Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winter Weather: 2015 Edition

You didn't really think we would make it the entire winter without a major snow or ice event, did you?

Prior to this week, RDU Airport's official snow/ice total for the entire 2014-15 Winter was "trace". Now, it's 1.4":

Pretty much every forecast in the 48 hours prior to Monday had more freezing rain potential than the previous forecast, to the point where by Monday afternoon, the forecast discussions mentioned potentially crippling amounts of ice. I was pretty worried about the prospect of a long term power outage, given that this event would be followed by record-breaking cold later in the week (during which it would be nice to have functioning heat), and also because we have two young children. So, one inch of sleet? Great! Just enough to take Marla sledding on Tuesday.

(In defense of the "crippling amounts of ice" forecasts: Winter weather forecasting is extremely difficult, especially when you're in the vicinity of that 0°C line, either at the surface or aloft. And, they did get 0.25"-0.50" of ice accrual farther south towards Fayetteville, which did result in scattered power outages down that way.)

Looks like fun, except that at least one of us has been sick at any given time for the last week, so...maybe this wasn't the best time to be stuck at home for a few days. (Really it was 4½ days, including the 3-day weekend that preceded the sleet.) Working from home is extremely difficult when you have young kids around, especially when one of them, plus your wife, are sick. Honestly, it's been a pretty tough week, and in hindsight, I could have done without this storm. Also...I'm assuming this meant that there was zero construction progress at the Triangle Curling Center this week.

Next up: Friday morning is expected to be the coldest morning in Raleigh since I moved here. I think the coldest temperature recorded at RDU since I moved here (2006) is 7°F, recorded 1/30/2014. Friday's low could approach 0°F. If you ask me, if it's going to be that cold, then let's go negative! But, we probably won't be going negative tomorrow morning. Then, we've got another cold week ahead next week (although probably not this cold), which means if we get any more precipitation next week, it may not be plain old rain.

School closing analysis

The last blog post I wrote about school delays/closings due to the weather got very few clicks, too few for me to justify keeping that up here. So, I'm taking that effort off my personal blog/Twitter and will instead think about directing that info to a more specific audience, for example, a pre-existing Facebook group for local parents.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Silly Solo Trip to Louisiana: Recap

There are a lot of things I could have done with my three days of vacation time. Why did I decide to spend it driving nearly 2,400 miles?

Well, this road trip thing is sort of a fun game. Let's start with the primary goal: how can I visit as many new counties as possible in as little time as possible? I think this is a pretty fun math / map problem to figure out. My chosen route through Alabama-Mississippi-Louisiana gave me 48 new counties (colored dark red on the linked map) - not necessarily the absolute most I could have gotten in three days' time starting/ending from home, but good enough. Since I had three days, I also wanted to take advantage of the time and get farther away from home, even though I could have probably gotten more counties staying a bit closer to home and driving back and forth across Kentucky and Tennessee, perhaps. And, of course, "How likely is Amber going to want to take a vacation here someday" was also a consideration. (We've actually already done road trips to both Alabama and Mississippi. Unlikely to do another one.)

By the way, if you're wondering how much this trip cost me...I spent $155.45 on gas and $131.85 on hotels, for a total of $287.30. That seems like a lot of money to spend for three days of driving, and you're right. Roadgeeking is not the cheapest of hobbies. On the other hand...
- It's not like we've been spending much on travel lately.
- If I had taken this same exact trip one year ago when the average price of gas was $1.15/gal higher, then the trip would have cost me an additional $80.
- If I had taken my Subaru Forester instead of Amber's Mazda 3, then I would have gotten slightly worse gas mileage, and had to spend an additional $40 on gas.
- Really, the most efficient way for me to get the maximum number of new counties would have been to fly to Dallas and rent a car for three days. If I did that, the total trip expense might have even breached $1,000. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Here's another thing that makes this a fun game: timing. How accurate are the Google Maps projected trip times? How much driving can I do by myself in a given day, anyway?

The Google Maps projected trip times are as accurate as they've ever been. Google said the entire trip would take me 35:54 (that's the "no traffic" time, excluding stops). If you subtract out the 12 minutes I spent sitting in Atlanta traffic, the entire trip took me: 36:18. (The Garmin time pictured above is unofficial because it also includes taking exits to gas stations, things like that.) Gone are the days in which map software assumed you would drive 60 mph on the interstate or something silly like that. Google is much more reasonable now. (As for other map websites...who cares? THERE IS ONLY GOOGLE MAPS.)

The drive time distribution over the three days was 12:48, 13:01, and (including the Atlanta traffic jam) 10:41. Was that too much driving? Nope! At least, not in terms of personal stamina. It would have been nice to see some of these places during daylight hours.

So...what did I see on this road trip, anyway? In southern Louisiana, I saw lots of bridges.

And, I saw a lot of French-sounding names.

Seriously, "Acadiana" (as it's known) might be the only part of the country where having a French-sounding name is actually good for business. If your last name is something like "Thibodeaux" and you want to get into politics or law, there's no better place to be than here. Somebody named "Thibodeaux" is far, far more likely to win an election in Louisiana than anywhere else in the country.

The Northern Alabama mountains were scenic - at least, the parts that I saw during daylight hours - but that's about it for scenery. But for some reason, I still enjoy driving through the rural South. It's interesting.

Here's the (approximate) entirety of the route: (Google Maps embedding doesn't work with more complicated routes, apparently. Sorry.)

The reason I took I-75 and I-20 through Georgia on the way back - not part of the original plan - was because I realized that would give me every mile of interstate in Georgia. Hooray! Also, I'm now only 360 miles short of having driven exactly half of the entire interstate highway system. Which has me thinking...if I wanted to, what's the most efficient way for me to get those 360 miles?

On second thought, that's enough of this craziness for a while. By the third day, I was pretty lonely and questioning whether I should have gone on this trip in the first place. In hindsight, two days would have made for a more enjoyable trip than three days. But I couldn't have made it to Louisiana and back in two days, either, so...well, I don't know. Either way, at least now I've been to Avoyelles Parish.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Silly Solo Trip to Louisiana: Preview

Alright, here's the deal. I have five days of vacation time I need to use between now and the end of March, or else I lose it. Amber has pretty much no vacation balance at the moment, and even if she did, now isn't really the optimal time for big family road trips. Other than visiting family, and maybe a quick overnight trip or two to some place close (e.g. Charlotte, the beach), we're holding off on any longer road trips until after Bruce's first birthday. (Just in time for fall!)

I'm saving two of my five vacation days for potential snow days, but for the other three, I'm going on a solo trip to Louisiana next week.

That's a picture I dug up from 2004, when my friends and I drove from Tallahassee to Louisiana for the day. This was one month before I graduated from FSU, because I figured Tallahassee was as close to Louisiana as I was going to get for a while. (I've actually been back to Louisiana a couple times since then, though.)

Why Louisiana? Because I've gathered that of all the places in the US, the "Deep South" is Amber's least favorite place to go. Louisiana may not be 50th out of 50 on her list of "favorite vacation states", but it's gotta be close. I don't want her to miss anything on this trip she would particularly enjoy. But also, I'm going here because there are a lot of counties parishes in Louisiana that I haven't been to yet. And that's really going to be my primary goal on this trip: county collecting.

Actually, there is one drive in Louisiana I think Amber would enjoy: the road from New Orleans down to the Mississippi Delta.

But, I'm not going to do that drive on this trip, not only to save it for another time, but also because that drive would be very inefficient in terms of county collecting. I only have three days*, you know, and most of that time will be spent just getting to and from. Out of these three days, I only expect to spend a total of 7-8 hours actually in Louisiana.

(* - Pre-children, we would make a five-night trip out of three days' vacation, leaving after work on "Day 0", and then being away for three weekdays plus a weekend after that. I'm not leaving for Louisiana until Monday morning, though, so that I don't miss any weekend time with the family. Normally I might use extra vacation time to go to an out-of-town curling bonspiel, but to do that I would have to miss weekend time at home, instead of limiting my time away to work days.)

So instead of going down to the "end of the road", here is the route I'm taking through Louisiana:

(I really hate the new Google Maps embedding, by the way. The old Google Maps was so much better for this.)

Nothing all that exciting, really, but I am going to get lots of newly visited counties parishes out of it! (And, US-90 from New Orleans to Lafayette has always intrigued me for some reason.) The routes I'm taking through Mississippi and Alabama were also specifically designed to maximize my county intake. The goal for the trip is 47 new counties/parishes, which will put me at nearly 55% for the country.

Am I going to be doing any sightseeing during these three days? Nope. Just driving. Louisiana is far enough away from home, three days isn't enough time to go down there and sightsee. Besides, anything worth stopping for, I would want to have the family with me anyway.

Gas prices are low, curling season hasn't started yet, and the weather forecast looks good, both at home and in Louisiana. (By "good" I really just mean "not icy/snowy".) Now is the perfect time for something dumb and silly like this. Weeee!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Kindergarten: Not Too Soon Edition

When the kids are old enough to start kindergarten*, usually the parents are like, "It's WAY TOO SOON for my baby to be starting school already!!" Not us. We'll be prepared.

(* - The word "kindergarten" is long, and hard to type, so for the rest of the post I'm just going to use the letter "K".)

Marla turned 3½ yesterday, and so she's still 19 months away from her first day of K. Too soon to be looking into what we'll need to do this time next year to get her in a good school? Nope. Not at all. Like I said, we're going to be prepared.

I went into this knowing virtually nothing about the logistics of sending our kid to K in Durham, other than that there's an elementary school in our neighborhood, and that there are also these things called "charter schools" and "magnet schools". Here's basically what I think I've learned about how it works in the Durham Public Schools:

- By default, your kid will go to your neighborhood school.
- You can apply to send your kid to a magnet school instead. Entry into magnet schools is 100% lottery based. There is one central lottery encompassing all of Durham Public Schools' magnet schools. Magnet schools are either tailored to a specific subject (e.g. science), or a style of teaching (e.g. Montessori), or are "regular" schools that just happen to be on a year-round calendar, if that's your thing.
- Durham also has free-to-attend charter schools, which might do things a little bit differently than the regular public schools do, I guess. Just like with the magnet schools, admission to charter schools is lottery-based, except that each charter school has its own lottery that you need to apply to separately.

First question: is our neighborhood school any good? Well...I've heard that it's "good enough", but it's not one of the best elementary schools, either, and that some of the magnet schools and charter schools are better options, if we're lucky enough to win their respective lotteries.

Speaking of the lotteries...this year's Durham magnet school lottery (for the 2015-16 school year) closes at the end of January, with results announced in March, and at least one of the charter school lotteries closes at the end of February, with results announced soon thereafter. K registration at neighborhood schools opens in March, so we can wait until after the lottery results before registering at the neighborhood school. (This is the main thing I wanted to look into right away: the deadlines. Don't want to be caught with our pants down this time next year.)

And actually, two of the Durham magnet schools have a pre-K program, which we could send Marla to, for free...if we win the lottery. We applied for those schools this year, although my understanding is that our chances of being selected are next to nothing. May as well apply, though, right? And if even Marla is selected, that doesn't commit us; we can decline the spot for whatever reason.

So, now we already know what we're going to do this time next year when it comes to K registration for Marla. We know which magnet schools, and at least one charter school, we're going to apply to this time next year, and we know when we need to do it. And, we're satisfied "enough" with the local neighborhood school, we won't panic if we don't win any of the lotteries.

And by the way, private schools are too expensive,


If you ask me, this is all kind of silly. But this is what happens with neighborhood-based school systems: schools become segregated, and certain schools end up with a disproportionate number of students from low-income families. Those students typically perform worse on tests, so those schools end up looking bad by all of the various metrics, no matter how "good" the actual school itself is, or the teachers at that school are. The result is a few schools in the district for which the parents are like, "No way I'm sending my kids to that school!" And once a school is stigmatized that way, it is a very, very difficult label to shake, and it only gets worse as time goes on.

The workaround for this problem, so that parents in certain neighborhoods don't get "stuck" sending their kids to "bad" schools? Some districts move kids around in a kind of "hybrid neighborhood" approach, such that each school ends up with similar demographics. Not only does this desegregate the schools, but it also means that there aren't really any "bad" schools in the district. This is what Wake County used to do, to much acclaim...until a few school board members thought that the kids shouldn't be spending so much time on the bus, so they reverted back to neighborhood schools. (That's my understanding, anyway. I don't exactly know what kind of system they use now, or how many magnet / charter schools are in Wake County.)

What most school systems, do, though, is give parents a "choice"...sort of. First, there are magnet schools, often which are located in the poorest areas of town (i.e. the would-be "bad" schools), designed to attract students from all over the county. In cases where that isn't enough, "charter schools" pop up, which are basically the same thing as magnet schools, except that they're independent and not run by the county school system, but are still taxpayer funded and free to attend. But low-income families deserve a "choice", too, so you can't really make attendance at these schools merit-based (i.e. for smart kids only). But since the demand for these alternative schools is, no doubt, overwhelming...lottery it is! So, while it seems like we have options, it really comes down to luck of the draw. As someone who likes to plan ahead - for example, thinking about schools 19 months before either of our children will start attending them - that's a bit disconcerting.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Curling Night In America: The Debut

Even though it's not an Olympic year, it's never been a better time to be a curling fan in the United States. All major Canadian curling championships are available on ESPN3, and now we also have NBCSN's "Curling Night in America", which debuted last Friday night.

What is "Curling Night in America"? It's a made-for-TV tournament that USA Curling hosted back in December, featuring top American teams plus teams from China, Japan, and New Zealand. NBCSN taped the event over a few days with plans to broadcast the curling as part of "Curling Night in America", a six non-consecutive-week series of curling broadcasts airing late night on Friday.

11 PM is waaaaay to late for me to be awake these days, so I DVRed the CNIA debut and watched it the next morning with my kids. (Marla: "I wanna watch 'Mickey Mouse'! Dad: "Sorry, Marla, Mommy and Daddy are watching curling!")

(Actually, in all seriousness, curling grabs Marla's attention more than any other sport I watch on TV. Perhaps because she's actually seen her parents do it? Or, it's just because curling is awesome.)

This is a USA Curling production, so obviously, the goal is to promote USA Curling, particularly the top teams selected to be part of the "High Performance Program" (HPP), aimed at improving our results at the Olympics. The HPP curlers could prove to be very good in another three years, but given that the majority of the curlers in the HPP have zero experience at Olympic or World Championships, they're not there yet. This is a four-year-plan, not a one-year-plan. So, the foreign teams that were invited to participate in CNIA...they aren't the best of the best, exactly. At best, they're comparable in skill level to the USA teams. At worst, they're here just to make USA Curling look good.

Game #1 featured a women's team from the HPP, skipped by Nina Roth (née Spatola), defending national champion. (Roth/Spatola won the national championship last year with a slightly different team.) The opponent was a Chinese team I wasn't familiar with. (It wasn't the top Chinese women's team.) The US team mostly played well, but China won, mostly because of a strategy error by the US in the 4th end in which the US mistakenly gave China an opportunity for three points, which they took. In my limited experience playing Skip on real curling ice, I've had plenty of "Oops, I didn't know that I left them that shot for three" moments. (Except that it was usually for four or five.) That's the sort of thing you learn through experience, and that's one benefit to the HPP program.

"Curling Night in America" is great, but how can it be even better? I've got some ideas:

- It needs to be on every week. One reason the NFL is so popular is because it has consistent timeslots. For example, everyone knows that if it's Monday night, there's football on. (During the season, at least.) Not that curling will ever be the NFL, but the best way to build an audience is to have a consistent weekly timeslot. For next year, double the length of the CNIA series and have it on every week from mid-January through early April.

- More spectators, louder spectators. Watching the Canadian events with large audiences, you can definitely feel the buzz and the excitement from the crowd. The site of the CNIA broadcasts, the Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, Minnesota, seemed awfully quiet. (Maybe this was the 9 AM draw?) Since this is a made-for-TV event, they should have done what they could to fill the bleachers to the max and encourage the spectators to CHEER! Don't just clap politely when the USA makes a nice shot. Go nuts! They still should not cheer for opponent misses, though.

- A better time slot...maybe. Friday at 11 PM doesn't sound like a great time slot,'s why I'm actually warming up to it. Curling has a "cult following", right? I think it makes perfect sense to broadcast a "cult following" sport at this hour. Curling fans are dedicated, and they'll find it whenever it's on. And there's little competition to speak of at that hour, so CNIA has the potential to take over the timeslot, if you will. It's Friday night? TIME FOR CURLING! Although, while there has been plenty of social media buzz in the days/weeks leading up to Curling Night, there was very little buzz during the broadcast, even among all of the curling people I follow on Twitter and Facebook.

- Broadcast some non-US events. It was logistically easiest to film the entire six-week series in one weekend, sure. But CNIA would be better if it featured games from different tournaments. It doesn't have to feature a US team all the time, either. Maybe feature something international, either from Canada or the World Championships? Maybe find the Norwegian men's team - you know, the one with the pants - and film whatever tournament they happen to be playing in next weekend? Even casual curling fans would recognize the Norwegians. Of course, that would have to be up to NBCSN, not USA Curling, and CNIA is as much a product of USA Curling as it is NBCSN, if not more so.

Curling Night In America continues...not this week (see what I mean?), but the following Friday, February 6, at 11 PM Eastern.

By the way...I MISS CURLING SOOOOO MUCH. I have played a total of two games in the last six months, and it's killing me. All this curling on television and whatnot is great, but it's making me miss playing that much more. The new Triangle Curling Club building can't open soon enough.

Fun Fusion Indoor Playground

I don't do playground reviews anymore because by now, I've seen it all. INDOOR playgrounds, however...

So, it's Saturday, and it's raining. You want to get out of the house, ideally somewhere where your child(ren) can play. But you don't really feel like going to the usual children's museums like Marbles or the Museum of Life and Science, either, because you've already been to each of those places, like, a lot. (But not so often that it's worth getting a membership, either.) Where to?

Locally, two places come mind: Defy Gravity, an indoor trampoline park of sorts, and Monkey Joe's, which has a bunch of inflatable castles and slides and stuff. (I think. Their website isn't particularly detailed as far as exactly what they have there.) We've never been to either of them because we just assume that, like Marbles, they're always insanely crowded on rainy Saturdays. According to the online reviews, Monkey Joe's is an absolute mad house. As for Defy Gravity, it seems a little too "big kid" for a 3-year-old.

We're no strangers to driving out of town to smaller attractions because they're likely to be less crowded than anything in Raleigh or Durham. So, we drove to a place called "Fun Fusion" in Mebane, 30 minutes from our house. (By our standards, that's pretty close.) There you'll find inflatable castles and slides and trampolines and stuff.

Marla loved it! Big win for us, and it wasn't crowded at all, at least at first. It started to fill up later in the afternoon.

Fun Fusion is relatively new business, such that if you look it up on Google Street View, you'll see a sign that says "Opening Summer 2013!"

The pricing is very affordable: parents are free, infants are free (not much for old Bruce to do there yet), and Marla was $8.50. So between that and the (lack of) crowds, and this place's "newness", and the fact that it's hidden in a nondescript office building in downtown Mebane, it makes me wonder: can they stay in business? I hope so, because we really liked it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Snow Day Forecasts: 1/7/15 - 1/15/15

Back in November, I said that I would try my hand at predicting when Triangle-area schools would delay or close due to the weather, with a focus on the following public school systems: Wake County, Durham County, Orange County, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro. The last couple of weeks gave me some opportunities, so let's see how we did:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Synopsis: It's cold! The forecast low was 11°F with wind chills below 0°F, and a Wind Chill Advisory was issued for the entire area. But is that enough to prompt schools to delay? ... Well, maybe. Last winter, there were Wind Chill Advisories on two separate days: one delayed all schools two hours (1/7/14), and one did not (1/24/14). I thought this would be cold enough to prompt delays.

What actually happened: Many rural school districts delayed schools by two hours, but Wake County and Durham County did not delay. Wind chills never actually got below zero in the Triangle, but they got close.

Bottom line: That 1/7/14 cold snap was especially unique, giving the Triangle its coldest temperatures / wind chills in over a decade. Plus, everyone was panicking about the "polar vortex". (1/7/14 was basically "peak polar vortex panic".) So, maybe that was an exceptional case, and that it takes the kind of cold snap that only happens once every few years to close the largest area school systems (Wake and Durham counties). Most everyone else in the area, though, including Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro, did post a two hour delay. Haven't yet figured out exactly what amount of "cold" it takes to delay schools, but it's clear that a Wind Chill Advisory is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition.

(By the way...I'm not taking it upon myself to judge whether the schools' decisions are "right" or "wrong", or whether schools should have been delayed or closed or whatever. All I'm trying to do is analyze and predict what they do, not whether that's what they should have done.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Synopsis: Freezing rain was a near certainty, much, and where? Throughout the week the forecasts went everywhere from "nuisance event affecting only bridges and elevated surfaces" to "possible 1/4-inch of ice resulting in scattered power outages". While we were under a Winter Storm Watch for a time, the final forecast was closer to the "nuisance event" side of things: Winter Weather Advisory for around 0.10" of ice, with higher amounts east of the Triangle along I-95. I figured school delays were all but certain, and that closings would depend on the impacts, with closings more likely east.

What actually happened: Tuesday night, all schools announced a two-hour delay. Ice totals underperformed the forecast region-wide (I think), and RDU only reported 0.02" of freezing rain. But that was still enough to cause icy roads and several accidents Wednesday morning, and that prompted all local schools to close for the entire day...except Wake County, which kept the two-hour delay intact. Because ice amounts were light everywhere, roads were actually worse north/west (Durham / Orange) than they were east (Wake), due to colder temperatures.

Bottom line: It doesn't take much ice to close schools for the day. Basically, the threat of freezing rain - any freezing rain worthy of a Winter Weather Advisory or more - will, at minimum, delay schools. Then, schools usually wait until the morning to decide whether or not to close for the day. Generally speaking, lots of weather-related accidents = closed for the day, although larger school districts like Wake have a larger threshold for that. Although, being a large school district, Wake County also has to consider conditions in the entire county, which can vary greatly. See how complicated this is? Still, I thought I had a pretty good feel for what would happen here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Synopsis: So, the "ice storm" is over. We're out of the woods now, right? ... Nope! Temperatures will drop back below freezing overnight, so any remaining puddles / wet spots will refreeze, resulting in a new black ice threat. Although, the NWS technical discussion (my primary source for weather forecast info) only said the threat would be "isolated" or "patchy" - I forget the exact word they used, but the black ice threat wasn't enough to prompt a new Winter Weather Advisory, only a less severe "Special Weather Statement".

What actually happened: Most schools delayed two hours (Chapel Hill-Carrboro a notable exception), citing conditions on untreated secondary roads. Temperatures largely stayed at or above freezing across the Triangle, and roads were mostly fine - certainly nothing like the day before.

Bottom line: Even after a small ice or snow event, it sometimes takes longer than it seems it should for schools to return to normal schedule. That's because secondary roads are low on NCDOT's winter maintenance priority list, meaning they won't return to "normal" until they melt/dry on their own. That can sometimes take a couple of days, especially in January. Thus, depending on how quickly temperatures moderate, public school delays/closures tend to linger after ice/snow events, even if everything looks fine at your house. This is more true in county-wide schools districts than it is in a city school district such as Chapel Hill-Carrboro, which saw fit to open on schedule Thursday morning. These kinds of "residual" storm-related delays are very hard to predict more than a day in advance, I'm finding. I honestly thought we'd all be back to normal schedule by today, but "no Winter Weather Advisory" does not mean "all clear".

Snow day totals for the season

Wake County: 0 closed, 2 delayed, 0 closed early
Durham County: 1 closed, 1 delayed, 0 closed early
Orange County: 1 closed, 2 delayed, 0 closed early
Chapel Hill-Carrboro: 1 closed, 1 delayed, 0 closed early

Still have a long way to go to match last season's totals.

The week ahead

No more weather-related delays/closures are expected for at least the next week. But, the medium and long range folks are saying that the end of January / early February could be quite interesting. If so, hopefully it will be more "snow" than "ice".

Friday, January 09, 2015

Bicycling Trip in Asia: Part 2

Skip to the latest update

I ride my bicycle a lot. It's good exercise, and so to help motivate me to keep doing that, I track my bicycling distance and plot it on a map, as if I were on a long cross-continent journey.

I've been doing this since October 2009, during which time I've "ridden" from my front door to Homer, Alaska (28½ months); across Australia, Sydney to Perth (14 months); and halfway across Asia, Singapore to New Delhi (19½ months). Bicycling is a) still fun and b) still good exercise, so let's keep going!

The second half of my fictional Bicycling Trip in Asia will take me 3,586 miles from New Delhi to Istanbul. All this is part of a lifelong goal of mine to ride my bicycle "around the world", in a manner of speaking: North America first, then Australia, now Asia, then eventually Europe, Africa, South America, and then North America again. If I can maintain my pace from Asia Part 1 (46 miles per week), that would put me in Istanbul in summer 2016.

LAST UPDATE: 4 Mar 2015 (updated weekly, generally)

This Google Map shows my progress. Each placemark indicates one week. Blue route = completed route. The routes shown on the map may not be exact, but are close enough for my purposes.

Current road: Lahore Ring Road
Current location: Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Total distance traveled (Part 2): 318 miles in 9 weeks
Total distance traveled (Asia): 4,220 miles in 93 weeks
18 Feb - 25 Feb distance: 22 miles (ranked 8th / 9 weeks)
25 Feb - 4 Mar distance: 24 miles (ranked 7th / 9 weeks)
New Delhi to Istanbul: 8.9% complete (3,268 miles to go)
Singapore to Istanbul: 56.4% complete
Singapore to Gibraltar (ish): 41.9% complete (5,844 miles to go)

Upcoming points of interest

M2 motorway: 14 miles
Sheikhupura: 28 miles
Bhalwal: 110 miles
Islamabad Capital Territory: 215 miles
Afghanistan border: 349 miles

Time spent in each country
(Italics: in progress. This reflects the entire Singapore-Gibraltar route, not just "Asia Part 2". Individual states also listed for the current country.)

Singapore: 4 days (19 miles, 33 miles/week)
Malaysia: 77 days (510 miles, 46 miles/week)
Thailand: 156 days (920 miles, 41 miles/week)
Myanmar: 129 days (852 miles, 46 miles/week)
India: 285 days (1,905 miles, 47 miles/week)
Pakistan: 1 day (15/364 miles, -- miles/week)
- Punjab: 1 day (15/263 miles, -- miles/week)
- Islamabad Capital Terr.: (8 miles)
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: (70 miles)
- Federally Administered Tribal Areas: (23 miles)
Afghanistan: (742 miles)
Iran: (1,222 miles)
Turkey: (1,118 miles)
Bulgaria: (228 miles)
Serbia: (279 miles)
Croatia: (190 miles)
Slovenia: (118 miles)
Italy: (434 miles)
France: (330 miles)
Spain: (834 miles)

Trip log
(Only showing country and state lines, and major cities, to make this log shorter)

3 Jan 2015: Start of Part 2 - New Delhi, India
8 Jan 2015: State - Haryana, India
17 Jan 2015: City - Panipat, India
25 Jan 2015: City - Ambala, India
27 Jan 2015: State - Punjab, India
5 Feb 2015: City - Ludhiana, India
23 Feb 2015: City - Amritsar, India
3 Mar 2015: Country - Pakistan (State - Punjab)
3 Mar 2015: City - Lahore, Pakistan