Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Holiday Weekend Recap

Where to begin? In my last blog I noted I was headed out of town for some parental visitation and get some much needed outdoor time logged for Geocaching. Side Note: This past weekend was the Mega Event in North Carolina for Geocaching and I didn't go. However, our dear friend Embarrassing Boring Babble (Angela) did attend the event. I am anxiously awaiting her post(s) about her trip. I want to know what I missed. I am sure she will have plenty of good stories to bring back to the ATL.

Friday, both my wife and I took a vacation day. Little One had her last day of Kindergarten. We checked her out after her ceremony. Her class (all Kindergartener classes) presented a show of a few songs. We then went to her classroom where individual awards were given out. Little One was awarded the "Most Pleasant". I think that fits her personality fairly well. She is a very happy child (why wouldn't she be - we spoil her rotten!) The most interesting award went to a young boy in her class - "Best Engineering Mind". That caught my attention. Seems this 6 year old boy can create 3-D moving parts models of houses, Airplanes and other objects with construction paper with no guidance from his teachers. How cool is that?

We arrived home and I quickly took off to downtown Newnan for some governmental activities (big brother always gets his taxes). While I was gone, Little One and the wife were busy packing for our trip. I upset the wife slightly with a change of plans to leave earlier than I had originally told her. Since my parents were working, we didn't need to arrive before 5PM in Dalton. I had gotten the bright idea to stop, eat and play at Red Top Mountain State Park. I knew they had a beach there and thought Little One could get in some swimming.

So, we rushed things up a few hours and headed out the door. I should know by now that last minute change of plans do not settle well with my wife. I should also know that I am not all that bright in solving all issues in said quick plan changes. I thought we would grab a fast food drive thru and proceed to the state park. Well, something I didn't contemplate was that we needed to carry the Guinea pigs with us. They would need shelter & attention while we baked in the summer sun (the same for my wife - since she wouldn't be swimming). I remembered that there are no fast food places near Red Top Mountain State Park. I didn't think that Wade Greene road would be so packed on a Friday afternoon. We ended up getting lunch from Arby's. We ate our lunch at the park and Little One played on the playground. The wife read a book. Little One and I also took a stroll along the beach of the lake. I wasn't all that impressed with the beach. So, we didn't go swimming.

We arrived in Dalton without further lost of control. We took a quick visit up to my grandmothers Friday afternoon. My aunt was there until Saturday when she was flying back to Texas. (go longhorns!! lol). Friday night we ended up just chilling around the house.

Saturday morning, my dad and I took off on a Geocaching trip. We picked Aaron (or outdoorliving365) in Resaca at 8:00AM. With a quick find there at the flying J truck stop, we were on our way to the Chattahoochee National Forest for a day of fun. We trekked through Snake Creek Gap and up to John's Mountain overlook. We climbed to Keown Falls. We discovered "three car pile up" buried deep in the north Georgia woods but did not find the cache. All in all we had a great time. My legs were really starting to feel the burn as we climbed up to the falls. Aaron showed me the graph of our climb but failed to mention the amount. Several hundred feet up and still less that a mile from the vehicle. We got some amazing photos while we were up there.

Aaron - Climbing for the cache.

Dad - Found it!

Once we returned Aaron to his truck and made our way home, I crashed for a short nap. I was totally spent. I hadn't done that much hiking in a long time. I thought I had done a good job of keeping hydrated. I guess my body thought otherwise. I awoke just in time for mom to have made a wonderful birthday meal. My favorite: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, rolls and of course Chocolate birthday cake. Thanks mom - it was GREAT!.

We settled into the movie "Facing the Giants". It was a typical tear jerker. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so darn sensitive!

Sunday morning we attended mom's church. A nice new building with fine folks welcoming us in. Little One went to help mom teach her Sunday School class. I heard she helped songs and the lesson. It must have made a good impression on a little boy in that class. He ended up sitting with us during the service. Little One was oblivious to his flirting. Since he was about 2 years younger, she dismissed it as just friendly. He really turned on the charm as we left after the service. Out in the parking lot he was cranking up the flirting meter. We all got a kick out of that. I couldn't blame him. Little One was decked out in a foral purple skirt and blouse with her hair pulled back in a head band. She is such a knock out if I can brag. Takes after her mom I guess.

Sunday afternoon found most folks back at the homestead wanting to take a nap. Little One was having none of that. I asked if she wanted to go to the mountains with me. She didn't but she didn't want to take a nap either. She ended up going with me and we found one more Geocache at the Pinhoti trailhead. It ended up being a major hike. However, Little One hung in there and was a real trooper. We then headed over to "The Pocket" where we paid a state park fee and Little One played a little in the cold mountain stream at the picnic area. She was worried before we left about "the ride" up the mountain. She didn't want to wreck. As we were leaving the picnic area, I ventured up to John's mountain overlook. She said it wasn't scary - "just bumpy".

Sunday night my nephew and his girlfriend came over and we all sat around and talked and played board games. Little One was the life of the party. She was hyper and bouncing off the walls. ( I think mom secretly gave her another piece of chocolate cake).

Monday, my parents hosted a family gathering. Both my Grandmothers were there. My sister and her husband were there. Both my nephews and their girlfriends were there and my Uncle. Dad cooked hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. My mom prepared carrot salad, baked beans and watermelon. There was even cake left over. We had our fill of food - thanks mom and dad for it all.

It was soon time for our trip to close with the ride home back towards Atlanta. We got home, cleaned the pig cage, washed a few loads of cloths, ate some popcorn and watched a movie with Little One and called it a night. I was too tired to write a post and organize the photos. Hopefully, I will be able to get the pictures posted later.

This week: I should have a poker game to attend tonight. Friday is a date night with my wife for my birthday.

Get out and enjoy the world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Memorial Day Crunch

Hello Friends.

I am sitting here tonight preparing for a long weekend.
As we move into the holiday to remember those that
have served to protect and provide freedom, I am truly
grateful for the life that I have because of them.

I am sitting here preparing for a trip to see the folks
up in Dalton, GA. I am hoping to get away for a morning
run of Geocaching in the north Georgia mountains.

I have a laptop computer hooked up to my Palm TX.
Those two are communicating and syncing information
about the details and hints of the local Geocaches.

I have the desktop computer running. I am using it
to download 200 Geocaches within a 20 mile radius of
"the pocket" as the area is called. I am running the
search on www.geocaching.com and moving that data over
to the Garmin Mapsource software. Once I feel I have a
good read on the 200 caches near the zero point,
I will download that data to my Garmin. Along with
all the geocaching information, Mapsource will also
give me the turn by turn directions of all the roads
in and around the area. Mapsource will give details
of places to eat, places to get gas, car services,
hospitals, shopping and a whole slew of stuff.

So, you wanna know what it takes to be a 21st century
hiker/geocacher? 2 Computers, a Palm TX, a Garmin GPS,
a digital camera and a bag of goodies to trade =
Priceless. (or about $1,700) - I am such a geek.
Since Aaron (Outdoorliving365) is more geeky than I,
I am sure he probably has a little more value in
his equipment. I am really just a geek wanna be.

If you haven't had a chance yet to visit the newest
blog link on my page (Ducknotes), do so now. Interesting
stuff over there at Ducknotes. Also, he is a great
photographer. One of the things I value while out
geocaching is a good photo opportunity. However,
as mentioned above, this hobby has it's cost and
a very good camera is just not on the list of things
to buy currently.

Friday morning we are attending Little One's Kindergarten
graduation. Yes, in a few days, she will be a 1st grader!

It's getting late and I am experiencing problems
syncing on the other computer. I will end this here
and wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Today, Little One brought home a friend from school.

The two girls have known each other since early
babyhood. They attended day care together and now
elementary school.

We had a good time and both girls did really good.

Poker should be on the ticket for tonight.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Vistors are great!

The weekend wrap should be short on words.

I am tired and want to go watch TV.


Friday night we go to Crackle Barrel to eat with the In-Laws.
Here is Little One with grumps.

After dinner, we headed over to the mall and walked some
of those calories off. Here is Little One getting luck
by donating to the fountain.

Okay - Saturday my mother and nephew came down with
my nephews girlfriend.

Little One had a Game Saturday morning everyone came down for.
Here is her team.

After the Soccer game, we came back to our house
to go swimming.

Here is a picture of Kat (nephew's girlfriend)and Little One
at the pool eating Hot Dogs and Chips.

A little later we all pile in the van and go eat.
I pick Texas Roadhouse - I love it.

Here is everyone but me waiting to go inside.

Our family crashed once our company left. Little One
feel asleep on my bed and I was kicked to the couch.
I didn't sleep all that well. Next time she goes to
her bed!!

Sunday after church, Little One, the wife and I headed back
to the pool. Little One made friends with some older girls
and the wife and I got a little sun.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Oasis

Serendipity now. The routine of life had me stuck in a rut. Today I took charge of my life and had to take time for me. Today I had to escape the norm and slip off somewhere with calmness and isolation. My oasis point keeps drawing me back to Cochran Mill park in Palmetto, Ga. This 800+ acre park is idea for me to slip off to after a long days work. It’s less than 10 miles from house and provides hours of hiking in the woods with little interaction with others.

As I drove home from work, the sun was shining. I could feel the sting of the sun on my arm as is rested up on the window of my Honda Passport. My mind was wondering in and out places. Then it hit me! Cochran Mill. A perfect day to visit. I quickly called my wife at work and asked what plans she had tonight. She picked up on the urgency in my voice and asked what I had in mind. I explained I needed time at Cochran Mill. She agreed and said her and Little One would do fine without me for a couple of hours.

I rushed home. It seemed every slow poke and school bus was in front of me. Really! At one point going down a straightaway, I was literally behind 3 school buses. I rushed through the house changing clothes, gathering electronics. I can’t go without my Gamin, Palm TX and a digital Camera. Who knew it took a $1,000 to go hiking. That’s just the geek I am.

I pulled up to the parking spot with only one other car in sight. Great! Slow day. This park can either be busy or slow. Just what I needed – a slow day. Before I could strap on the fanny pack with the water and trinkets, another truck rolled up. I had a good 3-minute jump on the guy. I crossed the river at the swimming hole – no one there. I then started down the Oasis trail. A trip to sort things out – a trip to align the priorities.

However, I was in no hurry and the guy quickly caught me on the trail. Nice guy. A fellow Geocacher. We discussed the park and Geocaching for a stretch of the trail and then split company. He had a beautiful boxer dog with him. She really enjoyed the opportunity to run free in the woods.

Along the trail I allowed my mind to roam free with thoughts. My wife, our daughter and other things went through my mind. I had hooked the headphones into the palm and was listening to some good 80 rock n roll. Memories. Lost on the trail in a grown mans mind.

My views were excellent. Like this one of the first river crossing. Looking out over the river and hearing its call was just what the afternoon called for.

As I reached the waterfall area, I decided to pull up and take a short sit. There I sat upon this huge rock that the water cascaded over and splashed into the pool below.

I had two water bottles in my pack and decided I would quench my thirst. When I pulled the bottle from my pack, it was very warm. So, being the smart kind of guy I am. I realized I was sitting next to a “mountain stream”. South Fulton county isn’t exactly the mountains. However, its as close as it gets around here. So, this picture shows me cooling my warm water bottle. Look close.

I sit there probably 10 minutes or so and don’t see a soul the entire time I am there. Awesome. I gather my gear and start up a new trail I haven’t been on. The water falls are a good 30 minute hike back and I usually cross the river here and head along the other sides trail. Not today. I am staying on this side and seeing where this trail goes. I don’t have my GPS on. I am not really in the mood to hunt for geocaches. There are plenty in the park. I just want to be there. Nothing else.

I travel down this trail for about a mile and come upon a trail intersection and find it’s about ¾ of a mile to the right back to the main trail and a ½ mile the other way. I take the cheap way out and head back to the main trail. I stop and think that I need a self portrait. I am always behind the camera. So, here is a shameless self promotion of me!

Back on the main trail I run into a young couple decked out in bathing suits. They ask where the waterfall is and I direct them to it. A little further down the trail as it swings back down by the river (just below the bridge above) there is a family and friends sitting and playing along the waters edge. They have a youngster with them that about 10 months old. They seem to be having fun. I wave and keep on walking.

Through all this about 2 hours have past and I head back out the way I came. I hear lots of noise by the swimming hole at the entrance of the park. It’s there that I find several hippie redneck boys and girls splashing around. They are having a good time. I walk up to where they are. Something has peeked my interest and now I am ready to see if it is true. I see a man perched upon the edge of the hill. He looks as if he wants to jump. The shallow pool area where he is jumping into is about 6 feet deep. I am sure I am about to witness one of those events you see on the news.

“Local man dives into shallow creek and breaks his back. He is now at the local hospital suffering from internal injuries, broken back (no pun) lacerations and a whole lot of drunk friends at his bedside.”

I walk out on the rock where I survey the situation. I count 6 males and 2 females. The females have taken just out of sight in the woods. Hmmm. Anyway. We greet each other and have a little small talk. I see they have an IPOD with stereo speakers pumping out Lynard Skinard. Sounds good – I like it. One of the men is wedging a box of wine into the side of an old stone fireplace. Where, he sets up shop to dispense said liquid into Sunkist Orange soda cans. Can you say first class entertainment? I knew you could.

I ask is that guy going to jump from up there. They said yes and he did. It was a miracle he didn’t die. My brain popped into gear and mentioned to him if he would do it again I would like to take a picture. He was thrilled to look death between his cross eyes again. The previous said redneck (wine pourer) burst out and mentioned he would video it with his cell phone. Wine pourer whips out a blackjack phone and started getting ready. Jumper now heads upwards the hill this time taking a fellow “juice drinker” with him. Could two rednecks see death and laugh at it? I guess strange things do happen. I thought to heck with just a photo. My readers will not believe me unless I also provide video proof that when rednecks give a rebel yell of “Watch this Bubba!!!” They really are about to die or come very close. So, without further agonizing words – I give you the proof.

Everyone have a great weekend and get out and enjoy it. Pool opens SATURDAY. Look for pictures of me in my speedo’s. Just kidding……….hmmmm eeewww!!!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Surprise Friday Night date

Friday, after work and school, we took Little One to Cheerleading camp at the local high school. Since my wife and I wasn't invited to stay and watch, we had a surprise date night. Like most married couples those are few and far in between. However, we made the most of it.

We went grocery shopping and looking at a houses in a nearby neighborhood. No, we aren't moving. Great date I am aren't I? I did take the wife to a small park area I discovered while out Geocaching a couple months back. We got out and walked the paths down to the river. We walked along holding hands and just talking. It was a nice break from it all.

We did manage to get back to pick Little One up early - on purpose. I snapped a few photos but the battery was going dead and the flash wasn't working. Today Little One returns for the second day of the camp. I have charged the battery and emptied the memory card. I am ready today. My wife has a baby shower to go to. So, it will be me picking up Little One. I will go extra early and get some photos and videos I am sure.

Until later - get out and enjoy the weekend.

I am not sure this is a real jump.
But she gets an "A" for effort.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Hunt

Volvo has sunken a treasure chest with $50,000 and a key.
See ad here.
and here...

Sounds like my Geocaching buddies should have a pow wow
and think this out to see if we could find it.

sorry for blog vagueness this week. True to my word I
spent my time on the computer working the extra job.
4 hours work and $158 pre tax dollars was worth it.

Little One is participating in a cheerleading camp
this Friday and Saturday at the high school. She
is pumped up about it. We'll see how it goes.

It's late and I headed for bed. night all.

Aaron I wanna hear about the idea of a John's mountain
geocaching trip. I think it would provide for great
photo op's.

Night all