Biking up large, long mountains

We made it to Cape North and are staying at a beautiful bed & breakfast called the Oakwood Manor.
Over the last two days we have gone over two VERY large, long mountains. Yesterday we were forced to walk almost four miles up a mountain and today we walked almost 3 miles up a mountain. Remember we have a 40 pound Tandem bike with about 50 pounds of gear. We have one more mountain to pass over before its gets a little easier and it is the smaller of the three.

We have met some wonderful people on the trip but I will wait to tell you about them when we get back. It is hard to load pictures on someone else’s computer. Tomorrow we are riding to a town called Ingonish which is on the east coast of Cape Breton. We have not seen a whale or a moose yet but we are still hopeful, maybe tonight. Sue is holding up well so far but I think she is getting irritated with the mountains.

If you want to see our trip, go to Google maps and type in Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia. I have so many great pictures I will post when we get back.

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We made it to Baddeck Nova Scotia!

Do not have much time to write so I will make this a quick picture story.

Ilana, Sue and I made it to Harvard Square to the Harvard Natural History Museum.

The glass flowers were incredible!

This was the memorial for the Harvard Graduates who fought in the Civil war for the north…not the south.

This was inside the memorial.

Getting ready to leave and figuring out how to take a picture with just three of us.

We loaded up the car `and began our journey north. Sue decided she wanted to visit Bar Harbor which added a couple of hours to our drive, but it was worth it!

The famous blow hole called THUNDER HOLE. It can be very loud.

After several hours of driving we made it to Cape Breton, home of the Cabots Trail.

Made Sue’s day,  she found a lighthouse. Tomorrow we begin our six day journey around Cabot’s Trail in Cape Breton. I will check in if I can.  Of course it is suppose to rain tomorrow!

Day one, two and three on our way to Nova Scotia

We left Augusta at 8:30am on Friday morning and drove for almost five hours up Route 81 to my Uncle Bill’s in a town called Lake Ariel which is in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.This is Uncle Bill.

This is Uncle Bill’s house and boat on the lake.

By the way this house is for sale. If you are interested let me know, I may get a commission.

After spending  two days  with Uncle Bill . we continued our journey to Boston, Massachusetts to visit our old friend and ex-student Ilana Hardesty. We arrived and had a spectacular dinner and talked until we were all talked out and went to bed.

Sunday morning,  Ilana,  her husband John,  Sue and I ventured out to the nearest subway terminal and set our sights on the city of Boston. We were typical tourists,  gawking at the buildings,  admiring the beautiful gardens and seeing Boston up close and personal.  Here are a few pictures of Boston.

Down under the city.

Lots of cool fountains.

Great architecture.

The weary travelers heading home

George Washington himself!

Tomorrow we are going to the Harvard Museums which should be really neat. I will take a few pictures and post them tomorrow night. It is going to rain all day tomorrow so I probably will not get to attend the Boston Redsox game at 7pm…bummer! I will keep my fingers crossed. On Tuesday we will begin the last 800 miles to Baddeck, Nova Scotia to begin our bike ride on Thursday. I hope it is not raining…

Biking around Nova Scotia or Sue & Charlie’s Big Adventure

We are getting ready for our big adventure to Nova Scotia. There is so much to do; work on the bike and get it ready for the trip, pack all our bike gear, pack all our travel gear and try to be ready to leave Friday morning.

I took a few pictures of our equipment.

Meet BIG RED

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This is some of our gear. You can will see our tire pump, pepper spray, bike lock and water bottles. The pepper spray is to fend off beautiful Canadian women who want me but we can also use it for bears and moose.

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This is my computer which keeps track of our distance and speed. Notice it is in sleep mode.

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This is Sue’s end of the bike where she stores her stuff. The light blue bag is our tools in case we break down…which never happens…

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Sue’s most important friend who she relies on for support and comfort.

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And finally my close friend.

I will try to do a daily post of where we are and how it is going. You can see the trip on Google Earth under Cabots Trail, Nova Scotia. We will arrive at Baddeck, Nova Scotia on Wednesday, August 25 and begin our ride the next day.

Group “chastation”

One of the issues that always bothered me as a teacher was group chastation.  Here is an example: One teacher abuses the copy machine.  At the next meeting the entire faculty was forced to listen to some pointless speech on how someone is misusing copy machine.  Of course, I always asked the presenter of gloom if he knows who the culprit is and they usually said “Yes,” but they did not want to single out one individual.  Why not, I ask?   I always thought that this approach to management (or maybe mismanagement) was something intrinsic to the field of education, but now have proof that it is rampant in other areas of the work force. Recently I learned that a major employer in the county has instructed their employees that they could no longer check e-mail or access the internet for any reason.

It seems to me that if there is  a problem with individuals abusing the internet they should confront that individual and tell him of the possible consequences of his action.  Nooo, let’s show our employees that we do not trust their judgment, will treat them like children and ban all employees from using the internet.  This will, in addition to lowering morale leading to decreased productivity, not solve the problem of a couple of employees who simply need to be told to do their job.

I recently heard a man speaking about what it was like to work for a German company.  He said many of these companies are run by the employees, and management draws on the collective wisdom of its workforce to make most decisions.  What a great idea!  With more people and ideas involved in the decision-making process, I think the outcome of the decisions would be far more beneficial.  There is also the matter of ownership.  I have witnessed the effects of a lack of ownership many times, and it has never been good.  When people feel as if they have no ownership in their workplace, they lose interest, become less productive, are more conniving and generally less loyal to the company.  Why is it that so many countries have embraced the idea of employee participation in management decisions but we in America generally ignore it.  Let me burst a long-established falsehood in American lore.  Henry Ford was wrong! You cannot treat employees like robots.  You will make more things but at the expense of the soul of the workforce.  In the end you will lose!  Do you need a current example to convince you that I am right?  May I suggest Walmart.  I know Sam Walton would cry if he walked into a Walmart today.  Do you remember when there were associates throughout the store anxious to help you find things?  They were friendly and willing to set their work aside to assist a customer.  Not any more!  Walmart is a huge corporation.  No decisions are made at the store level anymore.  NO ONE IN THE STORE HAS ANY OWNERSHIP IN THE STORE!  The only form of ownership that may exist could be found with the manager who WILL lose his job if profits do not remain high.

Wake up local businesses, you have many great employees.  They are for the most part friendly, helpful and good at their jobs.  If an employee is doing his job and has a little free time, what is wrong with him doing some reading on-line? Worst yet, they are unable to read my blog!  If he is not doing his job, FIRE HIM!

At the end of the the rainbow

Sometimes I take small liberties when telling a story, but this is a true story about a good friend of mine. The other night Sue and I were in town and decided to visit Tim and Peggy Stewart. We pointed the car in the direction of their house and proceeded. Upon arriving, we were met by Tim who had just returned from the high school.  We went inside and he began telling me of all the work the new athletic boosters have been doing to get the athletic field up to par for the upcoming football season. They were putting a new scoreboard in, building a new concession stand, for refreshments, finishing up the training room, making the football field handicap accessible and reducing the price of season tickets.  That is quite an agenda for one year.

So the four of us are sitting around chewing the fat and the phone rings. Tim and Peggy’s granddaughter called them to tell them there was a rainbow in front of their house. We quickly went out front to witness some of nature’s artwork. There, stretched across the sky from east to west was the biggest rainbow I had ever seen and it appeared to end right on top of the athletic field. Tim quickly launched into a short scenario on the relationship between the boosters work and the pot of gold generally associated with the end of a rainbow.

As said by Tim,” The county has been spectacular in their support of the athletic boosters work. We could not have done any of this work without the monetary donations and physical work provided by them “.

He went on to point out that Tim Nichols Dentistry, Valley Health Memorial Hospital, The Bank of Romney, Liberty convenience stores owned by Richard Smith and Coke a Cola of Cumberland provided the money needed to buy the new scoreboard. George Lease provided the masonry skills for the concession stand and the scoreboard, PJ Clem moved mulch and removed old buildings, B&B Crane Service helped set the scoreboard, HMI provided all kinds of metal and labor, Hogbin Oil purchased the 25 second clocks, James Shockey with the support of Virgina Concrete donated many yards of concrete, Greg Davis with the support of Frederick Block donated the split face blocks and bricks, Eastern Building provided materials at cost, Steve Oates provided the materials and labor for the concession stand plumbing, Vick Mathias installed the fascia and soffit on the concession stand, Joe Fry donated the grease trap and various other items, Adam Stump of Riverside Mulch donated the mulch. Others who provided services or materials to the project are Gary Kidner, Allen Cox, Jimmy Charleton, Jackie Simmons and Ben Lease. Also thanks to Principal Candy Canan, Athletic Director Erino Leon, Superintendent Robin Lewis, The Board of Education, The Trojan Athletic Association and the Hampshire High Band Boosters for all their help.

Good bye mom

My mom has lived for the better part of five years in a nursing home in Texas near my younger sister and has been under hospice care for most of that time. She now weighs only 85 pounds, she can barely talk, is confined to a wheelchair and has no discernible memory of anyone. My father died several years ago from a brain hemorrhage brought on by a fall, so she is all alone in many ways. She is isolated from the world due to her memory loss and the loss of her husband. Dad was in many ways a good husband but he had his dark side. At times he could be abusive to all of us. My mom constantly talked of leaving him but this was followed by periods during which they appeared to be in love. I was never close to my father, a fact that has haunted me most of my life. Moreover I believe he kept me from being close to my mother. I think he felt insecure or threatened with the love my mom would show me. Because of this he made it a point to abuse me emotionally or physically me whenever we were in her presence. I shed very few tears when my dad passed. This still digs at my soul whenever I ponder his passing.

Now I wait, along with my sisters for our mother’s passing. This is a hard place to be, knowing that her life has progressed to a state in which she is no longer a part of this world but yet not ready to move on. I have made the trip several times to see her, believing that this would be the last time but yet she continues on.  To see this once vibrant woman reduced to her current state is beyond difficult. I want to ask her why she continues but she would not understand what I was saying. As I watch her in her wheel chair, I wonder if modern medicine has kept her alive beyond Nature’s intent as she stares out at me with empty eyes that used to sparkle with life.

I have met many people who have either been through this ordeal or are immersed in a similar situation. It is a part of our “modern society” that very few want to discuss or acknowledge. We all pray that our death will be quick and painless, devoid of the endless hours of watching TV from a wheelchair or being fed by an attendant. The last years of life were not meant to be spent in dark and sometimes dingy places, devoid of excitement, waiting for that menacing knock on the door from Death. Life is like, to steal a quote from Forest Gump, “a box of chocolates”, each candy waiting to explode in your mouth. As usual, I have no real answers to this dilemma, and I am not sure there are adequate answers. I do know that it is a situation that we will all face again and again as we move through our lives…Mom, I miss you…