Monday, October 26, 2009

Francis Marion Expedition ala Kawasaki!

Went out on a super fun off-road excursion earlier today. Dave Hall and I took the motorcycles out for a little trip out and around as many backroads in the Francis Marion forest area as we could find in the time we had. Turns out one too many stops for fun riding over obstacles and exploring obscure trails made for a definite re-visit in the future...There are so many gravel roads out there to explore...Dave also got stuck a few times although he was able to slog out of most of his predicaments. I, unfortunately, got stuck knee deep in some very swampy muck which almost saw me leaving my bike there to return with towing assistance(my truck). Fortunately, Dave remained calm and collected while I impatiently kept tugging away on my sinking motorcycle and thought of a great idea having to do with tons of sticks and brush to make a false floor. It worked long enough to pull the bike over and out of the swamp. Most of the day was spent exploring lots of trail ends leading to various sections of the Santee and North Santee as well as Echaw Creek. So much fun...so little time...more exploring in this area to come.

Total Distance: 104 miles...
Time: 5 hours total including mud jam interruptions...

More details at:
http://imdavehall.blogspot.com/

Garmin GPS Data:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/17169617

Enjoy the pictures!






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Monday, October 12, 2009

Mini-Adventure...

So it started out as a great idea. Get up early, load up bikes, and ride the Palmetto Passage...7 miles...seemed easy...and it was a great idea...initially.

I thought it would also be a great way to take the Raven out on her first ride on her newly built Salsa Moto Rapido mtn bike.

But then, like a pesky friend, chaos took over the driver's seat...and things got a little more hectic...

Somehow, in the fog of the early morning, I ended up changing our initial departure riding point from Buck Hall to the Swamp Fox trailhead. And just like that, we were riding up the Swamp Fox trail at 8:30 in the morning..which seemed ok at the time considering the weather was nice. I figured, a mile up through scenic points of the Swamp Fox trail and then turn around, and fork over to the Palmetto Passage and leave the best part for last...so far, so good..

But, did I mention anything about the mosquitos? Absolutely relentless! At first few miles, not a big deal...but wow, they never ever gave up the fight...not once!

The Raven was the first to spot a snake on our ride. Snake, she yelled as I rode past it much too closely. When I asked her to describe it, she said, brown with diamond markings on it...gulp.

I started to worry that my great idea to get the Wifey and Raven into some nice weather trail riding was much too premature in the season.

After turning around a mile or so into the Swamp Fox trail, we return back to the fork in the trailhead and I decide to simply ride onwards towards the Palmetto Passage...another left turn taken by chaos. I figured it couldn't be too muddy on this part of the trail, so we pedal on. Upon looking back to check on the family, they heft big smiles letting me know they were having fun or at least smiling for me to let me know they were with me....Then I hear the Wifey say something about a tree going after her and then "oof!". Wifey hit a tree, but had a great recovery and we were back pedaling away. Raven trudges through some muddy lines and holds up the Wifey who is starting to pedal like a pro through the muddy stuff. It was classic lowcountry trail riding. I really wish I had brought my camera. We cross the highway and enter the Palmetto Passage with the family still showing a good deal of energy left...The Palmetto Passage is definitely a must repeat for cooler weather since everyone was really enjoying this part of the ride...

Remember those pesky mosquitos? Well, they certainly don't give up the fight easily. All of the nice scenic stops I had planned on making basically did not happen. We simply charged through each and every break point only to stop on top of a windy bridge long enough to hydrate and take a break from blood loss...Raven wrecks once into a tree and holds back the tears and continues onward. We reach Buck Hall and briefly rest to catch our breath. At this point I realize it is getting very hot, much hotter than was forecast for the day... I round up the troops and we set off cruising along at a good pace. The Wifey blazes ahead with a newfound set of legs and sets a pace that Raven simply cannot hold, so I bring up the tail end to keep everyone in check...The Wifey clears some roots on a climb which simply leave me amazed while looking back Raven gets off to walk...all the while mosquitos are eating us alive...literally. I tell here to get back on as soon as possibly and keep moving...The Wifey later announces she has just seen a snake on the trail about 50 feet ahead with a mixture of screaming and excitement in her voice. The Raven and I plunder on carefully making our way forward. I take back lead point and start pacing us closer to the end constantly reminding everyone that it is ok to walk over obstacles that they do not feel comfortable riding over. The Wifey seems to have taken to mountain biking overnight as she attacks another rooty uphill climb with positive determination. I stop and stare at her in awe as she flies up the climb only to stop a few feet short of the top and discover she is geared too high. She falls over, tangled up in her bike in a nasty looking pile. I wince watching it happen and then we help her recover. She gets up and keeps on moving! Wifey is on a mission! Raven cannot believe her mom is a mtb maniac! We finally exit the Palmetto Passage and we try riding up the side of the highway to shortcut our way back to the car, but Wifey finally succumbs to her rampant energy bursts and hides out in a shady rest while she commands me to continue onward and bring her chariot to her. I proceed, pick the family up and head back home..

17 miles of mosquito laden lowcountry trail fun was had...Overall, a great day!

Cheers to my Wifey and the Raven for riding as hard as they did...

Next family ride: Marrington(hopefully on a cooler day)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Captains Log; Stardate 63216.1

Seems I haven't written much in a while...while it may seem that not much has been going on, there actually has...

Life has been going on. Regular, busy life...

News which has been rocking our boat of life:

First, I broke my toe. Yes, its broke and I can't figure out how to get it to heal without sitting dead calm still...its quite an annoyance. I broke it surfing trying to stand up too fast for a wave and jammed it into the top of my board...I thought it was jammed, but I cannow clearly see it is broken, all swollen and different looking... Hitting it into all sorts of corners only helps me verify the toe exists. i thought it was done healing recently, but a weekend event last week left it really puffy and not feeling all too well...

The Wifey has been going through a major case of kidney stones... From what she describes, its like giving birth all over again...ouch! Anyways, its a bit different having to adjust to running out to get her meds, handling some of the indentured Wifey's chores as well as just being there for her to "hug". I really do feel for her...especially when she had one pass a day before our Waves to Wishes 5k run....so now she is on meds for most of October and has been told via doctors orders to chill out...

Awaiting exciting news for one major "secret" event which is currently going on involving living arrangements for the Wifey and I.

Adopted a new pet into the family...a Green Cheeked Conure Parrot we named Mr. Bean because of his silly antics...so far, he has really fit in well with our current menagerie of animals...
All other animals are doing fine and receiving considerable attention and care as well...

Cello practice has hit a wall...I am learning long stretch positions for flat notes on the first position...needless to say, there is pain involved and it really has me frustrated... simply means more practice, more focus.

Work is moving along...always lots to do in software land...Writing some really cool features for more secure multi-threaded SSL related communications which I had wanted to integrate for quite some time now...also dabbling with a bit of low volume eCommerce stuff which may make our software more powerful in the foreseeable future...

Bought a lightly used Dual-Sport motorcycle from Dave Hall. Its a really well kept mini-green machine Kawasaki KLX 250. Since it had a kickin new aftermarket pipe on it, jetting was needed. I ordered a new jet kit from it and knocked that out in a day. What a difference that made! This bike is great! Lots of off-road power, and I can simply ride from my house right to the trail head in under 15 minutes. I have been out a few times recently and hope to get some more time in out there since it just begs to be ridden, and it keeps my broken toe stationary in a stiff boot.

Finally was able to license both motorcycles, both the BMW and the Kawasaki...now both are fully street legal! woohoo!

Participated in the Folly Beach Challenge Triathlon. Did miserably in the kayaking portion, probably because I used my giant aluminum canoe, Did ok on the bike portion since I am an ok spinner, and did really miserably on the running portion. Left me spent and hurting. Did I mention my toe was broken? Not planning any more of these events anytime soon. I really like biking, and running is ok for small events, but combine them all up with some kayaking/swimming and you really have to be in tip-top condition...and nowhere in my hectic little world is there such time to alot to multiple sports...and probably a bit too late in life to get into super multi-sports...

Speaking of sports, the Raven is now fulltime on the soccer bandwagon.. After wanting to call it quits early in the season, I went out with her for a little one on one training (broken toe and all) and taught her fundamental basics on different passes, attacks, control techniques and the essence of defense strategy to help give her the foundation she missed. Upon attending her next scrimmage match, the coach came up and asked what happened, since the Raven was on fire! She was a totally different player! I was so proud! So, soccer is our current family focus with her and she has a massive schedule of events coming up for this sport...so it will definitely keep us entirely too busy for the months to come...

Since I am canceling all of next month's racing activities because of my increasingly weakening athletic abilities(broken toe, broken spirit), family has planned to sneak in some simple convenience camping sometime in October...looking forward to this...

Built the Raven a new bike...Salsa Moto-Rapido with some nice farkles...21lbs ready for some fall XC fun...i think she is gonna love it...

Bought some new shoes to replace the Bontrager RXL Dutch-boy clogs I was so enamored with. What a disappointment those shoes were...I now entirely associate the word "Bontrager" with "Pain". Replaced them with some super comfortable Mavic Chasm shoes...the difference is night and day! Rubber Tread, Carbon Sole, nice arched inners, excellent fit. Superb workmanship has gone into the Mavics and I really look forward to great times spent in them...

hoping to get back on the bike soon and just remember what it was I was trying to accomplish before all the dust started flying...a weekend in DuPont sounds really nice right now...sigh...