Accounts of our experiences and adventures

Author: Andy (Page 2 of 3)

My COVID-19 Tracking Project

One of the challenges I have in understanding our current problems is finding good data. When I worked, I always said to my colleagues that I was always interested in data rather than opinions when it came to making decisions.

I really liked this Medium article because it took a data driven approach to understanding the problem.

This article and lots of other sources have talked about the importance of social distancing as the only effective measure as an entry tactic to “flatten the curve” so our health care services can keep up with the demand and reduce the fatalities. But because our health care system is so decentralized, we don’t seem to have a government source that can provide credible data on where we are on the curve.

After a lot of searching, I finally found this site: The COVID Tracking Project which has collated data from all the States on where we are on the curve. They make all of the data with references to their sources publicly available.

So being a geek, who has all the time I need, I took this data and put it into a spreadsheet to try and understand better where we are on the curve. I picked the “worst” seven States, Texas, and then California and Washington as they were the two states to see and react to the virus with statewide self-distancing orders. I’ll probably add more States to better understand the problem as it expands across the USA.

See My COVID-19 Tracking Project

To try and understand the limited capacity of our health care system, I found a site that shows the number of ICU beds available by State and another that maps the counties in the USA with no hospital, or no hospital ICU beds.

The results are sobering. I see no evidence that we are flattening the curve. The lack of federal self-distancing regulations, rather than the guidelines released, has allowed the virus to spread throughout the country. The slow implementation of testing does not bode well for any exit strategy

April 23rd: Added New Cases/Day graphs as the move to relax self-distancing and open business grows in strength

May 1st: Changed the spreadsheet to access the data from The COVID Tracking Project automatically via the JSON web query. My spreadsheet is included with the links to the data sources.

March 2020

I think March 2020 is going to be a momentous month for historians to look back on in the years to come just like September 1940. Though we were told of the first warnings of the Coronavirus Pandemic in January, it was not until March that it set off our alarm bells. What a dramatic change it has brought to society, the economy and our way of life since the start of this month of March.

As we come to the final day of the month, Kathy and I have enjoyed social distancing while walking the bayous in our neighbourhood. The wildlife often surprises us.

Whistling Ducks, Horsepen Creek, Houston, Texas, March 2020

With the end of the month, I turned 65 so we celebrated with a virtual Birthday Party. It was great to have family from UK and Canada join in the fun!

Virtual Birthday Party, Houston, Texas, March 2020

Kathy made a great Lemoncello cake which we shared with our neighbours while carefully keeping our six feet spacing!

Birthday Party Cakes, Houston, Texas, March 2020

We hope that next month sees the “flattening of the curve” in the USA and other countries but I fear the worse is still to come and we shall not see much good news until June. Too many States in the USA have still not implemented State wide social-distancing mandates and our implementing useless travel restrictions when the virus is already here.

We hope that early next week we shall be able to visit with James and Charlotte to help look after Evie, Flynn and Georgie.

Coronavirus and Covid-19 Pandemic

We have been taking the Coronavirus and Covid-19 Pandemic seriously and as of March 16th we have decided to self-isolate.

Obtaining good information about the pandemic is critical. In this age of distrust, personality politics and lack of investment in our institutions, it is important to cut through the noise to determine what is really happening.

Here are some sources which we have been using:

The last article provides this advise:

  • The coronavirus is coming to you.
  • It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
  • It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.
  • When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
  • Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.
  • Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.
  • They will have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies.
  • The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.

Extreme social-distancing seems to be the best tactic for this global pandemic, but what is the exit strategy?

RanchSTOC IX

In March, I rode KBiK up to Meridian in north central Texas to camp at Fergie’s family ranch near Cranfills Gap where he was sponsoring the ST-Owners RanchSTOC IX event.

RanchSTOC, Cranfill’s Gap, Texas, March 2020
RanchSTOC, Cranfill’s Gap, Texas, March 2020
RanchSTOC, Cranfill’s Gap, Texas, March 2020
RanchSTOC, Cranfill’s Gap, Texas, March 2020

As always, we had riders from all over the US attend this event.

RanchSTOC, Cranfill’s Gap, Texas, March 2020

On Friday, a few of us rode out to the Regency Suspension Bridge on the Colorado River just north of San Saba. This bridge is the last wooden suspension bridge still in use in Texas.

Regency Suspension Bridge, San Saba, RanchSTOC, Texas, March 2020
Regency Suspension Bridge, San Saba, RanchSTOC, Texas, March 2020
Regency Suspension Bridge, San Saba, RanchSTOC, Texas, March 2020

See all the pictures from RanchSTOC here

White Shaman

In early March, Kathy and I traveled again out to west Texas to visit the White Shaman Preserve which is one of the most pristine examples of paleo-Indian rock art in the lower Pecos area. Earlier in the year, we had toured the rock art in Presa Canyon, which joins up to Seminole Canyon west of Comstock, Texas.

After staying overnight in Del Rio, we drove out to Seminole Canyon State Park and hiked the Canyon Rim to the Presa Canyon overlook.

Hiking to the Presa Canyon Overlook, Seminole Canyon State Park, Comstock, Texas, March 2020

We did not have enough time to hike all the way along the Canyon Rim trail to the Rio Grande where it is possible to see the Panther Cave rock art site. We plan to do the full hike when we come out to Big Bend in December.

After lunch, we joined Aimee Sapna, our tour guide from the Witte Museum, and the rest of the group at the White Shaman Preserve.

White Shaman Preserve, Pecos River, Texas, March 2020

We drove along a dirt road for about a mile and then hiked down to the rock shelter where the rock art was created.

White Shaman Preserve, Pecos River, Texas, March 2020

The White Shaman Preserve is a small rock shelter compared to others we have visited but the artwork is incredible. It is an absolutely stunning composition of anthropomorphic shapes, symbols and figures. Our guide explained the meaning of the rock art as first theorised by Dr Carolyn Boyd.

White Shaman Preserve, Pecos River, Texas, March 2020

While taking pictures of the rock art, we listened to our guides describe the various theories of the artwork.

It was an amazing experience which we thoroughly enjoyed. We look forward to visiting other paleo-Indian rock art locations in the lower Pecos area.

After leaving the White Shaman Preserve, we drove down to the boat ramp on the Pecos, and then up to the overlook, to view the impressive bridge where US90 crosses the Pecos River.

Pecos River Bridge, Pecos River, Texas, March 2020

See all the pictures from our adventure here!

2020 Lemoncello

Our 2020 Lemoncello production made from our home grown lemons is now ready for distribution!

2020 Lemoncello production readyy for distribution, Houston, Texas, March 2020

If you don’t want to drink it when, mixed with aloe vera gel, it makes a great handwash!

Terry Fox 5K Walk

A new month and on the first day we are up at 5:45am on a Sunday (groan!) to participate in the Houston Terry Fox Commemorative 5K walk.

Okay, we are retired so every day is a Saturday, so I should not complain! It was a great day for a short walk along White Oak Bayou from Stude Park. Nice and cool with temperatures in the mid 60’s with overcast skies.

Terry Fox Run, Houston, Texas, March 2020

We met the Canadian Consular General from Dallas who we hope to see again on Tuesday evening when we shall see “Come from Away” again at the Hobby Center.

February 2020

February was a busy month for us.

We really enjoyed David staying with us on his short break between finishing his assignment in Birmingham, UK and moving to Chicago, IL for his next project.

David and all his bags on the way to Chicago, Houston, Texas, February 2020

We hope to visit David in Chicago before he moves on to Virginia Beach in May.

I was not able to do all the motorcycle rides that I had planned as we had the joy of looking after our granddaughter Evie after Charlotte was admitted to hospital in anticipation for the birth of the twins!

Evie showed me how to enjoy KBiK!

Evie on KBiK with Andy, Houston, Texas, February 2020

February 12th was a special day with the birth of the twins, Flynn and Georgina. Charlotte recovered quickly and we hope to welcome Flynn and Georgie home in March!

Evie’s reaction to seeing pictures of Flynn and Georgie, Houston, Texas, February 2020

RCMP Troop 11 40 year Reunion

In February we had a great time hosting the 40 year reunion for RCMP Troop 11 in Houston, TX. Kathy was able to meet up again with some of her RCMP Troop members from all over Canada. We stayed at hotel near Discovery Green in downtime Houston so we able to easily enjoy city attractions.

On Wednesday we took the Metrorail train down to the Museum District and enjoyed a special Exhibit of Norman Rockwell’s art work. After lunch at the MFAH we walked through the Cullen Sculpture Garden before taking the train back to the downtown area and the hotel.

Cloud Column at MFAH, RCMP Troop 11 40 year Reunion, Houston, Texas, February 2020

In the evening on Wednesday, we enjoyed the Manager’s Complimentary Reception at the hotel, after which we had dinner at Hearsay on the Green.

Hotel Manager’s Reception, RCMP Troop 11 40 year Reunion, Houston, Texas, February 2020
Dinner at Hearsay on the Green, RCMP Troop 11 40 year Reunion, Houston, Texas, February 2020

On Thursday, we went for lunch at Jackson St BBQ, a traditional Texas pit BBQ.

Lunch at Jackson St BBQ, RCMP Troop 11 40 year Reunion, Houston, Texas, February 2020
Lunch at Jackson St BBQ, RCMP Troop 11 40 year Reunion, Houston, Texas, February 2020

After lunch we walked down to Allen’s Landing and then along Buffalo Bayou to Sam Houston Park.

Walk along Buffalo Bayou, RCMP Troop 11 40 year Reunion, Houston, Texas, February 2020

In the evening we enjoyed the Manager’s Complimentary Reception at the hotel, after which we had dinner at Saint Arnold’s Brewery

Evening at Saint Arnold’s Brewery, RCMP Troop 11 40 year Reunion, Houston, Texas, February 2020

On Friday we drove south to League City to spend the whole day at Space Center Houston. We enjoyed the tour of NASA’s Johnson Space Center visiting the Houston Control Center, the Astronaut Training Center and Rocket Park.

On Friday evening we enjoyed traditional south Louisiana seafood dinner at the Ragin’ Cajun.

It was a very enjoyable reunion.

« Older posts Newer posts »