Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekend range time

We decided to get some range time in, but with a hatred of structured shooting range we headed into the woods. Using my awesome skills, I made some target stands that were only 10% cock-eyed and crooked. Someone forgot to charge the battery for the skill saw (and that meant the saws-all) and I didn't feel like dragging the extension cord out. Good thing we have hand saws.
These target stands were nice, ended up not working out as planned, the selected location was sloped and soft causing the anchoring spikes to be short. We laid them sideways and they worked. The staple gun broke, then the packing tape somehow lost all it's stickiness. Masking tape holding targets on for the win.

After warming up we did quick draw drills on 3 targets, 2 rounds each. Speed and accuracy. I averaged about about 7 seconds from draw to last round out, all shots were on target. Distance was 35-40 feet, targets were spaced 20 feet apart in an arc.
Other drills were scanning and having someone call out what target to engage, misfires, reloads, etc. It was surprising to some how the anxiety level went up even before they started to shoot.

The AR's came out and we did the same type of drills, 5 rounds on target from a low ready or high ready position. From buzzer to last round I was around 8 seconds with an average of 14 hits out of 15 rounds fired. We did some move and shoot, untamed, and all of us were about 75% accurate here, 30 rounds (5 per target from left to right and back). Distance was 105-110 feet for the rifle shooting.

These type of drills are a lot more realistic vs. standing at a range table and being very controlled for accuracy. We are looking forward to some more range fun in a few weeks, with some harder drills already planned. Moving and shooting is the hardest, there are a lot more things to consider and try to deal with, especially when you sprint from cover to cover.

147gr 9mm JHP. This is our new carry ammo, it arrived on Saturday so we tested it out some. The kick is a little more noticeable in the M&P Shield, but the Xdm seemed the same. It's what we expected, we wanted something with a little more punch vs. the 115gr. (or lower grain) store shelf standard hollow points.
Prancing Rock, enjoying fetching, swimming and the occasional freak out when a bicycle went by. This is in reservoir one, dog swimming allowed.
Here is a view of the area where we call home. That's cheyenne mountain, home of NORAD. This photo is taken in between the two reservoirs.
Another view, this one includes the upper reservoir (taken from the north side), no entrance allowed. This is 1/4 mile away and up from the other reservoir it gets very little traffic around it so it's usually a lot more relaxing and enjoyable. I had a dog nip me while I was running on Saturday and we had an aggressive large standard poodle charge us while hiking on Sunday. The charge caused Rock to freak out and he slipped on a bank and landed on some sharp pointy sticks. Luckily no harm was done but I was beyond pissed off.
Why can't we be left alone to enjoy ourselves? Grrr.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Moab, Utah adventure

It was a spur of the moment trip for April or even May that we just got back from. Sometimes just dropping everything and taking a few days for fun/adventure is the only way to go. It's also the only time work and house sitting schedules would permit the trip.

We rented a condo so we could cook, it's not only unhealthy to eat out for every meal, but it's really expensive in Moab. 2 half racks of ribs, 2 root beers = $45.00 expensive.

Flat tire #1 of 3 (low tire more like it although we had to clean a bead out on one stop). We finally realized the tire pressure we normally run was too low for the slick rock slope turns. Like good preppers, we had on board air and supplies. It felt nice to be prepared for what happened.

We also had a lot of wrenches and tools so we were able to help these cyclists who has a pedal fall out. It would have been a nasty walk out, we were really in the middle of nowhere and it would have sucked to push a bike around.

These are the typical flat rocks that the trails crossed over. We of course loved the scenery with the snow covered mountains in the distance.

Retro helmet at a snack and water break.


Looking over the city of Moab, a 3+ thousand foot drop in front of me. I may have dressed like batman but I didn't try to fly.

Scenery #1

Golden crack is normally a 6-7 hour drive with our big rigs. We made it there and back in 5, including a long lunch break.

I'm at the top of this hill, I have no fear. That would explain the wheelies and near roll overs I seemed to be doing on every trail. I blamed it on gravity not liking my 210 pound frame. I went over so far one time that I dented one of the bars that is under the rear of my seat. I'm not sure how it didn't go over (and then down the 8 foot rocky ledge I was teetering on).

More scenery, cliffs and ledges everywhere.

and more scenery with really cool rock surfaces

I wanted to watch some huge rocks crash down, but settled for a drive by instead. The rocks that did fall at other times would send shards out for hundreds of feet, it all seemed so amazing to just drive around and see it all.

even more scenery

spires (also landmarks

We had a great time, ran a total of 8 trails and never got lost. We made sure to bring plenty of water and enough food/snacks for 2 days. One important thing we packed on the ATV's each day were shoes. If you have never walked a distance in motorcycle riding boots, then you don't know misery. There wasn't water to be seen on the trails, but since it's spring we knew all we had to do was dig down in the sand and it would make a puddle, but obviously water is a big resource you have to bring or you would be in real trouble.

The weather was cool in the morning and 70 or so in the afternoon. Sort of like the week we are supposed to have now that we are at home.

Monday, March 17, 2014

from winter jacket to watering the yard

that's how Colorado weather is so awesome.

We headed out on an adventure to look at property in an area neither of us had ever been to. It's a little more drive time, but it has 3 ways in that include right over the mountains off the beaten path. The area is lush with a lot of grassy plains, high peaks and of course trees. There wasn't much for sale, but we had a good time of it. We wrote down names of a few real estate companies to look into when we got back.
We saw a lot of antelope, horses, cows and zebra's. Yes, someone out in the woods has 3 zebra's.

This was a pit stop for a doggie break, but I thought the rocks were interesting. Probably full of rattlesnakes.
The real estate we did look up was expensive, 40% more than anything we had been looking at to the south. The "town" consists of a small restaurant/art gallery and 2 bars. This is the sort of place that you buy in bulk and if you don't have something you need it's an hour or more away. We will keep it in mind and go look again this summer so we know what it's like mid-year.

We both repacked our bags. Some of the winter gear was replaced, batteries were checked and swapped out, etc.
This is my bag with a lot of the gear spread across the dining room table. We need a room with a 50 foot table. It was important to just do a once over, check the medical stuff, clothing, etc. We swapped out our freeze dried food with MRE's. They weigh more but give you more without the need to rehydrate them.
All repacked and ready to go, Rock snout not included. 40 Pounds including mags, ammo, SBR, etc.   It's just the right weight for me and for the gear. When I strap on my sidearm with a couple of mags it goes up but it's manageable even for some short sprints and longer jogs.

Sunday was yard work day, including turning the compost pile, turning the planting areas and watering the grass. The list for the weekend was 95% completed, including a nice breakfast.
I almost made it through 1 of the 2 back issues of BHM. A nice sunrise to start the day, a good run in 70 degree sun. Tonight is another run, this one is a beast, 1.5 miles up with 1200 foot elevation gain and then 2.5 down. I do like to turn around but sort of feel like I am cutting myself short when I do.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

No good deed and what $100,000 looks like

I'm a pessimist, it's always worked well for me and at least it keeps me honest about how the world really is/can be. I also think no good deed goes unpunished and good guys finish last.
Returning the purse thing was my good deed, and the dentist telling me I need an implant to the tune of $4500+ is the punishment. Perhaps that's not really the case, I'm the one who dove into a pool smashing my face on the bottom in a booze fueled moment of bliss after my time in the sandbox.

The technology for implants is a lot better than 9 years ago when I got my first one installed. At this rate by the time I'm 80 I'll finally be able to bite into an apple without thinking all my teeth will stick into it. If I live that long.

Here is what $100,000 looks like:
It took 45 minutes to cancel these cards, they all wanted to keep me in a debt cycle. Use it for everyday spending, pay it off, increased credit line, balance transfers, no or low APR, deposit available credit into my bank account, etc.
The cycle of debt is something I'm not interested in and it was time to close the accounts and make some room in the safe. Should the need arise I can always get another card in a few days. If I can't pay for it up front, then I probably don't need it and it's just a want.

I also made some more jam, perhaps the last of the year.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A years worth of posts and running with a purse

I've officially done enough posts that I can read one a day for an entire year. Starting in August 2014, we enjoy going back and reading things and finding out if we have moved forward in life or just sat there spinning our wheels.
So far so good.

Yesterday, with the amazing 70 degree weather I went for a run that ended up turning into a big adventure. As I was running on the edge of a cliff I noticed a lot of trash and something that looked like an ID card... and something that looked like a checkbook.
Being the curious guy I stopped and looked around and didn't find a body so I went over the edge just to be sure there wasn't a body (or a large stash of gold coins). I gathered up all of the stuff, including a large ladies wallet and double checked there wasn't a body.
After crawling back up to the trail, starting a small rock slide and getting nailed with more than one cactus, I packed up the wallet and continued on home. Running with something in my hand irritates me, a lot. It's not just unbalanced and odd, it adds weight. If the object weights 2 pounds, that's 2 pounds of added weight to EACH step and at 2 steps per second over 40 more minutes... I wasn't thrilled but stuck with it.

Once I arrived home I looked it over, everything from California and the address listed on the license didn't have a phone number. I had credit cards, social security card, grandsons photo's, CNA/RN cards, account numbers, bank passwords and usernames, checkbook, etc. Nothing however had a phone number.
I called Chase bank, asked for someone in the US and explained I wanted to give them the customers name and account numbers, and have them call the contact number listed on the computer screen so the customer could call me and get the items returned. That's against policy, for security purposes.... even though I could have logged in and done it myself with all of the information I had in front of me.

I looked over everything again and found a small slip of paper I had missed, that had an address on it and it said new address next to it. No phone number for that address, of course, nobody has a home phone. I decided to continue with my idea of returning the property and 30 minutes later I was at a brand new home in a horrible subdivision full of large homes with no property. The garage door was open and nobody noticed me pull into the driveway. The doorbell was broken (new house, of course) so I banged on the front door and finally someone opened it.
It was unlocked and although the guy didn't know me, he opened right up. This was the son in-law of the lady who had her window busted out and her purse stolen the day before. He was in shock that I had not only found it (apparently the police looked around the area for it, took fingerprints, did a report, etc.) and that I somehow knew where he lived. He was really happy and even said he would be sure to tell his mother in-law not to carry passwords, social security cards, etc. I told him it wasn't a master criminal who did it, it's usually just kids and that's why they tossed everything and took whatever cash there might have been.

I hope I restored the lady's faith, even if just a little. She is 71 years old, just moved here and simply wanted to go for a hike.
That's funny, I just wanted to go for a run without holding a bright red leather purse.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How does your garden grow?

During the fall we let the lettuce seed instead of adding it to the compost pile. Now we have lettuce coming up, and a lot of it. The chives from 2 years ago are starting up again but so far nothing else.
We sort of like the wild parts of our garden, we are anxious to see what grows out of the compost pile. Some garden soil will go on to help break down everything. I wouldn't be surprised if we get some tomato, zucchini and squash plants growing out of it in the next 30 days. Another benefit to using heirloom seeds.

Ground beef was on sale for $2.99 for the 93% lean, this was just one of several batches being assembled into packs of 4 burgers. No vacuum sealer this time, these will be gone in a month or so, we have a pack in the fridge thawing right now. Less carbs, more protein... sometimes 2-3 hamburger patties is lunch.

It was 70 degrees yesterday so I had a nice run in the mud and slush of the mountain trails. It was slow, apparently I wasn't fueled properly but I completed it and that's all that matters. I stopped at an overlook to enjoy the scenery for a minute and this couple decided they could run too. They ran 30 feet before the guy had to sit on a rock gasping for air. The lady made it twice the distance before she had enough. I think it's human nature to think 'I can do that, watch me'. Maybe it will spur them to a healthier lifestyle.

Rock had a quiet weekend hiking and patrolling the fence. Our long hike was actually almost undisturbed until the very end when some pocket dogs charged out of the bushes at us. The lady told me that we shouldn't be hiking in the area since I have a pitbull. To prove it's not me, the other half was out running and a dog darted in front causing a front flip-over-dog onto trail scenario. I just said, "so it's not just me then."
"Daylight saving wears me out"

The list of things to do was 80% completed and the remaining items were put on the new list. Mainly just some cooking items, it will be cooler tomorrow evening so we will make some peach jam and bread.
We decided the lists never end.

Friday, March 7, 2014

It's raining

Our first rain of the year! It's very exciting since I was going to water the yard on Sunday and now I get to save a dollar or so.
71 degrees yesterday, 50 right now but a foot of snow possible by Saturday night. 65 forecast for Sunday.

I still love the weather and seasons here. We are going to get the seeds started this weekend, 2 weeks ahead of schedule!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Adventures in hiking with a dog

When your dog is fast, you tend to get pulled along the trail. I was thinking of buying some of those shoes with the skate wheels on the back so I can just go for the ride. The more thought I put into it, the less of a grand idea it seems to be. I get the image of me being pulled rapidly on my ass (I did attempt to find a dog dragging a person photo, but apparently it means dog dragging deaths so i quickly exited google).

So with my get home bag that weights around 65+ pounds, off we go up the trail as fast as my body will let me without being pulled onto sharp pointy rocks. Like most dogs, Rock has ADD and on top of that he has a thing for bicycles and yelping loudly like a poodle when they go by. We are very nice and let people go by when we can, move over and stay in control when we pass people with leashed dogs (or families with small children). We do everything right in order to prevent any sort of issue, he is a pitbull and most people are afraid as soon as they see us.

In the last 2 weeks we've encountered over 300 unleashed dogs and right about 8 leashed ones. Those are realistic numbers. From various points of our hike we watch people walk up the road with leashed dogs and let them go when they hit the dirt and then wear the leash like it's a sash from the local 'don't control my dog contest'. I've tried several different area close to home and it's always the same and I shouldn't be the one to be penalized for other people by staying home.

Please grab your dog and leash em up
Guy: is your dog not friendly?
my dog is very friendly, some dogs just don't like each other and it's the law
Guy: if my dog was a biter I would have him on a leash
you should have your dog on a leash because it's the law
Guy: if you don't like it write your congressman

Whomever owns this dog please leash him up
Guy: What?
If that's your dog, leash him up
Lady: dogs are allowed to be off leash here
No, they aren't
Lady: yes they are its a pond

Grab your dog, leash em up
Lady: Sir, you will find that nobody leashes their dogs in this area and it's ok
So mass murder is ok since someone else did it, you are using flawed logic
Lady: you just made my day, thank you
It's the law, I'm tired of being the only person to obey it, you have a duty to restrain
Lady: we dont have to have them on a leash at the reservoir
isn't this a city park, this entire area?
Lady: if you dog is mean you shouldn't have him here
My dog is very friendly but not all dogs like each other. Assuming my dog is mean is once again using flawed logic.
Lady: blah, blah, blah (don't know what she said as I decided to let her hear my inner sailor rage after the 35th off leash dog of yesterday evening that came charging at us)

Those are 3 real conversations over the last 3 days and all I want to do is walk my boy without having people give us crap when I ask them to grab their dog and/or leash up so we don't get attacked or have our space violated.

The good news (hey rev. paul, there is always good news!): the reservoir is now open for dog swimming!

I'll pack a retractable leash so he can go out and swim, I almost got pulled in a few times yesterday. The bad news is there will be more people pretending it's ok to have an off leash dog just because the reservoir is open for them. If I can make it work with a 6 foot leash, how hard can it be. With a retractable leash he can go out 25 feet or so and then I reel him in like I am catching swordfish!

In other news, we had some packages arrive and continue to work on food storage.

Filters and a water level indicator, finally!

Strawberry jam!

More strawberry jam! 24 pints sealed up!
More bad news: We are out of strawberries.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Relaxing in the mountains.

The house we stayed at had a sign over the kitchen sink, "A day in the mountains is worth a month in the city."
We couldn't agree more and had a really relaxing weekend that we both needed. I'll never understand why many of my coworkers can't have rational discussion and have to panic about everything. Panic
We drove a lot looking at the area, properties, scenery, etc. Everything that we really liked is way out of our price range and/or part of some massive ranch that is really out of the realm of possibility.

The 'cabin' we stayed at was very warm and comfortable, a small 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house.
We noticed there weren't any fences around, unless it was a barbed wire fence. Everyone let the dogs run around for the most part but with the wildlife in the area that wouldn't work for us. Sure, there is some wind but we would still have a fence around the majority of the homestead, especially the garden.
Backing up, here are some pictures from drive there:

Saturday we drove around, a lot. We hit a foggy area that wouldn't stop (apparently a majority of the state was covered in freezing fog). We kept going and took the highway back to the house, making a full loop. We were hoping to see more of the area but the visibility was poor (20 feet at best sometimes). We took a lot of pictures when the fog lifted.
Up the road a few miles from the house we stayed at.

8 degrees before windchill

Over an inch of ice everywhere but the roads.

A few hundred feet from the rental house.

High altitude ranch property

The top of the pass on the way home

We just want something on the other side of a hill like this

Buffalo ranch

Typical landscape of the flatter portions

Large volcanic formation, nothing else like it anywhere in the area

or even some land up this little valley

Wet Mountains indeed.

We got home and unloaded but since I'm not one for sitting around, we hit Costco for some strawberries and ground beef. We had a group meeting so we made some mayan cocoa brownies and a loaf of bread was baked for the week.

We put some of the jam in the fridge for use, but that means it didn't get a chance to set very well but it still tasted amazing. Commercial places must have a foam vacuum, I don't have the patience for skimming so it does change the composition a little. It does help that I'm the only one in the house who likes strawberry jam.

The end.