Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Can you say "Adorable"?!  I got to hang out today with Naomii and her Mom, Kelli.  Kelli is a former student of mine, and has done an amazing job with Naomii.  She's a happy, energetic, fun-loving 9-month old who spent an hour or so crawling around my living room, checking everything out.  She's a little diva, and it's clear that her grandmother has already been working with her on posing. . . : )

You were amazing, Naomii!  Thanks!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Girl's Summer Hoops

After misreading the schedule, and showing up at the Arnold Rec Center at 9:45 this morning, only to learn that the 9:45 game was played yesterday. . . I was given a reprieve with an email from Coach Sutterer, informing me that the Pioneers were playing today at 12:30pm at Fox High School.  I hurried over and took in the game pitting the Pioneers against a rather tall Sullivan team.  It was a 1 point game at the half, and the Pioneers prevailed and did a nice job of running out the clock at the end of the game.  

The Pioneers will be fun to watch this year!  Led offensively by the lethal guard combo of Lianna Doty and Dajae Williams, the Pioneers are playing a pesky, attacking defense and looking to get out and run.  It's a tough style to play in the summer, when you play 4 to 5 games in a single day, but there's no better time to get after it and push yourself and your teammates.  

It's good to see our teams working hard over the summer to improve and prepare themselves to compete for championships.  The harder you work, the harder it is to give in when things get tough.  Keep up the good work, ladies!!

Just got word that the Pioneers beat Jeff City by 14 in the semi-final, and lost an overtime thriller to Farmington in the Championship.  Way to go, Pioneers!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Football Scrimmage

After several days of miserable heat, the weather cooperated for today's scrimmage held at Nipher Middle School.  It was fun to see the kids and coaches get after it as they continue their work to become the best they can be.  I've always enjoyed watching great athletes play, and I'm now finding that I equally appreciate watching great coaches coach.  One fellow coach had this to say about Coach Irvin. . . "He's the real deal. We'll be great because of him."    Here Coach Irvin works with the offensive line.

The kickers always seem to have a lonely job. 

When I was younger and first coaching, I thought I "knew it all", but the older I get, the more I realize how little I know or am sure of anymore.  One thing I DO know, however, is that Matt Krapfl was meant to be a coach.  I had the pleasure of watching Matt play in high school when he was the Missouri Offensive Player of the Year, and I had the fortune of coaching him in basketball.  He is a fierce competitor.  I still remember his first basketball game with the varsity, when after only one day of practice, he hit 3 big 3's, including the game-winner in the closing seconds of overtime.  He's going back to school now to get certified, and I can only hope he ends up at Kirkwood. Here Matt works with a young QB.

It's tough, when you're young, to sometimes realize how good you have it.  I hope these kids realize what a great coaching staff they have.  Here, Coach Bensinger works with some freshmen running backs.  Coach Bensinger is a rock-solid man, a tremendous teacher,  and a heck of a coach.  He cares about his players on and off the field.  

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Banks from Ohio, whose son is a running back for the Pioneers.  It was nice to hear how highly he thought of Kirkwood and Coach Irvin.    Here he shares a smile with his son while he reiterates what the coaching staff was saying about "running north and south". . .

Coach Irvin has a great rapport with his players, in part because he is such a great communicator.  He holds them accountable, but also spends a great deal of time challenging them and encouraging them.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dubois to St. Louis

Left Jackson on the 5th after breakfast with Jim and Sarah, and headed 80 miles southeast to Dubois and Teton Valley Ranch Camp.  It was a beautiful drive past Grand Teton Nation Park.  No matter how many times I see the view, I'm still mesmerized by the sight of the mountains.  

It was great to be back at the ranch and see old friends.  It's an amazing place, mostly because of the people who work there and give everything they have to make kids have the most amazing summer of their lives.  They are selfless people and it's invigorating to be around them.  It's great to see staff members who were "young and goofy" when I started there 5 years ago, now maturing and becoming driving forces behind the success of TVRC.  Especially Bubba (who is now Program Coordinator) and Connor, who is now a trip leader.  Carly Platt, who is the Assistant Director, is the glue that keeps TVRC together.  She is so calm and has such a magnetic personality.  We had fun shooting a few pictures and working on some HDR techniques, and getting a few pictures of her "wolf-dog", Sherman.  

I got to spend time with my good friends Tom and Catherine Holland and their two lovely daughters.  Tom does an unbelievable job as the director of TVRC, and Catho is energy personified.  She not only raises two kids, but works at the ranch, AND in Jackson.  'Don't know how she does it.  

Jim came out and did a roping exhibition for some of the older kids.  They got to run the shoot and release the cattle, and had a great time.  Smiles all around.  

Friday morning, Tom, Catho, and I got to do a "Breakfast Ride" for the Trailblazers (the oldest group).  We get up at 5:00, and head out to a remote site where we cook up an amazing breakfast.  The boys ride out on horseback and arrive about 8:30am and we proceed to eat, laugh, and share stories.  These are always highlights of my visit, because I get to spend time with Tom and Catho.  There is some serious conversation, but MUCH laughter.  

After getting fattened up with 3 square meals of amazing food for 4 days, it was time to get back on the bike and head home.  I made it as far as North Platte, Nebraska on Friday, and rolled into my driveway at 8:00pm Saturday night.  It felt good to be home and sleep in my own bed.  5600 miles in 20 days.  My butt is so sore.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th in Jackson

It felt good to be on a highway with a 75 mph speed limit again, and I was making good time, so I decided to just push on in to Jackson.  The drive in from Idaho is beautiful and green.  Just as I entered Jackson, the clouds lit up orange like the 4th of July. . .

Tom and Catherine said I could stay at their house with some other friends of theirs.  When I arrived, I knocked on the door and introduced myself.  I could imagine how t all seemed kinda sketchy, and I probably didn’t look to believable, so I produced my cell phone and played them the message that Catho had left.  We laughed and talked and all was good.. I set up a tent in the front yard, because I still needed to dry it out from my stay in Oregon.  About 2:00am or so, a crazy storm rolled in.  You could hear it approach, then it would rain really hard for about 10 seconds, then it would move on.  That continued off and on for about 15 minutes.  “Mountain storms are strange”, I thought.  I realized I had a bag on my bike that I needed to keep dry, so I quickly opened the tent and scurried over and grabbed the bag, but to my surprise, it wasn’t wet.  As I went to get back in the tent, I got blasted in the midsection with water, and realized that the Holland’s have a sprinkler system.  I moved the tent over onto the driveway and all was well.  Lesson learned.

The 4th:
What a day.  They just don't get much better.  I met Jim and his beautiful fiance, Sarah, Sunday morning at their awesome home at the Fish Creek Ranch.  We hung out and caught up, then went fishing.  These pictures are literally "in their backyard".   What an amazing place.  Sarah proved the master fisherman on this day, landing a mammoth trout (I don't know, I just made that up about the trout).  Afterwards Jim loaded up his horses and we headed out to the rodeo.  Jim was entered in the team roping and had a good shot at coming away with some prize money, but it was not to be.  Jim's office is at the base of Snow King Mountain where the fireworks were to be shot off, so we walked over there.  (You know you have some prime seats for a fireworks display, when you are told 3 different times by the people putting on the show that you can't sit there because "you're in the fall out zone".)  It was spectacular!!  Rockets were being launched a mere 15 yards from where we were sitting, and by the finale, we had been showered with fireworks casings.  Several of the people there commented on how much they liked that particular smell.  For me, it made me think of being a young kid, shooting off fireworks in the neighborhood.  It's amazing how smells can trigger memories.  

After breakfast this morning I headed off to Dubois to see Tom and Catho and the rest of the folks at Teton Valley Ranch.  

Jim and Sarah, THANKS!  Your hospitality was extraordinary.  Jim, you voice was in my head when I decided to take this trip, and it will be in my head on my way home.  I'm lucky to have a friend like you, and Sarah, you're the best.  I'll try to "be in the moment" more often.  And Lucy, hope you got that squirrel. . .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Leaving Oregon

I was expecting an uneventful ride today, just trying to cover miles on my way to Jackson, but as I was nearing the Oregon border, I happened upon a real treasure.  “Oldies but Goodies”, and owner Kerry Croner.  There was an entire lot of old cars (the kind my friend Matt had asked me to photograph).  I pulled in and went inside.  I was greeted by Kerry, and I asked if it would be allright if I took some pictures.  He said, “Well, I got these in front and about a hundred more in the back, so take your time.”    There were cars and trucks, hoods and doors, and many other nick nacks.  I think I took care of all the pictures I needed for the entire trip, so I was able to relax on the ride after this.  When I finished, I went to say thanks and goodbye to Kerry.  We started talking and I was treated to an interesting story by an amazing man.  I asked how Kerry acquired all this “stuff” and he said, “Well, I guess I’ve got kind of an addictive personality.  At first it was drugs and alcohol, and now it’s this.”  He exlained how, when his mother died and he inherited some money, he used most of it to buy this business.  He told me how, when he was younger,  he had built motorcycles and then wrecked them, and how he wrapped one around a tree.  He then knocked on his pant leg and told me he left the leg there that night, but that didn’t stop him, he just got a faster bike.  He's been through tough times, but come out the other side.    

He told me it’s a little tougher to sell things now days with the economy and all, but he’s got some amazing stuff, and I hope things turn in his favor.  What an amazing and kind guy!  Thanks, Kerry, and best wishes!!! 

(I’ll add pictures of the cars in a couple of days)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Across Oregon

Woke up this morning and it was still raining.  Packed up and headed north towards Newport.  It was in the 50’s, but the rain and clouds made it feel colder.  Got to Newport and checked the weather further north.  It showed nothing but rain all day, so I made the decision to “Turn Right” and start the journey back east.  I climbed up into the mountains, and as I climbed, the temperature dropped into the low 40’s and the rain picked up, and the fog rolled in. . . wonderful!  Just when I got down and started to relax a little, Officer Mr. Highway Patrol Guy clocked me at 78 in a 55.  55!!  I thought that speed limit was gone in the 70’s.  Who has a 55 mph speed limit?!  Oh yea, Oregon. . .

Anyway, he wasn’t very pleased with me and was extra upset when he went to get my license plate number and my sandals were hanging down covering the plate.  He went back to the car and wrote my ticket and when he came back, started explaining it to me, but it was upside down, so I moved over where I could read it, and he freaked and told me to move back, I was “too close to my gun”.  Then, after he gave me the ticket, he said, “What’s this weekend?”, but I didn’t hear him, so I lightly put my hand on his shoulder and leaned in and said, “what was that?”, and apparently, you shouldn’t touch a highway patrol man, because he maced me, wrestled me to the ground,  and cuffed me!  (No not really, but he sure did give me a dirtly look till I quickly removed my hand).  

I kept on for the next 100 miles at ridiculously low speeds till I reached Bend, Oregon.  I was trying to decide if I should go south to Crater Lake or continue east.  The guy at the gas station (this one didn’t show up until I was done, and scared me half to death when I turned around to put the nozzle away.  His job was apparently to push “yes” to the receipt question) suggested I call the Visitor Center.  I did, and they said they were having snow which I figured wouldn’t mix too well with my novice motorcycling skills, so I decided to skip it and just continue on.  I made it about 190 miles west of Boise before the rain and cold just wore me down,.  I found this sketchy roadside motel ($39 per night with wi-fi and cable),  It’s awesome.  Totally low-rent, but clean.  I’m livin’ the dream.  A couple Nature Valley Sweek & Salty Almond Granola bars for dinner and I’m headed to bed.  

Eureka to ?

I had no idea where I was going when I got up this morning.  I was either going to go up the Oregon Coast, or head inland to Crater Lake.  I was leaning towards inland, when I got an email from my friend, Tom Holland.  I gave him a call and he said that his family had been to the coast several times and loved it, so I went north.  Just like Northern California, there are beautiful views around every corner (and thankfully, 101 is not nearly as twisty as highway 1.  I hiked down a trail to one of these huge rocks in the ocean.  It really warmed me up for the rest of my ride. 

I was planning on making it to Newport, but it was raining so hard, that I pulled off somewhere, about 45 miles south of there, found a campsite, and here I sit.  Amazing that I can be in my tent, in the pouring rain, working on images and typing this out. . .

I pulled up to a gas pump in Oregon, and this older gentleman came out and walked on over to my pump.  I said, “I’ll go ahead and get it myself.”  He said, “Legally, I just have to turn it on.”  I was confused, but I ran my card through and he lifted the handle, “Supreme?” he asked, “Well, I feel pretty confident, but I wouldn’t go that far.”  He laughed and let me pump my gas.  He told me Oregon has a “No self-serve” law (and New Jersey is the other state in case you were curious).  I told him I also needed to use the restroom, did he need to get that started?  He smiled and said, “No, but you gotta pay me for the key.  A man’s gotta make a buck. . .”  He was only joking, went and got the key and gave it to me.  As I was getting ready to leave, I was putting on my rain pants, and he said, “Oh yea, it’s a dollar for changing.”  I told him I charged a dollar for NOT telling him he was full of shit, so we were even.  He laughed and waved as I pulled out.