oregon adventures

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Icy Georgia Running

Last week I flew to Georgia for a conference. First flight was cancelled, second flight was cancelled. At one point Delta had us routed through Detroit and DC and then Atlanta. Finally one opened on Salt Lake City to Atlanta, so I got on that. At the last minute Doug, the guy who was also going to the conference also got on that flight, so we were on the same flight the way it was supposed to be. Got to Atlanta and the plane couldn't get to the gate because of ice. After 15 minutes of reving he backed the plane up and got a running start to get over the ice berm. Welcome to Atlanta. The conference was at Warner Robins AFB about 90 miles south of Atlanta. So we got to the rental car place and the counter girl said "there's no way you can make it in a compact", so she gave us a Chevy Equinox SUV. Got out on the snowy-icy roads and made it onto the highway and after a few miles it was stopped with a sign saying salting. After about 20 minutes it started up again and once out of Atlanta, the roads were clear of ice and down towards Robins the snow on the side of the road went away. Still took about 3 hours to go 90 miles.
The next day after the conference drove over to Macon to a nice Italian restaurant that had good food and a cute waitress from Cincinnati. Got back and it was dark and 25 degrees, but I decided to run on base near billeting. Ran 4 miles and was frozen afterwards, but at one point saw a ton of stars. After the next days conference end, went to the air museum in town and then went to the gym on base and started swimming. Got to 1300 yards and they turned the lights out. The pool closed at 6, even though the gym was open all night. Ate dinner at a place that looked good, Catfish House. Turned out everything was fried- surprise. (everything in GA is fried I think)
The next day was the normal fly home day, but we had decided to stay the weekend. Doug had never heard of Andersonville, so before going up to Atlanta we drove over there. They have a couple of sections of wall and the Providence spring and lots of memorials. Then lunch in a small town and up to Atlanta. Got rooms at the Embassy Suites at the airport and then took the car back because the government was paying for that one and got a Ford Fusion. Went to the capital and the ice and snow was off the roads by then, but the grass and sidewalks in Atlanta were still icy. The capital was surrounded by ice, but it was open and we toured the chambers and the museum on the top floor. We went to a sports bar near the hotel to eat dinner and I noticed on ESPN that the Flyers were playing at the Thrashers. Looked up the Thrashers on my phone and sure enough- that's Atlanta's hockey team. So we took off for downtown and made it to the Arena and got tickets with a military discount and only missed about 8 minutes of the first period. 0-0 after the first. In the second Atlanta scored, but the Flyers answered a few seconds later. Then Philly scored again but Atlanta tied it at 2 with 30 seconds left in the second. In the third period, Philly looked like a really good team and attacked everything and won 5-2. Tons of Philly fans in the stands, so I was nowhere near alone cheering for the visitors. Really cute girls in short skirts skated out to clean the ice at breaks.
Saturday we drove to the Atlanta Cyclorama which is the largest cyclorama left. 40+ feet tall. Personally I thought Gettysburg's cyclorama was better, but Atlanta's was still nice. Then going downtown we saw tons of parking garages filling up for the Falcons game that night, so we went to the Georgia dome and parked. Then walked over to the CNN studios and took the tour- free when we showed the military ID. Ate lunch at CNN and then over to the world of Coke- also free when we showed the military ID. It was fun and the gift shop was amazing. Had some time left and didn't want to move from the parking, so we took the subway up to the art museum. The subway station had a really long steep escalator. The art museum was also free to military and had a great American art section and a nice building. Then back on the subway to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and they gave us a 15% discount for military. Then it was time for the football game. We walked into the Georgia dome and it was really nice. Two giant screens and we walked all the way around the lower level and down to the seats 19 rows up from the 5 yard line. The Zac Brown band sang the anthem and the first half was a good game, but right at the end of the half Green Bay got a pick six that deflated the crowd. The second half Atlanta fell apart and the stands emptied out except for a ton of Green Bay fans who were chanting and cheering so much it seemed like they were the home team.

Sunday drove up to Kennesaw Mt to the civil war battlefield. Unfortunately the snow and ice hadn't melted up there yet and we couldn't get to the top. So back to Atlanta and the Westin building and rode the elevator up to the top and saw the city and went ahead and ate in the revolving restaurant. Then down to the Georgia Aquarium which they bill as the world's largest. Saw sharks while walking through a clear tunnel and they had giant windows to see them also. Also had Beluga whales. Had kid overload quickly, so left there and I decided since it was MLK weekend, how about King's birthplace monument. Drove through a rough looking part of town to the National Monument area where camera vans were set up ready for Monday's holiday. His birth house tour was sold out, so we toured the museum and book store and saw his grave. Very powerful museum, taking about the Jim Crow stuff and Montgomery bus boycott. Got back to the hotel with about 30 minutes of light left so I ran from the hotel down industrial roads and going around ice patches and using street lights at the end for 4.5 miles and then into the hotel weight room. Ate dinner at an old gas station converted into a restaurant.

Had thought about going to Chattanooga to the battlefield there, but thought it was probably still snowy. So we decided to drive over to Montgomery to see the capital and Dexter church where MLK preached. Got to the capital and it was inauguration day. Watched the parade for awhile and walked around the capital to the back entrance and got in, but a woman stopped us and we weren't on the list, so we had to leave. Saw Dexter church and walked down to Rosa Park's bus stop memorial. Then walking back to the car saw a fountain with names in it and it was the Civil Rights memorial. Went in and it was free for MLK day and toured that museum. Then the long drive back to Atlanta and the flight back home.

Monday, January 10, 2011

California Dreaming

For Christmas my daughter Debbie and I flew down to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with my son. Flew down on the 23rd and got a car. Took an hour and a half to go 13 miles to Jeffrey's place because of traffic. Went to dinner at a Japanese place where you boil meat and vegetables in a pot.
The next day we went to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. It features fried chicken with waffles, sounds strange, but is a great combo. Although not very healthy, but good. After that we drove out to the Getty center. Paid $15 to park, but the museum itself was free. Good collection and layout, but the best part was the amazing city view from the balcony. They also had a great garden with paths and even though it was Christmas Eve, it was in the high 60's and sunny. Stopped in an Italian neighborhood of one of the suburbs and had a really good lunch, then shopping and a home cooked dinner.

Christmas day we drove to near downtown to see the house used to film the TV show Charmed, my favorite show. Then went to Santa Monica to see the ocean, but so did many other people. It was way too crowded, so ate lunch and headed out. Decided to run, so I parked in West Hollywood and ran down a dirt path through Beverly Hills. Turned down a road when the path ended and it went along side a golf course and had gigantic houses that looked like several millions. Turned around and went back the same way for 6 miles total. Then walked next door to Jeffrey's place to an Italian place that was pretty good and had wine bottles built into the booths.
Sunday morning we ate at a Pancake place that was just like Voodoo donuts in Portland. The Gridle as it was called had HUGE pancakes with anything you can think of in them. I was able to finish only half of my plate. Then we drove down to Long Beach and went through the Queen Mary. Very interesting, although costly. But they did give me a military discount for all three tickets. Ate lunch over in Long Beach and on the drive back Debbie saw a sign for Compton and wanted to see it since she'd heard of it. So I drove Compton Blvd all the way through Compton. What a different world. Lots of idle people and bars on all windows and lots of abandoned buildings. At one point I saw what looked like an abandoned old school and across the street all the houses looked empty and had no windows behind the bars. Back at Jeffrey's I used his apartment weight room and then we walked down Sunset Blvd to a healthy pizza place for dinner.
Monday Jeffrey had to work, so Debbie and I just hung out and I went running from the apartment up to Runyon Canyon and to two viewpoints and back for 4.5 miles and lots of climbing. Then the flight home.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Sharkey Swim and 2010 Recap

For the 5th year in a row I did the Sharkey swim at the club I go to. 5000 meters in a lane with Brian, Bob, and Denise. About an hour and a half or so, just turn off the brain and swim. Getting easier every year. Then pancakes afterwards.
For the year my spreadsheets say, 760 miles of running at a 5.2 avg run. 1664 miles biking with an average of 34 miles per ride. The 1664 is the lowest bike mileage since I've been doing the spreadsheet. For swimming I did 193300 meters for 120.1 miles at a 1611 meter average swim. 45.6 miles of hiking with 12550 feet of elevation gain. The most hiking since 2005, felt good hiking again. For the year, I call 2010 the year of travel. Ran in 8 different states- OR, WA, CA, MI, PA, DE, NJ, NM. Thought I had also run in Idaho, but remembered I forgot to bring my running shorts, so I walked a block or two with Sarah instead. Visited three new capitals, so I have 8 or 9 visited. New life goal is to run in all 50 states. Since I became a triathlete and got the GPS running watch, I've run in 11 different states so far.
Next year, Ironman Canada, Pacific Crest half Ironman, and Pacific Crest Olympic as a family relay with me swimming, Debbie riding, Jeffrey running. Happy New Year to all.