Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Walk on Campus

Today I drove to the University of Arkansas campus to look for my name engraved on the Senior Walk.  There are names of graduates dating back to the late 1800's on sidewalks on campus.  I found my name just a stones throw away from the Chemistry Building.  Not my favorite subject when I was in college.  It is a nice warm and sunny day here.  So it was a really nice day to walk around campus.

It is funny how campus seem much smaller than it did when I first arrived my freshman year.  This is a picture of the historic Old Main Building.

Here is my name engraved in the sidewalk on campus.

I had to add this image of my dad.  He just retired from work and I wondered how he might spend his days.  

Well I hope everyone is having a good day.  My time here in growing to and end as I head back west on Sunday.    

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lights of the Ozarks

I did not have a whole lot going on today.  So after dinner I went out for a drive around town. Dinner by the way was great.  I had wonderful pork shoulder sandwiches.  But on my drive I mainly wanted to got to the historic downtown square of Fayetteville Arkansas to see the Christmas Lights.  The last day for lights are on the 31st of Dec, so I wanted to check them out before they are gone.  The evening was cool but nice.  The lights were fantastic and horse carriages going around the square.  There were ever pony and camel rides.  Families were walking around buying hot drinks and cotton candy for the kids.  

Here area couple of photos

The center of the square is the most decorated.

Just another view. 

Last but not least is the Razorback.  This is the college mascot.  I went to college here in my home town.  The University of Arkansas.  Go Hogs!!

After the stroll around the square I went over to a friends house to catch up on what been going on in their life.  

Tomorrow I am going to hear over the campus and walk around the old stomping grounds.  The University does a Senior Walk.  So every person who has ever graduated from the UofA has their name engraved with their class on sidewalks on campus.  I have never been to see my name.  So that is what I am going to do tomorrow.  For dinner I am going to go meet one of my old caving buddies.  I am excited to see him.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful night.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Today was Christmas and I hope everyone had a wonderful day.  Many thanks to all my friends who contacted me to wish me a Merry Christmas.  It was a really nice day here in Arkansas with sunny skies.  Though I spent most of my day inside with family.  It was a lot of fun since this is the only time of year I get to see my niece and nephews.  They are growing fast and maybe I can turn one or two of them into kayakers.  

On Christmas Eve we fixed a nice dinner and my friends Tim and Cherri came by.  It was fun to spend time with them and I hope they had safe travels today.

Well here are few photos from around the house.  These photos are just of family and stuff around the house.  So I understand if they are not for everyone.  But I have a lot of family that check the site and it will be fun for them to see whats going on.

Mom setting at the counter while Dad slaves away in the kitchen.  Mom just had foot surgery so she cannot get around that well.  Tim and Cherri are hanging out for Christmas Eve.

Here is my sister with one of my Mom's dogs (Zoe)

Mom is kicking it in her chair.  I love the crutches with her little dog Rocky.

Here is my niece and nephew.  My nephew was not to into getting his picture taken.

Here is one of my other nephews.  He is hold up a Christmas puppy.  My youngest nephew, which seems to have escaped getting his photo taken, got the little puppy for Christmas.  She is really cute.

So my Mom has a thing for dogs.  As you may have noticed.  Here is a couple of her babies.  The larger dog was dumped out of a car a year ago and my parents took him in.  He it a really cool dog.  The smaller one is just crazy, but a lot of fun.

After a long day of Christmas activity my Mom decided to take a rest.  Her little baby decided she was tired to.  For a little dog she snores really loud.

Well I am sure this was a really boring post for most of you out there.  But for my friends and family I am sure it is pretty funny.

Merry Christmas and have a good night.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is here and it seems to have arrived quickly.  All my friends back home in Friday Harbor have been dealing with lots of snow and icy roads.  Here in Arkansas I have seen temperatures go up and down with rain falling most of the time.  Today looks as if the sun will shine so I plan on going out for a run.

Yesterday I went to visit a good buddy of mine.  He owns a really nice furniture shop in Fayetteville Arkansas.  Lacuna Modern Interiors.  We set around and caught up on old times.  I helped him with a few computer problems he was having.

A couple of images from my buddies shop.

Later that night we went out to eat at Powerhouse Seafood and Grill.  Kind of strange for going to a seafood place when I live in the coast.  But there are a few things there I cannot get back home. One of my favorites, craw fish.  Yeap, I got plenty for dinner last night.  It was fun to hang out and catch up.

But I have to say I am missing the coast.  I miss waking up and after my coffee routine, going down to see the water.  Going running and seeing the beautiful scenes of mountains covered in snow, eagles flying overhead and the ocean shinning from reflected light.  But I will be home soon enough.  I am enjoying time visiting with my parents and that is really why I come home anyway.

Well I hope all my friends back west are having a safe and fun Christmas Eve.  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cold in Arkansas

It is freezing cold here today and the night time temp is suppose to be 3F.  Been a slow visit thus far.  My usual is to head out on the town, meet up with friends and enjoy the night life.  But so far my motivation has been a bit low.  I have not even gone out since I have been back.  I have gone out for some exercise and the rest of the time I have spent with my parents.  My buddy Tim stopped by the house today.  It was nice to hang out for awhile. 

My roommate called and it sounds like the island took a pounding when the snow feel.   I checked out a few of the local news sites.  Not many pictures but some of my friends have sent a few to me.  I am a bit homesick with all the beautiful snow falling.  It would be a lot of fun to be out in the snow. 

This picture was sent to my by my friend Penny.

I am not sure if she is going to be posting her images on her blog or not.  But if you want to check 
the following link will get you there  http://icydol.blogspot.com/

Well I hope my friends on the West Coast are staying warm and enjoying the snow.  

Have a good night everyone.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Slow Days Follow Me to Arkansas

I guess that it has less to do with the location and more to do with me.  My days back home on San Juan Island can be pretty slow and since I have been here in Arkansas not much has changed.  I spent Friday at the house with my family.  Mom had foot surgery before I got here and she is not suppose to be on her feet.  

Today I got up and decided I would go to a near by park for a run.  The park is Gulley Park and it is a pretty basic park.  It has a paved running/walking path and a lots of open space.  I guess the do a summer concert series there.  Plenty of space for it.  

It is drastically different from my running spots back home on the island.  But after yesterday I needed to get out to breath some fresh air and clear my head.   

Here are a few photos of the park.  

When I got out of the car for my run it was 50F by the time I finished the 3 mile run the temperature was 39F.  It suppose to keep dropping.  I think it is going to be single digit temps.  But we are not going to get the snow everyone back home is getting.

Looking at the forecast the island will be getting lots of snow and I saw that Portland was really getting a dose as well.  I hope everyone I know is out enjoying the snow.  

Maybe I will get out tonight and get some pictures of the local town square with all the Christmas lights.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

Made it to Arkansas

It was a long day of travel and I was afraid I was not going to make it all.  Seattle was covered in snow the morning of the 18th.  My flight to Chicago was delayed for over 2 hours.  So by the time I reached Chicago my flight was gone.  I called my parents while we were taxing to the gate in Chicago.  My father was able to look up and see if there were anymore flights.  I got off and ran to a gate agent and was moved to the later flight.  It left me just enough time to go have a quick drink and wipe the sweat off my forehead.  It was a late arrival but I made it and that it the important part.

This is SeaTac on the 18th.  It was pretty nasty.

Today I took it easy and slept in.  I made my way to Ozark Natural Foods (ONF).  Its a pretty nice local coop and I needed to pick a few things for the time I am here.

Well I have not taken any pictures or have much else to share.  I will update when I have some fun stuff to add.

Hope everyone is having a great day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Seattle

Hello everyone.  Well I finally made it to Seattle.  I took the 4:15 ferry off the island.  It was kind of a late start.  But I had to go help Jackie (a friend of mine) to get her car moving.  The drive was crazy.  Anacortes was pretty snowy and north of Seattle it was really snowing hard.  It was a bit intense at times driving.

But this morning when I woke up in Friday Harbor it was snowing. So I took off for a walk to town to grabs some coffee.  So here are a few photos for everyone.

Looks like the whole region got plenty of snow.  Just saw a news clip from Portland.  Hope my it is being enjoyed there.

Snow covered Argyle Ave.

San Juan Land Bank House.

This is just a beautiful scene.

Well I am going to be in airports all day tomorrow.  So I will post some new when I get to Arkansas.

Have a great night everyone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beautiful Walk

Since I am leaving the island tomorrow, given the weather does not get too bad.  I decided to head out for a hike today.  I called Richard and he was up to the small adventure as well.  We met at the house, loaded Guinness in the Previa and head out to both of our favorite spot.  

It was a perfect day to be outside.  Cold but not unbearable, with a brisk breeze and clear skies. We took out time chatting and messing about the trail.  Overall just having a relaxing time hanging out and enjoying the beauty of a place we feel fortunate to call home.  There were tracks left in the snow from passing critters that were moving about the trail before us.  A Red Tail Hawk flew out of the tree line and kited in the wind.  Taking a high vantage point looking for a nice meal.  As we rounded the end of the trail to head back home,  you could see Mt Baker and the Cascade Range. Richard spent some time point out all the peaks in the distance.  As we walked home the sun in out face and it slowly faded behind the Olympic Mountains.  The sky was amazing with rich tons of orange and red.  Guinness was always bounding along the trail ahead of us.  Running his now below the surface of what snow was left.  I am sure there was a poor mouse under there scurrying away before it could become a meal.  Little did it know, Guinness would more than likely be afraid of it.  

It was a nice little hike.  I have a few images to share.  I have my Pentax Optio W60 back from being repaired.  I cannot tell anything has been done.  But I took it along for the hike.

Well this will be my last post from San Juan Island until I get back from visiting my family for Christmas.  I will be in the great town of Fayetteville Arkansas.  A nice little college town in the Ozark Mountain region of Northwest Arkansas.  It is where I grew up and it will be nice to see all my friends and family for a little while.  I will do some small updates while I am there.  So please check back.

Enjoy the images from today!

The black animal is my dog Guinness.  An amazing view toward the Cattle Point Lighthouse.

A picture of me and for some reason Guinness is looking up at me. 

SUNSET! BEAUTIFUL! Nothing else I can say.

I hope everyone is having a great evening.  I am heading out to have potluck night (Tasty Tuesday) with some friends.  

More Snow in the Forecast

Most of us were getting a bit spoiled with the moderate temperatures and calm winds we were having earlier this month.  I was thinking that maybe winter would miss us all together.  But before we knew it.  Winter was here.  All in one night it seemed to arrive to the island.  Cold air, strong winds and snow moved over the island and has left us with icy roads and beautiful scenery.  

Tonight there is a slight chance of more snow with a greater chance of snow on Wednesday.  I think the accumulations is set to range from only 1 inch to 3 inches.  But here on the island 1 inch can me enough to slow things down. 

I have travel plans set for Wednesday.  I am suppose to go to Seattle as I am due to catch a flight Thursday to fly back to my home town.  Seems I have picked a bad day to be on the roads.

I hope everyone is waking up to a good morning.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

San Juan Island Snow

I really did not think that it was going to snow.  But last night my friend Winter and his girlfriend stopped by.  When they came in they were all excited that it was starting to snow. So by the time I ate dinner and decided to go out in the big town of Friday Harbor, it had snowed enough to cover the roads.  This morning I was shocked to see that it was still snow.  Though we did not get much it was an added bonus to the day.  I took my time getting out of the house.  Then walked to town with Lyle and Guinness to get coffee.  Guinness was so crazy.  He loves the snow. I let him walk to town without his leash today, I could tell he was pretty happy about that.

Once I got back home I warmed up the Previa and we took off to see the beauty of the island with snow.  I do not want to write too much here as I have some photos I want to post and do not want to take up every one's time.


Walking to town from my house.  This is Argyle Ave, you can see Guinness on the sidewalk.

We went to Lime Kiln State Park.  You can see the Lighthouse in the image on the right.

Walking down the trail to the water.  The Pacific Madrona trees were amazing next to the snow.

Two images of the Lighthouse. Sorry for posting so many of the Lighthouse. It was just some pretty with the snow covered rocks.  I could not help myself.

This guy came swimming by.  It is a Northern (Stellar) Sea lion.  He was quite big but my little camera just cannot zoom in that well.  Click on the image to get a better view.

Me goofing around.

Me and Guinness.  He was having such a good time running and rolling around in the snow.  He turns into a puppy when the snow arrives.

This was the view on the way back to town.  I have the image under exposed.  It helps Baker be more visible.

I hope that you all have enjoyed the images today.  It is really nice here with the snow around. The wind is suppose to kick up again today and tonight.  So it is going to be a cold one.  I have a great gathering tonight at my buddies house.  There will be lots of great people and food.  

Have a great day and night!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Round Two of Strong Winds

Today was round 2 for strong winds here on the island.  The winds shifted from SE yesterday to NE today.  It was a cold walk to town for coffee this morning.  The winds kept building through the day and the gust were very strong.  After coffee I headed down to the shop and white caps were across the harbor all the way to Shaw Island.  

The images was really washed out but you can see the ferry coming in and all the white caps.  Click on the image to get a better view.

I spent some time at the shop hanging around.  We have some really go specials on for the holiday but not many people come down to the waterfront to shop.  But I am there Friday and Saturday.  My buddy Will did come by and he picked up some warm weather clothing for a great price.  I spent most of my time looking out the windows as boats passed by in the channel.  A Coast Guard Cutter made its way into the harbor.  They were tied up near Griffin Bay.  I guess the winds were getting strong out there and they decided to come tie up in Friday Harbor.  

Since the shop was slow a couple of friends and I went for some coffee at the Griffin Bay Bookstore on Spring St.  This a great place to get coffee.  I am not sure if many islanders know that they have coffee there.  But it is one of my favorite spots to hangout and drink coffee.

After some time joking around with friends and looking at books I decided to head to the shop and close the doors for the day.  It was time to go check out the water.  So Lyle (my roommate), Guinness and I loaded up in the Previa for a drive out to Ruben Tarte Park.  It faces NE looking up Presidents Channel.  I kind of figured it would be a high energy zone to check out the winds.  Plus it is a beach that we use on out Multi Day Tours and it is usually really calm there.  NOT TODAY!  It was great.  Looking across to Jones Island and white caps and deafening winds was all you could take in.  While were there you could see that some snow feel on the higher points of Orcas Island.  Earlier I was on the West Side of San Juan and the Olympics got a nice coating of snow as well.  The snow level was pretty low, so I assume the high elevations got a good amount of snow last night.

Well I took some video and a few pictures.  Nothing compares to being there yourself.  I am sure everyone can tell I really love it when the sea puts on a show.  It just gets me all excited.  Call it strange but I can't help it.

This is Ruben Tarte Park.  I have not seen it like this very many times.  It is usually a nice calm place.  But today it was high energy and lots of fun to see.

It was great to see the energy here.  I have launched my kayak here many times.  Once late last summer I launched to go spend the night with a someone on Jones Island, located just across the way.  It only took about 15 to 20 minutes to paddle over.  A day like today would take forever.

Here I am looking towards Waldron Island as I pan right across Presidents Channel to Orcas and Jones Island in the distance.

The sound is loud on the video so you might want to make sure the volume is low.  The wind is really loud.  Looks like it is going be a cold night and cold for the next few day.  

I hope everyone is having a great weekend and thanks for taking time to stop by to view my little world.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wind and The Sea

Today the wind made its way to the islands.  Strong SE winds with gust well over 50mph.  It was fun to go sit on the South end of the Island and watch the waves.  As I sit in my house writing this post.  The wind is blowing and limbs are falling on the roof.  The winds are only suppose to get stronger as the night passes.  

As I drove along Cattle Point Road there was a Norther Harrier flying over the tall grass.  I pulled over to watch as it was quite a sight.  Northern Harriers are that big of a bird.  It was trying tirelessly to hunt for food.  Watching as massive gust of winds hit the birds and it would wildly sway left to right.  Making all adjustments needed to stay in flight.  Needless to say this was a tough day to be hunting.  The Harrier (aka Marsh Hawk) flies swiftly along tall grass hunting for prey.  I guess even on the windy days you still have to try and eat.  I decided to move on and see what the water looked like towards Cattle Pass.

It is really hard to get an idea of what the water is like from shore.  It is best to be in the middle of it.  So I tried to get a few video clips.

Here is a still image from the above video

This is an image of South Beach.

After messing around and getting the view from above.  I wanted to get a much closer look.  So I went to South Beach to get a closer look. It was pretty wild.  Once again I do not think the images really capture what is going on.  I tried to get a few videos, but still not sure if it gets the energy level.  South Beach is covered with drift wood.  Lots of drift wood was being swirled around and some logs as big as 15 feet I saw tumbling end over end towards the beach in the surf.  At one point I was getting a bit to close.  I just wanted to feel the salt in the wind sting my face and the drift wood I was standing on went afloat.  I had to scurry off and try not to slip as I jumped along the logs back to solid ground.  

The wind was really strong and the offshore waves were really big.  But my little camera does not zoom while in video mode.

Just another video from South Beach.

The above images are from South Beach as well.

The sea is an amazing thing.  Its ability to change from calm to a raging sea is staggering.  The amount of energy where land and water meet is a fun place to be.  You can feel the energy just by getting near the shore.  The sounds of the wind, feel and taste of the salt in the air.  It is truly one of natures most amazing remedies.

"The cure for everything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea" Isak Dinesen

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Meditative Run

A much needed run today.  There are many reason I run.  Some have to do with fitness, but that is really not much of why I like to run.  For me it is a time of day to take in fresh air.  To maximize the potential air flow through my body.  It's very cleansing.  It also is a wonderful time to unload mental stress or other stresses you may have built up.  Being outside can become more of a spiritual outlet if you allow yourself to connect with your surroundings.  San Juan Island is a wonderful place to connect to you surroundings.  From mountain views and amazing water views. There is an amazing abundance of natural beauty here.  So today I used my outdoor venture and run as a release.  A way of letting out what troubles the mind and breath in fresh ideas and thoughts.  

Today shaped up to be a beautiful day.  The sun came out and the temperature was moderate. A very light breeze and views of mountain and calm waters.  The forecast for the weekend is not looking so nice.  Cold, windy and a chance of snow.

So as you can see today was the day to get out for a run.  I am sure I will get out and play if we get some snow.  But it will be much colder than today.

Well I have a few pictures to share with everyone.  Still shooting with my old digital camera. I am still waiting to hear from Pentax.

I drove to South Beach to take the pictures.  It was the closest place for me to park and get a few photos before dark.  I just got finished running.

Here you can see the moon coming up.  Just minutes before I was running along the tree line coming down the hill.

Lets not forget my partner in crime.  Guinness (aka Guinny Pig, Guin, and G-Dog).

It was overall a pretty slow day.  Started with a long phone call that ended as about as good as our economy.  Then me going on a cleaning rampage in the house, a little guitar playing and the rest of the time was spent running around with Guinness in the woods.  

Hope everyone is having a good night.

I will be a the Discovery Sea Kayak shop tomorrow.  We are open from noon to 5pm.  So if you need any gear it is all on sale.  Stop by and say hi.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Astral Green Jacket

The other day I recieved my Green Jacket.  It is a new PFD from Astral Buoyancy and I have been awaiting its arrival since the summer.  But due to some Coast Guard approval issues it was delayed.  It was finally given the go ahead and I have my hands on it.  I have not had a chance to get on the water with it yet and I cannot wait.  Today I thought I was going to get out to teach a lesson.  But my student was sick and she wants to reschedule for a later date.

But I have tried it on and I can say the overall fit is really nice.  It is very secure and I would be afraid to know the amount of force the water would need to remove this vest from you.  It is a pull over design which is somewhat new for me.  But not that big of a deal for the comfort once you are in the vest.  

The vest being designed for whitewater and I plan to test it out on the sea.  So it has some features that were mainly conceived for whitewater use.  But with the ever growing rough water sea kayaking attraction, I am sure the vest will find a home amongst some sea kayakers as well. Breaking though surf, running a tidal race or playing in big winds.  The vest will be of use in many situations.

I like that pockets on the vest.  My old vest was very limited in what I could carry on me. Though it was a great vest with amazing comfort.  I needed the ability to have a few things with me while guiding or out on my personal journeys.  The chest pocket has plenty of storage and the design keeps it out of the way from any snag issues.  There are also two small pockets on the left and right waist.  The pockets will come in handy for me.

The vest has a built in back band for added support.   I am not sure if it will stiffen my back so that I will not be able to do certain techniques or not.  But I know when paddling for hours a bit of support will be nice.

The adjustments are on the left and right sides of the vest.  Three on each side.  The built in tow harness also tightens down to give extra security.  The tow harness is sewn in, I would have preferred to see it as a removable option.  But it is there and attached the vest.  I use a separate tow system for what I do.  So I really would not have a use for the built in system unless I was going to be on the river.  Not really that big of a deal.  

A safety loop centrally located at the bottom of the front of the PFD.  Comes in handy for river rescues.  It also has an adjustable torso.  Not a lot of room for adjustment, but it does snug the vest against your body for a nice feel.

The look of the vest it great.  With black as the main color with lime green accents.  It looks really different.  

So far I am really excited to have the vest.  I will give you my final opinion once I have had it on the water and see how it feels after a long day of kayaking and being in the water floating around.  Really the true test is in the field.  So stay tuned......

Here is the front and back view.  I have the black vest, but the red looks nice as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wet Day

I have to say I did not get out of the house much today.  I had catch up work to do on the Discovery Sea Kayak website. I spent a good part of the day going over images from 2007 and 2008.  I needed to get them sorted and sized to update the site with new images.  I added two slide shows the site as well.  I still have a bit more updating to get things where I want them.

But at the end of the day I needed to go out and get some clarity.  I spent a good 45 minutes at the house stretching and preparing to go run in the rain.  Some would call it procrastinating.  I like to call it preparing.  I went to my usually place near American Camp.  I did not carry my camera along as it is not waterproof and it was pretty wet out there.  I have not heard any news on my waterproof Pentax.  I cannot wait to get it back.  The run, though slow as it felt, was much needed and very appreciated now that I am back home.  Guinness and I were pretty soaked.  Neither of us seemed to mind to much.  It is like being a kid again.  

I have on my schedule that I am teaching private kayak lessons tomorrow.  The wind is suppose to get a bit nasty so I may have to cancel.

If you are interested in seeing some of the new images I posted visit http://www.discoveryseakayak.com/ .  If you use the nav bar on the right, just go to kayak trips and then work you way through all the trip links.  Plus on the home page there is a nice slide show and another on the multi day page.  It is worth checking out.  Some of the images you will recognize from my blog.

Here is the only picture I took today.  It is from South Beach at the end of my run.  Not much to see.

Dark and nasty out.  The white spots are rain drops.  The flash makes them stand out.  Not much to see today.

Hope everyone is well tonight and has a great evening planned.