Dolly Sods 2017

October 16, 2017 § Leave a comment

I believe this became the earliest late Fall backpacking/camping/hiking trip I have ever done with this crowd. Like all of our adventures together this began with a simple email subject line “Autumn Camping”, sent on August 10th by Bruce C. One hundred and ninety six emails later, some that didn’t really move the planning along, we had a date in early October, and we had more people interested in that date, than have ever been interested in a camping date, and we had all agreed fairly quickly that The Dolly Sods Wilderness would be our destination.

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Fall Cycling Epic

October 8, 2017 § 2 Comments

On Monday August 14th at 9:27PM I received a text from Cliff.

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The Text that Started the Ball rolling.

It started with “let’s go to Princeton”, but it ended with “I’m thinking about a ferry to Bear Mountain Saturday October 7th with beer at The Tiki Bar afterwards”. It doesn’t take much more than that to get my planning habits working. As Cliff knows, a travel idea, once planted puts me in a single minded train of thought that won’t be satisfied until I have the route logistics all planned and drawn out. Before midnight I had used the “Create a Route” feature of Strava and mapped a route from the 11th St Ferry terminal in lower Manhattan, up the West side bike path, over the GW and then up the West side of the Hudson to Bear Mountain, and returning along mostly the same route. Of course I parsed Cliff’s original suggestion into what it meant. Let’s meet early at the Ferry Terminal in Highlands with our bikes, and then do a an epic ride to Bear Mountain and back, where we can catch an afternoon ferry back, and then we can party at The Tiki Bar in Sea Bright.

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Magical Princeton

September 3, 2017 § Leave a comment

The Princeton ride has been a magical ride for many years. My earliest rides were with the Colts Neck crowd, and that made Princeton a round-trip of roughly 60ish miles. You could do that in a little over 3 hours and make a bagel stop downtown, all then followed by a hard hammer pace home.

It was awhile after I started riding with what IS now the Pronto Crew, that one day Larry, Mark and I decided to go to Princeton. It was an early Fall day, and the conditions weren’t the best, but we were the only ones who showed up to ride. I don’t think there was a plan to go, but seeing how it was just the three of us, after we each confirmed that we didn’t have any time limits, Princeton became the target location.

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Dolly Sods a.k.a Dahle Sods – 2001

August 18, 2017 § Leave a comment

In September of 2000, I started a new position at a small, growing fast startup called Tellium. I left IBM after only being with them for 2 months after AT&T sold our business unit to IBM for eventual outsourcing, so AT&T could sponsor the new stadium in Denver. There is no evidence that was the case, but the sponsorship deal was 200 million, and the IBM deal was about 190. At Tellium, I was hired to work on a team to in-source the Network Management software FROM India. Tellium was working night and day, and had just entered their third round of Venture funding, and they were gearing up for the big delivery. A brand new architecture in backbone network design, a mesh architecture with home-grown hardware and software.

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Mountain Lake Wilderness – 2005

August 16, 2017 § Leave a comment

My first winter backpacking trip was a weekend on the AT out of High Point New Jersey during my first trimester break from college in 1977. I was a freshman at Penn State, and while I was home for the Christmas holidays, my buddy Chris suggested we do a weekend on the AT. I can’t say that everything went great on that trip, but I learned that you can backpack in the Winter, and it brings a different set of circumstances to bear each and every time.

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The Devil’s Path

July 15, 2017 § Leave a comment

If you type “The Devil’s Path” into google the summaries in the top hits read like the following:

  • The Devil’s Path is a hiking trail in the Greene County section of the Catskill Mountains of New York, often described as one of the more challenging trails in the … (wikipedia)
  • Frequently called the most dangerous and toughest hike in the East, most hikers tackle this trail east to west in order to go up the steepest parts. You’ll bag five … (hikingproject.com)
  • The Catskills’ Devil’s Path got its name for a reason. (newyorkupstate.com)
  • Devil’s Path Trail is a 21.8 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Hunter, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is… (alltrails.com)
  • How to prepare for The Devil’s Path in the Catskills in New York – the toughest trail in the Northeast. (thetrek.co)

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My Sister’s Cats

July 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

After the weekend I had with animals, we were commiserating with our neighbor, eating ice cream in waffle comes, when the story of my sister’s cats came up, and I told it again to lighten our heavy hearts.

My sister left her cats with me once. I don’t think she will ever make that mistake again.

My sister, Leslie, was working in the Atlantic City casino industry when she and her husband of the time, Kenny decided to work a couple of seasons in the Bahamas. Ex-Pat living, collecting the same wage, but not responsible for the same level of taxation. An opportunity to live in a different country for a few years, and to save some money for a future back in the states.

Leslie had two cats: a female Calico named Speckles, and a B&W male named Katahdin, like the mountain in Maine. 

They were both indoor/outdoor cats, though Katahdin liked spending more time outdoors than Speckles did, and Katahdin was also a couple of years younger. Both were very personable, and Speckles enjoyed our company, day AND night. A slightly annoying habit of hers was she would walk around your head at night, and occasionally drool a bit of cat spittle on your face. My tolerance level being higher than Susan’s, this cat learned to only drool on me.

These were the old days, before cell phones, before e-mail, when good old letter writing was the norm for communications. I didn’t even have a phone number for Leslie at the time, but needless to say, I am not, nor was I ever much of a letter writer. My cousin Debbie and I wrote each other when we were younger, but I never had a writing relationship with anyone else, so it’s safe to say that I didn’t hear from Leslie, nor she from me for most of the time she was out of the country.

Turns out, there was a reason the cat drooled a lot. Turns out, that the poor thing had developed a tumor in her jaw, and as it grew it pushed the floor of her mouth up and she just could not hold onto her drool. By the time we noticed it, it was too late for her. Cat’s, like most animals, are pretty good at masking their suffering, so that most of the time she simply looked cute and cuddly. At the Vet, the operation just sounded like there would be no quality of life for her, so we had her put to sleep, and I buried her in our backyard in Red Bank. I did not write Leslie about this.

Some time passed, and then Katahdin disappeared. A couple of days went by and we hadn’t seen him, and I decided to go out and look for him. I didn’t have to look far. He had been involved in a car accident (I believe), and still alive, he was holed up under the porch trying to recover, but getting weaker. We took him to the vet, and they were able to help him, but that was the beginning of the end for him, and eventually we had to have him put down as well, and he too is buried in the backyard in Red Bank. I did not write Leslie about this either.

It got to be near the end of Leslie’s time abroad, and Susan, my wife, told me that I had to write Leslie and tell her about her cats. I knew this would be a tough assignment. I can write some funny humorous stuff, but writing serious stuff, I knew would be a chore.

How to tell her? Should I describe the issues they had, and then finish by telling her they were gone? Should I start out that they are gone, and then give the circumstances? Should I apologize for not telling her sooner?

Needless to say I started a few notes, and each one ended up in the trash after a few sentences. At some point I settled on the following:

Dear Leslie,

Your cats are dead.

Love Eric