Monday, February 11, 2013

Winter Storm Nemo (February 8-9, 2013)

The massive nor'easter that hit the Northeast delivered about 20-25 inches of snow into the area where we live. Not as bad as other places (40 inches in Hamden, CT), but it has convincingly crippled Long Island and Suffolk County. We were lucky enough to not lose power at all, and were overall well prepared even if we did. It seemed like everyone (the town, the village, our apartment complex) waited until the storm was over to start plowing the roads. By now, the apartment complex has cleared most of the roads although parking will be a problem for a while. The village did not yet get to our street and apparently we are not the only one around with this problem. Long Island Expressway remains closed in the east into Monday (2/11/2013). I do not teach on Friday, but the college cancelled all classes in anticipation of the storm although I expected to go in on Monday. The schools remain closed, however, as a lot of roads are still barely passable. We are expecting rain on Monday as well, with correspondingly warmer temperatures so let's see how long this winter landscape lasts. More information on this storm can be found here. I hope this is it for the rest of this winter, not because I hate snow, but because I hate how people around me deal with it.

Apparently around 20 inches is what we got overnight.
Apparently around 20 inches is what we got overnight.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Canoeing on the Peconic River (Long Island, New York)

One advantage of living on Long Island (and for me personally, advantages of living here are rather hard to come by) is the presence of large bodies of water open to kayaking and canoeing. Besides the obvious Long Island Sound and the Great Sound Bay, there are several rivers that can be explored by personal watercraft. One such river, is the Peconic on Eastern Long island. It originates near Brookhaven National Lab and lazily flows east, towards Riverhead and the crotch of Long Island and eventually empties into the Flanders Bay, which is apart of the Peconic Bay. This river has been on my list ever since I moved to Long Island but for variety of reasons (most of them bullshit excuses) never got around to it.
Starting to paddle down the Peconic River
The first few yards were difficult to say the least.

























Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bicycling on Wallkill Valley, Shawangunk and Walden Rail Trails

The Wallkill Valley, Shawangunk and Walden rail trail (or rather rail trails) span from Walden, NY to Rosendale, NY, roughly in the North-South direction. I am not exactly sure on the whole nomenclature issue but it is very easy to ride all three trails together, in one day and at a very leisurely place. The surface of the trails varies as does the marking. The Walden rail trail is pretty much as good as it gets - of course - depending on your standards. What I mean that it is paved in its entirety, very well marked with stop signs and proper road crossings. And if you start in Walden like we did, slightly downhill. The second part of the ride is for all intents and purposes unmaintained singletrack, followed by riding on roads to the trailhead of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail on Denniston Road. Wallkill Rail Trail is unpaved, mostly packed dirt and crushed stone, with some patches (mostly around New Paltz, NY) of variously degraded asphalt.

Morning at Wooster Groove in Walden, NY. Getting ready to head out.
Morning at Wooster Groove in Walden, NY. Getting ready to head out.

Bicycling from Maine Coast to North Central Massachusetts

This was another one of those plans that hatched this past winter, while the snow lingered outside and I was laying on the floor in front of the TV planning future bike trips on mapmyride.com. For this particular plan, however, lot of things had to come together - and perfectly at that. First, the weather had to be decent - at least - as I was planning to ride lite (no panniers). Second, the ride had to coincide with out visit to Andi's parents in Lunenburg, MA. And third, because the train was leaving from Boston North Station, there would have to be a good reason for someone to drop me off in Boston with my bike. In this case, Andi's college reunion planned for the weekend worked just fine.

All packed up, waiting for the train at Boston North Station.
All packed up, waiting for the train at Boston North Station.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TD Bank 5Boro Bike Tour 2011

I am not really sure how the envelope with the flyer for this event got mailed to me in the first place. But man, am I glad it did. I shared it with the usual suspects and the decision was made to partake. Even though there were 32000 spots available, I assumed they would go rather quickly. After all, who in their right mind, would want to pass up an opportunity to ride the completely car free streets of New York City, visiting Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and eventually Staten Island? Or to ride your bike on FDR Drive, BQE or Verrazano Bridge? And I was right, after the registration opened, it took only about 30 or so hours (me thinks) to sell out all 32000 spots. Me and Millicent waited at our computers for the registration to open, that's how much we wanted to make sure we will be one of the lucky 32000. After initial system overload (apparently we weren't the only ones ready to pounce), we successfully registered. Shortly after us, Matt, Hyuck, Richard and Laura registered as well.
Getting ready in the ferry parking lot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tough Mudder Bear Creek, PA (Race Report)

After finishing a Rugged Maniac 5K race in Southwick, MA in the Fall of 2010 (which was neither Rugged nor Maniac-al according to my humble opinion) we started looking for a new challenge. Eventually, my attention was caught by an facebook ad for an event called "Tough Mudder". Dissatisfied with the Rugged Maniac and similar-length/difficulaty races such as the Warrior Dash and Spartan Race (partially, because they do offer 8+ mile and 48 hour races), the Tough Mudder looked like a formidable challenge. First, there was the distance of 11 miles, then the elevation changes since the race was held in a ski center with some snow still around, and finally the nature of obstacles. Before I describe my experiences from the race (I know, I know it is not a race, it is a challenge) I will share some of my observations and opinions.

Tough Mudder Pledge.

Tough Mudder Weekend in Pennsylvania

The central event of this weekend was the Tough Mudder race at Bear Creek Ski Center, just south of Allentown/Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. We wanted to take advantage of our presence in this neck of the woods and explore a bit. On our list were: