Tahoe ski bachelor party, Tigger on Skis

March 24, 2010

Check out the videos:      

Went to a bachelor party out in Tahoe, third ski trip this season, 15 ski days or something ridiculous like that for me this season.  I was impressed by the Tahoe area – apparently they get a ton more snow than Colorado or Utah – though it is generally heavier.  Myself and one other guy got there early on Friday morning and did a hike up Mt Waterhouse and skied down – in a raging blizzard, chains were required to get up the pass.  They don’t require chains for passenger vehicles in Colorado, and I think studs may be illegal – chews up the road too much.  If I’m wrong they don’t enforce it like in California where they pull you over and force you to chain up, have 4wd, or turn around.  No chains no goThe hike up was about an hour and forty-five minutes. And it was worth every minute – one of the greatest runs of my life, if not the greatest. Huge deep untracked powder, giant trees perfectly spaced, big poofy boulder fields, knee to thigh deep bottomless powder.  Spectacular.  Met up with ten-twelve terrific guys at a big home that night, Read the rest of this entry »


Canoeing “Le Diable” in Quebec, Mount Tremblant National Park

June 16, 2009

Went to Mount Tremblant National Park in Quebec over the weekend (mid June).  Very beautiful area, big stone cliffs on the two hour drive north from Montreal.  Many ski runs carved through the trees on the mountainsides as we drove north.  The trip was a fairly last minute deal with three buddies, all friends since age five or so.  One of us is a doctor, Spencer, and is in Montreal for the summer learning a new procedure.  Wayne and I flew in to meet him, I met with a couple guys I do some work with in the city, then we were off to the woods and streams and mountains north of the city.  We were late (for our 8pm shuttle to the wilderness) as always seems to be the case when travelling with Spencer, Read the rest of this entry »

Triathlon with an Olympian, Nantucket Fish Haul, Mount Marcy Climb

July 9, 2008

Just took a week long vacation – haven’t done that in a few years.  It was action packed.  Started by flying into Boston and eating at Lisa’s folks – they always make amazing dinners – had pasta for us Saturday night in preparation for the Cohasset Triathlon on Sunday.  My good buddy from age five, Bill Burnett, puts it on, and what an amazing job he does.  This year Jarrod Shoemaker (representing the USA in the triathlon in Beijing!) and 900 other people raced it, including a number of elite competitors.  Jarrod beat me.  In just two years it’s become a huge deal in the northeast.  They had a giant stage and all sorts of gear and food available.  Super foggy and a heavy surf in the morning but they did the swim anyways, which added that much more difficulty to it.  I finished on a mountain bike, next year I’ll get a real bike, though I’ve said that for the last 8 triathlons I’ve done and never have.

Wayne and I before the Cohasset Triathlon

Wayne and I before the Cohasset Triathlon

The next day we left for Natucket to stay with my very close family friends the Carneys in their beautiful home in the town of Nantucket, overlooking the harbor – such a nice place.  But boo, it’s on the market, bummer.  My best bud Spencer was there with his kids, including new baby Cormac Thomas – named after me!  How cool is that?  2 months old, and amazing.  Also his older sister Daley, who at three is super fun to hang out with.  Went out to a super nice dinner at Orin Moore’s with Spence, Sue, Lisa and I, highlight was when the waiter brought a french press and pushed down on it at the table, spraying coffee and grounds all over the table and putting out the candle – we found it hilarious, the head waiter not so much.  Went sailing several times on their Rhodes 19 in Nantucket harbor and through the cut in the jetties to the open ocean, a little sketchy coming back in but fortunately the tide had shifted in our favor.  And a highlight was driving out on the beach on Coatue and surfcasting – we caught four huge bluefish!  I can never get over how you can stand on the beach up to your ankles in water and take this giant rod, cast out a huge lure, and reel in these 4 or 5 pound (guessing) fish.  Plus the added bonus of driving on the beach which is always a good time.  Letting the air out of the tires first so they are somewhat flat is fun too.

Fish in hand

Fish in hand


After Nantucket we went to Lisa’s grandparent’s place in upstate New York, on Indian Lake.  A terrific two houses they have, on the water next to each other, a bunch of waterfront  with docks, ski boat, swim platform, rowboat, kayaks, canoe, and sunfish.  And over the course of five days we used them all!  Taught Lisa to sail one day which I expect will do wonders for her confidence on my boat here in Chicago – so much easier to “get” sailing on a small boat.  Swam every day and showered and shaved zero days – just an “Adirondack shower” in the lake each day.  So fun.  For the 4th we went and climbed Mt Marcy – 3200 feet or so of elevation gain, 7.2 miles up and 7.2 miles down – it took us 4 hours up and I couldn’t believe it, but also four hours down.  Weird.  The last couple hours seemed to take forever.  The summit was really beautiful, above tree line so huge views, 360 degrees.  Count it as my 12th state high point! 

Nearing the Summit of Mt Marcy

Nearing the Summit of Mt Marcy

Actually quite incredible fireworks that night on the lake for such a small town – we took the rowboat and speedboat out to watch.  The next night I went on about an hour long mountain bike ride around Indian Lake, which is no small feat considering the trails are for snowmobiles not bikes – and are overgrown and mosquito infested and swampy in places.  Kevin, Lisa’s uncle, was in better shape and kicked my butt up the hills – one particularly long one – tough to train for that kind of stuff in Chicago.  Was a blast, and really cool and pretty.  A interesting aside – at one trail intersection in the middle of nowhere out in the woods there were advertisements on the trees for bars, hotels, restaurants, etc – for the snowmobilers.  Was something I’d never seen before.

Managed to chop a whole bunch of wood for Lisa’s grandfather, he appreciated it and I enjoyed the physical labor.  Small repayment for such incredible hospitality and relentlessly delicious meals, one after the other.

Got back late Monday night, tired but refreshed.  I need to figure out how to do more and longer trips!  Actually in a couple weeks we have the Mac race and then a few days sailing in the North Channel with my folks – so good stuff.


May 22, 2008

Got out sailing today!  How great is that?  The motor was apparently running very hot – so I did some work on it – turns out the impeller that drives water had gotten jammed up – so not cooling of the engine – I replaced it and I think we’re good.  Of course I had to test her out – so took her for a spin solo.  15 knot winds, chilly breeze, and great sailing.  Blue sky, sunny, makes a guy smile 🙂  Life is very good these days.  we’re moving into new office space and have a number of solid business deals in the works.  All is well. Off to climb, camp and canoe at mississippi Palisades – should be a bunch of fun for the long weekend.  Only a couple hours away.  We’ll borrow my buddy’s canoe, adn meet some other climbing friends there.  Looking forward to it.

Pacific Northwest

September 25, 2007

I spent the last 5 days out in the Seattle area.  Got in some good hiking with my buddy Jarid and his female Saint Bernhard Sasquatch. We went to the big four ice caves, which was pretty cool. Not strenuous at all. We went inside – I took some video, it was melting so fast it felt like rain on the inside. I ventured in farther than the others and got wetter because of it. It was Sasquatch’s (hilarious name) first time on snow and she went nuts! It was great to see Jarid and his wife Carmen (call her Car man, she loves that) again, last time I saw them was in England when they lived there. Very cool couple, lots of fun, love having guests and showed us all around. They live in the hip are of Seattle called WEst Seattle. We had breaksfast one morning at Easy Street breakfast and music store – neat joint. I bought aCD of a local artist there, asked for upbeat and happy music. I think I’ll pop it in the stereo now. Later we hooked up with Lisa’s Aunt and Uncle, very nice and generous people who made us some delicious food. (As did Car man and Jarid – great barbecue and fire in their backyard) We headed over on Saturday to their beach house near Bainbridge Island, taking the ferry over. Their places were very rustic, built 80 or 90 years ago – I really enjoyed it, right on the water, canoes to play with, dog to chase around. We canoed back into a bay and up a tidal stream and saw a ton of salmon jumping out of the water, it was amazing. Those are some huge fish. And the tide went out like a zillion feet – nothing like I’ve ever seen on Nantucket. The beach grew by probably 60 feet, easy. Very cool. Shoulda brought a fishing pole. It was cold, damp, and rainy and overcast the whole time – par for the course in the fall in Seattle I suppose. I’m not sure I don’t like chicago summers better – and the sailing there – I love being able to run around in my bathing suit and jump into the lake to cool off. Their I think it’s just too cold for that. Another crazy thing – their were huge sea lions on buoys right by downtown seattle – I found that to be terrific to see, though I hear the salmon runs are nothing compared ot what they used to be. All in all a great trip, tons of fun with Lisa and everybody else, and we were treated so so well by our extremely generous hosts. I intend to have plent of money and do that type of thing more often. It would be fun to be the host at a lake house, ski house, and island house.

 All in all a relatively staid trip (read laid back, maybe even boring) great to reconnect with Jarid and Carmen and to get to know some of Lisa’s family and spend some time in the outdoors.  Friends and nature = good for the soul.

Or a different ending: All in all a great trip, tons of fun with Lisa and everybody else, and we were treated so so well by our extremely generous hosts.  I intend to have plent of money and do that type of thing more often.  It would be fun to be the host at a lake house, ski house, and island house.

Wedding in Mansfield, 95 mph, lateness!

August 23, 2007

It’s bad if you’re in a wedding and you’re late for it, right?  My good friend Persephone flew in from Utah (she isn’t Mormon) and we roadtripped down to Ohio together.  What a great friggin’ time.  Persephone was in the wedding as a reader, annd we were  supposed to be there at three – or two actually for the rehearsal.  Got some differnig opinions on the time to get there, so I thought we had extra and stopped by my Grandma’s in South Bend, she’s 91 and living alone, how cool is that?  Little lonely but her house means so much to her – it was great, I’m pretty sure we made her day.  Andwe stopped by again on the way back too, she made me a couple loaves of yum succhini bread.  Anyways – so that brightening of mine and my Grandma’s day nearly cost us some major wedding-day turmoil, however after driving exceedingly fast and recklessly – and stopping in a factory parking lot to put on my suit and P’s dress – we made it at 3:05 – and people were sitll outside, wedding actually got underway at 3:30.  WHEW!  Good times – P and I were looking for a little excitement and we essentially manufactured it.

Me and Persephone at a reststop

Me Grandma and P

 Sunday hung out with Lisa and Persephone at my place – wasn’t uncomfortable and Lisa was amazing about me spending so much time with Persephone and even crashing in a flea-bag motel with her.

Monday night climbed on my shift at Lakeshore Athletic Club – I teach two hours a week on Mondays and get a free membership, pro deals, a whopping 6.75/hour, good friends, and forced discipline to climb at least once a week.  It’s great.

Tuesday took the senior staff from Park Community Church out sailing.  12 of them and little wind.  Had a few near pukers.  The pastor’s wife Donna was so terrfic, brought all sorts of yummy food presented terrifically.  Jackson ws terrific too – we pulled in the sails and prayed for about 10 minutes – pretty powerful and memorable.  Also Jackson, the senior pastor, joined me on the trip out on the tender and helped get the boat ready.  Great time with him, great guy.  got to tell him about the adventure ministry I’m running, and give him more details of the caving trip and midnight canoeing trips we’ve already done – he didn’t know about them.  Because of near-pukers we called it around seven and picnicked on shore. 

I had a work meeting that night – really meeting guys out at the bar with a Forex trading manager I work with – it was fun but I stayed out way too late with him, 3:30 am – is that nuts or what??  Made it to work on time but was draggin and stil am today.  Skipped out on sailboat racing/beer cans last night as I had a late meeting plus was beat.  Ended up going to Columbia YAcht Club with Lisa and Alli and watching the fireworks (they shoot them off every Wednesday night and Saturday night in Chicago in the summer).  Good time.  Then headed home with Lisa, had a good solid conversation, dropped Alli at her new boyfriend’s though she doesn’t call him that yet.

Heading to Dave and Buster’s for dinner and games tonight – haven’t done that in I don’t know how long.

Adventure Meeting

June 22, 2007

Had a meeting with my adventure group – we did a fourteen person night time canoe trip a few weeks ago.  We couldn’t find a campsite and there was some trauma/drama as some people weren’t so down with the adventure – canoeing from 10 pm to 3 am was a little much for some, however crazy adventures that nobody else does is our vision and goal – and we certainly met it.  The intent was to camp out an hour or two into it – but we never found a good spot.  I was thrilled to learn some of my core group loved the trip and were very supportive though the trip didn’t turn out ‘perfect’ – however where’s the adventure if you know everything that’s going to happen??  It was great feedback.  Also my church sponsor, one of the elders that came up with the adventure ministry idea was extremely supportive as well and said he’s been on similar trips where folks get lost – it’s rough on the leader, and just need to get used to it.  All in all it was a great experience and it will be even better next time.  Or maybe not – since we’ll know where to go and what to expect… 🙂

 This weekend we race from Chicago to Waukegan, about 45 miles, then back Sunday.  Should be a decent party Saturday night.  Going out tonight with the boat crew, but not too late as boat time is 7:30 am.

 Sunday plans to sail with my good friend Melinda who is both a climber and a sailor and Australian and full of life and adventure and excitement!  Love being around her.  She’ll be bringing a friend too, who is sure to be terrific.

Last night was supposed to take the senior staff from church sailing – some ladies heard about thunderstorms and pressured the rest to call it off before I was able to get back to them and tell them I’d looked at the radar and saw just a teeny bit of green – nothing to worry about.  Was a bummer and I was crabby about it.  But had a good night anyways, worked out at Lakeshore while Lisa rode the bus downtown, met her at Starbucks and we walked to the theater to see Knocked Up – great show and quite a funny situation and some good laughs.

 Have a triathlon coming up in two weeks – I am NOT in shape!  Swam three times so far and have done some biking.  Met up with Wayne, my high school bud, for a bike workout along the lakeshore Tuesday night.  Good times but spent more time ogling the babes than riding hard, though I did work up a decent sweat and burn in the legs.  Race is in Cohasset in two weeks!