24 Oct 2009

Cape Cod

Well, we left Portland on Tuesday. Portland is a great city and is a place that would be perfect for us to live. It is large enough that there is plenty to do, close enough to many places for day trips and small enough that traffic is mostly irrelevant (although we were told the city doubles in the summer). The one negative is that the wife feels it is a bit cold - we got snow on Sunday

Anyways, the drive south to Cape Cod was mellow, 3 hours. We did turn around after 10 minutes when I realized that the camera battery was still plugged in back at the house. We decided to get breakfast before we left this time at our favorite place, 158 Pickett Street Cafe - outstanding bagels:


Also getting high marks was Scratch Baking Company, great cookies:


Back to the drive - the wife drove while I worked. She found that driving through Boston was a tad stressful. My fancy "air card" worked perfectly - my laptop was connected to the AT&T intranet the entire way. This was good since my boss needed something later that afternoon. Here are a few pics of the Boston skyline from the road

The house here in Barnstable is very nice with a great yard for the Hud to do sprints. Very quiet. The week has been fine - work has dominated, as things are crazy and the hours longer than I expect. I've been relieving stress by running on the Cape Cod Rail Trail


While it is a 15-minute drive to the start, it is extremely worthy; 22-miles long through the woods and often along ponds and bogs. Tuesday the wife and I went after we unpacked the car and ran for 30-minutes. Wednesday I went myself a little late and it was very dark by the time I started..there were bunnies zipping all over the place trying to trip me...


...but a good 4-mile run. Thursday I went earlier in the afternoon and got on the trail in Brewster, a cool little town with tons of antique stores. A good 4.6-mile run.

Friday was another intense day at work...so I took a hot tub...and dropped my blackberry. It has yet to work since. Ooops!

In the late afternoon the wife and I went back to Brewster and browsed some outstanding shops and a superb General Store (http://www.brewsterstore.com/). One of my dreams is opening a General Store some day, and this was the 2nd best I've seen (next to Graham's in Glacier, WA)

Saturday we drove up to Provincetown, the very end of the Cape. We made several stops along the way, to see the several lighthouses and Coast Guard Beach, which is pictured below:

First lighthouse was Highland Light a.k.a. Cape Cod Light (http://www.capecodlighthouses.info/highland.html). Apparently it was recently moved back 400 feet to avoid falling into the ocean

Also in the area was an MITRE Radar Test Site. Here's a link for further details and a picture of it today (yes, a golf course right by the lighthouse):


Next lighthouse on our drive was Race Point Light (http://www.capecodlighthouses.info/racepoint.html). Unfortunately it was a bit of a hike (2-miles) across soft sand and it was a very windy day. This was the best pic we could get (as we passed on the hike)

Third up was Wood End Light (http://www.capecodlighthouses.info/woodend.html). Again, it was accessible only by a long hike across a stone path (once again we skipped the death march)

We then found, curious as to what it was, the Pilgrim Monument. I didn't realize that this is where the Pilgrims first landed. There was also a museum. I thought it looked pretty cool, gargoyles and all, but I guess it was a somewhat controversial design at the time

For $7 we could walk to the top. I'm somewhat scared of heights but all was good. Here is looking down the stairs. Made me think of the Bourne Identity

It was windy as heck up there (today we had 20-30mph winds all day), but after freaking out for a few minutes I managed to get over "it" and get some nice pics of Provincetown

We ran around Provincetown for awhile, a very cool place (to visit) with plenty of galleries in narrow streets full of history and home to a busy harbor

We got our fourth lighthouse, Long Point Lighthouse (http://www.capecodlighthouses.info/longpoint.html)

And they love their Halloween here in New England - the area has been decorated for weeks. I suppose it should be no surprise, being haunted and all...

We are here all week before heading up to the Homeland...

17 Oct 2009

It's Cold

On my August 23rd posting ("Hunting For Bears"), I was standing in a river in shorts. Now it's cold enough for snow. Booooooooo!

This was supposed to be the weekend I would be doing a half-marathon, but no luck on the coordination. We have found some good runs here in Portland, including Back Cove


Back Cove is extremely similar to Green Lake in Seattle


Back Cove is 3.5 miles and this week was a very cold and windy run. Below are a few pics, including one of the wife finishing up

One great thing about Portland is it's a city of size (the greater metro area is > 500K) but we haven't encountered any bad traffic. We can even head downtown, which includes crossing a long bridge, in the late afternoon and find parking all within 15 minutes. Here are a few shots of downtown Portland

Here is a stark contrast in architecture, old school and art deco

Cape Elizabeth, where we specifically are staying, is home to many lighthouses including the famous Portland Head Light (we are less than 2 miles away). This was from yesterday, a very windy day that we were supposed to have gotten snow but missed out

Someone has left food for the animals - I thought about grabbing one of the donuts

Work has become extremely busy, even pulling a few 14-hr days last week

Hudson is staying relaxed, here with one of his pals

We are here until Tuesday morning, when we head down to Cape Cod...

12 Oct 2009

Portland, ME

It's been a week since the last posting and we have moved from Cutler, ME down south to Portland, ME. Below are a few final shots of the bay our house was on after some strong thunderstorms moved through

Our house in Portland is excellent and owned by Brigadier General John M. Watkins, Jr. He has some very cool memorabilia in the office I'm using. The house is in Cape Elizabeth near Two Lights State Park and just up the road from both Cape Elizabeth Light (below) and Portland Head Light

The Atlantic is about 300 yards away, offering some great views and great sunsets

Maine is a very cool state, literally and figuratively. We haven't done a great job remembering the camera, having forgot it when we wandered down to Kennebunkport Saturday. It was very nice but with no home and a very full car, going casually browsing at shops just isn't the same since we aren't buying. Below is typical of the area, nice foliage and limited sprawl

Sunday we drove down to the waterfront and went for a 4-mile run along South Portland's equivalent of North Seattle's Burke-Gilman

Sadly, it doesn't seem that a half-marathon will happen this fall. I was hoping to do one this weekend on Prince Edward Island, during our 4-weeks up in the Canadian Maritimes. Unfortunatley, vacation rentals up there seem to shut down come stormy October and hotels isn't really what we were looking for long-term (with me needing to work and with a dog). There is also one up in Bar Harbor in Acadia, which looked excellent, but we're pretty content here for now with the City of Portland's fun downtown area a mere dozen minutes away and pretty laid back. That's ok - those 13-14 mile runs were becoming a bit of a bore in the cold rain. I'll try again whenever convenient - I always did enjoy the 4-6 mile runs much more.

No idea where next. I know my old hometown of Hamilton will be in early-to-mid November, as I have "business meetings" with my pals from Orange (France Telecom)...

5 Oct 2009

The Frankenstein Shuffle

Well, it's been awhile since my last non-Fantasy Hockey posting. Lots to update.

Late Wednesday (September 23rd) me and Hudson picked up the wife in Boston at 11:30pm. This was a 3-hour drive and Hudson was grumpy with an upset stomach (due to me feeding him too much freeze-dried food that day). Not fun. Fellow Fantasy Hockey GM Gary Chekan kept me amused for an hour of the drive as we chatted draft strategy - I probably helped him kill an hour of his work day.

All went well, no issues at the airport. Drive back was equally not-fun until about 2:30am. We were near "home" on I-93 when we suddenly realized a moose was running alongside the car. Very cool!

Thursday was Fantasy Hockey draft day (see prior posting for details).

Our last Saturday in New Hampshire was perfect fall weather, sunny and mild. We drove around, first stopping for a cool 2-mile hike near Bretton Woods:

Hudson was pretty jazzed and got in some good sprints:

We then drove to Conway, a cool town. They were having a "Bark in the Park". Great, time for Hudson to socialize with other dogs. Aside from a short fight with a Collie who threw him a punch, awesome time. Hudson even took an Intelligence Test and was identified as a genius:

On the way back we got a nice pic of my favorite mountain, Mt Washington. It's my fave because it has the strongest winds on earth and I tried (unsuccessfully) to climb it back in 1998:

Sunday's weather was not nearly as nice, which figures as it was the day for my long run. I ran 13.2 miles with a 600-foot hill in a light rain that turned into a heavy rain my final mile. I made it home, ate and fell asleep for 12 hours (leaving the wife to pack up).

Monday we drove to Maine, mostly on country roads

The house here in Cutler, ME is very cool. The area, though, is VERY rural with not much to do. Good cell coverage here at the house - 5 bars on the back porch, 2 bars on the front porch, and no coverage on the main road. The below pic is from the beach below the house (on Machias Bay):

Cutler is an old naval base, where they used to communicate with the submarine fleet regardless of where the subs were:


Cutler is now mostly a small lobster-fishing town:

On Wednesday we made the short drive to Lubec, ME and even made a quick jaunt across the border into New Brunswick (as rural as where we are staying)

After me being detained for half an hour at customs (my Nexus card confused them, with me having chosen Canadian citizenship to be shown), we went to West Quoddy lighthouse, the most Eastern point in the US. I love lighthouses:

I got a great 4.6-mile run in from the lighthouse to US-189 while the wife (that's her with me in the 2nd photo above) walked down to the ocean to get some great pics (including the last pic above):

Saturday we drove up to "Canada's Chocolate Town", St Stephen, NB:


Boy, was she pissed when it wasn't a magical place with chocolate shops left and right. Even the US Customs guy laughed at the "Chocolate Town" name, guess he knew it was bogus.

Fortunately, on the way up we did see a Moose and this time were able to get pics:

We also were able to find a cool town on the way back, Eastport, ME. A great place to eat was Bank Square Pizza, with the best ever Garlic Cheese bread and all sorts of other deep-fried foods. This guy was across the street from the pizza place:

We crossed Latitude 45, which we also did out in Oregon. Not earth-shattering, but it amused us:

Sunday was notable for two things.

First, it was Hudson's 4th birthday! Here he is with his present, a bear:

The second notable event was I went on a 14-mile run in the cold rain. Thus, the title of this entry. We found a rail-trail in town (town being Machias). It was awesome, too bad we didn't find it earlier. The first 7-miles was from the car out 3.5-miles along the Bay through wetlands and then back. Very cool, plenty of birds including blue herons. Back at the car I changed socks (soaking) and hat and got some water before the next 7-miles the other way. I hit the "wall" at the turn. The final 3.5-miles back to the car was not cool. I know my first mile was a sub 9-minute mile, but mile 13 was an 11-minute mile and mile 14 probably a 12-minute mile. This last mile was "The Frankenstein Shuffle". During the week I had something fricked up, maybe a pinched nerve in my left shoulder. It was so painful that a few nights I had to sleep sitting up (but still got my 8-hour sleeps). Sunday it was magically gone, but the running did hurt somewhat. So that 14th mile my legs were dead and my shoes were drenched and I wasn't really running, I was more shuffling. And my left shoulder was sore and tired so it was not moving, just hanging. I'm sure if any local kids saw me they would have been scared and run away. Yes, running is "good for your health"...

Tomorrow we are off to my old stomping grounds (my month of glory in the AHL) of Portland, ME (actually Cape Elizabeth)