Tag Archives: Utah

not in this century…

Ok, so it wasn’t actually a Century this year. Our weekend up north to ride in the annual Bike MS charity ride for the Utah/Idaho chapter of the MS Society turned into a bit more pre-partying than expected, and it definitely had an impact on my ride.

We normally don’t participate in the ride every year. I prefer to ride every-other year so that I’m not harassing my friends, family and colleagues every year for donations. Since I earned a spot in the 150 Club last year, I decided we’d do the ride this year and planned on just self-donating the minimum so that I didn’t have to bug anyone. I ended up sending a single fundraising email to my network and pulling in nearly $1000 in a couple days, so thank you thank you thank you to all my generous friends for the support.

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Col and I talked Lisa and Jer into doing the ride this year by convincing them the 45 mile leg would be a piece of cake. Col set out intending to do the 75 mile leg, and I decided to just play it by ear. In a flashback to my first year of the ride, I ended up with a bad dental problem in the days before the event, so I needed to see how it would play out once I was on the bike.

We loaded up the Jeep with our gear and bikes on Friday and headed up to Salt Lake City. Hotels in Logan were sold out, so we planned to stay in SLC and just drive up early for the ride on Saturday morning and then spend the night back in SLC again for some post-ride partying. The plan for Friday night was a low key dinner and an early bedtime since we had to be up at 4AM to head up to Logan. Yeah…right.

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Lisa and Jer had never been to Lucky 13, so we took Trax down to the stadium and set out to enjoy some amazing burgers and “just one” beer. Lisa had been on a fast of sorts for the previous month, so she was enjoying her first beer in nearly 30 days. Well, as usual with the Good Times Gang, one led to four, and we left Lucky 13 not for the hotel, but for a bar. We ended up at The Beerhive until about midnight, which meant Trax wasn’t running (seriously, SLC get a clue!). We decided to get a jump on our bike ride and rented Green Bikes to get back to the hotel. Probably not the brightest idea, but it sure was hysterical.

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With only 3 hours of sleep, we made the trek up to Logan, arriving a little late due to my incorrect start time and a little detour I accidentally took us on.  We set out to do the 45 mile ride, but when we got to the turnaround it was still pretty early and we all felt good, so Lisa, Jer and I decided to join Col on the 75 mile ride. It was nice enough, but my mouth was really hurting which made for slow going, and I was holding the rest of the group back. Lisa had a run in with a dog (an actual run in), which was a pretty funny war story. We made the lunch stop a nice long break and eventually got back into the fair grounds around 4PM.

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Cheryl and Jeanne flew up on Saturday to have a fun SLC night with us. We made it back to the hotel dirty, tired and sunburned, but they had cold beer waiting for us. We cleaned up and then went to dinner at another of my favorites, Rusted Sun Pizzeria. From there we tried out Ty Burrell’s new Beer Bar downtown. It is a really cool concept, but was so loud it made any conversation nearly impossible. We enjoyed a couple of the beer choices, then headed back to the hotel to relax.

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Sunday morning we met Col’s parents and Amanda for brunch at Squatters, and then headed out. It was a liver busting weekend for sure, but it was fun to do the ride again. It’s an amazingly well supported event, and accounts for nearly all the funding the chapter receives for the year. Our little group raised nearly $2k among us, so we felt pretty good about our contribution. Thanks again to everyone who donated, and if anyone else is still inclined, my fundraising page is open until 31 July!

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i’m in it for the commercials

We missed our normal New Year’s party at Happy Fish this year. With the holiday falling mid-week, resetting PTO banks and just all around difficulties coordinating, we did NYE in town and avoided the hassle. Since our last group outing to the cabin was back in July, we thought celebrating Super Bowl Sunday at Happy Fish sounded like a great plan.

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We made plans for everyone to arrive either Friday or Saturday and head home Sunday or Monday. Lisa, Jeanne, Jer, Cheryl and Rob all made it to the cabin Friday, while Col and I drove up from SGU Saturday after he got off work. We also invited Hayley and Lance for their first Happy Fish trip, and they drove down from SLC on Saturday.

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There was a pretty good amount of snow on the ground when we arrived, and the temperatures were pretty frigid. The lake didn’t look to be completely frozen yet, which was surprising given how cold our winter has been. Lisa said she can’t remember another time it wasn’t frozen all the way out. Even with the snow, everyone was able to get their cars all the way in, so no snow shoeing and hauling supplies was necessary. It snowed a couple times over the weekend, and some of us were hoping we’d get snowed in and not be able to leave Monday. But, there was no such luck.

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We enjoyed a fun Saturday night drinking, playing games and having fun (for some of us a little too much fun). On Sunday we spent the morning decorating for the game and getting all our food ready. We probably overdid it with our menu planning, but we enjoyed all the traditional game day snacks and delicacies…queso dip (2 kinds!), cocktail weenies and meatballs. I also made a big pot of chicken cilantro soup that came out really good.

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For once we actually had fans on both sides of the game. So, the rivalry and trash talk promised to be good. That was, until there simply wasn’t a game. It became clear very early on that it would have just been mean to trash talk Denver, so we mostly all just enjoyed the commercials and hoped Cheryl didn’t go on a rampage on us. We lucked out and nobody was injured.

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This was Kendall’s first Happy Fish trip, and she had a blast. We had been wondering what she would do unleashed in deep snow, and she cracked us up hopping through it. She didn’t seem to like the really deep stuff and would get nervous if she got too far into it. She loved playing around the cabin and hanging out on the deck, even though it was cold out. I think she’ll really enjoy our summer trips up when she can run loose in the meadow. It was quite the dog weekend with four pups in the cabin always underfoot…especially when there was activity in the kitchen.

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We spent Monday morning playing darts and hanging out before starting the inevitable (and always hated) process of cleaning and packing to go home. Luckily the weather was pretty nice for the drive home, so we didn’t have to worry about bad road conditions.

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It was fun to have a new reason to party at Happy Fish. As usual, it’s a special place for us all, and good times reigned supreme.

 

bee boppin

It all started with Lisa and Jeanne. They showed up one night at ‘Bout Time with a new Jeep Wrangler.

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Anyone who knows me knows that the Wolfe genes run strong and deep inside me. One of those genes is passed directly to me from my father and his father, and that gene is the “new car gene.” My grandparents lived in Arizona for most of my life, and I remember every time they came to visit my grandfather had a different car. The joke that was as soon as the new car smell was gone, so was the car. If he had been a smoker, it was likely he would have gotten a new car anytime the ashtray filled up. So, shortly after New Year’s I headed to the dealership and before I knew it I had traded in my trusty little Escape for a new Jeep Wrangler.

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The specific Wrangler I picked out had some pretty nice wheels and tires on it, but after going back and forth with the dealer for the ridiculous amount of money they wanted for the package, I told them just to put the stock wheels back on. Little did I know how dramatic the difference would be, and when I returned to pick up the Wrangler I was sure it was not the same one. This meant the top priority was to get new wheels and tires, and about a week later the Jeep was looking good again.

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We wasted no time taking it out with Lisa, Jeanne and Jer for some dirt road fun. The first outing was to the Joshua Tree Scenic Byway that starts very close to our house. The roads aren’t super intense, but they are bumpy, dirty and fun, and the scenery is pretty awesome. We took Kendall on the first trip, and she had a blast during our many “water” breaks.

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We took a detour out to the Bloomington Cave entrance. The entrance is blocked by a locked gate, and you have to visit the BLM office to get the code. But, after seeing the map and the entrance, I’m intrigued. Against my better judgement and my claustrophobia, I really want to make a go of the cave.

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About a week later, MPK and Roger were in town, so we took them on the same outing. MPK is in love with joshua trees, so it was a great afternoon for him. The fact we could top it off in Mesquite for some Bingo and slots was just the icing on the cake. And, Roger was a Bingo winner, so it was well worth the trip!

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IMG_1230A couple weekends later, we decided to bee bop with the girls and Jer again. We hit a backroad that winds through the Red Cliffs Preserve. The road is about 20 miles from St. George to Leeds, and sections of it were quite muddy and rough.

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There was still some snow on parts of the road. Along the way we ended up at an amazing canyon that we didn’t even know existed. The views of the steep rocks were spectacular, and we spent about an hour testing the echo while we enjoyed our “water.”

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So far, the Wrangler has been awesome. I have wanted a four door model for years, and have always missed my 2000 two door model that I owned for a few years. I’m excited about many more years of bee boppin adventures! There really is nothing like a Jeep.

 

 

 

 

brrrrr….

It doesn’t snow often in Southern Utah, and when it does it’s usually a dusting. On Saturday we got nailed with an arctic storm that dumped a lot of white fluffy flakes. It pretty much shut down the city since there are no snow plows or salt trucks to keep the roads clear. It caused a lot of hassles, but on Sunday the day was sunny and clear, and the snow was really amazing!

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the rock

IMG_7080Col and I spent the weekend at Lake Powell for my family’s bi-annual trip. My parents, sister, brother in law and nieces stopped at our place for a night on their way up to the lake, then we met them for a long weekend at Lone Rock. I wanted to spend more time, but work schedules didn’t line up very well this year. We headed up on Saturday afternoon and stayed until Monday afternoon.

IMG_7092It’s Monsoon in this part of the Southwest, so afternoon thunderstorms roll in regularly, but usually don’t last very long. Of course our only full day at the lake was the day with the most weather, and we spent the better part of Sunday afternoon holed up in the motorhomes to avoid being struck by lightening.

HDRtist HDR - http://www.ohanaware.com/hdrtist/

IMG_7186Lake Powell is currently under 50% capacity. The upside is a nice beach for camping and less boat traffic (probably also a result of gas prices and the economy). Col and I just slept in the bed of the truck on our backpacking mats. I think I’m too old for that because I was pretty sore by the second night. Next time we’ll get a real air mattress.

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IMG_7140On Monday, we scrambled to fit as much in as we could before hitting the road. Col and the girls went tubing, and my dad skied. With no weather and light boat traffic, the water was really glassy.

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IMG_7332Mike, Tracy, Col and I got in a Cornhole (I still can’t believe that’s the name of the game) tournament, and they whooped us. Next time, I’ll bring ring toss and wow them with my mad skill. A quick off road jaunt in the Razr rounded out our full day before Col and I hit the road to head home. I can’t wait for the 2015 trip when we can actually spend a week.

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HDRtist HDR - http://www.ohanaware.com/hdrtist/

let’s end this…

We spent the weekend in Logan riding in the 2013 Bike MS: Harmons Best Dam Bike Ride, which raises money for the Utah and Southern Idaho chapters of the MS Society. This was our second time participating in the ride; we did the 75 mile ride in 2011.

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MPK does the ride every year, and manages to wrangle up a bunch of randoms to accompany him on the ride and the weekend in Logan. This year the group included MPK, Roger, Keith, Col and I. Col and I left SGU mid-day Friday to make the six-hour drive up to Logan. We stopped in SLC and picked Keith up and continued to Logan to meet up with MPK and Roger at the hotel. We stopped by the fairgrounds to pick up our ride packets, then hit The Beehive Grill, which serves Moab Brewery beers, for dinner and a couple drinks before turning in for an early rise on Saturday.

Col and I were determined to complete the 100 mile course this year, and fortunately due to MPK’s compulsive need to be early (and his nagging) we were toward the front for the start, which put us in a better position to make the cutoff to complete the longest course. The start was delayed by about 20 minutes due to a house on the main course. Yes…a house. Apparently someone decided it made sense to move a house down the middle of the street used to get the riders out of town at about the same time the ride was scheduled to begin. After some horrible time-filling by the emcees, the ride finally started. We were in the third wave to depart.

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The course this year was modified from previous years due to some of the smaller towns along the route complaining about the riders and their behavior. MPK, Roger and Keith quickly left us in their dust, which was completely expected. As this was only my third time on my bike this year, I wasn’t anticipating a speedy day. Slow and steady wins the race in my book. Col and I skipped the first rest stop, as it was only 10 miles into the course and we didn’t feel the need for a break. While the temperature was expected to climb above 100 for the day, the morning was nice and cool and made for a pleasant ride. We did stop at the second rest station, which was in Richmond and marked about mile 23 of the course. It was sponsored by the Utah Highway Patrol and is always a fun stop with vintage cruisers and great volunteers. A quick snack and refill of the water bottles and we were back on the road.

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The route winds through the foothills of the eastern portion of the valley before entering Idaho. Franklin, Idaho was the next rest stop. Another quick refill and a snack and we jumped back on the bikes. The ride took us north, and we were surprised to reach the sign indicating the cutoff for the 100 mile course. It was only 10AM, so we were really excited with our progress. We took deep breathes and crossed the road going straight…committing to the 100 mile route. Nobody (I’m looking at you, MPK) told us how hilly this 25 mile “detour” would be. While the majority of the Bike MS ride is flat(ish), this section had some pretty decent climbs, as well as a pretty fun and fast descent. We found the rest stop for this section, but didn’t linger as we wanted to make it to the lunch stop while it was still early.

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We completed the 25 mile loop and turned back onto the main course heading for the next stop in Lewiston, Utah for lunch. We reached the lunch stop just before 1PM and quickly devoured sandwiches, chips and some snacks. The clouds were burning off and the temperature was climbing, so lying on the grass in the shade resulted in a short (not sure how long because at this point the iPhone was dead) nap under the trees. We saddled back up for the last 33 miles to the finish, but this stage proved to be the roughest with the hottest part of the day, no cloud cover and a route hugging the western side of the valley where little shade is available. The leg to the next rest stop was 16 miles and covered some long, gradual climbs, so we got ready for a long, hot afternoon.

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We left Lewiston and quickly started burning without the protection of the cloud cover. We focussed on the beautiful Cache Valley scenery to keep our minds off the heat and our saddle weary rear ends. Logan and the surrounding towns are really in one of the prettiest places in Utah, and it’s so much fun to spend a day on the bike enjoying all the sights. We made it to the roaming water stop (which apparently hadn’t roamed at all) about halfway to the next rest top. We refilled bottles and kept moving, finishing the last big climb in good time. We cruised into Newton for the next stop, which turned out to be our favorite. The volunteers had plenty of water and sports drinks available and they were nice and cold. They had set up a misting station for riders to cool off and had a great assortment of salty snacks and fruit. They even had a pickle bar, complete with pickle juice shots! It was definitely our favorite stop.

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We reluctantly left the stop and made good time to the next, and final, stop in Benson. The route was relatively flat at this point, although some parts were a bit stinky as we cruised past the pig farms. We only stayed a moment at the Benson stop, eager to kill the last eight miles and complete our first century ride! About a mile before the finish, a woman in front of us took a nasty spill on some railroad tracks. After stopping to help (there wasn’t much we could offer) we got back on the bikes and wound our way to the fairgrounds to finish. 100 miles complete!

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I actually felt really good after the ride; better than I felt two years ago after doing the 75 mile ride. There was still no way I could have jumped on a bike and done the second day ride (either 40 or 75 miles), but maybe I can work that in next time. We spent the evening enjoying the awards ceremony and pool party before finding a great Mexican restaurant in Logan for a late dinner. Then it was time to hit the hay. MPK, Roger and Keith got up early the next morning for the 75 mile ride (show offs), while Col and I got back on the road for the long drive home.

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My iPhone battery died about 60 miles into the ride, so I had to recreate the route. But, we figure removing rest stops and lunch resulted in a time of about 6 hours 30 minutes. I appreciate all the help from my friends and family in blowing my fundraising goal out of the water. I raised more than $1700, and overall this ride resulted in more than $1.5 million for the MS Society in Utah and Idaho. That’s really something that makes me proud, and hopefully we can continue to provide assistance to those living with MS, as well as those who are working to fight it.  I know with continued support, the MS Society will End MS Forever, Restore What’s Been Lost and Stop the Disease! Thanks again.

Here is our route for the 2013 Bike MS ride.

 

peach champagne and stogies

The latter part of December was a killer for me. With a ton of work travel and a whirlwind trip to LA for Christmas (barely 36 hours on the ground), I was really looking forward to the annual Happy Fish New Year’s trip.

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We headed up in two groups on Saturday. Lisa, Cheryl and Jer left early to do the shopping, while Jeanne, Col and I got a later start. We were the official dog carrier with Lucy, Ricky and Bailey riding with us. Fortunately the weather was clear and the drive was nice and easy.

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Lisa and Jeanne had been at the cabin for Christmas when there was a bit of snow, but not a lot. A storm blew through in the middle of the week, so there was a little more snow for New Year’s, although not as much as two years ago when we had to snowshoe in with all our supplies. We were able to get the trucks all the way in to the cabin, but people staying further up the road needed snowmobiles to make it in.

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Our schedule was a little different this year. Instead of arriving late at night, we got to Happy Fish late in the afternoon and still had plenty of daylight to get settled, make dinner and enjoy the evening. With two full days before New Year’s Eve, we paced ourselves pretty well. Sunday morning was clear and cold, so Jer, Lisa, Col and I bundled up and made the trek up the road to a good sledding spot. We packed a backpack of cold beer for fuel and hauled the sleds and tubes to a great spot we’ve used previously. It took a while to groom a good track, including building up some edges to prevent the sleds from shooting off into some rocks and trees, but in the end we had a great track that made for some good runs. The altitude was definitely a factor with all that activity, so we took plenty of beer breaks.

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Monday we lounged around most of the day before setting up for the evening, including our balloon drop. We had a great fajita dinner and played lots of drinking games to get ready for the main event. No NYE would be complete without the annual dollar store gift exchange complete with best wrapping prize.

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We celebrated the countdown with champagne and lots of kisses, then broke out all our glow sticks and bracelets for our own version of a disco. We capped the night off with some cigars and a wee morning romp in the snow covered meadow (Jeanne made a snow angel…and it was barely above 10 degrees!).

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It was tough leaving on New Year’s day, but we packed up and made the drive back to St. George. Col and I had dog transport duty, and also had to drive up to Scipio to pick up Sydney who had spent the holiday with Col’s parents. It was a long day of driving, but well worth the fun.

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I treasure my New Year’s trips to Happy Fish. It’s always a great way to say farewell to the outgoing year of good times and welcome a new one that will hopefully be as jam packed with adventures. Thanks, Happy Fish for all the good times!

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Here is the complete photoset from this trip: New Year’s 2013 – Happy Fish