Channeling Heinlein

 Finally, a space ship that lands just like the ones in the science fiction books I grew up reading.  Pretty damn cool.  I wonder how they are planning to enter the earth’s atmosphere?  I would think that if they are planning on riding the engine down it would take a ton of fuel.  I guess we’ll see.

Snow To Surf, Part 2

When I got back home to Wisconsin I had 3 whole days to rest before taking off again.  This time my family forced me to take them to the Caribbean island of the Turks and Caicos.  The sacrifices I make for my family are incredible.  There’s not lot to say about our trip.  As usual we rented a tiny clown car which gave the opportunity for me to practice driving on the left side of the road and my wife and kids the opportunity to yell at me tell me I’m doing it wrong.  Our place on the beach had a fantastic view of the most beautiful turquoise water I’ve ever seen.   Being it’s close proximity to Florida the Turks is the perfect distance for a fuel stop when ferrying a plane to South America and I’ve always thought it offered some of the best views in the world.

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Final approach into Providencials International Airport. 

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The rest of the trip was pretty what you’d expect, drinking rum, playing football on the beach, and scuba diving with Number One Son and Super Girl.

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All in all a pretty good trip.  Now back to the salt mines.

From Snow To Surf, Part One

OK, OK, things are just happening too fast for me to keep up in a timely manner.  Apparently I’m taking too much vacation for my own good and I’m falling behind in my obligations, like the blog.  But after a hard days scuba diving in the Turks I guess I have a few minutes to jot down a few random thoughts and post a few pictures.  Mostly post pictures because they don’t require me to think very much, it is St. Patrick’s day after all.

  First off the Back country skiing trip to British Columbia.  Every year a few good friends and I pack up and head off to the mountains to do a little skiing.  A few years ago we got hooked on deep power and the only way to get it without a helicopter is to climb.  So we all bought skis and bindings that allow us to unlock our heels, put climbing skins on and climb mountains in search of our particular addiction.  It’s not easy on a bunch of old guys like us but when waist deep power is the the reward you’d be surprised what you’ll do.

climbing   The conditions started off good with low avalanche conditions and good temperatures.  Unfortunately as we got closer to the top of the mountain where the hut we would be staying in for the next week the great climbing snow we’d been enjoying turned into hard wind packed ice that our climbing skins couldn’t get a purchase on.  What followed was a grueling test of endurance where we were forced to take our skis off and climb up the ice covered slopes on our hands and knees.  The fact that we all had 35-40 pound packs full of clothes, sleeping bags, food and the essentials…..you know, wine.  Scrambling up that final pitch was tough and the senior member of our group almost didn’t make it.  But we’re a team and we all pitched in and got him to the top.

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Once we made it to the top we settled into the hut that would be our home for the next 6 days.  It was a great place with all/most the comforts of home.  That is if you have to walk 50 yards through thigh deep snow to go to the bathroom and melt snow for drinking water.  But it was worth it.  It had started snogging when we started climbing the mountain and did ‘t stop until after we left.

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But what goes up must come down, and when you’re talking about massive amounts of snow in the mountains that means avalanches.  Every day we were up in the hut the avalanche danger rose and rose to the point that when we finally had to leave the rating was moving from high to extreme.  The ski out was pretty damn scary.  It seemed like every slope that we’d been playing in just the day before was on a hair trigger getting ready to dump a ton of white death on us at any minute.  The most dangerous part was an area below a major slide path called “The Mousetrap” When it was time to traverse the Mousetrap I went first to make a track through the waist deep snow.  The guys selected me to go first because I was the strongest and fastest.  At least that’s what they said, I think it was because I’d just gotten my new hip and they didn’t think my life was worth as much.  But in the end clean living and a pure heart prevailed, not mine of course but someone’s I’m sure.  Either way the crew didn’t get killed again.

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Later Dudes

Has anyone seen my kitchen sink?  Getting ready to leave on a 9 day back country ski trip and I think I’m going to have a little trouble getting all this crap up a mountain.  Everything you see here is going in my backpack and we don’t even have the food yet.  OK the whole bottle of Bacardi 151 rum  isn’t coming, most but not all.  Anyway I’ll be out of touch for a while so talk amongst yourselves.

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Who?

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I was out checking my trail cameras the other day when an unseen owl scared the cr*p out of me by waiting until I was directly under the branch he was sitting on before taking off.  If you’ve never had an owl takeoff six feet over your head let me tell you it’s IMPRESSIVE!  The damn things are BIG and completely silent as they glide through the trees.  I think this particular owl is purposely messing with me.  Here’s a picture of him mooning me on one of my trail cameras, at least I think he’s mooning me.  Hard to tell with owls.

Routine Maintenance

Seven or eight years ago I had a semi rough parachute landing, hey one out of thirteen thousand isn’t too bad.  Apparently I damaged my labrum..labirum..laybrum…I hurt my hip.  Of course I was too stubborn to go to the hospital so my injury went UN-diagnosed.  After seven years of soccer, skiing and skydiving I developed a pretty nasty bone spur and had worn all the cartilage off of my hip and the pain and loss of movement has finally gotten so bad that I need to get it fixed.  At 51 I’m a little young to be having hip surgery but I’m also too  young to be crippled.  So tomorrow I go under the knife to fix the hitch I’ve got in my my get along.   Wish me luck!

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The Boys of Fall

Number One Son after a better game.con n kerr aug 23It’s fall in America and that means many things to me, deer hunting, Musky fishing, the skydiving season coming to a close but most importantly, Football.  Now I’m not really a big sports fan, I don’t follow many teams, I don’t know much about the players or statistics.  I love playing sports but I don’t spend much time watching them. That is except for the teams my kids play on and right now number one son is playing football.  He’s a starting tight end and the high school team and is having the time of his life.  Up until last Friday his team was undefeated and NOS had caught a lot of passes and fulfilled every fathers dream by scoring a touchdown in a high school football game.  He’s beat up but having a great season.  Friday night his team played their arch rivals for the conference championship.  They’re was a big buildup to the game, both teams were undefeated but the other team had beaten us the last five years in a row and it looked like this year might the year we had a chance to win.  The game was hard fought and at half time we were up 10-7.  The emotions were running high in the stands and I thought I was going to have a heart attack as they battled in the second half and the other team took the lead.  We fought hard but in the end it was the other team’s fans who were celebrating.  After the game my wife and I joined the other parents out on the field to console the boys on their loss.  It was quite a scene, sad sweaty boys covered in mud limping off the field in utter dejection.  NOS came up to me sobbing.  He took the loss hard, saying that he’d let his team down.  I tried to point out that he’d had a great game catching three passes for 45 yards and had done a great job blocking.  My words didn’t seem to make difference, they’d lost and were devastated.   I’ll give him a few days before talking to him about just how lucky he is to be part of something so wonderful and caring so deeply about it that losing seems like the end of the world.  I’d trade places with him in a heartbeat.  Their season isn’t over, even though they lost the conference championship they are still in the playoffs and their first game is this Friday.  They won’t have to face the school that beat them because they are a division one school and we are in division two.  I think going on to win a state championship would really help ease the sting of last Friday’s loss.  I don’t think I’ve done a very good job explaining just what it means to the kids to play football but the video below says it all.

Fight’s On!

It’s finally fall in western Wisconsin and as many of you know that means it’s deer hunting season!  I’ve been working hard all summer getting my hunting land ready for the start of bow season, clearing trails, putting up tree stands, making watering holes and putting up trail cameras.  I really enjoy working in the woods it’s a big change of pace from my normal day of flying and jumping out of airplanes. The trail cameras are the most fun to play with.  I attach them to trees in a spot I think a deer might come by at some point and hope that the camera’s motion sensor triggers the shutter release and captures something interesting.  I really should leave the cameras alone for a few days before checking on them but sometimes I can’t help myself and check them daily to see if I got any cool pictures.  Here’s one I got yesterday of two bucks fighting late at night under one of my tree stands.  I hope my son or I can see one of them in the daytime with a bow in our hands.  More to come

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