Thunder Bay by William Kent Krueger

Easily the best book in the Cork O’Connor series. So far.

Happy and content in his hometown of Aurora, Minnesota, Cork O’Connor has left his badge behind and is ready for a life of relative peace, setting up shop as a private investigator. But his newfound state of calm is soon interrupted when Henry Meloux, an Ojibwe medicine man and Cork’s spiritual adviser, makes a request: Will Cork find the son that Henry fathered long ago?

With little to go on, Cork uses his investigative skills to locate Henry Wellington, a wealthy and reclusive industrialist living in Thunder Bay, Ontario. When a murder attempt is made on old Meloux’s life, all clues point north across the border. But why would Wellington want his father dead? …

Portable Wind Turbine on the Trail

I sometimes hike and often bikepack with the 1.66 pound Big Blue Solar Charger.

It’s enough power for me on the trail, except on particularly overcast days.

I’d be tempted to carry a 3 pound portable wind turbine instead, on some adventures.

Though heavier and more expensive, wind power would be faster and more reliable than solar.


Click PLAY or see how it works on YouTube.

Watch an unboxing and first set-up on YouTube.

Planning to cycle part of the Continental Divide

I was inspired by Lael Wilcox to pencil in a date on my personal calendar:

Friday, June 10th, 2022 at 8AM – Banff, Alberta 

That’s the start of the 2022 Tour Divide Mountain Bike Race.

It’s free. No registration. No commitment in advance. I could show up … or not.

I’d dreamed of lining up with Lael and watching her for about 45 seconds as she pedalled out of sight.  😀  Sadly Lael is not racing 2022.  She’s in Europe this summer, instead. 

The Tour Divide roughly follows the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) is the most recognized and important off-pavement cycling route in the United States, if not the world.

The route crisscrosses the Continental Divide from north to south starting in Banff, Alberta, Canada and finishing at the US/Mexico border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

I don’t have time, bike or talent to do the whole thing. But I’m hoping to ride the start down into Montana. Then divert over to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where I broke down on my 2019 Great American Rail-Trail  bikepacking adventure.  Dave Adlard had to rescue me.  😀

MIGHT do some hiking in Montana. Then head for the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

UPDATE:  In 2019 an alternative further west was announced:

Western Wildlands Route (formerly Wild West)

This adventure is the flagship achievement of Bikepacking Roots, a not-for-profit advocacy group founded by Kurt Refsnider and Kaitlyn Boyle in 2017. 

It’s less technical and easier for touring bikes than the Divide — so I may divert on to the Western Wildlands starting at Eureka, Montana.  I’ll see how I’m feeling at the time. 😀 

Blue line to the west is the Western Wildlands Route

Likely I’ll end up making a loop of the two routes, returning to Calgary via Eureka.

For navigation I’ll likely be using the paid FarOut app (formerly Guthook) as it’s the most popular for both Divide and Wild West.  But I hope to have backup maps, as well.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Here’s the Lael Wilcox documentary that got me started planning this trip.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

related – Lael Wilcox Is the Best. Why Does Anyone Else Bother?

(via Adventure Blog)

Stone Cold by C.J. Box

#14 in the series. It’s a good one.

Everything about the man is a mystery: the massive ranch in the remote Black Hills of Wyoming that nobody ever visits, the women who live with him, the secret philanthropies, the private airstrip, the sudden disappearances.

And especially the persistent rumors that the man’s wealth comes from killing people.

… There are two other men living up at that ranch. One is a stone-cold killer who takes an instant dislike to Joe.

The other is new—but Joe knows him all too well.

The first man doesn’t frighten Joe. The second is another story entirely.

Joe Pickett – season 1

Hooked on the book series by C.J. Box, I felt obliged to try the TV adaptation.

83% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Successful enough to be renewed for a second season.

Michael Dorman is well cast as Joe Pickett.

I was surprised to see “outlaw falconerNate Romanowski as a Black man. Nate’s personality is a little different in the TV adaptation, as well.

In the book Nate’s a lean, tall, angular predator — with a blonde ponytail.

He’s everyone’s favourite character.

For me the show is a bit slow. The pace of the books is more engaging.

And there are too many flashbacks, for me typically a sign of weak storytelling.

But the TV show is well done. I do recommend it for fans of the Joe Pickett books.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

This TV series is on Paramount+.

I was able to watch it via Apple TV free for a week. Then cancelled my subscription.

The Fourth Sacrifice by Peter May

Peter May is a terrific writer and I wanted to enjoy his China Thrillers series.

But both his two lead characters — Chinese detective Li Yan, and Dr Margaret Campbell, pathologist from Chicago — are simply annoying.

In fact, I didn’t finish book #1.

I did finish #2, The Fourth Sacrifice, but I doubt I will continue.

A new character, an archeologist TV star, kept me interested in this one. I did enjoy the parts that involved the trove of Xian with its famous army of terracotta warriors.

Overall … not recommended.

NEW book by Michèle Allaire-Rowan

My friend Michèle has had an interesting life.

Born in France, she’s spent a lot of time in England, Germany, Ireland and Canada.

A professional translator, she’s studied the language and culture everywhere she’s been. Also FOOD.

Now she’s written and recorded part 1 of her story. I recommend the audio version as Michèle reads it herself.

Crossing Borders and Cultural Divides is set in Europe in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, a time when it became easier to cross European borders and settle in another country.

It is based on my life growing up in a French village, then working in England, and finally discovering Germany. Numerous details and characters allow the listener to understand the difficulties of learning a language and appreciate another culture enough to be able “to feel at home” in another country.

Tradition, wine, and oysters?

Rock ’n’ roll, tea, and fish and chips?

Or politics, beer, and sausages?

… Can she follow her heart for the English language and embrace an outlandish culture in Britain?

Or can she simply follow her adventurous streak and check out the intense culture, which is prevalent in Germany?

Can she take roots in a foreign environment?

Will she ever be able to bridge the cultural divides?

The book jumps forward and backward in time, starting with her first flight as a 15-year-old. To Beatlemania England. Her British pen friend there was already on the Pill, recently introduced.

You can buy the book on Amazon.

A few years younger than Michèle, I was touring Europe with friends in an orange Volkswagen van in 1976 while she was motoring around the continent with a boyfriend.

The book ends abruptly in 1976. I want more. Happily, Michèle is already working on a second volume.

Video Edits Inspired by a Song

Machine Gun Kelly — play this when I’m gone — inspired Jake Frew’s 2020 pandemic video.

Jake Frew is a master video creator. Right now he’s on a road trip to meet and collaborate with other video editors he admires.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I loved a song by Girl in Red, the indie pop music project of Norwegian singer-songwriter Marie Ulven Ringheim. The music dictated everything I put into this fan video.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Breaking Point by C.J. Box

Book #13 in the Joe Pickett series.

Joe Pickett always liked Butch Roberson—a hardworking local business-owner whose daughter is friends with his own. Little does he know that when Butch says he is heading into the mountains to scout elk, he is actually going on the run.

Two EPA employees have been murdered, and all signs point to Butch as the killer.

Soon, Joe hears of the land Butch and his wife had bought to retire on—until they are told the EPA declared it a wetland—and the penalties they charged Butch until the family was torn apart by debt.

Finally, it seems, the man just cracked.

Beetle Kills and Forest Fires 😕

Mountain Pine Beetles are native to the forests of western North America from Mexico to central British Columbia.  …

As of May 2013, the Pine Beetle is aggressively devastating forests in all 19 US-American western states and Canada …

These insects are thriving as average temperatures increase. Dead and dying trees make good fuel for fires.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.