Monday, December 22, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Halloween 2008 was spent with our friends, the Willerups, at their house on Harrison Blvd. For those of you not familiar with Boise, Harrison Blvd. and Warm Springs Rd. are two streets on which the Treasure Valley converges for tricks or treats (and they're awesome streets for viewing holiday decorations). Both streets feature the grand old homes of the early 20th century.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
We set off at 8:30 in the morning. Bryan's an excellent backpacking companion. He patiently waits for me to tape up my blisters and fool with my gear (note to self, leave the Themarest portable camp chair at home. No time for lounging when the mosquitoes find a warm-blooded,
albeit sweaty creature, trying to give the dogs a rest.) And don't get Bryan wrong. He'll dish out the shit when he's right.
Hiked 6 miles to Redfish Inlet to catch the boat ride over to the lodge. Caught the eyes of many curious tourists. Can't blame them with the way we looked.
Sat at the picnic benches lakeside (wind kept this bastard mosquitoes away) and ordered up some burgers and beer. Heaven. Also watched a stoned staffer spend two hours drawing up the menu on the chalk board. Funny!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Left Edna Lake and set off for Cramer Lakes. So far I've had to replace my GPS and camera batteries. My small 4 oz bottle of Pocket Rocket fuel has held out well. Envious of Bryan's JetBoil system, but still happy with mine.
We had two massive climbs ahead of us. First, it was up to Hidden Lake (great camping lakeside on the western shore) and then a push over Cramer Pass at 9,500 ft. The view at the pass was epic. For the first 10 minutes, the only words out of my mouth were "awesome!"
Duct tape on my blisters was effective. Not fun, but grateful to have brought it along. Got in at 2:15 and set up at the falls between Big and Middle Cramer lakes. Swam, cleaned up and washed some clothes. Lots of bugs here, but we learned to tolerate them to some degree. After the trip I discovered that my friend Lewis Hall had passesd our site while we were there. Too bad we didn't look out for each other.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
After a chat with curious neighbors, we set off for downtown Boise. We stopped in Hyde Park (at the place formerly known as Lucky 13), and then moved on to Bittercreek on 8th, and then closed the night at Bar Gernika in the Basque block.
Brock's got his rig tricked out. Lights front and back, as well as tiny red lights around the top's perimeter. All is battery powered and thanks to LED technology, he doesn't have to replace them often. Lastly, it's powered by strong legs conditioned by frequent rides.
Good times. Talked music, work, our MBA programs and politics. We did this last year and realized that we need to do it more often than once a year. As long as Brock's willing to pedal, I'm willing to buy the beer and ride!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Two months later, we gathered at the Worsley house to get our cooking lesson. Weeks in advance, Jigish sent us notes on the history of curry (spice trade routes), local dish styles, etc. I also brewed a special batch of German pilsner to complement the food's rich spices. And we all did our part in shopping.
No Power Upon our arrival, the power grid in the neighborhood promptly went out. It's just warming up here in Boise, and with everyone switching from heat to A/C, the older parts of the power grid were taxed. Jigish didn't flinch and said in his own Zen-like way, "It's OK -- we still have the grill." I replied, "And we have cold beer."
Without power, we pushed ahead. About an hour later, and after a few mango/vodka martinis, Idaho Power showed up and got the block back in business.
Jigish set the tone for the night with lots of history and background. And he had everyone running in different directions prepping the food, from grilling the salmon and chicken to cutting up the veg and spices. Of course, we were in great company with the Worsleys, Metzgars and Renees.
After four hours, we sat down for a large and delicious meal while the sun was setting in the foothills behind us. The kitchen was a disaster, the beer keg was half-full (nice job) and we were fat and happy. Then it was time for dessert.
I think we all walked away with some valuable cooking tips. And thanks to Jigish's approach to cooking, some of us felt more confident about tossing in the spices we think would go with the dish, vs. following the exact steps and measuring everything in precise amounts.
Of course, I could go on and on about the food preparation, but you'll have to see and hear for yourselves. I posted some photos and videos from the session.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Jay Watson and I have been friends since high school. To our best recollection after a few beers, we've been in five bands together -- he on guitar, me on drums. And we've been camping buddies for just as long -- frequently haunting Joshua Tree to hike, climb and chill in the "G 'n T" spot (inside story). Twenty-plus years later, we live in different parts of the West, have families, jobs, businesses to run, etc., but still manage to stay in touch.
Thanks to Laura for inviting me. I got some decent photos, but now realize that I didn't take enough. It was fun catching up with the Watson family, seeing Jay's girls (wow, they're so big!), Todd, Pablo, and finally seeing Jay's new restaurant. Very cool. After such a quick flight between Boise and Reno (45 minutes) I begin to wonder why we don't see each other more often. That will have to change.
The flight's been called and I need to shut down the PC. I'm looking forward to a bottle of water, a 45-minute nap (sorry about the snoring folks) and hope I'm in shape to hit the ground running when I get home.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
To capture the sights and smells of Idaho, we also spent a day up in Idaho City (an old mining town with lots of original structures from the 1850's). The weather was clear and breezy, and we got in time to throw rocks into a small pond, have lunch and head home the back way through Robie Creek. Near the top of Aldape Summit, Hayden touched snow for the first time. At first, she wasn't sure what to make of it. But in five minutes she was chasing her cousin Rachael around the snow banks.
We also got together with the Frank family (my in-laws) for several dinners. One thing is for certain with the Metzgars and Franks -- when we meet, we eat. I think the last time everyone was together was for Rachael's birth, five years ago.
While we missed not having my dad or brother-in-law, Patrick (both of whom were tending shop at the Reserve Cigar and Wine Bar) we had a memorable time together.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
We celebrated Suzanne's birthday with a weekend full of festivities. Thanks to Paul and Susie (Suzanne's parents) we went out with friends for dinner Saturday night while the kids stayed home. It was a late night affair at our favorite restaurant, Taj Mahal -- Indian food combined with one of the best selections of beer in Boise. We got a little wild, so it was a good idea that we were seated in a private room. Here are some photos.
The following day, nursing some minor hangovers, we started the day with gift and Suz getting in some gardening. Out of nowhere, our neighborhood's infamous ice cream man, Scary Larry came by. Long story short, for the last two years we heard his truck in our old neighborhood, but we somehow missed him. It was maddening -- I tried hunting him down online and in the phone book, to no avail. However, Scary Larry turned out to be a great guy as we chatted with him. He'll be by every weekend and I'm not sure I'll make it another week without another Choco Taco.
Later in the day we had the family over for a BBQ. Grilled salmon and asparagus with salad and fruit. We were keeping things Kosher for Passover. I recommend matzoh with humus for an appetizer. The weather was great for appetizers, but got a little windy for dinner, so we went inside. I'll link to photos as soon as I get those uploaded.
Monday, April 21, 2008
The challenge not only lies in enduring the extremes of the race route, but actually getting into the race. The organizers, once again, partnered with a lame online service provider that can't keep up with the thousands of people around the world trying to get one of 2,400 slots. On registration day, I wasted six hours facing timed out browsers and site crashes. I didn't get in, but I did score a bib three weeks later, thanks to a drawing at Shu's Idaho Running Company.
On the morning of the race, I met my friends, Tim and Lewis, at one of the parking areas near the end of the marathon. It was a cool 39 degrees, the sky was overcast, and I hit snow flurries on the way up. Weather forecasters were predicting snow and above-freezing temps at Aldape Summit, and the paper reported lots of mud at the top. Nothing new for this race. Each race is framed by the random weather. Three years ago it was blazing hot at the noon start and they had people passing out along the route to the top.
From the parking area, we rode back to Boise in Tim's truck. I managed to keep my Camelback's hydration mouthpiece out of the pool of God-knows-what liquid and feathers from Tim's long-forgotten duck hunt (and recently thawed ducks). Back in Boise, it was overcast and windy. At the race start, we had an hour and a half to kill after registration and getting our timing chips -- we spent the time catching up with other runners, listening to the band play cheesy rock, and keeping warm.
Just before the start of the race, the Scottish-themed, kilt-wearing Rocky Canyon Sail Toad gods blessed us with a back wind and a parting of clouds that provided warm, sunny weather for the entire race. I'll spare the details of my miles, and let you check out some of the photos I took along the way.
While I was going solo, I met some cool people on the way up and down. The highlight was Temptation Station. Just as you near the summit at mile 8, the trail feels steeper -- you're within sight of Aldape Summit (elev. 4,600 ft), your legs are looking forward to getting in some downhill miles, and it's the moment when some racers wonder if the race is really worth all this effort.
Temptation Station is hosted by the Boise Hash House Harriers ("We're really more of a drinking club with a running problem!"), they set out an "aid station" that features booze, cigars, Zingers and lots of loud music. For being near the end of the race, the party at Temptation Station was just getting started. It was packed. Last year, I politely passed on these folks. This year, I gave my dogs a rest and graciously enjoyed a couple of beers, Zingers, and shots of tequila (yes, they had Patron Silver!). They urged me to stay, but I had last year's time to beat, so I thanked my new friends and hit the dusty trail to Robie Creek.
On the way down the backside, I passed several runners/walkers hanging out at the real aid stations, getting oxygen and seeking treatment for other injuries. My heart rate was good, I was breathing easy and my legs felt solid. My training paid off after countless hours getting up to (or close to) Aldape Summit in three feet of snow, 19-degree temps, and sometimes freezing wind and snow.
At the end of the race, I crossed the finish, grabbed my new Race To Robie Creek shirt, and headed straight to the beer station. They were serving sweet Sierra Nevada. Ahhhh!
Let me be clear, I'm not much of a runner (and I like my knees), so unlike most racers, I walked this thing. I wasn't alone. Despite my final time, there were lots of people behind me (some way behind me). I beat my previous year's time by 15 minutes. It might not sound like much, but I'm damn proud of it. Join me next year and get bragging rights to completing the toughest half marathon in the Northwest. It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
She did the birthday thing in class, but left the real party for afterwards. Rebecca invited all of her classmates, and a few other friends, to Elm Grove park for an after-school lunch party. Everyone showed up and the parents stayed around chatting, snacking, etc. Then the pinata game was started. That thing worked like a champ and stood up to everyone's pummeling at least once (15 kids).
Of course, our planning was a little off. The pinata goodies were tiny My Little Pony rubber thingies and Tootsie Pops. After the scramble for goodies, we found that the kids could have cared less about the ponies. So, after everyone consumed their Tootsie Pops, it was time to boost our sugar intake with cupcakes. Plenty of energy left for everyone to hit the playground equipment for 15 minutes before going home.
Check out our photos.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
So, today, she asked (for the 100th time) for Dad to remove her training wheels. Dad agreed, broke out the socket set and pulled the wheels off for good.
Here's the raw, uncut footage of Rachael's first bike ride without training wheels. We shot this in the alley behind our house. About 20 minutes following this video, Rachael and Dad did a glory ride around the block. Now she's got to learn to use the brakes instead of her feet!
We're excited (and a little terrified), to say the least.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
On Saturday, after one more scan of the weather and traffic reports, we packed up the car with our gear (and a solid emergency supply kit) and headed out around noon. The drive was smooth, finally hitting some solid snowfall once we got above 5,000 feet. After a stop to top off the gas tank and get more wiper fluid (man, that stuff can really flow with all of the road grime that builds up in the course of a two-hour drive), we headed into the snow with lots of drifts coming across the road. However, we got into McCall fairly quickly -- faster than expected.
When we got into the Whitetail, I noticed a van -- it was a fellow musician I jammed with a few months back. While checking in, I tracked him and band down. They were looking a little disappointed -- they were to play for 300 people for a fundraiser, and only 40 were going to show (due to the weather). It was good to catch up with the guys.
We checked in, chilled in the room for a while and then headed out for the ice rink. I haven't skated for more than 20 years. It quickly came back to Suz from her days in Denver. It was a first for the girls and they had a blast. After an hour or so, we were ready for dinner and checked out the McCall Inn. Good food, but slow service at the end of the town's Winter Festival.
On Sunday we went tubing. Rebecca wanted the slow lane, but gained an appreciation for speed and we finally got in a few fast runs. Rachael paired up with Suz and they were quickly kicking our butts in speedy runs. After hot chocolate, mom and dad got in another run each. The girls were cold and Rachael was showing signs of a return of her cold. That afternoon, we grabbed some chow at a great burger joint called My Father's Hamburgers. To date, their burgers are the best in Idaho.
Rachael began to show a fever that night, so we dosed her up and made it a mellow night in with movies. Worried she wouldn't rally we chose to cut Monday's plans short to get home and get Rachael to the doctor.
Monday morning, Rachael was still dragging. We showered, packed and glumly checked out. Overall though, a great trip. Next time, we're looking up Blue Moon Adventures -- they have a yurt on some park land that requires a mile hike, snowshoe or ski to get there. Once you get there, you're treated to a gourmet dinner and beautiful views of the lake.
Check out our photos.
Friday, February 1, 2008
Thanks to my friend Bryan Oakes, a regular winter camper, I asked to join him on a winter camping trip. By coincidence, a local usergroup posted a snowshoe/winter camping trip for beginners. I was all over it. The plan: We'd snowshoe out on a mellow fire road to a campsite, set up camp, eat, hang out and then snowshoe back to the car the next day.
Things didn't quite happen as planned. We set off on a decent ascent (after I discovered what happens when you fall down in snow that's 3-4 feet deep -- thankfully, your face stops you) but soon found ourselves on top of a ridge with no trail in sight. We pushed on in the general direction of our GPS coordinates, hiking up and down several canyons (yes, sliding on my ass became an option at some points) before connecting with a forest service road. Leaving the navigation up to the group leaders, I assumed we were on the right (and per the map outlining the trip, the level path we should have been on). But fear not, we couldn't resist another draw -- heading straight down to the river where our campsite lay.
I imagined taking photos of that part of the journey, but was a little tired, covered with lots of snow, and reluctant to lose my camera down some canyon drop-off.
However, we made it to camp safety, albeit tired. Had a good time digging in for the night, getting to know the guys and swapping tips and tricks (I should have had a notebook for all of that information).
The next morning, we ate breakfast and just as we started to tear down, the wind and snow began to kick in. We hiked the remainder of the way on a decent trail, even though it was uphill until the parking lot;- ) The snow blew into our faces a lot. We were wet under our raingear, but kept up our core temperatures by hiking hard, eating and drinking lots of water.
Got back to the parking lot. Tossed off all the wet gear and warmed up in the car with more water and M&Ms. The rest of the group soon followed and we got everyone packed up and on our way to Idaho City for some chocolate malts and burgers.
Good times. Cold, wet, but fun as heck. I'm doing it again.
During the hike back and making the pace (you know, you get into a groove of the sound of your snowshoes shushing at a particular rhythm) and I thought about my girls. Would they like something like this? Nope -- Not wind and snow in your face. Maybe an easy hike and camp in the snow? Nope -- I imagined Rebecca, the one who likes to stay warm, crying 15 minutes into the hike, then crying all day in the tent, trying to get warm. Then I realized that a snowshoeing adventure would just have to be an hour-long hike (or less) around the snow, then home for hot chocolate. That's OK. I'll settle for that until they're a little older.
Here are some photos for your perusal:
Crooked River (My Shots)
Crooked River (Owen's Shots)
Crooked River (Steve's Shots)