Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My dogs and why I love them

I have 2 dogs; a weimaraner that I bought as a puppy from a local breeder and a mixed breed that I "rescued" from little sac trail.

The weim's name in Dingo. I know that's an odd name for a German breed but the name came to me and I went with it. The picture on the right is of Dingo as a puppy. He's not the brightest dog in the world but he's got a heart of gold and I wouldn't trade him for anything.

Our other dog's name is Kupfer. I've been told that's a German word for copper. I didn't pick it. The picture on the right is of Kupfer as we found him at Little Sac. I can't for the life of me understand why someone would "dump" him, but I'm glad they did because my life wouldn't be as good without him.

Dingo and Kupfer are perfect examples of why dogs are mans best friend; every time I come home they are at the back door waiting for me and are always sad when I leave. You haven't experience
joy until you've seen two dogs jumping all over themselves trying to be the one that greets you as you walk in the house.

Here's a more recent photo:

I run with them nearly every day and I've never had a better running partner. Dingo always runs on the right and Kupfer on the left. They do try to chase every bunny or cat they see and they seem to need a pee break every block or so, but they are probably the best motivators in the world; if someone in the house even says the word "run" then you better be ready to lace up because they won't let you rest until you head out the door. They've even figured out what "r-u-n" means.

They love riding in the car and their favorite food is peanut butter. They have very distinct personalities like Dingo's need to always have the best seat on the couch or be in the middle of the bed at night, and Kupfer's tendency to lay on the stairway landing in the middle of the house so he can keep an eye on both the front and back door at the same time. He is the ultimate watchdog and when he looks you in the eye you can't keep from melting inside and going to get some peanut butter.

I also have a cat named Moses, but he deserves a post of his own....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cassville trail run

The trip to Cassville yesterday was a blast. But for me it didn't start out that way.

Apparently Friday evening I set my alarm for 7pm so when I woke up at 8am Saturday I was fairly disturbed. But after a bit of hustle and bustle I made it to Wal-Mart (with a full tank of gas) by 8:30. It was raining and a little chilly but there were about 10 jeeps lined up ready to go so after a little standing around discussing things off we went.

The ride there was fun for me because although I was riding alone in my jeep I had my newly installed CB so I was able to chat with everyone during the approximately hour and a half drive. The drive took a little longer than it should have because on one of the back roads we got behind an 18 wheeler that was going about 20 mph up most of the hills. Plus the OJT Director of Trails (:cough: Roger :cough:) was leading the way, and I think there's a reason he's not the Director of Roads since we missed one of the turns and had to do a U turn about a mile past the intended road. In his defense it was raining and very foggy.

Once we made it to the trail head we prepped our rigs for the day; we aired down our tires and disconnected our front anti-sway bars. Then we all signed our names to a sheet of paper to make sure at the end of the day everyone could be accounted for, went over the rules of the trail and talked about what we would be encountering along the way. After that we headed out with the Director of Trails in the lead. Luckily the rain had mostly stopped and although the trails were fairly slick, they could have been much worse.

One of the jeeps that came on the run was a bone stock 93 YJ that didn't make it past the first obstacle. He took the by-pass to go around the big rocks but still got stuck and after smoking his clutch pretty badly discovered that he couldn’t get his transfer case into 4 low. After watching everyone else climb (and a few struggled) over 2 foot ledges he decided to skip the rest of the run and head back home. I’ve heard he’s since planning a suspension lift and bigger tires.

As I mentioned the trails were pretty slick which has a negative effect on traction. That’s typically overcome by momentum and tire placement and some of the obstacles were pretty entertaining. The way it works is most people try to get over the most difficult part of the obstacle and if the can’t make it work their way to the easier section. Then if they still can’t make it they back down and take the bypass, use a winch to get up or have the jeep in front of them give them a tug with tow straps. The jeeps with the open differentials had the most trouble as they have to make sure all 4 wheels have traction or they just spin the ones that don’t. A few had to take the bypasses, but most were able to overcome the obstacles with the help of some good spotting.

There was a bit more rain when we stopped to eat lunch, but generally as the day wore on it got warmer and the trails got drier. And a couple of the people that were struggling in the morning let more air out of their tires and had an easier time during the afternoon.

For me the biggest obstacle of the day wasn’t rocks, it was trees. Most of the trails we rode down had small tree branches that brushed against the sides and top of the jeep so all day you could hear the scraping on the paint and soft top and the BOING of the CB antenna when ever you went under a low hung limb. At some point I lost my radio antenna to one of those branches.

As for trail carnage, I broke the trunnion that’s part of the transfer case shift linkage. So anytime I needed to shift from 2wd to 4wd and vice versa I had to lie down underneath my jeep and tug on the linkage by hand. Thankfully Bobby had a tarp so I didn’t get covered in mud. One guy broke off his passenger side mirror, another got a quarter size dent in his front differential cover and a dent behind the passenger side front fender. Someone else bumped a tree and dented the rear corner on the driver’s side and I saw a few scrapes here and there on other rigs. All and all nothing too serious or debilitating so I’m thankful for that.

As far as entertainment while we were riding along someone asked the Director of Trails if we were on the right trail and he replied “I don’t know I’ve been lost since this morning”. That’s reassuring. There were lots of impressive wheelies as people climbed out of trenches caused by erosion, and the best one by far was Bobby laying his jeep on his side on the last hill of the day. Here are the pics (taken by Matt).
Here's a good wheelie:

Here's a few of me:

These are some other good pics:

For more pictures check out's Matt's gallery.

We made it back to the original trailhead at about 6:30 aired our tires back up, reconnected everything and headed back to Springfield.

It was a good day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ozarks Jeepthing trail ride @ Cassville 3/21

Taking a break from the coding to mention the planned OJT excursion to Cassville MO this weekend. Here's the thread with the details but basically anyone with a 4WD vehicle that want's to go 4 wheeling with a great group of people are welcome to join us.

View Larger Map

We'll meet up and head out from the west Sunshine Walmart (see map) on Saturday at 8:30 am. It's going to
be an all day event but we'll be back in town by dark. It'll be my first time wheeling the Cassville trails so I don't know exactly what to expect but I've heard the trails aren't that difficult and there are bypasses for the more technical sections. If you're in a stock jeep or have open differentials you shouldn't have any problems, but if you do there will be plenty of people willing and able to give you a tug.

On the right is a pick of one of my previous adventures to give you an idea of what to expect. It's always a good time and if you decide to come make sure to tell me you read about it here. It'll make my day.

I'm so excited... (que the Pointer Sisters)

I've started working on a project that's going to keep me up very late for many nights to come but I'm really stoked about it and I think it has the potential to pay off "big time".

As I've said before; I do some freelance web programming on the side.
Mainly because I enjoy doing it and the extra cash is always nice. It's mostly small jobs that only take a few days; updating existing sites or debugging something that doesn't work correctly, but last night I started from scratch working on a site that I think has a great business model and if it takes off it will be very lucrative. I was up until 3am but I designed and created the entire database and I'm ready to start working on the pages.

The details are still very hush hush and I don't want to give away the idea but it's funny because while I'm sitting at my day job all I want to do is work on the new site.....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

iPhone goodness!

Today Apple announced OS version 3.0 for the iPhone and iPod Touch. For a summary of features, check out MacWorld. For a blow by blow of the press event, check out SlashGears livestream.

Here's what I'm excited about:
  • Copy and Paste: I really want to use my phone for more tasks (email, notes etc) but not having copy and paste really hamstrings me. Hopefully the implementation rectifies that.
  • System wide search: yes
  • Landscape mode in all applications: yes!
  • Notes Sync via iTunes: looking forward to this. I use the notes apps quite a bit and it will be nice to transfer them to the PC afterward.
  • Native Voice Memos app: I wasn't happy with the 3rd party apps I tried. If they get it right, it will be something I use often. Now if they can get it to do voice recognition a la the Google voice search then I'll be one happy camper.
  • MMS: A 3G only function, but it's about time. Compelling enough for an upgrade?
  • Stereo Bluetooth: Another 3G exclusive. It's getting more compelling.

3.0 launches sometime this summer (think September), so I have a little time to decide if I want to go to 3G or wait until the next hardware cycle; possibly in time for the holidays.

To me 3G and GPS by themselves weren't a good enough reason to plunk down another $200 AND be locked into the device for 2 years, but adding MMS and stereo bluetooth to the equation makes me wonder. Besides, if you're always waiting for the next version then you'll never get anything because there'll ALWAYS be another version.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Two events I've been really looking forward to are on the same day....

The first is a club only JeepThing weekend long trail ride at the SayersBrrok Bison Ranch in Potosi Mo. I've already paid for it and am totally stoked. There's going to be over 20 jeeps participating and I know it'll be a great time. The second (and I just found out what day it was being held) is the 2009 Ozark Greenways adventure race. It's an 8 to 14 hour coed multi-sport race near Lebanon Mo. I've been training (running and biking) a lot the last few months in preparation for the event.

Then there's the kicker; the team I was planning on participating in the race with has disbanded and joined up with another team (minus me of course). I don't think it was anything personal. So do I put another team together for the race and skip the bison trail ride or go jeeping and forget the race.....

They both scheduled for May 16 so I have some time to think about it....


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Little sac

This was the perfect day for a ride. The trails were in perfect shape, the tempature was awesome and my bike was handling wonderfully. But all was not perfect; in many places the trails were covered in poo and there were horseshoe tracks everywhere. Yes, that's right, horsepeople.

Erosion is the enemy of trails and in my opinion the two things that are the biggest preventable cause of it are motor vehicles and horses. Little sac has very little erosion unlike the many trails I've ridden that allow either horses or motorcycles or ATVs. I hope this doesn't start a trend. BTW horses are prohibited at little sac.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ozarks Jeepthing meeting

Since I bought my jeep I've been 4wheeling twice; both times with members of the Ozarks Jeepthing club. The trips have been a blast so tonight I attended my first Ozarks Jeepthing meeting. It was pretty cool. The meeting took place at the library complex on south Campbell. Although they meet every month this was their "yearly" meeting where they elect next years club officers and there were quite a few people there. I expected everyone would be just standing around discussing offroading and jeep mods but it was actually pretty structured. The general public is welcome so if you own a jeep and are interested in doing some wheeling and want to get involved with a community of like minded people you should check it out.

I joined the club, paid my dues and am looking forward to hitting the trails....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hand and feet warmers

I'm sold on hand and feet warmers. This weekend with the temps below freezing I went for a ride out at little sac. I don't have winter riding boots and my gloves aren't rated below 30 but I just can't justify buying expensive winter gear when I won't use it that much. Anyway, I used grabber hand and feet warmers that I got at REI and they worked wonderfully. I must have bad circulation with the way my fingers and toes get cold so quickly but with the warmers they were both toasty for the duration of the ride.

I highly recommend them!


I'm new to the world of Jeeping, but I'm really getting into it.

A little back story; In October I sold my 06 Scion tC on ebay. I loved that car and had put a lot of money into it but it didn't really fit my lifestyle. I'm really much more of an outdoor person and that car didn't really lend itself to that very well. So I sold the car and bought a 2005 GSX-R motorcycle from a craigslist ad. The motorcycle is cool and a blast to ride, but I it's not really very practical as an everyday driver so I kept my eyes out for a good deal on a Jeep Wrangler. In December I found what I was looking for; a 2003 Wrangler Rubicon with 35K miles, a 4" lift and many aftermarket extras. It was on ebay with a starting bid of $13,000 and no reserve. I put in a bid just a couple seconds before the auction ended and won it for the 13 big ones. The Jeep was located in Branson West so it wasn't far to go to get it. I won the auction on Monday and drove it home on Wednesday. That was just the beginning.....

Since I didn't know much about Jeep's I did a lot of research on the internet and found tons of useful information on JeepForum and Pirate4x4. I spend WAY too much time on those sites. I also found a local Jeep club called Ozarks Jeepthing and they've turned out to be a great group of people and a great local resource. I've started on the road to "modding" my jeep and offroading, and I'm sure I'll be posting about the adventures.

This may turn into the biggest money pit of them all, but I've been having a blast and I doubt I'll regret any of it.

Expanding horizons

It's been a while since I've posted....

I think I'm going to have to expand my blogging repertoire. I love mountain biking but this time of the year I don't get many chances to get out and ride. Besides, I do have other interests I can write about. I've got a motorcycle, a jeep, lots of programming tricks I've learned over the years and the joys of family life. That should give me more than enough topics.

I've moved my posts over to blogger (from a google apps site) and I think that will make things easier. It adds the ability for comments so that will be interesting.