December 27, 2008: Home to Finland

Rode with Pat and Jamie on the 27th up to Finland. We had lunch at "Our Place", which is a favorite stop of mine (I can't believe that Jamie says that he's never been there before!) I'd like to say that we rode up to Finland AND BACK, although it didn't quite work out that way...

Heading back, Pat had a tie rod end pull apart, which caused his left-side ski to basically lay on it's side. He limped it back to the parking lot outside of Beaver Bay and we got Ruth to come up with the truck and tote the three of us home.

After he limped it back to the parking lot, Jamie and I rode into Beaver Bay to make the call to Ruth. We fueled up in town, and then decided to grab some beverages while there to make the wait a little more enjoyable. I have to say that's the first time I've been in a liquor store while riding... I have a pretty hard-fast rule (unbroken to date and I doubt it will ever be broken) about not drinking a drop while riding. I don't mind cracking one open after a ride. It's even more enjoyable when you're just killing time waiting for your ride to show up...

Total miles this ride: 157
Total miles this year: 330

December 20, 2008: Home to Martin Rd to Dixie's Saloon and back

Went for the first ride of the year on Saturday from home, across Island Lake and down to the Martin Rd lot, then met up with Brian C and Jake (his son), Pat, and Jamie. Rode from there up to Dixie's Saloon, had some lunch (we got there at 11:30 which is right when they opened), and then rode the whole course in reverse, getting home around 4:30pm.

The ride went fairly well - tons of snow out there. I ended up getting stuck in the ditch trail (twice) a few blocks from the house (that's what I get for taking my wife's 380 out in about 3' of fresh ditch snow). I cut across Island Lake (more because I felt like I was running behind a little on time), but the lake had a good 18" to 24" of fresh snow on it as well, with slushy spots underneath. With the throttle wide open, the speedometer said about 35 MPH and I'm pretty sure I could have gotten out and walked faster a couple of times (ok, not really, but you get the point).

I caught up with the rest of the group at the Martin Rd lot, chatted for just a couple of minutes, and then we were on our way. No real serious problems to speak of, with Pat getting the Rhubarb Award just a few miles into the ride. Lots of snow on the trails, and tons of fresh snow the further north we got. All in all a great ride, although maybe a bit much for the first ride of the year...

All of the pictures from the ride are here.

Total miles this ride: 173
Total miles this year: 173

Border Counties Collecting Biographical Data From All Passengers On Traffic Stops

The DNT had an interesting article today about Lake County receiving a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to collect data on passengers riding in vehicles that are stopped for routine traffic stops. The grant is not restricted to Lake County however - it's being offered to all border counties

The grant doesn't allow the deputies to stop vehicles for no reason, but does "require" them to collect data on passengers when they stop a vehicle for a legitimate reason (such as for speed).

This data is then forwarded on to the federal government to help them determine if people are illegally entering the country through the BWCAW or via Lake Superior.

While I'm all for watching our borders to keep illegals out, and understand that both the BWCAW and Lake Superior could be considered "easy entry points" for people wanting to enter the country illegally, this doesn't seem like the right way to go about it. I'm really curious how many people the federal government intends on detecting via this method - I can't believe they will detect hardly any. Instead this seems like another way for Big Brother to monitor every movement. Don't misunderstand me - I'm not one of those "Big Brother" fanatics, but this seems to cross the line.

Getting Ready for Hunting

I spent most of Saturday preparing for my annual three weekends out in the woods, wearing one of the most obvious colors (to humans) that there is. Blaze orange.

I headed out Saturday morning to haul some of my gear and food out to my deer stand, which is about a 3/4 mile hike from where we make camp. I still have a few things yet to bring out, but I was able to get the majority of it out there on Saturday. I ran into one of my cousins who was scouting out a location for a stand as well. I also heard from him that another cousin and two uncles would be out on Sunday to get their stuff all ready to go.

After hauling my stuff out to the stand, I went back to the truck and got my rifle and sighted it in at the stand. I enjoy sighting it in while sitting in the stand versus at a range or even back at camp as I know that the distance to the target is where I will be hoping to see the big one come out.

After getting all of that stuff squared away I went home to plug away on building our new deck for a few hours, then headed down to Hermantown to assist in the loading and hauling of this year's deer camp firewood. Jamie was quite late in arriving, and since he's the one with all of the keys to get the project underway we couldn't help but sit and wait. Once he arrived (about 6pm), we got the trucks loaded up with wood and arrived up at camp around 9pm, unloaded the trucks, and then I headed home, not getting home until a few minutes after 10pm. Hopefully we'll have plenty of firewood although most of us have already noted that we have less this year than we've had in past years.

I'm looking forward to Friday now - the official start of the season (for me anyway). I still have a few things I need to gather up around the house, and probably one last quick trip to the grocery store, but otherwise I think I'm pretty well set.

First Snowfall!

Ahh.. The first snowfall of the year. Something I look forward to each and every year. Something most people hate.

The first snowfall means that fall is nearing an end. It means that the hunting season (for me anyway) is about to begin (or has already begun in some cases). In means that snowmobiling is just around the corner.

I didn't get any pictures of the snow coming down yesterday as it was after dark and I was on my way home from work, but trust me, it was falling!

2008 MnGCA Fall Event

So I've been a little lax in posting lately. What's new?

I attended the 2008 MnGCA Fall Event this past weekend at Anoka County's Rice Creek Park.

The event was very well attended (probably the highest attended MnGCA Fall/Spring event that I've been to now), and was a blast. I can't say enough praise about the event committee, which brought us different activities to try and mix it up a little, including a Creative Cache contest.

I headed down to the cities on Friday with Esko and Ghost. We set up camp at William O'Brien State Park near Marine On St. Croix. We had planned to do a number of caches around the park, but Ghost had some problems with his brakes, so we opted to run his car into Forest Lake to get repaired and then cached some around Forest Lake and up Hwy 8 to the St. Croix River.

Friday evening we met up with accordiongal at the park and Esko cooked us up some excellent pork chops on the fire and potatoes and carrots in a dutch oven.

Saturday morning the three of us cached our way to the event. After forgetting my bag of chips in the truck and walking back to the truck, I saw DLHCacher pull up. Going over to say "hi" to Tom, he invited me on a FTF mission on the other side of the lake. I'm not one to turn something like that down, so I hopped into his car, no GPS (but with two bags of chips). The FTF turned out to be more than both of us bargained for though I think..

After the event Esko and I did the caches in the park as well as a number of surrounding caches until dark fell, then we headed back to the park to cook up some wonderful ribeyes before the rain came. Unfortunately the rain came before we finished cooking (and boy did it come!), although we were still able to get the food cooked to perfection.

Some pictures from the weekend:

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