Category Archives: Travels

One more trip to Florida

Paddling with the group on some swampy alligator-infested rivulet
Paddling with the group on some swampy alligator-infested rivulet

As in the previous two years, I went to Florida for a paddling camp this spring. Unlike the past few years, I took hardly any photos. This year felt a lot more busy leading up to it (and since I’ve been back). Because I’ve been all these places a few times I felt like less of a tourist. I may also have been a bit burned out on writing and communicating and generally using my computer, so I didn’t spend much time taking photos or writing about the days.  Sorry to those of you who like that kind of thing!  Thanks to paddling buddy Chris for taking this photo, perhaps the only one proving I was there.

In retrospect though, it was a great 2(!!) weeks with many highlights:

  • Paddling by dolphins in the bay
  • Frolicking river otters
  • Monkeys and alligators, as per usual
  • No manatees since it was too warm for them in the fresh water 🙁
  • More than 60 hours of water time over 13 straight days of paddling
  • NO BLISTERS!! (thanks erging!)
  • Overall higher level of performance and new skills learned
  • Led yoga sessions with some acro-inspired buddy massage
  • Enjoyed some great dinners made by cabin-mates (thanks Edith!)
  • Had my 37th birthday with a coconut cream pie (thanks guys!)
  • Bought a Mike’s hard lemonade at a gas station (so American) and got CARDED!!!!!!

Women’s Round Robin

Me doing a crossbow draw to get around a bouy.  fiona behind me won the event, and Saska-buddy Edith is in the front of the other boat with Minnesota-Kate, who came second and third respectively
Me doing a crossbow draw to get around a buoy. Fiona behind me won the event, and Saska-buddy Edith is in the front of the other boat with Minnesota-Kate, who came second and third respectively

This last weekend I drove 28 hours (round-trip) to Minneapolis to race the Women’s Round Robin.  I had been looking forward to it since I did the mixed Round Robin last year.  The format is really fun, involves a full day of sprinting with all these new people.  You get to paddle in the front, back, and try to match up with a bunch of different styles and personalities.  With my background in sprint racing and need to learn from new people, it is a really good fit.  It is REALLY demanding mentally and physically, but a good challenge and a fun time with a great group of people (Minnesotans are seriously the best).  When the event was announced back in March I could hardly wait, and I recruited and promoted and encouraged others to come out and do it.

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When it came down to the end of June, most of my enthusiasm had evaporated.  I just didn’t really want to go any more.  I didn’t have any appetite to go to Saskatoon Pride, or the free jazz festival concerts, or other summer social things… let alone plan a big trip to do a very hard thing that would require digging deep to stay motivated and on my game.  Luckily the clouds parted and  one of my more organized team mates had room in her car to go down.  I had to rally like a boss/gangsta/champ, but I showed up and performed reasonably.  I wouldn’t say it was my ‘A game’, but overall not bad and I had a few really nice races. For the record, I don’t think my ‘A’ game (or ‘C’ game for that matter) would have changed the end result rankings; it is more about the quality of experience while being there.  19228158508_010bace9c8_b There were some good races but also loads of mistakes, and all the learning that comes along with that and makes the trip worthwhile.  I do wish I’d been a little more sharp to pick up on more of that, but I’ll have other chances.  There are lots of things for me to work on right now, and I don’t have to worry about getting bored.
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Now I am back in Saskatoon with not a lot else going on for the summer but our busy (and productive) data collection.  Summer is very short in Saskatoon so it is nice to make the most of it.  I think I will race the Pas (Opaskwayak First Nation Annual Canoe Race), and I’m looking at joining the Rowing Club.  The river is so low and slow it is a good year to learn to row a single, and I think the change would do me good.

 

Hornets

OWCH!
OWCH!

In Florida I paddled through deep flooded mangroves and saw lots of wildlife (see here). It was warm enough to enjoy the shade and paddle under the tree branches. I went under one low branch and emerged with a hornet sticking out of my leg. It was SUPER painful , and within 5 min there was a golf ball on my thigh. IT hurt for a while, changed colours, got itchy, and is still not all gone. Gross!

Marathon paddling camp

March 18-25 I went to a marathon canoe camp in central Florida. Edith and I spent all day flying in either direction, and then spent 5 hours per day paddling the 6 days we were there. Paddling doesn’t take up all the time, so we also made some great dinners, did some yoga, and took naps. It was awesome! I really can’t imagine a more ideal vacation (maybe if Graham came along…) The wifi situation was really sub-standard, so I also had the bonus of hardly doing any work. Sweet!

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Me with Mike (I paddled
Me with Mike (I paddled too, even though the photo doesn’t show it)
The gang on the Withlacoochie (true river name)
The gang on the Withlacoochie (true river name)

Euro kitties 2014

Me petting the friendliest kitties.
Me petting the friendliest kitties.

Luckily our travels were in kitty-rich areas. It was no Croatia, but we found a few furry friends.

Graham petting the friendliest urban kitty of all time
Graham petting the friendliest urban kitty of all time
This one looks like he's getting away - but we did eventually pet him
This one looks like he’s getting away – but we did eventually pet him
There were a lot of kitties looking through the windows.  There are a lot of giant picture windows in the Netherlands with limited curtains, so we tried not to be kitty-creepers.
There were a lot of kitties looking through the windows. There are a lot of giant picture windows in the Netherlands with limited curtains, so we tried not to be kitty-creepers.
This guys scratched up the tires of cars because his claws were SO ITCHY!
This guys scratched up the tires of cars because his claws were SO ITCHY!
Graham took this photo, this friendly cat arranged things to be pet by the horse by hiding in the hay.
Graham took this photo, this friendly cat arranged things to be pet by the horse by hiding in the hay.
Bonus: this dog was on the tram.  He was super-well behaved for a non-assistance dog.
Bonus: this dog was on the tram. He was super-well behaved for a non-assistance dog.

Euro-cars 2014

Retro Volvo in Sweden, in front of a charming red house.
Retro Volvo in Sweden, in front of a charming red house.

This is one for the Dads, after not having a car report for so long.

Super-old frenchie in Amsterdam
Super-old frenchie in Amsterdam
I like the big wide skirt on this one, it just sweeps around the city (when not getting repaired).
I like the big wide skirt on this one, it just sweeps around the city (when not getting repaired).
In Amsterdam the Car2gos are electric!
In Amsterdam the Car2gos are electric!
The Amsterdam inner city  is crawling with these mini-3-wheel delivery trucks.  Seats 1!
The Amsterdam inner city is crawling with these mini-3-wheel delivery trucks. Seats 1!
Climate-friendly options...
Climate-friendly options…
Parking lot of the future!
Parking lot of the future!

Nederlands visit 2014

An old ship in Haarlem
An old ship in Haarlem

Although we had Amsterdam as our main base, we also visited Haarlem and the Hague. Here is the photo tour.

Beinhoff cathedral in den Haag
Beinhoff cathedral in den Haag
Pull my finger! When only one part of the bronze sculpture is shiny, that's the part people are grabbing
Pull my finger! When only one part of the bronze sculpture is shiny, that’s the part people are grabbing
Sinterklass and Zwarte Piet.  This is an old (and pretty racist) tradition for November 5th
Sinterklass and Zwarte Piet. This is an old (and pretty racist) tradition for November 5th
Window displays at a big department store in the Hague
Window displays at a big department store in the Hague
A southern canal in Amsterdam
A southern canal in Amsterdam
Real estate in Amsterdam - Vondelpark, I think?
Real estate in Amsterdam – Vondelpark, I think?
Me at the Rijksmuseum.  we didn't go in, since I had already been and Art museums are not Graham's idea of a good time on a sunny day
Me at the Rijksmuseum. we didn’t go in, since I had already been and Art museums are not Graham’s idea of a good time on a sunny day

Visit to Sweden

A frosty heritage fence at Hemlingby, taken by Graham
A frosty heritage fence at Hemlingby, taken by Graham

Graham found a great KLM flight deal to Europe with a free multi-day layover in Amsterdam, so we went to visit
Sweden! I did a little work at CBF and gave a seminar, but mostly it was a social visit catching up with our Sweden-buddies. We visited Divya and Shyam in Uppsala, and got to visit with Divya’s parents and their new baby, Sahana. We stayed with Hasse and Elja for some great meals and tour of sandviken, then visisted Jennie and Richard and their little girl. We also went to Julinvigning to see the fireworks and then visit Camilla’s new place for glogg afterwords.  It was a bit short as visits go, but so fun!

We went for a walk at Hogbo. Warm whether and no snow fall is not excuse for not skiing!
Warm whether and no snow fall is no excuse for not skiing!
Decorated table for a raclette night
Decorated table for a raclette night
The most massive gingerbread house - about 7 feet tall
The most massive gingerbread house – about 7 feet tall
Hasse and Elja's house is so cute and looks like an Ikea photo!
Hasse and Elja’s house is so cute and looks like an Ikea photo!
Elja's collection of antique linen prints which she gets from the thrift stores.  Mom and Bernie take note!
Elja’s collection of antique linen prints which she gets from the thrift stores. Mom and Bernie take note!
The piano corner with a moose head
The piano corner with a moose head