Saturday, May 31, 2014

Linda's Windermere Marathon

Getting into her run gear.
About three years ago Linda ran the Coeur d'Alene Half Marathon and said she wanted to continue training and then run a marathon.  So she set a goal and signed up to run the Windermere Marathon. For the next two years she trained, but both years she got injured and was unable to run the race.

Today Linda competed in the marathon, she was injury free and has trained since the first of February. I was appointed as chief marathon support and took my job very seriously.

4:30 AM - The alarm went off and I struggled out of bed. Linda had been up getting ready since 3:45 AM. I kept my head down and got everything we needed ready to go. You know I hate early mornings, don't you? Everything went very smoothly and we were out of the house on time.

6:00 AM - We reach the marathon start area and Linda gets into her morning run groove.  It was a slow groove, we realized everyone running was just sitting around waiting for the start. In a marathon there isn't a lot of pre-race warming up because you have 26.2 miles to do that. We sat and talked, texted and waited.

6:50 AM - Race start 7:00 AM, we are on hold due to some buses and vans getting lost. I guess we have to start with everyone here.
And they're off!

7:20 AM - Race starts, FINALLY!

From this point I spend my time moving from one spot on the course to another cheering, taking photos, eating donuts, answering txts, and  posting to facebook, and refilling Linda's supplies.

Race Mile 8 - I pull into Krispy Kreme Donuts and pick up one of their coffee and glazed donuts specials.  This should hold me to the end of the race.
Marathon support necessities.
Race Mile 10 - Linda started getting foot cramps.

Race Mile 13 - Linda started getting calf cramps.

When Linda was training she ran up to 19 miles without getting cramps of any type.  However, today the temperatures were way above the numbers she had faced on her longer training runs and thus the cramping. She had been very careful to drink water and eat correctly but in hindsight we should have had some bananas to add to the pre race and also during the race regiment.
Near Mirabeau Park.

Race Mile 16 - Linda feels her toe nail pull up. She is now running on a torn toe nail. From this point to mile 18 she runs, but has to start walking every few blocks.

Race Mile 19 -  With the pain of the toe and the cramps Linda starts walking and finished the rest of the race at a fast walk.  I think that is pretty gutsy and I was very proud of her!

Linda finished in 5 hours and 5 minutes. That was a great first marathon time.  I know that if we were to go again she would definitely hit the goal that she set of finishing under five hours. Heck she was five minutes off as it was and she was running with a bad wheel and cramps and walked the last 7.5 miles!

Once we picked up her rose and medal, I helped her into the Jeep and we drove home. She can still move (barely) and she took an ice bath and is now resting.  I am so proud of her I can't explain it.  So I will smile and take a nap. Race support is hard business!

About mile 16 ish, she told me about her toe.
Close to the finish line and still smiling.
You did it Bug! Yahoo!
Linda knocked another item off her bucket list!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Oh Canada!

I scratched my head as I drove up Highway 95 just across the Canadian border.  It’s a bit over a 100 miles from home but it looks and feels like another world.  The peaks reach up to the sky and the ponds and creeks are green and crystal clear.  I’m not saying that the area around Coeur d’Alene isn’t beautiful; it’s just that the Canadian Rockies jut up so fast and are so rugged!
Another reason I think there is such a noticeable difference is that we have been traveling south and west out of our little town of Post Falls.  South is the Palouse with its rolling wheat fields leading down to the Snake and Clearwater Rivers.  West is the wheat fields followed by the scrub and sage brush of central Washington. Both areas have their beauty, but there is such a vast difference when you compare the vistas.

This week we decided to get away from the crowds that lay siege to the forests and campgrounds over the Memorial Day weekend. I the past we have driven north through Cranbrook, BC to a provincial park on Pemier Lake, so that’s where we headed.

The drive up is very easy.  North on 95 through Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry, cross the border at Eastport, talk to the gruff border guard makes you feel like you are doing something wrong, then on through Cranbrook to your turn off 95 near Skookumchuck.  Once you leave the highway, it’s nine miles on dirt roads down into the lake.
When we crossed into Canada we knew we were in a different country. The vehicle speed and distance was in kilometers. The license plates on other vehicles were different.

Our thoughts went back to Mexico and since we spent so much time there this year we began to think that visiting here would be like being in Mexico in some respects.  We stopped in Cranbrook to find an ATM machine get some Canadian currency. Thoughts of not finding one or not being able to get the cash we needed were very much on our minds. Of course this was crazy because Canada is just like the US and there are ATMs everywhere! We were just thinking like being in Melaque where there was only one ATM and sometimes it doesn’t want to give you money.
At the Walmart we found the money machine and got the cash we needed. 

We hit the road north and drove out of town heading up highway 95 through the big valley leading to Radium Hot Springs and Banff.  After an hour or so we passed through some road construction, found our turn into the lake and hit the dirt road.  The road was a bit rough but passible and we dropped into the lake and entered the provincial park.

We found a camp spot by the creek and set up the camper.  There was a bit of deja vu happening and later as we walked around the campgrounds we realized we had camped in this spot before.  Our walk took us down to the lake where I immediately realized that I had made a big mistake by not bringing my fly fishing gear and stopping to buy a license in Cranbrook. (Note to self - put the Fenwick rod, some flies and spare reel into the camper.)
The lake is beautiful and the fish are just starting their spawn.  We talked to a lady who was sitting on the dock and she said that the park officials would be catching the fish and gathering their eggs in the next couple days.  She also told us that the creek that we are camped by had just started running two days ago.  This was because the weather had been cold and the snow had yet to melt.  This creek is a big spawning area and once the water starts running the fish head up to do their thing.

We talked for quite a while and then headed back up to the camper where we realized that it was past 5 pm and we needed to eat.  I made a quick dinner and then we played Cribbage and Hucklebuck until bed time.  I won the Cribbage match and Linda beat me in Hucklebuck so there was peace in the family as we went to bed.

And on the second day they walked to Quartz Lake, and Kobi said “Woof”. It was a good hike! Quartz Lake is about a two and a half mile in-and-out hike. We hiked in and took pictures and then turned around and repeated the path.  Not much to describe, the lake is small and beautiful with the snow caped peaks jutting up from its banks.  The road in is a jeep trail with lots of big mud puddles for dogs to lay in.  Kobi got to enjoy the water on the way in but we cut him off on the way out so that he wouldn't mess up the camp site.

Our evening was filled with Cribbage, Qwirkle, and Hucklebuck. We read and hit the sack about 10 PM.
The enemy!
When we woke up the sky was blue and sunny.  We ate some breakfast, I fixed French toast and Linda had one of her drinks. Then we went on a short hike to Cat’s Eye Lake.  The hiking trail was well used. It ran next to a creek most of the way up.  Linda told me that the creek was Staple Creek and it was also the one running next to our camp sight.

The trail wound up about 1.5 miles to the small clear lake.  We walked half way around the lake and then hiked back down the way we walked up.  Kobi climbed into the stream every chance he got. One the trail back there was fork that led down to a small water falls; we hike to a spot next to the water and took some pictures.  After that we walked back to camp and rested, watching for the Sutherlands to arrive.

John, Loretta and Scout pulled into camp about 3:30 PM. They set up in the spot next to us and we spent the evening introducing them the provincial park. Everyone ate a late dinner and sat around John’s propane fire place. It was fun and a new experience. None of us smelled like smoke when we went to bed; a definite plus of using the man-made fire.

The next morning Linda and Loretta followed the Jeep road that rose to the ridge above Quartz Lake.  They took the dogs and said the total hike was about 5 miles.  Later after breakfast Linda and I rode our bikes our bikes up the same trail.  It was explained to me that the trail was up and down all the way to a beautiful over look. On the trail I noticed that we were doing more up than down.  In fact the up was so constant that it made the smaller up actually look like they were down.  This optical illusion caused me to have to walk my bike most of the way into the overlook.  When we reached the photo spot, I was a bit done in. Linda and Kobi were ready to continue, but I turned around and started the walk back up and out to the ridge where gravity took over and I was able to survive the rest of the trip by coasting into camp.

After eating, sleeping and talking around the camp site we turned in and went to bed.

We got up and puttered around and then decided to head back home.  The weather had changed and it was starting to rain.  We had a great time and vow to return soon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fishing Lessons

Spent the morning with my neighbor, Steve, fishing way up on Shoshone Creek.  Steve just started fly fishing so we did some schooling on tips and tricks.  We caught a few, the river is clear, but still high.

On the way home we spotted this moose.  Very nice day and a fun trip.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Relaxing in Lewiston

Hell's Gate State Park was our destination last week, it was a test run for our friends from Westport and a chance for Linda and I to get away and visit.  Don and Caroline packed up their Casita and joined us at the park on the Snake River.

Panoramic view of Asotin Wa. from the hills above the Snake River.
Relaxation was the key word for this trip.  We rested around camp and watched all the numerous RVs come and go.  Dinners were prepared and shared with a focus on kiss, keeping it simple stupid.

Selfie of man and dog.
During the week we walked and hiked, road our bikes, and three of us even hit a couple of buckets of golf balls.  It was a great time.

We had a strange encounter one early morning.  Linda and I were sleeping when we heard Kobi start barking and then continue growling.  Linda got up and looked into the truck cab and spotted a raccoon standing on the dash of the truck.  I got on my sweats and we both launched out of the camper.  Linda opened the doors but the critter wasn't moving! I grabbed a broom and smacked it in the butt.  It took off and climbed a nearby tree.  We calmed Kobi down and checked everything out.  The coon got a bit of dog food but that was it.  I checked the windows and was surprised just how small the windows were cracked. The raccoon must have been able to squeeze in through one of the front windows. I closed all the windows and we went back to bed.

Dashboard coon tracks.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Down to Eagle Creek

Use your computer and go to Google Maps, enter 45.994114, -116.708571 into the search area and it zoom you to the exact spot that I was lucky to camp at this weekend.  Four friends and I loaded our camp gear onto three ATV and a side by side and drove down the Eagle Creek road to the Lower Salmon River. 

Steve Fitzgerald picked me up early Friday morning and we drove to Lewiston where we met the rest of our group. Jim Fuhrman and his grandson Payton arrived with their friend Tim. We drove down to Winchester and wound over to the parking area where we unloaded the machines.

With Steve in the lead we dropped down the rough road to the Lower Salmon where we set up camp and had a great weekend.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

An Old Favorite

Banks Lake rolled out to the west as we sat on the top of Steamboat Rock this morning.  We have hiked and climbed this butte many times so today’s goal was to climb to the southwest section of the basalt butte.  600 acres of sagebrush, rock and grass sits 800 feet above the blue waters of Banks Lake.  Linda and I have walked around the entire northeast section of the top, but we had never ventured over to the southwest faces.
Dog kisses!
From the top.
The sun was out and the sky was as blue as you can get. We hiked up the entrance trail on the west side and then climbed the area we wanted to visit after we reached the first draw. Kobi lead most of the way and both Linda and I took our time on the hike.  Linda didn’t want to get any blisters from her boots and I was in the same boat due to my wearing a pair of boots that I had only worn once before.  The new boots needed breaking in so this was their first trail.

Back at our camper we could look up and see exactly where we took pictures from.  We took our chairs out and sat in the sun enjoying the warmth of the rest of the afternoon.

Something itches!
This short trip came about because we hadn’t been in our camper for about four weeks and we were missing our little home.  We chose Steamboat Rock State Park because Linda looked at the weather and noted that this area might get into the 80’s this week.  We are still getting used to the cooler weather so higher temperatures sounded real good.

Once our hike was over we settled down to get some rays. Linda got her beach towel out and I immediately fell asleep in the lounge chair. After about an hour I got up and started fixing dinner.  We had Dutch oven pizza and a special dessert of bing cherries and bananas in a bred crust shell.  Both items turned out exceptionally good. I will probably make both items again. With a few refinements I might even serve them to some of our guests.
Smashing dough

We lounged around and played cribbage for a bit.  Linda beat me once again, as the sun set; we turned in, both of us agreeing that today was a great day!

In the morning Linda went for her walk with Kobi as I drank my coffee and got my body working.  Breakfast for the Bennett’s is usually cereal and fruit, but today I wanted to make pancakes.  The pancake mix was one that we picked up in Mexico.  I thought I would be able to read the package and that it would require mixing agua, water, with the flour and that would do it. Noooooo… It called for leche, huevo, mantequilla and harina.  I had to run outside and ask Linda what that meant.  As you might have guessed it called for the flour, harina, to be mixed with milk, leche, and eggs, huevo, and then some butter, mantequilla.  Easy peasy.  I tossed it all together as I heated up the pancake pan. 
Pizza left, cherry banana pie right.
The first cake is always the tester.  You either burn it or you pull it off too early.  This one was a bit early but it had great design and good texture.  Linda looked at it and said, “I see Guadalupe in the shape and lines!  We need to sell it on EBay! We will be rich!” I cooked the rest of the cakes and asked her if she still wanted to post the sacred cake to EBay?  It looked more like a pancake then the Virgin Mary, so I slathered it in butter and poured some collectors special edition Daytona 500 Mrs. Butterworth Original syrup on them and devoured them.

The day was beautiful, we were full of cakes, and it was time to ride! We grabbed the 84’s off the front of the truck.  I have decided to call our two Mt. Bikes the 84’s because that is the year in which they were made. They both are Shoguns, both are Prairie Breakers, one is a Pro and the other is a 2 (as in II); but most importantly they were both built in 1984!

Off we rode on the 84’s, no destination in mind, just the urge to ride the scrub lands at the foot of Steamboat Rock. We followed a couple dirt tracks that led us out by the shore of Banks Lake.  We saw tons of deer and coyote tracks in the mud and dirt beneath our tires.  Soaring above us were hawks, but neither Linda nor I could tell what species.  We rode a total of seven miles out and back to our camp sight, the last leg took us right by the lake’s shoreline. A huge bass broke the surface and crashed into the water.  It surprised us the first time, but the second jump showed clearly how big it was and that it truly was a bass.  I was so excited that I almost road off the pavement down the bank. That would not have been healthy. 

We spent the rest of the day lazing in the sun.  Linda finished a book and started a new on, I fell asleep in the chair again.  

"Why does the Woolybugger cross the road? To become a butterfly!" - Linda Bennett