Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Access Codes....

6 Things you don't say to Someone You have dangled over the cliff in order to get The Access Codes.

1) Some long monologue. Don't do it.  Get what you want, or deliver the coup de grace.

2) Seriously, if you have to do a monologue, at least make it somewhat sinister.  It fills the awkward time as you walk through your ridiculously ginormous lair.  Who pays your heating bills?  Plus, you can only get there by sailboat?  How does the Jimmy John's guy bring you lunch?

3)  Wait, you don't have one of those fancy wing suits do you?  Because, you sort of lose your 'dangling over cliff leverage.'  Unlikely but classic mistake is to ignore the possibility of small parachute or wingsuit as part of clothing.

4) And now prepare to die... again, you're kind of monolouging here.

5) If you can't follow these instructions, at least hire good people.  Getting access codes is a team endeavor.  

6) Seriously.  Look behind you.   Maybe hire some competent henchmen.  I know, I know, good help is hard to find.

Monday, February 2, 2015

California Bike Ride -- Boulder Peak

Summit ridge

The approach ride
For several years now I've been a crew hand on the baggage group for the Bicycle Rides Northwest.  This year I ascended to the lofty position of chief roustabout.  The trip covers several hundred miles of new terrain each year.  I enjoy the labor, the company, the riders, and my co-workers.  But every year I make an effort to get in some adventure.  Notably this trip.

The California Bike Ride in 2014 toured through the State of Jefferson in Northern California and Southern Oregon.  Big Foot country.  Famous also for growing lots of dope.  I did see plenty of state of Jefferson flags, but the only big feet I saw were my own, and thankfully we didn't come across any angry "farmers."  What we did come across was "hot" and lots of it.  The drives were of long duration, the roads were of marginal quality and width but the cyclists seemed to have fun.  The highlight of my trip was of course the annual, "get out the map and go get on top of the tallest thing available in the place with the fewest people."  Based on the one and only rule of adventure -- you must be doing something you'd rather be at home talking about -- the challenging ascent of Boulder Peak was a singular success.

The trip was months in the making.  Once the route was published, I started scrambling for a scramble.  Thank you internet.  I settled on Boulder peak, in the Marble Mountain wilderness.  Remote, challenging and tall.  As notes:

"Boulder Peak is the highpoint of the rugged Marble Mountain Wilderness in Northern California. The Marble Mountain Wilderness is one of the finest tracts of pristine mountains in the state of California. Containing nearly a quarter million acres this wilderness is home to countless rugged peaks, beautiful alpine meadows, rich old growth forests and dozens of deep subalpine lakes. Despite these fantastic qualities the Marble Mountains see relatively light use, due in large part to their isolation from most population centers. "

It would prove all of that. Planning for the event went completely as expected, if you know me.  I basically ignored any thought of planning, until I got to Northern California on the Bike trip, and then suddenly realized that I needed maps, water purification, etc.  But understand -- what world do you imagine you live in where you could get these things ahead of time.  

The crew for the adventure was mainly the Baggage crew on this trip; and that was almost exclusively former students.  Tosch R., Brandon R., and Bryce C. had had all finished up college and were here to inject youngblood into the endeavor.  And Ryan G., another teacher who worked on the SAG (support and gear) crew would prove to be the critical piece to our adventure.

The day before the trip, baggage-hand Brandon R. and I commandeered a mini-van (politely pleaded to borrow) and roared into the nearest town (drove leisurely while listening to wait - wait -don't tell me).  It took a while, as we went to a hunting store, another hunting store, and finally, after stopping a the third hunting store, we were directed 2 blocks to the National Forest Service station by the hunting store, where we bought a map.  Never did find any Iodine pills.

Live music the night before kept the intrepid crew up but 
there was no need for an alpine start as we had the day off; the trip was a layover day, and the clients would be doing a loop.  Our teamster skills were not needed.  So, the plan?  Bike 25 miles on asphalt.  Then 2.2 miles on a gravel road on our road bikes gaining about 2000 feet.  Then stash the bikes, hike 7 miles (one way) while gaining an additional 4500 feet.  Did I mention no water purification, and 100 degree heat?  Remember our motto on the Baggage team is "what's the worst that can happen" and "i don't know, your bag is probably somewhere."  JK.  We cradle bags like infants (my boss made me put that in).
The one they call bear bait on the summit approach.

Dawn broke, and we slept in.  Par for the course.  But we had a plan.  A quick cup of coffee, and ride the riders' route backwards to arrive at the rest stop just as it opened.  A variety of treats awaited us, and fortified us for the last bit of the ride.  We made good time as the fit athletes pushed the tempo, and this "athlete" said "wait up" a lot. 

Hats and hikes and hats and hikes and hats and hikes
Ryan was the real key to the trip.  He didn't have a bike;  but he did drive to the trail head, arriving EXACTLY as we did (my logistical acumen, well, just saying)...  He had carried our running shoes/ hiking boots, backpacks... all the things that let us ride in style to the trail head, but now hike with gear.  The climb was an absolute beast.  7 miles climbing 4500 feet is legitimately STEEP.  Plus, we were startled by a large, but lethargic rattler.  Along the way we passed a couple high alpine lakes, saw some bear sign.  We also saw 3 other people.  This was disappointing.  I mean, how dare they tread in our wilderness.

Really the climb was just a ramp for 7 miles.  As you can see, the views were stellar.  The mountain has the "51st greatest prominence" in the state of California.  Basically, that just means that it's tall, and a lot taller than the things around it.  And as it's in a wilderness, the views are untrammeled? un marred?  You know.  Trees and such.  We Summited in good form (see what I did there Summit High Alums), and signed the register.  As is often the case, the stay at the top was brief.  We got a few pics, and then, were quickly chased off the 8300 foot summit by some biting black flies.  We strung out a little on the descent.  I don't "run" down mountains anymore.  It's undignified, plus, 'my ol' hips."  I did find our rattler again.  I hopped like i'd been stung and screamed out with some excitement.

At the bottom of the hike, there was a minor amount of macho posturing about biking back down 2000 feet of gravel, then biking back 25 miles.  Thankfully, Ryan had driven the van.  Tune in next year for.... THE TETONS.

It's my blog yo.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

UGA ultimate, Ultimate, and The Complete Saga of UGA Sports.... Sort of.

A Bunch of us used to play frisbee together.  This is that story.  

Today we tell the story of OTP -- the funnest bunch of miscreants ever to cleat up.  For a couple years we'd fly from across the country to play wreck our bodies with two days of ultimate frisbee with no substitute players, and generally make fools of ourselves.  This is that story. 

One Trick Pony

The Early Years

In the beginning there was the Haley House. We all lived there in collegiate squalor. Well not actually. Just some of us lived there in collegiate squalor. Others just came to play cards, and to lie in the hammock.

The Diaspora

But like all great things, the golden day of Georgia Greatness Passed. Grant and Alex moved to New Mexico. Robbye moved to North Carolina. Rob Barrett moved to Boston. Luke moved to Seattle. Of course, these events happened over several years. And in fact, it was not until Grant returned from Santa Fe that Eric Olson even arrived on the scene. But these were nonetheless, seminal events in the saga of the Georgia Ultimate Playing community, so the lack of, well, accuracy can be chalked up to artistic license.

But to summarize, over the years, a bunch of us played cards, drank beer, and played ultimate frisbee in and about the area of Athens, GA.

Coast to Coast

Then came that fateful day in 1999. Grant called us all and told us the awful news. He was due for a partial phlebotomy. At the time, none of us were at all aware that this meant that he was going to have some blood drawn. In our anguish, and concern, that Grant was having emergency surgery to have his "phleb" removed, we hurriedly purchased plane tickets, rented cars, and hustled to get back to Athens, GA for the Savage 7 Tournament: To play Ultimate with our friend Grant for one last time. Of course we found out at that point, just what exactly a phlebotomy was, so we celebrated by having a bar be que, playing cards, and having a good time.

One Trick Pony

2000 was no different. This time Grant was developing a case of Olfactory Hirsuteness. And to make matters worse, Alex (who had, moved back to Athens) was developing an adipose problem over the long winter months. Well, we (Rob, Robbye, Andy, Eric, and Luke) almost fell for it (hey, we went to UGA, not Harvard), until Rob Barrett looked up these words in the dictionary and bailed us out (Rob is in Graduate school. He is therefore, "book-learned" -- the highest level of intelligence for a southerner). Turmoil rocked the team. Luke was waffling horrifically, making up injuries to fictional body parts (how exactly do you strain your arugula), Robbye (also in graduate school), was making up examinations, and Andy. Well now.

Andy wrote this incredibly long email describing how busy he was, how out of shape he was, how long a drive it was, etc. It was disgusting. Only my longstanding friendship with Andy precludes me from posting the entire email here. The entire team was in jeopardy. But then Eric laid down the law... he ripped Andy a new one, so to speak. Luke was so embarrassed he had to buy the ticket. Rob, and Robbye threw it together...

It was ON!

Which in turn led to THIS nonsense. The Trading cards.  Where are they now?

Today, after getting his grad degree from UGA, Rob is a school counselor I think... help me out.

Robbye "River" is a PT in NC?  He is demonstrating the "kareem."  The throw that took America by storm during the 1990's. 
Luke taught HS for 10 years, and now is in another Master's program at UMN for Public Health (Epidemiology).  No, I don't know anything about your mole.
 Grant is managing his properties and doing contracting in Athens.  He did love that upside down thumber throw.
Design work of some sort EO? Need some details; living out in California.
Andy was teaching last I heard.  Maybe at Kennesaw State.

Alex Crevar was the 7th.  Today he's a journalist, perhaps you've read his work in National Geographic, and Cat Fancier.  (Nat Geo is true, not so sure about the Cat Fancier).

Alex's trading card was lost to the dustbin of time.  But there he is bottom row, having a lemonade.  Also this is the same savage 7 different year.  I'm not sure how many years we kept flying in; good times.


And here is a bunch more of the crew in their salad days.  Tomorrow, some poultry days.