Sunday, June 24, 2012

Airsoft weekend in Newaygo

First time playing airsoft.  Airsoft is quite fun, although this past weekend thoroughly demonstrated that my skills in the infantry are in every way lacking - from movement, tactics, and aim.  Granted, the airsoft bbs have a large tolerance for accuracy and the precision is not much better than the accuracy. 

My hammock was a success!  The hennessy hammock I picked up last Christmas was delightfully comfortable and a quick setup and take down.  I feel like it is also easier to get in and how without letting bugs in compared with a tent. 

Like always with camping, I seem to get eaten alive.  This time I tried the Bug Band.  I wore this around my left wrist and here are the results (note the image is reversed).
Both hands do have mosquito bites, however my right received enough to be entirely swollen.  Based on this I would have to say, the Bug Band does have an impact in reducing mosquitoes but is limited up to a 1 foot radius.  Do note that I used other repellent as well all around my body. 

It was another encouraging weekend, but now it is time for bed to prepare for the work week and cleaning (gear, condo, and bike)!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kzoo > Holland > South Haven > Home - the 132

This past weekend I completed my first bike ride longer than 100 miles (in a day).  Out of all my bike rides to date, this was one of the most interesting experiences. 

Destination: Holland, Mi.

The night before I kept dreaming that I would not and should not bike up to Holland.  The primary reason was me getting to bed late from recording with my brother.  My original departure time of 6am was pushed back to 7am with my thoughts being I will bike a little bit shorter distance so I arrive home before the thunderstorms blow over Lake Michigan.

All my gear is ready, food packed (2 delicious pb&j's and trail mix), and bathe in sunscreen (because it is going to be in the 90s) with my legs starting to crank the peddles at 7am on the nose.  The wonderful weather was a treat along with the sun just above the horizon to my right. 

I tracked north following mainly 9th, 8th, 6th, and 16th street with little traffic.  Partially due to the fact that it was early Saturday morning.  However, apparently gnats do no believe in sleeping in on the weekend.  At various times there were dense ghosts of gnats leaving my arms and legs covered in black spot, even more numerous than my freckles.  The swarms were so dense I felt if you opened your mouth you would get enough to require chewing.  Finding myself on a dirt road with rolling hills (downhill dirt roads are not the most relaxing) was greeted with a fox shortly followed by a group of cranes.

After 5 hours of biking and arriving at Holland at noon I was promptly welcomed by a flat tire (second time in my life).  Thankfully the flat tire happened in Holland where the worst case scenario is walking the bike a couple miles.  I gave up trying to find the hole to patch after 20 minutes of searching and just replaced the tube with my spare.  Content that the new tube was holding air, I nervously biked downtown to grab some food and buy another spare tube hoping that the tube would not get punctured again.

Only running 1 hour behind scheduled, it was time to bike south and feeling ambitious I decided to bike home via South Haven.  There was a nice path along 62nd/Beeline road that reaches all the way to Blue Start highway which took me the remaining distance to South Haven. 

Due to the hour delay and slow pace put me in South Haven at the same time the thunderstorms arrived.  Five miles north of downtown South Haven, Blue Star highway and 109th, I met Mike while take a break in between the storm cells.  Mike was an encouragement as we chatted about cycling and some of his trips in the rain and cold.  It may have been raining and lightening, but it was not cold.  That would have made for a terrible end to the trip, 40 miles of cold and wet.

Just as I started the last leg of the trip, I saw a power line on fire and smoking.  It was almost dejavu as the weekend prior biking with Micah, I had to put out a trashcan on fire in Bloomingdale due to the heat and someone putting a cigarette on some paper trash.  This time however I was about to dial 911 and the power line popped and went out.  Another crisis averted!

Originally I had planned not to take the Kal-Haven trail home for easier road biking, however with the downpour I figured the no car traffic and tunnel of trees (avoid getting struck by lightening) was a better option (at the risk of puncturing another tube in a downpour).  The rain finally stopped after a full hour of biking in the rain. 

Arrival time: the stroke of 10pm.  Home at last with a starving stomach. 

The last 15 miles I was extremely hoping that the china kitchen was open.  Open until 11pm on Saturdays!  Bingo, 10 minute shower and I went to grab my food.  I must admit, cars are a faster form of transportation as it is always a strange feeling getting in a car after biking long distances.

All in all, I rode 132 miles in 15 hours (2 hour break in Holland) keeping my typical 10mph average pace.