Monday, December 24, 2012

Weekend Activities

  • Hit Cowles Mountain for the first time.  I wanted to see how my glute and hamstring held up.

  • Balboa Park: Model Railroad Museum, San Diego History Museum
  • Lunch at Slaters 50/50 in Liberty Station
  • San Salvador building site at Spanish Landing Park

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Weekend Activities

  • Holiday parties
  • Hike at Lake Hodges with lunch at Hernandez' Hideaway

Thanksgiving in Baltimore

My brother recently moved to Baltimore to accept a new position.  It is a great deal for him but moving to an unknown place is tough on the family.
We packed a ton in to the week:
  • Gettysburg National Battlefield

  • Museum of Visionary Artists
  • Edgar Allan Poe memorial
  • Spy Museum

Not to mention the eating, shopping, etc.

My uncle and his family including cousins from all over Virginia came for Thanksgiving.  It was an awesome family reunion.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Weekend Activities

  • Battle of San Pascual re-enactment - Bengt made a hand-dipped candle and a corn husk doll he named "Corntez", we also picked up a iron bottle opener made the blacksmith as we watched

Friday, November 30, 2012


More books...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Colorado River Trek

This past weekend, Troop 774 took a canoe trek down the Colorado River.  I had taken canoe training with the council but had never been on the river.  Most of the others were new to it as well.  We had a skills training day earlier so everyone knew what to expect.
We headed up Friday evening.  I was the first one to arrive at the our base camp at Park Moabi.  After grabbing a camp site, the others slowly trickled in until late at night.
In the morning, the outfitters (Jerkwater) showed up with the canoes.  They gave us a safety and navigation briefing and we headed off to the departure point.  We put in at a park in Needles.  The idea was to canoe back to base camp today, then float the gorge on Sunday.  Bengt and I were in the point and the float down was great but uneventful.  The only drawback was the view.  The river is below grade for most of this section, so you can’t really see anything.  When we got to the entry for the Moabi, the wind was picking up and we had to drag the canoes back up to the camp from the shore.  We had an awesome dinner and campfire before everyone headed to bed.
Sunday morning, we got an early start so we could make our exit time.  Everyone was excited as we floated under the bridge and entered Topok Gorge.  The gorge had great scenery!  We made a rest stop on a sand bar then made a lunch stop at the petroglyphs.  Since we were in the point, we had to find the path through the reeds to get to Castle Rock.  It was harder than it sounds but we finally found it.  It was so narrow we could hardly paddle.  For the day, we got lucky since we had the wind at our backs and we got to Castle Rock early.  We called Jerkwater and they can and picked us up.
Before heading out on the long ride home, we had one snafu.  One dad lost his car keys.  Since it was a rental, he need to get a tow to Las Vegas and get a new car on Monday.  But I lent him my cell phone and we had plenty of food for them so it worked out great.
Can’t wait for the next trip out there.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Monday, November 05, 2012

Weekend Activities

  • Bengt got his blue-green belt!
  • Dog walks at Pipe and lagoon nature center
  • Moonlight Beach time
  • Birthday dinner at Greek American

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weekend Activities

  • Moonlight Beach time (twice)
  • Ran a mile on the beach in 6:09, a personal best (although I probably ran a faster mile at the Bootcamp Challenge it wasn't timed)
  • Disneyland for Bengt's birthday

Friday, October 26, 2012

Canoe Day

Troop 774 had a canoe day out on Mission Bay.  We trained on the canoes for our upcoming Colorado River trek.  The kids also took out some kayaks and a small catamaran.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Activities

  • Kayak with OEX at Ja Jolla Shores - great guides
  • Tim Lyons Dinner Theater at St. A's

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Did another batch of bacon this weekend.  Very tasty!

Burnt Rancheria Camping

Troop 774 headed out to Burnt Rancheria in Mt. Laguna for a tent camping event.
When we got there Friday night, it was very cold and the ground was still pretty damp from the rains earlier in the week.  The kids did great setting up tents in the dark and getting everything setup.
On Saturday, we did a nice 7 mile hike to Monument Peak and back along the PCT.  The afternoon was for advancement and skills.

Very fun time!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Weekend Activites

  • Some home-schooling beach time with Bengt
  • Boot Camp Challenge at MCRD

  • Parents visited for the day
  • Got the new water softener installed and had the central vacuum fixed

Monday, September 24, 2012


Green Valley Camp

The first Troop 774 camp of the year was at Green Valley in Cuyamaca State Park.
The highlights:

  • 6 mile hike along the Monument Trail to the airplane monument then up to the saddle near Jamacha Peak; downhill from there back to camp.
  • The patrols had their first event and did great!
  • Awesome meals for the dutch oven competition.
  • Great skits at the campfire.
  • One casualty during Totin' Chip axe training :(
  • Fun time at the falls

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekend Activities

* Spend most of Saturday at Jaya's field hockey tournament.  I am surprised the girls didn't pass out from the heat!
* Saw a great rehab job from Jay
* Got the toilet installed in the never-ending bathroom remodel...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Weekend Activites

  • Beach time at Moonlight and Cardiff
  • More work on the bathroom

Saturday, September 08, 2012

San Clemente Island trip

Bengt, Lucas and Evan from Troop 774 took a snorkeling/fishing trip to "forbidden" San Clemente Island.
The boat ride was over 4 hours in each direction.  Going there was fine but coming back was a bit boring, especially when the sun when down.
We did some snorkeling near the shore and the kids got to swim ashore on the forbidden island.  The boat got caught in some high winds and some of the group was stranded for a while as the boat motored back up.
The highlight of the trip was fishing.  Bengt caught a sheephead and a calico.  Very fun!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mt. San Jacinto Backpacking Trek

This past weekend, Bengt and I had the pleasure of joining the Colbaths for a weekend backpacking trek up to Mt. San Jacinto.  Even though I grew up in SoCal, I had never been up there so I was very excited.
We left home on Sat. morning and headed up to the tram station in Palm Springs.  After finding parking and getting tickets we were on a tram heading nearly straight up.   The ride was great! The tram rotated as it went up so everyone got to see the views.  We had a quick lunch at the top and headed on the trail to our camp at Round Valley.
The tram station was at 8400' and the camp was at around 9100'.  The hike was vigorous but not too bad. At the camp, we had to scout around for a while to find a good spot.  Some campers just set up where ever they felt.  I guess the rangers don't really care too much.  We set up camp, which for me meant my Ray Way tarp.  After dinner, I started to get a headache so lied down and tried to sleep.  I must be more sensitive to altitude than I figured since I had similar symptoms at Holcomb Valley a few weeks prior.  Night was windy and chilly but the trap was great.  I sealed the seams during the day so it should be impervious to all weather from now on!
After a slow morning, we started out to hit the peak.  Starting out, we filtered some water at the spring near the camp.  Bengt had .5 liters and I carried 2 as well as some snacks.  The hike up to the peak was challenging the well worth it.  The views from the top were magnificent!  After lunch at the top, we headed back down to the camp, which took much less time.  After getting to camp, my headache started to come back so I lied back down under the tarp.
We were originally going to stay another night but decided to change plans and head back down that evening.  We quickly packed up and headed back to the tram station.  It was another downhill hike except for the last 100 yards up the tram station walkway.  We had to wait about an hour for a ride back down due to some mechanical problems with the tram but got down ok.  It was amazing the temperature difference between the top and bottom!
Overall, it was a fabulous trip!  We put in over 12 miles of hiking with most of it on Sunday.  The kids did great in all aspects of the trek and are already experts in backpacking.
To solve my blister problem, I tried out some Band-Aid friction stick.  It seemed to work fine.  I didn't even get a hot spot after hitting the peak and back.  I also tried my new Merrell Sonic Glove barefoot shoes.  I highly recommend them.  They are the perfect medium between Five Fingers and regular hiking shoes.
As for food, I tried out some additional primal backpacking items.  For breakfasts, I had primal energy bars which were great.  For lunch, I had parmigiano reggiano and beef jerky.  The hard cheese held up much better than cheddar.  For dinner, I had my stews made from dehydrated veggies, meat and spices.  One dish had chicken and Tex-Mex spices.  It was very good.  The other dish had ground beef and tomato sauce.  Since we didn't stay for dinner the second night, I made this for lunch at work the next week.  It was good, but I added way too much tomato sauce.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Summer Camp

I spent a half week at summer camp with Bengt up at Holcomb Valley Camp near Big Bear.
We had a great  time.

Monday, July 30, 2012


I have been on a big cooking trip lately.  Mainly to support my Primal habits and increase the overall healthiness of my diet.  I have concentrated on grilling/BBQ and vegetable dishes.

Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves by Nava Atlas - a good starter book on cooking greens; a lot of recipes what have grains but plenty of basic dishes

Fruit Trees in Small Spaces: Abundant Harvests from Your Own Backyard by Colby Eirman - more of a zen book on trees than a how-to guide

Beer-Can Chicken: And 74 Other Offbeat Recipes for the Grill by Steven Raichlen - am looking forward to trying a few of beer-can chicken recipes

Sausage: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Homemade Sausage by Victoria Wise- after reading this book, I decided that buying good sausage is easier and just as wholesome as making it

Raichlen on Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribs by Steven Raichlen - the ribs bible from the BBQ king

Monday, July 23, 2012

Primal Backpacking

Since I migrated to a fully Primal diet a few months ago, I found one of the biggest challenges was developing menus for the camping and backpacking.  To help out, I recently got a dehydrator and vacuum sealer to prepare and package my own meals.
I have been making batches and batches and of beef jerky.  I get Mendenhall beef from Whole Foods.  It is pastured, grass-fed, local meat, not to mention delicious.  I make different flavors depending on what I have around.  Jerky is a fabulous snack for my treks.
If I have extra veggies around, I have been dehydrating them as well.  They take quite a while to dry.  I have zucchini, bell pepper and onion so far.  I also have dried chicken breast and ground beef (both pre-cooked).  My plan is to make soups and stews using vegges and meat and some seasoning.
On my last trek, I took a stew with ground beef, veggies and some left over ramen mix.  It was pretty decent.  The key was the flavored oil from the ramen pack (I ditched the noodles).  For the veggies, the zucchini seemed tough and bland while the bell pepper was vibrant and very tasty.
I will continue to experiment with different ingredient and combos.

Nation of Pansies

Why didn't anyone fight back?  Have we abdicated all our "security" to the government (which is incapable of performing such duties).

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Camp Osten

We had by brother's kids in town for Camp Osten 2012!
  • Cirque du Soleil at the Kodak Theater for the girls
  • Knott's Berry Farm for the boys
  • Perfect Encinitas Days: bacon for breakfast, Moonlight Beach, Rico's Taco Shop
  • Fireworks in Santa Ana
  • Pool time!
  • Epic water fight with the neighbors
  • Rock City gym
  • Lot's of bad-for-you-food

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cuyamaca Backpacking

I finished my Rayway tarp and set out to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to test it out.  The trap saved me around 2 pounds over my tent.  I had a base weight of 10.4 pounds and a total pack weight of 21.1 pounds (with 3 liters of water and 1.6 pounds of food).
I parked at far southern end of the park at Merigan trailhead.  I had to get ranger permission to leave my car there overnight since it is a day use lot.  I headed north via the Dead Horse Trail, California Riding and Hiking Trail, Arroyo Seco Trail, West Mesa Fire Trail, and the Lookout Road to Paso Picacho camp.  Total mileage was 11.5 miles and took 4.5 hours.  Many parts of the trails where overgrown or encroached upon by weeds.  Long pants and shirts sleeves where a must.  There was a lot of up and down that left me beat at the end.  I had brought small hex stove and some small tablets to cook dinner and heat water.  The wind was blowing and I didn't have a windscreen so the stove couldn't really heat the water too well.  I still had some decent coffee and a home-grown meal of dehydrated ground beef and veggies.  The key to the main dish was some flavored oil from a leftover ramen-type meal.
Tarp time!  I set up the tarp broadside to the wind and with the windward side pitched lower.  It worked great.  The winds were 10mph with 30mph gusts.  The tarp allowed just the right amount of ventilation and I was comfy and cozy inside my warm weather bag.  The newly acquired polycryo ground sheet worked as well on the hard pack.
Woke up early and heated some water for some cocoa.  I needed the sugar fix for the trek up to Cuyamaca Peak.  I left the camp at 6:05a.  The next hour was 2.5 miles straight up 1600 feet.  By this time my feet were very blistered.  But it was worth it with the view of what I call the "second sea," the marine layer that envelopes much of San Diego almost every morning.  The tall peaks poke up over the clouds like islands in a vast sea.  Then spent the next 3.5 hours heading south back to the trailhead.  Thankfully this was almost all downhill but my feet and legs where not happy.  Total mileage was 13.5 miles at 4.5 hours.
Total trek mileage was 25 miles.  I love hiking CRSP and can't wait to get out there again.

View from California Riding and Hiking Trail.

From geocache along Arroyo Seco trail.

Rattler crossing the Fern Flat Fire Road.

Tarp with the windward side lower.  Had to search a few minutes to find suitable sticks.

Second sea viewed from Cuyamaca Peak.