Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Grinch Is Dead

Big E and I did our best to bake, gift and play enough to out-Grinch any Grinches near us this season. We made 16 pounds of Christmas Crack (aka Almond Roca), 3 liters of fruit-infused brandy, 4 dozen Buckeyes, 3 kinds of cookies, a massive amount of Christmas Necco and a batch of tamales.
Doing our part to make sure our loved ones have no excuse to be hungry or sober this Christmas.

Of course, all this Christmasing did take a toll on our kitchen. All flat surfaces are covered in treats, the floor and cupboards are tinted a bit green from my food coloring explosion and everything is still sticky. Oh well, all the holiday cheer was worth what could be weeks of deep cleaning.
 Just in case any Grinches were still in our vicinity (and to work off a few of those treats) we proved our determination to stay cheerful by heading out on a Christmas Eve adventure despite the sub-zero temps.
I discovered the added warmth provided by the ski helmet and goggles.
Apparently both of our families shared in our determination to slash Grinchiness this year, because between us we ended up with eight Christmas stockings. Santa even put five of them on the end of the bed, in following with Thompson family tradition. (I was sure I spied him doing this naked, but Big E says I was seeing things.)
 Big E even got a pink spatula in his stocking from my family. I've assured him this means he's now one of us. However, I had no explanation for the rubber chicken he received from Pop. He'll have to figure that one out on his own.
 In the end, we were pretty sure we took care of all Grinchiness in our vicinity, but it turned out we really had nothing to worry about. Our favorite deputy made sure of that.
Merry Christmas! (Even to any Grinchy people left out there!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why I'm Not a Ballerina

My favorite season is definitely back. I wanted snow. I got snow- every version possible over the course of last week. First is was the light fluffy stuff. I immediately went running in it because there wasn't enough yet to bike and I just had to make some tracks.
The light, fluffy stuff turned wet that night and the next's days run was through slippery slush. For every step uphill I slid half a step back.

By day three we had a decent covering on the ground. I ventured out on the singletrack and discovered we had just enough snow make any large sticks or branches on the trail impossible to see until they caught my toe and sent me tripping forward.

This is why I'm a runner and not a ballerina.

At some point on day three there was a little snow/rain mix and then the temperature dropped. As in sub-zero dropped. By day four I was running on slippery snow-packed sidewalks in a -10 degree windchill. I was kinda wondering if this winter stuff was really as fun as I remembered.
I finally had to add a second hat to this look to avoid "brainfreeze"
On day five, while crossing the street, I did a lovely "I'm trying to not to fall on the ice" dance in front of four cars before finally losing the battle and ending up on all fours.

Again, this is why I'm not a ballerina.

On day six I finally realized I would much rather be skiing or riding my bike in the snow.  Duh. Skiing on a lit trail is so much easier than trying to run on ice in the dark!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Livin' in the Bucket

My quest to race for less than 10 bucks all year continued today with a 5K turkey trot. Of course, finding a 5K to fit my race fee restriction was difficult, but I finally found one at UW La Crosse. I immediately signed up because, well, La Crosse is only an hour away, right?

Enter the wisdom of Big E, who patiently explained after I signed up that La Crosse is 3 hours away. Thankfully, I have not imposed any gas restrictions on myself. (In more ways than one...) After all, this is supposed to be about new experiences and adventure, right?

Of course, the day after I learned of the 6 hour-round-trip drive, I checked the predicted weather for today. 14 degrees. Windchill below zero. Big E then dubbed the race the "6 Hour-Round-Trip-Icebox 5K." Oh well, weather will just add to the adventure, right?

So, that is how I ended up in the car, headed south, at 5:15 this morning. At first I watched in horror as the temperature dropped. Isn't it supposed to be warmer down south? Then I got over myself and got inspired by the sunrise. At some point I noticed a billboard, which is really quite a shock, because, as Pop can attest to, I absolutely suck at reading signs while I drive. I can tell you all about the sunrise, every animal I saw along the road (alive or not) and even what people in other cars were doing, but it is a minor miracle if I can tell you the speed limit or what exit I'm near at any given time while driving.

Anyway, my bad driving habits aside, I saw this billboard for State Farm. It said, "Is Life Insurance on your Bucket List?" This led me to think about my bucket list. My nonexistent bucket list. What? How could I not have a bucket list? How do I not have a list that includes, "Do 6-Hour-Round-Trip-Icebox-5K?"

Since I needed something to do other than read speed limit and exit signs, I thought about this. I really like lists. I've found them quite useful in life because my brain runs a mile a minute but contains a short-term memory of about 3 seconds. I can come up with 25 things I need to do each day before I even eat breakfast, but actually remembering to do them proves to be a challenge without a list. (In fact, I'm quite sure Big E would say that there are days I should probably add, "take a shower" to the list.) If I like lists so much, why don't I have a bucket list?

I found a pretty simple answer, actually. I use lists to help me remember to do things I don't necessarily want to do. Mop the floor.  Call the doctor. Pay the bills. I don't need a list to remember the things I want to do in life because 1) I enjoy them so I remember to do them and 2) I strive to already be doing those things as much as possible (which probably explains why I need a list to remember to take a shower). Not that I'm knocking anyone for having one, but personally, if I really want to travel to all 50 states, I'm probably not going to forget to do this and having it on a list isn't going to make me any more likely to do it. Getting my ass in gear and living is what's going to make me do it.

So, all that rambling brings me to this. I'm just gonna live in the bucket as much as possible and skip the dang list. After all, if I'm living in the bucket, it will be full and much harder to kick.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Perspective (aka Pulling My Head Out of My Ass)

Sometimes I get stuck. Stuck in a routine. Stuck in a rut. Stuck with my head up my ass.

My most recent stuck-ness involving becoming, quite literally, stuck running in circles. I didn't run much earlier in the year. Biking - lots of it - took over, so I hadn't really run more than a few miles at a time around the new pad.

Since I have a bit of an "all-or-nothing" approach to everything, once I started running again this fall, I packed on the miles. Stuck in my routine, rut, head-up-my ass ways, I did most of those miles in the same little circles. Granted, those were some pretty sweet circles, since I can get to a trail with just two minutes of running.
But circles are circles. Sometimes they need to be broken, even if it's just so you get some new perspective.

Last week, I headed out with my camera to take some photos of the fall colors on my little circle. Venturing out with the intent to take pictures instead of simply to run changed my mindset. I started out on my circle and halfway through I got off the trail and crossed the street.

I've run and biked down that street more times than I can remember. I've actually crossed it once before too, riding bikes with Big E. For some reason I had it in my head that I couldn't run on those trails - they were just for biking, they were too unsafe....

When I realized there were ski trails, just as safe as the ones I'd been running, I felt a bit silly. I'd been missing out on cool views of the trains.

On those cold mornings I'd been skipping over this sunny field.

While I was running in comfortable, familiar circles, I was missing out some pretty cool stuff right in front of me.

So I decided, it's time to stop running in circles. It's time to change it up. It's time to change my perspective.

In the end, the old circles will still be there. I can always go back. My new outlook might even make them better.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Race Simple

 This year has been my year of racing simply. No race that costs over $10. I didn't plan this ahead of time, but the first few races of the year were free and I noticed something.  A lot of really amazing stuff happens at these races. When you take away the t-shirt and the glory of the big crowd at the finish line, everyone gets down to the nitty-gritty of why they're racing. It's probably different for everyone, but that doesn't matter. What matters is we're doing it for a reason and not for a prize.

Bike races for $10 or less have been easy to find. Most gravel races are free. Buck Hill and Hillside are $10. Running races have been harder to come by. I found a free 40 miler in July and until this weekend that was it.

Last week, a Facebook friend posted a link to a free half marathon at Lowe's Creek, an unofficial event to test the course for the real deal next year.  I showed up on Saturday with less than 20 other people. Our start line was a card table with a jug of water, some cookies and a piece of paper on which to sign in.

The race director handed me a piece of paper with directions. I panicked. I'm used to reading directions while biking, but while running singletrack? Surely I would break my ankle.

In the pre-race debrief we learned these directions were just for backup. The course was marked with pink tape.

Whew! That will make this much easier on my ankles.

We were also introduced to our lead bike, who would ride just ahead of the leader, showing the way.

There was a quick, "Three, two, one," and we all shuffled off down the trail. No one seemed to want to run in front. I figured now would be my one and only chance in my lifetime to run with the lead bike, even if it was just until the first turn, so I took off after him.

It took less than a mile to realize what a luxury this bike lead was. I didn't have to search for pink tape. I could do what I loved to do, put one foot in front of the other and just run. I felt like I was cheating. I had someone at my every whim. He waited at every turn. If I slowed, he slowed. If I had to go to the bathroom, he......

Oh no. what do I do with this lead bike now that I have to poop?

That's right. Three miles in I had to poop. Normally I would just sneak off in the trees and go, but what was I supposed to say to this kid? "Hey, can you wait for me while I take a dump?" just didn't seem appropriate.

I weighed my options. I didn't want to ask this young guy to wait while I pooped in the woods. The only portapotty was a few minutes off-course. My car was at the halfway point but there was no bathroom there and I certainly wasn't gonna poop in the new car.

I was out of options so I did the only thing I could. I held it for 10 miles and hoped like hell I didn't shit my tights.

Eventually, I could forget, at least for brief moments, that I had to go. Of course, I wasn't encouraged much by that fact that I knew there was no bathroom at the finish, but I figured the faster I got there, the quicker I could go so I ran, as fast as I could, getting back to my own nitty-gritty- that I'm here to give it everything I've got, even if I have to poop.

At the finish, my biker rode ahead, hopping off his bike so I would have at least one person waiting there to cheer. There was no big finish, just the two of us and my time written down on a piece of paper. That was okay by me. I got to race, with a lead biker as an added bonus. I got my nitty-gritty (and I finally got to go find a bathroom).

Race hard. Race simple. Try not to shit your pants.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Helloween Shenanigans

At the risk of appearing like a total pansy, I'm going to admit I chose my Halloween costume this year based on staying warm. Last's years Bonnie and Clyde get-up was fun, but I froze my ass off.  Robin Hood seemed like a much warmer option. Of course, then it was so warm for the Halloween Hellside race that Big E got to really let it all hang out in his trucker costume.
Should I be worried at how well he embraced this costume?
 Oh well, at least I was warm for the race and shenanigans that followed. Pumpkin smashing, pie smashing, beer can smashing, a little forking around....
 Yes, that is the race director dressed as a flag. At some point he was also a donkey but I'll spare you the creepy pictures. All in all, a fun day filled with shenanigans, adult beverages masquerading as full meals

and lots of good friends.
Every one wants a little trucker tongue in his ear, right?
 Although I'm not sure if Jeffro really wants to be this close of friends with Big E.....

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Just In Case

I'm not shy about my love of bad weather. The most frequent question people here ask me is, "Why in the world would you move here from San Diego?"

My answer never changes.

"Because I missed the seasons. San Diego is always the same."

Most people give me the "you're crazy" look but there always a few that get it. Those few who, like me, crave change, even if it means leaving something comfortable. They understand that although letting go of comfortable is scary, it can also lead to something extraordinary that you might not have otherwise experienced.

If I hadn't left the warmth of So Cal, I would never have learned to downhill ski, or discovered I loved biking in the snow or lived in a chalet in the woods on Lake Michigan. I wouldn't have rediscovered how much I love running in the mud and rain.

One thing I realize about my time in San Diego is how few pictures I have of the place. Sure, there are pictures of friends and races, but I was always so busy running fast or riding fast in the beautiful weather that I forgot to slow down and take it all in. I took every day for granted because I figured the next day would be exactly the same.

This changing of the seasons has reminded me to take advantage of every day. Just in case. Just in case tomorrow there's 20 feet of snow. Just in case tomorrow the snow all melts. Just in case...

Saturday I almost forgot this. It was cold and rainy. I finally talked myself into running in Afton, planning it between the forecasted rain showers. I'm sure you can only guess what happened. I took off in my usual "I'm pretending it's not that cold" outfit, which consists of a hat, gloves, a long sleeve shirt, knee socks and shorts. (Big E might go sleeveless as long as possible. I, however, prefer to go pantsless as long as possible.)  Five minutes down the trail, it started raining. It was tempting to turn around, but I convinced myself to make it into a game, to see how much of the park I could see in one run.

I cut through the weird swamp,

found little flowers growing on the beach,

cruised along the river
 and eventually found a trail I'd never run before.

By the end, I was so cold and wet I could barely open the car door, but you know what?

 It was worth it, just in case....

Thursday, October 17, 2013

On the Beaten Path

This morning I lacked inspiration. I sat down to write, started my research, opened Word to start typing and said, "Screw it, I'm riding my bike instead."

When I don't have words, I don't have words. Usually the bike brings them. It's always worth a shot. The worst that could happen is I have a sweet bike ride, return home and still have no words. Not such a bad situation...

Riding from home is always an interesting experience. To sum it up quickly- every time I ride or run here, I'm even more convinced that the state of Minnesota has never denied anyone a driver's license. I'm quite certain it is also impossible to lose your driver's license in this state. Stop signs are apparently optional. They might as well take out the two by our house, because I have yet to witness anyone other than myself actually come to a complete stop at either of them. Blinkers? In MN they are used as an apology instead of a warning. "Oops, sorry I purposefully cut you off." "Oops, sorry, I turned left in front of you, but getting where I need to go quickly is more important than your life."

Now you know how I feel about MN drivers. (You've also probably figured out that the bike brought words.) Needless to say, I'm a fan of the bike path.

Of course,  I've been warned of the sketchiness of some of these urban bike trails, but I figure given the choice between drunken bums and traffic, I stand a better chance with the drunken bums. So, today's ride began with a little urban exploration.
As much as I complain about the traffic here, one of the things I love about St. Paul is how quickly the urbanness turns to this:
Of course, it was still pavement so in the end, I had to ignore a few "No Trespassing" signs in search of some dirt.  After an unsuccessful attempt to circumnavigate Sunfish Lake via dirt, I opted for some tried and true double track on the way home just to get a little dirt fix.

Eventually I had to hit the pavement again to get home, but at least I made it all the way to my street before someone nearly ran me over....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


The adventures on two wheels have begun again.  Saturday was going to be "ride around and take pictures of fall leaves day," but a few minutes into my ride I saw this
and I got a little distracted. Then I discovered his little friend
and decided it would be "ride around and take pictures of mushrooms day."

So, instead of leaves, I bring you fall 'shrooms.
Maybe next time I'll keep my mind out of the gutter and take some pictures of those leaves....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

No Bon Bons

I am alive.  Just in case you were wondering. However, if you're also wondering if I have any new crazy bike adventures to report, the answer would be no. Aside from a short jaunt to the post office and a night race at Hillside, which I reluctantly participated in so I could drink at the time bonus station, I have spent zero time on my bike. 

Of course, that doesn't mean I've been sitting at home eating bon bons. (Sitting at home drinking whiskey - yes - eating bon bons- no.)  The adventures have continued, although instead of hauling a bike around in my car, I've been busy hauling this monstrosity.

Yes, the Girl Unsupervised tent ends up looking like a beach bar.
Actually, I haul two of them, a canopy, two tables and 200 signs.  So far, I've ventured to two wine festivals and one beer fest. While biking and running will always be my first loves, I've discovered the people watching is far better at these events.

It took awhile for Drunk 1 to arrive. She was supposedly, "taking a nap."

Thankfully, the event organizers always seem think I need a good spot. First I had a front row placement by the band.

It's all fun and games until the polka music starts.
Then I scored a sweet spot next to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation folks.
Trust me, when a torrential downpour rolls in right about the time you want to pack up, it's best to be next to the outdoorsy men. Plus, they had candy and forced me to eat it.
I have no idea what the next adventure will be. For now, I'm working while there's work and hoping for some early snow!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

O Canada

Last year's Gravel Conspiracy was a bit of an epic race, to say the least.  After last year's romp in the woods just before dark, I was a bit nervous to go this year without Big E, but he had to work so I was left to fend for myself. One of the awesome things about this event is that the Head GC changes the route each year (at least so far) so at least I knew I probably wouldn't be wandering about lost in that same stretch of woods. The course was also a bit (ok, about 100 miles) shorter so I figured at least if I was lost in the woods without Big E to rescue me, at least I'd have a chance to get out before dark.

Thankfully, this year I managed to stay out of the deep woods although I'll admit, I was tempted to explore north and try to sneak into Canada for most of day one and two. Not that I would've succeeded because the Pigeon River was in my way, but that didn't stop me from getting as close as I could to snap a few photos.

Day three took us away from the border so instead of spending my time resisting the urge to swim to Canada, I entertained myself tracking wild animals and imagining my death by moose stomping or bear clawing. This began after I saw moose tracks the size of my head (or perhaps Sasquatch tracks), which were followed a couple miles later by more moose tracks and a perfect bear track in the road. Thankfully, by the time I saw the wolf tracks, I was riding with Aaron, who assured me I would probably not die by wolf attack. At least not right then.  Of course, in hindsight, I wished I'd taken a picture of my head next to those moose tracks, but at the time it seemed like an invitation to the moose to stomp my face so you'll have to wait until next year.

Of course by then I'm sure we'll be even farther north so maybe I really will get a picture of some Sasquatch tracks.....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Too tired to ride, too amped to sleep.
According to Big E's phone, this photo was taken at around 6:30am during last weekend's 24 hours of Hellside. I'd ridden 7 laps straight, from 5pm until about 2am, made an unsuccessful attempt to sleep for two hours and then gotten back on the bike in the dark to ride another lap as the sun rose. Moments before the photo, I lay on the ground laughing hysterically while Big E removed my socks because I couldn't do it myself. I was, as Big E calls it, "shelled". 

I hadn't thought much about this term when he first used it, but later I realized the appropriateness of it. It's that place you get to when you have pushed yourself so hard your shell comes off. That tough outer coating that masks your vulnerability is gone and all that's left is the raw inside, the stuff people don't usually get to see.  The good part.

When I think back on my life and the people who've seen me this way, I realize they are the people I've felt closest too. They're not necessarily the ones I've spent the most time with, but are instead the ones who've see the raw me. They know first hand my yolk's not rotten, so to speak. (Or at least I hope so.) They're the ones who've ridden bikes with me in the middle of the night. They're the ones who've pulled my ass out of the river when I've flipped my kayak. They're then ones who have, quite literally, had my life in their hands at the other end of a climbing rope a thousand feet off the ground. They're not even always people who've been there in the thick of things. Some have been there at a finish line when I couldn't lift my leg over my bike or when I realized I'd ridden for so long I didn't know to do next. Others were there when I found out my mom died and melted into a screaming, hysterical mess on the floor. You get the picture. They're the ones who've seen the real, completely shelled and unhinged me and hung around anyway. 

I've spent an unusual amount of time shelled in the last year. I'm not sure why I keep choosing to do this. Maybe partly it's because I like the connections I make with people in this state. Some people need to be drunk to connect with people. I, apparently, just need to be completely shelled. Maybe it's also partly because every time I take the shell off, I realize it's not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I'm sure it's also partly that I've grown accustomed to leaving a bit of the shell off every time so that the day to day me gets to be a little be closer to the shelled me every time.  

This has always been one of my favorite quotes:

Not that I want to spend my life actually crying, but I strive to live, as often as possible, right on the edge of being overcome with emotion. That, to me, is the where the good stuff happens, and you never get there if you leave your shell on.

Monday, August 26, 2013

24 hours of Hell(side)

Four months ago, if you had asked me if I wanted to try to mountain bike for 24 hours I would've said, "Hell no." I'm a lover of sleep so riding a bike for that long seemed impossible. Then I ended up inadvertently riding for over 24 hours at Alexander in May and I got the idea of trying a 24 hour mountain bike race stuck in my head.

I have no idea why I thought riding on gravel for 24 hours qualified me to ride on singletrack for 24 hours. 

Luckily for me, the 24 hours of Hellside was taking place on my birthday so I got my chance. I could eat cupcakes AND ride my bike. Perfect!

We were scheduled to start at 5pm Friday, so I spend the morning cooking.
Don't worry- I shared the cupcakes.
It might seem like a lot, but I assure you I ate all but one piece of that pizza by 5pm Saturday, along with endless amounts of M&M's, Snickers, Dr. Pepper, Gatorade and salami sandwiches. I was still hungry all day Sunday.

By 5pm, I was amped and ready to go. We started with a quick trail run before getting on our bikes so for once I actually got to be ahead of Big E for a couple of miles.  Unfortunately, just before he caught me on lap one, I heard a scream through the trees. There was no mistake it was him. A few seconds later I heard him moan. I was off my bike in seconds charging through the trees following the sounds of his moans. I would like to say I was his hero and made it to his side in seconds. It went nothing like that. I panicked and ran circles in the woods instead, close enough to see him but unable to figure out how to get there.

Clearly I'm not the person you want around in an emergency.

In hindsight, this was probably a good thing because if I'd seen this I probably wouldn't have gotten back on my bike.
Thankfully, Sue had made it to him and they assured me he was okay and I could keep riding. Needless to say I was a little shaky the rest of lap 1.

The first few laps went by fast. By lap four, I needed lights. The fatigue set in right about the time it got dark. With only my single gear, suddenly I was tipping over on uphills I had ridden earlier. So, by lap five, I had switched to flat pedals. I'd brought them only in case of a broken pedal or cleat, but in the end, they were the best thing I brought. I'd completely underestimated my ability to actually handle a bike after 6 hours of single track.  Being able to hop off and run or walk was a life saver.

By the end of lap 7, I was fried. It was after 2am and I needed sleep. You'd think it would come easily, but two hours later, after not a wink, I finally got back up, got back on the bike and returned to the suffering. As I neared the end of that lap, the sun came up, making it worth one more lap without sleep.

At this point, I was discovering just why 24 hour mountain bike races are so hard. I was too tired to ride, but too amped to sleep. I needed all of my brain power to keep from crashing, but only had 50 percent of it left.  Completely delirious, I discovered I couldn't even get my own socks off to put try clothes on to lay down. All I could do was lay on the ground with my legs in the air and laugh hysterically as Big E pulled them off. Clearly I needed a nap.

Two hours, and probably less than an hour of sleep later, I gave up on sleep again and headed back out. Somehow, on and off, I managed  a few more laps, taking solace in the fact that I at least had company frequently since the guys who'd slept at night were now riding circles around me. Finally, just before 3pm, I had to sit down in the middle of a lap.  I'd seen leaves I thought were turtles and nearly crashed crossing the only pavement on the course. When I finally finished that lap, I called it a day. I watched the boys duke it out for a couple more laps and stressed out about how in the heck I was ever going to be able to drive the hour home. All that riding and the thing that worried me most was having to drive me car!

In the end, it was an awesome way to spend a birthday. It was torturous and so much harder than I thought it would be, but it was totally worth it, as all torturous things usually are.

So here's to being one year older....and 24 hours wiser.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Girl Unsupervised Store

A couple of weeks ago, I got tired of searching for pictures of quotes I wanted to use on the blog. So I decided I should just take the quotes I wanted and paint them on signs. Somehow, between Big E buying me some wood and his buddy giving me even more, that turned into 51 signs. One of those was a special one I made for Big E. Then the neighbor asked if he could buy one while I was painting my heart out in the backyard so now there are 49.  Of course, I already have a list of more to make because once I start a project, I just go full steam ahead until I drop from exhaustion.

Since all I really want to keep is a picture of each one, they will all go up in the new Girl Unsupervised Store.  There are currently only nine because the rest don't have twine yet. As they come, I'll be adding more.  Hopefully at some point, each one will end up here with a story of its own. Of course, if you have a good quote you think I should make into a sign, I'm always open to ideas. Stealing your genius is much easier than inventing my own....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

No Faceplants

Some decisions in life are harder than others. Usually the tough ones are those in which we aren't sure of the outcome. It's easy to be bold when you know the landing will be soft. It's a lot harder when your have absolutely no idea if you're going to faceplant on gravel or somehow sprout wings and soar. (I'm sure there's something in between the two but I seem to be prone to one or the other.)

Apparently I'm not all that afraid of a frequent faceplant because more often than not I make decisions with no idea of the outcome. I'm kind of an all or nothing gal so it's hard for me to do something with less than all my energy. Trust me, there are days when I wish I knew how to half-ass a job. Unfortunately, in my forty-one years of life, I have yet to perfect this skill. So, when I know I'm done putting my heart into something, I tend to move on, even if I have no idea what's next.

I've made no secret my latest job sucked. Finally, one day a few weeks ago, I decided enough was enough. I changed the date on the already-typed resignation letter on my computer and the deed was done. Do I have another full-time job? No. Could this be a really bad idea? Yes.  Does that scare the crap out of me? Uh-huh. Is that going to stop me? Nope, because in the end, sometimes you have to let go of the crappy stuff in life so you can work your butt off toward something better.

Here's to hoping for wings instead of faceplants.....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


 This weekend was an impromtu girls weekend. The girls being me and Chili Uno.... Since she fits nicely in the new car, I packed her up along with a little camping gear and headed toward Cable and some trails. Friday evening, we did a quick loop of my first CAMBA trail, Rock Lake, and then headed to our campsite for a low maintenance, high-fat dinner to fuel up for some exploring on Saturday.
Who needs a grill?
 Thankfully Big E had warned me of CAMBA's remoteness so I set out well-prepared (for once) on Saturday. I had my lighter, lots of food, tools, toilet paper, maps....

Unfortunately, there was a gap between my maps somewhere around 20 miles in, where I was trying to cut from one trail to another. Of course, I got curious and followed some CAMBA signs and ended up "misplaced." Thankfully, I still had my sense of direction and knew if I headed north, I'd find a road that headed to my next trailhead.  Along the way, I also found a little something (or somewhere) else......
Excellent, now I always have a reason to have a margarita!

Of course, I'll admit, my sense of direction only lasted so long and I spent most of miles 20-40 misplaced and then replaced and then misplaced again.  It's hard to look at the map too long when you're being attacked by mosquitoes....

Mile 40ish brought me back to some familiar territory and since I had over 20 miles to go and dusk was approaching, I figured I should head back and bring this adventure to a close for the day.

I have no idea why I thought I the adventure was coming to a close. Maybe because I finally knew where I was? Maybe because I was too tired to think straight? Who knows. All I know is this- as is usually the case, when I thought my adventure was ending it was just starting.  I was, even though I knew my location, entering what the map called "one of the most remote places in Wisconsin." 

Did I mention it was dusk?

You can probably imagine what happened next. Yes, that's right, the animals came out. I was cruising along, feeling confident that I knew where I was going and there it was- a big cat on the trail. I could only hope it was a bobcat since the only other option was a young mountain lion, which would likely mean Mama would eat me in seconds. 

It scampered off. I started sprinting, hoping there was no mama. Two miles down the trail, I was still sprinting, looking over my shoulder every few seconds, when I encountered a large pile of bear poop.

Excellent. Now there's a bear and a cat and it's getting dark and I'm alone and not very big.

A mile later, heart still racing, I came across the remains of a large bird. The meat was gone. Only feathers remained. 

Terrific. Now there's a bear and a cat and some kind of bird murderer and it's getting dark and I'm alone and not very big.

Needless to say, I discovered I can sprint 7 miles of trail when I really need to. Turns out, there are things that frighten me more than being chased by a dog on a gravel road.

After refueling with more hot dogs Saturday night, I decided to stick to less remote territory on Sunday.
Miles and miles of this.
Too bad I didn't bring my hot dogs...
Not that I don't like to explore the remote stuff, but I can only sprint from the wild animals so much in one weekend.....