Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mini Jeep

We took the kids geocaching Monday while running errands. We picked one close by, and we went so the boys could swap some treasure. Unfortunately the treasure was shut in the back hold of Chad's kayak on Saturday when we cached the Fever River, so this trip was a makeup since they didn't swap at the Fever cache. After waiting for the busy area to clear out, the boys scrambled under a bridge to retrieve the cache box. On opening Kevin was thrilled to finally find a travel bug, an elusive trackable item that has a code you can follow online. Some have particular destinations in mind, but all are to be shortly sent on their way to another location. And amazingly the bug in the box was a Jeep Travel Bug still in circulation around the country.

It was a miniature of my Jeep Commander, right down to the skylites, sunroof and red color.

Isn't it cute? We'll enjoy it for the week and then send it on it's way at a yet to be determined cache. This travel bug's goal is just to travel around the country. We have our own travel bugs on order from REI so the boys can release some on our summer vacations.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Ride Before Blasting Off

Chad and I went for a bike ride on Sunday. 55 miles on some rolling hills. We rode the tandem so I didn't have to push it too much with my knee. Thankfully Chad is strong enough to pull me when I get tired. There was a strong wind, but the ride was nice, our longest of the season so far. Halfway into the ride the ride coordinators had a water stop with bagels and bananas. Chad and I split some Peach Tea Sharkies on the return trip because the hills seemed steeper(ok, more like legs tired). The Peach Tea flavor was not awful, but I still like the Berry flavors better.

It was a beautiful day, and when we arrived to retrieve the kids, Kevin was indoors watching tv. Trying to think of something to get him outside, an intriguing commercial came on for the Banzai Titan Blast Rocket. Boasting an amazing 7 foot rocket that shoots up to 100 feet in the air, it was just too much for the boys(all three) to pass up. A quick internet search showed that Toys R Us had it in stock and away they went.

Well it is large, the main part of the rocket is inflatable the the remainder is foam so it is not too heavy. Takes about 20 or so ounces of water to fill up the tank and 140 pumps to pressurize. Since our yard doesn't accommodate very well a rocket shooting 100 feet in the air with possible drift we took it to the neighborhood park. Kevin set off the first blast, too quick for the camera. But here is Zack's blast off.
It all went too fast to tell if it was 100 feet up but there was some good hang time and drifting before crashing down to earth. Everything seemed to work well, we only had taken two bottles of water so two blast-offs was it. The rocket survived, there was a small leak in the tip that was patched the next day, but we'll see how many crash landings it can take.

Kayaking the Fever

Saturday, we took a kayak trip down the Fever River, also know as the Galena River. We saw the river on a new dvd that we purchased entitled, River Trails of Southern Wisconsin. We watched all the segments on the video in our area and the Fever was one that Kevin liked, mostly due to the riffles they showed and not mentioning snags in the river or bugs. The weather on Saturday was a little sketchy looking, but we headed out to take a chance. The put in was great, a newly developed area with a picnic table, grill, and a gravel parking area. Chad dropped us, boats, and all the gear then headed to park at the takeout. He biked the route back on his fixed gear which I think was more of a challenge than expected because there were quite a few large hills along the route. Of course when he met back up with us, it started pouring rain. We waited it out under the bridge for 10 minutes or so and it stopped, so we put in and were on our way.

Another reason we picked this river was the chance to explore two abandoned railroad tunnels along the way. We even found a geocache location in the area of the first tunnel. The water was a little on the low side, reported at 3.08 the day before, and there was some scraping on the bottom along the way. The tunnel we stopped at was cool, and I mean literally, the temperature difference at the entrance was significant.

We saw plenty of animals down river, from cows hanging out in the river, to bald eagles flying overhead. We did have to limbo under an electric fence, which was probably the most harrowing part of the trip. Most of the cows moved out of our way as we approached, and there were some calves chasing us along the bank. The take out location was unexpected since the parking area discussed in a guide book we have was fenced, chained and locked. We had to pull and push the boats up a steep slope and Chad carried them down a gravel drive and around a fence to the Jeep. It began raining again as we packed our final stuff into the Jeep and strapped the boats on the trailer. We finished the day with a short trip to nearby Galena.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


As I stepped out the door with my bike I suspected at some point in my ride I might regret not staying in bed.....came pretty close.

The wind was out of the west so very little of my ride should have been into the wind. The first 10 miles were on and off headwind but not bad. It wasn't until I turned for home by way of a good climb that I got hammered.

The climb had not even started and I was in trouble, middle chainring, largest cog on the cassette. How did that happen I usually clear this climb with a gear or two to spare. Sure I had the "granny ring" but this was just a short ride so grind on in the 42x26. Once inside of better tree cover I grabbed a couple gears back, lost them again before the top and descended back across the wind.

Since my route was out and back with the now completed loop at the furthest point I hoped to be back to more moderate winds like on the way out. The constant wind that I headed into now was alright it was the gusts that I could have done without. A few gusts hit as cars approached making me appear even slower than normal. At 6'3" and 200 pounds I only get so aero, but I've heard drafting off me is nice.

Anyway I made it back home with a slower than hoped for average speed but looking forward to the next ride.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Seasonal slump

What season is it anyways? Tulips are still blooming, yet the sun tries to be making it seem more like summer. I guess I may just be wishing it were more like summer. It's that between cool spring and the summer warm-up when from day to day it could seem like either.

What does this mean for family outdoor activity? It means, what do we do?, what do we wear?, what extra clothes do we bring when the weather changes?. It means the unknown.

Last week was pretty cool and windy, but we were insistent on getting out on Saturday to do something outside. It was drizzling occasionally and windy but we still made it to the Farmers Market for our first visit of the season. We hit all our old favorites, the fresh cheese curds, the beef jerky sticks, the kettle corn across the street, and we picked up some potato doughnuts. Needed a warm up of coffee for Chad and I after the market, and after spending some time on State Street we headed for some Mother's Day shopping. The boys took me to buy some flowers and vegetable plants to put in my patio pots. I told Chad that what I wanted for Mother's Day was this trip and just asked that there was no to minimal complaining. Everyone cooperated, which I expected because the boys usually are busy looking for flowers to have planted in "their pots" to put on the deck or by the treehouse.

Sunday, I planted the vegetables and the boys' flowers, while Chad tried out a new purchase, The Weed Hound. It has little grabber prongs that pull out the weed with the root. Worked great and in no time Chad had a bucket full of dandelions. They seem very profuse this year.

I continue with my physical therapy exercise and precautions for my knee/leg/hip issues. It feels stronger, and I am hoping for good news at the end of this month.

Also hoping for warmer weather soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Road Trip to Run

Last Saturday was a long day. I left home for work at 4:15pm Friday May 1st and got back Saturday at 6pm. In just under 26 hours I covered 430 miles at work, about 500 miles in my car and 13.1 miles on foot.

So at 2:30am myself and a friend headed north to run the Door County Half Marathon. As we left we discussed the local runs we had noticed that would not have involved a 8 hour road trip.

After only one stop for food and Gatorade we were at the park just before 6am. Then next 3 hours were spent trying to sleep in the car, no idea but I may have got an hour of sleep. Around 9 we went and got our packets and t-shirts. Then came the hard decision of what to wear. It was sunny but only near 50 degrees so after twice changing my mind I settled on a short sleeve shirt and arm warmers. Brian chose his gear and we headed to the start area.

The race started just after 10 from the Nicolet Bay boat launch. The entire 13.1 mile course was within Peninsula state park. The park was closed to traffic on the race route until 2pm which made for a nice run. Aid stations were frequent with different groups offering water and a lemon lime drink. One stop had Gu shots in at least six different flavors.

While Brian and I lined up together after maybe a half mile he was gaining ground and cutting between people to go faster. I lost sight of him by mile 3. I talked with a few people as we ran, one guy and I ran from miles 3-9 on and off. I would fall behind when my water bottle was empty and I needed to refill but I like it better than slamming glasses at the water stations. I ate 2 packs of Jelly Belly sports beans (cherry with caffeine) starting at mile 4 eating 3-4 at a time they lasted through mile 12. The finish line crew was announcing names as runners came in, might be normal but new to me. I had my cheering group via text message, I was sending Jenny updates as I went and would get encouragement back as I went along. 1:57.47 on the clock at the end, my goal of a 9 minute pace was met. Another volunteer removed my timing chip and I got my finisher's metal as I left the chute headed for the car.

A quick stretch and we were of the the Door County Bakery for a Corsica loaf. Stop two was for showering at our timeshare in Egg Harbor. Once clean I needed to stop for wine for Jenny then we grabbed "lunch" eating at McDonald's in Door County is just wrong. We were on a mission to get home so cheeseburgers and fries and eating on the go. One stop for gas and I was at my house by 6pm.

I may do the run again next year or the 5k instead but will try to avoid the one day road trip.

Now to get some miles on my bicycles