Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bicycling Trip in Africa: Part 1

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Bicycling is good exercise and is fun. To help motivate me to keep doing it, I track my bicycling distance on Google Maps as if I were riding my bike around the world. I started in October 2009:

North America: Durham to Alaska, 10/8/09 - 2/21/12, 4,629 miles
Australia: Sydney to Perth, 2/23/12 - 4/27/13, 2,473 miles
Asia, Part 1: Singapore to New Delhi, 5/21/13 - 1/3/15, 3,902 miles
Asia, Part 2: New Delhi to Istanbul, 1/3/15 - 7/26/16, 3,586 miles
Europe: Istanbul to Tarifa, 7/26/16 - 8/28/17, 2,576 miles
Africa, Part 1: Tangier to Lagos, 4,039 miles
Africa, Part 2: Lagos to Cape Town, 4,561 miles
South America, Part 1: Ushuaia to Iquique, approx 3,200 miles
South America, Part 2: Iquique to Turbo, approx 3,000 miles
North America return: Yaviza to Durham, approx 4,200 miles

That's a total of 17,166 miles completed so far, with about 19,000 miles remaining. So over the last 8+ years, I've biked the equivalent distance from North Carolina to Alaska, and then across three other continents (Australia, Asia, Europe)...and I'm still not halfway done.

Africa is going to be a grind, too. It's a bigger continent than people realize, since many popular map projections misrepresent its true size. Also, I'm not taking the most direct route from north (Morocco) to south (South Africa, obviously), because a trip through the middle of the Sahara Desert or the jungles of Central Africa would be boring, with long stretches of few, if any, points of interest. Even though I'm only riding my bike across Africa on a pretend basis, occasional points of interest are still important, because that's part of what helps motivate me to push a little farther. ("Only 50 miles to Barcelona! Maybe I'll bike a little farther so I can get there today.") Also, there are a lot of small countries along the West African coast that I would totally miss if I traveled in a straight line from Algeria to Nigeria*. So, instead of taking a direct route down the continent, I'm basically hugging the coast, even if it takes me a bit longer.

(* - Fun fact! If you ask Google to give you directions from Morocco to Nigeria, it takes you back into Spain and then onto a ferry from Spain to Algeria. Why the heck does it do that? Because...the Morocco-Algeria border has been closed for over 20 years.)

Here's another thing that motivates me - keeping up a good pace:

North America: 37.4 miles per week
Australia: 40.3 miles per week
Asia Part 1: 46.1 miles per week
Asia Part 2: 44.0 miles per week
Europe: 45.3 miles per week

Motivation to keep that weekly average up helps get me on my bike every single week. A week off absolutely kills the average. Can't have that! Dipping back below 40 miles per week would be absolutely unacceptable! Easier said then done, though - often the problem isn't laziness, it's finding the time, or sometimes weather. North Carolina is a nice place to be in that you can bike year-round, except for a winter storm or two each year. (Part of the reason the Asia Part 1 average is higher than the Asia Part 2 average is because Part 1 coincided with just one winter, while Part 2 coincided with two winters.)

"Well...why don't you just BIKE FASTER???" Actually, I am! I got bike shoes that attach to the pedals last year ("clipless pedals" as they're known, which is a dumb name, but oh well). That alone improved my average speed by 1 to 1.5 miles per hour. That doesn't sound like much, but without upgrading the equipment, riding 15.0 mph instead of 13.5 mph requires a LOT more effort. But thanks to my equipment upgrade, I can ride 45 miles in the same amount of time that I used to be able to ride 40 miles. Again, that doesn't sound like that much of a difference, but those extra miles add up.

While my route through Europe had 100% Google Street View coverage, my route through Africa has, at most, 15% coverage: Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, and that's it. They could add more countries in the next few years (come on, Namibia!), but chances are, I'll be doing this pretend Africa bike ride without knowing what most of the landscape looks like. Like I said, Africa is going to be kind of a grind. But, maybe I'll have an excuse to get a new bike sometime soon. Almost all of the Asia+Europe miles came on the same bike.

LAST UPDATE: 15 Nov 2017 (usually updated every other week)

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: A7 Motorway
Current location: Tizi El Hajjaj, Souss-Massa-Draa, Morocco
Total distance traveled (Africa): 464 miles in 11 weeks
Total distance traveled (World): 17,630 miles in 419 weeks
1 Nov - 8 Nov distance: 45 miles (ranked 6th / 11 weeks)
8 Nov - 15 Nov distance: 54 miles (ranked T-3rd / 11 weeks)
Tangier, Morocco to Lagos: 11.5% complete (3,575 miles to go)
Tangier, Morocco to Cape Town: 5.4% complete (8,136 miles to go)

Upcoming points of interest

Agadir: 25 miles
Tiznit: 77 miles
Guelmim-Es Semara region: 117 miles
Souss-Massa-Draa region (re-enter): 124 miles
Guelmim-Es Semara region (re-enter): 127 miles
Guelmim: 144 miles
Western Sahara border: 373 miles

Time spent in each country
(Italics: in progress. This includes all of Africa. Individual states/provinces also listed for the current country.)

Morocco: 77 days (464/837 miles, 42 miles/week)
- Tangier-Tetouan: 8 days (67 miles, 59 miles/week)
- Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen: 10 days (70 miles, 49 miles/week)
- Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer: 3 days (40 miles, 93 miles/week)
- Grand Casablanca: 4 days (30 miles, 53 miles/week)
- Chaouia-Ouardigha: 21 days (75 miles, 25 miles/week)
- Doukkala-Abda: 3 days (5 miles, 12 miles/week)
- Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz: 24 days (159 miles, 46 miles/week)
- Souss-Massa-Draa: 4 days (18/138 miles, 32 miles/week)
- Guelmim-Es Semara: (153 miles)
- Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra: (100 miles)
Western Sahara: (558 miles)
Mauritania: (401 miles)
Senegal: (494 miles)
Guinea: (713 miles)
Cote d'Ivoire: (525 miles)
Ghana: (340 miles)
Togo: (33 miles)
Benin: (84 miles)
Nigeria: (542 miles)
Cameroon: (515 miles)
Gabon: (506 miles)
Republic of Congo: (382 miles)
DR Congo: (150 miles)
Angola: (1,140 miles)
Namibia: (958 miles)
South Africa: (422 miles)


Trip log

30 Aug 2017: Start of Africa - Tangier ferry terminal
30 Aug 2017: City - Tangier, Morocco
7 Sep 2017: Region - Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen, Morocco
17 Sep 2017: City - Kenitra, Morocco
17 Sep 2017: Region - Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer, Morocco
17 Sep 2017: City - Rabat, Morocco
20 Sep 2017: Region - Chaouia-Ouardigha, Morocco
23 Sep 2017: Region - Grand Casablanca, Morocco
25 Sep 2017: City - Casablanca, Morocco
27 Sep 2017: Region - Chaouia-Ouardigha, Morocco (re-entry)
15 Oct 2017: Region - Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Morocco
28 Oct 2017: City - Marrakesh, Morocco
1 Nov 2017: Region - Doukkala-Abda, Morocco
4 Nov 2017: Region - Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Morocco (re-entry)
11 Nov 2017: Region - Souss-Massa-Draa, Morocco

Monday, August 28, 2017

Bicycling Trip across Asia and Europe: Complete!

Bicycling is good exercise and is fun. To help motivate me to keep doing it, I track my bicycling distance on Google Maps as if I were riding my bike around the world:

North America: Durham to Alaska, 10/8/09 - 2/21/12, 4,629 miles
Australia: Sydney to Perth, 2/23/12 - 4/27/13, 2,473 miles
Asia, Part 1: Singapore to New Delhi, 5/21/13 - 1/3/15, 3,902 miles
Asia, Part 2: New Delhi to Istanbul, 1/3/15 - 7/26/16, 3,586 miles
Europe: Istanbul to Tarifa (Spain), 7/26/16 - 8/28/17, 2,576 miles
Africa, Part 1: Tangier (Morocco) to Lagos, starting 8/30/17, 4,039 miles
Africa, Part 2: Lagos to Cape Town, 4,561 miles
South America, Part 1: Ushuaia (Argentina) to Iquique (Chile), approx 3,200 miles
South America, Part 2: Iquique (Chile) to Turbo (Colombia), approx 3,000 miles
North America return: Yaviza (Panama) to Durham, approx 4,200 miles

The Asia+Europe leg is the longest continuous leg of the world journey that isn't interrupted by a gap in the road network. (Distance traveled by ferry or plane between continents doesn't count.) It's 10,064 miles from Singapore to the southern tip of Spain. I started this leg over four years ago. As of August 28, 2017, that 10,064 mile leg of my pretend around-the-world bicycle trip is complete!





Here are some statistics from the entire Singapore-to-Spain leg:

Total distance: 10,064 miles
Started 21 May 2013, completed 28 Aug 2017
Trip length: 1,560 days (4 years, 3 months, 7 days)
Average pace: 45.2 miles/week

Time spent in each 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: 54 days (364 miles, 47 miles/week)
Afghanistan: 113 days (742 miles, 46 miles/week)
Iran: 203 days (1,222 miles, 42 miles/week)
Turkey: 160 days (1,118 miles, 49 miles/week)
Bulgaria: 27 days (228 miles, 59 miles/week)
Serbia: 54 days (279 miles, 36 miles/week)
Croatia: 30 days (190 miles, 44 miles/week)
Slovenia: 21 days (118 miles, 39 miles/week)
Italy: 71 days (434 miles, 43 miles/week)
France: 48 days (330 miles, 48 miles/week)
Spain: 128 days (834 miles, 46 miles/week)

Major cities
21 May 2013: Singapore, Singapore (trip start)
27 Jun 2013: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
23 Nov 2013: Bangkok, Thailand
3 Apr 2014: Mandalay, Myanmar
3 Jan 2015: New Delhi, India
3 Mar 2015: Lahore, Pakistan
3 Apr 2015: Islamabad, Pakistan
14 May 2015: Kabul, Afghanistan
5 Dec 2015: Tehran, Iran
27 Jul 2016: Istanbul, Turkey
6 Sep 2016: Sofia, Bulgaria
22 Oct 2016: Belgrade, Serbia
3 Dec 2016: Zagreb, Croatia
15 Jan 2017: Venice, Italy
5 Mar 2017: Nice, France
8 May 2017: Barcelona, Spain
10 Jun 2017: Valencia, Spain
28 Aug 2017: Tarifa, Spain (trip end)

Next up: Africa.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gas Station Statistics

Every time I refuel my car - a 2015 Subaru Forester that I've owned for just over two years now - I log it in a spreadsheet. The idea was mostly to track things like how much money I spend on gas, my Forester's MPG, that sort of thing. (By the way...$105 per month and 29.6 miles per gallon, so far.) But I've never really looked at the gas stations themselves. So, let's dive in and talk gas station statistics!

As of today, I have refueled the Forester 92 times in 2+ years. Here are the gas station brands I've refueled at the most:

Shell - 25
Mobil - 19
BP - 13
Kroger - 9
Exxon - 7
Sheetz - 4
Citgo - 3
Sunoco - 2
Circle K - 1
Flying J - 1
Pilot - 1
Gate - 1
Marathon - 1
Speedway - 1
Wawa - 1
other* - 3

(* - These are "Mom and Pop" gas stations that are unaffiliated with a major brand name.)

Lately, which type of gas station I go to has depended on, more than anything else, one thing:


Publix has a deal every two or three weeks (on average) where if you spend more than $50 on groceries, you can get $10 off a $50 gas card. It's a pretty sweet deal, way better than Kroger's fuel rewards program that only gives you roughly $1 back for every $100 you spend. I take advantage of this deal every chance I get, and that means I am normally awash in gas cards. (The most gas cards I've ever possessed at one time is six. Right now I have two, one of which is half used.)

So, anyway, Publix doesn't sell gas cards for every type of gas station, of course. Usually they have Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil (good at either Exxon or Mobil, of course). They also have a couple other brands like Marathon and RaceTrac that don't have enough stations around here to make it worth getting one of their cards. (Unless I'm making a trip to Ohio soon, perhaps. LOTS of Marathons up there. There are even more Speedways in Ohio, but Publix doesn't sell Speedway cards.) So, I always stick with Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil. This is why Shell, Mobil, BP, and Exxon are ranked #1, #2, #3, and #5, respectively. And, 34 of my last 36 fillups have been at one of those types of stations.

Between Shell, BP, and Exxon/Mobil, Exxon/Mobil is the most convenient when at home, because I pass by one every day. (17 of the 19 Mobil fillups were at the same gas station, the Mobil closest to home.) Shell is most convenient when traveling, because Shells are usually easier to find on the road than BPs, Exxons, or Mobils. BP kind of gets the best of both worlds, except it's not as close to home as the Mobil down the street, and there aren't quite as many BPs out there as there are Shells.

With gas prices as low as they've been - even though prices have been going up some lately - I almost can't use the gas cards fast enough! And, it is kind of a pain to feel like I have to fill up at one of those types of stations, as opposed to more awesome gas stations like Sheetz. If only Publix sold Sheetz gas cards! But, I still say it's worth it: so far, I've saved over $250 by way of the Publix gas card discounts.* And that's just for my car; we've saved even more than that using these gas cards to also refuel Amber's car.

(* - Generally speaking, shopping at Publix is more expensive than shopping at Kroger, so exactly how much money I've actually "saved" here is debatable. Also, sometimes gas at Shell/BP/Exxon/Mobil is more expensive than at other stations...but, saving $10 out of $50 is better than saving 10 cents per gallon, or even 20 cents per gallon, by going to a different station.)

Speaking of the price of gas: I also kept a gas log with my previous car, although not for the entire life of that car - basically, from 2008 to 2014. During that time, the average price I paid for gas was $3.17 per gallon. Now, that includes some fillups in Canada, where gas is more expensive...but still, there's no debating gas has been cheaper of the last two years. Since I bought the Forester, the average price of gas has been $2.33 per gallon. So even though the Forester doesn't get the MPG that my old Honda Civic did, I am actually spending less on gas on a per mile basis with the Forester due to cheaper gas - so far. (And also a per month basis, but that's more from taking fewer long road trips. We aren't planning to drive the kids to Alaska any time soon.)

Thursday, January 07, 2016

2015 Year In Review

Facebook has this automated "Year In Review" thing where it takes your pictures/updates/whatever from the year and pieces them together. Well, I figured I could write my own "Year In Review" instead, and it'll be way better! Or at least have fewer pictures and more statistics. Way more statistics.

Road Trips

Two big road trips this year: I went to Louisiana for three days to burn up "use or lose it" vacation time, and we took the family to the Ozarks for a week in October. The Ozarks trip was great! Couldn't have imagined a week-long road trip going any better with a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old in tow. We also went to Jacksonville twice, Toledo twice, Pennsylvania once (all to visit family), and did a quick weekend trip to the Virginia mountains. I also flew to San Diego for work - not really a road trip, but it was my first visit to San Diego County.

So, all that means lots of new counties visited for the entire family this year:
- Me: 112 new counties; national total 1,792 (57.0%)
- Marla: 112 new counties; national total 644 (20.5%)
- Bruce: 178 new counties; national total 262 (8.3%)

Bruce is currently 16½ months old, and at that age, Marla's national county count was 313, plus 5 in Canada. So, Bruce is a bit behind Marla's pace. And given that we drove Marla to Colorado at 21½ months, keeping up is only going to get harder.

Also, states:
- Marla: 1 new state (Illinois); national total 25/50. It took Marla less than two years to get her first 24 states, and another 2½ years after that to get the 25th state. The "easiest-to-get-to" state that Marla has not visited yet is Indiana; all of the others will require a bit more work.
- Bruce: 8 new states; national total 15/50. Bruce hasn't been to Delaware or New Jersey, among lots of other states. But we can now say he's been to the Central Time Zone.

I put 17,511 miles on the Subaru this year, only slightly more than the total driving I did between the Honda and Subaru the year before. My annual goal is 20,000 miles per year, but I've actually only surpassed that goal once in the last eight years. As long of a road trip as that Ozarks trip was - about 3,000 miles in a little over a week - it wasn't enough!

Nights Away From Home

Related to all of the driving stats: In years in which we're NOT having a new baby, I'm typically away from home between 40 and 50 nights each year. This year, though: only 36 nights away from home. You know, now that we have two kids instead of just one...maybe I should adjust my expectations?

I've been tracking where we spend the night every night since before Marla and Bruce were born. Here are the number of overnights we've had in each state for both Marla and Bruce:


Curling

Big year for Triangle Curling! Hard to believe at this point, but the grand opening of the new curling building only happened 9 months ago. Since then, I've been curling...a lot.

Well, really not that much more than normal. Here are the number of curling games I've played each year, along with my won-loss record:


I did curl more in 2015 than I have any other year, but not by that much compared to 2010-2012. Those years, I traveled to out-of-town bonspiels much more than I do these days; almost all of my games in 2015 were at home. In fact, I haven't curled outside of North Carolina since August 2013.

So, yes: while 2015 was the best curling year ever in terms of quantity, it was the worst in terms of winning percentage. It turns out, I was a much better "arena ice curler" than I am a "dedicated curling ice curler", at least relative to the competition. The reasons for that deserve their own future post, perhaps.

By the way, I played game #300 on New Year's Day. We won! I also played game #301; we lost.

Restaurant Serving Times

Speaking of things that we don't do as often now that we have kids, let's talk about going out to eat. Since 1994, every time we go to a "sit down" restaurant (where a waiter/waitress comes to your table to take your order and serves your food some time later), I've timed how long it has taken the restaurant to serve my food, starting when I give my order and ending when I get my food. I have a spreadsheet and everything!

The spreadsheet only goes back to 2004, not 1994, but since then, I've gone out to eat at least 20 times every year. Not this year: just 18. Going out to eat at a restaurant that does not serve the food right away (i.e. not fast food) is very difficult when you have young children, and not that much fun. So, we don't do it often. I'm actually surprised we did it that many times.

So, owing to small sample space, the fastest serving time of the year wasn't really that great: 9 minutes, 35 seconds, by Danny's BBQ in Cary, NC. Every other year, there has been at least one serving time under 7 minutes, but not this year. And that's not to say I didn't try - we visited almost all of the traditionally fast restaurants.

We went to two-time defending champion Lexington BBQ, which clocked in at 12:57. Turns out, they are much slower when your wife orders chicken fingers. But that was what I wanted to find out: Would they be just as fast when you ask for something other than barbecue? The answer is: No.

We also went out of our way - WAY out of our way - to revisit another two-time champion, personal favorite Waffle Shop in State College, PA. Our first time at Waffle Shop (or even in State College for that matter) in five years! But, they also clocked in over 10 minutes, at 11:46. Unfortunately, though, we never made it to Ideal Hot Dog in Toledo this year - another former two-time champion. Missed opportunity for them!

The slowest time of the year was a truly epic performance by Red Robin in Raleigh: 45 minutes, 40 seconds. That's the 5th slowest of ALL TIME, and that does go back to 1994. We're not going back, at least not to that location.

Our Children Are Approximately One Year Older Than They Were At This Time Last Year

So, here's the thing with kids. No matter how good or bad a job you do as parents, they get older! Well, as long as you keep them alive. So far, so good.

It's really hard to gauge one's success at parents statistically. As someone who is (obviously) obsessed with statistics, that can be very hard for me.

Coming Up In 2016

Here's what is on tap for 2016:

The USA Curling National Championships are being held in Jacksonville (yes, the Florida one) February 6-13. We're taking most of the week off from work to attend, and I can't even tell you how excited I am about this.

Disney World! While we're in Florida for the curling, we're going to take the kids to Magic Kingdom for a day. We hate big crowds, and so if we're going to do a Magic Kingdom trip, a Tuesday in February sounds like the perfect time for us to go. Also, we won't have the freedom to do this next year, because...

Marla starts Kindergarten! This is the big one. Brand new and exciting adventures await!

A lot more curling! My goal is to play 50 games this year. By the way, I also have a lifetime goal: 2,000 games. If I play 40-50 games each year, then I'll get to 2,000 in my late 60s or 70s. If that sounds crazy, it's not - not unlike golf, you can curl well into your 70s, maybe even your 80s. The trick will be to not die of heart disease or cancer before then.

Road trips...??? Beyond our almost-week in Florida for curling and Disney, I have no idea what kind of road trips we're going to pursue this year. Bruce will be at a tough age for national park-type traveling this year. If he's anything like Marla was, then he'll be too big for a carrier, and too small to walk himself, which makes any kind of non-strollerable hiking excursion mostly impossible. After the curling/Disney trip, we'll put together a road trip plan for the summer. I mean, we're taking Marla to Magic Kingdom - basically the best place in the world for a 4-year-old girl - so maybe we can justify making the next trip not quite so kid-centric. (Iowa it is! MOOR COUNTIES FOR DADDY!!!)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I know (a few) people like my blog posts, and I appreciate all the clicks I've gotten over the nine (!) years of the blog's existence...but writing these things takes time, and I don't really feel like doing it anymore.

Instead, I think taking and posting pictures is much faster, easier, more social-media-friendly (no clicks required!), and encourages more frequent updates. So, I've started an Instagram account, and will focus most of my energy towards that effort: instagram.com/chrisallen_nc
(I'll also cross-post most pictures to Facebook, but probably not Twitter.)

I'll still use the blog for whenever I feel like posting some obscure statistics or something. But, Instagram and Facebook will be the best places to find me. (Still not sold on Google+ - just seems like an extra place to have to post stuff.)

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Bicycling Trip in Asia: Part 2

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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: 26 Jul 2016 - complete!

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.



Part 2 statistics:
Total distance: 3,586 miles
Started 3 Jan 2015, completed 26 Jul 2016
Trip length: 570 days (1 year, 6 months, 23 days)
Average weekly distance: 44.0 miles/week

Time spent in each country: (Part 2 only)
India: 59 days (303 miles, 36 miles/week)
Pakistan: 54 days (364 miles, 47 miles/week)
Afghanistan: 113 days (742 miles, 46 miles/week)
Iran: 203 days (1,222 miles, 42 miles/week)
Turkey: 141 days (955 miles, 47 miles/week)

Weekly trip distances:
0 miles: 0 weeks
1 - 9 miles: 4 weeks
10 - 19 miles: 8 weeks
20 - 29 miles: 8 weeks
30 - 39 miles: 7 weeks
40 - 49 miles: 18 weeks
50 - 59 miles: 20 weeks
60 - 69 miles: 11 weeks
70 - 79 miles: 4 weeks
80 - 89 miles: 2 weeks (max: 88)

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 (Province - Punjab)
3 Mar 2015: City - Lahore, Pakistan
21 Mar 2015: City - Bhalwal, Pakistan
3 Apr 2015: Province - Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan
3 Apr 2015: Province - Punjab, Pakistan (re-entered)
3 Apr 2015: Province - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
18 Apr 2015: City - Peshawar, Pakistan
21 Apr 2015: Province - Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan
26 Apr 2015: Country - Afghanistan (Province - Nangarhar)
26 Apr 2015: City - Jalalabad, Afghanistan
28 Apr 2015: Province - Laghman, Afghanistan
7 May 2015: Province - Kabul, Afghanistan
14 May 2015: City - Kabul, Afghanistan
17 May 2015: Province - Maidan Wardak, Afghanistan
28 May 2015: City - Behsud, Afghanistan
1 Jun 2015: Province - Bamyan, Afghanistan
13 Jun 2015: City - Panjab, Afghanistan
13 Jun 2015: Province - Ghor, Afghanistan
4 Jul 2015: City - Chaghcharan, Afghanistan
19 Jul 2015: Province - Herat, Afghanistan
2 Aug 2015: City - Herat, Afghanistan
17 Aug 2015: Country - Iran (Province - Razavi Khorasan)
23 Aug 2015: City - Torbat-e Jam, Iran
3 Sep 2015: City - Mashhad, Iran
12 Sep 2015: City - Nishapur, Iran
23 Sep 2015: City - Sabzevar, Iran
3 Oct 2015: Province - Semnan, Iran
26 Oct 2015: City - Shahrud, Iran
3 Nov 2015: City - Damghan, Iran
14 Nov 2015: City - Semnan, Iran
21 Nov 2015: City - Garmsar, Iran
3 Dec 2015: Province - Tehran, Iran
5 Dec 2015: City - Tehran, Iran
8 Dec 2015: Province - Alborz, Iran
11 Dec 2015: City - Karaj, Iran
15 Dec 2015: Province - Qazvin, Iran
20 Dec 2015: City - Qazvin, Iran
31 Dec 2015: Province - Zanjan, Iran
10 Jan 2016: City - Zanjan, Iran
17 Jan 2016: Province - East Azerbaijan, Iran
14 Feb 2016: City - Tabriz, Iran
20 Feb 2016: City - Marand, Iran
25 Feb 2016: Province - West Azerbaijan, Iran
7 Mar 2016: Country - Turkey (Province - Agri)
12 Mar 2016: City - Dogubeyazit, Turkey
21 Mar 2016: City - Agri, Turkey
26 Mar 2016: Province - Erzurum, Turkey
10 Apr 2016: City - Erzurum, Turkey
10 Apr 2016: Province - Erzincan, Turkey
23 Apr 2016: Province - Tunceli, Turkey
23 Apr 2016: Province - Erzincan, Turkey
28 Apr 2016: City - Erzincan, Turkey
7 May 2016: Province - Sivas, Turkey
14 May 2016: Province - Tokat, Turkey
18 May 2016: City - Erbaa, Turkey
21 May 2016: Province - Amasya, Turkey
25 May 2016: City - Amasya, Turkey
1 Jun 2016: City - Merzifon, Turkey
5 Jun 2016: Province - Corum, Turkey
9 Jun 2016: Province - Kastamonu, Turkey
11 Jun 2016: Province - Cankiri, Turkey
18 Jun 2016: City - Cerkes, Turkey
18 Jun 2016: Province - Karabuk, Turkey
18 Jun 2016: Province - Bolu, Turkey
25 Jun 2016: City - Bolu, Turkey
29 Jun 2016: Province - Duzce, Turkey
4 Jul 2016: City - Duzce, Turkey
10 Jul 2016: Province - Sakarya, Turkey
10 Jul 2016: Province - Koaceli, Turkey
13 Jul 2016: City - Izmit, Turkey
20 Jul 2016: Province - Istanbul, Turkey
26 Jul 2016: Bosphorus Bridge into Europe (completed Part 2)

Fake bicycling trip history:
1) Bicycling Trip to Alaska (Durham - Homer)
10/8/09 - 2/21/12, 4,628.5 miles, 37.4 miles/week
2) Bicycling Trip in Australia (Sydney - Perth)
2/23/12 - 4/27/13, 2,472.5 miles, 40.3 miles/week
3) Bicycling Trip in Asia, Part 1 (Singapore - New Delhi)
5/22/13 - 1/3/15, 3,902.0 miles, 46.1 miles/week
4) Bicycling Trip in Asia, Part 2 (New Delhi - Istanbul)
1/3/15 - 7/26/16, 3,586.0 miles, 44.0 miles/week
5) Bicycling Trip in Europe (Istanbul - Tarifa)
7/26/16 - ???, 2,575.6 miles
6) Bicycling Trip in West Africa (Tangier - Lagos)
??? - ???, approx 3,900 miles
7) Bicycling Trip in Sub-Saharan Africa (Lagos - Cape Town)
??? - ???, approx 4,400 miles
8) Bicycling Trip in South America, Part 1 (Punta Arenas - La Paz)
??? - ???, approx 3,000 miles
9) Bicycling Trip in South America, Part 2 (La Paz - Cartagena)
??? - ???, approx 3,000 miles
10) Bicycling Trip from Panama (Yaviza - Durham)
??? - ???, approx 4,200 miles

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Random Stat Updates: 5/19/15

Here are various statistical updates from the past...oh, two or three months? I've got some catching up to do.

Restaurant serving times

Last weekend, it took Red Robin of Raleigh 45 minutes, 40 seconds - from when I order to when the food arrives - to serve my dinner. Going back 20 years, that's the 5th slowest of all-time, and the slowest time anywhere since our wedding rehearsal dinner in 2008. And I was one of the lucky ones: other people in our party got the wrong order, or didn't get their food at all. Overall it was the most putrid performance by a restaurant in quite some time, and one for the record books for sure. (Our three prior Red Robin visits all clocked in under 20 minutes, however, so I haven't written them off forever...just for a while.)

With a 3-year-old and a 0-year-old, it's hard to go out to dinner these days. If we do go out, it's either fast food or fast casual (e.g. Boston Market) - neither of which is eligible for timing. Or, we go early enough to beat the crowds - as in, 4 or 4:30 for dinner, in order to minimize the amount of time we have to sit there waiting with two impatient and/or tired children, not to mention get the kids to bed on time. So, 2015 will likely be my first year with fewer than 20 eligible restaurant visits. (Last year's total was 21.)

But, I do still have to go to Lexington BBQ and Ideal Hot Dog this year. Between them, they've won "fastest time of the year" for each of the last four years. The fastest of 2015 so far is Danny's BBQ, at 9:35 - that's fast, but that likely won't stand for the rest of the year.

County visitation

Last weekend, my roadgeek friends and I drove US 360 from (almost) end to (almost) end: (Didn't have time for the whole thing, but we did most of it.)



Except for some, well, downtrodden parts of Richmond, it wasn't the most interesting of drives. But, combined with the drive up into Virginia, I got two new counties out of it! Only six more Virginia counties to go! Also, I've now visited every county within a 200-mile radius of home. Charles City and Essex counties were the two counties closest to home I had yet to visit; now the closest is Bath County, VA.

As a family, we haven't done many road trips this year. I've been to Louisiana and San Diego this year, but the rest of the family has only left North Carolina once in 2015, and that was for a funeral. The year after our second child was born always figured to be our least-traveled year, so it's alright, but I think it's time we start doing family road trips again. We're staying home for Memorial Day, but we have several trips planned for the summer and fall.

Since I don't publish my "by the numbers" page anymore, here are our current county totals:
- Chris: 1,731 (55.1%)
- Marla: 533 (17.0%)
- Bruce: 89 (2.8%)
- Subaru: 114 (3.6%)

Bruce is nearly 9 months old now; by the time Marla was 9 months old, she had already visited 173 counties. You've got some catching up to do, Bruce!

Bicycling

My fictional "Bicycling Trip in Asia" is now in a place I will almost certainly never visit, let alone bike in: Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the most desolate section of the entire Singapore-to-Gibraltar route, in terms of points of interest and landmarks that can help keep me motivated to ride a little extra each weekend. But, it can't be any more desolate than Adelaide to Perth was, right?

Our weekends at home often revolve around our exercise schedules: Amber gets time for a run, and I get time for a bike ride. Once you add in curling (Amber curls Sunday afternoons), church (every 2-3 weeks on average), a family outing of some kind, and errands like the weekly Publix trip, the whole weekend is pretty much gone. Staying motivated to maintain our exercise routine is harder than it's ever been, but we've been able to do it to this point.