Monday, May 10, 2010

21 merit badges done - 1 Eagle project to go...

My son is 16 and he has been a Life scout for who knows how long.  Last Friday my son had 20 merit badges.  On Saturday he earned his 21st merit badge, the required minimum for him to obtain his Eagle Scout award.  Yahoo!!!

Last week he also presented to the board his proposed Eagle project.  They verbally approved his project, but he has to rewrite the project, give more details as to what he wants to do, clean it up (type it up) and then resubmit it for official approval.  Hopefully we can get him to complete this assignment this week so he can get his project done this summer.

I sure hope that he makes it to Eagle.  I'd still love him even if he didn't make it.  And regardless of where he is at, he is really a good, solid kid.  But in today's world, when he has to compete against the best of the best, it looks really good to have Eagle scout as one of his list of accomplishments.  And for his sake, I really hope that he pulls through and gets the Eagle ranking.

I have a breather from boys and then I've got three boys in a row.  I'm glad my oldest is a boy so that we can figure out this whole scouting thing.  I personally never made it to even Tenderfoot.  Oh well.  We've figured out that we need to get the other boys to 1st or 2nd Class by the time they hit 12, or something like that.  And then make sure those boys are Eagle scouts by the time they are 14ish.  That way they can move on and not have this scouting thing hanging over their heads.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A fine spring day (or, why my body hurts like h*ll)

Several years ago (probably around 1994) my wealthy older sister picked up a pair of dirt bikes.  One motorcycle was an XR125 and the other was/is an XR200R.  I say 1994 because that is the model year of the XR200R.  One bike (the 125) ended up at my parents house.  The 200 ended up at my brother's house in Colorado.

Several years ago (3 or 4 years ago??) my brother brought the bike to me because all his kids that rode the bike were grown and gone.  And he was sick of the bike taking up room in his garage.  He called me one day and asked me if I wanted it.  "Sure!!  Bring it over."  So he did.  So long story short, I ended up with this fairly decent motorbike.  It had been thrashed by his kids and my brother isn't known for taking care of his stuff.  I eventually got the bike running and last fall I got the clutch replaced.

So a week or so ago I pulled the bike out, dumped the old gas out and changed the oil.  I put new gas in and oil and dang, that thing just runs like the champ.  So one of my neighbors also has a bike.  I think he's got a 450 or something like that.  So we talk.  There is this mountain close by called West Mountain.  BYU has their West Mountain Observatory.  I tell him about the observatory and some radio antennas on top of the mountain.  I tell him about my failed attempt to reach the summit several months ago.  He's always ready for some fun and adventure.  So we decide that today is the day we'll  make our climb up.

I haven't ridden much since I was a kid.  Last year I didn't ride much because the clutch on the bike was marginal and my oldest son toasted it.  But we repaired the clutch and now it runs well.

So we go.  And we go.  And we go.  And we climb.  And we climb.  And we climb.  And we get near to the top of the towers.  Check out some of the photos that I took below:

The picture above is near the top and I'm looking towards the east across the valley.

In the photo above, I'm looking towards the northeast with Provo in the distance.  You can see the southern end of Utah lake.

These are my riding buddies.  Jon was on a Yamaha 4 wheeler.  Brian is on his 450.  The towers (our destination for the day) is in the background.

This is BYU's observatory.  Note:  This is on the west side of the mountain, somewhat behind the mountain.  I assume this location was selected because it is the "dark(er) side" of the mountain.

This is another shot of the valley, this time from the top where all the towers are and looking towards the south east.

I was wearing polarized sunglasses and some of these shots were taken far, far away from my eye (I have a DSLR camera).  I really need to invest in a polarizing filter for my lens.

The total trip time from my house was about 3 to 4 hours.  When I got home, dang, I was sore and stiff.  But it was one heck of a ride It was a total blast.  And I really needed that ride.  I've toyed with the idea of buying another motorcycle or ATV and today cemented the idea.  If all goes well, I'll end up with a Honda FourTrax Rancher 4x4 ATV.  As much as I'd like to go out tomorrow and buy one, that really won't happen any time soon.  So I need to save my spare change and buy one outright or finance a small portion of it and pay cash for the majority of it.  I would actually like to get another bike, but an ATV is more "practical".  I can put a snow plow on the front of it and push snow for people.  And the kids could use it to drag their lawn mowing stuff around from job to job.

I'm hooked.  I'm already planning my next trip up to the towers.

Well, it is late and I'm tired and I'm going to bed.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Welcome to middle age!

I've been telling everyone I see that yesterday I "officially" became middle aged.  So what do I mean by that?  And what set off that comment?

A couple of weeks ago I went to the optometrist to have my eyes examined.  He said that I could probably get away without the use of bifocals for another couple of years.  But I've had problems seeing small print, so I ordered progressives and a pair of sun glasses with a prescription in them.  Yesterday I picked up my new eyes.  Wow.  It is amazing to "see" yet again.  I just hate the period of time needed for your eyes to adjust to a new prescription and so that I can learn to use progressives.

I remember when I was a kid, "old people" had bifocals.  Does that now mean that I'm old?  Compared to someone younger than a teenager, probably so.  Compared to retired people, I'm still young.  Hence, I'm middle aged.  Nice.  I feel like I'm a teenager again without all the goofy hormonal and pubescent changes that occur.

One of the things that I've found is that things that I like doing, I really like doing when I have time to do them.  I have an old Honda dirt bike courtesy of my wealthy sister.  A couple of friends and I are going on a bike/ATV ride up to some radio antennas at the top of a mountain tomorrow.  I'd love to do the journey on my own, but I feel that it would be a lot safer to ride up there with at least one other person.  I haven't spent much time in the seat of a dirt bike lately (I rode an XR75 a lot when I was young), so the companionship is welcome.  I've even looked at possibly picking up another bike or an ATV.  But those machines are expensive and I'm still paying off the excesses of my 20s and 30s.  For now, I'll enjoy what I've got.  Even though I am now, officially "middle-aged".