Jul 14, 2014

Code Brown

Sure, everyone knows the benefits of working out.  It makes you feel better, fat pants get loose and you can make that guilt-free third trip through the orange chicken buffet.

However, there is a dark side to running that often goes unspoken.  

Saturday mornings, several of us meet for a 12+ mile long run on the Johnston trail.  Greg, Tony, Jenny, and Patrick joined me last weekend for a sweaty 7:00 am, 90% humidity grease trot.  I fell back at mile eight due to a code brown.  I wrote them the following today to let them know what happened:

Mile 8 is when the problems started. A near-miss on a shart signaled it was time to slow down. Hopefully, it was a false alarm and the backside burp would disperse.

Nearly caught back up with the group when another round let loose. Like a warship dropping depth charges on a German u-boat, this second attack was primal and not playing games. Slowing to a walk and squeezing cheeks to contain the brownie batter, I eyed both sides of the trail looking for an emergency landing strip. The recent flooding meant normally dry woods were a foot deep in swamp. Waddling and scanning for high ground free of bramble, there was a small dry spot between a floral rose bush and a sick tree infected with ash borer bugs.

Hovering over a toadstool like a Chinook, the hydraulic bomb bay doors opened. I could hear a flock of mosquitos hovering inches away, they buzzed like tiny quadrocopter drones. Their bloody beaks had a lock on my glutes, and they were hungry. As I laid a curly pile of DQ, they commenced their strike on my albino parts.

I counted 37 stings in 90 seconds.

Realized I wasn't more than a few feet off the trail, I glanced up and there was little barrier between the active code brown and bikers. Clean-up in aisle 7, the first leaf I reached for had little poky needles on the underside. Bomb bay doors still open, I bear-walked a few feet over and grabbed different random leaves, praying for no poison ivy or a mother biking by pulling toddler on a tag-a-long.

Limped back to the cars, Jenny was waiting with a sack of chocolate chip cookies to celebrate Tony's birthday.

The end.

Jul 10, 2014

Yard - A Clean Slate

My yard is small, yet needy.  That's a bad combo.  It eats a bunch of time on shrub haircuts, weeding and removing decaying leaves that turn to mud in the rocks.

River rock is boring, so I wonder why the previous owner thought it a good idea to scatter 10,000 pounds of this junk around the foundation.  

After living here 15 years, it's finally time to reclaim my yard and make it look how I want.  

It all started a few week ago with a downed branch from the back soft maple.  Carpenter ants are building suburbs in that tree, it floods my garage gutters with helicopters, so it's time to take her down.  Since the tree people will be here removing the limbs and mess, figured I might as well pull my shrubs and add to the pile.  Since the shrubs are gone, remove the rock.

Goals for the yard:

1)  Easy to maintain.
2)  Increase my grass size to more than 12 square feet.
3)  Do things I haven't seen before, like coal as landscaping rocks.  Grow bamboo, Irish moss, 8-foot reed grass and more.

Here's what things looked like before the destruction:

Jun 14, 2014

A Boundary Waters Adventure - 5, Gränsfors Bruks and Basswood Falls

Not all water flows south.  We settled north of the Laurentian Continental Divide, where glacial lakes drain upward towards Hudson Bay into the Arctic Ocean.

Base camp was purty, our tents staked atop a cold slab of granite overlooking Basswood Lake.  The humps across the drink are Canadian.



Slobs, all of us.  Water bottles and a rogue pair of wet underpants drying in the sun.  This is what happens with a sausage fest and no girls around to scold.







San Fran

Not enough in Diego to keep us out of trouble for 10 days, so we reverted to San Francisco for summer holiday.  We'll drive this trifecta loop in a Ford Focus rental:

1)  Francisco and Silicon Valley
2)  Cabin and hike @Yosemite 
3)  Lake Tahoe

May 25, 2014

California

We hoped to hike Kauai this summer.  You peeps offered bountiful advice on volcanoes and topless drives along the coast.  Made me hungry rehashing your huddle around pit-style hog roasts and fresh cuts of yellowfin tuna.

The plan was to fly from Des Moines to California, hang out on the west coast for a couple days, then arc over to Hawaii and fry our pasty Iowa flesh.

Flights between California and Hawaii are running $650+ roundtrip.  More than we want to pay, so we're truncating and looking at only doing California.

A lot of B&P readers ping from the left coast, you're the #2 hit count after Iowa.  400 last month, I figure you'll offer better travel advice than what I can glean from Google: