Thursday, December 23, 2010

Total Awesomeness!

Like most people not born on February 29th, I have a birthday every year. This year I had one very recently, and something came in the mail that made it one of the best, if not the best birthday ever. Before you watch the video, a little explanation is in order.

My 2 year old Grand daughter, Naomi, is potty training, She is doing so well that she earned a coaster bike (future mtn biking partner for Boppa?!). Given that all is going well, Naomi's focus in life is, you guessed it, the toilet, and of course, potty humor is very high on her list. When my daughter, Sarah took her to the store to find a birthday card for Boppa, she naturally chose one that could not have been more appropriate.

Some credit goes to American Greetings, but the true master is Naomi.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sailing in AZ

I dropped the boat in Lake Pleasant this morning about 11:00am . Paddled out of the harbor and sat for about 30 minutes, just ghosting along without enough wind to fill the sales. Then, about 11:30, I could see some riffle on the surface off in the distance. It took about 10 minutes to reach me, but then picked up to about 5 mph. I got in about 2 hours of sailing with light but steady wind. Pretty much died by 2:00pm.

The main thing I wanted to see was how well I fixed the leaks that were pretty bad 2 weeks ago, mainly around the centerboard trunk. It looks like I fixed about 95% of the leaks. In the time I sailed today, I don't think I took on more than 2 or 3 cups of water.

Arizona is not a very good place to sail, not only because there isn't much water, but because I have a wood boat, and the extremely low humidity is hard on it. Out of the water, the wood shrinks and opens seams. In the water, the seams don't really want to close up. In the next few days, I will be carving the seams a bit, then pouring epoxy into them to close them up.

As hobbies go, small boats aren't too costly, but the ongoing work can be a bit time consuming.

Friday, August 27, 2010

America's Obesity Epidemic

It seems we continually hear about the obesity epidemic in America, and there is no apparent solution. Well, last weekend we were in Kansas, nevermind why, and I came across what has to be the cause of widespread obesity.

All this time, farmers have been fertilizing their fields with ASGROW!! No wonder we're all chubby!

So here's the solution; get the farmers to stop using ASGROW and start using something healthier. Do you suppose there's a product out there with a name like ASSHRINK?

Sunday, August 15, 2010


On NPR's Morning Edition Thursday, there was a report of a group of concerned folks in St. Louis who raised $15K in donations and headed off to the Gulf to "Stimulate the Economy." I was absolutely amazed by what I heard. Essentially, they went on vacation to the Gulf, spending the money on meals, motels and souvenirs. I don't know about other folks, but to me it sounds like a group went on vacation at other people's expense. Mt first thought was that if I had donated money to their "cause," I might just be on my down there to get my donation back, thus further stimulating the economy as I attempted to track down these scam artists.

Then it occurred to me, its brilliant. I should also be stimulating the economy in much the same way. My concerns are of course, a bit different. I am concerned about the yacht builders and all of their suppliers. I am also concerned about the ecomomies of many of the pacific islands, who have suffered downturns from the worldwide recession. So here's the deal; send me money, enough to buy an ocean capable sailboat, provisions for at least a year, and enough to stimulate the economies of Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand, and any other islands I can reach. In return, I will quit my job, leaving an opening for someone else in the Poenix area, and take delivery on the yacht. Since I have no experience with ocean sailing or navigation, I will stimulate someone's economy as they teach me the ropes. Then I will head to the Pacific and do all I can to stimulate the economies of as many islands as you can afford to have me visit.

Remember, its for a noble cause!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Too Darn Hot

OK, I get it. Its mid July in the Valley of the sun and now officially too hot for Mtn biking or sailing. Today's high 110. Last night's low 92. We're looking at 114/94 tomorrow and over 110 for the weekend.

These are the days of getting out before dawn and being back home cooling off by 6:00 am.

Over the weekend, we were in Seattle and Portland. I hauled one of my brother's boats to Olympia, where he and my brother-in-law are going sailing for several days. When we launched the boats it was sunny, 65 and light winds. I'm soooo jealous.

Monday, June 21, 2010


After working all night last Friday, then taking a nap, we dragged the sailboat up to Lake Pleasant and got in a couple of hours on the water. We launched at the north boat ramp and sailed into a pretty strong breeze blowing out of the southeast. As we made our way out into the lake, the breeze gradually decreased to a point where we were almost becalmed. As we returned back to the west side of the lake, the breeze picked back up. Its a bit weird to have 25 mph winds in one part of the lake and almost nothing on the other side. Anyway, I took along the GPS and tracked most of the run. We averaged 4.8 knots and had a peak speed of 8 knots. I thought the result was interesting because the theoretical boat speed for an Enterprise class boat is 4.83 Knots, given a 13ft waterline.

The other interesting thing was the course we sailed when overlaid on Google Earth:

I really had no idea we actually crossed land 6 times. It didn't seem at all rough like you would expect when a boat slides across the ground. The lake is pretty high right now and certainly higher than it was in the last Google image. Looking at the track overlaid on a topo map, we only touched the water once and spent the rest of the time on dry land.

As a side note, the boat is fifty years old this year. It was built in Santa Barbara, CA back in 1960. It was purchased by my Dad in about 1966. I bought it from him in 1972 and have had it ever since. Dad dubbed it the "Hari Kiri", or "Hairy Carry", depending on how you want to spell it, which still seems a bit overstated. Although it is a lively boat in a good breeze, I wouldn't exactly call it living on the edge.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

GPS - Cool

Yeah, it would be cool if I knew then what I know now.

I picked up a Garmin E Trex Venture HC from Amazon last week, partly for work, but mostly for play.

So, on Saturday I loaded up and headed down to the 32nd Street trailhead. It was a little over 80 and a really nice morning. Set up the GPS and stuffed it in my camelback, and off I went. Every time I hit an uphill, I was reminded that I should have eaten breakfast. Anyway, I did a nice ride of about 8 miles.

When I got back to the truck, I pulled out the GPS to see its results. Dead battery. I learned that a track is not saved in non-volatile memory until you actually save it. All the data was gone. New batteeries and a restart didn't recover anything.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Last Afternoon Ride unitl Fall

Today was an unusually cool (80) and windy day, probably the last until November. I managed a ride in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve on one of my favorite loops. Starting out at 4:30, I only saw two other riders and two hikers. Since I have been working a lot of hours over the last 6 months, my pace was pretty slow, averaging about 5 mph. Not long ago, everything was as green as the desert can get, but today it was obvious that summer is coming, flowers have almost finished blossoming and the flora is settling in for a long hot spell.

Speaking of that, when its 115 in the shade and you come across a wild burro, they show absolutely no inclination to move, no matter what. Its like they are catatonic. "Please leave me alone" is what they seem to be saying. Its really a wonder they survive the heat.

I hit the road yesterday in the late morning and cranked out 30 miles, which isn't a lot for most cyclists, but for an old guy with a bad back, being hunkered over a road bike for that long sure stiffens up the joints. Getting out on the MTB and working over and around the rock loosens it all up again. Good therapy.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For a little change of pace from Phoenix, we took a vacation to Ashland Oregon, which is usually pretty springlike in late March. This week, it has been dropping below freezing at night and reaching highs in the low 40s. In spite of the weather, Sean and I decided to ride some of the trails above town. It was snowing when we unloaded the bikes and started out. The trail we took started out at about 2500ft and climbed to around 3400ft in 2 miles. Both of us being in winter condition, we pushed the bikes a good portion of that distance. Being slippery added to the charm. Once at the top of the climb, we had an enjoyable run across some sidehills, then down a trail that was reminiscent of Little Bear at Flagstaff. The snow depth got to about 3 inches and the temp hovered around 32.
Given our poor level of condition, we had no problem keeping warm in spite of being wet and muddy. Good times