have been known to leave people behind when there are steep down hills. I found out how people I used to ride with felt. I would start down a hill and reach about thirty-eight miles per hour and Joe would fly by me reaching some fifty miles per hour. I could not even stay close to Joe going down hill! I gained a lot of respect for the ability of the recumbent and am giving strong consideration to purchasing one myself.

Once again Joe led me off the trail to find lunch. This time it was a total of three Joe miles or about a detour of seven miles. For this effort we found a very nice little restaurant with very good food. The only problem we encountered is that, with most of the bikers finding this same place, the restaurant ran out of some of their popular items. We found the world to be very small when we started talking to the owner of the restaurant. Our sag driver, a young lady from Australia, and the proprietor’s daughter were from Australia and even lived in towns that were very close.

We made it to Shelborne in the daylight but still we were the last ones in and the forty-two mile trip turned into fifty-five today. Of course we were late and the wives were there before we could get set up and cleaned up. We hurried with set-up, went to the wive’s motel to shower and then to supper. Do you want to know what we did the rest of the night? We went to the Laundromat to do some riding gear because we didn’t have time to do that task the night before (some sight seeing!).  We made it back to the campsite in the dark again.

That is it for day two (55 miles). The weather was better and we were able to get some pictures. The ride was easier, however, we continued to add up more miles then the map designated. We had supper in good company (the wives) and turned in less tired then last night. By the way this tour followed the lighthouse route. The funny part is that in two days we still weren’t able to see a lighthouse because of the fog along the ocean.

The third day started out overcast and gloomy and before we got into town to meet the wives for breakfast, it started to rain. We were not the last ones out of camp today. However, after we ate breakfast we were the last ones to leave the town. The good news is that while we ate the rain came down very hard and all those poor souls who hurried out got soaked on the road. We on the other hand stayed dry and luckily we managed to do that all day.

The head winds grew stronger through out the day and at one point I had a very hard time sustaining ten miles per hour. We came to a turn in the route at the Little Harbour Country Store and decided to have a snack. The store obviously had been closed for some time and it was good that we had snacks in our bags or we would have been out of luck. The wind was very strong and cold as it blew across the ocean that was less than a quarter mile away. The old store provided us shelter from the wind as we ate and rested.

Well here is what I have been waiting for! We now turned with the wind at our back and I had the first occasion to experience what it was like to ride with a partner in over two days, in fact I even led for a period of time. We thoroughly enjoyed the wind at our back and we did eight miles in about thirty-five minutes. What a joy!

We found a place to have lunch on the actual route. I didn’t know if I was going to be hungry, as we didn’t have to travel all those extra miles to find lunch. I guess I was hungry I sure did eat a lot.

Oh! Oh! The first real hills we had to encounter. The legs really burned and of course we had to be on a road with cars going sixty miles per hour. The good news is that this condition only lasted for about six miles. Of course, if you ride a bike, you learn that with every up hill there is generally a great down hill. Yes there was! The only problem is that we had to turn left at the bottom of the hill. I pulled on the brakes as hard as I could and just made the turn. Of course, I could have passed but then I would have to pedal back up hill. My mother didn’t raise any dummies!

The road that led into the campsite was gravel and two miles long. This is not the best road to ride on with a road bike. Fortunately the road was packed pretty well where the cars had traveled back and forth. We were able to ride all the way without any tire problems.

We had a new experience tonight. We actually had to cook something to eat for supper. We had made instant coffee and even some instant oatmeal for breakfast but this was first supper (you have to know that we only had a four-cup coffee pot to accomplish this task). I had picked up some Lipton soup mix and a can of white chicken meat. I made soup and put the chicken meat into the broth (not too bad). Dessert was some fruit and nut mix and I was full. Well believe it or not, we broke our string. We were not the last ones to the campsite. We actually got in early enough to retire early and read a little.

Well that is about all there was for the third day (55 miles). The weather cleared in the afternoon and we were able to get a couple of pictures, however, there was not much to photograph as we travelled in an area away from the water and through a lot of forest areas. We had a good breakfast, missed lunch and cooked a marginal supper.

The fourth day started off with a little rain early. It rained just enough to get the rain fly wet and it was overcast enough so it would not dry out before we had to pack up. We had another hearty breakfast of oatmeal, tea and fruit. These breakfasts didn’t last long in my stomach and with luck I would make it out of the campsite before I was hungry again. Today is another long ride and scheduled to be about sixty-four miles. I am sure we will make it seventy before we reach Lunenberg.

The sky was covered with clouds and it kept the sun from burning us up. It was clear enough to get some more photographs along the shoreline. We had a lunch or a second breakfast early in the ride at the White Point Lodge. This was a neat resort on the shoreline with a golf course and all. The food was good even though we had to go up and down some pretty steep hills to get to the lodge. Speaking of hills today was one of those hillier days. I think that each day picked up in regards to a hill size or I was just getting weaker with each day. Well, I guess I made it, as I knew that tomorrow was a lay over day. Joe made it because we visited a terrific bakery in La Have just before we ferried across to East La Have. I don’t know what he had, but he kept talking about it for the next couple of miles.

The wives were already in Lunenberg since yesterday and we decided that they should just pick us up in the morning. We therefore needed to find supper and of course we found a restaurant on the road to Lunenberg. What a novel happening, we had the luxury of another restaurant where we didn’t have to travel five or ten miles out of the way. Joe found a parking spot for his long bike right up against the wall of the restaurant. There were twenty bikes there and yet no one had parked against the wall of the restaurant. Joe thought he was smart but found when he came out that no one parked there because there was a bird’s nest right above his bike. This is a good news bad news story! The bad news was the birds crapped all over his bike and the good news is that they somehow missed his seat so he didn’t have to ride in it.

The weather had cleared even more and there was a slight wind as we entered the campsite. Guess what! We weren’t the last ones to the campsite again, that’s two in a row. We set up early for a change and the wind dried the tents very fast. This campsite was in the open and there weren’t any trees to hang a rope to dry out the clothes that I washed yesterday. I laid them across the tent and they finished drying before nightfall.

That’s about it for the fourth day (67 miles). We started with wet gear and cloudy skies, found the route had more or larger hills, good food, a great bakery and enough sun and wind to dry out the equipment.

The fifth day we chose not to but rather to go sightseeing in Lunenberg and Peggy’s cove. Lunenberg was a very colorful town on the water. By colorful I mean the actual colors of the building. There were buildings of bright yellow, green, red, and many other colors. We found that the reason for the bright colors is they are easier to see in the fog when the ships are coming in.

We took a horse and buggy ride, visited the boat museum, walked along the boardwalk and even shopped for some souvenirs. We had lunch and then met Barb and Joe to drive to Peggy’s Cove. When we arrived at Peggy’s Cove the sun was out in full and we took some very beautiful photographs. These are the sights and memories we had thought we would bring back from the lighthouse route. This made the trip worthwhile. Peggy’s Cove is the most photographed location in Nova Scotia and we certainly could see why.

There was some sadness there also. They had a monument along the shore for the crash of The Swiss Air Flight 111 in which all aboard were killed. It was a very somber moment as we stood and looked out over the water. The only other moment I have felt like this is when we stood in the monument for the Arizona battle ship lost in Pearl Harbor.

We ended the day by having supper with the whole group in Lunenberg. It was good to be together in one place to talk to and get to know each other more. Yes we were all in the campsite together but we didn’t really come together in a group and mingle. That night we found that the people were from all walks of life, all professions and from all over the North American Continent. Thirty-eight people came together and somehow we will all remember one another through the experience of this bike ride.

So that’s the fifth day, good weather, good friends, and beautiful scenery!

The sixth day was supposed to be a very hard ride. That is why the day was only twenty –seven miles. We came to a very nice town called Mahone Bay. We had breakfast and looked around the main street, which was set up for a sidewalk sale. Joe and I both bought a souvenir cap which, we didn’t know at time, would come in handy in the future.

Because we expected the ride to be the hardest we had encountered, we left fairly quickly and made our way toward our destination. As it happens, what you think will be may not always be correct. The day was indeed easier than we thought and we arrived very early at the campsite. This campsite had a very steep hill entrance and the road was made of a very sharp shale type rocks. We decided to walk the bikes in to avoid any tire problems.

Arriving at camp early allowed us to have a day of relaxation. We set up camp and Joe pulled out his lounge chair and proceeded to read his book. I on the other hand decided to do my wash so I would have dry clean clothes for a couple of days. One of the ladies on the ride wanted to play cribbage. I didn’t know how so she took the time to teach me. This brought back fond memories as when I was a child and we went to my grandparents house for a reunion, my grandfather, uncles, and dad would spend hours playing cribbage. I never had the opportunity to learn so this was something I enjoyed.

Well, this was another cooking night as there wasn’t a town for miles. This night we would enjoy beef stew and beef soup. I can’t decide if it was good or if my being hungry would have made everything taste good. After that delicate cuisine we turned in early and read for a while.

Well that’s day six (30 miles). This was a relatively easy day with plenty of relaxation time. I learned something new and reminisced about days of old.

The seventh day turned out to be what we expected on day six. Talk about hills! Yesterday the hills were Michigan size hills, and today they were Dahlonega size hills. Today we used a lot of energy but the ride was in such an area that there was nowhere to get food or to recoup what we lost.

Darn, I hate that loud ping! I broke another spoke early in the ride so we stopped to true the wheel as good as possible until I could get time to replace it. It sure is nice to have good friends with you on a day like today. Joe played the part of a bicycle rack and held the rear wheel up so I could do the truing job.

We had climbed a hill for what seemed like an eternity. At the top of the hill we found a campsite store. We turned in to the campsite and purchased a snack, sat on the porch and enjoyed one another’s company while we discussed life in general.

We probably stayed longer than we should have, as both of us were stiff when we got up. We resumed the ride and in about a mile the road went into a serious downhill. We were enjoying the downhill when all of a sudden the fog and clouds opened into an awesome view of bright sun, green earth as I have never seen and a blue sky. One breathtaking scene that plants unforgettable memories in one’s gray matter is what riding on a tour is all about. That experience wipes out any memories left by hundreds of hard miles.

We arrived early at the campsite again (this is becoming a habit). We set up our tents and then went about our business. I repaired the broken spoke, which was harder than the last as it was on the free wheel side. I was lucky to find a spoke long enough in Gary’s supply (Gary is our tour leader). I found one that just threaded and I hoped it would last the next three days.

Well that’s day seven (42 miles). Tonight is supper again with our wives early to bed and ready for another rough day tomorrow. This was a hard day, my legs needed to have icy hot applied to relax the muscles. With any luck at all, the bike wheel and my legs would hold up for the rest of the ride.

The start of the eighth day was horrible. It rained all night and it was still raining as we tried to break camp. What a mess! Everything was soaked including the sleeping bag. We packed up the best we could and prepared for our journey today. I switched to using only one pannier in order to reduce the weight I would have on the bike. My hope is that it would help the spoke last the rest of the trip.

The ride started out very easy with tail winds making it easy to maintain eighteen miles per hour. We went about ten miles and then it was decision time. We had a choice to go up steep hills to see the Bay of Fundy or take the valley route that had fewer hills. We decided to take the valley route, as it was so foggy in the high country that we wouldn’t be able to see the beauty of the Bay of Fundy. (Because there were huge hills had no bearing on our decision. Ha!)

The valley route turned out to be the most picturesque on this particular day. The ride was initially hilly and very busy. We found a detour to avoid traffic but the hills remained. The route we took allowed us to continue viewing and enjoying the same view that we found yesterday. We came out of the detour route in time for lunch and after lunch we remained on the main highway all the way to the campsite. This road leveled out and was not very hilly. The wind kicked up so we now had a head wind to make the ride just a little bit harder. We had lunch in a restaurant on the route again (is this becoming a habit?)

After lunch we headed to our destination arriving at the campsite early again (another habit?). We set up the tents and proceeded to dry out all our gear. The wind and the rain made short order of the drying process as we waited for our wives. We were having supper again with them (another habit?).

We ate at a restaurant that was a restored two-story building called Fat Pheasant. This place had it all, great food, ambiance, and great service. We really pigged out (this was the best meal of the trip). We arrived at the campsite at dark and turned in early because we were to have another hilly day tomorrow (another habit?).

Well, that is day eight (60 miles). The ride was not as hard as it could have been, and the day ended with good weather and excellent food (both lunch and supper).

The ninth day started with no major rain only light drizzle early in the morning. The morning stayed overcast and it looked like rain most of the early hours. We broke camp early, which was unusual for Joe and I. I guess I was up early because my watch stop working yesterday and I didn’t really know what time it was.

There was no breakfast cooked this morning just coffee as town was only two miles away and it had several good eating places. After a good breakfast we tackled the ride for the day. I was sure glad we had a good breakfast because the hills started almost immediately. These hills were bigger than Dahlonega hills and probably more like Blue Ridge Mountains. They seemed to go for an eternity!

My legs would not perform well today and Joe stayed way out in front of me. He occasionally would stop to wait for me to make sure I didn’t give up. Believe me, on this day, if there was a way to get the ride over faster, I would have paid to do it (this thought may have been an omen, as you will read later).

Suddenly, there was a downhill and it had to be the downhill of all times. The road was horrendously steep, had lots of tight curves and pot holes everywhere you looked. I knew this would not be fun! I had to pull on the brakes harder than ever before on this ride and I still could not get below twenty miles per hour. I pulled even harder and only hoped the tires would not blow for the intense heat of the friction on the rims. I reached the bottom at last and the road opened into the nicest little town called Bear River. It had many neat stores with all types of unique things to ponder over.

Our wives happen to come into the same town at the same time so we had lunch with them. Lunch again at lunchtime for sure this is a habit I can get used to. We ate and then decided to attack the rest of the day’s ride.

There is an axiom in bicycle riding that says, whenever you over eat at lunch there will be a big hill to try and navigate. Try navigating a steep incline on a full stomach one time. Well sure enough the hill stared us in the face. We started up the hill and after about one third the way up something slipped on my bike. The next thing I knew was it was slipping more then finally would not go any more. I had stripped the free wheel right off the hub. Luckily the sag driver and my wife had not left town. I flagged down the sag driver loaded the bike and went back for my wife. I needed her to drive me to a bike shop to try and get repair parts. As we started to leave for the bike shop the sky opened up and the rain came down in buckets. Joe was somewhere out on the road in the middle of it.

After driving around for several hours, we had no success in finding necessary parts to make the repairs. I decided to hang it up for this tour and we went to the campsite to get some of my gear. I ended up in Yarmouth with the wives in the motel for the evening. That by the way was a very smart decision on my part even though I didn’t think so at the time. That night a severe electrical storm came in and I was glad not to be in a tent.

Well that’s day nine (20 miles). This was the worst day of the ride with horrible hills, high winds, torrential downpours, an electrical storm and a broken bike.

The final day found me up early. I guess I was anxious to wait for the riders to come into Yarmouth. I surely had mixed emotions today. I was sad that I couldn’t be riding in with the group on this the tenth and final day but was glad I didn’t have to be in a tent in an electrical storm or riding in a fog the storm left this morning.

We had breakfast, then I went to the visitor center to wait for the riders while the ladies made one more round of stores to see what they might have missed before. The first riders arrived about eleven o’clock and the last about two o’clock. I took pictures of the individuals as they crossed the finish line. I was sad I was not one of those crossing the finish line, but happy that I had an opportunity to talk to each as they came in. I would not have been able to do this if I had been able to ride on this day (another memory to treasure).

We had lunch, went back to the motel, dried out my gear, packed the car and left for the ferry and our return trip.

Well that’s the tenth day (0 miles today but 404 for the trip). To sum it up, I had some real fears (fog and steep down hills), some dilemmas (equipment breakdowns), some great moments to remember, and 37 new friends to think about for many years. I love this sport and can’t wait until the next trip.

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