Archive for April, 2008

Beer in Utah!

April 28th, 2008

Did you know you can buy beers individually in Utah?

Like a Kid in a Candy Store!

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Feels like I am in a picture

April 28th, 2008

Pretty much what the title says.

I went for a 7 mile run today on some single track trails just north of Park City where you can see the trails from the highway in an area of town called Jeremy Ranch. I chose these trails for the time being because you can tell that the snow has melted a good bit and the trails looked dry for the most part. Rather than a few snowy patches, the trails were perfect.

The trail probably climbed a good 1000 feet by the time I turned around. Boy was I huffin’ and puffin’ on the way up. I didn’t stop to walk, but I sure wanted to. I am hoping that in a few weeks of being out here, running at elevation will become much easier. I think I now know why folks come out to these big mountain ultras (particularly Hardrock 100) two weeks ahead of time. But hey, no complaints from me! It got up to about 67 degrees today in Park City and it was very warm on the trail, probably due to absolutely no shade.

Regardless, the entire run felt like I was in a picture; I have only encountered wide open sky and unshaded single track trailย  like today in Backpacker and Trailrunner Magazine. Seriously, all those pictures that you see published, those trails do exist. And not to make you jealous, but the trail I ran today is only 5 miles from my apartment. On top of that I only ran 3.5 miles of the 300+ miles of trails in the area.

To say the least, I am a happy camper. I start my job on Thursday, and I get internet and cable tomorrow (which means I’ll begin uploading all the pictures and videos). But until then, run on! ๐Ÿ™‚

Greetings from Utah

April 27th, 2008

Greetings from Utah! I know youโ€™d probably be expecting more in my first post now that I have found an apartment and started to โ€œsettleโ€ in, but I am far from comfortable (all my stuff is still in boxes, and my Rav4 wonโ€™t be here for another month!). On the same token, I am very comfortable โ€“ found a great apartment literally a walk from the Park City resort chairlifts. Some of the narliest single track trails in my backyard for the summer, and some of the best snow in my backyard for the winter. My new address is:

1013 Empire Avenue
Park City, Utah 84098

The cross-country road trip was unbelievable. I have many pictures and videos I plan on sharing, but I have a limited internet connection for the time being. Once I get settled in for real, Iโ€™ll have a nice interactive slide show/video presentation of the sights and sounds of travelling across country.

Until then, out for another run! And oh yeah, running in the mountains around here takes your breath away (literally!)

Peace.

3 day Itinerary

April 21st, 2008

Our itinerary for the rest of the trip has finally been settled. After looking at maps and figuring out where to stay each night so that we arrive to Park City Thursday, we’ve finally got the final route selection.

Monday, April 21st: League City, TX to Quitaque, TX

  • Total trip time: 9h17m
  • Passing through: Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Wichita Falls
  • Ending point: Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, TX
  • Sleep: Camping – partly cloudy, low of 52 degrees, sunset at 8:21pm

Day 1 - League City, TX to Quitaque, TX

 

Tuesday, April 22nd: Quitaque, TX to Mosca, CO

  • Total trip time: 8h3m
  • Passing through: Amarillo, TX, Trinidad, CO
  • Ending point: Great Sand Dunes NP, Mosca, CO
  • Sleep: Camping – mostly clear, low of 28 degrees, sunset at 7:46pm

Day 2 - Quitaque, TX to Mosca, CO

 

Wednesday, April 23rd: Mosca, CO to Moab, UT

  • Total trip time: 5h54m
  • Passing through: Durango, CO, Mesa Verde NP, Canyon of the Ancients NP, Canyonlands NP, Arches NP
  • Ending point: Arches NP, Utah
  • Sleep: Hotel – Moab Big Horn Lodge

Day 3 - Mosca, CO to Moab, UT

 

Thursday, April 24th: Moab, UT to Park City, UT

  • Total trip time: 4h27m
  • Passing through: Provo, UT, Park City, UT
  • Ending point: Park City, UT
  • Sleep: Hopefully my new apartment ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Day 4 - Moab, UT to Park City, UT

So there is our itinerary. Once we get there on Thursday,we’ll be doing some quick apartment/room hunting, and get settled in most of the day Friday. Drop JR off at the airport Saturday morning and hopefully get my bed/recliner via the movers in those few days.

 

Time to pack up and head out!

Bob McDonald Goodyear in Vinings Destroyed My New Toyota Rav4

April 20th, 2008

Interesting turn of events, and it feels like I have told this story too many times already, but one more time is fine. So to start it off, I decided to take my Toyota Rav4 to Bob McDonald’s Goodyear in Vinings on Thursday, the day before I leave, in order to check the fluids, get them to look at the tires, and make sure the car was in good shape to drive across country.

An hour later, I return to pick up the car. They changed the oil, refilled fluids, and even got a small nail out of the back right tire. Perfect. He gives me the car key, says it is already to go! I drive the car straight back from the Goodyear to my apartment, which is about a mile away, to grab some dinner, pack up the last few boxes and computer, and catch some sleep before the long 12 hour drive out to Houston.

My alarm goes off at 6:45. In an hour’s time, I throw the remainder of my stuff into the car and hit the road. Before I get onto the interstate, I decide to stop at Chick-Fil-A right across the Bob McDonald Goodyear. Grab a sweet tea and some hashbrowns, good to last me for a few hours. Get back on the road and hit the interstate. About 2 miles of being on the interstate, the oil light goes on. Interesting… I just had the oil changed yesterday. I connected the dots and realized that they must have did something wrong and the Goodyear, and decide to look for the nearest exit. About 20 seconds later, the emergency lights on the dashboard go off like fireworks, including the check engine light. I lost a good amount of control of the car as the engine at this point is going nuts. I pull over onto the side of the road, about 3 miles from where I had gotten on the interstate. Car broken down in 3 miles on a 2,500 mile trip… great!

I call AAA to come pick me up (thanks for the AAA card, Mom!) and after an hour and fifteen minutes, they scoop me up off the road. Now keep in mind that this car is a 2007, only has 25K miles on it. Its a 4 cylinder engine – it isn’t exactly powerful, but its a Toyota engine… safe to assume it should be well crafted and should last more than a year.

My Rav4 was towed back to the Bob McDonald Goodyear in Vinings. I jump out of the towtruck and march inside to explain what happened. As you can imagine, I was not happy at this point. I don’t want to point fingers, but I am pretty sure if I had not taken my car in for a “tune up”, I’d still be on the road.

After sitting in the waiting room for an hour or so, I get the news: “We put on an oil filter on your car that was improperly installed/the wrong model oil filter was put on your car. The oil filter blew off the car, and all oil was lost from the engine. At this point, the engine was still running (I was on the interstate) and because there was no oil to help with the friction, the engine seized up. We will more than likely need to replace the engine, which will cost $x,xxx and take 5 days.

I was an unhappy camper at this point. I love my car, and I also would like to stay on my trip itinerary. So much for both of those. I have committed to many people in Park City that I would be in town on the 24th to look at apartments for rent, and not only that, I need to get to Park City by the 24th to beat the moving truck there so they don’t put my few items in storage. What a headache. I have taken my car to various Goodyear’s around Atlanta, and have never really been satisfied and I am starting to question why I went back. I need to stick with Jiffy Lube.

Bob McDonald’s Goodyear, who admitted that it was their fault, and that they were sorry, wanted to put in an engine that had “equal wear and tear” to the engine in my car that had just died by way of them putting on the wrong oil filter. That would mean that they would replace the engine with n engine, more than likely not a Toyota engine, that already had 25K-30K miles on it. Yeah, right. I was not going to see that car leave there without a brand new Toyota manufactured engine.

So push comes to shove, many phone calls are made back and forth through insurance adjusters, different Toyota dealers, Bob McDonald Goodyear in Vinings, and at the end of a very long and frustrating day, I receive the following:

  • A brand new, Toyota manufactured engine
  • A rental car (Toyota Highlander) all paid for for the next 7 days
  • Delivery of my Rav4 out to Utah once it is fixed

Sounds like a good deal, and ultimate for the situation, it is. However, Friday was a giant pain in the ass, probably one of the longest days I have had in a while. I was on the phone pretty much the whole day trying to resolve the situation with the many people that were involved. I had to take MARTA down to the Atlanta Airport, sit in the Hertz line behind 10 other people, get the car I wanted, etc. I drove the car back to my fraternity house on Georgia Tech campus, where I finally got some food in me (the last time I had eaten was the hashbrowns in the morning). Feel asleep on a couch until 6:30am.

I am sitting in a friend’s house in Houston. I got here yesterday in just under 12 hours… two stops for gas and one stop for food. Great timing! The rental car is nice, but I miss my Rav4. I will hang here for the day, and hit the road again Monday morning.

Update: it took almost 3 months and $20K+ dollars to fix, but I finally got the car in Utah. They had to ship a brand new 2007 engine from the Toyota factory in Japan by boat to America, as none of the engine was salvageable. It was installed by a Toyota dealer (Bob McDonald, hands off!), and then the car was shipped to Utah on a semi. The whole time I was in 3 rental vehicles, all of which were pretty bad. It was determined that the fault was on Bob McDonald Goodyear. If they can’t get an oil change correct, I don’t know what else they could screw up. I could have gotten into a serious accident. Buyer beware!

To Houston and beyond!

April 17th, 2008

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To Houston!

 

Making the drive to Houston tomorrow from Atlanta. I’ll miss Atlanta very much but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I opened up a bottle of wine (Calistoga Estates) tonight with good company to celebrate the embarkation:

“Blended with small amounts of Petite Sirah and Merlot, this wine has a dark inky color with depth, richness and purity of flavor. You’ll note layers of ultra-rupe plum and cherry fruit with touches of chocolate, herb and oak. It finishes well, with soft, velvety tannins.”

To say the least, it was probably one of the best wines I’ve had in a while.

My Toyota Rav4 is in great shape (nails removed from the tires and all) and I think we’re all set to head to Houston. I know it sounds cliche Atlanta, but it’s not you… its me!

Packing and preparing

April 16th, 2008

What the title says… the movers came today to pick up my bed and lazy boy along with a few boxes so I am sitting here typing in an empty room minus myself, my makeshift bed, and my computer. My car is actually packing for the most part, I just need to add in a few other things and then I’ll be all set.

Putting a whole new playlist on my iPod for the trip out, which includes the new Yonder Mountain String Band “Mountain Tracks: Volume 5” which was just released yesterday. If you still haven’t heard any YMSB, get with the program! ๐Ÿ™‚ My iPod is going to be packed with lots and lots of bluegrass, some country, and a few other genres here and there. Should be plenty to get from here to Utah.

Speaking of which, the final itinerary will be posted here as far as where we will be going, when we will arrive, etc. Definitely going through Houston to see a friend (which is out of the way, but worth the time). After that probably go through TX, OK, KS, CO, and finally UT. You better believe the flip video is going with me, as well as my digital camera. More details to follow, but I am pretty tired for now. Final update to come tomorrow, but for now, watch a YMSB video if you have no idea who they are.

YMSB

…to Utah!

April 13th, 2008

Itโ€™s a big move but itโ€™s finally official. I am moving from Atlanta, Georgia to Park City, Utah. Many factors went into making this decision, but I am extremely excited to finally have everything set in stone. My last day of work is this week here in Atlanta and I begin making the trip out this Friday.

Once when I arrive, I will be working for a company called Backcountry.com, an online retailer of outdoor recreational equipment (skis, kayaks, camping gear, rock climbing equipment, etc). Not only will I be working for a company that I can be passionate about as I see myself as an avid outdoorsman, backpacker, trail-runner, and I am sure a to-be skier once again, I was hired onto the internet marketing team as a search engine marketing analyst, something I already have a great amount of experience with.

With a great job there and an awesome mountainous surrounding, it made the decision to move relocate a little easier. I will be leaving a great job and many great friends to take this opportunity, but it seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Stay tuned – much more to follow…

ING Georgia Marathon

April 6th, 2008

ING Georgia Marathon… where do I begin?

Well, I’ll take it from the start I suppose – the way I figured it was that I have not run a road marathon in a very long time, I have never actually run (or driven for that matter) through Atlanta all that much since I moved here in 2002, and it was time for a long run, and paying the $100 entry fee forced me to get up early on Sunday morning ๐Ÿ™‚ I signed up for the race 10 days before the actual event just before registration closed. I signed up for the race not to race it, but like Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in November, run it “for fun” as a long run. Unlike Chickamauga where I had a 3:20:00 goal, I set a 3:30:00 goal for the Georgia Marathon.

The ING Georgia Marathon started in downtown Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park at 7:00am. I was awakened to a 4:15am alarm. Though not racing the event, I was still very excited and jumped out of bed. I showered, threw on my clothes which consisted of a pair of injinji socks with my patented cut off oxysox combination, new raceready shorts (woohoo!), a hanes t-shirt, and of course my orange bandana, and stepped out the door with my roommate, Jon, who was also running the marathon. He was number 283 and I had 284 (we were both seeded from previous sub 3:10s at other various marathons, but the numbers side by side was just a coincidence).

We parked at my fraternity house, which was around mile 24 on Georgia Tech campus, and ran to the start. It was a cool drizzly morning with temperatures ranging in the 45-50 degrees range. Perhaps I would have been happy with gloves or maybe arm warmers (I am the biggest cold wimp!), but after an hour of trying to keep warm, the race started. I ran with Jon for the first 1000 yards or so, but with my 3:30 goal pace, I quickly backed off, as he went through the first mile around 6:10. I hit the first mile around 6:40 and eased into a much slower 8:00 pace.

It was difficult to keep that slow pace with folks passing me left and right, but I steered clear of the folks out there who were racing. Miles 2-10 were nice, running through parts of Atlanta I have never been through. It was a nice tour of the city. The looped course went through areas such as Little Five Points, Candler Park, headed east towards Agnes Scott in the first half of the race before turning back northwest towards North Decatur and Emory University. I hit the first half in 1:43 or so, on track for a 3:26 assuming even splits.

I felt great at this point, but admittedly a little tired. The course was quite hilly to be completely honest for a road marathon, and I suppose I underestimated the hills for the course. Running into miles 17 and 18 through Druid Hills, I felt like I was losing a good amount of energy. Granted I was out there not to race, I was definitely feeling it! I had not run on roads in a very long time prior to this race (I am for the most part a trail-runner) and my legs were begging me to find some dirt to run on. Not to mention, my stomach was growling, begging for food. I simply ate 3-4 gels in the last 10 miles of the race due to hunger. I probably should have eaten a little more before the race ๐Ÿ™

The course turned through Virginia Highland, down past Inman Middle School, where I used to train quite a bit when I lived in midtown in 2007. Being familiar with the area, I enjoyed running on the roads for once instead of always on the sidewalk. We were led into Piedmont Park, down towards Juniper Street, and finally onto Georgia Tech campus. I stopped for a bit here to talk with several folks from my fraternity, saying that Jon had run through this part of the race about 35 minutes before me. He ended up finishing 18th overall and PRing on a very tough marathon course in a 2:52 and change… way to go!

I rolled past Tech campus and hit the tape around 3:33:30. I was a little off my time, but to be completely honest, happy it was over. I had felt like I underestimated the course and the Atlanta hills, as well as the 26.2 distance. I was cold, hungry, and in need of a warm shower. I walked back to my fraternity house, grabbed a hot shower, and immediately drove to Wendy’s where I downed a #5 biggie size value meal, a few 5 piece chicken nuggets, and another burger. Man did that taste good.

The race was fun and challenging but I am not sure if I would recommend running it to be completely honest. Maybe I am just a small town marathon kind of guy. I prefer the marathons with a more low key feel, smaller crowd event. Also, the half marathoners did get in the way quite a bit as the course was designed to have both races finish in the same spot. In other words, I was crossing the finish line with half marathoners running a 3:30 half marathon, which is great for them, but quite often they got in the way of some of the other marathoners running.

Back to the trails that I love so much. Maybe I’ll revisit the road marathon once again when I am better prepared ๐Ÿ™‚

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