Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bayou of Pigs

Mileage: 556
Days: 58
Remaining: 32
Average Daily Mileage: 9.6

Uh-oh, I've fallen behind. Over my four-day Memorial Day weekend I went out to northwest Texas with some colleagues from work. Blog post to follow. Today was my first ride since last Wednesday -- by far my longest ride hiatus in the Thousand Mile Challenge. I now need to average about 15 miles per day to reach my mileage goal. No snakes sighted on my ride today, but I did see three deer, three armadillos and a number of spiders. When you can see spiders from your bike at 18 mph, that's a bad sign. Two weeks ago was pig day in the bayou -- I saw about twenty pigs on one ride, including two that lumbered across the path in front of me after paralleling me for about 500 feet -- a bit scary. A mile later I saw Mr. and Mrs. Pig with family -- a bunch of adolescent pigs. All the kid-pigs ran off into the woods while Mr. Pig held his ground and snort/oinked menacingly at me as I breezed past.

I've given up on a new bike at the end -- in part because my Tucson house is reverting to caretaker status. That means much less free cash to work with. Even if I had the extra money, I'd likely divert it to paying off my short-term debts. This is a new obsession of mine, and I long to be "short-term" debt-free which means nothing but a mortgage and student loan. No car payment, no credit card debt, no money owed to parents... and I'm very nearly there. If I could sell my pesky house in Tucson I'd instantly be there.

My second paper was accepted today in final form, and will be appearing sometime soonish in American Mineralogist, after I review the proofs and polish up the final figures. Then it's on to paper #3. I wonder if I can summon the gumption to write that one up. All things pyroxene are slipping from my mind.

On the West Texas trip I read most of Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent. Rediscovering this book was fun, and it had me laughing out loud at times. However after a while I got frustrated with the way Bryson dismisses huge chunks of America without ever leaving his car. Yeah, lots of places look dumpy from the road... to discover the real nature of a place you need to leave the car and the roads and hike at least a few miles. Jump around in a canyon, climb up on some rocks. Before TLC I tried The Pearl Diver on CD and couldn't get into it. Not recommended. A colleague on the West Texas trip recommended Worst Hard Time, which is next on my list.

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