5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Ok, with all my Outdoor Retailer related posts out the door, here’s what I’ve been up to otherwise.

1) Flew back home from Salt Lake City


Friday I made my way back from Salt Lake City, where I had spent most of the week.  Well, all but one day – which was spent in Atlanta.  But more on what I was doing in Atlanta tomorrow.

A quick bounce through Chicago and I was once again crossing the pond – this time headed back home.  I think I’ll only Atlantic-pond hop twice this month (August), though, three times if you count the last day of July.


To some degree I sorta forget that I’m going to *Paris* each time I board a flight home.  Meaning that to me, it’s just home.  But to much of the plane it’s a dream destination for a vacation.  People around excitedly toting Rick Steve’s guides, fanny packs for passports, and swinging iPad’s around to take photos of every aspect of the boarding process journey.  But, it’s kinda neat honestly.

After 7 hours and 25 minutes I had arrived back at Charles de Gaulle.  Despite my general hate for the airport, I think it’s slowly growing on me.  Or, rather, I’ve just got so efficient at navigating the mind-boggling airport design elements near weekly that it doesn’t phase me anymore.


A quick taxi ride and I’m home.  Only one relatively small box this time, mostly of upcoming test gadgets picked from the show, or devices that had backed up at our forwarding box in Houston (it was much cheaper to just send them to SLC than Paris).

2) Delivered a wedding cake

About an hour after getting home from the above flight, I was back on the road with The Girl delivering this wedding cake to a location a bit of a ways outside of Paris.


Of course, lacking a car we grabbed the Autolib.  The challenge there was that it was technically outside the area you’re supposed to drive the Autolib too.  Albeit just at the edge of the range envelope.  Though, the site says they simply charge you a tiny bit extra (few Euros) for going outside the coverage range.

We arrived without issue to the location, a fancy place about 50 miles outside of Paris.


After getting the cake all settled, I noticed that our battery was at exactly 50%.  Not quite ideal.


We ended up learning a lot about the Autolib on the way home.  We took splits at various speeds on the highway to determine how much time it took to go 1% on the battery at various speeds.  Turns out, faster is definitely not better.  We found about 80-85KPH was a good balance between allowing us enough juice to get home while still imitating the old ladies driving down the highway.  Any slower and they’d be passing us.

Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have enough battery to make it home, so we had to divert and drop off the car around Versailles instead, about 10-12 miles short.  We aren’t quite sure why we had more battery going out than coming back.  Heck, we had unloaded the 30+ pound cake too!

Thankfully we were able to just check in our little car and grab another fully charged one.  Good to go!

3) Enjoyed a (rather rainy) ride

Sunday afternoon I caught up for a ride with power meter guru Robert Chung, as he’s been here in the city for a short bit.  He’s helped on some of my power meter reviews, working to analyze data behind the scenes.  We met up at Notre Dame and then headed from there along the river and then eventually out through some parks before hitting up Versailles.



It was at about the furthest point from home that the rain clouds finally caught up with us.  We had been seemingly dodging them all afternoon – with the occasional light sprinkle for a minute or two.  But this time, there was no sprinkle:


Very…very wet:


As always, about 10-15 minutes later the rain had stopped and the sun was out again.  Go figure.  All in though a great almost-40 mile wander just exploring a bit.  And of course more importantly, good chatting with Robert along the way.  As he and I were discussing – it’s definitely going to be an interesting next four weeks in the power meter world, good time ahead!

(Note: I actually don’t have a photo of Robert face-on, for the simple fact that I neglected to put the SD card back in the camera.  Though, I do have lots of video of his butt from the action camera on my bike.)

4) Market, mussels…and chocolate chip butter

Prior to riding on Sunday, The Girl and I actually headed over to Bastille to swing through the Sunday market there and find food for dinner.  We rarely go to this market, not because it’s not awesome – but simply because we always seem to forget about it.  Which is too bad, as there’s tons of great stuff there and it’s huge.



The stand below served as our lunch – going for a Lebanese crepe of sorts, with ham and cheeses in it.


For dinner we went with mussels.  It felt like a mussel kind of night.  It was about 6 euros per kilo (a kilo is 2.2 pounds).  They weren’t the biggest mussels we’ve ever had, but they were the biggest mussels we could find at the market.



And we were pretty happy that inside the shells the mussels were actually a bit bigger than both of us expected.  Happy campers here!


Next, to something far less healthy: Chocolate Chip Butter.

I had found it in the grocery store back a few weeks ago, but with all the travelling hadn’t had a time to open it up yet.


It is exactly what you’d think: Butter with tiny little chocolate chips in it.  Yes, pure awesome. Especially for toast.


I’ll have to figure out other things to put it on, but I thought it was important to share my discovery.  You can thank me now. :)

5) Wandered up to Apeldoorn, Netherlands.

Ever heard of Apeldoorn?  Nope?  Don’t worry, me neither.  But, that’s where I headed Monday morning.  On a nice 6AM train out of Paris to Amsterdam, and then changed to another train to Amersfoort, and then one final train to Apeldoorn.  It’s here I’ll spend the next couple days for some work meetings.


As for what’s in Apeldoorn beyond some conference rooms and apparently a lot of trees?  I have no idea.  But, I’ll be sure to find out and let ya know by the end of the week.

With that – thanks for reading, and have a great week ahead!


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  1. Navnit Ranjan

    Excellent as always!!
    Riding in rain sounds thrilling :) adding on my list.

    • Mr Nofish

      Rain is something to experience, especially hard rain… riding with one eye closed because it’s beating so hard you couldn’t keep it open anyway. Just make sure you’re adequately equipped for the weather conditions.

      However, cleaning up the bike afterwards is kind of a chore (this, however, depends on how much you care about the bike, some guys will just hose theirs down and hang to dry)

  2. Melvin

    Welcome in The Netherlands, the veluwe is a nice place to work out. Have a nice time.

    Greetings from Utrecht

  3. Stephen A

    Ever heard of Apeldoorn? Nope? Don’t worry, me neither. < Only heard of it because there is a velodrome and I think hosted either the European championship or a World Cup round

  4. Ben

    Hi Ray,
    another vote for the Veluwe area!

    Go south from Apeldoorn and cycle to the Posbank, the highest “mountain” in central Netherlands (110m). And it’s the biggest nature area in the NL’s as well.

    Apeldoorn in dull, but the surroundings are not. Enjoy your time here.


  5. Mans

    Apeldoorn! Currently have my work assignment here! Make sure to check out paleis het loo.

  6. You must ask your Dutch colleagues why anybody should “Quickly call Apeldoorn”.
    Being Belgian, that’s the only thing I can think of when I hear Apeldoorn.
    Very funny commercials they have as well: link to youtube.com

  7. Jorn

    Like Mans already suggested, you could visit Paleis het Loo, a former palace of Dutch royalty but now a museum: link to paleishetloo.nl. Like Ben already suggested: cycling the Posbank is quite enjoyable since it is in the biggest Dutch national park the Veluwe (link to theveluwe.com) although it is technically in the Veluwezoom area of the park.

    I would also highly recommend to travel to Zutphen or Deventer. Those are nice old cities on the banks of the IJsselriver and were part of the Hanseatic League during the middle ages.

    Have fun in The Netherlands. I’ll be happy to provide more tips if you are getting bored.

  8. Tim

    Cool that you are coming to the Netherlands. Apeldoorn isn’t much special. But it has one of the few velodromes in the Netherlands. Have fun in our flat country.

  9. Tyler

    Curious if the chocolate butter, and really all chocolate in Europe, for that matter is dark chocolate by default, or if milk chocolate is prominent.
    Love the former, despise the latter, personally.

    • It’s a blend. As one who prefers dark chocolate, I tend to see milk chocolate as the default (more available) in most non-expensive settings (grocery/gas station/etc…). In boutique chocolate stores, more dark chocolate.

  10. I’d love to hear more on your opinion about the Autolib. We have an electric car in the states, and would think that a system like the Autolib is ideal. Being able to drop off a car to charge and just hop in another one seems awesome!

    As for what can cause you to lose more on the way back than the way out, there are so many factors to consider. Elevation is a big one – if you have more uphill on the way back, you’ll lose more energy of course. Driving slower is definitely usually better for electric cars – about 20mph is about ideal but almost no one would suggest driving that slow all the time, and doing 45 or 55 isn’t that bad incomparison. Once you get above 55, every 10 mph really starts draining it much faster.

  11. We’ve recently started using only President butter here but we’ve never seen this one! I wonder if its stateside?

  12. Stephen

    Join the butter coffee craze!

    You could have chocolate chip butter coffee. Eh?

  13. Robert

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks CDG is a stupid airport… I connect through it twice a month (once each way), and still after a dozen times I’m not 100% sure where to go; and I take deep internal pleasure (I know, I shouldn’t, but I can’t resist) at looking at tourists (the Rick-Steeve-toting, iPad-pix-taking, general-exhilaration-exhibiting bunch) as they look for the way to their connecting flights… Every time, in the train between 2F and 2E, a bunch of people get out at the middle station, stare blankly at the signs, and eventually step back into the train.

  14. BeKo

    Hi Ray,
    Bastille Sunday Market, I also enjoy it a lot.
    It would be nice, if one day you could organize an event in Paris for the people, following you and living in Paris

  15. Joost

    Lived in Apeldoorn for 18 years, couldn’t wait to leave ;-). Enjoy your time there, as far as possible. Open water swimming is possible at Bussloo

  16. Jacques

    Your notes on hating CdG are pretty spot on. The design of that airport is incomprehensible.

  17. Dennis

    Welcome to the Netherlands, If you can go for a (trail)run on the ‘Veluwe’.

  18. Wilbert kroon

    Hi Ray,
    Wecome to my hometown Apeldoorn. I agree with a few other posters that this is not a very exciting city but this area is great for roadracing and mountainbiking, running too probably but that is not for me. If you need a local guide please let me know, I would be glad to show you around.

  19. Remco Verdoold

    A pity I just moved away from Deventer, although I could never keep up with your pace! Apeldoorn is not much special besides it is the Royal Family city, Deventer the next city on the rail-line is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands with nice architecture.
    Enjoy your stay.

  20. Jeroen

    I’ll see if I can catch a rainmaker ‘in the wild’, here in Apeldoorn. Enjoy your stay, the area surrounding the town is great for running and cycling.

  21. surfergirl

    Totally off topic but, do you organize your own travel because that seems like a full time job in its own right?

  22. Kevin

    Have you tried/seen Trader Joe’s cookie butter? It looks and spreads like peanut butter, but is made from speculoos cookies.

    It’s crack in a jar. Comes in smooth, crunchy, and 1/2 speculoos 1/2 faux Nutella (Think pre mixed PB&J) varieties

    • We lack Trader Joe’s in France, regrettably.

      That said, we do have speculoos paste/butter of sorts…and it’s definitely in our cabinet. :)

    • We can pretty much incorporate speculoos in every dish imaginable. If the Nobel Prize is ever extended into gastronomy, the inventor of this should be given one for life time achievement. As an added bonus, it requires an extra 100km bike ride to burn off an average speculoos sandwich :-). And considering the forum, this is definitely good.

    • Kevin

      I know you don’t have TJ’s in france, meant “have you seen it on one of your US trips”.

    • Yeah, I love Trade Joe’s. I don’t think I’ve been in one since I left on my trips back. Mostly because many of the things I loved there are more frozen foods than dry/boxed foods. :-/