Category Archives: Personal stuff

Made it to France!

bGetting to France involves one of those endless travel “Days” that I used to dread but now recognize that they allow me to more-quickly recalibrate to the time change. It may actually be a good thing that I find it nearly-impossible to sleep on a plane because by the time I finally hit a bed, it doesn’t matter that it’s 2pm back home. I’m out.

Not much drama this time; United was on-time for the flight out of SFO and the connecting flight from Chicago. And CDG? My last few time through have been a breeze, with our bags coming through quickly, no lines at passport control even.

This is, literally, how we roll (through airports an on trains anyway)
This is, literally, how we roll (through airports an on trains anyway)

Did have one issue with United though  their in-flight magazine made wonderful promises about new food offerings in economy. Below you’ll see their ad and the reality. Yikes. Nobody at United has heard about under-promising and over-performing.

But getting to “France” is only half the battle. From the airport we take a TGV high-speed train to Lyon and then a super-short 14 minute transfer to a “local” train  14 minutes that became just six because our TGV was running a bit behind schedule (a rare thing in France). Somehow we made it, hauling our two suitcases (each) plus camera gear, navigating the super-busy Lyon station without incident.

Once on the “local” train (about 90 minutes) the effects of too many hours without sleep began to kick in. Almost got off the train a stop early after passing out (Most would say “falling asleep” but for me “losing consciousness” would be more appropriate), and waking up just in time to see a “Grenoble” sign at a train station! Yikes! Except that it was a sign saying trains on that platform were heading in the direction of Grenoble.

Next stop was Grenoble though, and two blocks from the train station is the address of the place we’re staying, but… It’s a non-descrip facade with no way to get in. No buzzer, no front desk. I find the phone number and paperwork and see that it asks that I call a day ahead with my arrival time so somebody can meet us and let us in. Thank goodness for Skype on my phone! We call and speak with the unit’s owner (this is an apartment) who arrives 30 minutes later, giving Kevin and I time to get something to eat in the meantime. It all worked out nicely; this is the best place we’ve stayed in France. Lots of room, full kitchen, even a clothes washer!

More shortly; everything above is from the Thursday that lasted into Friday. Today (Saturday) we got in our first bike ride. More on that soon! –Mike

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A long road back for Kevin

IMG_1215coastA bit of catching up to do; this is the week where it became a make-or-break situation for Kevin and the upcoming trip to France, after the car tossed him off the road a few weeks ago.

We considered him trying to ride Thursday morning, but decided to wait another day, just to make sure his hands were OK. So we re-wrote the plan, and did an easy Portola Valley loop Friday morning, then Saturday, 4th of July, a day when we’d normally do something epic, we instead did a torturously-slow ride up Old LaHonda and… that’s about it. We had hoped to do a bit more but Kevin wasn’t feeling up to it. But, that laid the groundwork for today’s ride, the first “real” ride since the accident. And of course that would have to be a run to the coast, up Old LaHonda, over Haskins to Pescadero, Stage to Tunitas and return.

We modified the “usual” ride just a bit, opting for the coast rather than Stage Road. Kinda getting tired of that choppy pavement! Smoother, but not nearly as nice due to heavier traffic. On the other hand, as you can see in the photo, it was a beautiful day out there!

What's wrong with this picture? A: Kevin's resting his arms on the bars, so his hands don't hurt. B: He's not riding his regular "kit" clothing, which was shredded when the car pushed him off the road. C: He's riding a 'cross bike because the accident trashed his Madone road bike. What's "right" is that he's actually on a bike, finally.
What’s wrong with this picture? A: Kevin’s resting his arms on the bars, as if to say “Hands? Who needs ’em?”. B: He’s not riding his regular “kit” clothing, which was shredded when the car pushed him off the road. C: He’s riding a ‘cross bike because the accident trashed his Madone road bike. What’s “right” is that he’s actually on a bike, finally.

The plan was to take it easy up Old LaHonda so Kevin would have something left later in the ride, but that didn’t work out; Kevin motored up Old LaHonda at near-normal speed (which leaves me gasping for breath). That was very encouraging, except that I had concern, later validated, that he wasn’t in shape for such an effort… that he was burning more matches than he had. The climb up Tunitas was almost as slow as the climb the prior day up Old LaHonda! Kevin pretty much died, taking just over an hour to cover a distance that he’d normally do in about 48 minutes. But… he did it.

His hands felt fine after the ride, so he’s definitely mending. Self-inflicted pain is fine (the sort of pain you get from riding really hard). This ride was all about legs that hurt, and trying to get back in shape for the trip to France.

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