Thursday, July 09, 2015

Fourth of July!!

Another fun filled Fourth of July weekend at the lake cabin with Jonell's side of the family. Great weather and more food consumed than the other holidays combined. As always, click on photo if visually impaired. 

Grandma Judy with her children, grandchildren and one of the dogs.
Kids displaying craft project.
Family with t
Cousins. Should of posted the photo from 5-6 years ago but its the old fashioned kind, not digital.
Uncle TJ putting the finishing touches on Friday night home made meatball dinner. Great stuff.  Nailed the exact touch of smoke infusion.

 Fourth of July early morning ride with Jake.
 Pounding the gravel on Norris trail. Almost a 700ft climb over 10 miles from the cabin to the high point, turn around and fly back.
Natural berm action closer to the settlement.

Quick dip in the lake than time to cook breakfast over the fire. Good move by Uncle Ryan to pull out the griddle for egg frying. 

Waving the flag in the flotilla.
Setting up for the flotilla.
Grandma with the children.
Ba Ba Ba Ba Banana!

Swim time.

Lots of baseball played. No injuries, no swings at the siblings, all good.

We all know deep down inside you really love him.

Picking teams for baseball.
Friday night temp toos. Gold Feather Jim.

Another craft project for evening flag waving.


Monday, July 06, 2015

Air Force Academy Hockey Showcase

Hockey is no different than any sport that you can play year round, regardless of the age. Even in the dead of summer there are hockey camps, tourneys, showcases and tryout camps. Kids could play every weekend of the year except. There have been many options but we have tried to limit it to just a few weekends for both Jens and Jon, the hockey players in the family. One of those options for Jon was to attend the Air Force Academy Hockey Showcase in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy. We did some research on it, talked to coaches, scouts, parents etc. and decided it would be a good experience and a fun trip regardless how the hockey panned out with road travels to Colorado via the great states of Wyoming, North and South Dakota. It wasn't until the last week who would take Jon out but ended up being just me.

My favorite way to go out there is west to Dickinson and either head south there or a bit farther west at Belfield, than making way towards Cheyenne and Denver. I like this route as it gets off the beaten path and enjoying driving through the prairie, badlands type terrain and the Black Hills. We saved the side trip to White Butte, highest point in ND for the way back!

Belle Fourche, Geographical Center of the Nation
Built in 1876.
Stopped in Spearfish, SD first night out. Went for a little spin upon arrival to shake out the car legs.
Stumbled on to the Historical fish hatchery which was a very cool place with great viewing of trout.
Dough trader pizza. A must stop in Spearfish. Fantastic pie!
Next morning before we left, went up to the Tinton trail only to get hammered by a thunderstorm midway through the ride. Turned in to a sloppy muddy mess but had a blast. Had to take forest road down vs singletrack as I didn't want to risk getting wrapped around a tree. Classic old school singletrack. A refreshing break for the flowy purpose built stuff that is everywhere now.
Bridal Veil Falls. Like MN, SD and CO have received tons of rain. The water was flowing good.
Loose cattle along the SD and WY border. Vintage round up.
Checking in to the Field House and Academy arena.
Game action. Three games than two teams selected for the All Star game.
Indoor track with field for other sport practice.
Jon made the all star team for the Sunday game in the 97/98 age group. Kids from 28 different states. His team had MN kids which were the better players in in the showcase imo. The last game was the best hockey and well worth the trip, experience and showcase to all the scouts that were there.
Air Force football stadium early Saturday morning en route to a 6am game.
 Coincidentally a National MTB xc race was going on in Colorado Springs at Pulpit Rock State Park. Fellow MN riders Brandt and his son Samuel were in town and I hooked up with them Saturday late morning in between Jon's game for a ride at Bear Creek Park. Great ride, fun to hook up. It was a bit rough and raw from the erosion occurring from all the rain fall, keeping most riders away as we didn't see anyone else surprisingly. Great ride under classic Colorado summer sunshine.
Really felt like jumping in at end of ride.

Custom dirt trail groomer for smoothing out bumps and ruts. 

Sunday morning stopped by the National course to check out the PRO XCT National course and a bit of the action before the last game. A short loop but some nice rocky and technical sections. 

Racer out on course.

Garden of the Gods side trip.
Sunday late afternoon after the game we started heading back and eventually made it back to Spearfish for the night. Got out again the next morning for a ride climbing up a bit farther, 2000 ft or so than enjoyed a sweet ride down the same trail. Definitely on the list to go back. I only scratched the surface of the 200 mile plus trail system in the Black Hills area.
Fun stop in Jay Em Wyoming.
Monday was a hot day in western ND but we still took that side trip to White Butte to ascend the highest point in ND. Jon hiked/ran and I pushed and rode my bike. I stopped here with Jack and Jake 6 years ago and hopefully next trip will have Jonell and Jens!

Taking in the view. It's hard to get a good perspective from the photos. Beautiful panoramic view at the top. Since last time there, they have a highpointer check in log and seems to be a lot more traffic up there.

Absolutely love this area. The terrain, feel of isolation and how nothing hasn't changed much except the slowly eroding landscape for 100's of years.

Up at the top.
Fantastic trip!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Back to the Blog

The blog has been on bit of a break. The end of school/spring activities wrapping up and a busy spring wedding season at Maplelag keeping things hopping. Hard to believe we are already one week away from the middle of the summer! Having looked back on posts in years past I realize I need to keep this going just for the sake its fun for the family to look back! 

 Last weekend Jonell and I took the Scamp out for the first time this year for a one night outing to Alexandria/Carlos State Park to watch Jon and the DLHS team play in a summer tourney. Saturday night we ventured north to Parker's Prairie to watch Jesse Cain play a street dance hosted by the Parker's Prairie FD.
 The area in front of the band was void of people but busy on the edges. We only stayed for an hour but I am sure as the sun set and the adult beverages flowed, the crowd moved inward. Been a long time since we were at a street dance. Live music always fun.
 Sunday on the way home we took back roads, venturing to Inspiration Peak which is an area both Jonell and I had never been to. Neat location, awesome terrain.

There is a main road that goes up to the parking lot than a small paved path up to the top. I rode up and down four times. Probably one of the toughest road climbs I have done in the Midwest. The steepest grade is around 30%.

 Jonell knitting as I passed by.

 I couldn't believe how many people were hiking there. Had to been over 50 folks in the 1.5 hrs we were there.

 After I was done riding, Jonell and I hiked up to take in the view.

There is a nice short section of singletrack on the other side that would be sweet on a mtb.

 Beautiful day.
 Hiking back down the other side.
 Jake came home that evening. Rare moment with all four boys for fathers day.
 Growing up fast! Couldn't be more proud of all four of them.
We've had some great long summer days. Albeit a bit wet with over 14" of rain the last 6 weeks.
Happy Summer!