Sunday, September 8, 2013

Trains, Turtles and Treadmills

Pushing Coal
Turtles on Blue Heron's Turf
Second Story
Forever Home
It's a special day when real-life alliteration happens to a writer. Increased rail traffic, no Blue Heron and a new apparatus makes for a day of trains, turtles and treadmills.

Last week, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train hauling wood products and cedar chips sloughed off the tracks along the Clark Fork River east of Sandpoint. Because this section of rail is remote and there remains four cars in the river, the track is temporarily closed. The result is increased traffic on the tracks that pass Elmira, as westbound trains and eastbound trains are re-routed up to Bonners Ferry, ID and through Arlee, MT.

Today a coal train rumbled past Elmira. Brown hopper after brown hopper clacked by with black coal loaded to near-spilling.Then it was gone. The sun warmed my toes and a breeze tickled hair against my nose as I sat on the south porch, drinking coffee. Coal. Sun. Wind. I know which energy sources I'd rather have passing by my pond.

Turtles ate Blue Heron! Okay, not really, but that's how I felt looking at the log today. I got excited, this morning, walking dogs to the pasture when I saw something on the log. Too short for Blue Heron and not quite merganser-shaped. Since the rain let up, I had my camera and long lens. Snap. Snap. Zoom in...turtles? Yes, three turtles on the pond log. Blue Heron, I miss you. Was your rainy appearance our good-bye?

In truth, it's singular, but sounds better plural in the title. It such an outstanding piece of equipment--Smooth Fitness 9.65 LC--that it should be plural.

SF 9.65 LC...Ooooh
While some seek ellipticals, others stair-climbers, I always buddied up with treadmills. Even though I live in a beautiful area that beckons me outside daily, I have no place to walk long distance consistently. It's rural wilderness with an International highway, meaning I'd either have to walk the narrow shoulder where cattle trucks careen or venture into moose and wolf territory.

Therefore, I need a treadmill to walk daily.

Random Shot of Roses
Music moves me so I knew it had to be a treadmill with that feature. I anticipate improving my stride and strength so I wanted a treadmill that could carry me to goals. This is not a whim or fad, so I wanted an apparatus that would be a lifetime investment. If you look at models under $1,000 you'll realize that they all fold. While convenient for space, studies show that they don't hold up years of steady use.

Smooth Fitness is a direct source, and their machines rate high in consumer reports. They also provide financing, which is necessary for a writer wanting a $3,000 piece of fitness equipment. Since I've yet to sell my manuscript, my thousands-of-dollars-as-a-novelist are still banked in dream-land.

Ordering direct meant patience. I had to get the financing approved. It's always fun telling finance reps that I write for a living; it's like saying I'm Peter Pan and get paid for flying over London nightly. The reaction is something akin to "Yeah, right and I'm Tinker Bell." Also, I had to wait two months for the factory to ship and then wait almost another month for the shipping company to get their ship together. By the way, don't ever rely upon Urban Express for service.

The treadmill moved down the line and stalled on my first floor. I paid for in-room set up and delivery so that I could have my dream-machine in my dream-office where I dream and write. But when the delivery contractors for Urban Express showed up with my two boxes (one weighing 350 pounds) the team lead said, "This isn't going upstairs." Oh, yes it is. Despite the contractor's refusal, I did get a refund and hired local movers to do the job.

With built-in speakers, ipod connection, heart-rate sensors, programmable inclines and speeds beyond the capacity of my feet, I have one stellar treadmill in my office. It's even a treadmill with a view and its as pretty as my roses. However, the movers recommend that I never move or take the treadmill when I go. So, I guess Elmira Pond is my forever home.

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