Sunday, September 26, 2010

Random review . . .

So after unwillingly donating blood at the wildlife refuge, we restored our strength at Quiznos in Moses Lake on the way home. I was pretty excited to see that they now have a buffalo chicken sub, so of course I got it. Disappointing, I've got to say.

Many moons ago, I had this idea myself and crafted such a sandwich. I put a chicken patty on a bun, added blue cheese crumbles, blue cheese dressing, small-sliced celery sticks, and Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce. It was deeeelicious, and genuine chicken would've made it even better.

The Quiznos version . . . well, I liked the bread. Otherwise, though, the chicken was kind of boiled and mushy, the sauce was spicy but not really buffalo-y, and there was no form of blue cheese on it anywhere (they used ranch dressing and some kind of white cheese . . . provolone?). Kind of a stretch, in my opinion, to say it was a true buffalo chicken sandwich.

I still dig Quiznos. There will always be a warm spot in my heart since I first went there the night my daughter was born. I appreciated the yummy sandwich that night and also the fact that they helped me avoid hospital food.

Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

South of Moses Lake and northwest of Othello is a large area of land that was scoured in a major way by prehistoric flooding. On Google Maps it looks like:

According to Wikipedia, the area is:
"an extensively eroded channeled scablands landscape, characterized by hundreds of isolated, steep-sided hills (buttes) surrounded by a braided network of numerous channels. All but the channel through which Crab Creek flows are currently dry. It is a classic example of the tremendous erosive powers of extremely large floods such as those that reformed the Columbia Plateau volcanic terrain during the late Pleistocene glacial Missoula Floods."

It really is a weird landscape. Since we'd already spent a good chunk of time at the playground (see previous entry), the temperature was up closer to 80 and, as you can guess from the image above, there isn't much in the way of shade.

I checked some maps in advance and the marquee trail seemed to be the one along Crab Creek. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes over here hadn't gotten the word that it's near the end of September and they're supposed to be done munching on people. I got EATEN alive and had trouble sleeping last night from all the bites on my legs. Also, it turns out the rattlesnakes have not gotten the message either, seeing as we did have a little run-in with one (who rattled a lot but was happy to escape into the brush). I also saw a reddish brown/black snake that was really fast (thankfully heading away from us). Wasps/hornets were in abundance too, although thankfully not aggressive either.

So maybe this is a good hike to do in a month or two in the morning if you really like birds. As it was, I have no desire to do it anytime soon. (Man, I ITCH!) The kids did NOT dig it either and L soon took them back to the car. My 2 year old was in the backpack, so he had to come with me.

Perhaps I'd be game for going back, though, with a mountain bike to do some exploring. Or the paved route through the heart of the park with be good to work into a road bike loop.

You can really get the idea that a LOT of water has poured through here in the past. From this angle, it seems there wouldn't be any mosquitoes, right?

Ah, but now that you see this angle . . . "riparian habitat" . . . "ripe" for breeding blood-suckers!

Potholes State Park

Summer is not quite going away yet, so we headed down south of Moses Lake yesterday to do some exploring. We were heading to a wildlife refuge mostly, but along the way I saw a turnoff for Potholes State Park.
Since I enjoy exploring, we detoured in to have a look around. Quickly, my playground junkie kids spotted a nice, huge, new-looking piece of equipment. The whining began. Eventually we relented to let them "play for a few minutes".
The park was pretty and the weather was 70-ish degrees. We found lots of wide open space with green lawn and pretty trees. If I had a boat, this would be a really fun place to put in and head up to explore the Pothole lakes to the northwest.
Signs posed a FAQ including "Why are there so many mosquitoes?", which wasn't a concern for us but hey, it's nearing the end of September.
OK, now for some photos!

Cheeeeeeeeese! Looks like he wore his crash pants . . .

The joy of going down himself!

He's freaking out not because the slide was so high but because he wanted to go down himself. Ah, the joys of being 2.

Like I said, pretty grass and trees along the reservoir.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Trip to Winthrop and North Cascades National Park

We drove a whole lot yesterday and I put together a little slideshow because I wanted to play with Aperture 3. The audio I used got axed by YouTube but I still went with them anyway because I was able to upload the show in HD.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Super Bike Train!!!

I borrowed an additional tagalong bike (thanks Dave and Michelle!) so now the three kids and I can go bike together (and make Laura look lonely on her bike :-)
We rode into Ft. Stevens and over to see some of Laura's family who were camping. So we rode this contraption for about 6-7 miles. It's fun, but not very stable. The kids like to lean to see around me, and I was concerned for the safety of people passing us going the other way on the bike trails. Everybody came through it well, though, and it was fun getting honks, pointing, and waves from people as we passed!

The Rest of the Story . . .

I later found out that I was running on a stress-fractured tibia. Y'ouch!

Still hurts a bit . . . the orthopedic doctor had me get off of it for a couple months. Now that it's OK for me to bike, I've gone every morning for almost 3 weeks straight! I've got a lot of catching up to do. I did get over-eager, though, and was hammering too hard out of the seat. Then my leg got sore again. So, I'm still going but kicking it down a couple notches. Anyway, I love it. It's a GREAT way to start the day and get me awake and fired up.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Marathon Photos

Go Team Jacobsen!!! (Ty and Andy are buddies :-)

The Bri-onic Fam!

The Jacobsen guys and our hero Mike Brooks.

William watching his daddy suffer . . . and thinking he wins!

Yakima River Canyon Marathon

A week ago, my brother Eric and I were among the roughly 500 people who ran the Yakima River Canyon Marathon. Yes, it was 26.2 miles (surprising how many people ask me that!). It was my first and his second, and I wasn't really ready but I did it anyway.
You see, I got pretty enthusiastic back in February. I'd been using my elliptical trainer some, so I figured I'd be able to do some running. There is this thing, though, called the 10 percent rule. It's simple: when running, don't increase your weekly mileage more than 10 percent per week. I'm sure I was doing more like the 40 percent rule, which it turns out is a nice recipe for shin issues. Mine got pretty bad, so I eased off on the running for 3 weeks prior to the race and only did cycling and elliptical training.
Thus it was, then, that I knew things might not go very well last Saturday. It was a brisk morning (30 degrees at start time) and it was nice to get started running. My legs hurt from the get-go, but I was optimistic I would warm up. I did, but I was back on the way to pain by about the 3-4 mile mark.
This marathon has a lot of cool people and a nice low-key vibe. I ran with one guy (who was in the Marathon Maniacs club) for a few miles and we chatted about his job overseas and how he does electronic stuff for the Navy. Then, he pulled away around 8 miles and I never saw him again. I was on my own for the next 10 miles. My iPod would've really come in handy through there, but I made the mistake of believing the registration paperwork that said they were forbidden. It turns out it would've been fine.
It was a beautiful, sunny day to be in the canyon, though, and I had a lot of time to look at it. There were food/drink stations roughly every 2 miles, and eventually I got smart enough to take full advantage of them (hint: drink 2 of the 1/2 full cups at each stop and down all the carbs you can stomach).
I pressed onward and met some other interesting people. I passed an older guy wearing stars and stripes and carrying the American flag. As a couple passed him, he said, "God bless America!" They didn't respond much . . . turns out they were from Japan. As they talked a bit more, he explained that he's originally from the Philippines. So, this marathon gets people from all over the place.
The first big hill is 14 miles into the race. I got some extra motivation and a chuckle from the booming music I could hear as I ascended. Some guys with trucks had loudspeakers at the top of the hill blaring AC/DC and they were dancing and encouraging runners as they passed. It was unexpected to hear AC/DC echoing through the canyon.
Miles 14-18 took some serious resolve. Those mile markers started to come really slowly, and I could tell my pace was lagging. Frankly, I prayed and did a lot of staring at the next reflector alongside the road telling myself I could run as far as the next one. My shins were getting absolutely destroyed by the vicious side-slope of the road. Yet, I knew that Laura and the kids would be waiting at the finish line and I really wanted that awesome moment of happiness and self-triumph.
Spencer W. Kimball once said that, "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other . . ." I believe God answered my prayers using Mike and his willingness to serve others. He came alongside me somewhere around the 19-mile mark. In all my efforts to keep kids under control at the spaghetti dinner the night before, he was one of about 3 runners I'd met. My bro Eric had talked to him more and told him it was my first marathon, and Mike had said that if he found me struggling, he'd be sure I finished.
And that's exactly what happened for the next 6-7 miles. He said I could set the pace and he stuck with me until the very end. (In fact, the results say I beat him by 2 seconds :-) There's a rather large hill (400 vertical feet) at the 22 mile mark, and it sailed by because Mike was there and he can talk non-stop. In fact, he can talk that much just about running because he's done around 250 marathons. He also does ultra-endurance events (like Badwater) and is in a club for people who have done marathons in all 50 states (turns out he's done this like 3 times over . . .). Knowing this, I looked at the club's webpage when I got home and there was a note from him right on their intro screen saying he's doing a 10-day, 500 mile event to raise money for Camp Sunshine (more on that here). Turns out he's a pretty extraordinary guy who's 63-years-old, a retired firefighter, and an ex-smoker. He started running marathons in his 40's and did his first 100 marathons in 8 years.
Needless to say, I very much appreciated Mike and all the inspiration and motivation he provided me. In turn, I provided a donation to Camp Sunshine, which I'm betting is how he'd like to be repaid. That, and returning the favor to some hapless first-timer someday.
When I crossed the finish line, I was overcome with a mix of emotions. For the first time I can remember since William was born 6 1/2 years ago, I cried. It was grueling and seemed like I'd never make it, but I kept my faith and I believe that God provided a way.
Laura and the kids were there and they cheered loudly. They all had "Team Jacobsen" shirts emblazoned with Go Dad Go! on the front and numbers 1-6 on the back. Very cute and fun and cool. My wife rocks. :-)
I got a finisher's medal, and the kids exclaimed excitedly, "Daddy, you WON!" Funny thing is, even though my time of 5:42 was like 3 hours from a win by the clock, it felt like a win to me. I was in it to finish, and I did. I defeated my doubts, my lack of training, and my screaming shins. And yes, I will do it again. Mark my words: I'll knock 2 hours off that finish time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mt. Rainier Flight

Last Wednesday, I got a call from a friend (Dan) who has this plane (a beautiful twin-engine Cessna).  The weather has been sunny lately, and we HAD TO go flying!

Due to the fact I'd grabbed camera batteries that were dead, I had to shoot all the photos with my iPhone.  The artifact in this one is the propeller.  Anyway, you can see Mt. St. Helens in the foreground and I like how the blast zone's treelessness is shown by the snow.

Then we flew on up to Mt. Rainier.  We flew up around 16,000 feet, so it's a good thing his plane's pressurized.  I'd like to climb this mountain . . . someday.  ;-)

Well, this is about as up-close-and-personal as I've been with Rainier's summit.  The air was glassy.  We didn't even have updrafts coming off the slopes.  It was great!

We finished by flying in over Astoria.  What a fun way to spend an afternoon.  Call me anytime, Dan!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Photos for Christmas 2008

The little guy looks pretty grown-up here with his big sis.

He very much likes to decorate the tree!

Thanksgiving 2008, etc.

L and the kids went to some friends' to see baby bunnies.

Grandpa and Grandma Z came with Jordan for Thanksgiving.  Lots of food and fun!

W and his Grandma Z with the hemisphere.

The whole crowd and a nice wacky face from W.

Big bday number 4.  It was a Little Mermaid theme and we made a mermaid cake.  It was rather large and there was no way we could eat it all!

A Joyful Little Dude

As long as you pick him up, he's a pleasure.  ;-)

He can open his mouth reeeaaaallllllyyyy wide to eat!

Awwwwww . . .  She loves her little bro!

Ready to chow!

Halloween 2008

Our little pumpkin!

 . . . and our little Princess!
So we had some cinnamon rolls and some leftover frosting from the Halloween gingerbread house.  A good thing to eat before going to the dentist . . . I'd laugh, actually.

In fact, I had to give it a try!  Now if THAT isn't a scary smile . . .

Our scary Halloween house my severed-headed ladies.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

For you Google Earth fans . . .

Here's a GPS-based track of the ride. It's a kml file you can open in Google Earth. And, Mt. St. Helens is impressively hi-resolution, which makes it all extra neat to see. You can get the file by clicking HERE.

More Mt. St. Helens Ride Photos . . .

It just blows me away (no pun intended :-) to envision how high the mudflow (and some blast maybe?) must have been right here to break trees this high up on the ridge. It's also weird to see the mix of dead/damaged/living trees so close together.

By here, you're pretty much at the top of Ape Canyon. Also, my legs were wrecked and I was running short on time. So, I just followed the trail up around the corner and called it good.

This is the top of Ape Canyon. It goes clear down to Smith Creek and I have no idea if you can get into it. Alan, Justin and I were pretty disappointed the first time we laid eyes on it back in the day.

It's cool to see some amount of regrowth and also how the knoll shielded some of the trees from the blast and mud/ice/rocks.

The trail really was the epic great descent I'd imagined. So, I didn't stop much on the way down to take photos. And, as the changing leaves tell you, I doubt I had much more time this year before it would've only been accessible with skis and snowmobiles.