Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor wind.....

Would keep us from getting out in the forest preserves here in Northwest Illinois today! The weathermen predicted that there would be on and off storms today and the possibility of a tornado, but that didn't keep us home.
We met Patti and Dave and Len and Marlene at the usual place and instead of biking (whose idea was that??!!) we hiked four miles in Moraine Hills.

It started out nicely enough but I suspected we might get some of that promised rain, so I brought my umbrella, just in case; Patti and Dave thought we could squeeze this in before the rain; Len and Marlene came prepared.

Halfway through the skies opened and the winds howled. Branches flew here and there. Fortunately, not on us but close...

We cut the hike short and headed for Walker Brothers for breakfast. None too soon either. There were almost hurricane winds on the ride there and many traffic lights were out, branches down and general chaos on the roads.

Breakfast, was great!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hug your Cat Day!

Hug Your Cat Day (May 30)

Yes... it is National Hug Your Cat Day
Show some lovin' for your feline friends today with a great big hug. So love'em, squeeze'em and hug'em all day long, hopefully claw-free! (No REMOVING claws...that is TOO PAINFUL)

And with Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month (June 01-30) only days away - if you don't have a feline friend to celebrate with today, consider going to your local shelter and adopting a new pal!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mountain biking in Deer Grove

Today Chuck and I biked the single track mountain trails for 10 miles in Deer Grove. We saw a doe and her baby just before they escaped in a ravine. These were some of the first deer I have seen here and so I cannot call it 'deerless grove' any longer!

After the ride, we went to Biaggi's for lunch and had some wonderful stuff:
Chuck had spinach pasta with crab and lobster that was quite delicious. I opted for the Chilean sea bass, which was on a bed of spinach and red pepper sauce with garlic mashed potatoes. See for yourself, both were great!

They have incorporated a new policy regarding bread. I think it is great. They ask if you would like to have some; since so much has gone to waste in the past they now bring it only if you answer yes to the question. Just another way to avoid unnecessary waste.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Missing Link on the Des Plaines Trail

Today we biked from Independence Grove up to Wadsworth St. (which is where we park to ride the Van Patten Woods section of the trail) which was the final link for completion of the entire Des Plaines Trail! It was a ride of 22 plus miles, but not very hilly. I was doing fine until the 18th mile and then started to slow down a bit. Still, it is much better than a year ago, when 10 miles in a day was a new record!

I dabbled with riding and photo taking again....this time trying to get both of us in the shot.
Obviously, I need a little more practice!

Mosquito Repellent!!

New mosquito repellents on the horizon could last more than four times longer than the best now available. Researchers for the Pentagon said they've tested chemicals on clothing that kept mosquitoes away for up to 73 days.

Currently, the best repellent on the market -- known as DEET -- averages 17.5 days. One scientist said some of the new chemicals are "just phenomenal." The researchers focused on what the most powerful mosquito repellents have in common chemically. The search was narrowed to seven possible repellents which will be tested this summer for safety.

Next the bad news...

It's expected to be a few years before any are available commercially.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wauconda Memorial Day Parade

It's been too many years since I attended a parade. Today was a perfect day for it too, low eighties and so many different groups to look at. The parades here are different from those back east...the biggest difference is that the floats throw candy at you! It is kind of like a reverse Halloween. Fun!

So, even though I got a pretty good spot to watch, my pictures did not all come out great. I will show you only those that represent the fun that everyone was having....mostly the paraders...they were having a ball!

Here is Chuck greeting his neighbors...

Just a heads up for July. On the tenth there will be the wild west show on Main
Street. That promises to be over the top!

Jazz dancing group

I just love these big bikes, the horn was great too!
One of the few marching bands.
My best shot of many vintage tractors
This was one of my favorites...the magic carpet riders. They would go a bit and then turn around and do figure eights, all the while the carpet fringe is fluttering in the breeze and smiles, really big smiles on every driver!
What parade would be complete without some Bagpipe players?
The Black Horse brigade...they did figure eights too, all very nicely done!
More big guys in little cars having a ball! Me Too!
Here's a shot of the crowd as we were making our way out and on to biking the Palatine trail. What a glorious day!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

El Sombrero, Mount Prospect, Il

We stopped by to visit a bit with Chuck's mother

and then we all went to El Sombrero for lunch. This mexican restaurant in Mount Prospect dishes up plenty of good Mexican food at reasonable prices. One of the things I like is that they give you individual bowls of mild and hot salsa for the enormous basket of chips they bring while you are looking over the menu.

I opted for fish tacos and they were great..nice and light. Three to a plate and no beans or rice, so while I ate it all, I was not stuffed.

Here is Chuck and his mom with their selections:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Time to Plant

We decided that it was time to brighten the plantable areas around the townhouse here in Wauconda, while the weather is still cool.

Look here on the side entry...there was apparently something here a year or two ago that was nice but it didn't make it through the harsh winter of 2007-2008. Now there is only a weedy ground cover. That had to go for something better.

Then in the front, there just wasn't any color. Now all that has changed. It looks like we have created a nice welcome to spring.

Now, bring us some warmer weather!!!! Please!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Scroggin...aka: GORP

So I am mentally getting ready for our trip to the southwest this year. It will entail lots of camping and as a result I am researching GORP and related topics.

I found Scroggin and the following Wikipedia definition...I can hardly wait to make my own!

is a nickname for a mixture of nuts and dried fruit, (and sometimes chocolate) usually carried by bushwalkers. It has been suggested that the name scroggin is an acronym, taken from the first letter of eight ingredients:

However, this could be a backronym, and the assumption that "scroggin" is an actual acronym may be a folk etymology (as is likely the case with gorp).

These ingredients can be anything desired, but traditionally they must have chocolate, raisins, and nuts. Dried fruit, such as dried apricots, dried apples and banana chips, plus sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are very popular inclusions in these mixes.

The idea behind Scroggin is to have an energy-packed mix of anything you want, kept in a waterproof bag which the consumer dips into when in need of an energy boost.

Also, colloquially, a small marsupial...but that is another story!

Chuck has his own opinion about gorp:

He says: Just get the individual items that you like and take it from there. What a nutty guy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Never Give Up...It's Never too Late

CALUMET, Mich. (AP) - Police in this Upper Peninsula town had forgotten about the $1 parking ticket written on Sept. 1, 1976. But the woman who had found it on her windshield hadn't.

The ticket, a $20 bill and a note arrived at police headquarters last month in a plain white envelope with no return address.

The note read: "I always had good intentions of paying it. I put it aside and every once in a while I would come across it and said 'someday I'm going to pay it.' Now I think it's time."

The fine for an unpaid meter violation increased to $5 after 72 hours, said Police Chief David Outinen, but it hadn't increased beyond that. He told The Daily Mining Gazette of Houghton that he couldn't remember someone making good on an unpaid ticket after so much time.

The woman apparently hopes her payment closes the matter. "Please don't try and track me down. I am a respectable lady," she wrote.

Monday, May 19, 2008

51st Des Plaines Canoe Marathon

The Des Plaines River Canoe Marathon, founded in 1957 by Ralph Frese, (see picture below)this year he was providing canoes for the paddlers instead of participating in the marathon.

It is the second oldest continual canoe race in the United States. The race is 18½ miles on the beautiful and historic Des Plaines River. There are numerous classes to accommodate people of all ages and levels. Everyone is welcome to participate. First time participants, repeat paddlers, and serious competitors can all enjoy the excitement, challenge, and camaraderie that this historic event provides.

Chuck and I participated in the marathon this year; not in any particular class we just did it for fun. I wasn't too worried about the mileage, since I have spent more than a few days in the last year paddling more than twenty miles in a day and felt pretty good about my ability.
Here is Chuck and Hugh, a fellow we met during our February-March trip to Florida this year
Here is Chuck trying to do a good imitation of patience among the widespread chaos prior to our launch.

At the three quarter mark I began to realize that this particular river has very little current, which means one literally has to paddle to go forward..that was something I was not quite ready for. We did complete the entire route, but I was more tired than I expected. There was a fellow at the final take out (which entailed a steep bank) who grabbed the canoe from me and said he would bring it up topside. I normally would have protested but gave quiet thanks for this very special gift!

It was the first time I had ever done anything like this. So a few things caught my eye. Like the many different types of canoes and clothing

and the chaos at the beginning was really something to behold

Things got much better once we got under way and the crowd thinned out. Here is a shot I got of Chuck by just turning the camera backwards and aiming towards the back of the canoe...not back for not being able to see anything.

Here we are at the second portage; we had to carry our canoe around two dams in the river. We went over two others..both without capsizing!
This was a very happy sight to see! Another great day on the river!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Moraine Hills State Park

Today was simply gorgeous...72 degrees, light breeze and bright sunshine. So we met Len at Moraine Hills and biked 12 miles around the loops and to the dam. Everything is so alive and fresh, it just makes you glad to be alive.

I managed to get a nice picture of Len and Chuck coming down one of the hilly areas but Chuck insisted that I send it to him so he could post. He said he wouldn't have anything to post if I didn't help him out...since he did not have his camera with him today. Ok, I gave in and sent it to him.

I got a few pictures of some swans, but they were fuzzy; ditto for a turtle shot.

So here I am with only one other shot that turned out clear and identifiable. It is Chuck's bicycle seat. For those relatives who may be wondering what he might like for Christmas.....well.....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oberweis, Bischoff's and Braum's...it's all good!

Tuesday was a first for me. I went to Oberweis for ice cream. When it comes to food addictions, ice cream is pretty high on my list. So you can imagine how delighted I was to indulge in yet another delicious ice cream creation by yet another high quality provider.

Here are some shots of our biking group indulging in the creamy wonderment...

Originally a New Jersey girl, my favorite ice cream place there was Bischoff's.
Having relocated, you can bet I lost no time at all finding a comparable place in Arkansas either. They have Braum's. Generally it was the ice cream that I've been after, but Braum's has great steaks, dairy products and emergency produce you can buy and take home, as well. Pretty much all you need in one place!