Monday, July 30, 2012

"Watch out for that tree!"

I'll start with the fail of the social-era Olympics in that on Friday, despite a rather lengthy search, I could not find the opening ceremony online (unless I was a cable subscriber, which I'm not). So, ended up watching a few hours of it at my Dad's before going to hang out with a friend and had a good time just talking.

Saturday morning started out way early, but that left me time to head out with Dad to the soft opening of the new I-580 connection between Reno (Mt Rose Highway) and Washoe Valley (at the former Bower's Mansion exit). I took the motorcycle while Dad took the Jeep and we crept our way along the 8.5 miles of new interstate. Very scenic up there and even ran into a few friends while standing at the center of the huge arch bridge. The big concern continues to be the wind, with as bad as it gets on the valley floor, a bridge stretched across a canyon to just channel that intense force seems ... Foolish? We'll see how often it becomes closed due to the wind racing down from the Sierras. Later went over to the bike demo setup for the AMA International Women and Motorcycle Conference. Not sure what was open to just public attendance, so just drifted around looking at the bikes set out. Then went home where the exhaustion finally caught up with me and I crashed hard on the couch. After I finally woke up, did some minor maintenance on the bike (and cleaned it) before heading up to the truck route again to get some pics of me coming around the corner. I'm looking further into the corner so my head's turned right, now to just get my body in line with the bike. Ran to grab dinner then met up again with my friend for dessert (for me anyway, grabbed the last chocolate chip cookie).

Sunday had zero plans and overslept anyway. Dad suggested going up to Tahoe to see what the Tree Top Adventure Park at Granlibakken, just south of Tahoe City, was all about. We got there, managed to get partially lost in looking for the ticket booth, got back on track, and found out the next session started in 45 minutes. I took the adult course (though the kids course looked very fun) and climbed, balanced, zipped, and cycled my way through the pine trees. I had so much fun, and surprisingly was able to do all five courses in the time I was there. It was truly a cool experience and I would definitely go back to play some more. More details can be found here: Had a yummy dinner at China Jade Horse before gearing up to head home. Short stop at a coffee shop to ensure I was awake enough to ride and then off I went.

Overall fun weekend, hands and legs are sore, I have mystery bruises that I'm not sure when or what caused them, and got to hang with family and friends. All good!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Climbing high

This weekend was an interesting one in that quite a bit happened, but mostly it was a quiet weekend.

Came in on Friday and enjoyed a dessert with a friend while chatting about what we each were doing this weekend. None of us noted the tragedy of the massacre in Aurora. Nothing here we can speculate about, let the police do their job and the families heal.

Saturday helped Dad with the drip system and weather station. Stupid juniper bush gave me a rash that I dealt with all day. But got the ground cleared around it and water flowing again so it stops turning brown. Weather station wasn't transmitting so had to crawl up to it and give it a good solid whack to get it working (as well as push the reset button). Afterwards, Puzzleman swung by and it was time to go hiking. The plan was to go around the Kingsbury North section of the Tahoe Rim Trail and pick up the numerous caches along there. The first one was about three miles from the trailhead and knowing how freaking slow I walk lately, I suggested driving up then back to hike the closer ones. Well, we ended up driving all over up there and grabbing several outlying caches (with two DNFs) before going to dinner. My buddy has a neat thing he does with the waiters and this time ended up with a gumbo dish that reportedly was good. I'll stick with my steak thank you! We then went back and set up camp to stargaze and just chat about stuff.

Then the coyote hunters rolled in. Yeah, that was interesting to say the least...

Sunday morning we drove back down trail a bit and took a bushwhack short cut down to the TRT. The third cache we went for left a bitter taste in my mouth and almost had me truly quitting right there. It was a small pill bottle tucked up under a rock overhang that created a small shelter. The problem was it was several hundred feet up the mountain side, pushing through thick manzanita, fallen pine trees, dead branches, and slippery rocks. About a hundred feet away I was silently complaining about the placement. I mean really? What's the point!? (mental version had a few more choice words as colorful as the rainbow.) I was happy to get back on trail but afterwards had really low interest in even bothering to look for others. We did stop at the ones along the trail, but I was more focused on keeping my pace steady, my breathing regular, and my knee functioning. I think the best part of the day was when we ran into a family with kids and introduced them to the fun of geocaching. (See, I can promote how fun and exciting this is even if I am personally getting to hate it.) Then it was back down the hill to grab lunch and a drink while talking about the weekend before going to clear a few DNFs that he had. A lightning storm had started a big fire in the Pinenuts so I watched the smoke billow up into the clouds while he looked and signed logs.

Homeward bound through the monsoon was entertaining, but it was good to get home and crash on the couch with the kitty kat. Been watching Eureka and borrowed season 5 since its not on Netflix yet. Sucks knowing this is the last season. Why do the good shows cancelled? Damn! :-/

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A whole lot of pavement

Weekend started early as I met up with a friend at Olive Garden for dinner and a wander around Scheel's before heading back home. My eye sight is really starting to concern me as it's becoming difficult to see clearly at night. For those I haven't told, imagine a nice crisp morning where a thin layer of fog has settled and all the lights have a nice circular haze around them. The lights, signs, buildings, cars, whatever are all clear but just surrounded by a halo. Yeah, that's what I see daily (nightly, actually).

But Saturday oh Saturday!! Got up early and headed out with my bike to the Reno Fernley Raceway where I sat and watched some truly fast bikers take off around the track. And when noon rolled around, it was my turn! Though I had to wait while a spill and two bikes were cleaned up from the "Bowl" (I think), an area on the back side of a huge horseshoe turn. Led by Chad and followed by Mary and Jerry, I got to go around the track three times at a nice controlled speed. OMG THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN!! I even dragged my foot peg twice on the same corner! Must find me a leather suit so I can go back out next month and ride for real.

Afterwards, seeing as it was only 1 o'clock, Dad and I grabbed lunch, filled up the Yaris, and headed all the way out to Pony Springs off Hwy 93 to replace a cache of mine. 8 hours later we arrived and got treated to a BEAUTIFUL lightning storm that was having a fit over eastern Nevada. The return trip was uneventful, having grabbed dinner at the Hotel Nevada in Ely. My eyes were bothering me so I had been keeping them closed most of the drive ... Which resulted in my body thinking it was bed time. Ugh, I got so sleepy I wasn't able to help drive and my Dad brought us all the way back to Fallon to stop at my place. 3 am makes for a LONG day!

Sunday, we were both whipped, so headed back into Carson where I met up with Puzzleman to head to Tahoe (quick bite at Wendy's first) and hang out for awhile. Had a blast up there chilling over a couple Starbucks drinks and surfing around on the Internet. Good way to spend the afternoon.

Dad brought me back to Fallon where we went out to a nice dinner for his birthday. Since it fell out a weekday, figured a weekend celebration would be easier. Yummy dinner and another good chance to sit down and talk.

All in all had a wonderful weekend with a LOT Of driving in it. This week will be a short one for me as I am taking Tuesday off. Hoping to take care of a few things that have been bothering me for a long time.

Until next time! (hikes and a possible overnight up on some Tahoe trails.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hiking Nine to Five

What happens when you:

1) Don't drink enough water?
2) Don't eat enough beneficial food?
3) Walk too far after not hiking in a LONG time?
4) Carry too much weight for said hike?
5) Sleep poorly afterwards due to hot house?

Answer: feel crappy on Monday morning. Ugh.

Anyway, so Wednesday hung out at a friend's house to have BBQ burgers, sweet potato fries, caesar salad, and my candy sushi. Then got to play Settlers of Catan for the first time (and WON believe it or not! Yay!) before we all went out to watch the fireworks. Fallon seriously needs to boost the oomph on their show as most of the explosions were below tree level for the rest of town. Grrrr

Friday, went into town early and just reviewed maps and hung out. Saturday, dad and I got my truck squared away with an oil change and rebalancing the tires. Had breakfast at the new Zen's Cafe (which shows the UFC fights with no cover!) and managed to get a hold of Greg's copy of Twist of the Wrist. It's a book that spells out the techniques and reasons why doing things on bikes works the way it does. Then we ran up to Reno to drop in at 2 Wheel Custom Performance. They were holding a Bikini Bike Wash so a lot of people were there. I walked in and was asked what they could do for me. So I blurted out I'd been on Precision Trackdays website and was wanting to do that. Oh Boy! Talk about helpful, informative, great folks who just gave me everything I could ask for! The owner is even one of the instructors and he joined the conversation. The next track day is next weekend and there is a free Try the Track thing. Plus I can wear my own gear for it! Yay. Steve offered to find me a race suit if I wanted to borrow one for awhile until I committed to buying my own. That was freaking awesome! I am so going!! We then headed around town and I bought a new helmet that was more aerodynamic than the one I own so I wouldn't have anything whipping my head around at excessive speeds. Next stop Carson, where I met up with Tarry to compare gear for Sunday. We're both carrying 30 pounds and feel ready for the hike! (I'll refer you back to the opening of this post ... I was optimistic).

Saturday was the night of a big fight between Silva and Sonnen. Several of the early fights were over fast! But the main fight was interesting. Usually there is some dancing around and getting the feel for the opponent. Nope, Sonnen dove right in and had Silva on the ground early in the first round and kept him there. Silva defended well enough that Sonnen couldn't do anything, but they stayed down the entire round. The second round again had Sonnen dive straight in but a missed spinning backfist sent Sonnen to the ground where Silva took advantage and sent a knee straight into his chest. The fight was over and Sonnen declared Silva a true champion. Good fight!

Sunday we all met up at Ash Canyon to carpool up the mountain to Hobart Reserviour. The plan was to hike down to that lake, then out a bit farther to Marlette Lake Rd before turning south onto the Tahoe Rim Trail and continuing out to Spooner Summit where I had left my truck overnight. 12 miles total. We were getting along great (me, naturally, dragging up the rear) and seemed to be going at a fairly decent clip of between 1.5 to 2 MPH (that's good for this asthmatic gimpy turtle). That was until the initial climb to the rim and then the climb up towards Snow Valley Peak decided to remind me I am seriously out of shape to be doing this. The asthma was causing my throat to tighten despite me trying to reserve oxygen and keep my pace steady and my body wasn't cooling off effectively (spiking at one point into a flash rage that I feel terrible about ... Good thing I can bite my tongue and not say evil shit when no one around warrants or deserves it). Tried continuing on, but my body was beginning to hurt and my throat was closing painfully. Yeah, asthma attacks for me aren't sucking air through a straw, it's a pain radiating from my throat to my chest leaving me a sobbing weeping mess of a person. GAH, I must be so lovely! :-)

We stopped just shy of the Snow Valley mountain saddle to have lunch and it was decided that my idea sucked (go back to the Scout alone) and the group would split with me hiking back under the watchful eye of Greg. Probably a good idea as Tarry was already chewing my ass for even suggesting going alone, once he saw how bad my knee was I would probably never hear the end of it (yes, I know you read this). Everyone headed up to the peak after lunch and I was eyeing the ONE SINGLE benchmark that is up here.

Topic break, long ago I had noticed that all along this section of the Sierras, there was only one benchmark indicated on the map. It's called Overlook,, and was originally set in 1897 as a drill hole. Along in 1951 the next crew set a disk into the original hole and also placed two reference marks and an azimuth nearby. Just a half mile away from Snow Valley Peak, it has always been a curiosity to me. Why there, why no other marks, why?? So, back to the story...

While everyone else was bagging the summit, I was looking out and debating contouring over to go recover the survey mark. But, when I dropped by pack at the junction and pulled it up on the GPS I was a mile away. Figuring the side to be bare (we were above tree line) I pointed my hiking poles in the direction I went and set off. Rounded the one grove of trees blocking my direct view and saw that the tree line was higher here and I couldn't see the peak I was aiming for. I'm not stupid enough to go wandering off trail in a vague direction when the rest of my friends don't know exactly where I am headed and how to find me again, and I can't see my destination nor around me enough to spot them. So I went back to the junction and waited.

Turned out to be the best move. Once I was rejoined by Greg, we headed down Snow Valley Road back to the Hobart parking area. 4 miles and two hours later, we made it back at the Scout and began heading down Ash Canyon. Tarry had picked up my truck at Spooner and we all met up within minutes of each other. Started hiking at 9:23am and finished at 5:10pm 9+ miles for Greg and I. Not bad!!! Then it was off to dinner were I got a nice waitress to just serve me two chicken breast patties (need protein!!!) and headed home. I was really running on empty so caught a quick nap at Dad's before making the long drive back and literally falling into bed once I walked into the house. Left the swamp cooler on because man it was hot! My poor kitty was stretched out on the floor meowing at me how miserable she was. Glad she's a short hair!

And now today I am feeling all gittery and sickly. Think I am going to go fall into bed. :-(

Monday, July 2, 2012

Canyon adventures

So, Saturday I had made arrangements to hang out with Ana all day since I hadn't had a chance to in forever! But first it was a stop at Verizon to deal with my battery. Blasted thing kept dying way to quick and refused to charge half the time. Unfortunately, it wasn't in stock and they needed to order one.

Now the only other complaint I have is while yes, I do know about pushing other products or services to "help" the customer... GOOD GOD VERIZON! No, you do not need to look up my account activity to see if I qualify for your new Shared Plan. That thing is FAR more expensive than what I pay right now. No, you do not need to suggest I add a line in case my main phone dies and I need a backup. No, you don't need to follow that up with a suggestion for your home telephone service. No, I don't need to consolidate my phone and Internet bills. No, I don't want your any of your home services at all. GVIE ME THE DAMN BATTERY! I even told the guy that after the third "No, thank you." I was like, "Look, all I want is a battery. I am happy with my plan, I am happy with my service, I am happy using Charter for my Internet. Stop now because all you will hear is a No."

After that, we popped down to Michael's to check out their customer appreciation sale. Wandered through the bikes and gear and looked at all the shiney. I picked up some gauntlet gloves and asked one of the sales guys about Bluetooth helmets (he recommended just getting the Sena headset) and also about heading out to Reno Fernley Raceway for track days (he recommended talking to Steve at 2 Wheel Custom Performance).

Have I mentioned that here? I WANT TO DO THIS:

By that time it was time to head to Reno. I met Ana outside the college where she was taking a nursing test. We then swung out to REI to shop and pick up my new zero degree down bag that was on sale. Ohhhh toasty warm! Next stop was Cabela's for some more price comparisons and drooling over hiking stuff. It's summer and I want to go backpacking! For real, not just car camping while living out of the backpack. Got most of my gear already, though my full pack still weighs 30 pounds (and that's withOUT the tent, sleeping pad, or Jetboil!). Must bring that weight down some.

We picked up a few caches along the way and then it was time to head back into Carson.

Sunday, dad and I went to breakfast at the Red Hut before heading up the hill to go replace my King's Canyon Adventure cache. Road was great until just east of the cache site. A land slide had dropped some large granite boulders all over the road. I was navigable but without a second rig there as support and backup, we just didn't feel comfortable trying it. After that, we headed down the mountain then back up Ash Canyon to go for Puzzleman's new cache, A Bolder View. It's way at the top with a great overlook of the valley below. Took my Dad awhile looking around at everything before he asked for a hint. He was pleasantly surprised with the camo job. It really does just sit right out there in front of you and you don't see it. Then back down the mountain and we met up with Tarry to go over how to do a route in DeLorme's Topo program.

I like the GPS, I love the integration with SPOT, but you know ... I really really dislike their mapping software. To the point I don't even bother with it anymore. I just load the GPX file straight onto the GPS and go, using the phone to log caches. If I do want the tracks, I download the file and load it into Garmin's MapSource. But, my Dad seems to have some success so the guys went over a few things.

Final results: Tarry's GPS will load caches into any other Topo except his own. His Topo will load caches from any GPS except his own. Routes are doable as long as you live with the fact that it cannot combine "Roads" and "Trails" into the same route. Though it is possible to convert one to the other, but you have to select every single little segment of the path you want and there are MANY of them.

All in all, I like the Topo less and Tarry is more convinced than ever to go back to Garmin only.

Next weekend we're planning on a hike into the Sierras (hence all the shopping) and there's a major UFC fight on Saturday that we'll be watching. Looking forward to the short week (got invited to a BBQ on Wednesday and I am taking candy sushi!!) and then next weekend should be awesome!

Stay tuned!!