Absolutely None

Can I just say one thing here? Well, yes, I can. It’s my blog.

Get off the bike trail. This goes for you, you runners, you giant stroller pushers, and especially you, you horse-drawn carriages. There is a running trail (for, you know, running) THREE FEET TO YOUR LEFT. Use it, and get out of my way. You can easily identify which trail is which because the running trail has a little picture of a runner on it, the bike trail has a little picture of a bike on it. You don’t even have to know how to read. Don’t even get me started on the horse-drawn carriage on the bike trail; that’s wrong for a whole variety of reasons.

On the streets, we have bike lanes. Cars will sometimes cross into them when turning, and that’s part of the deal, I get that. But I shouldn’t have to dodge runners in a bike lane on a city street.

Last night, my wife and I were on our way home, biking straight down Portland Ave. Most of the way through downtown, we had to deal with a half-dozen or so no-necks running through the streets. We watched as they sprinted through traffic rather than wait for a light to change. We swerved to avoid them as they blocked out bike lane. And we got threatened when we asked them to get out of the way.

I kid you not, one of these goons used this line: “If I wasn’t a Christian, I’d take you out.” I can’t honestly say if he was threatening me or my 5′ 2″ wife. Either way, it was sad. I don’t know what Jesus would do, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t run through traffic and threaten law-abiding cyclists.

All this raised a question in my head: at 15 MPH, how much damage would your head do to my Kryptonite bike lock?

Absolutely none.

Bicycling in Minneapolis

Blogging On Dry Land

OK, so I’ve been telling the story of the cruise for so long that I haven’t written about anything else for a while. I don’t really have much to share, but I’ve probably already forgotten half of what I wanted to write, so it’s time to get on it.

First off, if you haven’t done so already, go see Young @ Heart. It is most definitely the feel-good movie of the year. I don’t normally go for the overly schmaltzy sappy stuff, but this one is pretty darn good.

In other feel-good news, I started physical therapy last week. I’ve only had two sessions so far, but I already feel better than I have in a long time and I’ve almost completely stopped taking my prescriptions. I was optimistic going in, having finally seen a competent doctor, but I never imagined I’d see this kind of improvement this fast. I could almost start believing in medical care again.

So, with that development, I’m stepping up the job search. I’m still hoping to find something that involves the barest minimum of soul-selling, even if that means not making as much money. Wish me luck.

It also means I can start getting on my bike again. I don’t want to push it too hard too fast, but I’ve been cheated out of a beautiful summer’s worth of riding. I’d like to make up for some of that.

Follow Your Nose

Day Six was a stop at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, which is Dutch. A few kilometers away was St. Martin, which is French. I really enjoy places like this, because I like to say I visited two or three countries in a day. I’m the kind of guy who gets his picture taken at Four Corners, standing in four states. Yes, I’m a dork.

Moving right along…

We booked a trip for the day, “St. Maarten Natural Wonders.” This time it would be my wife, my parents and myself. While I may not have any interest in moving back in with my parents, I do enjoy their company, so this promised to be a good day: relaxing, low-pressure and with good company.

Most of the tour consisted of driving around the island, through both the Dutch and French sides. We made a couple stops for scenic views of the coast while the transplanted Texan tour guide gave us an effusive commentary on local flora, history, border crossings, prison… you name it.

Our main stop was at a small zoo to see some (mostly) local wildlife up close. We’d actually seen surprisingly few animals up to this point: some birds, a few lizards scampering around, but not as many as you might think. I always find smaller zoos amusing, because it’s often difficult to tell which animals are exhibits, and which merely hang out for the free food. We saw more iguanas here than anywhere, although there weren’t any “in” the zoo.

I got the opportunity to meet a toucan up close and personal. We were inside a caged portion of the zoo, but my attention was focused on a bird outside the fence. Suddenly, a toucan inside the fence flew to a branch and swung his beak around within inches of my nose. I fumbled for the camera and actually had to step back, as I couldn’t fit it between my nose and his. I found myself wondering whether or not my nose was nut-shaped.

Toucan

My wife has always sorta wanted a dog. We’ll probably get one some day when our lifestyle is more suitable to pet ownership, but for now, it’s on hold. Fortunately, she got a temporary fix on the cruise.

Not quite every day, we’d get our towels folded into some sort of an animal. First we got a frog, then a swan. Today while we were ashore, we got a dog wearing my wife’s glasses. The next day, we got a monkey hanging from the lights. These are things you don’t get when you stay at a Super 8.

Towel Dog

Next was our last day of cruising, with a visit to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Oddly enough, a stop in the US was the only time we had to deal with any issues getting onto the island. It wasn’t bad, but interesting that the tightest security was going to our home country.

One of the few things we planned in advance was a trip up the paradise Point Tramway, which carries passengers to about 700 feet above sea level. At the top, they serve their famous Bailey’s Bushwhackers. Most of the group opted to start their day this way. So, about 10:00 in the morning, we make our way up the skyride.

The ride was, well, interesting. Eight of us squeezed into a single cable car and started the journey up. It was warm, it was crowded, and it was definitely not on solid ground. Sure, it seemed well-maintained and stable, but I couldn’t help thinking that we had 1500 pounds in a cable car on an island with unknown regulations over this sort of thing. The view was pretty great, though.

This was definitely a tourist stop, the most touristy stop so far. The marketing folks at Paradise Point have created a lizard couple to assist them, Limin’ and Lizzy. Everywhere you turn, one of these cartoon lizards is waving from a sign with a ™ or an ® somewhere on it. Home of the Bailey’s® Bushwhacker™. Sponsored by Cruzan® rum. The only signs without legal indicia were the ones warning you not to photograph certain displays without paying for the privilege first.

But I don’t mean to complain. When in Rome, right?

Seeing as how it was still fairly early and warming quickly, we decided to split a Bailey’s Bushwhacker, and I’m glad we did. The BB has six kinds of liquor and the only mixer is ice. So, basically, it’s a pint of slushy booze; the breakfast of champions.

I had half a BB before noon, and that was enough. We learned what happened if you had more.

A woman near us had her face planted on the table. We asked if she was OK, and her companion simply replied, “Two Bushwhackers.” Before we left, I went to use the restroom, but was unable to do so, as it was blocked off. The reason? “Three Bushwhackers.”

Skyride

After the skyride, we wandered into town as a group before parting ways to do our own thing. My wife and I ended up catching a ride to the beach for a few more hours. She wanted to be sure to absorb as much saltwater as possible before the cruise ended. On the ride back, the driver stopped at the top of a hill for a quick photo opp, and we had an even better view than that on the skyride.

I think I may actually be wrapping up this story soon. One or two more installments should do the trick.