Saturday, August 30, 2008

Beautiful Day for a Long Walk

A couple of days ago, I (foolishly) signed up to do the Equinox Marathon. So today, I thought a long walk was in order. This was partly to see if I would be able to finish and since I'm heading up to Barrow in a couple of days, I needed to get in a good, long walk. I've have also wanted to do this route since the beginning of the summer. In the morning fog, I headed into the next subdivision, went by the strawberry farm to Ballaine Road. I headed up and over the hill into the Goldstream valley. I then headed west towards the university. On this leg, the fog burned off leaving beautiful blue skies with a few fluffy clouds. I found myself at On's Eggroll House around lunch time so I had to stop. After some wonderfully tasty Thai food, I continued on towards the university. I headed up Miller Hill towards the Muskox Farm then headed towards Pearl Creek School then back home on one of my favorite roads, Eton Blvd. All in all, I covered 22 miles so I believe that I would be able to finish the race. I think I need to finish in under 8 hours or something like that. I will need to push myself as my feet are a bit sore. I think I need some better socks that wick moisture to the outer pair. I will be happy to just finish as the Equinox has the reputation of being one of the toughest marathons around.

The iPod battery easily lasted the whole trip today but I did receive notice that I need to order a new sensor. They seem to last about six months before the battery needs replacing. I guess that I could probably get the battery to last longer by removing the sensor from my shoe but I don't think that it is worth the hassle. I stopped for a rest and to take a photo at the Large Animal Research Station a.k.a. the Muskox Farm. Very quiet and relaxing place. If this was a good day for a long walk, then maybe tomorrow would be a good day for a nice long ride. I'm running out of riding days!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fall Weather

Three of us showed up at noon for an unofficial WIN walk. We headed onto the West Ridge ski trails to the "T" field before heading back. On the way back, I decided to head down to lower campus on the Baseline trail and was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of work being done on the trail. It has been difficult to walk on especially with all the rain this summer. Many of the really wet areas now has landscaping fabric with lots of wood chips on top. They are doing a great job getting the trail more useable in the Spring & Summer. Anyway, I followed the trail all the way to Ballaine Lake before heading back to Wood Center to grab some lunch. Just a bit under 6 miles with an average speed of 3.8 mph. Nice walk, beautiful weather and dry feet. Not much to complain about. This evening, I needed to run some errands so I tacked a nice bike ride on at the end. There was a little bit of rain but I had a great ride. I'm not looking forward to putting the bike in storage again. Riding has been a wonderful diversion and I should have done this years ago. I need to head up to Barrow next week so no riding then. Hopefully, it will stay warm for a little while longer so I can get in a few more rides this year.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Soloed! & the Equinox

A pretty uneventful weekend. I managed getting in my 10k steps per day last week but fell short on the 10 miles per day that I was doing at the beginning of the summer. Not enough time for walking nor riding. It seems like there are very few riding days left this summer so I had wanted to take advantage of the good weather but there were too many other things to do. Kind of depressing, no riding at all. The minivan is in the shop this morning to get an oil change (actually, to get rid of a "maint req" light that has been on since we headed back to Alaska last month). There was little opportunity to have the oil changed in Canada due to time constraints. Better late than never. I also received a call that the Kia wouldn't start and is sitting the Hutch parking lot. I hope it is just the case of the clutch not being pressed all the way to the floor. That will be my next stop this busy morning. My first stop was the dentist for a checkup. I probably should go in more frequently than every seven years. They gave me a hard time about that but no problems. So I didn't get to ride today either.

Monday afternoon - The clutch switch was the culprit. I stopped, removed the floormat that seemed to limit the movement of the clutch pedal and it started right up. No problem. I dropped of the minivan with my wife and left instructions for my son to pick me up at the university this evening. He "soloed" today.

Monday evening - I decided to walk home this evening and since I had wondered how to get from the West Ridge ski trails to Yankovich Road, this seemed like a good opportunity. It was a beautiful evening for a walk and I made the 10 mile goal for the day. The "scenic route" ended up being over 9 miles all by itself. During my evening walk, I decided to walk the Equinox Marathon next month. I've walked the distance before but have never even considered trying the actual event. This should be interesting. I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew considering my slacking off lately. I've noticed that hills aren't slowing me down much so this may be a good time to try this event.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Evening Walk

This evening, I went for a nice long walk. The weather was wonderful, blue skies from horizon to horizon, about 65°F, and a few clouds. Anyway, I started up the hill then cut over to the next subdivision on a trail, walked by Pearl Creek School, across Ballaine to Yankovich. At this point, I debated on whether to jump onto the ski trails and head up to West Ridge before heading home but decided to just head down Yankovich towards the golf course. Then just headed down the bike path back home. My iPod battery died at about 7 miles so the Nike+ gadget stopped recording at that point. While walking, I received an email message from the WIN program that I had accumulated enough points in the last six months to get a wearable gps. Pretty cool! I like gadgets. From what I've read on my phone (while walking), it uses the gps to measure your distance and speed as well as recording your heart rate while walking/running/biking. Too bad it won't get here before the summer runs out. All this exercise and eating well pays off in other ways besides better health. Anyway, I went about 10 miles on this evening walk and feel great. All this walking takes so much time. I feel a real need to go for a long walk tomorrow but unfortunately, I have tasks to do at home. Hang additional rain gutters, put away the camping gear and who knows what else. One of the boys in my son's Boy Scout troop is getting his Eagle tomorrow so I definitely want to go to that.

Speaking of my son, I took him to the DMV today to get his license. He passed the driving test yesterday at Cherokee Riders so all he had to do was turn in the test results and get his picture taken. It was much more convenient than trying to schedule a test at the DMV. After the test, he said that he thought that he could have taken the test in the Kia (manual) instead of the minivan (automatic). Pretty good considering he just learned how to parallel park at the beginning of this week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Botanical Garden

This evening was a Boy Scout meeting and they worked on a service project. Planting a bunch of tiny plants along the fences of a maze that will eventually grow into hedges. It was a beautiful evening for a walk so I took advantage of the opportunity to get in some steps. It really started getting cool once the sun started to set. I guess Fall is just around the corner. Anyway, I got in over 10k steps during the meeting walking around on the West Ridge ski trails and through the walkways in the botanical garden. If you haven't been here, this is a beautiful location to wander around in. There are plenty of walkways, giant cabbages, flowers, etc. plus, it is right next to the ski trails. Last weeks WIN walk went through the gardens as well. This was a nice change from waiting at the DMV. Yesterday evening, we picked up an old Kia Sportage so today I took it to get an emissions test and got the title transferred. Sounds like fun, eh....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

since getting back from my vacation, I've been trying to get back into walking again. It has proven to be difficult. Over the last week, I've only managed to walk about 13k steps per day. I just haven't felt like going for a long walk. Right now, all I feel like doing is sleeping. I haven't done any running this month (yet) nor gone on any long walks. The good news is that the month is only half over. I have been keeping track the items in the WIN point program so I believe that I've been able to still eat healthy. Still can't get myself to do some of the back exercises nor the "think positive thoughts" or whatever it is.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Solar Electric Car Demo

The developer/driver and the support team of this solar car, stopped by the CCHRC near the university this morning and there was a presentation and question & answer session. Their website is They started out in Buffalo, NY, and drove up the Dempster Highway to Inuvik before heading into Alaska. The solar array produces 800 watts and the vehicle has a top speed of about 75 mph. It is licensed in Barbados. They are now headed back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WIN Walk

Today was the first WIN Walk of this summer that I went on. I think they started a couple of weeks ago here in Fairbanks. The first walk started out toward the ski trails then wandered down to the Botanical Gardens. After much zig-zagging through the flowers, we headed back up the hill to the starting point. The second walk was down to Smith Lake and back along the ski trails. Total distance for both walks was 3.57 miles. I need to work my way back up to 10 miles a day again after being on vacation. Except for a couple of runs on the treadmill and walks along the beach, I've gotten pretty lax. I still took every opportunity to walk but most of my days were right around 10k steps except for a couple of days when I went over 20 miles. Not quite a marathon but getting close.

I'm really enjoying being back on the motorbike after the road trip. I really want to ride down to the lower 48 sometime. Maybe next summer since there is another reunion on the other side of the family. Yesterday, I had some errands to run at lunch time so I ended up riding a lot in town instead of my normal skirting around Fairbanks. Not as much fun in traffic but still much better than driving. There is still a lot of road work and the loose gravel on the roads definitely get my attention. Especially after not having ridden for a month.

In Canada, I noticed a lot of businesses with this sign prominently posted near their front doors. I saw a lot of bikes on the road this summer and it seemed like a lot more than I have seen on other trips. South of Prince George, Harleys and other cruisers dominated but north of there, it was pretty much BMW's, Honda Goldwings and Harley's. Very few of any other brands. A lot of the BMW's were the dual-sport GS's designed for someone traveling around the world with a lot of dirt roads. Right now, the Alaska Highway only had about 10 miles of un-paved road and these were all construction areas. I even saw a couple of old Airheads like I have on Alcan. Next summer...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Home again

We arrived back home after a somewhat leisurely trip through Canada. We left L.A. on Saturday afternoon then
Sat - Coalinga, CA
Sun - Medford, OR
Mon - Corvallis, OR
Tues - Hope, BC
Wed - Hixon, BC
Thurs - Sikanni River, BC
Fri - Watson Lake, YT
Sat - Beaver Creek, YT
Sun - Fairbanks, AK

For me, this is pretty slow. There were no 600+ mile days and plenty of stops. Probably not enough for everybody but not a whole lot of complaints either. When we arrived back home, I wanted to turn around and do it again. Some people have asked how it compared to flying down and renting a car. Even with the higher gas prices, it is still a bit cheaper for four of us to drive than it would have been to fly then rent a minivan. Plus, you have much more flexibility (adventure?). Another observation is that GPS's are great even if you know where you're going. Information such as projected arrival time is great to have and the turn-by-turn in places like L.A. was wonderful. Oh yes, almost no rain until reaching home.

Some stats from the trip:
Distance - 7051 miles
Average gas mileage - 21.8 (20.1 - 24.9)
Highest gas price - $1.62 per liter in Whitehorse in July
Lowest gas price - $3.64 per gallon in southern Oregon

Friday, August 8, 2008

Made it to Watson Lake, Y.T. today. Still have about 800 some miles to go but it was a convenient place to stop. After camping out the last three nights, it's nice to stay in a hotel for a change. Saw buffalo on the side of the road so it seemed appropriate to have a buffalo burger for dinner. Very little walking again today. This may be my lowest step count week since the current challenge began. Oh well. It has really been pleasant since passing through Prince George, B.C. and many times today, there were many times when 10 minutes go by before seeing another vehicle. And the scenery is wonderful. Muncho Lake is one of my favorite places along this route.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hell's Gate

Today, we stopped here and took the aeriel team down to the river. At this point, 200,000,000 (yes, 200 million) gallons of water per minute flow through this 120 foot wide gap. We got as far as Hixon, B.C. today. I think that this was the third time I've taken the tram and I've enjoyed it every time though it is a bit expensive. Hardly any walking in today as will be the rest of the week. About 1800 miles to go.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Well, getting ready to head out of L.A. now that the reunion is over. I'm not sure how far north we'll get but we probably not truly get out of town until after 4:00 this afternoon. I had kinda forgotten how big the Los Angeles basin really was. Yesterday, we went to the Japanese American Museum in "Little Tokyo" which is right in the downtown area. While in the area, we also went to Phillipe's the originator of the French Dip sandwich and wandered through Olvera Street which is filled with street vendors and shops like in Mexico. It was fun though the traffic was a bear.

Saturday evening - We made it to Coalinga, CA, this evening in the central valley of California. It is really warm here with daytime temperatures of over 100°F. Hopefully, we can make it up to around Medford tomorrow then up to Corvallis, OR, by Monday afternoon. Very little walking today though I did manage to average over 10k per day during the reunion. I've started just entering the totals for the week on the Startwalking site though I have been trying to keep daily mileage totals for the WIN site. Eating has been more of a problem due to lots of restaurant food. I've been trying to stick to vegetarian dishes since these dishes allow me to meet my goals for vegetable and nut servings and many use whole grains as well. My medication still limits the volume of food (side effect) so I also get fewer calories as well. For me, this is good.

Sunday evening - We made it to Medford this afternoon and are staying with good friends.