Friday, July 25, 2008

Dog Daze

After the 4th in Illinois, we traveled to Houston for business. Yes, Texas. Yes, in JULY. Yes, it was hot, and no, I did not leave the hotel for 48 hours. It was hot. Did I already mention that? A humid, smothering, wet, oppressive, fantasize-about-living-in-a-meat-locker-kind-of-hot. I am accustomed to heat here in California, but there is very low humidity. I spent three days running on the hotel treadmills trying to not go completely berserk. Even with the AC, the humidity was crazy. No offense to my friends from Texas, but I have to say it's my least favorite state in the country... and I've been to all of 'em 'cept North Dakota! (To be fair, I have never been to Austin which is supposed to be pretty cool. Rocky Racoon is a great event, too.)

We then flew back to the paradise that is Chicago (anything is paradise after Houston in July) and spent the weekend in Whitewater, Wisconsin. The nearby Kettle Moraine State Forest, which plays host to both the Ice Age 50 and the KM 100, had some wicked nice trails. Because of excessive rain, the John Muir Trails were closed to mountain bikes so I had them all to myself and -- due to VERY hungry and aggressive mosquitoes -- I got in a fast-for-me 20 miler. BTW, who knew there was a John Muir Trail in the Midwest?!

Back in the Windy City, we checked out the Field Museum of Natural History, home of "Sue," the biggest and best T. Rex ever unearthed, named after the paleontologist who discovered her. I loved this colorful display:

A Sue Store -- woo hoo!! Yeah, so I went a little nuts there -- read the hat! Heh, heh... normally I wouldn't wear a hat that says "BITE ME," but all my running hats were dirty, it was sunny, and we had bought the hat at Joe's Crab Shack in Houston as a C2M giveaway. I got a few strange looks. ;-)

We were total tourons and did the Sears Tower thing. Although not the high point that counts, it IS higher than Charles Mound, so I had to do it. I wanted to run up the stairs, but we were required to take the elevator, and -- get this -- it took us only to the 103rd floor, and there are 110. The OC in me found this very lame indeed. Still, the view was pretty awesome:

The past week and a half we've been back in Oxnerd, so I've been running the trails in PMSP and Ojai. There are some great trails in Ojai -- C2M is there -- but MY GOD, it gets hot in the summer! (But it's a dry heat...) On a 13 miler the other day, I went through about 90 oz. of fluids, a full 70 oz. bladder and a handheld. Of interest, word is the mountain lion population is increasing up there. (O_O) I hope to see one... from a safe distance... one that has just eaten a big meal. :p How cool would that be?! Best I managed was a tarantula near Mugu Peak last weekend.

We are leaving for Washington State on Sunday. My good friend Doug is going to lead a small group of us on Mt. Rainier. Hopefully we'll get better weather than last year, when we couldn't even leave the parking lot! Also, my friend "Chet" (pictured with me below) and I are going to attempt to run the Wonderland Trail in three days. Chet just finished H'ardrock; hopefully he can keep up. :p We realize that due to all the snow the NW received this winter and spring, the WT may be a long shot -- this site doesn't sound very encouraging (pull down a little over halfway for WT) -- but we'll inquire at the ranger station as to the latest conditions and try to give it a go. Alternately, we may run the White River 50 course just for fun. No worries... Washington is a fun playground with spectacular trails and mountains, so there's no shortage of options. Gotta go pack now.........


Jamie Anderson said...

Sweet, I hope you guys do get to do Rainer! Washington does seem like an awesome state. Almost as cool as Maine. :-)

Aaron K said...

Hey SUE! Noodleman 94'

Doug McKeever said...

Sneek preview until Sue posts....
she did it!(summit Rainier, that is). We used a bit of an unusual strategy to beat an oncoming storm in that we got to high camp at 10,000', set up camp and ate a quick dinner, then left for the summit at 5:15 p.m. (normally we would leave at midnight) because the storm was supposed to hit at about midnight. We were back down in camp before the weather deteriorated too badly. Sue will probably comment on the fantastic neve penitentes we had to negotiate.
Well done, Sue. As always, it was fun to spend a few hours with you! And good luck to you and "Chet" on the WT!

Olga said...

Sue, I visited Austin in, do I feel your pain! Girl, you are!