Friday, July 30, 2010

Blame It On The Tetons

Job perks:
1.) new smells daily
2.) decreased worry about planning what to do with my weekday evenings
3.) old-fashioned dirty medical stories to tell at dinner parties
4.) CME money and time

I decided to take advantage of perk #4 and head to Wyoming for some medical education and hiking. Although I was super excited about learning about "Safeguarding Sphincters" (an actual lecture title...which I can post on later if there are interested parties), I was a bit more excited about hiking the Teton Crest Trail, mountain biking, and sleeping on the ground for a week.

The wildflowers were still blooming, the days were sunny, the hitch-hiking was easy, the crest trail was relatively unpopulated, and the company was great. I'm proud to say that I now officially have hiking-in-Chacos tan lines.

Queen Anne's Lace

View of the Teton range from Death Canyon Shelf.

Wildflowers blooming

Say Hello to my little friend

Views from Alaska Basin

From Hurricane pass

The reason I carried a large, heavy camera for the trip

The Grand, shrouded in clouds, on a day not for climbing. The week before we were there 16 climbers were rescued after being caught in a morning Thunderstorm

Attempt at self portrait

After finishing up the Crest Trail, Andrew and I left Jackson Hole to do some hiking in the Wind River Range. We stopped in Pinedale for coffee, pancakes as big (and delicious) as your right ass cheek, and a large earful of boomtown politics.

Seated near some local ranchers, now making their fortune off of natural gas, breakfast quickly became a quiet affair. We sat and listened to stories of apocalyptic planning, where not to go in California (south or west of Bakersfield), how to spend your fortune on mail order precious metals, what women are good for, and how Mexico is a bastion of free speech and individual freedom (and apparently where to move if Obama is elected for another term). Sometimes you just have to eavesdrop.

The Winds were beautiful, and had an untamed feeling that you don't get in the National Parks. I want to return with a fishing pole and a pack full of rice and butter for a few weeks of backcountry wandering and trout eating. I want to do this wandering when the mosquitoes have less of a voracious appetite...or maybe with a complete body suit of netting.

Green River Lakes

Crazy lichen

The canyon and another phallic object

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not the worst idea

Apparently there must be some truth to the old saw that "God watches out for drunks and fools" since last weekend we were, at times, both.

The tandem isn't responsible for my current hobbling around, which probably has to do with my foot position when I pedal. And Robert only nearly crashed us twice, so we remain on speaking terms. I actually grew to like stoking the tandem, because it let me eat and drink and take pictures at 20 mph. And it was a train on the flats and a rocket sled on the descents. Thanks to its aerodynamics (and our need to over compensate for the appearance of Pinky) we blew past quite a few pacelines of much fancier bikes.

Final verdict: not the worst idea.

Self portrait at 20 mph.

Looking back at the pack as we cross the Columbia

Entering Oregon, finally.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Possibly a bad idea

Robert: Hey Andrew, I bought a pink tandem for $500 on Craigslist.
Robert: uh, how about the STP?

And thus the gears were set into motion for three months of training, mainly consisting of drinking beer and skiing. Which may or may not translate to riding an unfamiliar tandem 127 miles today. Good thing that we practiced riding it for 5 miles yesterday, right?

Check back and find out!