Saturday, May 29, 2010

St. Augustine

We started our trip by visiting St. Augustine on the Atlantic Coast north of Daytona Beach and south of Jacksonville. One of Wife's brothers and sister-in-laws live in Georgia about 3 hours away and it was a good place for us to meet up with them. St. Augustine is the oldest, continuously inhabited (by Europeans) city in the US. There's lots of history, which I love.

There are numerous streets and houses that date from the 17th century. However, the first things we saw with a series of 19th century buildings that were built by a gentleman named Flagler who was one of the founders of Standard Oil. He decided around the 1870's that St. Augustine was a great place to have a posh resort so he built huge hotels and brought in a railroad. Now most of the buildings are either Flagler College or a museum.

I really liked this fencing.
Sort really says, "Welcome"
We need this around our yard.

Flagler Buildings

Spanish Moss - Cool

The Fort
One of the highlights
It was never taken in battle over its centuries of use.

You know I need something like this for de-I Tower.
Sort of a statement that I'm a neighborly person.

Always lots of wildlife in Florida.
I caught a picture of Photographus obssessivus.
I think this one is a female.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hup! Hup! Florida

Florida has become one of the 'go to' destinations because of the Pulisha clan having settled there. We decided that we would schedule a visit around the Memorial Day weekend. Air prices being what they were it was cheaper to go for a week.

We flew out yesterday. Since we have a couple of extra days we decided to link up with Wife's brother G and wife D who live in Southern GA. Pu lives in St. Petersburgh so we're in a place in between, St. Augustine on the Atlantic coast. Also the oldest European settled and continuously lived in community in the US.

Unfortunately we made the plan to see the Bro-in-law after we made the the plane reservations so we ended up having to drive 3 hours from Tampa. I would have flown into Jacksonville had I known. No biggie just a long day. We ate at a Steak and Shake for the first time ever.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hike Log

This weekend I'm testing out my new hiking mode of a restrained pace and making sure that I have plenty of water, food, and rest during the hike. I went with Wild Bill and we're doing one of our favorite hikes that takes us on a loop through three different trails with us leaving cars at our starting and ending point. Total miles are a bit over 9 with climb from lowest point to highest point of 2,000 feet.

The Start

Here we are at the beginning of the trail head. Our destination is the second peak back on the right but the first leg of the trail is actually going to go up the peak on the left.
First leg - 2 miles, 1,000 feet

Leg one is done.
Now we descend for a little into the valley in the foreground.
Then it's up the peak on the right.
Another 2 miles and another 2,000 feet (not counting regaining the climb from the descent into the valley)

I don't know if this picture shows it well but we ran into around three brooks.
That may not sound like much but around here running water is rare.
We've had a very wet winter and spring.

We've also had a lot of wind which is causing all kinds of tree falls.
This big ass tree was right over the path.
Fortunately Wild Bill, who doubles as Hercules for his night job, was able to push it out of the way.

This is the part of the trunk that was still in the ground.

Now we're just about halfway, actually a little less, and these are three shots looking north, east and south respectively.
The next leg is 1.3 miles of undulating ground with mild drop in height.

A little way from our rest spot is the high point of the hike.
We're looking south.
It was a gorgeous day and we could see 60 miles easily.

We're going north to south and we're finally getting a view of Albuquerque again.

Art Shot
I liked this deadwood.

As we moved into a more desert like areas there were tons of wild flowers.
The Descent

We will be descending from the far left all the way down to the right.
This leg is 3.2 miles and we give back all of our height gain.

Another Art Shot
I'm influenced by Photo-Wife
I was trying to get the wild flowers in the foreground with the panorama of the city in the background.

About two thirds of the way down, this is the last serious descent.

Civilization and our car in sight. 15 minutes to go.
The new methods worked like a charm. I was no where near as tired as I've been the last couple of years and my next day recuperation was light years better. I'm excited. Bill and I have a trail that is a major challenge that we never done in our sights for next month.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Geek Platinum Status

Some people worry about their street cred (even though they really are geeks who get Discover magazine). But I have absolutely guaranteed that I will be Geek Platinum for the rest of my life with this fabulous purchase - The Correlated History of Earth chart.

I got this a couple of months ago when AinA was visiting during our trip to Taos and it has taken me this long to get it on the wall. I'm afraid that there was a ton of glare so the pictures aren't that great.

One look at this and you can hardly get an idea of the massive amount of information it holds.

There are maps showing the positions of the land masses for each of the ages of the earth.

Here's the periods from the Cretaceous through the current period.

Hey look! There's the Pangaea super-continent!

And look there, there were TWO ice ball earths. Get out of here!

Of course it wouldn't be a correlated history if we didn't keep track of every major impact crater known and other massive events.

Wilkes Land? That was a big one. Bigger by almost 80% than Chicxulub that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Well of course, it was at the end of the Permian when the great Permian mass extinction took place eliminating around 90% of life.

And there are sections keeping track of the rise and fall of life.

See those stars? They mark an extinction. This is the Cretaceous mass extinction.

Be still my heart, there is even a section that correlates our position in the galaxy with mass extinctions.

I've placed this next to my office so when I'm on the phone and wandering (I usually walk when I talk on the phone), I can mosey over and study the chart. Next time you call me just ask me a question.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hiking 2010 Spring Report

With the good head start on conditioning that I got from my transformation to a winter hiker, I have been hitting the trails on a regular basis. Last year I confronted the reality of age and realized that I simply could not hike as hard as I have in the past without real consequences as far as pain and long recovery time.

I made a commitment to myself that I would not push myself beyond my limits. Unfortunately that meant missing out on a lot of trails that I really like because they are simply longer. So I've been experimenting with not cutting down the distance but hiking at a slightly slower pace - not pushing myself so hard.

Last weekend was the test as I went on one of my favorite trails, the South Crest, to my favorite look out point which is 4.5 miles and 2000 feet in altitude gain. I was quite successful on the way up in keeping to a moderated pace. Not so successful on the way down (effect of gravity). But it was a big success. I didn't get to the house exhausted and even though I had cooking to do for guests that night, I was not writhing around in pain.

I'm looking forward to some bigger hikes the next few weeks.

I took a number of pictures but unfortunately for some reason all but one got deleted.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Landmark Accomplishment in Sight - Sort of

The benefits of the airlines frequent flier system have been a part of my life for 30 years. I joined United's frequent flier program almost from its initiation. I have enjoyed those benefits that have made my travel life much, much easier and less stressful; not to mention the foreign travel we've done that I would otherwise not have been able to afford.

I was looking at my monthly mileage statement when it arrive a few days ago and noted that I have flown over 975 thousand miles on United. That means that this year I will most likely hit the million mile mark. That's the equivalent of two round trip voyages to the moon with miles left over.

I wondered if the airline actually gives you anything or these accomplishments. And it does! I end up getting my Premier Executive status for life! How cool is that. Or maybe how pathetic that I have spent so much of my time in an airplane.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Garden Time Again

The garden is a big deal in de-I land. Wife let's all those Minnesota farm girl upbringing roots flourish. Since she like what I cook up from her efforts, I get significant input on the produce side of the garden. This year in addition to the usual tomatoes and green chile we're expanding to grow red chile and a lot of bell peppers as well. Then we had good results from leeks so many more of them along with cucumbers and lots of carrots - they've done well.

This year the gardener decided to go incognito
This is kind of a before shot so we can compare later in the summer

Ha! Mystery gardener is none other than Wife!

The phlox are already a little beyond their peak

But the oregano is going dingbats so I'm drying a bunch

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hmmmm South Carolina

I'm in Columbia South Carolina working on a family business conflict resolution. We started five years ago and the three family members weren't willing to make the hard decisions. Today was to be a last ditch effort and happy to say we seemed to have a break through though there is more work to do.

But in the meantime I get to experience the South again. I was reminded that it is a different environment from the west when all the other advisers (two lawyers and an accountant) were in coat and ties. Hardly anyone wears a tie in Albuquerque and rarely even in LA.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Move Completed - Back to Work

My Dad was not completely moved in when I completed my stint on Friday but the movers completed the last of his move out of the facility and back to his house. He spent the night there on Saturday.

I flew back home Saturday and am back to the normal world.