Monthly Archives: January 2008

New Elliptical Trainer…

Well, on Thursday the 10th, our 5-year old Elliptical Trainer (a Horizon Fitness Endurance 200) broke its main axle for the 2nd time, and went to the recycle bin. I’d replaced the axle once before (cost about $150) and had replaced several other parts (several pivot tubes!) over the time we’ve had it. My wife is a serious user of these machines, doing 3-5 hours per week. We’ve sure gotten our money’s worth on that old machine.

I’m a bad shopper…I like to buy 😉

So, we jumped in the car after supper and drove to Dick’s Sporting Goods, where they had a sale on ellipticals going on. Of course, we didn’t like the cheap model, and ended up with a Horizon Fitness E700 (on sale for $799, which seemed a reasonable price based on my knowledge of the marketplace — and over the past year or so, we’ve surfed around a bit looking at different machines). I don’t normally go for an extended warranty, but knowing how much this machine will be used, we added a 3 year warranty for $129. Supposedly they’ll even replace the machine if it’s a lemon and they have multiple service calls on the same part. Seems like a good plan.

It’s a great elliptical! Smooth, and gives you a really great workout. I’ve only done it once (I usually use our Nordic Trak), though I use the Ellipitcals regularly at the UNCG gym.

Technology in the public schools…

This evening, I’ve been participating in a meeting of the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Technology Advisory Committee meeting. Interesting discussions, and a “caucus” to work toward prioritizing what can be done with the resources available. This school system is the best-performing one in the state, and the parents are highly educated and affluent. However, it’s still challenging to get the resources needed to get the things needed to do the job. This evening we’ve discussed:

  • Providing teachers with a multi-media laptop
  • Creating a 21st century classroom (projectors, whiteboards, etc.)
  • Refresh student instructional computers
  • Provide 1:1 computing access for all students
  • Installing secure wireless access through all schools

A tough set of choices as all need to be done…

Troop 449 goes backpacking…

The time between Christmas and New Year’s day is a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Here in the Southeast, the winters are relatively mild, and though it can be pretty nippy it’s often a very nice time to be out, and with the leaves off the trees, the views in the mountains can be quite spectacular.

I took my scout troop on a backpacking trip in the Shenandoah National Park, hiking the 28 miles from Thornton Gap to US522 (the northern section) from 12/28/2007 through 12/31/2007. There were three adults with eight scouts — the leaders were Carlton (1st pic in the slideshow), me (2nd pic in the slideshow) and Dave. Dave’s two boys were there, as well as Carton’s son and my youngest son.

We left Orange County NC around 8:15AM on the 28th and drove to Thornton Gap, where US211 crosses the Skyline drive. Dave took the scouts down the trail about 3.5 miles to the first campsite (Beahm’s Gap) while Carlton and I shuttled cars to have one at each end of the hike. It was cool & overcast, but not raining. The scouts got to the campsite around 3PM, and Carlton and I arrived about 4:30PM. It was a good thing I’d stopped at REI to pick up some tarps, since it started raining about 4:45…we cooked and sat around under the tarps. The guys seemed to have a great time hanging the food up a tree in the “bear bag”, given the laughter, despite the rain.

Dawn Saturday broke to overcast skies, but with the promise of clearing. It was a very nice day, no rain, and temps pushing into the low 50’s. Met some PATC trail workers who told us of a forecast for freezing precipitation on Sunday, so we started gearing up. Hiked to Gravel Springs shelter for the night, about 11 miles. That “vitamin I” (ibuprofen) is a good thing ;-). Made camp about 3:30PM. A nice night, mild, no rain, and plenty of room in the shelter.

Sunday started cool and cloudy, with the promise of rain. It was a great day for hiking, with temps in the upper 30’s and just a few spits of rain, never enough for raingear. Made the 10 miles to Tom Floyd wayside by 3PM. This was a small shelter, and we crammed our group in like sardines ;-). The freezing precipitation never materialized at our lower elevation, and we just had rain on the roof.

On Monday morning (New Year’s Eve), Carlton and I got out early, about 7:15AM, to go to US522 and shuttle the cars. There was a little bit of ice on the road, but the VA DOT had been out and salted and sanded, so things were fine.

We got the cars back to 522 by 10:15, and we loaded up and headed for home, not before eating out the buffet at Golden Corral in Charlottesville.

A great time was had by all!