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Forty-five years ago I learned to ride a bike. I was down at my uncle Sam and aunt Marlene's house in Lodi, Ca when I swerved my way soon the street on 26" three seed cruiser. I managed to go down the street, turn around and come back without acquiring any scabs!

Since then, I have ridden bikes pretty hard, mostly mountain biking (I'd rather hit a rock than get hit by a car). My friends, my wife Cherie and I have gone on some monumental such as The Hole in the Ground Trail and The Flume Trail. After seven miles of climbing The Flume Trail becomes progressively steeper as riders become progressively more worn. In all the times I have ridden The Flume Trail, perhaps a dozen, I have never been able to pedal up the last 1/4 mile. That is until this past summer when I finally did it At age 50!

You are never too old! Don't give up!

So back to the picture. I got a new(ish) (new to me that is) bike and I can't wait until spring to go riding! There are lots of great trails around here and I think I want to compete in a few events in 2014 so wish me luck.

First off, let me preface my description with a bit of personal history. I grew up in the high desert riding motorcycles and driving dune buggies and 4 wheel drives so as far as the off road experience the X-Buggy excursion provided, it was, well, comparatively tame. Many people there were completely freaked out by it though because they had never done anything even similar. The X-Buggies had obviously been up and down the trail many times before and were showing, um, signs of wear. The steering is not power assisted. You really need to put the muscle to the steering wheel to get the buggy to do what you want and avoid the trees. Two buggies in our 28 person tour (split into two groups) actually lost a front wheel. No worries though as we really weren't going very fast. They dealt with the incidents quickly and efficiently like it happens all the time. There was a guide at the front and one bringing up the rear of both groups controlling the speed and dealing with lost front wheels.

The road was quite rough and bumpy with a few puddles here and there. The jungle (yes, real jungle) there is a thin layer of top soil over what appears to be sheets of rock that make up the island and keep it from eroding away from the wave action. I say this because the first stop on the outing was at a place called Aaktun Balam, a Mayan sort of a hurricane shelter. It has an intriguing entrance that was a small hole in the ground with a stairway leading down into it and a sign over it.

The cave is really interesting and kind of deceptive since the whole back side of the cave was open. The cave looked as though it had been dug out under a massive slab of stone that formed the roof. Outside, the roof of the cave was as densely vegetated as anywhere in the jungle.

Next, we bumped and jostled our way to the spectacular Jade Cavern, so named for the color of the water. It has a rickety stairway of maybe thirty or so steps and a boardwalk at the waters edge. Swimming was allowed with a life vest though I didn't do it because of the smell. I did speak to another guy in the other group who said he was led around to the side where he dove in head first off of a cliff into the part of the pool that is 64 feet deep.

We then headed back with a pass over a hump where the buggy almost jumped and a plunge in the mud hole near the end of the ride where we were told to gas it full throttle. We got a little muddy and so did a few others but the less brave went through slowly after seeing how we looked. Our heads were shielded from the mud for the most part by helmets and goggles. If you take a camera with you be sure it's well protected, especially if you do the mud splash. Ours survived well in its belt pouch with my shirt over it.

Overall, it was pretty fun and I'd say worth the money. Our boy LOVED it!

Cherie and I started running (jogging) in April. We were on the couch with basically no physical activity at all. In June we entered our first running event, a 5k run. We both finished decently with Cherie at 148 overall, 10th in her age/gender group and me 65th overall and 18th in my age/gender group out of 273 listed in the results (there were lots more). Here are the official Dash for Dads results of that run.

This last Sunday (October 7, 2012) Grandma watched the kids and we ran at the Bizz Johnson event in the 10k event where we both finished 4th in our age/gender groups. I crossed the line before Cherie and waited for a few minutes and when she came into view, she was running full sprint right on the heels of another girl in her age group. They crossed the line with identical chip times but since the other girl crossed first, she got third place and the medal. Cherie was in the middle of a pack of six girls in the same age group that all crossed the line with no one else in between! Tight race indeed!

Cherie finished a full ten minutes sooner than she thought she would and still had plenty of steam left for the dash to the end. I am so proud of her!

My race was fun but not as close and no where near as exciting.

Cherie finished 23 overall and I finished 10th overall. Not bad at all for only running for six months. We really surprised ourselves. This is the official Bizz Johnson results posting.

We will be doing that again next year for sure! Thanks Grandma!

Pogo Moose Incident

In 2005, we spent our Christmas vacation in Redmond Oregon at my wifes sisters (IOW: my sister-in-law) place. Her husband (at the time, but no longer), Terry, a high voltage lineman, told me the following story and showed me original prints of these pictures (unfortunately I didn't get a copy or pic of them) and the tee shirt I took these pics of. I just ran across these while browsing through my old photos and decided to post them up and write this blog entry.

Terry was working for City Electric on a contract to string up a power transmission line to the Pogo mine in Alaska. They would run the cable through the pulleys you can see in the picture, pole after pole and eventually pull them tight through many poles at once.

Terry told me that he was sitting on the back of his service truck eating lunch while others on his team pulled the lines tight. When the lines lifted off the ground in front of him he noticed that one of the lines was twitching and moving around in a very unusual way. They went to investigate and this is what they found:

Moose Hanging from Power LineMoose Hanging From Power Line 2

I couldn't put my watermark on these pics because I didn't actually take them. These are however copies of the original prints I did see with my own eyes. The next two pics of the commemorative tee shirt he showed me that he and his team members received I did take and therefore do bear my watermark.

Hanging Around Moose Tee ShirtHanging Around Moose Tee Shirt 2

He went on to tell me that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game had to shoot the moose because it was too dangerous to try to detangle the animal even while tranquilized. The meat from the animal was donated to needy families in the area.

Verified by and, not that this makes it a fact, but I do believe I got the story from it's source.

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