Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Crest Trail/10K Trail Hike

Last Friday, October 9, John Brewer and I went hiking again in the Sandias. This time we started at the Crest and did a loop, in a clock-wise direction, hiking north on the Crest Trail, north to south on the (entire) 10K Trail, and back north on the Crest Trail to the Crest. Friday was both an APS holiday and a "balloon fiesta" day, so we passed numerous people out on the trail. I hadn't been on the 10K Trail in some time -- especially the southern half, which I'd only hiked one time previously, over twenty years ago -- and I enjoyed the route, especially our crossing over all the ski runs of the Sandia Peak Ski Area. The photos above show (a) the view of South Peak from the Crest Trail south of the tram, (b) a view of the east side of the Sandias (with a few aspens scattered among the conifers) (c) John at the highway crossing that bisects the 10K Trail, and (d) me at the same place.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Change of Gyms - Planet Fitness

In a long-overdue move, Dorine and I have changed gym memberships from Defined Fitness (DF) to Planet Fitness (PF), located on Eubank Blvd. north of Constitution Ave. (PF is in space once occupied by TG&Y, a dimestore in which I spent a good deal of my childhood and adolescence; thus I feel entirely at home there.) We'd been paying $32 each per month to belong to DF, which was the Sandia National Laboratories corporate rate and actually a "good" deal -- except that DF is much more gym than we needed and rather expensive for what we used it for. I'd put off looking into PF, thinking that the $10(+ tax)/month membership fee must mean it had cast-off cardio gear from other gyms; however, several people had informed us that PF's cardio equipment is actually new, of good quality, and plentiful, which convinced me to investigate.

As it turned out, PF had a sign-up deal going, under which it waived almost all of the first-year annual "rate guarantee" fee ($29/person otherwise), which in turn meant Dorine and I only had to pay ~$23 total to join and for the month of October. We've been to PF twice so far (Friday and yesterday afternoon), and the Cybex treadmills there are more than adequate. They don't have individual TV screens like the fancy Precor treadmills at DF, but, since I listen to music on my iPod Shuffle while running, anyway, that's a minor point. I was surprised (notwithstanding the fact that we went at non-peak times) to find so few members there, which tells me (a) that the word about PF hasn't really got out yet, and/or (b) that, for many people, going to the gym is still more about seeing, and being seen by, other people than about simply working out and staying fit. That makes me wonder about the viability of PF's business model (particularly in the Albuquerque area), despite the fact that it is a national concern, locally owned by a franchisee. Not that I want the place to be over-run by members -- I hate waiting in line for a treadmill -- but I do want it to stay in business, and thus I will tell other people about it.

[Update, 10/10/09: Of course, logically, it is easier to convince people to buy a gym membership that they won't use when it costs ~$10/month instead of ~$40/month. It goes without saying that most gyms count on having a certain percentage of their members not show up very often, but PF's business model may take for granted a higher percentage of such members than do other gyms.]

Friday, October 2, 2009


I'm pretty jazzed about recent developments concerning our seven-night Caribbean cruise scheduled for January. My brother-in-law Mike was looking at his reservation on our cruise line's website and saw an option to upgrade his cabin -- for an apparent savings, no less. We agreed we should investigate by calling the reservation line and talking to an actual person. It turned out that we could actually upgrade by two cabin categories, and move up five decks, for less money than we'd originally committed to pay -- needless to say, we jumped at the "opportunity." The attached image shows the class of cabin we upgraded to, which is larger and has both a sitting area and a private veranda -- and Mike and I were able to get cabins that not only adjoin but connect! It seems weird to be able to get a better cruise package later in the game than earlier (other than on some last-minute deal through a broker), but I guess the economy is still pretty weak, which may be forcing the cruise lines to offer more and better specials. I can live with that!