Sunday, June 13, 2021

Peloton Update with Review of June Half Over

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

It has been a few weeks since I posted anything about biking or exercise. I continue to bike about three times a week on the Peloton. I am fast approaching 200 cycling rides since owning the bike back in November 2020. I am currently at 194 rides. Three rides a week is about right for me as I mentioned in previous updates that I had tried doing more and I could feel it in my legs to the point where stairs and walking were difficult. I enjoy the three rides a week approach.

I am still riding Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday during the week. If I have to adjust, I do so and it has been working well. Tuesday and Thursday typically are shorter where I ride for twenty or thirty minutes with Sunday being my long ride days and usually live rides which I enjoy. Sunday rides are usually in the morning at 11 am and go for anywhere from 45 - 65 minutes. Tuesday and Thursday rides are usually scenic routes or recorded sessions from earlier days and following a work day.

My Peloton Stats

I had planned to start running again as the summer months started, but as you can see, I have not started that again. I was only planning to run one day at a week which was going to be Saturday mornings, but so far, that has not happened. I also still want to do a bike bootcamp, but have not done one of those either.

I had plans to start eating healthier June 1, but that did not happen. I was not going to go crazy, but do a month of eating healthy, reducing breads, drinks, etc., but other things seem to grab my attention and cannot focus on doing the process. 

For now, I enjoy riding our bike three times a week and eventually working in a run at least once a week. I figure if I make this a normal routine for me then I can introduce healthy eating and watch the pounds disappear.

What do you do for exercise, healthy eating, and staying focused on your end goal of health?


Sunday, June 06, 2021

Camping Trip to Lake Crawford in Southeast Kansas

Maps Capture of our Location for Lake Crawford

Carrie and I went on another camping adventure. This time we visited Lake Crawford in Farmington, Kansas. We left on Thursday and headed back home on Sunday. A day longer than our last camping trip. Unlike our first camping trip, this was a much busier campground. It gave us another perspective on camping and while we were concerned with how it would work out, I think we both enjoyed this experience with with more people in and around the lake.

Thursday

We left a little later than we had planned. We were hoping to be on the road by noon but instead left Topeka about 1 or 1:30. A two hour trip to Lake Crawford put us into our camp site late afternoon. When we arrived, there were lots of open spots. Most spots were reserved Friday through Sunday. Carrie and I liked our spot and the view was excellent looking out over the arm to the RV’s across the arm from us.  We decided to set up in the grass rather than on the gravel. A good choice I think as it put us a little farther back under the trees and keeps us cool through the night. 

There were a lot of motorcycles that were pulling trailers that they used for their tent. We ended up speaking to one of the motorcycle travelers as we were walking Oliver. His name was Jim and he was so nice. He tried to pick up Oliver but gripped Oliver under the armpits which sometimes causes Oliver to yelp. Jim told us that he and his other buddies were traveling to New Mexico. They left from Indiana and traveling to Roswell, MN. They went to bed early and got up Friday morning early to get on the road.

Shrimp Scampi in the Firedisc

We cooked in our new Firedisc Shrimp Scampi and Linguine. We thought for sure we would have some of the motorcyclists over to see if there were any leftovers but they would have been sad because we ate it all. Following dinner, we planned on doing a fire pit but decided we would relax and listen to the Royals. We were using a radio that Carrie’s dad loaned to us that works great. Bonus that it has a weather radio on it too so we can check the weather without running down our cell phone batteries. Note, our cell signal went in and out while we were at this camp site. We both tried to keep cells off or in airplane mode to conserve battery, but I am so glad we had the radio to listen to the Royals.

Sunset on Thursday Night at Lake Crawford

I had a few glasses of Scotch and water to end the evening. We went to bed about midnight and both read in the tent until we were sleepy. It was a good first day of camping.

Friday

Friday morning I woke up early. Carrie nor I slept very well the night before. I felt as though I was awake most of the night. I know I read a lot that night and I was awake before the sun started to rise. I recall I was watching planes flying over in a regular path above our tent and I could see the stars while this was happening. Pretty soon as I was going through chapters, I saw another plane lights flashing and realized the stars were gone. Oliver was already awake because I was reading, so I got up about 6 am and went out of our tent to sit in a chair and read. It was a beautiful morning but it would have been nice to be able to sleep well through the night.

Oliver and I up Early Friday Enjoying the Morning

This is our second time camping and both times the first night neither of us slept well. I am not sure if it is because are someplace new, excitement, sounds, etc., but hoping when we camp again this is not the case. While I did hear trains this time, they did not keep me up. The trains here blow their whistle once and not multiple times, so that was helpful. I did use ear plugs but by morning and frustrated with not sleeping, I took them out and noted the whistles were not bad. Sorry, Dina, no stories to make you roll with laughter on this trip.

We cooked breakfast on the Firedisc which consisted of eggs, bacon, and cheese on ciabatta bread. A good way to start our first full day of camping. We finished breakfast and went on a trail hike which was close by the dam. Spider Leg Bridge Trailer is a short route (half a mile) through the woods. Throughout the trail, they had boards providing history of the location. The trail told the “forgotten activities of the Civil War and has a story to tell” (Billboard to start the trail). It was an easy trail and we even saw a deer although when we tried to take the picture it leaped over the brush and bounded away. 


Pano Shot of Our Camp Site

We stopped by the marina to pick up ice and more beer. I forgot to mention that the camp host at the lake has firewood and ice for sale, but if you are like us and do not carry cash, we were able to pick up ice and beer from the marina. Following our venture away from our camp site, we returned to camp where Carrie and I played Battleship. Carrie beat me but it was close as I was tracking her last ship.

Chicken Stir Fry on Firedisc

Friday night, we cooked chicken stir fry on the Firedisc. It turned out really good! Again, I was expecting the other campers in the area to stop by to ask what we were cooking. Which reminds me that I did not mention all of the new campers that showed up during the day today. Every spot was taken as the afternoon progressed. Again, we were not sure what to expect after our first camping experience where we were the only ones in the area. We have enjoyed this experience a great deal. The two sites across and next to us are all one large group, but they have been fine. I think Friday night they were in bed well before us.

Playing Battleship

Friday night following dinner, we listened to the Royals game and enjoyed some after dinner drinks. Both Carrie and I talked about how mid-afternoon we both wondered what we were doing. It was hot and had that feeling where I was not sure could make it another day… but I think it is because I did not apply sunscreen, had too much sun, and probably drank a little too much. 

After the Royals won, we decided to turn in for the night. We have seen a number of ticks on Oliver the past day or two. So, it was time to do a full body scan of Oliver. I think we ended up pulling off eight to nine ticks from Oliver. They were all dead which means his flea and tick medicine is doing the work, but still, hate to see the little guy have so many ticks. After checking Oliver, we checked one another, but found none which is good. He’s quite the “tick magnet”. We knew that camping would open us to ticks and other bugs, but still hate to see them knowing their dangers.

Saturday

We both slept very well last night. I could slept most of the morning although the sun started coming through our tent and soon warmed us up in the tent. I think we got up about 8 or 8:30 today. I am not sure I woke up once during the night, but I know that is not true as I recall waking up at least once seeing Oliver sound asleep, so it was good to know he was getting some good sleep in too.

Getting Coffee Ready Each Morning

We had coffee to start the day and then yogurt with bananas, apples, and granola. Simple breakfast, but we had planned to do a little longer hike. Following coffee and breakfast, we spent some time reading for about an hour and then packed up to head out to hike, get ice, maybe some IPA, and see what we could find while driving around the area.

The hike we were doing is right by the dam of the lake and simply a nature trail. Longer than the Spider Leg Bridge by just a little although we got lost a little bit and wondered around a while finding how to get out of the trail. We found more ticks on Oliver following the trail. We were at the car ready to get in and leave when I spotted a few on his back and sides. Carrie and I saw one or two on each of us that were crawling, so certainly another evening of checking for ticks. 

Hiking a Trail

Following the hike, we decided to travel to the town of Farlington, KS to visit their liquor store, maybe get some gas, etc. Um, the population of Farlington is 150 so it took about three seconds to drive through the town. No problem, we decided to drive to Fort Scott (about twenty minutes away) to get gas, ice, and more beer. Stopped in at Casey’s to get gas and a slice of pizza for lunch. We wanted to find a liquor store to get some IPA and found a wonderful little shop called “Hole in the Wall Liquor”. Had a good selection of beer, wine, and other varieties. The cashier told us that it used to be an actual “hole in the wall” and recently moved. I got a few IPAs and Carrie found some cocktails premixed for us to have later in the day when we are cooking.
Relaxing in the Hammock Before the Royals Played

With an afternoon game for the Royals, I spent the afternoon sleeping in the hammock before first pitch at 3:05. Drinking beer and enjoying the weather while Carrie read, hung out in the hammock, and snoozed. We had a good afternoon and mentioned various times how grateful we are to both be able to go camping, having nice weather, and enjoying our new experiences. We are both sorry we did not start camping years ago… other than the ticks, we are having a wonderful time.

We used the Firedisc again Saturday night to grill kielbasa sausage, peppers, melting cheese over the top, and then on ciabatta bread. Turned out great and we each had two to eat, but neither of us could finish the second sandwich. A lot of delicious recipes we did on the Firedisc and looking forward to using it many more times as we camp and tailgate.

Cocktails and Tent

Saturday evening was our first time using the fire pit. We had a nice fire we started while dinner was being prepared. I had some nice IPA beers I was drinking we had picked up in Fort Scott earlier in the day. We also picked up some cock tails that were better than some I have had in restaurants. Carrie had a Mai Tai she said was really good and I had an Old Fashioned. They were pre-made in their bottles and pour over ice. Wow, I wish we would have bought more of them to have more drinks. We did keep the bottles and actually kept about half of each of our cocktails so we would have some at home. 

The camp sites was very busy Saturday night. Just about every spot was taken and a lot of activity. There was a 20% chance of rain and about 9:30 or 10, it started to rain. Carrie and I rushed to put rain fly on the tent as we were not sure how much it would rain. As it turned out, it only rained about 20% as the weather had predicted and did not rain again after 10:30 or 11. We stayed up until about midnight as the fire started to dwindle

Sunday

We slept late again on Sunday. We knew it was a day to pack up and head home. I think we both wanted to delay that as long as possible. Many of the other campers in our area, and across the lake, packed up and were out by 10 or 10:30. We got the car ready, took off the rain fly, removed the tent poles, consolidated various items from one cooler to another, and finally took down the tent. We decided to cook breakfast one last time instead of getting something on the road. We again used the Firedisc where Carrie did an egg scramble with sausage, potatoes, and cheese. First attempt at doing so on the Firedisc and it did not disappoint. Carrie said as we were finishing that could have used some hot sauce or ketchup with it, but it was good and hit the spot.

Tent from Across the Arm
Tent from Other Side of Arm

We decided instead of doing dishes at the camp site that we would load everything and do dishes back home. Finished loading up the car, took Oliver for one last walk, and left the camp ground about noon. A sad feeling sweeps over me as we pull away from our second camp site. Sad that it is ending but looking forward to new adventures to occur in the future. Oliver slept the whole way home. I took a nice long nap when we got home and after unpacking the car. It is exhausting to lounge around every day while we camp.

Oliver in Front of Tent and Ready to Relax
Last Words of Our Camping to Farlington, KS

We thoroughly enjoyed camping at Lake Crawford in Farlington, KS. The site is clean and they provide bathrooms with showers. The camp sites are well maintained. We would go back there again in the future. A nice experience. We did have a lot of ticks that we pulled off of Oliver that I mentioned earlier. We have one last check of him today after getting home. Carrie and I were lucky with ticks where I was the only one to have a tick. We did not find it until after we got home today. It was on the left side of my stomach which seems like an odd location, but I guess ticks don’t care… where ever they can latch on and start getting to your blood is where they go.

We have found that we enjoy searching out trails to hike. Although, we do not want crazy trails or long trails as we are novice hikers. We would like to one day be able to take our bikes so we could ride the trails or around the campground. Granted, we would need bikes with a basket to take our little Oliver with us. 

Walking in the Woods with Oliver

We are searching out our next camping experience and still bummed that we have not been doing this for years. Better now then never. We love the experience and disconnecting from everything. If you have sites or experiences to share, please be sure to comment.


Reading Books While Taking Days Off and Planning for More Books to Read

I go through times where I read a lot and times where I read very little or not at all. The current month is one where I am reading every day. I look forward to bedtime as that’s when I usually read, but it does not work well because I am tired and fall asleep while I read. So, I am in my new mode of reading once again. I continued a book I had started earlier this year, stopped, and resumed reading again. The book I continued reading is “News of the World” that Carrie had read and recommended. It is also a movie on Apple TV I believe that we plan to watch after I am done with the book.

While reading “News of the World” I had another book become available for me to read which I had heard about a few months ago. John Grisham wrote “Sooley”. I read “Sooley” in record time for me. I just checked it out last week and finished it on Saturday. Granted, it helped as we have been camping since Thursday and I have read a lot while doing nothing, relaxing, and drinking. It has been a really nice experience. 

I plan to finish “News of the World” as I am at 60 percent done in the book. It is taking me longer to read “News of the World”. I like the story, but it is written where there are not quotes in the book but rather it simply builds into the dialog of the book that someone is speaking. It took me a few chapters to get used to how it was written. I am enjoying the book, but unlike “Sooley” I have not spent focused time reading “News of the World”.

I like to read books where chapters are about 10 - 15 minutes to read as that makes for good stopping points and time for bed stops. “News of the World” has long chapters which means long times for me to read or stop in the middle of a chapter before going to bed. I do have my next book that I will start following “News of the World” which I s “Open Season” by C.J. Box which was recommended to me via Carrie through her boss. It is a series and sounds like it will be good for me.

What are your favorite books? Anything you recommend for me to read, please post a comment and let me know.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day

Image of American Flag Waving in the Wind

Remembering Memorial Day and what it means... As I posted back in May 2016 (see May 30, 2016 post), it seems as though people confuse or forget what Memorial Day actually means. In the case of Memorial Day, it refers to someone who passed in active duty. I know that Memorial Day signifies opening of pools, summer, etc., but it is important to remember the real meaning behind Memorial Day and try not to confuse it with other holidays. 

Be safe and give thanks to those that served our country and gave the ultimate sacrafice.


Sunday, May 30, 2021

New Firedisc Grill Purchased, Tested, and Ready for Camping or Tailgating

Firedisc Testing in our Backyard Cooking Breakfast
Carrie and I bought a new purchase for our camping trips and we can also use it for tailgating. We are excited to use the new product. We did seasoning to prepare the equipment and did our first grill with it Thursday night. The new product is called Firedisc. It retails for $499 although if you get it from Ace Hardware, it is $349. We went with the tall version (36").

Just like a cast iron skillet, it takes a few times to season the grill. So, Thursday night, we did a process three times to get the grill hot, put in cooking oil, rub it into the grill, and then let it cool down removing excess oil from the grill. The grill got a nice char going and will only get more prominent as we use the Firedisc.

For our first grill, we did pork chops. It was somewhat trial and error and they turned out alright. We plan to use the grill for cooking breakfast (eggs, bacon, etc.) when we are camping. Probably also do steaks or chicken in the grill too. The best thing is that not only is it perfect for camping, but I am excited to be able to use it for Washburn football tailgates. Doing burgers and hotdogs on this thing will be easy and easy clean up.

We heard about the Firedic through a video blog (vlog) Carrie told me about and I have been hooked on ever since. The name of the vlog is DOME LIFE. They come out with new videos every Thursday. I went through and watched all of their videos and happened to be watching one when they interviewed another camper using the Firedisc. I immediately thought it looked cool, sent it to Carrie, she reviewed customer evaluations, and we bought it a few days later. DOME LIFE has certainly sparked the camping interest in Carrie and I while also sharing tips and hints on camping. I think the Firedisc will be a great addition to our camping experience.

I expect to be posting future updates about our new Firedisc. How it works camping and how it works in the fall when we return to tailgating.

Until next time, have a great rest of the day!


Request for ad-free with Background Play for YouTube TV Included in Cost

Screen Shot Taken from YouTube Premium Web Site

We use YouTube TV for our TV viewing. Both Carrie and I frequent regular YouTube for watching videos. Recently, I signed up for a trial of YouTube Premium. I had a 30 day trial of the premium service which simply means that I had ad-free viewing, background play, downloads, and YouTube Music Premium.

For me, I did the 30 day trial because we are YouTube TV customers and have been happy with the service. We have had the service for over a year at this point and enjoy the endless recordings. The features included in the YouTube Premium of ad-free viewing, background play, downloads, and music really did not do a lot for me for the four options. I did trial as I wanted to see if I could have TV streaming in the background or picture-in-picture feature on iOS. Nope! This is not possible!

I do not understand why these additional features of Premium are not included in YouTube TV. I did not realize until I was researching this that YouTube Music Premium is normally $9.99 a month, but if you subscribe through YouTube Premium, not only do you get music, but also the ad-free viewing, background play, and downloads. It seems that with those of us being YouTube TV customers, we should already be considered Premium and get the extras included in our subscription. 

This is nothing new and I recall seeing people post on Reddit, Twitter, etc., about this in the past. I simply make the case again that for those of us already subscribing to TV through Google, we should have the premium options available to us without requiring us to subscribe to those extra services.

I have since canceled my trial of YouTube Premium simply because the benefit of the extra features was not enough to continue paying $11.99 a month. I can live with the ads but it was nice to be able to play in the background. A much needed addition to YouTube TV is to be able to play in the background or the ability to play picture-in-picture on iOS as many other streaming services have allowed.


Carrie Performed in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in NOTO on Saturday, May 29

Carrie on Stage for Midsummer Night’s Dream in NOTO
Carrie on stage for Lady Shakes Theater Company production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in NOTO on Saturday, May 29. The play was great and I hope they are able to do another production. The cast had been working since last fall with a break during the winter months when they could not rehearse. As the months started to warm, they started to rehearse every weekend for the past few months with ramped up rehearsals multiple times a week the past few weeks. It was so good to see Carrie and cast on stage and fun to see many people from the stage that I had not seen in many months in attendance. 

Carrie on Stage with Fellow Performers in NOTO
The weather was beautiful and so fun to see live theater after many months without. A great crowd gathered in RedBud Park of NOTO. Most people brought their own chairs and a few had blankets or sat on the rocks. I look forward to seeing other events at Redbud Park in NOTO in the future. A nice new addition to the area an already fantastic area of Topeka. If you have the chance to see a band, play, or sit in Redbud Park of NOTO, I highly recommend doing so.

Until next time, have a great day and get out to enjoy some theater.