Friday, July 27, 2012

Cooler Weather

The heat broke - for a little while, anyway. Today I could ride a little later in the morning. Was a little cool while loading the bike on the car rack - wore a light jacket.

Ham Radio friend John decided to ride, too. Met at the Wabash Trailhead. By 8am, and ready to ride, I did not need the jacket. We headed toward Lake Manawa.

My heart monitor was giving high reading, telling me I am in A-Fib. Took it a little easy on the ride.

Wind from the NNW. Rode counter-clockwise (not our normal way. Wanted the ride down Indian Creek Trail WITH the wind. At the intersection of Veteran's Memorial Trail and Indian Creek, we had a decision - ride further or head back toward the car.

While I was feeling good, with my A-Fib, I figured it was better to just head on back. On the way back, I asked John if he had ridden the connector to the lake. He had not. So rode to the lake where I took today's photo. View of Omaha from the campground boat ramp.

The wind was kicking up by the time we headed back North along Mosquito Creek, Was enough for me.

Back to the car, loaded up the bike and headed home. Didn't really do much anytihng else the rest of the day. Seems that while I do not know I am in A-Fib unless wearing the heart monitor, I get tired easier.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunrise at Indian Creek Bridge

With temperature reaching 100+ in the afternoon, I continue riding at about sunrise. Sunday I took the day off. Breakfast at Panera Bread and back home to bask in the AC.

This morning, I was not sure about riding. was showing already over 80, buy did not feel that warm when i stuck my head out the door. In fact, the thermometer on the car was showing 70 as I drove to the trailhead.

I was out from the Wabash Trace Trailhead at 6am. Caught this photo when i stopped at Indian Creek Bridge for hydration. From there, I continued the loop around Lake Mamawa. Added a side section to the North side boat ramp.

The air had one of those "clammy" feeling. Knew it was going to be a humid day. Parking lot had many more cars when I got back. Others out to break the heat. Ended up with 11.8 miles at 11.2 mph. Happy with the ride.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Manawa Trail Day

Thankfully, we got some clouds this morning. Instead of normal Saturday Ham Radio breakfast, I attended the THOR Lake Manawa Trail Day. Stopped by Panera Bread to pick up a dozen of bagels for the crew.

I headed to the second section of the trail with my loppers. I had not been down there since late April. WOW, have the weeds have been growing! This photo depicts the hemp "forest" that the trail cuts through.

Didn't cut much. Mostly, I wanted to check out the trail and get a couple photos. The are section of the new trail that a lined by 10+ foot weeds, some sections of flowing singletrack in the woods, and some fine (silt) sand.

Met up a trail crew group rerouting a section of the trail. By the time I made it trough the trail section, I had enough for the day. While a nice breeze today, there was just no air moving in the woods.

It was ther first time I rode the full section of the trail. Did not check my computer then I headed into the trail section, but the times I looked, guessing there is over 1.5 miles of trail in there.

Brought the older point&shoot camera with me. Should have brought the newer one. Another day. Need to get out there to check out the first section of the trail and grab some photos.

Another trail day tomorrow morning at Manawa. Supposed to be hotter. Think I am gonna skip it and do normal Sunday morning at Panera.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Heat Continues

All week the forecast is high in the upper 90s to 100. The afternoons have been brutal! So, this week I have been riding at 6am.

Temperatures have been 68 to 74 degrees with calm to very light winds from the South. Great riding weather. Been catching lots of sunrises on the Lake Manawa and Indian Creek Trails. Yesterday was another one of the mornings with orange sky sunrise.

This photo is another of my sunrises over Lake Manawa from Indian Creek Trail.

Taking the day off the bike today. See what happens tomorrow morning.

Sold the RV

Earlier this year, i decided it was time to sell the RV. I have not used it, and was just depreciating every year. Got a idea of what it was worth from Leach Camper. Dropped most of the insurance coverage. Was going to put a sign in the window and perhaps list on Craigs list.

Tuesday, a neighbor knocked on my door, wondering if I was loke to sell the RV. He and his wife were looking for one. I said I was.

We talked about the vehicle and its options. I was honest that it had not been started in a couple years. His wife and another guy gave by to talk more and look at the RV. Agreed on the "as-is" sale.

Yesterday, after my bike ride, I was back into town ordering a duplicate title (you can never find those when you want them). Cleared out my stuff from the RV. Buyers came in the afternoon with the money. They were able to start and drive the RV home (about a mile from my place).

Another thing I don;t have to worry about. Just need to deposit $$ in the bank and cancel insurance today.

Photo is the buyer checking "under the hood" before driving it home.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hot Weather Means Sunrise Ride

The heat is back on in the heartland. Forecast is for the mid to upper 90s all week. Humidity will be rising, but only a slight chance of rain. We really need the rain - crops are suffering.

Speaking of rain - there must have been some on the South side of Council Bluffs late Saturday. There were puddles on the Indian Creek Trail when I rode Sunday morning.

Sunday morning I rode from Wabash Trace trailhead to and around Lake Manawa via bicycle trail. I pushed it to get to Panera Bread by 7 for coffee. Missed it by a couple minutes, but the pushing gave me the fastest ride for the year.

Guess you could almost say that I have been slacking. Really I have enjoying the ride - they are not training rides. Anyway, I have been doing the lap of Manawa on the road bike at about 10.7 mph. Sunday, I did it at 12.5, almost 2 mph faster!

Back out this morning for another sunrise ride this morning. Today's photo was taken during this morning's ride. Once again I did the ride from Wabash to and around Lame Manawa. The Lake Manawa Trail is great for summer sunrise photos.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ride to Malvern

Its not that I have not been riding - I have (a bit). Just there was nothing to report, nothing worth photographing. Rode pavement to/around Lake Manawa. After the heat we had last week, I rode a little later in the morning. One morning it was 59 when I headed into town for coffee - last week it was 78 at 6am.

Yesterday, I was ready for a ride on the Trace. Since I did not have a planned trip to CB, I rode South from Silver City.

Over the first couple miles, I was wondering how far I could make it - would I make my goal of Malvern (8.5 miles). By the time i was at the Silver Creek Bridge, I was in my pedaling rhythm and felt better.

Hydration stop at the bridge and pushed on to Malvern. G2 and granola break at Malvern and back toward Silver City.

At Janke Rd, I met and visited with Greg & Bonnie Pierce (and their son?) of Pierce Crossing Guesthouse in Malvern. There were out for their Wednesday ride.

Quick stop back at the Silver Creek Bridge (hydration). A mile North of the bridge I was stopped by a solo rider heading South. He was asking how far to the next town. Gave him some pointers into Malvern (refill his G2, etc) and gave him info about the Wabash Trace and towns along the way. He is from Council Bluffs and thinking of longer rides on the trace, likely with a friend or two.

With the stops to visit and only making 8.7 mph on the ride, the morning was shot when I got back home. Was my first ride to Malvern for the year. Tired when i got home, so napped.

Taking the next couple days off the bike.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Do-Nothing (almost) Holiday

The heat continues. From the Rockies and East have been under a dome of heat. Did not looking forward to a bike ride this morning. First, I did not sleep well. But, I told John I would be at Manawa Nature Trail parking lot at 6am if he wants to ride with me.

Drug myself out of bed, kitted up, and loaded the bike to the parking lot. At 5:30 am, it was 78 degrees! While there was not any dew, the air was muggy and close.

No John, but saw the same couple with their dog heading out for their walk at 6am. Met lots of folks riding on the trail this morning. They have the same idea - beat the heat.

As I headed on the Lake Manawa Trail, the full moon was setting. Looking for a spot to capture the moon and the trail. Today's photo is what I shot. The orange-ish spot above and right of the curve in the trail - that's the full moon! The humidity (and perhaps smoke from Colorado fires) made it difficult to see the moon as it was setting. The haze shows up in this HDR photo.

The sunrise was also very hazy this morning. While the temperature was not that bad, I felt sweaty/clammy from the humidity. Decided on a short ride - just a lap of the trails around Lake Manawa.

Got in a 7 mile ride, came home and stayed in the house the rest of the day. After all, we are under an "Excessive Heat Warning" until Friday evening.

Dealing with Finances, Getting Screwed

Just have to vent dealing with finances, mostly with insurance changeover from my GM policy to MediCare and a Medigap policy.

A couple weeks ago I met with a Rep/Salesman from Physician's Mutual. After his pitch, I asked some questions. There were some things he told me just did not sound right. I was told that choosing a MediGap plan is a "one-time" decision. Very difficult to change. Anyway, I filed his brochures to look at after my trip (to MidWest Mountain Bike Fest).

Then I co back, called my home/auto insurance rep at TS Bank.Insurance. She could sell me MediGap policy including drug plan as long as I ask to review the offering. They have a play by Blue Cross/Blue Shield Wellmark. It was becoming obviously I will need to create a spreadsheet to evaluate the various plans. And that I I had been given incorrect info about the "one-time" selection of MediGap carrier.

I am in the information gathering phase at this time, because my MediCare does not kick in until 10/01. I called GM about my pension and lump-sum payment offer. While on the phone with them, I verified the day my insurance coverage ends with GM.

From there, on to GM Benefits and eventually Blue Cross-Blue Shield. My issue is regarding deductibles and out-of-pockets. Basically, I get screwed. I have already hit my out-of-pocket for 2012. But, since I go one MediCare for the last 3 months of the year, I will be in a new insurance year, and have to start all over on deductible!

Really down after the phone conversations. Too hot for (and already did) my bike ride.

Tuesday, after coffee at Panera Bread, I met my tax adviser. Most was about the tax implications of taking a lump-sum pension payment. Also discussing tax issues with turning 65. He refered me to a company he uses that deals with MediCare, MediGap, and all.

Called Helping Hands for Senior Plans. Kurt offered to meet me the same day. We med at his office on N 30th in Omaha. Gave him my drug list over the phone. My the time I could drive to his office, he had plans outlined for me. As an independent broker, he and his wife search the offering and can select the best plans for me. We even discussed how to lessen the impact of the double deductible for the year.

Each year, the look as the plans to see if there is a better plan fitting individual needs. He verified that the Physician Mutual rep was either giving me bogus information, or their play is unique in the its difficult to change carriers.

Ended up with a much better feeling about turning 65 and my finances. Next, second meeting with my financial adviser to set up plans for my pension. Once the pension finances are settle, I will select my MediGap carrier.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Another Early Ride

Yesterday I was out even earlier for my ride. Parked at the Lake Manawa nature trail. Met the same walkers at the trailhead. Was on the trail a little after 6am. Today's photo is sunrise at the Indian Creek Bridge.

Being a Monday, I knew the Trails Center would be closed. I rode along Veteran's Memorial Highway to S. 35th. Met a couple other cyclists on the trail. By the time I was back to the car, the parking lot was filling with early morning walkers and cyclists.

Groceries and back home by 8am. Nap and then phone calls about pension, insurance, and medicare. More about that in another posting.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunrise Ride

The heat is on. Time to go on "summer" ride schedule. This morning I was at the trail head at sunrise.

Little delay getting starting this morning - was planning to ride from the Wabash Trace trailhead. At the parking lot, I saw the road and trail were closed at the railroad tracks. Changed plans and drove over to Manawa Nature Trail.

Today's photo was the sunrise as I started off on the Lake Manawa Trail.

Quick ride - lap around Lake Manawa. Then coffee & breakfast sandwich at Panera.