Sunday, November 27, 2016

Weekend at Home

 I always get a little sad when the wife and kid head out of town.  This year was the same, especially when I realized that I had nothing planned for myself.  In the past, I have either done a bike trip or a huge home improvement project.  This year, I was actually wanting to take a windsurfing safari to the coast, but I'm a worried about driving the truck that far.  I decided to keep it local.
 I managed to find some simple things to do, like cutting down a crepe myrtle,  much to the dismay of all the old people in the area.  Crepe Myrtles are on the invasive species list.  And I don't really like them. 

 Got out on the bike for some gravel.....
and of course with some mild wind predicted ,  got out on the lake for a little while.  The wind was pretty light, but I got a couple of good strong gusts. My high speed today was 22.4mph.  I was able to get my gear a little more dialed,  I'm confident that I can break 30mph on this board, and 35 mph on my little board!!  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Patience

When you are praying for a miracle,  you gotta have patience....  I'm not great at that.  I'm pretty good at being patient if I have something else to distract me.  Other than that,  not good. 

I've been truck shopping.  I hate to be picky, but I need to upgrade to a 4x4 with crew cab.  With the kid sprouting long legs, we gotta have the space.  Add to that the need to pull a trailer filled with bikes,  the 4x4's are built tougher and will withstand the wear and tear better than my current truck.  In fact,  the truck is dying for that very reason,  it was not built to haul a trailer as much as I do. 

So,  even though we have been planning and saving for a while,  we are about $5000.  Hence the prayer for a miracle.  Praying that my current truck will last until we save enough, or somehow that $5k comes to us.  And there is nothing else for me to do. 

With that in mind, I'm thankful for distractions.  Like soccer with the kid, windsurfing and bike riding! 

 I got to enjoy a great day at the lake,  warmish sun,  strong winds.  I took my Garmin along and my max speed ended up being 26.4 mph.   With a little more wind and some rigging tweaks, I think I can break 30 mph.....  nothing like the feeling of being pulled along by the wind, skipping across the top of the water.  Makes me want to whoop and holler, which is exactly what I do! 
In the picture above, what appears to be clouds is actually a plume of smoke from one of the wild fires. 

Well,  here's to a prayer and a miracle.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Patience

 I've been able to get out on the bike consistently this week.  That's good cause I'm a bit stressed.  This whole truck thing is getting to me.   A 2006-2009 truck with 150k for $15,000?  Sounds crazy.  Sounds like borrowing money to survive is the American Dream.  But,  if you think about it,  borrowing has been the way of life in America since the beginning.

It is frustrating to me, because we have always tried to live frugally with little to no debt.  Until this year, we have never had a car payment,  were always able to pay cash for vehicles.  But that was before I needed something bigger and tougher.  So,  by doing what I do, and  needing to haul a trailer,  I need a bigger stronger truck.  So, I'm stuck, living the American Dream.  An old hippie forced to conform to consumerism and greed. 

Every dealer I talk to agrees that the price of trucks is out of control.  But their hands are tied, because they have bills to pay as well. 
 Something is going to work out, and I feel like I'm handling this situation better than I would have in the past.   I'm more excited about seeing how this is going to play out than stressed about it not working out. 

Trust is the key, and patience.  Waiting until the right one comes along, at the right time.

Can't wait to see what happens.

In the meantime.  Strong winds are forecast for the weekend!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Thankful

 A lot going on in my little head right now.  Besides the fact that its that time of year when memories pop up and try to bring me down, the demons in my mind telling me that I'm bound to fail so why try.  I keep turning my focus to the positive.  Its not always easy.   I have so many friends in the same boat.  Trying to figure this life out, one step at a time. Why do I keep trying?

 I'll tell you what keeps me going.  Knowing that I am created for a purpose,  to love.   Knowing that a power greater than me is in control and has an ultimate plan: to restore creation to a pre- destruction mode.  I believe in a God who loves and provides for us.  I don't believe in the god that so many churches teach about,  the legalistic, fire and brimstone, you are going to hell if you screw up god.  I believe in a God who has created me to love, to care for the fatherless and widows.  to look out for my neighbors.
 That's what keeps me going.   How do I know that such a God exists?  That one is hard to explain, but the evidence shows me,  points me in that direction.  The stillness at the top of a mountain,  the peace inside on the side of a wind ravaged lake.  The good things that come my way without warning.  The trials, that seem out of control, but once I make it through, I realized I am stronger, a little wiser, and slowly but surely a little more patient.   
 I have what I need and a whole lot more.  Food, warmth, shelter, clothes.  Sure,  I have a truck that is falling apart right now.  And the thing is testing my faith on a daily basis.  Every time I turn the key and it cranks,  I whisper a quiet prayer of thanks. 

I had a great weekend, getting outside, feeling the wind in my face, the splash of water, the leaves crunching under my wheels,  futbol with the kid,  brunch on in a holler with a bunch of friends.

My life is good, and I can't take the credit for that. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

Ugh

 Fall is here and my head is spinning.  Lots of stuff going on.   October was my month of mayhem for the year. 

I accepted the Asst Soccer Coach position for the middle school boys team and that proved to be quite time consuming.   I wouldn't trade it for anything though.  Even though I hardly rode my bike,  I got to spend every afternoon with the kid and 23 other boys.  The Coach: Mike Kerr is an amazing coach and I learned a lot from the guy.  Super kind hearted and uses a positive reinforcement approach that is spot on.

On top of that, I decided to get my CDL so I could drive a school bus.  This turned out to be a time suck;  2. 5 days of class,  4 visits to the DMV, paperwork, on visit to pee in a cup (while talking about hunting with the female tech,  just another day on the job),  2 days of driving with instructor and 1/2 day of driving test..... and $200 later, I have my CDL. 
Over the summer, I decided not to worry about my old 2001 F 150.  It is getting worn and creaky but still seems to run fine.  Instead of upgrading, I decided to do some maintenance.  I took it in for rear shocks.  I got the call telling me that my front shocks were leaking and something else was broken.  They replaced all that.   The next day, the battery light came on signaling alternator failure.  Well,  that $600 better last for a while because I'm tired of spending money on this truck.  It has served me well, but my gut tells me that its almost done. 

I'm now looking around at trucks,  I want to upgrade to a crew cab.  Good grief, seems like everybody has lost their minds.  A 2007 Silverado with 150k miles on it for $12,000?  What the crap?  I'm kinda stuck in the middle and not sure what to do,  I don't have that kind of money and not sure I can afford the monthly payments for that amount right now.  New is out of the question for shizzy. 

What to do?  Keep on keepin' on,  and hoping for a miracle!



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Change In The Air


After my weekend of windsurfing fun,  I was wiped out, lethargic.   I farted around getting stuff done and waiting for my body to recover. Feet bruised from the foot straps and just an all over good body soreness.   A little hour long ride brought me around though.  

I headed out to Bent Creek to spin around, nothing too hard, just a good solid medium paced loop.   I barely broke a sweat.  

It is that time of year when the air temps are changing, foliage color changes and brain patterns start to interrupt daily life.  Memories of days gone by and longing for the innocent childhood days creep in.   It is funny how memories tend to lose the negative and the mind longs for the positive.  I snap my mind back into focus, realizing and fully believing that I made the right choices.  I practice focusing on the positive and the now,  the good life that I have been blessed with,  the good choices (although not always easy) that I have made for myself and my family.  

I am "living the dream"  and am thankful for the life I live,  the friends I have, and my little mountain family.   

It is easy to slip into the old patterns of thought that tend to bring me down,  but just like anything,  consistent practice will bring about positive results!  

 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hurricane Winds

And there it was,  the thing that was wreaking havoc across the East Coast of the US,  was the same thing that was keeping me up at night, excited about finally being able to windsurf in some strong winds.

I watched the forecast for 10 days (actually)  I look at the wind forecast daily, sometimes multiple time per day.  The forecast was for strong winds in WNC on Saturday and Sunday. Miraculously,  we had nothing planned, and the wife was not working.  I had both days free to roam. 

Saturday, the winds rolled in and I decided to stay in the area and see what Lake Julian would deliver.  It turned out to be a battle with strong gusts in the 30 mph range.  I watched several sailboats on the brink of capsizing as I scooted around the lake.  The winds picked up mid afternoon, but since I had been out there close to 5 hrs, I decided to head in and save some energy for Sunday.

Sunday morning, I headed down to Lake James.  I had been eyeballing the area at the mouth of the Linville river and was excited to give it a try.  Wind around 10-15 mph with 40 mph gust was going to make sail choice tricky. 
 As I rounded the bend and could see the water, I saw whitecaps all the way across the lake.  I rigged my 5.5 sail and headed out.  The air temps were warm and the water is still warm from the hot summer. 

I'm always excited and nervous when I head out in a new area, and I start off shaky.  It take an hour or so to get settled in and feeling comfortable.  The wind was blowing and I was flying.  I was overpowered though so I headed back in to re-rig the smaller 4.5 sail.  Perfect. 

I sailed back and forth for a couple of hours before the wind let up a little, then I headed in for some lunch.  I decided to drive around the lake to find a better access point with onshore winds.  The Linville river access where I was is good, but with side shore winds, if something happened, it would be a fight to get back to the beach area. 

No luck so I headed back to the same place. The wind had calmed down pretty good with no whitecaps to be seen so I took a chance and rigged the 6.5 square meter sail.


 It was on,  the wind started to pick up again, but now the gusts were long and wide.  Rather than the quick bursts that I had this morning, the wind started to fill in and I could rip back and forth across the lake several times before it let up. 

I was feeling comfortable and was getting used to the area.  Windsurfing on the edge of Pisgah National Forest under the shadow of the mountains that make  the Linville Gorge was new to me.  It made me feel really small, but thankful to be where I was. 

 Windsurfing is a passion,  it is in my blood.  When I was in college, land locked in the N Georgia Mountains,  before my internet access days,   I had no idea where to go to windsurf.  Whenever the wind blew, I would head to Mt Curahee to sit on the edge of the cliff and just feel the wind.  The movement stirs up good childhood memories for me.  Memories of being the underdog and having to find my own way, to figure things out and pursue a passion.   
I stayed out until my turns got sloppy and the wind picked up some more.  I thought about going in to rig a smaller sail, but decided to head in and call it a day.  I was tired and my heart was full.