Wednesday, October 16, 2013

There's no place like home.

Whew!  It was a long vacation, with long drives on both ends, but relatively peaceful.  We went up to our favorite place, our old home town, to stay at the church retreat site.  This was to be our first one-grandma vacation, what with my mom being the last surviving parent of our family.

We timed it to have both the cooler weather, and to hit an old favorite bike ride called the Octoginta, in northeast Kansas.  We hoped to fish a lot, catch a lot, and catch up on R&R by visiting with old friends.  Oh, and take care of Mom's work list.

For the most part, everything worked out well.  I fixed Mom's scissors (sharpened them to fix a bad edge), tried to find her neighbor's lost pendant with our metal detectors (no joy there), the tree got trimmed, the bulbs dug, and the walkway repaired and painted with anti-slip Behr Deck Over (more on this in a bit).  We also had fun on the bike rides, though we only did a total of about 70mi over two days.  DH is still trying to get his position right on the tandem, as he was having some back pain on the longer of the two rides.  I think his seat needs to lean back more, and be scooted forward just a touch more.  Time will tell if I am correct or not.

As for the fishing, while I was not totally skunked, I only got one crappie.  Nobody caught a lot of fish, unlike in past years.  I think next year I will bring a bunch of hot neon pink baits as they seemed to bite that best.  I wish I had gotten more quiet time up there, and had more time to fish, but that was not to be. 

The Octoginta was not quite the ride I had remembered from years past.  It was way less organized and supported than pretty well any t-shirt ride in Texas.  There was one lone deputy to control intersections.  SAGs were fewer and further apart, though the fare was much the same.  They even had pickles!  DH was happy about that.  I had also expected to be able to download the routes in to my GPS well before-hand, but that was not possible.  They did not publish an official route until day-of-ride, and then only on paper, which was nigh-impossible to read.  No cue sheet was included either.  Now in their defense, the routes were marked with the colored arrows on the pavement, and I KNEW where I was (my old stomping grounds) but others unfamiliar with the area could have easily gotten misdirected.

Still don't let the above convince you that I did not enjoy myself.  I really did have fun!  The tandem rode very well.  Shifting was good, especially when we remembered to shift down in advance of loading the drivetrain (granny gearing on the hills).  See, they have hills in NE Kansas, unlike my part of Texas.  A granny is essential on a tandem, especially a recumbent tandem like Serenity.  I was comfortable on the bike both rides.  Yes, it uses the muscles differently, and I have a learning curve of pedaling at DH's cadence and basic gear choices, but nothing hurt.  My legs were sore from use, but not from a poor fit.

It was fun riding there.  We were not even the only recumbents there!  There were a couple trikes, and a Rans Stratus even.  Next year we may rent a trailer to haul bikes, and bring the tandem for the Tour de County ride, and the Giros for the big Octoginta ride.  That would mean we could get away with only one car (the van) on the trip.

As promised, I'm putting this bit in for Six, over on Warrior Class who is in the midst of a major home remodel project.  We needed to fix my Mom's wooden walkway, both for esthetic and safety reasons.  After replacing a couple warped boards, and fixing a disconnected stringer, Mom wanted to have the thing painted.  Her neighbor had used Behr Deck Over on their wooden deck and liked it a lot.  After finding the color Mom wanted, we bought 2 gallons and some brushes and pole-rollers.  The paint has some non-slip grit mixed into it, about like 600-grit emery cloth.  It has a consistency somewhat similar to semi-set chocolate pudding when mixed.  It smells like ammonia when you are working with it, and it dries quickly, but cleans up easily with water.  If you put it on with a brush, it will fill in minor imperfections in the base wood like cracks, nail holes and smaller knots.  Brushed on, it also is smoother to the touch.  Rolled on, it doesn't fill as well, but is rougher to the hand and more anti-slip.  Our solution was to put on the base coat with a brush, and then on the walking surfaces, we rolled on a top coat.  Hand rails only got the single brush coat.

The paint isn't cheap, running about $35/gallon.  It also doesn't cover as much (ie: you need more paint) because of the thickness of the paint.  However, it really works!  Reports from other users say it weathers and wears well.  I like the texture of it, and the fact you can sort of control it with the brush and rollers.  If we wanted to rebuild our own wooden deck I would buy this stuff again in a heartbeat.


  1. Sounds like a fun time even if there were a few glitches.

  2. How nice of you to take care of things for your mom.


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