Friday, April 14, 2017

Isn’t it Ironic

This blog began as a tale of castoffs found while running. It’s taken some diversions over the years. Along the way I’ve written about movies and music and mountains. Occasionally the treasures from the road I’ve discovered not while running, but while biking — my favorite mode of transportation (it’s way better than running). On even rarer occasion I’ve spotted something from the seat of a car and either stopped on the spot or returned on foot or bike for the find. Such was the case today.

Jay and I were wheeling into the parking lot of Wendy’s on North Henderson Street Wednesday afternoon when my eye caught a red object in the road. Something silvery sprouted from one end. I thought perhaps it was a tape measure; you know the kind: circular, cloth/vinyl tape, metal loop on the end for hooking over screws or nails or whatever.

I was wrong. I hopped out when Jay halted the car to wait for a parking space and dashed into the street. That tape measure turned out to be a little bluetooth speaker, about 2-by-4 inches. I snatched up the little Altec Lansing H2O Mini. The silvery loop was a tiny, twisted carabiner for hanging the speaker from a belt loop or a key ring or something. The red rubber shell was coated in road grit. I wondered if it would work or I would have to throw it away.

I’ll get back to that later.

Well before we reached Henderson Street, just a few blocks north of the newspaper on Prairie Street — fittingly near the railroad tracks — lay a piece of dark cloth of some sort. I decided I’d ride that way home to have a closer look. Thankfully it was still there after work: a stocking cap, bearing at Amtrak logo, “Central Division” stitched beneath. Looks like official gear!

The stocking cap just came out of the washer and is lying flat to dry. It’ll see use next winter.
Susan plugged the speaker into a charger when I brought it home and connected her phone via bluetooth as soon as it registered it was powered up. Music to our ears! Not the best sound (“weak audio performance,” noted I haven’t played it long enough to test the claim of “mediocre battery life.” But I’ve heard worse little speakers — bigger ones, too — and it filled the car with the windows down on a trip to Monmouth today. Not bad — especially for the price. (I wouldn’t pay $39 for it, but I didn’t have to.)

Anyway, the point of this exercise is not that I found stuff. I ran again. I haven’t moved my legs in quasi-running motion since September and the Runway Incursion 5K put on by the National Stearman Fly-In. Run Galesburg Run is coming up in a little over a month. Then there’s the Railroad Days Run a few weeks later.

Let the training begin.

Today's Stats (April 13, 2017)
Temp: 54 degrees F
Distance: 2.05 miles
Weekly Total: 2.05 miles
Treasure: Altec Lansing H2O Mini speaker (red); Amtrak Central Division stocking cap (navy)

iPhone Playlist (Shuffle):
Because - Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Jo Anderson, Dana Fuchs, T.V. Carpio & Martin Luther McCoy
Sailin’ Shoes - Robert Palmer
Scandinavian Skies - Billy Joel
Red Dress - James McMurtry
Open Your Heart - Madonna
Oklahoma - The Call
All I Want Is You - U2
Back 2 Good - MB 20
A Face to Call Home - John Mayer

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Go Take a Hike

NOTE: I began this memoir in the summer of 2015. I became sidetracked — lost inspiration — as sometimes happens with a writing project. I was reminded of it as I scanned 36-year-old photos today. I touched it up and finished it finally. Hopefully more is to come.

1985 Ponil staff
Days off.

Everybody loves the weekend, but those two words hold special meaning for Philmont staffers. The possibilities are endless.

As much as staffers enjoy program (scout’s honor) and interacting with scouts from all over the world, everybody needs a break from routine. I hesitate to call it “work,” because, well, work in the modern sense implies drudgery. And while Philmont staffers may bust their butts, they do it out of love, and that’s not drudgery, by definition.

A couple days off might find you watching clothes spin for hours in the Base Camp laundry, or trekking through the backcountry to visit friends or take in a program you missed as a camper. Some might equate the phrase with “road trip” — who doesn’t want to experience the wonder of Taos?

Trust me, 30 years on you’ll wish you’d spent more of those days off hiking than doing laundry — or even road-tripping to Taos. Clothes that stand on their own have the advantage of not needing to be folded, and you can take the family to Taos on your tour of the Southwest when the kids are old enough to appreciate the culture and not ask, “Are we there yet?” every 20 miles.

Ponil cantina, left, and trading post
I undertook two noteworthy treks on my days off at Philmont, one each summer. The last was 30 years ago this month — next week in fact. The North Country hike began August 13, according to my summer journal, near the end of the season when crews were low and Poñil could spare its cantina and trading post managers at the same time. Well, in theory. We paid upon our return, believe me.

Cantina manager Dave Mote and I decided to head up the canyon and climb Baldy Mountain, stopping for an overnight at the ridge-top cabin of Henry Buruel.

A review of my 1985 summer journal shows Dave departed August 12 for Pueblano and I left the next day to meet him there. I pick up information from reading my old words, but realize so many details are lost.

“I get to leave at 4:30, so I definitely will be there before dark this time. We’ll even get to watch their campfire. It is really good.”

Dave, right, and I lunching in Ewells Park

Pueblano is just up the trail from Ponil. We must have hiked up before for their campfire and arrived after dark. Not sure I recall that, but it is apparent from my comments.

August 14 saw us “from Pueblano to Baldy Town via Ewells Park. Then it was on to French Henry. We went through program there and went up through Copper Park to French Henry Burrel’s (sic) mine and are sleeping in the old cabin there. The elevation is 10,825 ft. The cabin is built right on the edge of the ridge. It’s dilapidated and quite scary.”

Creaky cabin
Scary is right. My fear of heights kicked into high gear as we climbed the narrow trail up the ridge, leaving the protection of trees below us. It seemed any step could send us tumbling down the hill. I began reciting the Lord’s Prayer. And found I didn’t know it. I think Dave filled in the gaps for me.

Whether or not the prayer helped I do not know. But we arrived safely and dropped our packs at the cabin to explore the area. The cabin lists to the south, leaning out over the valley rather than into the ridge. Its two rooms contained a wood stove or two and a couple cot frames. Dave and I put the rickety cot frames — brought up by previous staffers no doubt — together and laid a double-wide spring-set atop them for our sleeping bags. This we arranged in the room closest to the door, should the cabin become unstable and necessitate a hasty exit.

August 15, we rose early and hiked back down to a snow-splotched Copper Park. At least I think there was snow. It is possible I am confusing this visit with my 1983 Mountain Man trek, which took our crew through Copper and over Baldy. I know there was snow that year, and we enjoyed improvised snow-cones with genuine snow topped with “bug juice” drink mix powder. “Then we left our packs, went up Baldy, and stayed there for awhile. Atilla (Ballity, director of conservation) was up there putting up a plaque in honor of Norton Clapp. He donated the Baldy area and he is about to die, so they’re putting up a memorial. We helped put it in and then went to Baldy Town.”

Installing history on Baldy
Helping install the bronze plaque was a fulfilling experiences — being part of history. I wonder if it’s still there. Maybe our part in history has already been obliterated by time and the elements. Atilla had found a nice flat rock large enough for the (roughly) 10-by-12 bronze plate and was using hammer and handheld cross-shaped bit to drill four mounting holes. Tap, turn, tap, turn, tap, turn, tap, turn. Remove bit, blow out rock dust. Repeat. Once the metal rectangle was affixed with bolts, he sealed the edges with clear silicone.

“From there we went back to Copper and down to Pueblano through French Henry. It was a long day. We taped Pueblano’s campfire and slept there. Tomorrow we go home.”

Oddly, I didn’t mention the presence of certain Base Camp staff in Baldy Town. Or maybe he was government — Forest Service or DNR or something. But a naturalist of some sort was in camp to trap a bear that, upon our arrival, was already treed at Baldy Town, though we were too fatigued to make our way up the hillside to where the action was. Hence my photo of Dave sitting forlornly on a rock wall. I can’t believe we passed up that experience because we were “too tired.”

Thankfully I would receive a second chance 15 years later when I made my solo trip back to Philmont for a Philmont Staff Association service project. While at Indian Writings, I believe it was, the full-time ranger from Ponil had found a bear milling about camp. The ranger’s dog was chasing the scrawny bear all through the camp. It was nuts. I even took photos that aren’t lousy. Not great, but not lousy.

My journal isn’t the best record of daily events. But I am thankful I made some notes that summer. I was pretty regular, even if the commentary was hardly enlightening. The next entry, only a day later, finds me back in camp, noting that, “Only one crew was here today plus one pass through. I found out that we aren’t supposed to gather until the 21st. That’s B.S. I have to get home soon. School opens the 24th and classes start on the 28th. Plus it might be nice to see my family for a while.

“Today I also sent home another $288.72. I got $8.00 in cash to last until I leave; I hope I can find a cheap ride home!”

Such details — pay, school dates for Western Illinois University — are interesting. To me anyway. As are other notes:

August 18, 1985: “It was neat to watch the wranglers run the horses through camp up towards Dean Canyon for winter.”

August 19, 1985: “We had super omlets (sic) for lunch. They had cheese, peppers, sausage, and Picanté sauce in them. They were good! Dave is down to two canisters of Root Beer and about ten Slim Jims. That worked out well.”

August 20, 1985: “We’re ready to go. Not much time left now. All I have left to inventory is any candy and that won’t take long. Today or tomorrow will be my last entry. This is it.”

Previous Philmont Blog Entries

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tired of the Trash

I suppose execution is a bit extreme. So I’ll propose an alternative punishment for litterbugs. How about we conduct a lottery and the winner gets to pay a visit to a litterbug’s house and destroy some of their property? 

Forgive me, but I’m becoming quite perturbed at the profusion of refuse along our streets, roads and sidewalks and in our parks, yards and grassy terraces. Sure, some of the trash is undoubtedly inadvertent spillage — waste that blows from a can knocked over by animals or high winds and what have you. But I’m pretty confident in stating the vast majority of the crap assaulting my eyes and degrading the landscape is deposited intentionally by careless jerks.

Again tonight I was drawn to collect trash on my ride home from work. Again I focused on my little town, East Galesburg. Again I was fuming by the time I arrived at my driveway.

Today I was prepared: I brought a bag to fill with garbage rather than limiting myself to two handfuls, which would have been awkward while pedaling.  So, at the first sign of trash — just west of the Main Street underpass — I stopped, stooped and scooped up a plastic bottle. A little farther on, a flattened beer can. Then another bottle. And another. And another… More cans, the odd plastic wrapper, mangled remnants of a Styrofoam cup from Beck’s Express Mart.

There was plenty more, but my bag was quickly full. Yes, it is ironic that I complain of litter and then collect it in one of the most ubiquitous items of litter, the plastic grocery sack. But I collect those, too, and stuff them in the recycling barrel at Hy-Vee. The thing is, I see and pick up far more plastic bottles and aluminum cans than anything else. The bottles go to the recycling bin, the cans are cashed in at G&M Distributors (for about 35 cents a pound, or about a penny a can).

According to the Container Recycling Institute, “Around 899 thousand tons of PET plastic bottles were recycled nationwide in 2013, but more than two times as much PET was wasted: 2 million tons.” lists “22 Preposterous Facts about Plastic Pollution.” Here are a few of them:

  • In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments—like grocery bags, straws and soda bottles—are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day.
  • Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
  • 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
  • The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production (bioplastics are not a good solution as they require food source crops).
  • Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year (source: Brita)
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
  • One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

Now, I understand how hard it might be to give a hoot about a plastic island twice the size of Texas floating off the cost of California or a million dead sea birds (we don’t live anywhere near the ocean). But just bring it home. Take a look at our streets and lawns and highways and byways. All that damned plastic and paper and aluminum is just plain ugly. Will scores of families move to town and manufacturers set up shop here if we clean up our act? Not necessarily. But wouldn’t it be a pretty place to live? 

This looks much better than litter-strewn ditches.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: One piece of the solution would be to institute a nickel or dime deposit on glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers in Illinois. Hell, do it nationwide — several states already have such policies. Consumers will be reluctant to toss cans and bottles in the gutter if they’re worth real money. And even if some jerks still pitch their half-swilled Pepsi cans and Dasani bottles out the car window, they’ll be snatched up quickly by not only the environmentally conscious, but by anyone looking to make a quick buck. Today alone I would have pocketed $3.20 (on a 10-cent deposit) instead of a mere 14 cents.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll support the lottery idea — or execution.

Today’s Trash

12 water bottles (4 partially full)

5 sports drink/juice bottles

1 glass beer bottle

14 aluminum cans

Monday, June 22, 2015

Give the gift of life

“Excuse me, sir. I just want to say thank you,” said the woman lying in the maroon recliner with a plastic tube dangling from her arm. I was headed to the restroom after my 90-minute nap at Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center. “My grandson is being treated for cancer and he has been receiving a lot of platelets from people like you,” she explained. “Thank you.

The drops of blood on the pad are unusual, really.
I have been donating blood since I was 18 with a handful of interruptions after tattoos. In 31 years I have never come face to face with a stranger whose life was touched by my “gift.” Sure, I know folks who have have fought cancer, and I know they appreciate blood donors. But it was something special and humbling to receive that thank you.

Let’s get this straight. This is not about me. I don't thrive on kudos and public accolades or recognition. We all like to feel appreciated, but I am not looking for congratulations or plaudits. If you want to pat me on the back, do this: go and give. If you cannot, then recruit someone as your proxy.

Jean and I chatted later at the snack table and she explained that 6-year-old Gabe was diagnosed at age 5 with kidney cancer. The troubled organ and a massive tumor were removed and he's been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment at St. Jude’s Peoria affiliate. She asked about the plateletpheresis process.

“So they take it out like whole blood and keep the ‘gold’?” she said, chuckling and drawing sympathetic laughs from me and Donna, the donor coordinator at MVRBC. “Well, it is like liquid gold.

Indeed. The accumulated platelets are a golden hue.

Plateletpheresis is the process of removing whole blood from a donor, separating the blood into its components, keeping the platelets, and then returning the remaining blood components to the donor. The major components of whole blood are red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. ( 

Jean’s grandson has been receiving gobs of platelet transfusions over the past four days, she said. “Its what's keeping him alive, she said.

Take that in. Blood donors save lives. I don’t know if Gabe has received my platelets from previous donations. But somebody has. And when I have given whole blood, my pints have been pumped into accident victims and surgery patients.

And here
s the deal: It costs you nothing but a little time. Whole blood donations take about 30 minutes start to finish, plateletpheresis takes two to three hours. The first 10 to 15 minutes is spent filling out a medical history questionnaire. A number of factors determine the time required for platelet donation. I typically do a double, which takes 90 minutes or more. I nap or read or watch Food Network TV, interspersing conversation with the staff.

The result: You help save a human life. You give somebody a fighting chance. it truly is the gift of life.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mouth Organ Blues

I’ve wanted to play harmonica since I was a child. Not enough to actually learn it, mind you, but the desire is buried somewhere in me. 

From the time I started taking piano lessons from Eleanor Oxley in the basement of Flesher House of Music I wanted a harmonica of my own. I would ogle the mouth organs in the display case at the front of the store while I waited my turn under the tutelage of Mrs. Oxley, whose name indicates she was about 108 back in 1974.

I wish I had pictures of that shop to share — it was my candy store. There were horns of every description, drums, pianos, electric organs, sheet music and musical accoutrements galore. But what captured my imagination most was the Hohner harmonica display case, from the tiny Hohner Mini Harp to the classic Hohner Marine Band model all the way up to the double-sided Echo Harp. I wasn’t so interested in the Melodicas in the bottom of the case back then, but I’m rather fascinated now that my memory is jogged.

Anyway, it was around that time that my cousins offered to give me one of their harmonicas. But some sense of pride prevented me accepting the proffered gift — I’ll save and buy my own, I told them. Alas, it never happened. My interest waned.

Years later I came into possession of several of the instruments, all of which linger lonely in a box in the attic, longing to be played. First I was given a couple by my friend Keith Flesher when I helped empty his parents’ music store when they closed up shop in 1996. Then I inherited a couple more when my grandfather died. I have one in G, a couple in C, an Echo Harmonium. I think I passed along a chromatic (the kind with the push-button slide to change the key) to my now ex-father-in-law. 

All this has nothing to do with today’s run, during which I found nothing on the road or in the ditch worth salvaging. But a couple weeks back I did happen upon an inspirational find while biking to work. There in the road lay a record album. The cardboard jacket was face-down on the pavement and at first I ignored it. Curiosity slapped the back of my head and I wheeled around to check it out.

There for future listening pleasure — for the disc is in fine condition — was the Columbia stereo recording of “Peg O’ My Heart” by Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats. The title song was the 1947 hit that catapulted the group to stardom.

“In the late Forties, the Harmonicats created a world-wide sensation with their infectious performance of this beloved old song,” reads the album sleeve. The trio of Jerry Murad, Don Les and Al Fiore must have been a big deal in their day — at least with aficionados of harmonica music: “They were the first harmonica players to be admitted to the American Federation of Musicians.”

Anyway, you can find their music on YouTube and iTunes.

I am pretty sure this resembles the display case at
Flesher House of Music back in my piano days.
Today's Stats (May 27, 2015)
Temp: 79 degrees F
Distance: 2.53 miles
Weekly Total: 2.53 miles
Treasure: Nothing.

iPod Playlist (Melissa’s Mix):
The Grand Illusion - Styx
More Than This - Roxy Music
The Lie - Matthew West
Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own - U2
You’re Only Human (Second Wind) - Billy Joel
Let Your Light Shine - Keb’ Mo’
Against the Grain - Garth Brooks

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nerd Alert: Into the Dungeon

I first killed a man when I was 15. It wasn’t in Reno, and I didn’t do it just to watch him die. He deserved it; he had ill intentions toward the lady I was sworn to protect.

You see, I was engaged to provide safe passage for a duchess. When her coach was waylaid by brigands, I fulfilled my duty and ran the bastards through with my longsword.

If my actions seem unbefitting a middle-teenager, you should know I was a late bloomer.

I didn't start playing Dungeons & Dragons until I was a sophomore in high school. Many gamers began pilfering purses, ransacking castles and slaying marauding monsters and lowlife humans before they had reached puberty.

Recent events have got me reflecting on my D&D days — or nights as was more often the case. The reverie erupted as I read David M. Ewalt’s “Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It.” I discovered the 2013 tome in the Galesburg Public Library. After checking it out a second time — because I forgot I’d actually read it the first time (I know that doesn’t sound like much of a testimonial, but it really is a wonderful book) — I now own my own copy.

Ewalt covers much ground in relating the history of the game and his experience in it. It is fascinating and makes me a trifle jealous. Besides having an incredibly awesome title, the book is just the sort I once dreamed of writing (did I even come up with the same title?).

Well, a quick search reveals I wrote about all that two years ago. So this is not virgin territory. What new can I say, without simply writing a review of Ewalt’s excellent book? You can check it out for yourself. OK, so I mentioned “recent events.” That implies more than the singular incident of reading a new book.

Which brings us to my newest Facebook habit: saving links. It’s DVR for Fb. No longer must I indulge my interests immediately upon passing over an interesting post by a friend. When it involves a link to an intriguing story I simply click on that little arrow in the upper right corner of the post and “save link” for later entertainment and continue scrolling. 

Illustration from AD&D Players Handbook
Here are a few I’ve stumbled upon recently:

Game on: Nerd nightlife thrives in the Twin Cities

The 20 Most WTF Magical Items in Dungeons & Dragons

12 Nutty Dungeons & Dragons Media Mentions From the 1980s

What's Next For The New Dungeons & Dragons?

Which RPG Class Are You?

The 10 Most Insane Old School Dungeons & Dragons Rules

4 Overlooked Classic TSR Modules You Should Run

That takes us back to February and skips over all the bicycle, food and beer links that demanded I save them.

Some observations:

Nerd Nightlife: I love that so many adults have managed to stick with gaming, whether D&D or some other RPG or similar entertainment. Not all of us have done so. I miss it, and yet attempts to rekindle the thrill of those initial expeditions into fantasyland never matched my memories.

WTF Magical Items: As I wrote the Fb friend who posted this and many of the other links above, cursed magic items are terrific tools for livening up a campaign and injecting a little conflict among the adventure party. Other items, like the Bountiful Spade (Official description: Characters who use this enchanted farm implement to turn over the earth prior to planting a field receive a +3 bonus on their agriculture proficiency check for that year. I feel confident in saying that any D&D game that needs its player to perform an agriculture proficiency check for an entire year is the worst D&D game ever.) are  the sort of object a character stumbles upon in a crappy hoard and catalogs for out-of-play use (your magic user wants to establish a keep and the Spade will ensure healthy crops for his little fiefdom).

Media Mentions: The ’80s were rife with paranoid parents: Rock ’n roll music is rotting my kid’s mind; D&D turned my boy into a devil-worshiper. Thankfully my parents didn’t freak out about my gaming habit. Did they understand the game? No. On the rare occasion that I came home before they hit the hay, Dad would ask, “Did you win?” Not really a fitting question; adventures weren’t summed up with wins and losses. Though I suppose surviving our latest encounter with Asmodeus would go in the W column. Anyway, Mum and Dad knew that gaming kept me out of trouble. Hell, I always pointed out that my grades improved second semester of my sophomore year, after I started playing D&D.

Insane Old School Rules: This piece on begins, “The First Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was hugely popular and a kick-ass fun time. It was also known as a numbers-heavy intellectual and imaginative exercise (which was why some parents and educators backed it as a hobby — even sponsored gaming groups in afterschool programs). The nature of the game was both abstract (no gameboard; play happens in your head, for the most part) and concrete (weird dice, many tables to consult, a massive and growing amount of rulesets, books, and supplements); so it's only natural that some parts of the game would be, well, a bit cumbersome. Or, put another way, utterly nuts. (The effects of which could perhaps be rolled on the insanity-type table on page 83 of the DMG.)” 

I love all the tables and charts!
 Of course the abundance of tables and rules were a comfort and attraction, too. David Ewalt covers this in his book. There’s a whole chapter on the latest edition of D&D — version 5 — which seeks to unify and simplify the game for players across generations. Funny thing is, we adjusted the rules to suit our style of play — no need for the company (TSR then, Wizards of the Coast now) to do that for us. We simply discarded or modified the rules as befit our game.

Much of it was common sense. Who needs a table to determine encumbrance? We all know gold is heavy. Even a fighter of 18/00 strength isn’t going to lug around 30,000 gold pieces on his person. Logic, man.

s Stats (Sunday, April 26, 2015)
Temp: 48 degrees F
Distance: 3.15 miles
Weekly Total: 3.15 miles
Treasure: Nothing today.

iPod Playlist (Shuffle):
Clocks - Coldplay
Maria Maria - Santana, feat. The Project G&B
I Won’t Give Up - Jason Mraz
Welcome to the Machine - Pink Floyd
Safe and Sound - Capital Cities
Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Running Again

I knew it was a good day to be hitting the road again when the first song up on my iPod — at random — was Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell.” A bit prophetic?

Which way?
It wasn’t exactly a hell of a run, but I ran “like hell.” It’s been a while. I was hitting the elliptical machine at the Y fairly regularly the first three months of this year along with other exercises, and I’ve been trying to bike more now that the weather is improving. But my feet haven’t pounded pavement in months. My body had forgotten what a difference it is.

But we’re putting the Y membership on standby for a while and we’ll turn our efforts to out-of-doors activity — more biking to work for me and more running. Besides shaping up for a summer wedding — wait’ll you see my legs in a kilt — I need to prepare for my fourth Run Galesburg Run experience and probable appearance in my sixth Railroad Days Run.

After two half marathons at RGR I’ll return to the 5K circuit. If that goes well, maybe I’ll upgrade to the 10K for RR Days. No promises. And I’ve been warned not to let Facebook polling determine how far I run in the future. That’s what landed me on the death race last year. But what a finish!

The Gale Lake lighthouse falls further into disrepair.
Anyway, I’m rambling a bit here. I haven’t blogged since I don’t know when — the redwood run last August? Today seemed a good day to return to the road. It is my 49th birthday. What better way to mark the start of a new year than with the exhilaration of a spring run? Well, there are plenty to be sure, but I thought a run would be a good one.

At least after all the time away it was a productive outing. Those familiar with this venture know the theme is crazy (and mundane) stuff I find on my runs (and sometimes even bike rides). Recent rides have yielded an Alan Jackson CD (all but one song play fine) and a Best of John Holmes DVD (don’t ask). 

Today’s run netted a pair of scrub pants, traditional blue, from Genesis Medical Center (size small). OK, I am guessing they came from a Genesis employee because “Genesis” is stamped across the top of the right back pocket. How they ended up along the side of Mattison Street is anyone’s guess. Naughty Nurses’ Night?

Failing to carry a plastic bag, I was unable to collect the dozen-plus aluminum cans littering the roadsides. Noted for next time, even though it slows me down. Actually, I really need to take a walk this weekend and just pick up trash along State and Main — it is horrible. Yo, Boy Scouts! Who needs a service project?

Today's Stats (April 15, 2015)
Temp: 43 degrees F
Distance: 3.1 miles
Weekly Total: 3.1 miles
Treasure: 1 pair blue scrub pants - Genesis (size small)

iPod Playlist (Shuffle):
Run Like Hell - Pink Floyd
Mr. Bad Example (live) - Warren Zevon
Sarah - Ray LaMontagne
Put Your Hands Up - Matchbox Twenty
All I Need - Matchbox Twenty
Something ‘Bout a Woman - Lady Antebellum
Let Me Be There - Olivia Newton John
Lenny/Man On the Side (live) - John Mayer
Let the Waters Rise - Mikeschair