Wednesday, April 29, 2009

T Minus 7 to the Hike

I am a week away from getting back on the Appalachian Trail and have been preparing. While I am getting out in the woods on a regular basis, my hikes are usually not over the ten mile mark, about half the distance I am looking to cover each day. On the Appalachian Trail hike to date I had averaged just over 26 miles per day, but I am not going to push it immediately.

As usual, I have been cross training on my bike. This past weekend was also the third annual bike ride to Montauk Point. It is a little ride my friend Art and I put together several years ago. The weather was absolutely perfect, in stark contrast to the ride last year, where a good portion of the riding was in a cold rain. We collected our group of friends from various points on Long Island as we rode past. We had one guy wipe out, another stop riding in Montauk town and a few sore muscles, but it was all good fun. It is a rarity that I get to do any group riding, so for me it was something different, logging 90 miles among friends.

I will have to be focused for the last week as I have a number of things to finish before heading into the mountains for the last 660 miles of the Appalachian Trail. I also have to be back in Los Angeles by June 19th, so I really can't take it too easy in the mountains. At this point I am just looking forward to the solace of the wilderness and what could be a last hurrah for Kevin Knieling, Adventure Traveler.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Red River

I just wanted to let all my friends along the Red River know that I have been thinking about them and hope they stay high and dry. For those of you not familiar with what is happening, there are a couple of news stories on the flood here and here.

For a little perspective, to the right is a photo I had taken when passing though Grand Forks, ND back on September 16, 2008 on a bright sunny day. The photo below is from March 26, 2009 when the Red River reached a flood stage of 46.6 feet, not even the higest point of the flood which was at 49.5 feet. The picture is in the same area. The red arrow in the second photo points to the same flood marker in the original photo above. And the bridge in both photos is the same. Yeah, the one that's nearly under water.

When Kobie and I paddled south on the Red River it was against a current of about three miles per hour. The river is now flowing nearly four times that! While that portion of the kayak trip would have been exactly zero fun, or actually would never have happened at all as I couldn't possibly paddle that fast; I am sure there is plenty of water in the Bois de Sioux River where Kobie and I were forced on to land and had to walk with our kayaks for 30 miles having run out of water.

I will be back-posting from the Europe and Morocco trip in the next few days. I am off to New Orleans tomorrow so I should have some time to write on the plane.
Again, I am thinking about you my friends.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Au Revoir

I had nothing to do in the morning but go to the airport in Paris and catch my flight to New York. There was just one little wrinkle to that plan: my watch was set to the wrong time. When I flew from France to Morocco I had to set my watch back one hour. So when I returned to France from Morocco I set my watch ahead that same hour. The one thing I hadn’t considered was that Europe observes daylight savings time whereas Morocco does not. I should have set my watch two hours ahead in this instance as France sprung ahead an additional hour in my absence.

Despite being and hour behind schedule I thought I might make the flight, but the train to the airport was delayed. We made up some time, so I again thought perhaps I would make the flight, but it would be close. It was going to be a dash and really, in the grand scheme of things, it certainly wasn’t going to be the last plane from Paris to New York ever. Surely there would be one later in the day. It may have cost some money, but I had no doubt that by the end of the day, one way or another, I would be in New York.

The train arrived at the airport in Paris and I dashed through the terminal like OJ Simpson jumping over suitcases in the 1970’s Hertz commercial. The only difference was that I didn't have some woman yelling "Go Kevin, go!".

When I arrived at the counter the check-in was closed. With a little sweet talking and a lot of panting, I convinced the woman at the counter to check me in for the flight regardless. I hurried through security (if that is even possible), was the last person on the plane and nearly had the plane door hit me in the rear as they were closing it. My little vacation had come to a hurried end.