First Ride of 2014

Finally, today was the day. The first bike ride of the season. We are a little picky about the first day. The temperature needs to be above 10 degrees Celsius, it can’t be raining, and it shouldn’t be too windy.

BkkLcoYCcAAuC8MToday it did make it to 10 degrees, but with the breeze, which was not strong enough to keep us home, they say it felt like 8 degrees. It was dry though, but, with the snow banks slowly melting the shoulders of the road were pretty soft. We dressed for the weather, lots of layers and made the initial ride on our touring bikes.

I don’t think we have ever had such big snowbanks on day one.

The ride felt good. We’re looking forward to lots more.


A Complaint

I don’t think I am known as a complainer. I’m not someone who always seems to point out the negative side of things, but, today I have a complaint. (if my self reflection is marred please don’t hesitate to let me know). I don’t think I’m alone in this complaint either, more and more folks have had enough, want change, and are willing to speak up about it. It’s just that I’m not sure who to send this complaint to.

You see, I, and many like me (and not so much like me) have had enough of winter. I’ve blown the driveway out often enough. I feel content about the number of times I’ve been through the bush on snowshoes. The wonderful heat of the wood stove is getting old. My sweaters are starting to go out of shape and even the socks, lovingly knit by my wife to keep my feet warm and toasty, are losing their charm. The comforting hum of my snow tires has become an irritating howl.  I’ve experienced winter, all of it, and, while there was some anticipation of the first snow back in November (or was it October) the shine has totally worn off.

The view from the dining room window this morning, March 22 2014

The view from the dining room window this morning, March 22 2014

Last night, after a couple of teasingly warm days, which most years arrive in January, we received another 10 to 15 cm (weatherman talk) of wet snow. It would have been really pretty in December. Now it is just a reminder that winter hasn’t let go yet.

In 2013, our first outing on the bikes was March 10th. I know some folks did get out on that one warmer day last week, but our bikes are still locked in their trainers, getting dusty, because after 40 km in the basement, I’m still in the basement.

There, it’s out. I should feel better now having expressed my complaint. (Note the word “should”)!

I have to remind myself that if the only thing I have to complain about is the weather, I am blessed.

He changes times and seasons; Daniel 2:21a


Good Old Fashioned Winter

There are folks who bemoan the demise of the “good, old fashioned winter”. I’m not sure what was good about those winters, and, in fact, this winter could lead one to believe they are not gone at all.

Picture1Here’s a picture from the winter of 1970 or 1971. It was bad, snow was deep, schools were cancelled, roads were closed. My sister and brother are in the picture, in the driveway in front of our house on the home farm. I think we had to get the snowplow in to clear this pathway.



20140105_120453I’m in this one, taken this morning, in my driveway. I cleared it myself with the tractor and snowblower, ( Our snow removal equipment might be better now) but I think this snow is as deep, or deeper, than it was in that old fashioned season and this is only the 5th of January. We’ve got a snow fall warning and a snow squall watch on for tonight. My bank will be even bigger by morning!!!


The Season’s First Ride.

Spring time comes in a number of ways. Maple syrup, daylight savings time, and bike rides. On my way home from church this morning the temperature flirted with 10 degrees Celsius  We had told ourselves that 9 degrees and sunny, along with the new cold weather bike clothes we got last week, would be the trigger. So, we dressed up, and rode.

We did our 20k ride, averaged 22 km/hour with a bit of a head wind, which is pretty good for a first ride, using the touring bikes. Oh, and we were four days earlier than last year!!

Mother Earth is Having Mood Swings

This is the picture J sent her boss to validate not going in to work today.

This is the picture J sent her boss to validate not going in to work today.

You would almost wonder if Mother Earth isn’t throwing a bit of a temper tantrum these past days. Yesterday we had record high temperatures. It poured rain all day. Some places had thunder storms. Overnight, the wind came up. Temperatures dropped steeply and it started to snow.

We’ve spent the day at home, again. Highway 86 was closed for part of the day. It snowed and snowed and is still snowing now. Yesterday everything was brown, wet and muddy. Today the mud is frozen and covered with over a foot of snow.

We’ve not seen the neighbour’s house almost all day. J had to stay home from work and I had to miss my evening class. We blew off the gym this morning as well.

So…its been a quiet day beside the wood stove. I’m not sure we are totally happy with it. Does it sound like I’m whining? What did we do to make M.E. mad?

Snow Day

Living where we do, snow days are a part of our winter experience. These are days when it is snowing and blowing hard enough that everything in the area pretty much stops. Ours started last night.

J had a meeting in town and headed off around 7:15 to pick up a friend. At 10:30 she called to find out how things looked out here. It had been snowing, but at the time she called the weather was clear. It seems that a streamer off the lake had set itself up just north of us, where she was. They headed out, but were met by a police officer at the edge of town. The road was closed. The two of them returned to the house their meeting had been at and spent the night. I took advantage of the solitude and worked on a paper until 1:00 am thinking today would be full of other things.

The streamer is about 20 km wide, right on top of us.

The streamer is about 20 km wide, right on top of us.

Well, it wasn’t. J took advantage of a break in the weather this morning and came home using some back roads. The streamer moved a little bit south to sit right on top of us. The road closed last night is still closed. I ran out of ink in my printer, so I did drive to town (by a route avoiding the closed road) but I likely shouldn’t have. There certainly wasn’t much traffic.

According to the Weather Warning we could get 40 cm of snow overnight. Right now it looks like its trying to fall all at once. The world outside our window is getting very small.

We’re warm and safe. Both stoves are running and we have lots of wood. We’ll have a nice quiet night.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to go to Grand Rapids for a Worship Symposium. We’ll just have to see. We’re not really in control of coming and going right now.

Second Last Day

We’re holed up in a Comfort Inn again tonight. While it’s not raining now, the forecast says it will be by morning. Packing up a wet tent and equipment just doesn’t feel like fun. Heading out in the rain will be bad enough.

This detour cost us over a kilometer for a 50 meter break in the trail for a huge construction site.

This morning, we did head out in the rain. It rained on us for the first 25 or 39 km, never really hard, but hard enough that we wore rain jackets and ran our flashing lights. We’re off main roads so when the Mallorytown restaurant showed up at about the 40 km mark it was very welcome. Coffee, tea,, and homemade butter tarts really gave life a new feeling. The lady that owns the place was so excited about our trip that she had to have pictures (just to show her grand children).

One thing that we have noticed, is that our method of riding hard for most of the day leaves little energy, or time, to explore the places we end up in. We get to know a motel or campground, grocery stores, and various restaurants, but the things that make these places unique are often closed when we arrive, or look like they would take too much time if we come across them on the way. As we plan future trips, I think we will add rest days to allow our wounds, abrasions, sore muscles, and worn patches to heal, as well as providing some time to act like tourists.

We have just less than 100km left to cover tomorrow. The forecast says we will have rain all day tomorrow.