Last Sunday’s walk was very pleasant and successful as a walk, exploring new territory, but a disaster from the standpoint of further testing the heart rate monitor of the Garmin Forerunner 405CX. I had experimented with using the HRM in my ballet class but found that, although the watch detected the monitor, I couldn’t get it to display the training page. Subsequent tests have shown that, although it is possible to get the HR page even when the GPS is off, the problem is that, if the watch does not detect activity (movement, as reported by the GPS), then the watch goes into Power Save mode. So that was a nonstarter.

Last week, however, all conditions should have been right for the HRM, as the GPS was on, and I was moving. The watch detected the monitor at least occasionally but couldn’t get a consistent enough signal to give reliable results. I wasted a lot of time just checking on the watch to see whether it was behaving, adjusting its position on my wrist, adjusting the position of the monitor strap, etc., before throwing in the towel and deciding to just enjoy the walk and the new views.

Today, however, I had a specific plan. I have arranged, finally (I hope), to have a table refinished. I can date the start of this project to July 2004, when I took photos of the table to show to a proposed refinisher, who gave me an estimate and arranged to come pick up the table. He never showed and didn’t respond to phone messages, and presently his place of business was closed. Other prospects have proved similarly evanescent, but I think I now have a live one. The address he gave me, however (457 S. Mobile Street), is different from the one listed in the phone book (which he said was just a mailing address), and I wanted to check it out. I’m still a bit dubious: the location appears residential and has no sign, but there is a sort of shop in the back yard, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. At least I did get a complete name, and I have a working phone number!

My wandering path again today took me through the part of Fairhope called “the fruit and nut district.” Although this appellation is derived from the street names—Kumquat, Satsuma, Pomelo, Orange, Fig, Pecan—it is often said that the term could equally well apply to the residents. Like most older neighborhoods, it is a mixture of older and newer homes. Many of the older ones are quite grand, but most look like obvious candidates for demolition. The newest ones have almost certainly been built on lots where such smaller cottages were once located, but I was surprised to find quite a few vacant lots as well, including three lots at the southeast corner of Bay Breeze Lane (an alley) and Pecan Avenue, which seem to have been maintained as a sort of pocket park.

The walk was a success from the standpoint of distance traveled, calories burned, and new sights viewed (not to mention that it was a glorious day to be out), but in particular it was a success because the heart rate monitor performed like a champ. I had begun to wonder whether it was necessary to get rained on to achieve this (and in fact I did encounter a brief shower), but today I wet a Kleenex and swabbed my chest before putting the monitor on, and that seems to have done the trick. It recorded (apparently accurately) from beginning to end (and then some, as I left it on to try to see how long it would take me to return to my resting heart rate). So now I just have to plan my next adventure!

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