check-in: almost September

My first check-in on my summer 2016 program has arrived. How have I done? I have not lost any weight, but I have some progress to report:

  • I cycled on my stationary bike every second day (Phase 5 of my virtual journey along the St. John River). Days 5-1 to 5-6 took me from Edmundston to just south of Rivière Verte.
  • I did less eating in the evening after 9:00. It helps that my husband is also trying not to eat after 9 PM.
  • I have planned and started my next six days of cycling – Rivière Verte to Saint Leonard.

I also made three pledges to my son during the summer. Making a promise to my son about my diet is more likely to succeed than a pledge to any other person I know! I have chosen small changes that I feel will benefit my well-being. Also, by keeping these small promises, I give my self-esteem and confidence a boost.

  • July: I pledged to not eat French fries. French fries are not good for me and other choices are always available. In two months I have not had French fries once!
  • August: I pledged to eat only small servings of ice cream. My son said this was not to allow me to eat ice cream every day!!! Actually, I eat ice cream about once a week and a small cone is a much better choice than a large cone! For one month, I have had only small servings of ice cream!
  • September: This could be a hard one. Yesterday I pledged not to drink diet or regular cola. Often it is the easy choice, but I love water and can flavour it with a bit of lime.

I’ll do another check-in at the end of September.

All the best!

Alexandra

 

drinking water

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virtual cycling

One of the strategies I use to encourage a regular stationary biking habit is ‘virtual cycling’. I began this in 2012 and, with the use of Google Earth and Street View, I have cycled virtually through:

  • central France (Lusignan, France to La Patache, France): six phases, January 30 to June 28, 2013; 196.8 km and 1975 minutes.
  • southern England (Rame, UK to Landwednack, UK; and from Predannack Wollas to Prussia Cove, UK): two phases, July 1, 2013 to December 21, 2013; and August 8, 2014 to November 24, 2014; 209 km and  2295 minutes.
  • northern New Brunswick (Campbellton to Bathurst): December 31, 2013 to March 25, 2014; 150 km and 810 minutes.
  • the upper part of the St. John River (La Frontière to Edmunston): four phases, January 27,  to February 16, 2015; 246 km and 1860 minutes. 

In the last year I gave myself a break from this virtual travel, using my time on the bike to read or make entries in my journal. Now I am ready to take on my next program of virtual travel.For this adventure, I will continue to follow the St. John River.  It is a beautiful river dominating the landscape of much of New Brunswick. The River is about 673 kilometers long (418 miles) from its beginnings in northern Maine and eastern Quebec to its mouth at the Bay of Fundy in the City of Saint John.

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St_John_River_Map

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Now I will begin Phase 5, from Edmunston to Fredericton, by way of the older highways, a distance of about 300 km. I know this part of New Brunswick very well, since I have driven the road many times.

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All the best,

Alexandra

Virtual cycling along the St. John River – day 3 to day 11

Although I haven’t been reporting regularly, I am continuing my 17 day virtual cycling trip down the headwater area of the St. John River.  I use my stationary cycle and Street View to follow a path from the headwaters in Quebec (near Lac Frontière) to a point on the upper St. John River in northern Maine (Red Pine Grove Landing Area).

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My path so far along the headwaters of the St. John River. Stickers are a great way to track my progress.

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I am still struggling with my goal of biking every second day, but I have done 11 days since I began.  Once I complete this portion of the trip, I will plot another segment to the Canadian border, and then eventually the entire length of the St. John River.

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Here is a brief glimpse of the sights I have seen on the first eleven days of my virtual travel.  Street View was available in Quebec but in northern Maine, all the Street View Roads go the wrong way.  Instead, I chose to ‘cycle’ down the middle of the river/tributaries while looking at the satellite photo and looking at images posted on the Web.  Not as exciting as Street View, but lots of imagination needed!

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Day 1 (Jan. 27) – 3.0 km – sparsely populated area; Parc Regional des Appalaches; Saint Fabien.

Day 2 (Jan 29) – 3.0 km

Day 3 (Feb 1) – 3.0 km

Day 4 (Feb 5) – 3.0 km

Day 5 (Feb 27) – 3.0 km – fireweed along the ditches; on the way to Ste. Lucie de Beauregard; teepee; Christmas tree plantation; old barn; long straight road stretching into the distance; peaks on the horizon.

Day 6 (Mar 11) – 3.0 km – visited a covered bridge near Ste. Lucie de Beauregard.

Day 7 (Mar 17) – 3.0 km – following Route du Lac toward Lac Frontière.

Day 8 (Mar 19) – 3.0 km – crossed stream, saw a sugar shack, closed for the season.

Day 9 (Mar 26) – 3.0 km – crossed into the United States; narrow cart track; dead trees; long shadows of trees along track; big bogs, red (cranberries?).

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Northern Maine
large bog in northern Maine – bright red – perhaps cranberries or bushes in fall colour

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Day 10 (April 2) – 3.0 km – following along Burntland Brook; rough cut roads; Focus Area of State-wide Ecological Significance ‘St. John River – Burntland Brook to Ninemile Bridge’ ; one of the plants found in this area is the Alpine Sweet Broom (Hedysarum alpinum L.) a bush in the bean family, with magenta pea-like flowers; lives along the calcareous gravels of the rivers and rare in Maine.  You can see images of this plant at

http://nativeplants.evergreen.ca/search/view-plant.php?ID=00341

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Day 11 (April 4) – 3.0 km – followed river, lots of shallow rapids; wilderness area with bogs and woods; large white granite boulders in river – these were broken by blasting during log drives.

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Looking forward to the next 6 days of my virtual travel and cycling!

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Best Always,

Alexandra

virtual cycling along the St. John River – Day 1 and 2

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January 29, 2015 ‘le mont Sugar Loaf’ Jane Tims

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This week, I began my virtual cycling trip along the St. John River, using my stationary cycle and Street View in Google Earth.

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My trip begins in western Quebec, Canada, near the border with the United States. This is the location of the headwaters of the North-west Branch of the St. John River near Lac Frontière and Lac Talon.  Here, the river becomes a maze of smaller tributaries and lakes.

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I began near the town of Saint-Fabien-de-Panet, travelling along Route 283 South and continuing along the long, very straight Route 204.  This week I completed Day 1 and Day 2 of my long trip for a total of 6.0 km and 60 minutes of biking.

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Along the way I saw:

  • trees, lots of trees (maple, birch and spruce)
  • ditches of asters
  • piles of stove wood ready for the winter
  • snowmobile crossing signs

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I crossed a creek eventually flowing into Lac Talon and saw le mont Sugar Loaf in the distance (see my pencil drawing above).  There are lots of mountains named Sugar Loaf in Canada and the northeastern United States.  For example, we have a Sugar Loaf in New Brunswick – see https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/mountains-and-shorelines-day-1/

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Next time, we’ll see where that long, straight Route 204 takes us!

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Best always, Alexandra

a virtual cycling exercise program

I the past, I have been successful at doing regular exercise on my stationary cycle.  My method is a little unusual – I choose a place I would like to see and map out a route I would like to follow.  Then, I use Street View in Google Earth to go on a virtual tour of the area as I cycle.  If  you would like to have a look at some of my earlier virtual cycling adventures, you can see them at http://www.nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com under the category ‘my exercise plan’.  I have done virtual trips through central France, along the southern Cornwall coast in England, and along the northern coast of New Brunswick in Canada.

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I have decided to undertake another of these virtual tours since it motivates me to cycle regularly.  For this adventure, I will follow the St. John River.  It is a beautiful river dominating the landscape of much of New Brunswick. The River is about 673 kilometers long (418 miles) from its beginnings in northern Maine and eastern Quebec to its mouth at the Bay of Fundy in the City of Saint John.  In the part of the province where I live, the St. John River is broad and meandering.  We have a cabin on one of the many lakes associated with the River.  If I do an average of 3 km per day of virtual cycling (about 1/2 hour), it will take me about 224 days to do the length of the River.  It will likely take much longer since the roads often meander more than the River!

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St_John_River_Map
Map of St. John River (Source: Wikipedia)

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One of the things I have done on my previous virtual trips is draw or paint some of the landscape I ‘see’ on Street View.  I will be doing some drawings for this cycling trip also!

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I am going to begin my trek in eastern Quebec, on the North-west Branch of the St. John River, near Lac Frontière and Lac Talon.  I have never been here in reality and I notice that Street View is not complete in this area.  So, for some of my route, I will travel without visual cues as to where I am.  Just a road map and a few photos folks have posted on Google Maps!

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Beginning on the road nearest Lac Talon, I have plotted my course on the map below.  I will begin at Dubonnet in Quebec and bike virtually to Lac Frontière, then follow some very rough logging roads in Northern Maine to the airstrip at Red Pine Grove Landing in Maine.  This is a total of 52 kilometers (about 17 days of 3 kilometres each), so I will be spending a long time near nowhere.  However, I will try and make the trip interesting by doing some reading about the area and including it in my posts.

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upper drainage of the St. John River and bike route
upper drainage of the St. John River (marked in blue) and my planned bike route for the first 17 days (marked in red). Just click on the image to make it larger!

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I will be reporting later in the week on the first days of my trip …

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Best always, Alexandra