Sunday, July 13, 2008

Awesome weather - great sunset: 7/13/08

Awesome weather tonight, clear enough to see the top of the BellSouth tower in Nashville with binoculars from my favorite sky viewing spot in Murfreesboro.

(click to enlarge photo)

Great weather for the week coming up. Sunny hot days, cool nights.

Time for an adventure.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I love this new cell phone

I've never had a cool phone. I've had the same ATT (formerly Cingular) cell phone and plan for several yrs.... up until this week.

I always thought it would be too expensive to have mobile internet and email but guess what? It costs me only about $35 a month. My dad sent me a phone on his plan that costs just $10 a month for an extended basic service plan and I upgraded to the new Envy2 phone... added texting and Verizon mobile web for just an additional $25 a month. It opens up like a mini computer with a full keyboard.

For most teenagers and iPhone users, this is no big deal but I can't tell you how long I've wanted a phone where I can get live weather radar, email, and internet. This is incredibly useful when I'm on a wilderness trip, living on my boat for a few weeks, hiking, cycling, etc...

<--- Check out the live radar shot of the storm rolling into Murfreesboro on Sat night.

The music downloads are amazing. Already I've downloaded some of my favorite Indian sitar ragas, Brazilian sambas, and rock tunes by Yes. I can plug the phone into a stereo and play the tunes. The speakers on the phone sound amazingly good for it's size. There are actually stereo speakers on each side of the display, like a desktop computer.

My parents have been sending me pictures and videos from a cruise ship in Alaska. I just love this phone!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cycle stuff

Super Sherpa gets a new shield.
I'm really pleased with my new quick release windshield for the Sherpa. It's from National Cycle deflector screen It takes 15 seconds to remove it. It was not expensive, only about $75.

When getting on a rugged trail, I'll be able to take off the shield, put it in a bag and bungee it to the luggage rack, then easily put it back on when I hit the pavement.

Check out the photos on my cycle page... the places I've seen with this bike!

I also put a one tooth larger sprocket (14 ) on the DR 100, it runs a lot easier around town, probably more economical. It'll probably get 100 miles per gallon. I found a new gas tank for it, looks good.

Looking forward to the trip to the Smokies where I'll live on the boat and hike, and explore the area with the Sherpa. Check out these pics of my previous trip to Fontana Lake. To me it's a sacred place. Glad to see the Republican movement to build a road through this wilderness (North Shore Road) has been defeated once and for all. Thankfully, the wilderness on the North Shore of Fontana Lake will be preserved! This was the issue that originally got me interested in politics several years ago.

I spent my birthday yesterday playing at a longtime friend's mother's funeral. It was really a wonderful day to spend with old friends and despite the circumstances, it was a very nice birthday. I'm so glad I was able to be there.

Here's a photo from last year that I like. Indian Boundry Lake, TN, Cherokee National forest (click to enlarge):

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cool summer hiking

The mountain summit weather reporting station at Mt. Leconte in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park has been showing some really cool temperatures this late spring and summer.

Yesterday, the last day of June 2008, LeConte Lodge at 6400 ft. reported a high of only 54 degrees F. and a morning low of 40 F. On June 19th and 20th, LeConte reported a wintry overnight low of 35 degrees F. By contrast, on the same day, the low temperature at Cades Cove was 50 F. at 1600 ft. with a daytime high of 80.

Some people say they don't hike in the summer because it's too hot... never in the Smokies, especially at altitude.

I mention the LeConte temperature because it is reported here on the NWS page on a regular basis. Personally, I would never hike LeConte in any month except Jan or Feb. Simply too many people. (I dare say say LeConte lodge is "the slum of the Smokies" - I heard there was a rat problem there).

For a real wilderness experience, there IS only ONE WAY to visit the Smokies in summer, the most beautiful way: by boat.