African Connection links are now in the sidebar to the right, just below the My Travel section.

Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Ever have one of those days? You know, where everything goes right. You wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go, spend the day being productive, relishing the challenges. Just enjoying it all. Yeah. Me either.

Saturday was definitely NOT that day. I did not sleep well Friday night and got up feeling, well, sort of "out of sorts." Blah. Lethargic. One short nap and a later failed attempt at another did not help much. Things improved a bit in the late afternoon and I actually went out and drove part of a new biking route, one I plan to be on early in my July Tour de Coulee Region.

After I returned, I put a margherita pizza in the oven, looking forward to this seldom-enjoyed treat. It came out great, but the smoke alarm went off about a dozen times as it was cooking. Sheesh. There wasn't any smoke nor other problem I could detect. The smoke alarm was apparently just determined to celebrate preparation of the meal. I finally took the thing down until the pizza was done. After dinner, I was feeling better yet, but still turned in early.

Sunday found me feeling much better. I left home early and spent about 45 minutes at Caribou before church. After the services, I headed home and watched the start of the Ga Tech - Ohio State game. But it was just too nice and I was feeling so much better. A ride was in order.

So nice it was that I un-tethered the Trek for its first outing of the year. And it was a most enjoyable ride. Up Bliss then out through Barre Mills to climb County YY before turning back and heading home. It was only 34 miles with 2 climbs, but the early afternoon was comfortably cool with the blue skies overhead. A day made for being on a bike.

When I got back, I checked ESPN.com and found that the Jackets had lost their game. I had worn my Ga Tech jersey on the ride, but apparently that wasn't enough. While disappointing, it was not unexpected - OSU was a 2 seed, after all. Nor was it enough to spoil the day.

All-in-all, things had sorted themselves out quite nicely.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend Countdown

Three days* of riding
Two climbs** on Sunday
One glorious*** weekend

*     Friday afternoon it was an easy ride to
      Stoddard and back. Saturday and
      Sunday rides went up Bliss.
**    Bliss and OA. I did FO the easy way but OA
      certainly doesn't have to apolgize to FO!
***  OK. Saturday afternoon wasn't so great.
      It was cold and damp with a lot of wind at the top.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

With Strange Sounding Names

As the gold called Ragetti and Pintel, so faraway places beckon to me. And I’ve been privileged to be able to answer the call far more times than I would have any right to expect. It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with where I am; that’s never been the case. Well, except for those two years in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but that's another story. And when I do go, it is always good to get back home.

Interesting thing is, as much as I enjoy the actual going, I’m pretty happy with virtual travel. Virtual is the new age word for imaginary, by the way. Seriously, I'll check departures for London’s Heathrow airport at FlightStats.com and imagine passengers boarding flights for Hyderabad or Accra or Ashgabat or Izmir. Places I’ve not been to. But isn’t it fascinating that people in London would be boarding flights to go there?

Several years ago I was waiting for a flight from Osaka to Los Angeles. I passed the time walking around and observing activity at the many gates lining the mile-long concourse of Kansai airport. Most of those I saw were like me - in that mysterious state of limbo the airlines call pre-boarding. But there was this one plane all closed up and ready to go. It had a name: Genghis Khan. A Mongolian Airlines flight to Ulan Bator. Or Ulaanbatar, meaning “red hero.” Now THAT’s a destination.

So, where would you like to go? What exotic destination calls to you? Or, maybe you are already there and I’m trying to imagine what it’s like. You see, visits to my blog are recorded by StatCounter. From their records, I can see where you are from (or at least where your ISP is located). And exotic places abound in the list. Places like:

Provence-alpes-cote D'azur, Marseille, France
Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Drenthe, Emmen, Netherlands
Krung Thep, Bangkok, Thailand

Already I’m wondering what it would be like to visit. There are also places closer to home, but no less exotic, at least in name. Consider these, with states listed first for reasons only the people at StatCounter know:

North Carolina, Fuquay Varina
Alabama, Oneonta
Massachusetts, Natick
Illinois, Mahomet
Pennsylvania, Schwenksville
Rhode Island, Woonsocket

I just love that last one. Woonsocket. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Redundancy seems to be a big thing in a lot of countries. Just look at this collection:

Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Roskilde, Roskilde, Denmark
Bucuresti, Bucharest, Romania
Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Moskva, Moscow, Russian Federation
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Zug, Zug, Switzerland
Manila, Manila, Philippines
Presov, Presov, Slovakia
Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia

Wrestling might have its half-Nelson, but New Zealand trumps that with the soon to be famous:

Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand

A rare double nelson. No need to thank me for bringing this to the world’s attention of my small but faithful following of readers who obviously have too little to occupy their time.

Then we have the places that wish they were somewhere else:

South Dakota, Aberdeen
California, Alhambra
Ohio, Dublin
Idaho, Moscow
Michigan, Wyoming
Michigan, Holland
Texas, Missouri City

So many places to visit. Each with a story or two, I’m sure. And each with at least one person who allowed me to take them on the virtual ride that is the Long White Line. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off on another jaunt. This time, I think I’ll head out for:

Chon Buri, Pattaya, Thailand