Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Spearfish/Red Lodge Fall 2016

Last week Jack and I took a quick trip out to Red Lodge, MT. We left after Jens' home game Sunday afternoon.

Jens and line mate Dom moving the puck up. Waving the flag in Kent Freeman arena. 
 After Jens' game we went south instead of west to catch Jon's game in Brookings, SD. Jack next to Jon's team bus that was back in action after a month of repairs.

Jon on the faceoff. After the game and a too short visit with Jon, we drove to Spearfish and arrived middle of the night.

  The next morning we rollerskied up the Spearfish canyon on a beautiful day that saw temps in the mid 60's. The road had been recently resurfaced and a nice wide shoulder. No traffic to speak of and gorgeous weather made for really nice skiing. It isn't often I want to continue a rollerski session but the morning was one of those days you could keep on going.

Before we skied, I got up while still in a daze from driving the night before and hit up the Tinton trail for a quick spin. The last two times, in the summer, I got stormed on and it was muddy the other time. Hard to believe mid November it was bone dry, almost dusty in spots with loose pine needles and super fast conditions. Great ride.

Heading up Spearfish canyon.

Before we rolled out of town, we stopped at one of the best pizza places I have been to. Dough Trader pizza.
I had been here two summers ago with Jon and had to stop here with Jack. I talked it up pretty good and with Jake being a pizza maker expert, he approved.

Heading to Red Lodge from Spearfish required new roads to travel on which is always interesting. I was most looking forward to driving over the mountains from Dayton to Lovell, WY. We caught the afterglow on the east side and just missed catching the sunset on the west side once we topped out over 9000ft. Dayton was around 4000ft so a nice climb up and definitely want to get back on this road.

Passing through Lovell at night and the local drug store.

Arrived to the historic Yodeler in Red Lodge for basecamp.

Yodeler famous for its steam baths which always feel great after a day of play in the mountains.

The next morning we geared up for another rollerski up the Beartooth highway. We were hoping to ski on snow but no snow at the gate so we had the rolling kind.
It was a bummer not to be skiing but the experience of skiing on the Beartooth highway up to almost 9000ft was an awesome experience. When we took off it was relatively nice but you could see the much talked about and anticipated storm rolling in. Since it wouldn't take as much time to get down as getting up, we were ready to turn around if conditions got really bad. The worst part was the wind and near the end the snow started to fall.

There were shaded sections that were glazed/iced over that were interesting getting across and required double poling.

After climbing about 5 miles and 1600 ft of elevation gain and the road getting icier, we decided to turn around.
Going down was crazy at first. The tail wind was 20-30mph and was giving us too much push down. We had to do a lot of step turning to get down safely.
Taking it easy through the glazed sections.
Made it down safely and went straight to Mas Tacos for the first time and enjoyed some awesome Mexican food.
Great stuff!
The folks in town were definitely restless, hoping snow and cold temps would come to make their opening day. Since we left, 15" of snow fell and good to see they will open.
The next day the storm was bearing down and dropped a few inches in town with a bit more at the Nordic center.
When we were skiing Jack goes "dad what is that" I look up and it was a big black wolf cutting through 50 yards away. About 2 minutes before two nice mule deer bucks were in front. We crossed the tracks a few more times and could tell it had left the area.

The skiing wasn't the best but no such thing as bad skiing. Was definitely more relaxing after the rollerski descent the day before.
Breaking trail.
Any day on snow is a great day!
The evening before I checked out a hiking/mountain biking trail I found on Strava and local hiking guide that was open to mountain bikers. It criss crossed the willow creek which runs up to Red Lodge mountain. Sweet mountain bike trail, wasn't able to get to the top as it got too dark.

Look forward to getting back here some day to check it out all the way to the top. Again, hard to believe mid November in the mountains dry and tacky trail.

After we skied I thought I would sneak in one more quick spin before hitting up the Red Lodge cafe and journey home. Snow higher up cut the ride short but the crisp fresh air was perfect before the smooth ride home. Great quick trip, always awesome to be in the mountains!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Deer Hunting 2016

Deer hunting in Minnesota is a big deal for many in the state. For a lot of folks, getting together in the woods in maybe a long time deer shack and the camaderie is a big part of it. We have been hunting on our property since the 70's, often times joining up with neighbors for "drives". I have been in the woods almost daily this fall, observing where the deer are moving and taking notice of signs including rubs and scrapes as it neared the "rut". There have been probably more deer around than I can ever remember, mostly does. We had seen a few bucks and picked up a few on the trail cams. With Jake not having the commitment to skiing this fall he was able to come home along with his girlfriend's brother. Jens and his friend Drew also hunted so we had a good crew.
Jens in a stand opening morning. It eventually turned t-shirt weather later in the day.
Drew was the first to bag a deer, a nice 8 point buck just after day break opening morning.
I prefer to walk slowly through the woods. Stopping for 5-15 minutes at a time trying to find a buck that way. Its a good way to see things in the woods you don't see on the trails. I saw more deer this year than any other year. Over 20 but not taking any shots.
Drew finishing up the field dressing. It's a good opportunity to try and identify as many organs and body dynamics as you can.
Back at home mid day talking about the morning action after Jonell spoiling us with a big brunch.
Hudson doesn't like deer hunting season. Having to spend most of the day inside and getting his exercise at night.
Our crew opening Sunday.
Doing a small drive pushing out a area to Jens and Drew one morning discovered a water bottle on abandoned singletrack. Probably 4-5 years old. I didn't dare open it. Had funny colors.
Easy to identify with blaze orange. Hooking up with Jens and Drew after a drive.
Keeping the orange smelling like nature.

The first weekend was so nice, many hunters spending the afternoon fishing.
During the week going into the last weekend we had a quilting retreat at the lodge and Jens first hockey games making time limited to go out. All good. Wonderful super friendly group of people (made a very nice quilt for the lodge), great to work with and exciting to start watching some games.
With the "superman" coming to fruition the second weekend, Jake and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go for a moonlight ride. Really the only time to ride and I am sure the deer don't even move when we go by. We didn't use any lighting but the moon was bright enough making for good vision and a really cool experience.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Mexico Fall 2016.

The last week of October Jonell and I were fortunate to take a quick 4 day trip to Puerto Vallarta, MEX. It was a much needed break after a super busy fall and behind the scenes dealings including insurance stuff which has just about put me through the roof. 
 If you have checked in on this blog at all you know we have taken many trips down here the past 40 years. A special place having first come down here back in the 70's. Lot of changes but the weather, Mexican hospitality, the food and great riding remains the same, top notch.
 The first night we were there was Halloween night. The malecon (walking street in original part of town)  was absolutely packed. I think the entire city of PV was there. I think we maybe saw only a few other Americans.
 Of course I brought my bike along to sneak in a few rides, hitting up the usual favorite trails and roads taking in the beautiful scenery.
 Waterfalls and rivers were running nicely from the fall rain.
 Beautiful PV weather.

The day of the dead was also going on while we were there. It is a big deal in Mexico. Tributes/murals all over town including this one of Prince Jonell blended in with.

 Awesome Jay and Jonell time.
 Up into the mountains via road. Checking out Strava, more and more people riding here which makes me feel a bit better going solo but never any reason to have concern.
Story of the trip:  The last night we were walking around "old town" saw this neat sign so decided to take a picture. The owner comes out and says good thing you take a picture because tomorrow the sign will be gone, replaced with new one. Asked what he was going to do with old sign, wasn't sure so asked if he would be willing to part with it.
 Within moments he had the sign down, thanks to a holler at a helper to help take the sign down. Offered US dollars and we had a deal.

I thought the sign might fit in the bike box but go such luck. Jonell suggested strapping to the box box and went with that. No problem checking and amazingly the sign made it all the way back to FGO with no issue, other than getting stuck in Dallas for a day but delivered next day no problem. Sign soon to be on display in the lodge at Maplelag. Since then, I have been keeping in touch with "Rafi", the shrimp burrito sign and he is on the lookout for more signs

Another fantastic trip!