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God's Country and Beyond!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Today's ride was through some of the most BEAUTIFUL country! We started in the Cannonsville Reservoir, which for those who may not know, is one of several reservoirs in upstate NY which has been set up to gather water to meet the needs of the residents of New York City. Like a giant water cooler, only Nature's version, with a helping hand from people who designed and shaped it.

Here is a pic of the reservoir:

Here is a link to my saved Fitness Map of the ride:

Supposedly someone's Garmin clocked this ride @ 66 miles...some difference with Fitness Maps tallying up 47 miles! Go figure! I'm going with the upper number because it SURE FELT LIKE IT!

Beers Brook Road

Sounds like such a harmless enough name, eh?

5 miles of solid uphill climbing and YES, I WALKED! :-)

There was no way I would kill myself going up this hill only to have the majority of the ride yet still ahead of me...WHEW! It was challenging enough on it's own!

The fun part was riding down the hills into Downsville on Route 206...didn't reach the upper 50 mph as they had before, but we were around 48 mph...yee hah! No brakes, just fast and furious FUN! For once gravity was my FRIEND instead of FOE!

In Downsville we ate at the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant, a very nicely done-up place in the hunter-woodsman motif with stuffed, mounted animals EVERYWHERE!

I had a spinach salad with grilled chicken on top...yum!

This is the view out the back side of the restaurant looking WAY up the mountainside from down in the valley where we were...awfully pleased not to climb THAT ONE!:

Here are a few of us outside the restaurant with our bikes:

A pic of the road ahead:

I have to admit toward the end of our trek mightily feeling the fatigue and worse, my dorkey shorts weren't doing the best in protecting my backside...yeouch! I began standing on the pedals so much my legs were getting wobbly! A couple of the bike club members were kind enough to wait for me to straggle along...hadn't even realized it as I was busy snapping pics near the end of the ride realizing, "hey, I don't have but hardly ANY pics!" I was pleased to find out that they don't let anyone bike alone on these rides...make sure we all come home to roost! :-)

Wrapped up feeling pleasantly exhausted and treated myself to a soak in the tub tonight...something I do only a handful of times a year!

Hope everyone had a WONDERFUL weekend and here's to a SPARKIN' week ahead!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AZIMAT 7/24/2010 5:18PM

    Wow! Good for you. Those hills on a bike are a huge challenge. You should be proud of yourself.

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JESPAH 7/22/2010 12:44PM

    Wow Don you are a hero for doing all that.

What an amazing time it sounds like. And I get the feeling you're gonna do it again.

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SATYAGRAHA 7/20/2010 6:22AM

    Woohoo! Looks like a great time!

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JEAN_W 7/20/2010 5:01AM

    Aren't your dorky shorts padded on the backside? I know I've seen padded bike shorts. What a beautiful and long ride.

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TEAMAEGIS 7/19/2010 10:08PM

    What a challenging ride we had! HILLY, headwinds, heat, distance, and speed over BEAUTIFUL terrain!

Don... as I mentioned to you earlier, you are a great rider. The "fast kids" showed up for this ride, and you stayed with them for most of the 66 hilly hilly miles. Sweet... As usual, I led from the rear, finishing up (no doubt) at least 1/2 hour behind everyone else. But finish I did...

GREAT ride, and glad you came along. Imagine... just a few years ago was this even a possibility?

Ride on Don!

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LUREAH21 7/19/2010 10:13AM

    Awesome and Beautiful!! emoticon

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LADYGWEN25 7/19/2010 9:10AM

    looks like a beautiful place to ride! i can't wait until i can get to that point both fitness wise and with confidence on the bike... Keep Sparking Don! you motivate me to move forward and conquer my fears!

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FRECKS96 7/19/2010 7:11AM

    So glad you got to enjoy your ride. Sounds like it was a success, even if you are a bit sore today. Don't forget to rest yourself and you'll be ready for that 100 miler in no time!

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FERRETLOVER1 7/19/2010 6:52AM

    Wow - what a beautiful place to ride!

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GRACEFULIFE 7/19/2010 6:40AM

    Wow, yeah beautiful areas to ride and great job for pulling through such a ride! emoticon

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SASSYCHRIS1952 7/19/2010 2:15AM

    Beautiful scenery!

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HEALTHY_CAROLYN 7/18/2010 11:53PM

    Great fun to read about your latest biking adventure, and whether it was 47 or 66 miles, you ROCK!

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Back In The Saddle Again...!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hey, blame LUCYSUNFLOWER for my groaner blog title...lol!

I FINALLY was able to slow down enough to speed up on my bike today to / from work! And I was pleased with how good my legs felt pedaling. My right knee, shin is still a tad sore, but only when I bend it 90 degrees or more, which I tend not to do when biking due to the degree of my leg extension. Or when I bump it getting in / out of the car...argh!

Got home from work and figured if I'm gonna be cruisin' through the Catskill Mountains this weekend I'd better get the lawn done tonight. Pulled out the ol' hand-powered reel mower, put on my mp3 player and whizzed through 90 minutes of mowing in what felt like 90 degrees, 90% humidity with swarms of little bugs buzzing about my head. What a drippy mess I was when I finished!

But it was DONE!

Now: Let the weekend BEGIN! Look out Bear Spring Mountain, here I come!

Hoping to get out for a little more biking tomorrow to prepare for the BIG ride on Sunday when the weather promises to be a balmy 87 degrees with lots of sunshine! Yee hah! :-)

I'm psyching myself up for whatever comes my way. Lots of walking, maybe even giving up and not completing the whole ride. But I'm planning to give this 64 mile ride my very BEST!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GR8CATSBY 7/17/2010 7:20PM

    Have a wonderful time!!!! (Stay cool - ha ha ha...)

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PKTREKGIRL 7/17/2010 4:06PM

    Well, after that lawn mowing experience, the weekend can only go up from there!

Hope you are enjoying the day right now...and that you have a great long ride tomorrow!

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FATROCKSTAR 7/17/2010 10:36AM

    You are awesome-keep up the good work! Normandy

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OUTDOORGIRL69 7/17/2010 10:15AM

    emoticon Have fun.

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BEARDMUSIC 7/17/2010 10:08AM

    Enjoy yourself tomorrow. You've worked hard to get to this point!

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FERRETLOVER1 7/17/2010 8:12AM

    I know you wouldn't be down for long, Don!!

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CARRIE1948 7/17/2010 7:09AM

    Good luck.

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RAINBOWFALLS 7/17/2010 7:06AM

    Best of luck to you. I'm sure you will do amazing!

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JESPAH 7/17/2010 5:58AM

    Have the greatest time! :)

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XENA1956 7/17/2010 1:08AM

    Best of luck on your ride. I hope you make it the whole way, wait I know you can do it. Your one tough cookie. emoticon

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Bike Fixed, Body Needs A Little Time...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Off to the bike shop at lunchtime...one of the Shimano gear-shifters got jammed pretty hard with dirt & grit getting into it and boogering it up some. They worked it out so that it's pretty close to 100% fine. Straightened out the wheel and fender. Some chunks of the rubberized handlebars got scraped out. But all appears well and running smoothly. No charge either! One of the perks of paying for a higher-priced bike from your friendly neighborhood bike shop! :-)

Just wish the same could be said for Yours Truly! Right leg is very stiff at the knee and there's another goose-egg on my hip as well.

All of this makes me a little nervous about the big ride I want to nail on Sunday. Whenever I push myself to the next level there's always a degree of self-questioning: Am I REALLY up for this...? There was even a little of that on Sunday when I clocked all those miles. Pushing through the envelope and proving myself capable is part of the thrill of moving forward.

But there is always a part of me that has a little niggling doubt. These aches & pains aren't doing much for my confidence!

Going to do a lot of stretching to work this out because I really REALLY want to nail this ride!!

I want to balance the following thoughts:

We are all capable of much more than we think we are.


Pushing myself to a point of doing harm to my body.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CCKELLY3 7/16/2010 11:45PM

    I wish I had better advice to give you, but this is my current lesson to work on as well. I tend to push to hard & not listen well enough to hear the subtle signals...so for years the universe responded by hitting me over the head with signals as subtle as a freight train derailment. Sigh.

All I can say is that it's really a major accomplishment that you recognize where you are and that you're honest and doing your best to address it. You're going to err on either side, probably often and probably for a lot longer than you, or anyone in our boat, would accept if we really knew it. So I suppose that's the grace in not knowing, but trusting yourself, and all the new skills you've developed on this journey, to ultimately get you there. So trust the process, trust yourself, and it will come.

Until then, as long as you don't do yourself major damage or injury, try to accept that the progress you are making is amazing, and many, many people will never have the strength you already do. Good job!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 7/15/2010 11:10AM

    You will certainly NAIL your upcoming bike ride, listen to your body. Enjoy. emoticon

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LUREAH21 7/15/2010 9:22AM

    OUCH! Sorry to hear about your spill, glad you're okay though. Hope all your aches and pains disappear before the big day.

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LADYGWEN25 7/15/2010 8:46AM

    hope you're feeling better soon Don.. i agree with Julie... my thought always run towards more the what if??? I don't want to ever think.. WHat if i HAD tried to push more... Sometimes the risk does outweigh and danger.... keep up the good work! Maybe we'll be biking together soon... :)

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KMATIS 7/15/2010 8:14AM

    Your stamina is amazing--a true testament to what we can accomplish if we work hard. Keep up the good work! Good luck with the knee.

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RAINBOWFALLS 7/14/2010 11:21AM

    I know you can do it, you have that determiniation that so many don't have! emoticon

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GRACEFULIFE 7/14/2010 7:48AM

    Definitely don't hurt yourself! But don't be afraid to push. I ran SAG for a large biking event quite a while ago and it was one of the most boring things ever. No one needed help at all. It would have been much more interesting had someone actually used our services.

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FERRETLOVER1 7/14/2010 7:15AM

    Hopefully, by the time you do your ride, you will feel better. I know what you mean about aches & pains - seems like they happen more and more, doesn't it?

Do what feels right to you - if you are still really hurting, shorten your ride.

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JEAN_W 7/13/2010 10:51PM

    I know what you mean about balancing those thoughts. My husband loved to run. He can't anymore because of his knees and shredded achilles tendons. It occurred to me he might have avoided these injuries if he'd consulted a sports medicine specialist. Had you thought about doing that? I'm not sure what it's called, but someone who could look at how you move, see where your body is now in terms of damage already done, and suggest stretches and exercises that might help you avoid injuries.

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GR8CATSBY 7/13/2010 9:26PM

    Be careful not to push too hard... You don't want to wear out your knees or other body parts by not giving your muscles enough time to adjust to increased mileage, etc. Then biking won't be fun anymore. :-(
But do SOME pushing, absolutely!!!!
And I hope your body heals soon from the fall. Ouch!

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 7/13/2010 9:19PM

    I'm glad to hear the bike has healed - I hope you do as quickly!

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FRECKS96 7/13/2010 9:12PM

    Glad to hear the bike is back. Hope you feel recovered enough to tackle your big ride on Sunday. I know what you mean about weighing the risk/benefit ratio-I do it often with my running. Hope you go for it!

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Dorky Shorts Unveiled!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Okay, I've made up my mind...despite that I STILL believe that for me being out in public wearing lycra is something I should spare the world, it is just TOO DANGED HOT to wear regular shorts over my dorky biking shorts! So I decided before heading out on my work commute this morning that a loose T-shirt on top of the dorky shorts was enough of a compromise to go public with them without feeling TOO self-conscious...lol!

This upcoming Sunday our local biking club has organized a 64 mile trip from Deposit to Downsville & back:


This route runs along the Cannonsville Reservoir which stores water for NYC and is just a BEAUTIFUL sight to behold...although with the drought we're having perhaps the view will be dampened. The mighty challenge of this route will be climbing Bear Spring Mountain. Another bike club member (also a member of SP: TEAMAEGIS) has forewarned me that this will be a guaranteed "walk" at some point while climbing.

The OTHER thing she told me was that in her recumbent she has clocked speeds near 60 mph...! Gulp! Guess I'll be wearing out my brakes...lol!

Lunch will be at a restaurant which I've heard is memorable: www.oldschoolhouseinn.com/

A disheartening piece of news is that today I took my first tumble on my bike...ARGH! Such a STUPID tumble at that! Coming up out of North Otsiningo Park I turned right to take a small downhill gravel / dirt slope into Northgate Plaza. Have only done this like a ZILLION times! But for some reason I didn't turn sharply enough and was going down the grassy slope beside the gravel / dirt, thinking hey, this bike IS billed as a cyclocross, should be no problem!

Wrong! There was a hole hidden by the grass...bounced me right into the gravel on my knee and bent the handlebars. Able to ride the bike home okay, going to bring 'er into the shop tomorrow to straighten it out for my upcoming ride. Nothing really hurt beyond my pride and my BIKE! I feel so badly to be messing around with it already!

Belatedly, I'm sharing a photo I took of some of us at yesterday's SparkRally:

And here are a few from my Michigan Trip:

Here are a couple shots of the Lake Michigan of my childhood...the same steps I'd hurtle down every day I could during the summers and venture out into those waters for as long as I could just swimming and letting my imagination roam.

I got a kick out of this sign in a local ice cream shop...and the appendices when they must have thought better of leaving as it was first worded...lol!

Couldn't believe they have a store ENTIRELY devoted to THIS!

Here's a pretty nifty idea for a hot summer's day (St. Joseph's beach area):

Here's a shot of me with a metal sculpture on the lakeshore at St. Joseph's:

Next? Some shots of the Catskill Mountains in Delaware County...coming right up! :-)

Night all!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYCHRIS1952 7/17/2010 6:59AM

    Beautiful pics! It looks like you had a great time!

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L*I*T*A* 7/13/2010 8:03PM

    great pictures.........
good luck on sunday!!!
blessings and hugs.........lita

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_VALEO_ 7/13/2010 4:56PM

    Good luck for your 64-mile trip on Sunday. Seems like an awesome--long-- ride! I hope it won't be too hot
And wear your lycra when biking, that's why they are made for.

Ouch for the bump! Thankfully you're okay.

Thanks for sharing your trip in Michigan and your meeting with Sparkers. Great photos!

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GRACEFULIFE 7/13/2010 10:57AM

    Sounds like good times other than the tumble. At least you're OK though. And you didn't get to fall onto concrete like I did decades ago a number of times on my bike! Ouch!

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BEARDMUSIC 7/13/2010 9:34AM

    Glad to hear you and your bike are ok.

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LADYGWEN25 7/13/2010 9:28AM

    OUCH on the bike fall Don... i hear you about the pride...i think it's one of the things that has kept me from hopping back on..falling in public... but they do say pride goeth before the fall right??? guess i'm going to have to fall a few time's...And hey i hear you on the bike shorts.... Personally i like it when men where the biking. emoticon looks like they're all serious buisness! LOVE the pics! Especially of all of us, aka Don's Harem, at the spark rally.. Can't wait for another one!

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FRECKS96 7/13/2010 7:25AM

    Great pics, thanks so much for sharing! Now I definitely want to make it up there some time. Sorry to hear about your fall. Hope you and your bike are both 100% again soon.

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FERRETLOVER1 7/13/2010 7:05AM

    Fun pictures - thanks for sharing.

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ZELLAZM 7/13/2010 4:21AM

    Great to read your update, Don...looks like you and your fellow Sparkers had a nice healthy meal - look at that veggie tray! I'm glad to hear that you and the bike are ok after your tumble. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!


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MIZZSB 7/13/2010 1:19AM

    wow... i feel so full of energy when ever i read your blogs :)

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A Mighty Fine SPARKIN' Day!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I was a regular Energizer Bunny today...! Got up and biked to the Binghamton Historic Bridge Pedal www.gobroomecounty.com/binghamton-br
, networked with a person from DOT about the greenways project and upcoming developments www.ptny.org/greenways/index.shtml . Enhancing the walk-ability, bike-ability of our community is SUCH an important thing and tax dollars SO well spent enhancing the health and quality of life of the residents of our community!

So on my way home I'm thinking....hmmm...10 miles to Binghamton, 10 miles for the Bridge Pedal, 10 miles back home. 30 mile total so far. But! If I'm going to be working up to a century bike ride in September...I've taken the plunge to do the City to Shore ride for Multiple Sclerosis biking from Philadelphia to Ocean City and back again the next day. 175 miles of biking in two days...whew!

So in getting to this afternoon's SparkRally at Dorchester Park I decided I would bike there and back...adding yet ANOTHER 20+ miles to my total today which put me over 50 miles...woo HOO! PLUS I kayaked with my fellow local SparkPeople members at the park this afternoon! What fun on a *picture perfect* weather day!

Just tallied up my calorie burn for everything...only 4,476 cals! :-)

BUT: I was one whupped puppy by the time I got home! I even took a nap! That is something that happens only a handful of times a year! Now I'm blowing the advantages of the nap by catching up with everyone and being up too late...lol!

It was wonderful to meet some of the newer members of our local Team and to scheme & dream of fun stuff to do together in the future!

Night all...have a GREAT WEEK!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKINNYPOWELL1 7/12/2010 11:16AM

    You are one super-energized dude with all that bike riding. Good luck on your 175 mile, that is really something to look forward to. You rock !!!

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KMATIS 7/12/2010 10:47AM

    That's an amazing accomplishment and your goal for the fall is astounding!

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FRECKS96 7/12/2010 10:25AM

    Great Calorie burn Don and glad to see that you're back on your bike this morning. Truly a picture perfect day!

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LUREAH21 7/12/2010 10:23AM

    That's amazing Don! It was great to meet you yesterday!!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/12/2010 10:11AM

    Wow, you burned more estimated calories yesterday than I did, in my aquabike triathlon (4194).

My HR monitor says it was more like 2456. I suspect the levels on SP are inflated - they definitely are compared with what my HR monitor says about kayaking! LOL

It *was* a beautiful day weather-wise. Here's to being in shape for us to get out there and enjoy it!

P.S. I have a 100-miles-in-one-day charity ride scheduled for September, circumnavigating Cayuga Lake. I guess I'll start riding my bike to work on a regular basis to prepare for that...

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LADYGWEN25 7/12/2010 9:51AM

    WOW don you truely amaze me.... emoticon A definate inspiration to us younger newbies that fitness is not just for "kids".... it's something that reaches across all age brackets....And if you can do it.. What excuse do i have to NOT do... Seems to make my fear of falling off a bike rather silly... Keep up the good work! you motivate and inspire me every day!

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BEARDMUSIC 7/12/2010 9:27AM

    Wow!!! emoticon

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DINGALLSTOO 7/12/2010 9:12AM

    your arms were just resting on the handles of the bike, right? so they needed that workout in the kayak ;^D Seriously, the fact that you did all that is an inspiration and great example to us newbies, who NEED to get of our collective buns more. Great to meet you.

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RAINBOWFALLS 7/12/2010 8:57AM

    I had such a good time kayaking and I'm sure hubby and I will be venturing out soon to do it. I really enjoyed the day.

Great job on your calorie burn!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 7/12/2010 8:12AM

    What a great way to stay in shape! emoticon emoticon

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FERRETLOVER1 7/12/2010 7:11AM

    Whew!! Quite an achievement-50 miles! Man, you keep that up and you'll be doing 100 miles in your sleep. I'm very proud of you - great job!!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CARRIE1948 7/12/2010 7:10AM

    Sounds like you had fun

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GRACEFULIFE 7/12/2010 12:28AM

    Sounds excellent, Don! That calorie burn rivals my brutal day of wood cutting a while back. And I went kayaking also today! Awesome!!!

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