Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bike Ride 22 with Albert

Last week I went on my longest bike ride yet, and my first bike ride with a friend.  Albert and I have been friends since we were in our early twenties, and have known each other since we were kids.  He's been saying he'd like to go bike riding with me for a while, and last week we finally managed to go.

We had a blast!

 Here we are, just starting out.  That's Albert and his cool yellow truck, along with my bike, above.  We parked at the Station Mall and headed out along the waterfront portion of the Hub Trail,.
 We stopped to get photos with the bear carvings. One of the bears lost his fishing rod; so sad. It kind of looks like he tossed it way high up in the air in an attempt to reel in that huge fish, lol.
 This is the view from behind the BushPlane Museum.

 Al and I goofed around, posing with the moose statue.  This is between an office building and the old hospital buildings, along the hub trail.

 We got off the non road portion of bike trail on Queen St. and jumped on the road portion of the trail, a new bike path, for a few blocks, until the intersection of Queen and Pine, right across the street from the only house I ever owned.  I miss my house but it was nice to be in the old neighborhood again.  While we were waiting for the light to turn so we could cross, Al spotted a cell phone on the road.  He picked up and and we checked it out when we arrived at Belleview Park.
 Albert, posing with his own phone and the found phone.  We phoned people on the contact list and discovered the phone's owner and his friends have really awful luck.  The phone owner was recovering from a car accident and had no car to drive, according to the first friend we contacted, who told us that he also couldn't drive because he had also been in an accident and had broken his back.  We contacted a woman on the list and she also couldn't come to get the phone because she was on crutches from falling down the stairs.  We made arrangements to drop the phone off at the Station Mall at the information kiosk so that the owner could retrieve it at his convenience.  Later on, after we had ridden back to the mall, Al ran in to drop off the phone and was told the owner had already been by only a few minutes before.  He'd gone off and said he would be back later.  Al left the phone there for him.
We had fun riding around topsail Island.  I used to walk my dogs here all the time.

 Albert has great balance and is like a mountain goat.  You can't really see in this photo, but he was standing on a slimey rock in the water.  My ankles are weak so I didn't walk past the big rocks to get to the little beach area (you can't see it, but there were tons of big rocks on my side of the photo).
 When we came to another little beach area, this one free of trees and rocks, Al decided to test the tires on his mountain bike to see if it would be OK on loose gravel.  As you can see by the tire tracks, he barely avoided going into the water, and he only avoided it because he jumped off.  He did get his feet wet but was otherwise OK.  He has big, thick, stubby tires that have great traction.  My bike is OK on grass and packed dirt but not on sand or loose gravel so I stayed up on the path.
 The photo above was taken from Topsail Island. It shows my old Alma mater, Algoma University.
 Albert wanted to go into  the greenhouse.  I love the flowers and everything but usually avoid the greenhouse due to the excessive heat (we had a scorching hot summer and there was no way I was going to add to my misery), but it was a cooler day so I went inside.  I took tons of photos of all of the pretty flowers, plants, and fishpond, but only chose my favorites for this blog:
Bird of Paradise


 I thought the pineapple and banana were cool, and the bird of paradise flower was stunning.

 We had locked our bikes on an anchor, and when we went back Al sat down and posed as though he was having a snooze. 
 He wanted me to do the same thing, but I was worried about spiders, lol, so opted to stand behind the anchor instead.

 As we were riding on the path that leads from Belleview Park back to the marina, Al decided to run up the hill for the photo, above.
 He also decided to pose on the rocks near the pond.  We had a lot of laughs because the first rock he tried to climb was too big.
 When we got back to the truck, after Al dropped off the cell phone at the mall, we debated ending the ride or continuing on to the locks and Whitefish Island.  I suggested we head to the locks, which was only a 10 minute ride from the truck, and then decide if we felt up to riding on the Island.  I knew Al would be OK on the paths because he has those great mountain bike tires, but it was only his second ride of the season and I didn't want him to overdo it and then hate riding.  I needn't have worried, as he was fine.   I was the one who had trouble.  He wisely ate an apple before we headed out, but even though I had granola bars, and he gave me an apple, I didn't feel like eating.  Big, huge mistake.
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 By the time we had biked out to this first stop on Whitefish Island, Al was fine.  I was dizzy,  exhausted, and seeing weird flashes of light in my vision.  I ate one bite of my granola bar and it helped a bit, but I was feeling too nauseated to eat any more.  I needed gatorade, I think.
 There are several of these wooden shelters along the river, and we stopped at them all, thank God.  I felt OK when we were sitting but as soon as we started riding again, I felt ready to pass out and had those weird flashes of light in my vision. I also had a major migraine.
 Al and our bikes at one of the rest stops.
 We stayed at the last rest shelter until the sun started to set, and I realized we'd have to get moving if we wanted to get off the Island before it got dark.  There are no lights on the Island.

As we were heading out, we ran into an enormous Asian family that was lost and looking for a way off the Island. I gave them directions to the bridges, and then waited at the second bridge to show them the right path that would lead them back to the final bridge off the Island.  It still wasn't dark so we decided to go the other way, to see the beaver pond before we left the Island.
There I am, in the photo above (Albert's photo), pointing out the beavers to Albert.  In the photo below, you can see the beavers because I zoomed in on them.  In real life, without zoom, they were just two little blobs on the water, lol.
 I love watching the beavers, and am always amazed that they eat the lily pads, using both hands to stuff them in, lol.
 We stayed on this wooden walkway by the beaver pond until the sun had almost fully set.  The photo above is Albert and his bike, below is me, and mine.

 While we watched the sun set, Al decided he'd like to see what lily pads feel like.  This photo above is Al laughing because I told him a couple was watching us, and they must be wondering what he was doing.
Sunset on Whitefish Island

 We left for our bike ride at noon, stopped for lunch, and headed out on our bikes at 1:30, and got back to the truck at 8 PM.  We stopped a lot on the way, and rode almost 19 km in total.  The photos above and below show us at the end of our ride, once it had gotten dark.
I was thrilled that I hadn't passed out, lol.

 I couldn't fit the entire ride on one map, lol, so I broke it down into A (the ride from the mall to Belleview Park and back), and B (the ride from the mall to Whitefish Island and back). Ride A was 13.41 km, and ride B was 5.44 km, for a total of 18.85 km; woohoo!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bike Packing Supplies: Panniers, Mess Kit, and Headlamp

A package came in  from China today; woohoo!  I am so excited.
 I opened it up and discovered my Panniers!  I was surprised they could lay so flat; I'd imagined they'd come in a big square boxy package.

The material is nice and sturdy, water resistant but not water proof. I  ordered some waterproof covers for them but they aren't in yet.
 There are three parts to the pannier, a top part, and two side parts.

 The two side parts are connected, and the thin black strip down the middle sits on top of the rear pannier rack on my bike. The top part of the pannier can be clipped onto the top of the side parts.

 I stuffed one of the bags to see how much it would expand, and was happy to see it should hold quite a bit.

 I stuffed the top part as well.  It would hold my laptop nicely, as well as other items.
 A few weeks ago I purchased this Coleman mess kit at the Walmart for under 20 dollars; I think it was 12 bucks.

 The pots and pans are extremely small and would be great for a boy scout or girl guide.  They will also work for backpacking or bikepacking.  There's just enough room to boil water for an instant coffee or tea, to heat up a bit of soup or stew, or to MAYBE make some instant noodles, lol.  The little frying pan would be big enough for a few scrambled eggs, or one hamburger patty.  It's a great little lightweight starter set but if I end up enjoying bikepacking, I'll get bigger, nonstick set.

 I also picked up a headlamp for my bike, for riding at night. It would also be nice to use while bikepacking.  I had hoped to do an overnight bike ride this fall, and I may still, but if I do I will be staying at a motel, not a camp ground. The spiders are freaking enormous this year, and i hate spiders, lol.  I'd still like to try biking with a tent, but that will have to wait until next summer, at the start of summer, when the spiders are still small, lol.  I'd also have to buy a tent first; I have no idea where mine is; I haven't seen it in over 10 years so it may have gotten lost in a move somewhere along the way.