Thursday, September 25, 2008

Radio Frequency Ablation


While I do not feel that blogging is a way to tell people about your medical issues, I have found that due to the amount of calls and interest in what is happening to me, that this might be an easy way to hit a bunch of people all at once. First, thanks to all of you who have wished me luck this weekend.

In any case for those of you who have had questions the issue that I have is called Atrial Fibrillation. The procedure that I am enduring is called Radio Frequency Ablation. I head down to The Mayo Clinic for two days of intensive testing and then, if my signs say it is a go, I have the procedure. The Ablation procedure is pretty common. Mayo does over 500 a year, if you start speaking with people about this you will be amazed at how many people have had it, so my confidence is high in both getting through the procedure and in having it be successful.
Never the less, Elmo and the boys, I have my St.Bernard medal around my neck.......Most of my buddies who I ski with have a version of the patron Saint of Skiers and Alpinists on at any one time, this particular one was with me when we pulled Elmo (he has one too) out of the snowpack so it has some pretty heavy powers!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vote Yes




Vote Yes! On the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Listening to NPR yesterday I heard a piece about the Amendment, the opposition to the law, which would have dedicated funding to clean water and the environment were lamenting the 3/8 of of one percent increase in the sales tax that they would have to put out to fund it. How can we afford NOT to do it? In contrast check out the Minnnesotans for Responsible Recreation web page and see the stats that group has compiled on the taxes we all pay to fund ATV's in this state.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Size does matter


As a veteran of the ski industry I had heard mutterings about these crazy "swamp skis" that people in Finland used for deep snow skiing in flat open tracts of land. I had actually never run into a pair however until I was cruising the web last night at hit this post at Out Your Backdoor. A good read for sure, might even be a use for those around here.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Single Speed Freak hamstrung by evil disease


For the past few years I have been keeping an eye on the CreepyFriendly site. Maybe it is because Jesse LaLonde races with his brothers and as a team they really kick some keister. Maybe it is because Jesse rides a sweet single speed 29'r and is the only person ever to win the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival on a single speed. Although it could also be that he has really cool art, and really cool photography on the site as well. In any case, when I looked into the results of the 40 there were only two Lalonde brothers on the list. Break down? Bonk? Choke? Whats the story so I went to Creepyfriendly and was bummed to see this article about Graves Disease. As a guy who is about to go in for a life changing procedure in a few days I can understand the pain that comes with being held back by a medical condition beyond your control. I wish you the best Jesse LaLonde and hope there is a way out of that stuff for you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Minneapolis Star and Tribune series on rampant ATV abuse


Every once and a while you run into some truly good local journalism. The Star and Tribune has just made that come true for me with a three part series on ATV use in Minnesota. Anyone who wonders what is really happening out there needs to read this series. To me the results are obvious. Our State Parks are vastly underfunded. Our Conservation Officers are cut way back and spread incredibly thin, our paved cycling trails are falling apart, yet for some reason the MN DNR is still putting heavy resources towards the most destructive practice to hit our forests since the 1870's logging boom.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Classic Minnesota


Last weekend we spent some time canoeing and fishing on the border lakes in the BWCA. It was also the opening weekend for "Thunder Chickens" so we spent some time gathering both walleyes and grouse for the fry pan. If I could say anything about the weekend it was a great time, good people, classic Minnesota food and fall colors..... We also were able to paddle the new MN II canoe from Wenonah, a slightly deeper version, a half inch in the bow, a full inch in the center. The new depth was not noticed by Marg in the bow (no knuckle whacks) and was appreciated when we were quartering faily good sized waves in the middle of South Fowl lake on the way out. As for the classic speed of the MN II, still there!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First annual Cooke-Ratcha ride


So our good buddy Guy Evans is in D-town this week and is trying to not only hook up with his many friends, he is also trying to do as much recreation as possible while he is here. So with that in mind we decided to do a big ride from Thomson to Mont Du Lac and back all on single track, then hit Mexico Lindo for some life sustaining vitamin "G". Well we made a few of the goals. We hit about 16 miles of single track heading east, but ran out of light due to a late start and had to pound 9 miles of pavement back up the park road to finish. It was a long slow grind back up the hill. By the time we made it home it was to late for Lindo so we opted for a pizza joint instead. Guy threw down and with his 6 inches of travel rode a few lines that I have actually never seen ridden. A killer time was had by all who attended and by some who did not.......
Next time, an earlier start, more singletrack and Mexican Food!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Loop. The best outdoor documentary you have not seen.




Two springs ago Marg and I headed to Norway to ski, paddle and see where her fathers family originated. A farily common pilgrimage for two people from Minnesota. We were of course totally enamored with the place. While there we met a stream of totally cool and very interesting outdoor types, and without fail all of them mentioned to us a man called Arne Naess. He is a mountaineer, he is a philosopher, he is a poet, he is the founder of the Deep Ecology movement. I was totally motivated to find any material I could about him, but of course it was all in Norwegian and I was unable to really learn much about him. Later at the end of the trip I stumbled across a film in a ski shop called Loop. It was about Arne and it had an English subtitle version on the DVD. Without thinking I bought it. Well, two years later I finally figured out a way to play the PAL, euro version of the DVD! I was thunderstruck by the film. It is so worth watching I could not believe that it has not had a following here in the US. So watch the Trailer. Learn about Arne and spread the word, we need his influence here in a big way and hopefully through word of mouth, through learning more about him we can make his name as influential here as Muir or Abbey.......

Somethings hatching out there.....



I have found consistently that late summer and early fall there is a hatch on the water behind the house here that brings out the hawg smallies. I first encountered it two seasons ago but did not understand it enough to capitalize on it. Last summer I finally found a sinking fly that matched it enough to start catching some really big small mouths. Alas, this season I have been keeping my eye out and on Saturday I saw the same situation occur. Usually on a glassy evening you start to see swirls and boils, sometimes solo sometimes in the hundreds and you paddle up on them and then sight cast to individual rings and POW, monsters. I had several fish well into the 20 inch range. To give you an idea, the hoop of the net in the picture is 20 inches long.......

Sauna Update 08


On Sat night after a ripping evening of fishing I decided to fire up the Sauna. The fall temps have arrived and it is the perfect time for warming up and hitting the outdoor shower for a cool off. Upon doing it though I realized that I have not really done a Sauna update for some time. So here it is. First off, it is working. All doubters on the rock have been extinguished. However, it DOES take some time to heat it up. I can hit 150 degrees in about an hour plus. 180 to 200 degrees takes a couple of hours. At first I was having some really inconsistent firings but I am not learning how to keep the stove pumped up and when to stoke it and when to let it burn for awhile. Basically, during the fall and winter I plan on having it fired for whole days, most likely every Sat, so we can use it and our neighbors, friends and others who are skiing in the area can swing by and make it a habit. To fire it for a quickie is not happening! As to where it is in building, it is completely roughed out, I am currently working on the outside trim, soffets and just plain sealing it up. Then this winter I can concentrate on finishing the inside as far as trim and the details. Come on over!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The New York Times pimps Trempealeau County Riding




Earlier this summer I wrote a post on Universalklisterabout the stellar riding down in South Western Wisconsin. Now the New York Times is backing that up in a story about the Tour De Trempealeau. I found this on Skinny Ski that also happens to have a front page shot of Michele Flanagen Haag on the cover, rippint it at the Fat Tire 40!

Preseason Order Time


The water equals the orders, the canoe is me and the bridge abutment is my vendors......

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Copper Harbor MTB fest and Keweenaw riding lives up to the Hype






Margaret and I spent an amazing birthday weekend in the Keweenaw. We ended up riding, Churning Rapids, Tech Trails and also the Swede Town trails while camping just north of Houghton. We had some great beers at the Keweenaw Brewing Company and also an amazing dinner at the Michigan House Cafe. From there we headed north to some killer swimming holes, jam heaven at the Jam Pot, a place where Monks in the Society of St.John sell bakery items and bakery products to sustain their order. We then did what I would certainly call the best MTB riding in the Midwest, hands down, no question. After a pretty solid summer of riding the better rated singletrack in the MN, WI, MI region, I will take a stand and say that the crew in Copper Harbor wins it all. The trails are buff, they are imaginative, they have huge vertical drop, insane vistas and with the "Stairway to Heaven" a 1,000 foot descending bridge they put themselves so far ahead of any other trail system in the midwest and on par with any riding I have done in the states.