Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thanks Nike

I knew something was not quite right all day on Friday. It was hard to put my finger on the vague feeling that something was wrong but I could sense it all day. It wasn't until I got home from work and took off my shoes that the source of my problems became readily apparent.
Yes, I had been wearing two right-footed socks all day. Which explains my walking in circles and general clumsiness. It also means that now I have two clean left socks and two dirty right ones. In the old days before 2007 I don't think that people thought much about which foot their socks went on. But now, thanks to Nike printing it in a nice red letter on each sock, we can no longer avoid our sock footedness.
They are nice socks though, I guess I just have to remember to turn the light on before I get dressed in the morning.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tour De Norge

Leave it to three engineers to A: forget to bring a paper map - B:bring a GPS that doesn't show roads, and C: bring a ferry schedule but don't look at it until it's too late :)

We managed to deal with the lack of a real map, but missing the ferry was a bit of a problem.

Joel and Leif and I had planned a loop ride near Rissa, on the other side of the fjord from Trondheim. I measured the loop part on the on-line map to be about 70km, which didn't sound too bad. (The furthest we had ridden up to this point was 80km in one day). Of course I was sort of forgetting about about riding to the ferry in the first place (10km out of Trondheim) and then getting to the loop that we were going to be on from the dock at the other side. I guessed that it might 10 or 15ks to the start of the loop, but it turned out to be more like 30. Oops. Now we were up to 40km and we hadn't even started on the loop yet.

We started around the loop and managed to find our way at each intersection with some half-assed tourist brochure and the gps. There were a fair number of hills on the first part but nothing too horrible since we were still somewhat fresh. As the day went on, we had to make a decision at some point about whether to ride a bit further back to the Vanvikan ferry, which costs $12 or so but takes you right into Trondheim, or go back to the car ferry that we came over on, knowing that we would still have 10k to ride after that. We all agreed to go for the Vanvikan ferry, since then we knew when we got to the dock at Vanvikan the ride would basically be over. We also knew that we had to go over one last very challenging hill to get back to Vanvikan, and by this point we were already well over 120km of riding (70+ miles). Anyway we struggled our way up that last hill with everything we had, then took the 5 minute downhill joyride into Vanvikan. Joel said "I'll go in and check the schedule". But when he came out he had a very strange look on his face. We had missed the last ferry back by 45 minutes. Ouch.

Now we had 2 choices, find someplace to sleep until morning or try to get back to the car ferry, which meant at least another 20km of riding, including going part of the way back up the steep hill we just flew down. Spirits were a bit low at that moment :)
We managed to find out that the next car ferry was due over in about 40 minutes, so we decided to try for it. When we got back up the hill we could see it coming across, so for the next 20 minutes or so we were pedaling with fury to make sure we got there before the boat. We made it with a few minutes to spare and got some fresh drinks and snacks on the boat. Then we had to finish up the 10km back to Trondheim. We pulled our aching knees and numb butts into Trondheim finally around 7:30pm, and we stopped for beers at the Kafe Filter. 2 beers later I finished up the last few miles to my apartment. When I rolled the bike into the storage unit it read exactly 167k. Which is about 103 miles by my math.

An epic ride which will go down in the history of Joel, Leif and Miles stories, and will only get better each time we tell it :)

A few pictures from the day:
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Friday, July 17, 2009

What's my vector Victor?

Leif, Joel and I took to the air last night in a Cessna 172 that belongs to the Vaernes flying club. Leif joined the club and now has been signed off to rent the club aircraft. We took the plane west from the airport, south of Trondheim and then towards the island of Hitra. We had some sketchy weather with low clouds but the air was reasonably smooth everywhere except over the hilly areas near Trondheim. We flew for about a hour and a half.
Leif flew the take-offs and landings and I flew for about 25 minutes over the fjord. The scenery here is really beautiful and it is amazing how much area you can see in a short flight in a plane. We'll try it again hopefully with a bit higher cloud ceiling next time.

I took a few crappy pictures with my camera but I think Joel got some better ones from the back seat.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seagull update

Just an update on the little seagulls that were nesting across the street, I saw 2 of the 3 chicks down on the ground a few days ago, but I never saw the 3rd one. Not sure what happened to it. Cat might have gotten it but they were getting pretty big for cats to attack and the mom and dad gulls were quite aggressive when they saw a cat in the street or near the building. Anyway it could be the 3rd one was over there and I just didn't see it. Fly on, little birdies, see you next spring. I won't miss your squawking in the meantime...........

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Is it Safe?

I was feeling a bit tired at this point in the bike ride........but not quite that tired. This is a very small cemetary on a hillside near Breilia, which is on the other side of the fjord from Trondheim. Joel and I did a 50 mile loop around some roads there last weekend. I'm building up for a 90 mile ride in mid-August, so I still have some work to do but I think I'm getting there.

Yesterday I FINALLY got my aching tooth the root canal it so richly deserved. I had a nice Russian dentist named Alexey (I assume he was Russian anyway). Alexey drilled that thing out for and hour and a half, oh what fun. At least he used copious amounts of anesthetic. I tried to eat some cookies a few hours later but my whole face was numb. I wasn't able to actually eat some dinner until my tongue started working again around 9pm. Now I have to go back once more in August so he can finish up the work.

At lunch time today I went and turned in my precious Oregon driver's license. I couldn't get any numbers to come out of the little "take a number" box for a couple of minutes, until I finally hit the right button and out came '666'. Great. I checked the top of my head to see if there were any little horny nubbins growing out. Seemed OK. I took my carefully prepared paperwork to miss Ingrid Helga Crabbypants, who proceeded to sigh and tell me all the things I didn't fill out right. There must be an international code of behaviour for DMV workers, because they all act the same. Maybe I should have spun my head around and threw that 666 down in front of her. How do you like me now Crabbypants! See you in hell!
OK actually she wasn't that bad. But I just like writing crabbypants. Joel had to do the same license thing a month ago and they told him he had to go to some sort of driving school before he could get the Norwegian license. So that's what I was expecting too, except when Cpants was finished going in the back to "make copies" (and drink coffee no doubt) she came back out and said "vi'll send you a text message ven you can come back in". I said "uhh, then I go to traffic school?" She said "nei, yust come back here". So maybe that traffic school business is only for people from backwards driving countries like Australia. Ha!

drive on,

P.S. hi to my lastfm buddies ( that means you Lisa )

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Fly the coop already!

This is one of the little seagull babies that lives on the roof across the street from my apartment (look closely). I think they are about a month old now, based on the sqawk-o-meter which went through the roof around the first week of June. There are 3 hatchlings up there, and the mom and dad keep a close watch on them all day. Every time I walk out of the apartment to walk to work I get dive bombed by mom or dad, sqawking like a maniac. I used to see some other chicks in the field by the apartments but I think they all got eaten by house cats, I don't see them anymore :( I can't believe those 3 have managed to stay on that roof for a month. It's quite steep and when the wind starts blowing I'm not sure how the little dudes are holding on up there.
I will be glad when they all take off though, the morning sqawking session is quite something. It usually starts around 2am, God only knows what they are squealing about at that time of night, but it sounds like two tribes of monkeys in a battle to the death. One pair starts it and then there are at least 10 pairs of gulls in the neighborhood and pretty soon they're all going full bore. I would like to have the window open in the bedroom at night, but listening the seagull marching band doesn't do much for getting a full night's sleep.
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