Thursday, May 29, 2008

Boring race blog

We got a late start out of town on Friday but made great time getting over to the camp outside of Whitehall, MI. The Boy Scout Camp, Camp Reneker, would serve as both home for the weekend and headquarters for the Race. The registration for the race closed at 10:00pm on Friday and we didn’t pull in to the camp until nearly 11:00. It was cold, dark, and windy and Jordan started getting nervous. He was ready to turn around and go back to Waukegan.

The cabin was pretty much like I expected with a few exceptions like no hot water, and two windows that would not close at all. The open windows meant dust and debris was blown inside and so we spent a while wiping down the mattresses and tables and cleaning up some bugs that were dead on the floor. Not the greatest welcome but it would have been much better in the light (and warmth) of day. We reorganized some furniture (read mattresses) and soon Jordan was tucked in snuggly next to Mom and Jennifer was wrapped up tight on the bunk above us. We used the Rubbermaid totes with our gear in it to make the pullout for the bottom bunk with the mattress on top. It worked great for Jordan. Darrick was along for the ride and to stay with the kids while I was out racing so he had the nice room with windows and space heater all to himself. : ) I slept pretty well but just not long enough. My mind was already working on logistics and plans for the race and the rest of the weekend.

Saturday morning at 7:00 am I walked one cabin over to the Race HQ where I registered with the race officials and got my race bib. The official race briefing was scheduled for 8:30 am and so I had about an hour to get my gear situated before the other two members of Team Farside arrived from their hotel in Whitehall. Rich Zak and Steve Perez and I made up Team Farside for the Breakout 24 Adventure Race (AR). We have only raced together once before at the Thunder Rolls 2006. That was a 36 hour race and we did very well on the course. See my blog entry for September 2006.

Race briefing was short and sweet with the most interesting part the fact that the race was comprised of 3 Stages: JJ Stage, Muskegon Stage, and Owasippe Stage. All three were optional and all control points (CP’s) were optional. In other words, you could do as little or as much as you wanted and if you skipped an entire stage there was no penalty. The only drawback was once you turned in your passport for a stage you could not go back out to get any more of the CP’s for that stage. We had three stages, three maps, three people and about four hours to plan our race. We got busy plotting the UTM’s that were given and then marking the route we would take for each stage. (Note: Here is where I feel we made a fundamental error by not considering the total number of CP’s possible and the total number for each stage by difficulty.)
We discussed our plans, finished prepping for the first stage, and loaded up to start. We opted to do the JJ Stage first since it did not have reflective tape on the CP’s and so we didn’t want to be doing that stage in the dark. The Muskegon stage was the furthest away from HQ’s but it had a “dead zone” between 8pm-11pm where no one could be on Lake Muskegon. We thought that we should do it in the daylight also so put that last on our list. Owasippe was closest (actually a part of the camp we stayed at) and so we decided to do it at night. We divided up the three stages giving each stage 8 hours (we did not figure in TA time!) to find as many CP’s as we could.

1:00 pm Saturday: We are off on our bikes headed out to our first CP. We actually did really well on the first section finding CP’s 15-13 relatively easily howbeit with much physical exertion as we pedaled through fine Michigan sand up the gas pipeline. We missed three CP’s that we “knew” we should have found but other than that we did really well. One CP we skipped by choice after several teams we met along the way said no one had been able to find it after hours of searching. We were already pushing our 8 hour time limit. In all, we found 9 of the 13 points on the course but spent more than our 8 hours because of not giving enough time for the trek back to HQ after the last CP. Lots of sandy riding Saturday and we finally reached the HQ TA around 10:30pm. Well past our 9pm ETA. It started getting really cold on the ride back which prompted each of us to layer up for the next stage trekking and orienteering in Owasippe. It was totally dark when we hit the course and we thought we had a good plan by only attempting those that we would be able to do without getting wet. Three points were by paddle and portage and they were stretched out pretty far. We thought that the effort and pay off of just those three was not worth it for the risk of getting wet, chilled, and exhausted by the portage. 11pm at night after riding hard all day is not a good time to stop and take a break because I didn’t want to go out into the cold again and thankfully Rich was our motivator. We got trekking and in the dark it was not easy going but we managed to find several CP’s in the dark before dawn arrived and we were once again out of time. (NOTE: We should have been more flexible on the time issue. We only spent 5 hours on Owasippe stage and it had the potential to gain us all 15 CP’s) We decided that we would be more successful on the Muskegon stage because the light was arriving and the CP’s should be easier to find as the terrain was not so dense. Back to HQ to turn in our passport and get the new one for Muskegon. I remember thinking that tired is tired no matter if you are on foot or on a bike. Steve watched me fall asleep on the bike (two hour bike to the paddle put-in) at least twice as pedaled down the blacktop headed toward Lake Muskegon. We arrived at the paddle TA where we found out that our Kayak was still over on the other stage along with our gear (paddles, PFD’s, etc) so the volunteer at the TA called and told us we had about 30 minutes to wait and it would be taken off our time. I got a nap!! We arrived at the TA around 6:30am and it was 7:30am before we were on the water. I was in the kayak and Steve and Rich were in the canoe. Our gear bag never made it so we used the Boy Scout gear that was with the canoes. Off we went toward our first CP, USS Silversides. We had no problems through the channel from the canoe launch to the entrance to Lake Muskegon but as soon as we hit the main lake the waves and wind really picked up. The rules stated that we had to stay within 100 ft of the shoreline. But the wind kept blowing me out and I spent all of my energy keeping from drifting into the middle of the lake! I wished I was in the aluminum canoe!! The guys were getting further and further ahead of me and I was in the light weight easy paddle.
To Be Continued...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day

Post-Race included spending Memorial Day at Michigan's Adventure Amusement Park (Adventure theme throughout) where we were treated to half price admission with our Veteran ID and Military ID's. Praise God!! This whole weekend has "GOD at Work!" stamped all over it..

Here are some pictures of the fun.
Okay, that was staged. No one wanted me taking their pictures. Jennifer, Jordan and our friend Darrick are all waiting to get on some roller coasters.

This is NOT a roller coaster Mom!

Well for now that is all that I have of the park pictures because Jennifer didn't let me bring her camera in to download hers yet.

Here are some pictures of the USS Silversides ( a control point in the race) that was reached by paddling across Lake Muskegon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Breakout 24 AR Weekend

Pre-Race preparations (well just hanging out).

Race planning and plotting. Rich Zak (top)
Steve and I working on maps.

Back at the TA (Transition Area) between stages of the race.

11pm at night getting ready to go out into the woods to find some CP's (Control Points)

Rich, Steve, and I had a great first stage and a decent second stage with night orienteering in the Owasipee woods.
The third stage I wish we had just skipped altogether and opted for spending more time in one of the others but hind sight is 20/20 they say. It was a pretty discouraging experience for me but all part of the thrill and adventure of an "Adventure" Race!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Headed out to Michigan

Today we head over to Muskegon, MI for the Breakout 24 Adventure Race. I am excited but the kids are more apprehensive than excited. Jordan has asked me at least 1,000 questions and made as many declarations about this weekend. He is certain that it could be fun but not so certain that it will be because I will be too exhausted to 'do anything' (read: you won't want to go fishing with me or roast hot dogs and marshmallows) fun. I plan on royally disappointing his pessimism!
No, we are not taking the snakes, lizard, or gecko. We are feeding the critters before we leave and praying that they survive on stored resources.

Pictures... I need to work on the picture department because so many of my favorite bloggers are so good at posting pictures that it is a constant reminder of how I never think to take any until after the fact. I will assign the kids to take pictures this weekend.

God is so good to me and His mercy endures forever! Have I mentioned lately how much I love my Lord and Saviour? I am so blessed and cannot stop singing His praise for all He has done in my life! My nephew totalled his motorcycle and walked away without a single broken bone! Praise the Lord!! My brother is now attending church services and growing in his relationship with Christ! Praise the Lord!! My children love the Lord and are a living testimony to His name! Praise the Lord!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I realize that it has been more than a few days so here is a brief update.

Garden is going slower than I had anticipated. My 18V cordless drill is definitely not the best choice for drilling the 1/2" holes in all these timbers. I am averaging about 8 holes before it needs to recharge. Yes, I already plan on buying a backup battery but between my other tasks haven't made it to the store yet.

Good news!! The kids mowed the lawn for the first time this year and for the first time all by themselves! Yipee! I intended to let them start much younger until Jennifer took out a chunk of flesh off the back of my leg a couple of years ago. I decided on the spot that I would err on the side of caution before handing over any power tools, or motorized equipment. She still feels horrible about whacking my leg off with the electric edge trimmer!
Good news is that despite my setbacks, the garden should be ready by early next week depending on the garden soil delivery.

The not-so-good news is that my rain barrel project is not working out as smoothly as I had planned and the best solution I have come up with will require at least one more trip to Home Depot for yet another 5 adapters. Here is my problem: (I should have posted this to or something) I drilled the holes with a 1" hole saw and yet my 3/4" fittings don't fit through unless I screw them through which means that my faucet fixture isn't getting onto the adapter fitting like it should. Solution: Grind the hole a little bigger. This means buying another drill bit or a sander/grinder that I can use with my drill. I originally tried to adapt the set up to accomodate the existing holes by changing from a female faucet with male adapter on the inside to a female adapter on the inside which I could screw a male faucet into from the outside. In theory it should work but in actuality it leaks and unless I want to cut a big enough hole in the top to stick my hand and arm through I will not be able to keep the adapter in place to screw it in. More information than anyone else cares to have I am sure! So, I will get over to my favorite Home Depot and get something to widen the holes a 'tad bit' so that I have clearance on my fixtures. Does anyone have any suggestions for cutting my downspouts? I almost hate to do it after all the expense of having them installed last year.

Oh, another new addition to our gang! We have been given a gorgeous new African Fat Tailed gecko. (That is what I was told it is but I don't think the coloring fits...) No pictures yet as we are letting him adjust to his new home but he is handsome and quite friendly. He was never given a name so we are still working on that as well.

Next weekend is a big one for us and if you want to see the craziness I will be up to you can check it out at this link: Breakout 24 Adventure Race

Kids will be staying at Reneker Family Camp at the Owasippe Boy Scout Camp in a nice 2bdrm cabin with some of the support crew. Fishing, swimming, paddling, roasting marshmallows, and having so much fun!

Why haven't I made it to the store to get the much needed tools, etc for my projects??? Well, I have committed to make a few cakes. Actually, four half-sheet cakes and 120 cupcakes. So the first of the cakes are to be delivered tonight and the rest on the 21st. (Wednesday) I wish I had a commercial kitchen!! I love my life and am so blessed by the way God has given me a passion for so many things. I wouldn't trade a thing!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

More pictures from May

Jordan was given the gift of a mini-vacation at a new indoor waterpark in Gurnee for two nights and three days. What a fun time we had!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Happy Birthday Jordan!

Jordan is 9 today!!

Progress and Updates

Here are some pictures Jennifer took of our work on the raised bed garden last night. We are making progress and hope to have things ready to plant by this weekend. Rain barrels are coming along although we have scrapped the original plans and went with another design. I will post pictures of them when they are finished.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Donita!

My baby sister turned 29 today!

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About Me

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I love Jesus and want my life to be a reflection of His life in me!

A Good Read...

  • Rooms by James L. Rubart
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Any book written by Terri Blackstock
  • O'Malley Series by Dee Henderson
  • Black, White, Red (trilogy) by Ted Dekker
  • Driven by Eternity & Rescued by John Bevere
  • Under Cover by John Bevere