Canaveral beach walk

untrodsand Hal had the idea to attempt another beach walk this holiday weekend, and I jumped at the idea.   Hal has completed it 4 times before, and the last time I went with him, I had knee trouble, and bailed out after 4 miles.

This time Hal wanted to walk south from New Smyrna end to the Playalinda end.  Our spouses graciously agreed to provide transport, and Alison dropped us off about 7:30am at Apollo beach at the tail end of a rainstorm with blustery winds.   However, it rapidly cleared up, winds dropped to gentle breezes, and we discovered the tide was ideal; it was dropping to a low at about late morning, leaving us with lots of hardpack sand for the first 2/3rds of our walk.

We encountered no one along the way except for a ranger running turtle patrol on a 4 wheeler.  Since it is still summer, we each carried about a gallon of water.  We saw thousands of staked turtle nests, a few fresh turtle crawls and one dead hatchling, dolphins doing acrobatics and leaping completely out of the water, and nudists at each end of the walk.  The oddest sight was a set of footprints at about mile 9.  They seemed to walk out of the surf, went straight towards the dune line, and did not come back down.

Flickr photoset hereGoogle map of the 14.5 miles covered.

Linda and Alison met us in Playlinda about 5:30pm just ahead of some rain squalls coming in, and we celebrated at Dixie Crossroads with shrimp and seafood.

730am 14+miles untrodsand Headless hatchline break time lagoon croaker turtle nestings finish rockshrimp

so this is how it can happen

That is what I was thinking as I bounced off the hood of car while crossing six-lane Semoran this morning near the start of my run.   The light turned green while I was crossing in front of stopped cars, but there was one open lane and a driver came on through.   I thank god that he was paying attention enough to hit the brakes so it was a slow-speed collision, but a collision nonetheless.  I rolled onto the asphalt and then got to my feet.   I’m just fine.  I reassured the drivers and waved them on their way, and I finished my run.    I’m extra thankful today.

catfish barb

chillin’ in the shade waiting for the evening bite.

I was out Saturday fishing the Long Point area and planning to spend the night.  Fishing was pretty good in the morning.  I took a break from the midday heat and headed out again in late afternoon.   I wasn’t having any further luck with artificials, so I cast netted some small baitfish.   I had one terrific long run on the bait that threatened to spool me, but it broke off and I recovered most of my 30lb braid.   Other than that, I was getting small catfish on the baited pole.

One of those cats was my undoing.   Near sunset I was removing a hook from a catfish held firmly in my right hand.  The hook came out with a snap and the catfish barb went deep into my ring finger through the callous worn by my wedding ring.  I freaked out.  The serrated barb was stuck fast and deep.  After a couple of tries, I ripped it out.   Blood was flying all over the front of the boat.  I wrapped the wound in a dirty rag,  pulled anchor with one hand, and fired up the motor to return to the ramp.  While under way, I called Linda and asked her for research on dangers of catfish barbs, and the nearest ER.  I started getting quite woozy and became concerned that I might lose consciousness.  But I made it back to the campground in about 15 minutes, and staggered over to the adjacent campsite to ask for help.

Turns out that neighbor Ron is a Vero Beach firefighter, he concurred that I would need stitches, and he offered to drive me to the hospital in Sebastian, about 18 miles away by roadway.  Here’s an irony;  my location when the accident happened was no further than a half mile from that same hospital.  I could have anchored, waded to shore and walked to the ER in less than 15 minutes.

When I did arrive about an hour after the 7:30pm accident, they cleaned my hand, cut my ring off, and discovered the barb had fully pierced my finger.  I certainly did more damage pulling it out than it did going in.   Wish I had not panicked.  Xrays showed that “self-administered foreign object removal” was completely successful, as the pretty young ER doctor phrased it.  She declined to stitch the wounds up citing the danger of infection.  They bandaged me, put a splint on the finger, dosed me with tetanus and antibiotics and discharged me.  Ron was waiting with a cheeseburger for me.    What a guy.  I have his wife’s business card, so I will send him a thank you note with a medical update.


In the ER waiting room

wedding ring
ER personnel had to cut off my ring.

After a somewhat fitful and sweaty night sleeping in the car, I got up Sunday about 7am, made a pot of coffee and hung out enjoying the beautiful morning (and updated facebook via my phone.)  Ron had left for an early morning shift, so I waited for his teenage son to arise to help me load up my boat.  At 9am Anthony was up, and he brought my boat around to the ramp and did the (literally) heavy lifting of getting the boat back on the trailer and unloaded.

I was home by noon, filled my scripts, and I’ll see my doctor for a followup on Tuesday.

trip report: Saratoga Springs

adirondacklakeGina’s final crew trip and regatta was scheduled for last weekend in Saratoga Springs NY.   Linda and I have both done our share of volunteering with the Booster club over the years, and we were off the hook for this one.  So we planned to attend and get in some sightseeing in the process.     We booked tickets on the same flights as the team, and the boosters had some left over rooms so we took one in the same hotel as the team.

We all flew up to Albany International last Thursday morning.  The team loaded into buses and headed for the race site.  Linda and I dallied in downtown Albany for lunch.  We dined al fresco in a downtown park surrounded by the massive old government buildings, and mingled with the lawyers and lawmakers in the extremely pleasant weather.

Afterward we poked around in the public areas of the legislative building and oohed and ahhed over the bizarre (rococo?) staircases and ornamentation.

We took a side trip on the way to Saratoga and stopped at Saratoga National (battlefield) park.   There was a great visitor center with helpful rangers, and we learned that it was the location of a pivotal set of battles in the revolutionary war, and Benedict Arnold was a central player.  I also learned more about the use of cannons as an offensive and psychological weapon in field combat, and that’s not a pretty story.

Finally to Saratoga Springs, which we found was a lively town with a long history of tourist hospitality for both the spas and the horse track.  There are lots and lots of great bars and restaurants.  The National Scholastic regatta was in Fish Creek just a few miles out of town.    Before the Friday afternoon races, Linda and I took an auto tour through the Adirondacks and found the wild recreational headwaters of the Hudson river.  We were relying on Verizon cell phone navigation, but we ended up driving way out of service range, and up a long dead end road.    Nonetheless, we made it back to the race site in time for our time trials and the five 8-person boats from Winter Park HS crew all qualified for the semi finals, so everyone was upbeat and optimistic that night.

We spent most of Saturday at the race site, and cheered on our Winter Park boats successfully through the morning semi-finals.  Our team had staked out an excellent vantage point on the riverbank at the finish line.   Gina’s lightweight 8, and Jen’s varsity 8 both had white knuckle come-from-behind finishes that left many Winter park parents in tears.   Ultimately, all 5 winter park boats qualified for the afternoon finals, and the boys varsity, the boys second varsity, and girls lightweights all medaled.   Gina was thrilled to end her rowing career on such a high note.

There was a state park next door to our motel that featured continuously running spigots with fresh spring water.  1 of the 4 spigots was labeled MINERAL, and it was pretty nasty.  The others were clear crisp tasteless water.  The tap water at the motel was equivalent and we filled our gallon jug from both sources.

Saturday evening we visited some local gardens and strolled the Saratoga nightlife scene with some other crew parents, but didn’t stay out late because our return flight with the team was very early Sunday morning – we had to get going before 5am.    The team bus pulled out ahead of us, and we caught up at the airport.  Gina and friends bumped into Flava Flav at that early hour and got a quick snapshot with him.  Flickr photos below, and photoset here.

Dad’s night reunion 2010

2001 camping
Back in the early 90’s when our first children were born, church friends Harold, Kevin and myself started a weekly dad’s night to get together and talk parenting, look after the kids, and even drink a little beer.   Little did we know that we were modeling a classic “play group” which was more commonly held by non-working moms.   We kept up the weekly group for many years, and embarked on numerous camping and bicycling adventures as our kids got older.  The photo above is from 2001.   The children became fast friends, nearly cousins.

But with our teenagers entering high school, it became impossible to continue gathering because the kids’ schedules were just too conflicting.   Our last joint adventure was in 2006 when we went on a camping trip to South Florida.

The 3 oldest children are all graduating from HS this year.  Ted is headed for FSU honors college, Gina is going to UF, and Margaret has a full ride scholarship at UCF honors college.   We held a reunion of the group to commemorate and went to a favorite beach in Cape Canaveral for the afternoon, then adjourned to a seafood market in the port for dinner.   It was an great spot with very casual patio dining on the waterfront.  Girls ordered whole lobster dinners for only $20.

See the photoset on

BTW, we demolished the carrot cake.

Some videos from past adventures;

2001, cabin on the FL-GA border:

Feb 2005, camping at Anastasia park:

October 2005, Camping and Snorkeling at Blue Springs State Park:

another great fishing trip

ahhh.   finally got a couple of days to return to long point.  Only two nights, but  the weather was gorgeous, the bite was hot, and I slept and ate well.    Jacks, blues and ladyfish were screaming.  Particularly at dawn and dusk, but I found a great bite on gambler shads in the mid afternoon too.  I wore my arm out.

Saw the space shuttle launch at 6:21am, it was still dark out, and I was on the water listening to the countdown over the radio.     There were lots of families in the half full campground due to local spring break.   I shared some food and fishing stories with an Apopka family camping two spaces over – the kids attend Lake Brantley HS, one of Gina’s local crew team rivals.

Boat ran well, but I’m postponing a needed $700 powerhead overhaul.

NYC Marathon

I’ve applied for the lottery to enter the NYC marathon on November 7, 2010.   For non-qualified runners, there is a lottery for entrance.   This is a huge race, says that there were 43,000+ finishers in the 2009 race.

To qualify for guaranteed entry, I would need to have a certified marathon finish time of  3:30 or faster.  That’s not going to happen – LOL!.   The fee to enter the lottery is only $11, and if I fail the lottery 3 years in a row, I get in.  Therefore, if I persist with lottery applications, I’ll be able to run this event no later than November 2013.

Lottery entry deadline is March 15.   What are the odds?  In 2008, 57,000 people entered the lottery, but only 5,600 were accepted.   Similarly, in 2009 6,500 runners from more than 40,000 (were) …..selected. 2010 Lottery results will be announced before the end of March which gives plenty of time to train.  again.