Thursday, January 29, 2009

Out to drink beer

I was invited out to drink some homebrew at a DC Hombrewers Meeting. I didn't know there was one in the area but apparently they are relatively new, plus I don't follow that much stuff in the area. I think I am in a bit of a rut actually. I found a few things I liked and I haven't moved on to other things since. But I was invited along and decided to go and see what it was all about. Since I haven't brewed in a while, I grabbed some old bottles I had in the fridge and hoped they were still good. Turns out they were about 2 years old. And they were still good. I love homebrew. Ages very well in the bottle. The beer I brought with me was a large bottle of a honey wit and a bottle of jalapeno IPA beer. Seems both beers were a hit which was great. I really like the honey white beer and haven't made it in a long time mostly since it is a whole grain beer and requires a lot of work, and makes a big mess. I tend to now only make small batches of it to keep the mess and work down. But that means each bottle is precious as I only have a few. I parted with one, just so I could bring something to the event. I am glad it was well received.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What to do

Got a new guy in my life and I am not quite sure what to make of it. Happened as I was leaving Utah after the gear show. I went hiking with one of the gear testers who is local and we got some supper afterwards. The day and evening flew by really fast. I could tell he liked me but I wasn't really interested. Just don't think I am interested in getting hurt again after the last one. So I was friendly but nothing more. He actually was really nice and gave me a lift to the airport the next morning and just before leaving for the security line, I gave him a hug. This is a huge break in protocol for me as I am not normally a hugger with people I barely know. The hug stretched into a kiss before I knew it. I don't think I am ready for this but I can't really turn my back on it either. He seems to be a really nice guy who has many common interests with me, a much better match then the other guys I have dated. We even have the same sense of humour, it is a little scary. I will have to see what happens. Guess time will tell once the first blush is gone.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Outdoor Review show

I had a chance to go to an outdoor gear trade show, where manufacturers had new gear on display for the media and distributors to see. I went as working media for the site I do gear testing for and had an absolute blast. I wish I had known about these sooner. I felt like a kid in a candy store, a really big candy store full of really cool things. As I had never gone to one of these shows before, I was shadowing one of the veteran show goers so learn how things are done. I followed one guy in particular as he was going to many of the vendors that I was really interested in hearing about their new product lines. The show is pretty overwhelming and huge. I can't believe how big the venue was. I got sore feet just walking around trying to see everything. I wasn't sure what to bring clothing wise so I packed hiking stuff and wasn't that comfortable with the hiking pants I had brought. The only bonus to having them was that they had side vents so when I got hot legs later in the day, I could vent some. I learned a lot at this show and had a really good time. I am really looking forward to going back for the Summer show, especially since I hear they have kayaks to play with.

The venue for the shows is out in Salt Lake City over the course of 5 days with the first day as a demo day to try things. I happened to fly in during a big temperature inversion which had the city socked in with fog. I was staying at a fellow gear tester's home and little did I know he had a 2 year old kid that liked to wake up at 4:00 in the morning and bang around. It was almost a good thing for the time difference as I was up before the kid, but that meant I got very little sleep. In fact, I was lucky if I got about 3-4 hours per night while I was there. Between going to bed pretty late, then waking up early, I was wired from lack of sleep. The show also made for somewhat long days with all the waking around and trying to see everything. Someone had a pedometer and one day we walked almost 8 miles. The problem is that the building has concrete flooring and not much padding on top of it. It was hard on the feet and back. Next time I am bringing my crocs, I think my feet will be happier.

The nice part of the show and being working media was the stuff that the vendors gave us. Since I was piggybacking along with people who knew what they were doing, I got all kinds of really nice stuff. I got a Kleen Kanteen bottle, a pair of Patagonia shoes, and lots of really nice socks. I realized that is a way to ask for stuff and I need to learn how to do that. I can get some stuff but apparently I could have gotten more from some vendors. Oh well. It was lots of fun and I look forward to another show.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Day

I picked a really bad time to fly out of the capital. All the bridges were closed to vehicular traffic except buses and taxis. I was planning on public transit anyways. My flight out left around 4, but I decided to leave at 12:30 opting to sit in an airport and be on time then to fight with unknown numbers of people to miss my flight. In the end, it was actually a little creepy to be traveling through sections of DC and not encounter any traffic and few people. Life goes on, but this was strange. At the last stop in the District the station was flooded with people and I was really glad I already had a seat. As the metro traveled over the overpass, I looked out and only saw a couple of buses and taxis on a normally crowded bridge. The airport was not too crowded when I arrived, but slowly became more and more crowded as people made their way back. I overheard people talking about how badly crowded the metro system was. So bad in fact that one couple decide to just walk to the airport. That must have been some walk. I'm really glad I left early. AT least I had some knitting to work on in the lounge.

I was flying out to Utah to enjoy my very first trade show for outdoor gear and equipment. My first introduction to Utah was getting rerouted to Colorado to refuel as there was a temperature inversion in Salt Lake City that was causing bad fog. They were landing planes but cautiously. We needed to refuel so we could circle waiting out turn. What fun. I wasn't sure I was even going to land that night and neither did the people I was staying with. I did eventually land around 11:00. I was warned there was a 2 year old who would be bumping around when he woke up at 4 in the morning. So that made for a very short night of sleep with a 2 hour time difference. Fun stuff. I am ready to go and enjoy the show though.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

WV high point hiking

A friend set up a car camping event that I and a few people I knew decided to go on. The goal was to drive up as close to the peak as possible then hike the rest. Given the wintery conditions the hike could have been anywhere from 14 miles down to 1 mile. Although there is a road that does go right to the summit, we were expecting the roads to be in bad shape due to all the snow. We did have two AWD vehicles just in case the roads were that bad. In the end, although there were some drifts across the road, the road was actually passable all the way to the summit. So our difficult hike turned into a quick stroll to the summit. That was about the only easy part of the whole trip.

We arrived to the campsite late Friday night and had to scrap back snow to set up the tents. Once set up we were still a little hyped up from the drive and snow removal that we stood around for a while talking and freezing out butts off. The temperature was already reading well below 0 F. Deciding it was late enough, we all went to bed around 1:00 am. The following morning was a late morning and due to the cold temperatures, we had 2 people decide to leave the next morning. The remaining 6 decided to stick it out. We drove up to Spruce Know and 'bagged' our high point. The temperature had been quite cold in the morning but climbed steadily all day long to a high of about the freezing point. We then did another hike in the area and I had a chance to finally play with my new snowshoes. Yeah! Not quite enough snow but it was still fun. We got back to camp while it was still light, meaning 4:00 and got a fire going and split some of the wood we had. Saturday night was much warmer then Friday night and most people slept warmly that night. Hot water bottles in each sleeping bag also helped. Sunday dawned clear and bright. We left camp to go on a secret hike which turned into a caving exploration, totally awesome. We will have to go back better prepared. Due to the stream running through the cave, we couldn't hike in too far without getting cold and wet. We found out that day that the low for Friday night had been -24 F. I have never camped out at that temperature before, but at least I now know I can do it in a car camping situation. Question is, could I do it while backpacking. We ended up having a 50 F degree temperature difference over the weekend. No wonder Saturday night felt so warm.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snowshoeing attempt #2

So in an attempt to redeem myself, I rescheduled the snowshoeing for Trail Days so that we could get free rentals and lessons. And once again Mother Nature was not on the same page as me. There was some snow but only enough to do cross country skiing. Plus it started to rain, decreasing the amount of snow available to play with. But in the end, we had free lessons, free rentals and tons of wet fun. Since there wasn't much snow, the ski area only had one track to follow, so most of us did one lap while a few people did several laps. I think they will be really good for the next trip out. I might get my butt handed to me if I am not careful.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Snowshoeing attempt #1

I attempted to run a snowshoeing trip this weekend but alas there was just no snow in the DC, Virginia, or even West VIrginia area. I even called a few places in Pennsylvania, but alas it just wasn't meant to be. So we went hiking instead. This turned out to be a lot of fun and I am glad most of the people who signed up for the snowshoeing stayed on for the hiking. I did get one last minute person join in on the event. It is a little odd that this guy seems to wait in the parking area and checks out what groups are leaving then asks to join them. The first time was fine but the second time was just too weird. I think I will either have to tell him no next time or chose another meeting spot.

I like taking groups out to explore the various trails, but every once in a while someone decides they don't like the hike and tries to get me to change it. I had to tell this one guy to stop trying to talk everyone into doing the Little Devil's Stairs trail as it was not appropriate for the group, we were not prepared, and we didn't have enough time to do it. But he insisted on talking about it until I finally told him to stop. He kept talking to this one girl and they missed the trail to turn onto. I thought I was pulling up the rear and then they showed up behind us. I will have to keep a better eye on him in the future.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Rather then do the standard party this new year, a group of use decided to set up a trip to Assateague Island in Maryland (also the same island as Chincoteague in Virginia). As this was car camping we could bring whatever we wanted. So we had a big party with a big fire and potluck style food for supper. Only problem was it was extremely windy down on the beach where we were supposed to camp. We couldn't set up our tents. So we broke down and bought the non group sites and set up in the shelter of the trees, scraggly as they were. A few people actually left because they thought we couldn't get a fire going, nor that we could stay warm. Oh well, their loss. We had a great time and I mixed up some music that everyone seemed to like. Yeah huge music library.

On the drive in, I saw a few wild ponies, but since we were looking for the site and some people who had already arrived I didn't get a chance to get any pictures. Come to think of it, I didn't get any pictures of the beach on the Atlantic side. I did managed to get a picture of a pony as we were leaving the next morning. That was pretty cool. I'm glad I managed to get one. Isn't the same, visiting an island with wild ponies and not having a picture of one. I think the smaller group of people we ended up for on this trip made for a better time. We were almost all hikers or backpackers, so we could joke and laugh about trail humour and gear. I definitely hope to make this an annual event. I hope everyone else does too.