Saturday, July 30, 2016

I've Not Been Posting

For those who follow the blog, it's obvious that I'm not posting very much. Quite frankly, Donna and I have not been doing very much. We're just trying to settle in to a routine in our new home and become fully settled. Nothing much exciting about that, so nothing much to report.

We've bought season tickets to our local community theater, Angelo Civic Theater. We'll attend 6 performances this year, and we'll see some pretty interesting plays. You can click here to see what shows are appearing this season. I'm most excited about watching Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe in October. I did my thesis on Edward Albee, so I have a natural interest in this play. Albee's female characters are extremely interesting and fully developed.

We're also simply settling into our community, and with each passing day, we enjoy Rio Concho West (RCW) more. I wish we had moved here years ago. We attended an orientation meeting a couple of weeks ago and came away even more excited. What I like best about the place is how peaceful and calm it is. Each time we return from shopping around town, we marvel at the island of serenity that is Rio Concho West. Outside the property, traffic is a bit hectic and fast, but once you enter our property, the speed limit drops to 20 and all is calm. There is only one way in and out of RCW, so there is no through traffic at all. That is great.

I've read a great deal about people hiking the long trails of the United States (see "The Big 3 Hiking Trails of the Continental U.S.A." in June 2013). Many people who do long hikes over several weeks or months make the same observation. They spend so much time out on the trails that when they return to "civilization" they experience a type of culture shock, especially as regards traffic. After spend long periods seeing very few people, no buildings other than shelters or small country stores or farms, and virtually no traffic, they become accustomed to a slower pace of life. For them, traffic moves along at just a few miles per hour, somewhere between 3 and 5 mph for most hikers. Upon entering a town, they are shocked by traffic moving at speeds of 30 mph or greater.

We can sort of relate now that we live at RCW. We spend most of our time in our little community, where people exercise daily by walking the streets. Posted speed limits are 20 mph for the entire property, and there is often more foot traffic than auto traffic. And for traveling within the community, many folks rely on golf carts or bicycles. So when we leave RCW, we experience just a little shock. It takes a few minutes for me to adjust to a faster rate of travel and a greater volume of traffic. It's always nice to pull back in to RCW from our little excursions out. We can slow down again and move at a more comfortable pace.

We do have some trips planned, but not until the fall. Right now, we are simply waiting out the heat of the summer and trying to get settled.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Staying Healthy . . . I Hope

During our recent 6 month tour in our trailer, I got a bit lazy. Although I tried to walk as much as possible, there were many places we stayed where there simply wasn't a good or safe place to walk. We also ate out much more than we normally do. As a result, I put on a few pounds.

As I've aged, I've learned that good health really boils down to two things: diet and exercise. I've also learned that both must be done regularly.

Now that we are settled, I've gotten back into a solid exercise routine. Three days each week -- usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday -- I walk. Our new neighborhood is ideal for walking. We live in a secluded community with only one way in or out. Once in the community, we have several streets, and if you take what I call the perimeter loop, you have a 1.5 mile loop. Right now, I'm walking 3 loops for a total of 4.5 miles on my walking days. I average about 17 minutes per mile, which is roughly 3.5 miles per hour.

On alternate days -- Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday -- I ride my bicycle. This is a bit new to me. My legs definitely are not in bicycle shape. It takes a different set of muscles to ride as opposed to walking. Although our community is on fairly level ground, we do have some high ground which creates a slow but noticeable slope when you are riding. As I go up that slope, my legs burn quite a bit. And the wind -- which really has been blowing hard lately -- makes a noticeable difference when you are biking. I've noticed that even when I'm on level ground, the wind blowing into my face slows me down considerably and makes my legs work harder. When I first started, I was only able to do a couple of miles on my bike, but now I'm up to 5 miles. Those first few attempts almost crippled me. After one of those rides, my legs were like rubber, and I really didn't even want to walk. My goal is to get my legs in good enough shape that I can bike the O. C. Fisher dam, which is a length of just over 7 miles, one way. Since I'll have to make a round-trip ride, that is a total of just over 14 miles. That's not far if you are a young bicyclist, but for an overweight old man, that is a pretty good ride. But I'll get it done.

In addition to exercising regularly, we are now eating more meals at home. We still eat out twice a week, but most of the time we stay home. We eat a salad almost daily, and we're starting to watch our calorie intake much more closely, something I stopped doing early during our trip. As a result, the pounds are starting to slide off. I gained close to 15 pounds during our trip, so I need to get that amount back off as quickly as possible. Then I need to lose a few more pounds on top of that.

A lot of people don't like routines or schedules, but they have always worked for me. I'm glad to be back on a regular exercise schedule and to be eating healthier food.

Today's bicycle day. Time to go burn my leg muscles.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Rio Concho West Independence Day Parade

We're pretty well settled in our new home, and just in time for the community July 4th parade. Now, keep in mind ours is a small community, but we have a pretty nice little parade. The procession made 2 loops through the neighborhood, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Below are some pictures from our little celebration.

The Honor Guard led off the parade, followed by local EMTs and fire department.

You can't have a patriotic parade without Boy Scouts.

I'm not sure of the significance of the stagecoach, but it was about to turn onto Stage Coach Trail.

There were several refurbished older cars.
And since we are an active retirement community, there were lots of golf carts in the parade.
Someone did a nice job fixing up this truck.
This old panel wagon was nicely restored.

Yeah, a simple parade, but one showing off the community's patriotism. I think I'm going to enjoy living here.