We refer to my house in Anoka as "Party Central". This name came about when the Enforcer and Big Scotty were going to live there together. Alas, the Big Scotty thing didn't work out, but the name has stuck.
Before leaving for Wyoming Randy blasted out the old concrete patio slab at Party Central with the intention of replacing it and the patio door after we returned. (He also did all my concrete work at my house in Coon Rapids, so I know he does really good work with concrete as well as everything else).
Last week we got to talking: Party Central has a deck that runs 2/3rds of the way across the back of the house. The strange thing about this deck is that it is about 2 feet off the ground with no step up to it. We would either have to keep the concrete at ground level (a step down from the patio door) and add a wooden step to the deck or have the concrete level to the patio door but have an inconsistent step size from the concrete to the surrounding ground (which would look weird). Then RR came up with the idea of building a continuation of the deck at the lower level (one step down from the original deck, level with the patio door). The deck would flow nicer and look more complete.
RR also painted the deck. This army brown color (brown with a hint of green) will be the color I repaint the house somewhere down the road.
I started Season 1 last week and am now about 4 episodes into it. I have 5 of the 6 seasons at my house right now, on loan from my dad. The show comes highly recommended by him and my brothers. Thus far I am amused, but not yet drawn into it. Some scenes really crack me up; others are a little slow. I think this might end up being a show that is better watched sitting on a couch instead of running on a treadmill.
Ran 9.75 miles today. 8 miles at 7.1mph (8m30s miles). Did two miles at a time with a minute or so drink break and rest which I really needed. Also did 10 sets of 0.06mile intervals of 10mph.
Last week I did 5.5 miles on 7/19. Also did some intervals (1 minute at 9mph x 4) for a total of 2.75 miles on 7/22.
We (the Fab 4) are finishing up purchasing a travel trailer for ourselves.
It's a 2000 Flagstaff Shamrock 21' camper. The pictures are not of the actual one we're buying (we're not buying one from a dealer in WA), but the pictures ARE what ours looks like.
I'll have 1/6 ownership in it, as will the Enforcer. R and V will each have 1/3 ownership, as they will be using it for MN hunting in the fall. Essentially I'll be paying about $40/month. We'll use the camper for trips to Wyoming the next few years, saving a LOT of money in hotels and also giving us a way to bring our mountain bikes with us.
We'll hopefully have it in time for next weekend to go up north.
I have too many goals, probably. A multitude of goals keeps me from moving very fast towards any of them, but I don't seem to mind too much.
Like many runners, I want to run a marathon in every state. As I really only run 1 marathon a year on average, I should be able to do it by the time I'm... 76-78 years old. I started in 2003, but my first marathon was in Jamaica (not even a state, for you who are geographically behind). And I've done the Marine Corps marathon, but I better not count it as I did it in someone else's name.
I've done a handful of 50k's (3), a 50 miler, a 100 miler. These I accomplished before I even knew these were goals: I kind of stumbled into them (and through them, now that I think about it).
I've qualified for Boston and ran it, and don't really feel the need to do that again.
Although I'd like to do Superior 100 again in September, I have this feeling I'm going to retire from ultras for the rest of 2008. Why? My money is committed elsewhere (I've done a ton of house renovation in the last year on two houses and need to pay off those bills). I don't have the time off from work (I've used up a TON of my PTO (paid time off)). I also haven't had the time to train for anything. This doesn't mean I couldn't do it (I probably still could), but I won't be doing any better than last year. My thoughts right now are instead of doing Voyageur (which is half over right now, so obviously I'm not doing it) and Superior, I'll pick a late fall marathon and train and try to break 3:30, my next marathon goal (current PR is 3:38:12).
Haven't decided for sure yet, but that's the way I'm leaning.
I think I'm going to add "Climb to the highest point in all 50 states" to my to-do list.
I've already done MN: Eagle Mountain in October 2002 with RR. And on our way home from Wyoming we went to SD's High Point: Harney Peak (elevation 7242ft). It's just southwest of Mount Rushmore.
Here's a picture of the little castle thing at the top of the peak (I told you I took more pictures in Wyoming than just the car trunk).
It's about a 6 mile hike to the top and it was a beautiful day. Harney Peak is in Custer State Park. What I saw of it was nice, but we literally drove in, parked, hiked, drove out, so I'm certainly not the expert.
I have slightly different hours than my friends do: I am up at 5:30a every day to be at work by 6:30a. With traffic I often don't get home until 5:30p-6p at night. Granted I do get some half days off and even some full days off during the week, so I can't say that I literally work these hours every day M-F. But in general it's safe to say I'm an early riser.
My friends are NOT. Eforce works 2nd shift throughout the school year, suffering with day hours only June-August. RR is naturally a night hour and when given the choice, would rather start mid-late morning.
So whenever we travel, I am always careful to bring along a book so I'm not bored as I wait for everyone to get moving. No, they're not lazy... we do a TON, but it typically happens in the afternoon and evenings.
Here's what I brought and read in Wyoming this year. My reviews are short:
"Let's Not Go to the Dogs Tonight": I was not super impressed by this one. I read a few books involving African history during our trips last year, and they were much better. I think my problem was this was more of a story and I wanted more of a history lesson.
"To The Top": Very interesting book about two guys who climbed to the highest point in each state. Gave me a new goal to add to my to-do list. Cider House Rules: I really like John Irving and he again didn't disappoint me. Into Thin Air: Loved it. It's a pretty easy read and a good story. The first book in a long time that kept me up into the wee hours of the night reading, not wanting to stop. I went to the library last week and picked up about 6 more books about Mt. Everest.
Them: I am not impressed. I'm about 130 pages into it mainly because it was the last book I had and the trip wasn't yet over. I renewed it from the library, but I don't think I'm going to finish it.
I was in third grade at Forest Hills Elementary School in Eden Prairie, MN. My teacher was Mr. Just, who might know, as he's a local (Twin Cities) runner. I think he passed me at Trail Mix. I was able to pick him out as 1) I knew he'd be there and was looking for him, and 2) he doesn't look that much different, relatively speaking, over the course of the last 22 years. I on the other hand have grown quite a bit between the ages of 8 and darn close to 30.
1986 was also the year that some people carved "1986" into the bottom of a couple pop cans and pushed them underneath a rock at the summit of a random peak in the Bighorns. If you're reading this, whoever you litterers are, the cans had just barely started to fade, so yes, they DO last a long time, and no, you don't need to experiment in this irresponsible way anymore.
Sunday was so gorgeous that we went out golfing. The way we golf is with RR and I golfing and V and E acting as caddies. It works pretty well, considering.
I'm not a good golfer, but as I started golfing 6 years ago and go out about 1-6 times per season and have only taken 1 formal lesson, I give myself some credit. We did 9 holes two times. The first time I scored a 52; I improved by 3 strokes to 49 for the 2nd time through (4 holes the same, 2 worse holes, and 3 better holes).
I'm off work tomorrow afternoon so maybe if I get some stuff done around the house I'll go out again on my own.
Treadmill day 24 (7/18/08): I finished Season 6 of "24" on Monday. I did 5.25 miles. I did a couple of 9 minute miles, a couple of 10 minute miles, and then some walking at an incline (1-13%).
I only had 1.5 episodes of "24" left, and after not watching it for over two weeks and the fact that I even started in the middle of an episode, I found that I didn't really care and was not too much into it.
Season 6 of "The Shield" comes out in September and I can't wait. The cliffhanger at the end of Season 5 is huge.
Total Treadmill miles: 25.25
What happened to treadmill days 4-23? 4-6 was getting ready for Wyoming and 7-23 were the trip. My poor treadmill must have felt pretty lonely, dejected, and confused to have come into my home and not been used.
This year we decided that we would be very careful to not be hiking in the wilderness after dark (much). Part of the reason is that we were planning on going into the Absaroka Mountain Range (the same range that Yellowstone is a part of, but we would be south of the park) and the Absaroka's definitely have grizzlies. We were going to take it seriously (because you HAVE to).
Our first night of camping in the wilderness was on Thursday, 7/3. We had planned on camping in the wilderness off of some forest road and then cutting through the wilderness to climb Loaf Mt. As we got a late start that day (you'll learn that this is a common theme) we decided that we'd just hike towards the moutain and scope it out to climb the next day.
Have I mentioned that the Force has really bad eyes? And really bad feet? He has hiking poles (that have compasses built in) that he uses to help keep his balance when hiking. He also carries a pair of binoculars for all of us to use. He has a knife and a water bottle holder for his belt.
The Bighorns really don't have grizzlies. A person still needs to be careful for black bear mamas and their cubs, but it's not quite as dangerous as the Absarokas, so we decided that we didn't need to bring in more than one container of bear spray. We had the Enforcer carry it as he needs the practice of being able to grab it and get the safety latch off.
We left camp at about 3p and got to the tree line about 2 hours later. We were at the foot of an unnamed peak that was between us and Loaf that we would have to go up and down and then back up Loaf. RR, V, and I decided we'd climb to the top of unnamed peak to see what we could see, leaving E on a rock down below. By the way, we do have walkie-talkies that have weather radios, so we can be in contact with anyone we "leave on a rock".
We climbed up and started back down. Realizing that the best route back to camp (that we could now see due to the higher vantage point) would have us coming down unnamed peak more to the east. We got on the walkie talkie and asked the Enforcer to move east, away from the setting sun (it was probably 7p or so now).
As we got closer to the point where we should be able to see E as we descended, we got concerned as he was not where we'd expected. We walkie-talkied him and he told us he was going back to where he'd previously been sitting because he'd forgotten his binoculars. Dam it, Eforce. We had stressed to him, before we left him, BE SURE TO HAVE ALL YOUR GEAR WITH YOU! We waited awhile, called him again. Where was he? He was going back to where he'd been sitting because he'd forgotten his hiking sticks. WHAT?! We told him to stop moving, because at that point we didn't know exactly where he was, and since he is not good with directions, we didn't trust that he wasn't at this point just wandering around in the forest (we'd left him out in the open with the forest behind him and only rocks and peak ahead and to the side.
We had him yell, and we could hear him and knew where to look. We could finally see him and knew where we'd have to go to get back to him.
"Eforce," said RR, "we're making our way back to you now. Stay put. We'll need the bear spray to get us out because it's going to be dark. You have the bear spray, RIGHT?!"
So do you get it? Eforce had forgotten his bear spray at one rock, his hiking sticks at another rock, had gone back to look for his binoculars (which I guess were in his pocket the whole time), and had unknowingly dropped and lost both a pen, his chapstick and a pack of kleenix (the last three items RR found later, all in different locations).
We stayed, scouring the rocks for a good hour, trying to jog the Forcer's memory as to wear he was sitting. Eagle eye RR found the hiking sticks right away, but it finally got too dark to find the bear spray.
So we hiked through the wilderness in the dark again, getting back to camp at midnight. We decided from now on when we hike up peaks we'll leave E in camp serving as "camp guard".
**UPDATE** One week later, 7/10/08, we did succeeded in climbing Loaf Mountain (just under 12000'). The Enforcer, newly outfitted in a fanny pack with securely closing zipper pockets and sporting a new container of bear spray, tagged along to the tree line again to find the old container of bear spray (which he did). He sat on a rock (no moving allowed) for 5 hours as RR, V, and I bouldered up and down and up and down and up and down to Loaf Mt and back.
Last year (2007) we went out to the Bighorns twice to climb Cloud Peak (13,175'). The first trip we didn't have very good information about the best route and we ended up climbing Bomber Mountain. We decided to make a abbreviated trip over Labor Day solely to climb Cloud Peak (which we did).
Climbing Cloud Peak requires us to travel off trail, across real wilderness. I would trust myself to lead myself about 70%. I trust RR to lead us 100%.
We got a late start last fall, leaving camp about 12:30p, mainly because all the other 3 were feeling effects of the altitude (camp was at 10000') to varying extents because we had no time to ease into acclimation. I felt fine.
We made fairly good time up the mountain, considering. We reached 12400' at about 5:15p, where we left V and E on a rock for RR and I to finish to the summit. EForce has VERY bad feet (very flat and bowlegged), but has done really well on the backpacking and climbing we've led him on. V was having some altitude-related bruising on her chest and felt she couldn't go further either. We told them we'd be back in an hour.
Well, it took longer than an hour. RR was feeling pretty dizzy and headache from the altitude, as well as having a tougher time breathing. I noticed the lack of oxygen, too, but nothing else. But the closer we got to the summit, the less we were willing to turn around. We figured if we could be out of the rock bouldering section by dark, we'd be able to make it back to camp fairly easily.
We didn't make it out of the bouldering area before dark. I think we'd just barely started the bouldering (about 2 miles worth, down the mountain). Since it was dark, it made it that much harder to move with any sort of speed. RR was very nauseas and I had to take over navigating for a little bit. V was pretty freaked out. The Enforcer almost walked himself off a 10' ridge (missed the switchback) and luckily RR caught him in time. We found out the Force, for some unknown reason, had not worn his contacts!
We got back to camp at 12:30a. We resolved that this year we would NOT be coming back to camp that late.
Actually, that's not true; I did take more than one picture by the time we got home, but for the first 14 days of the trip this was the only picture I had in my camera. And it was taken in RR's driveway before we left.
I am in charge of packing the gear in the car, which is no small feat. We rent an Impala for the better gas mileage and we fit 4 grown adults and all their gear into the trunk. The trunk has to be packed pretty specifically, making sure to not allow any dead space behind larger items, and fitting all the small stuff in the nooks and crannies. I am able to do this. I am sure RR could, but he's in charge of the more important things (like taking us through the wilderness to get back to camp in the middle of the night). V and the Force are NOT able to load the trunk. I know this because I let them give it a shot one time. I completely loaded 2/3rds of the trunk, making use of all the space. All they had to do was to load two backpacks and two duffel bags. Well, they for some reason decided they had to rearrange my loading (?!?) and when they "finished" they couldn't get the last backpack in. "What happened" RR asked, "What more did we put in the trunk?" I took over, re-loaded, and ended up with EXTRA room.
I wish I could say that I intentionally had my last post predicting a bear attack to be followed by 3 days of silence. Man, that would have been awesome to have planned it that way!
Actually I aimed to squeak out as many posts as I had could sneak in before leaving. My goal was one to pop up each day, but I ran out of time to get any in for after the 10th of July.
Never did get back to a computer after the 3rd of July, so there were no more real time updates.
I have a bazillion emails to go through (both work and personal), a stack of mail 6" high, and I have to dive back into work in less than 5 hours. I guess that's what is to be expected when one takes a 16 day vacation.
My prediction: Today is the day that we get mauled by a grizzly. With 4 canisters of bear spray you'd think at least 1 of the 3 not being mauled would be able to give it a blast. Right? Right? We'll also have a handgun with us, as V as her conceal/carry permit.
I've seen a grizzly and a black bear on the side of the road in Yellowstone. Also saw a black bear up in northern MN last spring.
I've seen many a moose as well.
I saw baby foxes at Savanna Portage a few weeks ao
Oh no... I take that back! I don't really believe that by saying it I'm jinxing us, but maybe I shouldn't even go there.
It is because of the Grassroots (the band) that I work in the eye business.
I was changing tracks on my car CD player in January of 1998 when I rear-ended someone. I needed a part time job so applied at Walmart. I was hired by the Vision Center and worked my way into being an optician, eventually transition from part time to full time. I decided in 2004 to move to the medical side of the field as opposed to the selling glasses side. Now here I am.
A person can still regularly hear music from the 60's and 70's on the radio, in stores, out and about, even though 30 to 40 years have passed. Thank you, Baby Boomers. Can you imagine walking into a store in 2033 and hearing Justin Timberlake, Fergie, and others STILL being played?
I'm not being critical as I like 60's and 70's music. Best concert I ever went to was the Eagles. I've seen Fleetwood Mac, Neil Diamond, Temptations.
I saw the Temptations and the Four Seasons at Mystic Lake in 1996. Yes, I did, when I was 18 years old. The Temptations sounded better, but that's because they replaced the dead singers/old singers with new, younger models. Sorry, I really have no clue about the life-status of the individual members... all I know is that there were 5 singers and at least a few were young enough to have obviously not been an original member. The Four Seasons were not as good of sound quality, but it was 3 old guys (probably original). Just an observation, not a judgement.
I have this idea that I'd like to live in Boulder some day, but I think realistically it is way too liberal of a town. Denver would be an better option. Considering I own two homes in the Twin Cities, however, this is probably not something that is happening any time soon.
I lived for 9 months in Washington DC. Current politics bore me; past politics (history) interests me. Washington DC is too "current". I worked as a waittress at a bar and the bar was packed for the state of the union address. All in all I enjoyed living there. I was surprised to find that there were many options to get out of the city and into the wilderness within just an hour or two (similar to the Twin Cities). I did some hiking in Shenandoah amongst other places.
I would not like to live where it was humid (southeast).
Some of these posts most be awfully boring, as I am just spitting out random stream-of-consciousness type ramblings.
One book I tried reading that I just couldn't handle was James Joyce's "Ulysses." Couldn't do it.
I also had a bit of a hard time getting into Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", although I did manage to finish it. I loved "Apocalypse Now". I like most war movies in general.
I've read a ton of Russian literature (it was my major), a lot of history (especially Russian history).
On the trip this year I brought a memoir on Africa, "Cidar House Rules", and two others I can't think of.
I really recommend "Lone Survivor" (I brought on trip last year). VERY good book. I also brought another book on African history last fall that was very good--can't remember the title. It was about the genocide and murder and what-not in Rwanda, Somalia, and the Sudan.
I have a key chain from Khartoum, brought to me by a co-worker in Washington DC who went there to visit family. That bit of info is TOTALLY stream of consciousness.
I am NOT in Costa Rica right now, although I'd love to go sometime. Today is my cousin's 30th b-day and she and her sister were going to Costa Rica. I'm a little bit jealous, but I'm enjoying myself in Wyoming right now so all is good.
I spent a week in Mazatlan in 2003 and came back with a broken foot.
I spent a week in Puerto Vallarta in 2005.
I spent a month in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2000.
I spent a 8 weeks nannying in Washington, DC in 1998. Also lived there for 9 months in 2004-5.
I worked for Northwest Airlines in 1998 and went to Houston (Galveston), Washington DC, a day trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, a day trip to New York City, and a weekend trip to San Francisco.
I've spent time in both San Francisco and New Orleans for work conferences, but really haven't done any touristy stuff during those trips as I really enjoy the courses I attend.
Oh, and I have a funny picture I'll post at some point, maybe. In the 1997 camping trip out west I posted about a few days ago, PeeWee and I posed in front of a well in Hungry Horse, MT (the friendliest "dam" town in the west) that was graffiti-ed with the phrase "tourists suck". We made sure to put on all the tourist-y gear we could find... cameras, binoculars, holding maps.
Here's how my brain works: (well, not in its entirety)
My friends Vanessa and Tim got married on 9/27/03. This came about at TGIF's when I was eating dinner with them and discussing possible wedding dates. I really pushed for this option (out of the other possible September/October Saturdays) for a reason that seemed fairly obvious to me but involved me scrawling some notes on a napkin. If they got married on 9/27/03 they could choose to write their anniversary date as 3 squared, 3 cubed, 3-to-the-first-power. I thought that would be pretty cool.
In 1997 my friends Nora, PeeWee, and I drove out to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. We were young (18) and crazy, driving the entire way out there. Almost drove off the road in the park we were so tired!
Highlights include searching Lincoln, MT for the Unabomber's cabin. We never found it and later learned we couldn't have found it because it was taken to CA for the trial. Also memorable was our night in the rain in the tent in the middle of bear country, too afraid to leave the tent with water seeping in through the tent seams. Over the course of the night we had less and less non-wet sleeping bag-age. I had to go to the bathroom and had the Simon and Garfunkle song "I am Rock" in my head (as we had only an "island" of dry sleeping bag to share).
Nora brought three cameras with her. One she dropped down the side of a mountain. A second died when it fell into a creek with her. I don't recall off hand if the third made it back or not.
Last year we thought that we were going to go to a Dude Ranch this summer, either near Sundance, WY (where the pretty girl waittress that the Enforcer likes works) or down near Laramie. I even bought myself a cowboy hat. Eforce bought cowboy boots in Wall, SD. Yet plans changed and we are not doing that this year. Maybe next year. So much to do, but too little time and money.
I didn't even plan on bringing my Nike Free's on the trip. I was going to bring my hiking shoes (Inov8) and my sandals. The Free's were so dang comfortable, however, that I did bring them. I got to thinking before the first hike that I should try hiking in them, since I do know that some ultra-runners run mountain ultras in very minimalistic shoes. So our first hike (10 mile) I wore them. What I noticed: They are comfortable. I have a good feel of the ground that is great for balancing on logs. When they get wet they dry very quickly. However I think I would have to train a little more because my feet were kinda sore when I got back to the car. Think 80- miles- into- Superior-ouch- that- kinda- hurts- oh- well- sore (not pure hell 90 miles in soreness). Also when they are wet (or I can imagine sweaty) my feet kind of slip around a bit, making it a little more difficult to do any bouldering if the boulders aren't flat. Also they don't cover my ankle bone (whatever that is called) which could cause an injury if I bang it just right. For the record my Inov8's don't cover that bone either.
Yesterday we were rained out of Hazelton Peak as well. We did do a late afternoon cross-country off-the-trail hike over a couple peaks (probably about 11 miles between 7500' and 9500'). RR is the only person I will follow into the woods not fearing for myself or that I need to pay super good attention and be able to lead us out; I trust him completely (even more than myself). He took us on an 11 mile loop that got us right back to the car. Amazing!
Today we are going to climb Loaf Mt. (11,200'). Darton is still snow covered.
We saw a patient last week who had normal pressures for the last few years. No family history of glaucoma. This visit the pressure in one of his eyes was a high, so we did a visual field. He has pretty advanced glaucoma with visual field loss in both eyes. We started him on eye drops to lower his pressure, but he won't regain the vision he lost. This is one reason why even if you have good vision, you should still have somewhat regular eye exams! Glaucoma can sneak up on you pretty easily, ruining your baseball career if you're a famous athlete as it did a previous patient in the practice (and affecting your life if you're not).
There's still a lot of snow up the peaks, so we are in a holding pattern for now. The area received a lot of late May precipitation. It's melting fast, so we may just need to wait a week. Our number one goal is still to climb Francs Peak, and due to snow we may have to forego Darton Peak this year.
We did a 10 mile hike to about 8750' on Saturday. Long story, but we ended up coming too close for comfort to running out of gas coming back down the mountains to Buffalo. We put the car in neutral and coasted down the hills.
Yesterday RR and I rented mountain bikes, had Eforce drive us 20 miles up the road into the mountains, and then we blasted down. He had us clocked at 53 mph during some sections. We're going for a repeat today and I'm going to wear my GPS and see if I can get a more accurate reading. We had some Forcer-snafus that caused us to have to start over a few times. We did the last 5 miles of big hills 3 times!
Today we're climbing Hazelton Peak and will finally get some elevation (10,500'). We chose not to do it yesterday due to a late start and the possibility of storms rumbling through. Sure enough, while biking we could see angry dark storm clouds in that vincinity and as we ate dinner at El Sol Vallarta the storm made it into town (Buffalo, WY: home base for now).
We did get out of town, but late: 9pm, putting us into Al's Oasis at 4:00am.
We ended up renting our Impala from Hertz in Blaine. Heidi, the staff member who helped us mainly, was SUPER helpful. When I called on Thursday night asking if any full size sedans would be returned to them for us to get on Friday before we left she:
-Offered us a Sante Fe at a $50 discount as the gas mileage wouldn't be as good as an Impala. -Looked up in their system to see that an Impala WAS scheduled to be returned at 9am Friday. -Let us take the Santa Fe and their staff would drive the Impala to the Force's workplace on Friday to exchange it. -Would still give us at least $25 discount even if we got the Impala because of the hassle we had.
Found out later that when the Impala was NOT returned as scheduled, she had someone drive one up from their Brooklyn Park location to Blaine for us.