Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All the leaves are brown ...

Well, I guess I can't complain too much. At least the sky isn't gray. The harsh reality of Fall has hit me kinda hard in the last few days. I spent most of October in various parts of Florida, so I sort of forgot that Autumn is setting in. I was walking around in board shorts and flip flops, going to the beach, putting on sunscreen, and basically living in my own happy little world until I had to come to stupid North Carolina. Now it's cold and I'm not happy about it. Mostly because I really didn't pack enough cool weather clothing. Back in ... September when I was getting ready for this little jaunt, I thought I was really planning ahead by packing one pair of pants (actual full-length pants, not capris or shorts), one pair of real shoes, two pairs of socks, and one long-sleeved shirt. Now I feel stupid for not packing more stuff. Oh well. That gave me an excuse to go shopping.

And while I'm complaining, not only did we have an event ruined by the pouring rain, but I also managed to get a flat on my trailer on the way there. And of course, the guys were more than willing to stand around taking pictures:

Anywho ... I've been working way too much in the last week or so, so I haven't had time to post much. What I really wanted to tell you about before I started whining about Fall was the sweet paddling I did in Tallahassee. I was traveling through Tallahizzy last week and had a day off, so I met up with this guy there to go paddling. While we were driving to the river, he mentioned that we might see some cool wildlife. I'm sure I don't have to mention my fascination with alligators and manatees, as I have written about this before, but I tried not to get my hopes up about seeing them. So we got to the river and Andy unloaded our boats. At this point, I learned that it's a really good idea to go paddling with someone who is both tall and strong because then they can load and unload the boats while I just kick rocks and stuff. Then we started paddling upriver. The water was pretty cold and really clear. Apparently the river is fed by natural springs or something. We saw these fish jumping about a foot out of the water. Mullets. Seriously. You learn something new every day. That day, I learned that "mullet" is not just a term describing Billy Ray Cyrus's hair. So I was having a pretty good time and was happy enough to be out on the water. BUT THEN .... we heard this sound that sounded like a whale doing that thing with it's blowhole (that sounds a little dirty, doesn't it?). Turns out it was these:

Yeah ... that's right ... MANATEES! At first we just saw two of them, and one of them was just a little (relatively speaking) guy. That second picture is the little guy under water. I took that with my sweet camera that I still haven't managed to break yet. If you look closely in the last picture, you can see them next to my boat. Then as we kept paddling we kept seeing more MANATEES! By the end of the day we'd seen: 8 MANATEES!, 1 otter, 2 turtles, 2 owls, and a whole bunch of mullets (the fish, not the redneck haircut). Then we (and by "we," I mean, "Andy") loaded up the boats. We went into the nearest little town and had fish sandwiches and beer. Needless to say, it was a pretty good day for me.

Other than that, there's only been the usual amount of excitement. By mere coincidence, I did get to meet up with my fun friends Mimi and Jeff for a day at the beach, which was made better by a delicious bottle of wine sent from a friend:

We didn't have any glasses, and there was no way to keep it chilled, so we had no choice but to drink it from the bottle while sitting on the beach. Keepin' it classy. Then we ended up at Downtown Disney and I wanted to die until we found the Margarita Shack, at which point I started to become increasingly happy with each delicious drink. Then of course, Jeff and Mimi had my back and they let me have some floor space in their hotel room so I didn't have to pony up the cash for one myself. Beats the hell out of sleeping in the car!

Ahh ... sunny, warm Florida ...

While North Carolina is cold this time of year, it's really not such a bad place. I did manage to get one really good mountain bike ride in on Sunday, and I have a day off tomorrow, so I should be able to get another one in. I just have to make sure I get my flat tire from last week fixed because well ... I have another flat on the trailer. Bummer. Oh well. at least I'm not working on Halloween, which means I'll be drinking and making fun of people instead. Not bummer.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Does this look infected?

My leg doesn't look so good. But it's been pretty itchy, so that means it's healing, right?

Thursday, October 18, 2007


First of all, you'll be happy (or maybe disappointed) to know that I did not have a nervous breakdown yesterday because of UPS.com. With stern words and a furrowed brow, I managed to finally get my urgent shipping label made.

I'm still in Florida, so that makes me pretty happy. I spent all of last week in south Florida, but I only had two events, so I got caught up on some important things: sleep, paperwork, drinking, and paddling. I even had good company on my last two outings, which is a welcome change from traveling alone. Some nice boys from one of the shops went with me one day:

I'm fascinated by manatees:

Then I had to do some drinking with Becky, with whom I worked and stayed all week. I kept a close eye on her alcohol to make sure she didn't try to pour it in my gnarly wound (which I think might be a little infected now). Then I got to paddle again! We went down to Miami since we knew we could rent a kayak for Becky there pretty easily. We paddled down the river (we did go under that creepy bridge this time) and out across the bay to this little island. There were huge ass spiders all over the place, so we didn't stay long:

The perils of drinking like a fish:

We got kinda tired of running into big creepy spiders, so we turned around and found a couple boats anchored on the beach. Becky made friends with some people and managed to acquire us some delicious beers. We also played with their cute dog who really liked chasing coconuts:

Then we realized it was going to be a long paddle back against the wind, so we said bye to our temporary beer-giving friends and headed away from BeerCanSpider Island.

There's plenty more I'd love to tell you about, but it's going to have to wait. I've got some work to do.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Public Service Announcement:

I'm interrupting your regular programming to let you know that I am about to go completely ape shit on UPS.com.

Thus, no real blog post at this time. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, October 08, 2007

time flies ...

As usual, I really don't know where to start. The last time you heard from me, I was at home getting ready to go work my ass off at Interbike. I did, in fact, work hella hard there. I did get a couple chances to ride mountain bikes in the desert, which turned out to be really cool. It was weird at first, since there were no trees and I've always equated mountain biking with trees, but then it was pretty sweet. Now I can sort of understand why people like the west so much. Our last ride there was one that we kinda squeezed in right before dark. We're slow, so the last quarter or so of our ride was by moonlight, which was alright, since there were no trees. There are plenty of stories that go along with a week in Vegas, but I'm going to leave those out for now. I also really should have taken more pictures, but the only one I took was this one on that last ride:

I flew home from Vegas and was warmly greeted at the airport by all three of my roommates. Pip even worked really hard to make me this sign:

It's a little hard to read in the picture, but it says: Rossina. I hope UR pretty as your picture in the catalog. Thanks mailorderbrides.com! Dumbass couldn't even spell my name right. Oh well. It was well worth the effort. Thanks Pip!

After Vegas, I was home for two days and then I took off for Orlando. I did some events and then had some time to go for a ride. The trails around here aren't anything like the trails back in Arkansas. For starters, this state is flatter than .... crap, I don't know .... something that's really flat. They make up for it with a shit ton of unnecessary turns and stuff. It was alright though, it's just hard to get a good workout in on stuff like that. In any case, I did see this huge ass turtle just kickin' it next to the trail. I think he was mad, cause he hissed at me a lot:

Sorry you had a bad day, little dude.

I always like to get at least one picture of every trail, so here's the one:

After I finished things up in central Florida, I had a couple of days off, so laid around at my friend Kellen's house for a little while before heading down toward Miami to get a ride in on one of about three trails in south Florida. On the way from the car to the trail, I ran into what is probably the ugliest creature I have ever seen in person:

Bleh. It looked all pissed off. Then again, I guess I would be pretty pissed off too if I looked like that.

So I found the trail. It was nice to be out on my bike, but I have to say, there's a reason mountain biking isn't that popular around here. It sucks. So I rode for about 45 minutes, and was a little irritated the whole time about how crappy the riding here is. Then I quit paying much attention and started to let my mind wander. This was a bad thing. I came around a corner and hit a root and did this weird sideways endo thing. It's hard to explain, but all you really need to know is that I ended up on my ass with my bike on top of me. After that I was like, "fuck this," and I headed back to the car. After careful examination, I realized that I had hurt the following: my pride, my hip, and my calf:

Yeah. There's a pretty good chunk of my skin missing there. Ow. Actually, it didn't really hurt that bad until my "friend" Becky poured rubbing alcohol all over it and then started prodding it like a stupid science experiment. But maybe now it won't leave a nasty scar.

After giving up on biking for the day, I decided it was about time to bust out the kayak. I took a little cruise up and down parts of the Oleta River. One thing I figured out is that if you're scared of alligators, then everything pretty much looks like an alligator.

This little bridge thingy was kinda cool, but I didn't go under it. I thought, "If I were an alligator, I'd totally hang out under there ... all Billy Goats Gruff style." So I just took a picture instead. The rest of the river was ... pretty river-like:

As I was heading back toward the take-out point, I saw these little dudes up on shore:

See the funny guy on the left? I like to think he was smiling at me. I followed them along the bank for a little while and was able to get another good picture of them:

I got so close to them that I could have reached out with my paddle and smacked one of them upside the face, but I didn't. It didn't take me that long to get bored with them. All they did was eat stuff and then put their paws in the water.

I took my boat out, put it back in my trailer, and avoided the piercing stares of some Cubans nearby. Then I realized ... "crap, I need a shower." I noticed a bike wash nearby. The wheels started turnin' and pretty soon it was a Ross wash. So for the second time this week, I showered outside with a hose. It's actually surprisingly pleasant and it really saves a lot of time. Although it's probably not gonna work out so well for me once the weather starts to get a little colder.

Alright. I'm kinda tired and I have a lot of crap to do tomorrow. I'm out.