Monday, May 16, 2005

So Fly, you gotta wonder why...

Got the tent rainfly done.

Set up both tents (the big new one for luxury camping) and the little backpacking tent and seam-sealed and water-proof sprayed them. I lost a stake, so I painted the rest flourescent orange.

Here's the tent set up with the new, homemade rainfly, and another shot of it all rolled up and packaged in the new ditty bag I made especially for the tent -- and a pen for size reference.

I was at Walmart this weekend and I saw they have a new model of the kids tent (the one I bought for backpacking) -- and wouldn't you know it has a better rainfly (though the one I made is probably better still). It's also apparently smaller (the package is a couple of inches shorter) and its apparently lighter just by hefting the two side by side. However, upon further inspection of the picture, it's got more of a hexagon design. They still say it's 5x6. But that got me wondering. If it's smaller and lighter and a hexagon instead of a rectangle -- they probably mean its 6' in its longest dimension, and 5' in its shortest dimension. My 6x5 rectangle is about 8' in the longest direction (catty-corner).

So I'm not sure. If anyone has bought this tent, I'd like to know what the real dimensions are.

Did all kinds of things around the house... touched up paint on the cabinets in the kitchen where it had chipped, replaced the molding by the stove with smaller molding so the drawer can open ... had to putty and paint the lowest few inches of the wall to do that.

Finally planted the moss rose in the strawberry pot -- I noticed a bunch of seedlings from last year's moss rose coming up in it, too.

There was a bunch of other stuff I did, too -- oh, like re-gasket the Big Green Egg and align the lid better, and I fixed the little ceramic disc at the bottom that the fire sits on. It's been broken in half quite some time. I used the fireplace/furnace cement. It just might hold it together.

I bought a pair of crampons on Ebay for $23.... they're older ones, but hey... I'm not going to climb ice, just maybe hike in some snow on a relatively steep slope. I laughed when I read that these were "obsolete" in terms of technology. They're spikes that strap on to your shoes. If they worked 50 years ago, they'll work today. I'm pretty sure snow and shoes haven't changed that much. Maybe the new ones are better for ice climbing, but I think those people are nuts anyway.

Also did a 10 mile round-trip bike ride yesterday. Not as bad as you'd think, especially since most of it was on "the trail". I'm not in as bad shape as I thought I might be. Still, want that old ticker and lungs hepped up for hiking next month.

Well, gotta go!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Thinkin' 'bout drinkin'

One song I heard while listening to Thayrone the other day that I'd never heard before was a perfect pop/country/bluegrass gem by the Meat Purveyors called "Thinking About Drinking". So I listened to a little more of their stuff on Rhapsody. They're an Austin Bluegrass band that likes to cover songs from other genres -- that last album covered everyone from Nick Lowe to ABBA to Ratt (yes, Ratt!).

The hook is a thing of beauty, and reminds me of a very similar song by Jimmy Buffett which tried to distill country music to its essence, "Why Don't We Get Drunk" (actually, the two songs sound quite similar but then again, why wouldn't they?) Anyway, the hook is
When I'm not drinkin'
I'm thinkin' 'bout drinkin'
When I'm not thinkin'
I'm drinkin' 'bout you

It'd be corny if it wasn't so darned good, and that's what good country pop is about. Heartfelt corniness to help you feel better when you're blue.

They also covered a really good Nick Lowe song I'd never heard before called "Without Love" - which isn't corny at all, it's actually a lyrically pretty song for the most part and I think they actually did a better job capturing that beauty than Nick did. And then that got me looking around for his contemporaries, one of whom is Nanci Griffith -- and I saw the old song "Gulf Coast Highway", which I believe is an Emmylou Harris song. But the group "Evangeline" (unfortunately not carried by Rhapsody) is the one I first heard do it and it made the hair on my head stand on end it was so beautiful. It's closer to Emmylou's version than Nanci's, but there's just a little extra something about their version (and no, I don't think it's Jimmy Buffett but he does sing the male part of the duet on the song) -- perhaps it's because it's a nosalgic song about the gulf coast sung by people who are from there and love it.

Ah, the wanderings through the train of thought music world.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Oh Deer

Went to Mom and Dad's Sunday for Mothers Day. Did a Swiss thing. Stroganoff and Fondue. It was a nice day.

On the way home, just out side of Mt. Sterling on Hwy A, a doe eyed me from the ditch. She decided to try to cross anyway. I didn't think fast enough to honk, but I did react with the brakes and had slowed down to probably about 35 when I hit her. She hit the front left headlight, rolled up on the hood a bit, then was thrown forward down the road about 15-20 feet (or so). She rolled a few times, scrambled to the ditch on the other side. Then she lifted her head, and stood up and staggered off.

The headlight got pushed back a little, and there is a dent just above it with a paint chip thrown out. The hood is fine. The front quarter panel might be flared a bit. It's hard to tell. I just want the major bend out and the paint repaired before it rusts, and the light adjusted if it needs to be.

Wouldn't you know I JUST paid it off this month.

Drove it to Fort Wayne and back monday and tuesday. Jammed to Thayrone and the Bone Conduction Music Show all the way home (thanks to recordings my brother gets to me -- we don't get Thayrone here. Wish we did) Folks, it's radio the way it's SUPPOSED to be - you and the DJ, hangin' out, playin' tunes.

I love the farm country in Illinois, especially eastern Illionois between Terre Haute and about Montrose. Those big ordered fields of green, beautiful trees, clean buildings and hard-working folks on tractors out on a beautiful spring day with sunshine, blue skies and puffy white clouds *sigh* -- does the soul good. I had to let out a few healthy Tim Allen style "Aaaaauuuurrrr!!!"'s.

A few people expressed concern with my plans to climb Longs Peak this June, including one very nice lady I'd emailed about her experience -- she said in June the snow in the steep area at about 13,300 feet called "the Trough" may not have melted, which might make it a more difficult climb than I'd bargained for.

I have looked up what different "classes" of climbs mean. I'd always said "If I can't walk up it, I ain't climbin' it". Longs sounded about as difficult a climb as I would attempt. I said that if I had to use special equipment -- you know, ropes, little metal rock clamper-thingies, or having my grip being the only thing between me and a plunge to the depths below (otherwise known as rock climbing) that would be out. Well, it turns out they have these "classes". Sniktau I'd call a Class I. We did a little trail detour on rocks and had to put our hands down occasionally for balance which wanders into Class II -- but I'd still call it a Class I climb. Haven't been on a real Class II.

Class III seems to be what Longs Peak is in mid summer after the snow melts, with a little Class IV due to some steep exposure but still on stable rock you can stand on. I'll have to check it out and see how bad the trough would be with crampons (basically snow cleets) and no ice axes. I'd be willing to use crampons for part of a climb (as long as it was somewhat like scrambling), but I'm drawin' the line at ice axes. See, you have to hold on to those. Grip. Plunge. Death, or at least serious injury. Bad. Not for me. I want to have fun and live to have more fun another day.

So, to make a Longs story short, it might not happen this summer since I'm going so early. I might break down and do Greys or something before I head home.

Oh My God and Trail Ridge Roads are definitely on the agenda. And some backcountry hiking/camping.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

General Business (that is, being busy)

Did several things over the weekend -- filled a woodpecker hole in the side of the house, screwed a piece of siding in that's been sticking out, mulched the garden, measured brick molding to be replaced on the house, cooked chicken for South Beach purposes, cleaned out the car, checked for why I had buzzing in my rear speakers, replaced my car battery, changed the oil, and washed it. Plus, I made a dashboard mount for my new GPS.

That's right, I got a GPS. A cool little Garmin Vista. I didn't go with one of the cheaper models because I wanted mine to have an altimeter and be capable of having topographical maps loaded on it.

It was pretty cool -- I could see where I was on the road all the way up to Fort Wayne and back. Helps you visualize your progress.

I really got it for backcountry hiking, though.

Got Mom down here for her Birthday/Mother's day. Vicki's off this week and spending it with her. I'll take her back next mon/tue.

Need to make sure Mom's computer can be remotely managed before we take her back so I can fix problems from 500 miles away and give little tutorials like we did before. Something "broke" since Christmas and last time I tried I couldn't do it.

I have all the parts to build my rain fly for my packable tent, now I need to get off my rear and do it.

I also need to finish putting the new smoke gasket on the Big Green Egg. Oh, and plant the moss rose in the strawberry pot on the deck.