Friday, July 23, 2010

#35 - Anybody doing "Life in a Day?"

Along with that list of things I want to do before I die, there sometimes comes along a one-off event, which falls into the category of want to do, or perhaps even (if one should miss it) a 'I am really sorry I did not do that' event.

Filming my day, or parts of it for this production "Life in a Day" is one of those things, which will fall into the category of 'I am really sorry I did not do that' if I don't give it a shot.

Are you going to participate in "Life in Day?"  I'll be filming my life.  How about you?

Wanna do it? Check out Life in a Day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

#34 - The Do Lectures in the Fforest of West Wales

The Do Lectures have been listed as one of the great "conferences" in the world.  4 days, 22 speakers, and only 80 attendees in a tent in the "Fforest" sounds like a perfect setting for learning and perhaps even unlearning.

Their website has the list of speakers from the last two years, and this September's lectures will be up after the event happens.

Of course, for a wild theologian like me to be a speaker would be a real hoot, but it looks like everyone becomes a teacher as well as a learner in the Fforest.

So, the Do Lectures make my bucket list of 1,000 things to do before I die.  It obviously is making other people's list as well.

More on #26 - Kayaking the Bay of Fundy

My second day in the Banana car trip to New Brunswick brought me to the town of Alma on the north side of the Bay of Fundy Park.  I landed in town, and quickly found Fresh Air Adventure so I could ask about where to put in, and things to do in town.

At Fresh Air I met Daelan (Sp?) and Abby, who immediately were helpful and informed where to eat, and not to eat in town, and suggested it was good to put in right across the street in the Upper Salmon River when the tide was high.

If you stop at Fresh Air Adventure, Daelan is the guy with the tattoos, and Abby is the girl with the blond dreads.   They suggested a couple places to eat.  Being from Coastal New England I was not as enticed as other tourists by the proliferation of lobster and seafood places, but it was suggested that if I wanted that the best place in town was Tides which has both a Deck with take out, or a sit in fancy eating place in the hotel.

Instead I went to the Octopus Garden.  Any place named after a Ringo Starr song has got to be cool.  Octopus Garden is a combination blown glass art gallery, and cafe.  Rachel the owner is a drummer and she runs the cafe, and her husband is the glass blower.

I visited that first afternoon and met Vernon, who was extremely knowledgeable about places to paddle in the area.

Then next morning I returned.  I arrived a little earlier than the 7:30am opening, and decided to help, since Rachel was there and  had broken her big toe and was limping around.  So, I took down the chairs from the table tops, and set out the sandwich board sign.

Then I saw the guitar on the wall.  It said Play Me.  I obeyed.

This is my pick for the place to hang out in Alma.  Good food, great Panninis, a nice blend of loose leaf teas, and local stuff you can buy.  They even have a jam session night on Wednesdays.

I kayaked around the Upper Salmon River and bounced among the rocks going as far up it as I could.  Oh, the wonders of a plastic kayak!  You can hit hard things and just keep bouncing along without a dent.  The evening I stayed there I camped on the lawn at Fresh Air after spending time hanging with Daelan and Abby.  I like Alma.  I think I'd like to go back sometime.  I still have to paddle the coast of the Bay of Fundy Park.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

#33 - Shopping at Midnight in Maine

I really don't care for shopping much, but musical instruments or certain sporting equipment can capture my fancy from time to time.  Shopping at L.L. Bean in Freeport, ME is actually fun for anyone at any age - especially if you go after midnight.  This is the store which is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Blizzards don't close it down, slow business doesn't distract it's goal of always being open.  It is the permanently open store.  I've been to L.L. Bean before, but I have never been there after midnight.

On my travels to New Brunswick to go paddling I needed a few things for the kayaking trip, and since I started late at might to drive north, I was able to stop in a L.L. Bean at 1:30am.  This is not my typical bucket list item, but I have wanted to stop in at L.L. Bean after midnight for a number of years now.

Check it off.  Done.  It really is worth the trip to Freeport, ME, which is a beautiful town, and a great place to visit.  If you like shopping, you even can go shopping at midnight, and you won't be the only person there - I wasn't.  If you are looking for deals to America and are planning on coming to New England, be sure to visit Freeport and the eternal adventure store.

I can scratch this one off my bucket list.

Kayaking The Bay of Fundy - #26 Revisited and Accomplished!

This last weekend I drove to Hopewell Rocks Park, New Brunswick, Canada.  The world's largest tides are only 9 hours drive from Boston, and so I took my $2,000 1994 BMW touring wagon, and my $200 14' sit-on-top ebay kayak and drove to Canada looking like I was riding a banana wagon.

Leaving Friday night I headed straight for Moncton, New Brunswick, and after a few other stops (see next post) arrived at the northern edge of the Bay of Fundy with my banana boat still attached to the car.

Saturday afternoon I visited Hopewell Rocks Park, bought my admission ticket, and signed a waiver at the Interpretive Centre releasing them from any potential disaster.  Then I drove to the location where the kayak instructors and tour guides put in for the the tours.

High tide was on it's way.  If you want to kayak at Hopewell Rocks, you have to do so at high tide, because at low tide you can walk in the spots covered with as much as 20-25' of water at high tide.

The day was windy and choppy with 3' to 4' waves, and there was one group already out with the guides, but they quickly went in, and canceled the second group due to the choppy seas.  I paddled south toward Hopewell Rocks, and came to the sea stacks, and "flower pots."  This place is stunning, and it is serious natural wonder worth visiting.

I spent a few hours in the water.  I rode up and down the waves appearing and disappearing to the watching crowds on the sea cliffs, and then made my way to the protected little coves of sea stacks.  I backed into tight crevices, and paddled back out again.  I explored the rugged coast line and the flower pot formations.  I chatted with onlookers in the stairwell which at low tide takes people down to the beach, and became a photo op for the other tourists.  I avoided going under Lover's Arch, because the waves were too big, and I did not feel like getting smashed between the water and the top of the stone archway.

The water was far too turbulent for me to get out my camera, and take some photos, so my D-40 stayed in the little gortex bag.

The following morning I returned to Hopewell Rocks Park to walk where I had kayaked, and took a lot of photos.  I also learned that the park rangers were watching me the whole time to make sure I was safe.  They remembered the one solo kayaker out in the choppy waves going up and down.

The Park Rangers are knowledgeable and friendly.  One gave me tips on where to head to paddle the next day, Kevin showed me videos of the black ducks he rescued from abandonment at the park, and Shawna gave me some great information on the seaweed and tides.

I am going to be headed back without question.  This is a world class adventure location, and can be experienced with a little adventure, or with complete leisure.  This is a first stop on holidays to Canada as far as I am concerned, and as for now, I can check it of my Bucket List of 1,000 things to do before I die.  Paddling the Bay of Fundy, and going back to walk where you paddled is more fun than driving a banana car.  Yep, its true - I'm a Fundy now.

Monday, July 12, 2010

#31 & #32 - Join the Fringe Element in Edinbugh, Scotland

I can check a visit to Edinburgh, Scotland off of my Bucket list of 1,000 things, but I need to do again, and perhaps consider a repeat trip to be one of the 1,000 things to do before I die.

Edinburgh calls itself the Festival City.  What has typically been the month of August with a combination of theater, art, comedy, and music including the famous Fringe Festival has now stretched itself from April to December and even into January of the next year.

Currently there are 12 festivals listed as part of the festival events in Edinburgh with the great majority of events still happening in August.

My August experience brought me to mimes, jugglers, street thespians, bagpipe and drum corps, a klezmer band, and more fun than P.T. Barnum and Walt Disney could dream up.  Of course most of the street performance is used as a way to sell tickets to events happening in the over 300 venues across the city, and yet by themselves these street performances are completely entertaining.

When you go make sure to find one of the hotels in Edinburgh city centre so you can simply step outside and walk into the frivolity.

Now my repeat appearance will hopefully be as a performer, and that is why the Edinburgh Festivals is on my list for a second time.  I've checked it off once as part of the great audience, and plan to check it off a second time as a performer.  There truly is no place like it in the world for festival fun.  It's on my Bucket list of 1,000 things to do before I die.  Add it to yours - perhaps to join me?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Update on #26 - Kayaking the Bay of Fundy

I have decided that during the week of July 18th I am going to drive the short 7 to 8 hours up to the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, and I am going to check off #26 in my bucket list of 1,000 things to do before I die.

My business partner Gareth Gwyn Jones should be meeting me up there for the fun, and my son Elijah will probably be coming along as well.  For you silly people who always worry about my safety (considering that this is the world's largest tidal range - about 50"), Gareth is a trained kayak instructor, I have spent more time in the water in competition, and sport than most people spend watching TV (well, maybe that's not true, because some people watch more TV than log in work or sleep hours), and Elijah is a strong enough swimmer/surfer to help out as well.

All that said - I am gonna be a Fundy for in the third week of July!  Woo-hoo.  Watch out Fred Phelps!  Watch out Ken Silva!  Okay, maybe that's not the kind of Fundy I mean, but hey I will be a kayaking Fundy for a few days in the Bay of Fundy.