Monday, February 18, 2008

Hugging a Cactus

Hugging a Cactus
Originally uploaded by Canadian Loonie
Arrived quite early to Arizona and spent the day tooling around and seeing the sites around Arizona State University. This large cactus was located near the sports stadium. So I went over to give it a hug. It is a little hard to see in the picture, but I am wearing a down jacket. I had expected Arizona to be warmer than it was. I ended up wearing my jacket most of the day. So far I have been enjoying the sites and the area. Tomorrow is when the conference/retreat starts and that is when the fun will evaporate. But until then we hit some local shops and went to a local pub and sampled a local microbrew called Kilt Lifter. It is a nice light bodied beer.

Friday, February 15, 2008

ASU trip

I have a business trip coming up in Arizona. I am not really looking forward to it mostly since I took the suggested flight plan without thinking about it. So not only do I have to leave the apartment by 4:30 am I am also missing one of the last kayak rolling sessions. I will only have one more after that and that will be after a 2 week lag. Hopefully I will remember everything. I will be picking someone else up and we will be able to tool around Phoenix together. But neither of us know what there is to do in Phoenix. As far as we know, or have heard, it is a town of retiree's. We are also staying in Tempe so I am not sure how far away Phoenix is or if there is anything more to do in Tempe, which is a college town. We are also working on Monday which is a holiday here. I am not really needed for this trip but thought it would be good to put in an appearance. I had also hoped to do some hiking or backpacking but I don't know the area well enough to go on my own and couldn't find anyone from the gear testing group in the area. Oh well. Maybe some other time I can get out there for a real trip not associated with business.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

I finally rolled!!

So I am not 100% successful at doing a roll but I did do a couple on my own with no help. I am really happy that I am getting there. There are still a few problems with my technique, but at this point I need to just get the roll to work consistently then I can start fine tuning it. I am rather bummed that I will not be able to make it to the next class due to a business trip and poor planning. There is no class after that then there is one more at the beginning of March. So I have one more class session left then I have to start working on it in the river. I guess once the weather warms up I can spend the rest of the summer working on it. Fingers are crossed but it seems that all the lessons and hard work are starting to pay off.

This was actually a rather busy day for me. After the rolling session, there was the coffee time. Then I rushed home to get ready for a movie meetup. The movie was Fool's Gold. After that was supper at a tapas place. I had never had tapas before so it was interesting. I bit pricier than I wanted to pay but it was still good. The movie was also good. I liked it as it didn't require much thought or attention to follow it. Very good since I was very tired from the kayak session earlier. I probably should have just taken a nap and rested up but I went out. I also grabbed the wrong coat and found out it was very windy and cold. Fleece jackets don't do much to stop the wind so I was cold. DC doesn't have a closes system so if it is cold at ground level, it is generally cold in the tunnels, just more out of the wind. I am glad the bus came right away otherwise I would have been very cold. I even walked up the big escalator to generate some heat.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

More Kayak rolling

Had another lesson today. I feel that I get more from the people I know than the instructor. I am sure he is a great instructor when it comes to white water boats, but I am starting to wonder if I will be able to learn to roll my boat. Everyone has assured me that my boat is relatively easy to roll, that just makes me feel really good to hear that. I got some personalized help from a few friends at the pool and I hope I am getting it. By the end of the lesson, I am just too tired to practice anymore of what they are telling me. I really don't have that many lessons left and I would really like to get a roll down before I leave the pool session as I am not sure how many opportunities I will have to get help with the roll.

The social coffee gathering we do after the pool session is lots of fun. Too bad the shop closes at 1:00. That really only gives us about 1 hour to have fun and chat. I have to be careful not to eat too much. The shop has some food but mostly only bagels and cakes. I have been trying to eat more healthy and I don't really consider having cake after rolling to be a good healthy snack. It is a good time to hear about upcoming trips and events.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Cold weather camping

My backpacking partner and I decided spur of the moment to go on a quick backpacking trip. The trip had been planned but due to the cold weather and the buckets of rain we had received on Friday, we had opted to cancel the trip. But Friday night, after eating supper and starting at each other, we decided to just go and do it. So we grabbed our pre-packed bags and ran out the door. It was interesting as the trail leading in to the campsite was only about 0.5 miles, but it seemed to take some much longer. We hiked in in the dark and found the site with few problems. It was a group camp site that we shouldn't have been camped at but we snuck in camped and left early. Unfortunately, my sleeping pad still did not keep me warm. I bought a new sleeping pad with a much better R rating than my old pad but I was still left very cold. I should have brought my 0 F bag but I just didn't think I would need it with the new pad. Apparently I was wrong. Good thing my hiking partner had an emergency blanket. It helped some but I was still cold all night and didn't sleep much. The next morning, the temperatures were so low that the dew on the tent, (or the condensation) had frozen. Brrr! Even the canal water had a thin film of ice covering it. I tried to snap a picture of the sunrise behind the walkway but it was still too dark for the camera to take the photo and I was too cold to fight with the camera to get it to work. Oh well.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Paddling on the Potomac

I was out paddling last night on the Potomac. I hadn't been out for a while and thought it might be nice, not only for the exercise but to see what winter paddling is really like. And I gotta say it is COLD. I was able to borrow a dry suit, better gloves and neoprene hat from a friend and was really appreciative of them. My wool cap and ear band might have kept my head warm, but the paddling gloves I have would not have kept my hands warm. I really do need to invest in a dry suit though if I want to keep doing cold water paddling. It was fun to paddle the Potomac at night. The stars were nice and clear and with the partial cloud cover, it wasn't really that dark. There were six of us. I didn't know this until I got there, but the dock had been removed for the winter leaving only a tiny little dock to launch from, that had a boat docked at it already, and a 4 foot drop to the dock. Certainly made moving and loading kayaks an interesting experience. I think I might wait for the dock to come back before going again. I might catch up with them after the paddling though to chat and catch up.