Canal du Midi – Windstrup and Watkins Spring Vacation 2012

15 04 2012

For the longest time I have wanted to explore the Canal du Midi in France. I remember seeing something about it on TV in the late 80s thinking that I want to do that someday. Might have been the BBC cooking show Floyd on France or some other PBS show at the time. I had no idea I would eventually live in the country not just vacation there. After living in France for 10 years while discussing my younger man’s dream with some friends over dinner I discovered other compatriots who had similar dreams. We discussed it a bit and decided on the spot to just do it. What a wonderful opportunity to discover the mysteries of the canal and the charm of the connected cities together aboard the same “Le Boat”. We all took pictures and I took a ton of video. Click on the image below to see the edited and loosely narrated video of our adventure. Or if you want to simply see our photos in a slideshow click here on the photo book slideshow.

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RunKeeper

1 04 2012

I’ve always had a fascination with old school pedometers and more recently GPS receivers. These gadgets have encouraged me to get out and about more over the years. I remember back in my youth calculating my run stride with simple math and the yardstick measured distance of the sidewalk in front of my childhood home. I entered this “scientific” information into the electro-mechanical unit I saved up to purchase in the 80s. It made a thumping noise as I ran but it did tally up and fairly accurately show the distance traveled. Of course that was back in the day when I was on the track and cross-country teams. Many years later when we arrived in France I got my first GPS. I was able to see the electronic or “breadcrumb” track of my bike rides and hikes in the environs of our new home. I tediously massaged this information to view it overlaid on georeferenced digitally scanned maps. Imagine my delight now with applications like RunKeeper on the iPhone or hardware like the Fitbit. The Fitbit is a pedometer beyond my dreams replete with wireless transfer of 3D accelerometer and altitude data sent to the web for detailed reporting and analyses. It even tracks how efficient you sleep if you can imagine that. RunKeeper is an iPhone application that does it all! This thing tracks distance traveled and provides a detailed map tracking exactly where you ran and you instantaneous pace at any given point on the map. Cool stuff. It makes me really want to get out there and run as you’ll see in the video. Christine and the kids have been joining me fairly regularly too. The distance and pace I’ve been running is nothing great but my simple goal is to run once a week for at least a year. Let’s see how I do.

http://runkeeper.com/user/jeffwindstrup/activitylist

If not for anything else, if these gadgets get me out and about more, especially the times with my family, they are good gadgets indeed.