Monday, July 31, 2006

Could it get any hotter?

Spent all day with Red Chief (grandson Ethan), and despite the heat we managed to go to the park twice and take several bike rides. Plenty of water and staying in the shade as much as possible helped. He now has a bike with training wheels, his first road machine after graduating from tricycles. Among many Thomas the Train movies, I kept the Chief entertained with one of our favorite flicks, Jeremiah Johnson. Ethan seems to like the scenes when rookie mountain man Jeremiah gets his campfire dowsed by a fallen clump of snow, and then is unable to catch fish by hand in a cold mountain stream. Great flick, and the mountain scenery is fantastic. Will have Ethan tomorrow and Wednesday before going back to work on Thursday. Will definitely swim much of the day tomorrow, I hope.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fast Times at Champaign High

Tomfoolery and my personal counselor Floyd (above) welcome John of Indianapolis to the swarms of adventure readers. A long-time close friend, John was partly responsible for much of my delinquency and glee in high school because he was the one we always chose to try to pass as a 21-year-old to buy booze at the liquor store. He had an uncanny knack for getting the stuff too. Often wondered if he threatened the store clerk with physical violence if the clerk did not sell him the booze. John was a wrestler in high school and a darn good one. Tasty waves of orange juice and vodka was my drink of choice.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Annie and the Pirate

With my Appalachian Trail (AT) trip less than two weeks away, I'm trying to wrap up things that need to be done for the journey. One of the frequent websites I consult is It's fun to look at the photo galleries on this site, and I've posted two photos of AT hikers, Pirate and Annie the Wonder Dog. Trail nicknames are either chosen by the hikers or given to them by other hikers. And there's Sgt. Rock, of Sgt. Rock's Hiking Headquarters, who boasts on his website “Pay attention, you dirt bag sissies. I’m here to make you a REAL HIKER!” A whole subculture here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Eye of the Storm

Hurricane Marla abruptly changed direction and is headed north to the downtown area. Thus, the manse on Maplecrest will not be changed. (Marla is one of my buffalo trail running buddies to whom I offered elite space in my home because she lacked roommates for renting a place; problem solved when two friends agreed to live with her. Marla will no doubt beat on me for kidding her about this.)

Marla's cats Dexter and Spot would have been a shock to my extremely shy cat Maddie. Took Maddie to the vet a few days ago to treat her ulcerous lip, and feared the worst because she hasn't been to the vet for many years. She tured out to be the perfect patient because she was so scared that she lay on the examining table like a rag doll in complete surrender. She barely flinched when she got a shot of steroids.

Ran 10.5 miles yesterday at Kickapoo with the herd, then it was over to the Little Nugget near Danville for food and 75-cent drafts. 75-cent drafts on a Sunday morning with the buffaloes after a trail run. Life is good.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hot? Wallow!

What does a proper buffalo do when it's steaming hot outside? Wallow, baby! Yeah!

Just find a spot of dirt outside, get down and roll around. You get one dirty bison but one that's cooled down and insect free.

Here's what it means when a buffalo gets down and dirty, according to Dale Lott in American Bison: A Natural History:
"Wallows are shallow pits where bison have torn away the soil with their horns and where the subsoil, dried by the sun and stirred by hooves and horns, turns to a flourlike dust. Bison wallow in the summer, especially during the middle of the day. Wallowing puts soil into and onto their coat. They can work so much nice, dry, powdery soil into their coat that as they walk away from the wallow it cascades down, jarred loose by each step. I have always thought bison were wallowing to make their hair a lousy place for lice and other parasites. I still think that's likely, but wallowing may also lower their heat load."

Monday, July 17, 2006

Gnarly Randomness

Caught "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" a few days ago on the tube. Have probably seen it a dozen times. Best parts of the movie for me are any scene involving Sean Penn as the stoned surfer Jeff Spicoli (photo). Always fun.

Sean Penn and a host of other stars are also in the movie "Thin Red Line," which is adapted from a novel about World War II and the battle for Guadalcanal in the Pacific. This movie is underappreciated, and has been both highly praised and torn to pieces by critics. I have the DVD and never tire of watching this flick. The cinematography and music alone are well worth the view.

Katie Couric coming to the CBS Evening News - a good reason to abandon TV news altogether. So much silly hype. Same with local news - "Your News Leader", "Storm Tracker Weather", blah blah blah. National Public Radio and WILL AM580 radio can't be beat if you are tired of the silly chat and other crap that accompanies half-hour stretched out newscasts that could be condensed to 15 minutes of real news.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Broiled Buffalo on the Trail

Four trail runs this week, but last evening's run on the Buffalo Trace Trail at Mahomet was a sweat-soaked affair in the heat and humidity. Still, it was much fun with the herd, but it left me dragging.

Also had an early morning run today at Allerton with Cassandra. Mud, pools of water and dive-bombing horseflies on the trail. The flies were quite annoying, but I always enjoy trail running in mud and water.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rain, Lightning and the Big Burrito

Sometimes it's not easy being a buffalo. Last night, for instance - the Burrito Loco challenge. I had never had the huge burrito at El Toro, and it was quite good. Fellow buffaloes Devil Dawg, Packy, Cousin Don, Mohawk and I all hammered down the Mexican monsters with a side order of rice, and I washed it down with two beers. I was scorned for not licking my plate as the others had done, having left a few wisps of sour creme on the plate. Sheesh.

Before the burrito binge we ran at Meadowbrook Park in the heat and humidity, so now after being properly fueled we drove out to the Buffalo Trace Trail in Mahomet for the third part of the challenge - a five-mile trail run with the burrito still a bulge to be reckoned with. Scarface, who was fueled only by rice and beans, joined us as thunder and lightning crashed the trail and lit up the darkness. The first mile was a bit hairy, with Devil Dawg cowering like a frightened puppy at the crack of far-off lightning strikes (this was not the fearless dawg who snarfed down black beans after inhaling the big burrito).

After a while rain started, and if sweat hadn't made us wet enough we were now thoroughly soaked. All was well until . . . BUFFALO DOWN! With less than a mile to go in the darkness a small stream and its slippery banks tripped up Scarface, Mohawk and Cousin Don and into the drink they went. Only a temporary stoppage, though, and we all finished the five-mile run with no "launching" of burritos, as others of the herd thought might happen. Challenge met!

Just another chapter in the adventures of the herd. More coming Thursday night as the herd grazes in Buffalo Nancy's yard.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Moon Run

Last night's full moon run at the Buffalo Trace Trail in Mahomet was the 76th consecutive one for the herd of Buffaloes Warriors. I warmed up for the run with an outer loop run of 2.7 miles, then did the 5-mile main run. The trail is unusually dry, so the footing was good and fast. Probably ran my fastest moon run ever, but the event is low key and speed is not a big deal. The faster I went, the footing got more treacherous, and lights are not allowed during the run. Very disappointed in the turnout of lightning bugs, which should have been prominent on the trail this time of year but were lacking in numbers. At a moon run last summer the bugs lit up wooded areas like Christmas trees. What a sight.

There will be another moon run tonight, a special called the Burrito Loco Challenge: run about 4 miles at Meadowbrook Park with the Second Wind Running Club, then off to El Toro to eat a burrito loco, then drive to Mahomet to run the 5-mile trail again. As the huge burrito will be washed down with beer, the run at Mahomet could be a real challenge. Sometimes ya just gotta be goofy. It's a buffalo thing.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Buffalo Booze and the Hurricane

A co-worker tipped me off last week about Buffalo Trace bourbon being available locally at Friar Tuck's. This usually hard-to-get item, which bears the name of our fabled trail in Mahomet and of the race there, is finally here, so I went out immediately and bought a bottle. Pricey stuff but good I guess because it has won major awards. I'm not much of a bourbon drinker, but maybe I can use it to make a shot of buffalo sweat, which calls for 3/4 ounce of bourbon in a shot glass and adding 1/4 ounce tabasco sauce. Some other buffalo drinks that do not use bourbon: buffalo milk and white buffalo.

The weekend was busy with preparations for Hurricane Marla, which is currently northeast of me and slowly but surely moving southwesterly toward my neighborhood. Marla and tropical storms Dexter and Spot are all building in intensity. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 07, 2006

In the Eye of a Buffalo: Mission in the Moonlight

Earlier in the day: U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams (left) and the Russian commander of the International Space Station celebrate the docking of the shuttle Explorer with the space station. This happened yesterday before the herd saw the the two spacecraft as a far-away streaking speck of light.

So, I’m sitting in the parking lot of the Buffalo Trace Trail at Mahomet last night with fellow buffaloes Scarface, Devil Dawg, the Cable Guy, and Cousin Don. We’re being our usual silly selves after a trail run as we suck in the suds of various breweries when all of a sudden, “Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s . . . what the hell is that?” Darting toward the three-quarters full moon in a cloudless sky is a small lighted object. Too fast for an airplane. “Its gonna hit the moon!” barks one overexcited bison. “The moon’s gonna explode!” Uh huh. Calmer minds prevailed. “It’s the space station.” Oooo. The light of the International Space Station and the shuttle Discovery streaked through the heavens and disappeared. Quite a sight.

Or maybe it was just a lightning bug. Just another adventurous night in the life of a buffalo.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Good Times

The long weekend (some highlights):

Saturday night- Buffalo party at Tracy & Laura's. I now deem Tracy the Mojito Momma for making batches of the rum/mint drink that tasted so good.

Sunday afternoon - Mojitos aftermath made swimming in a small lake seem like a swim across the Atlantic.

Monday night - Neighborhood fireworks show with Red Chief (grandson Ethan) and my baby boy Tim. What a sight to see the Ethan with mouth wide open and a slow whispered "wow" as the fireworks boomed.

Tuesday (Fourth of July) - Pulled tags off race numbers of about 380 very sweaty runners as a volunteer for the Freedom Run 5K race. Got more cooties than anyone in Champaign County. Then off to Hooters for Buffalo Jay Pineapple's third annual Fourth of July pretend birthday. Jay needed more sangria before attempting the hula hoop. Later to Buffalo Trace Trail in Mahomet to run with Cassandra and her sister Kelly. Much fun. Beautiful sunset on the trail. Ended a fine day with ice ceam and the satisfaction of a 13-0 White Sox win.