Sunday, October 28: Image #304

We had lunch today with our old friend Jonathon. We first met Jonathon years ago at Summit--he was a student of mine on a 14-Day Alpine Mountaineering Course in 1998. He came back for a 21-Day Course the next year (noteworthy because they ran out of food on Day 17 or 18!) and later worked with us at Summit. We hadn't seen him for a few years, but he has been living in DC. He worked in the Press Office for the Attorney General for awhile, but now works in the Press Office of the First Lady, Laura Bush. It was great to catch up---he's come a long way since 1998!

Saturday, October 27: Image #303

We walked all over creation today, looking at some places and marking them as potentials and scratching others off the list. We didn't find anything great, but we did find this red velvet couch on the side of the road. Free!!

Friday, October 26: Image #302

We are off to DC for a week of house hunting. We are thinking of getting a place downtown, riding the Metro and being pedestrian for awhile.

Thursday, October 25: Image #301

One of our Chief Petty Officers had a tragic brain aneurysm about two weeks ago. His funeral was last week in Missouri, and had a memorial service today at the Chapel on base. Rest in Peace, AWCS Ethington.I finally got caught up from California, and it is time to leave again! We fly to DC tomorrow for several days of house hunting.

Wednesday, October 24: Image #300

I spent the better part of the evening writing thank-you notes and getting Whitney Classic t-shirts ready for the mail. My final tally: $6,906, and as of today, Summit had raised over $86,000!

Tuesday, October 23: Image #299

In celebration of my BIRTHDAY, it's Ben & Jerry coupons all around!

Monday, October 22: Image #298

Only in Florida would you see a van with a window-unit AC in the back.

Sunday, October 21: Image #297

Brooke, the happiest three-legged do you will ever meet.

Saturday, October 20: Image #296

I had to run up to the grocery store this evening. As I went out, we were having the most beautiful sunset. The picture about is taken from the back patio. The picture below was in my rear-view mirror. (Full disclosure--this image was inspired by a photo Michael took at the Whitney. Click here to see his original image.)
It reminds me of a quote by Contardo Ferrini:
"God speaks to men and women in the clouds on the mountaintops, in the roaring of the torrents, in the stark awfulness of the cliffs, in the dazzling splendor of the unmelting snow, in the sun that splashes the west with blood, in the wind that strips the trees bare. Nature lives by the breath of his omnipotence."

Friday, October 19: Image #295

The never-ending saga of the retainwing wall. See August 4th for another photo.

Thursday, October 18: Image #294

Today is Ginger's birthday, and also the birthday of one

of our friends here in Jacksonville, Kristen. We celebrated with dinner, a wonderful cake, and a rousing game of Cataan. Out of pity, we let Ginger win the last game!

Wednesday, October 17: Image #293

Q: What happens when you buy a ten foot 4x4 post and don't accurately measure the back of your car?
A: You wind up getting a new windshield.

Tuesday, October 16: Image #292

Our little orange tree is working hard. We have a couple of small oranges, but most of its energy is going into this one large orange!

Monday, October 15: Image #291

Look---up in the right hand corner. It's a tiny touch of red leaves....fall has come to Florida!!

Sunday, October 14: Image #290

Nothing like a fresh haircut, unless it's a fresh cutting of the grass.

Saturday, October 13: Image #289

One of our neighbors across the street, Wyatt (or Wy-Wy, as we like to call him) had a birthday party today. It was his 3rd birthday, and as you can tell, it was a pirate theme.

Friday, October 12: Image #288

Good news. Before we left for California, we discovered a strange lump on Moses' left hip. It was kinda big, and lumpy, and the vet wanted to surgically remove it. She would have needed about 10 days of rehab, so we decided to postpone it until we returned from California. Ginger took her to the vet today, and miracle of all miracles, the lump has drastically shrunk and nothing needs to be done. Like Arnold says, "It's not a tumor!"

Thursday, October 11: Image #287

We had dinner tonight with our neighbors. At some point during the meal, Carson decided to make himself comfortable and strip down to the bare essentials.

Wednesday, October 10: Image #286

I know...this is going back to California, but Ginger bought a t-shirt at In-n-Out when we left. She wore it today, and I can almost taste it.

Tuesday, October 9: Image #285

Back in the steamy confines of Florida, I found this beautiful orange butterfly, a Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) flitting around in the garden. It has an amazing range-all the way from Argentina through Central America and throughout most of the United States.

Monday, October 8: California Trip Day #13

After 13 blissful days, the time came to fly back to Florida. We caught a later flight out of Fresno, and as everyone else was getting comfortable for a nap on the flight to Dallas, we were soaking in our last views of the Sierra Nevada. Check out this view of Mt. Tom and the mass of peaks behind.

Sunday, October 7: California Trip Day #12

After church, we headed to the Rogers' house for a final get-together.

Michael, myself, Tony B, Tom & Tony M.

The newlyweds, Kate & Dustin---just because I know he's waiting to see his picture.

Saturday, October 6: California Trip Day #11

Several of our female friends at the local coffee spot.

Top: Ruth, Christel, Lana, Tiffany, Holly

Bottom: Ginger, Chris, Amy

Friday, October 5: California Trip Day #10

We helped Kelli move into her new place. Don't ask me where I got the cowboy hat.

Thursday, October 4: California Trip Day #9

Back from the Whitney and our trip into the High Sierra, we spent the rest of our time in the Oakhurst/Bass Lake area making the social circuit. We feel very blessed to still have significant relationships in the mountain community, and the next few days will show some of those relationships.

Christel, Ginger & Kellli.

With all three of their children grown and out of the house, our good friends Tony & Christel have an empty nest. They were very gracious and allowed us to stay with them at their house for several days.

Wednesday, October 3: California Trip Day #8

On the way out of the High Sierra, we made a quick detour to Shat's Bakery to pick up a loaf of garlic-Cheese Bread (astute followers of this blog will recognize that name from May 30.)

Tuesday, October 2: California Trip Day #7

Three of us (Julie, Ginger & myself) all have birthdays in October, so we had to celebrate.

At Bishop Pass, roughly 12,000', just below Mt. Aggassiz.

Monday, October 1: California Trip Day #6

After sleeping in a bit on Monday morning, we drove up to Bishop. After a quick trip to Von's, we drove up Highway 168 to the South Lake Trailhead and hiked north towards Bishop Pass. We were meeting our friends Julie & Sylvan, who were hiking the John Muir Trail. We packed in their last week or so worth of food, and spent a couple days up in the High Sierra with our good friends.
Ginger taking in the view from Saddlerock Lake.

Sunday, September 30: California Trip Day #5

I wound up riding with 3 others---Tom, the Executive Director of Summit; Jair, the Marketing director and a friend from Colorado, Jeff. We put in a respectable time and finished the 136 miles at 1:18 AM...just under 11 hours. More importantly, we raised almost $18,000 between the four of us. As of this writing, Summit has raised over $82,000 for the work of the organization!

Here we are being recognized as the top Fundraising Team (Jeff, Tom, myself & Jair).

Saturday, September 29: California Trip Day #4

The day finally arrived. After a lot of letters, a few phone calls, a plane ride and lots of time on the bike, it was time for the 26th Whitney Classic.
The weather was unusually mild. At the start, at 3:00 PM in Death Valley, it was only 89 degrees. Of course, mild weather at the start always equals cold weather at the finish--in the teens up on Whitney Portal. According to some people who headed up the mountain, there were drifts up to four feet deep.

Here an image that Ginger took- it shows four riders climbing a small hill only 5 or 6 miles from the start. Badwater---the lowest part of Death Valley--is off in the distance on the right side, at the base of the small ridge. As the picture clearly shows, the last rider (Ken) is picking himself up off the ground. The four riders were riding in a close pack to conserve energy and when his front wheel rubbed someone's back wheel, he went horizontal. A torn jersey, some blood, and minor medical care later, he was back and finished the ride in the wee hours of the morning.

Friday, September 28: California Trip Day #3

Many of you know Denise. She and her husband Michael (and three kiddos) were former neighbors and housemates in years past. Michael is a photographer, and they went over to document the Whitney. You can find some of Denise's thoughts about the Whitney here.

In this picture, Denise is being very generous and making a contribution to my Whitney fundraising effort (by the way, I raised just over $7,000 for this ride!!). I took another picture that she liked better, but she has such a cheerful look on her face in this image. After all, God loves a cheerful giver.

Here's a second photo that I liked---the soft sunset over the Alabama Hills, looking towards the Sierra. That's Whitney, smack dab in the middle with a hint of snow on the right side. Lone Pine Peak is in the forefront on the left side, and looks bigger since it is much closer than Whitney.

Thursday, September 27: California Trip Day #2

We went to California for three reasons.
First, Ginger is on the Board of Directors for Summit Adventure, and it was time for their fall Board meeting.
Second, I was riding in the Whitney Classic.
Third, we try to take advantage of any opportunity to get back to the Oakhurst/Bass Lake area where we lived for 7 years. We love the area and the people, and miss them greatly.
Today we helped load all the supplies and equipment into the trucks in preparation for the trip to the east side of the Sierra on Friday.

Wednesday, September 26: California Trip Day #1

I'm back from California, and will need to play catch-up for the next few days.

After a half day of work, we flew into Fresno where our friend Kelli picked us up. Kelli's car runs fine, but for some reason, the speedometer has a mind of its own. According to the speedometer, we hit 120 mph sitting still at the red light.