Thursday, July 24, 2008

Metal Bands and The Woods

What the heck to Metal bands and the woods have in common? Nothing except that I'm combining two weekends' events into one blog. ;)

Metal Bands

Adam and I joined friends, Kevin and Shannon, at The Rave in Milwaukee on July 12 for a Battle of the Bands -- that's Battle of Metal Bands! Metal music isn't usually my music of choice, but it was really fun. The coolest part about all of it, and what attracted us there in the first place, is that Kevin is the Bass player/singer for Midian, one of the bands that was competing.

Adam and I were both very impressed with their group. They played last, having sold the most tickets for the show, and they really stood out from the rest of the bands.

I have to be honest, having never been to a live metal concert of any sort, I was getting a little nervous watching the other bands as we waited for Midian to go on stage. But when they came on, I thought they were really good!

Don't get me wrong, though, I give the other bands a TON of credit!! A few of them looked like a VERY young group. I think the drummer from one group couldn't have been any older than 10 years old! They all did well, and maybe I'm biased, but Midian just rocked the house that night -- I can't be too crazy, though, because they won the show!! So Midian will be heading to the finals in September, I believe. We don't actually know the date yet, but the final Battle will be at the Rave again. If you're reading this, and you're local, you should check it out. It's a cool experience!

Maybe next time I'll get the courage to join the mosh pit. :)

The Woods
I got Adam to go backpacking with me for a weekend. It was the perfect trip for beginner backpackers. I think after it's all said and done, Adam enjoyed himself -- all except the whole 'sleeping outside on the hard ground' part... which is quite a large part. So I don't know that it'll be soon before we go out on any sort of extended backpacking trip again. But I'm going to wait until the memories fade and see if I can convince him to make another go at it. (I hope he misses this entry... ;) J/K...

Anyway, it was really fun. I went up with him to Green Bay Friday after work and dropped him off. Then I went to the YMCA and ran for about 45 minutes, showered, and head out to do a little shopping -- I had to pick up some hiking socks for Adam.

When Adam was done with class, we head out towards the Nicolet National Forest, where a few of our friends were already camping. Since Adam deals with sleep apnea and needs his CPAP machine to sleep, he doesn't like to go out for more than one night. So we grabbed a cute ma & pa motel just south of Mountain, WI. We plan to go back there. It's a place called Moutain Springs Motel. The owners were very nice, and we discovered that they have a fire pit in the back for guests to use with a large wood pile. So we are planning on going back for a weekend, staying there, taking dayhikes and mini-kayak trips during the day and chilling by the fire at night... and sleeping in a soft bed. :)

So anyway... Saturday morning we got up nice and early, and head out towards Fanny Lake where our friends were camped. The campsite was about 1/2 mile from the parking area, so Adam and I got our packs on and hiked in. They were all there ready to hike when we arrived, so we dropped a couple things out of our packs, since we were camping in that same spot Saturday night, and started out hiking. I had a great time. I let Adam lead so he could pick his pace. He did really well for his first time out on trails with pack weight. I was so proud... and he looked so cute...

We did a lot of talking which was lots of fun. We played movie quotes games and laughed a lot about episodes of Family Guy and Robot Chicken that we've seen together recently.

Back at camp we ate some lunch, chilled a bit, then I tried trail running! I loved it! It's so much better than road running, because the trees seem like they're flying by at amazing speeds because they're so close. I was probably running slower because of the trails, but it felt like I was cruising! I ran around the lake 3 times, which totaled about 2.1 miles. I'm going to have to do that again!

After my run, most everyone was either napping or collecting firewood (Adam and Randall went out for wood), so I jumped in the lake to rinse off the sweat and nasty from the day. It was nice and warm, and just the perfect way to end my day and head into the evening.

We all made different versions of pizza over the fire for dinner. Adam and I used bagels, Ken and Randall used premade Boboli-style crusts, and Kweejee actually brought the ingredients to make his own dough -- and they all turned out pretty good! That was good fun. Oh, and Charlene, the Peanut Butter Nutter, brought smores... and peanut butter... and chocolate frosting. Those were some of the best smores EVER! I usually can only eat one and that's too sweet, but I had to have two because they were so good! After stuffing ourselves silly, we basically sat around the fire and BS'd until bedtime.
Got up the next morning and head out. It was another good weekend in the woods. I've felt pretty spoiled so far this summer. I've gotten a lot of woods and nature in, and I'm just a happy girl! I'm going out again this weekend with Pam, Ken, and a guy I haven't hiked with yet named Dave who teaches some Fit classes at the Y here in Oshkosh. I'm looking forward to this trip mostly because we're heading into new territory. We're trying out a section of the Ice Age Trail, coordinated by Ken. It's near Medford, WI, which is about an hour drive south of Phillips, where my parents live. So there will be stories from that trip in an upcoming blog.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Country USA

I got a little behind on my blog, so I'm going to enter a few things that have happened in separate entries...

Our first Country USA experience
As I mentioned in one of my other entries, Adam won a Hairy Man contest, getting us 2 Reserve seat tickets for Country USA. Our friends, Anne & Craig, invited us to join them at their campsite there, so Adam and I took Friday off work and camped. It was a great experience! That place is just crazy with all kinds of different people!

Adam and I really enjoyed seeing Dierks Bentley. He's Adam's favorite artist, and his music helped him through a lot while I was away on the hike. I started listening to his stuff a lot more just recently, and I haven't found a song of his I don't like yet. There are a lot I can relate to, and a lot that hit home for me and Adam together from the hike. It was amazing to see him in concert -- really good! As for concerts, we also saw Brooks & Dunn and that was a good one, too. "Only in America" being my favorite! They had Marines come out on stage and everything - it was really cool.

The rest of the weekend involved visiting with friends, laughing at a LOT of things going on around the campsites, and yes, a lot of alcohol consumption. I guess that's what you get when no one has to drive anywhere! Adam and I were able to have a good time without overdoing it... neither of us got sick or too crazy. We just simply had a really fun time. I really hope we go next year!

We have so much going on this summer, and Adam and I are really trying to do as much together as we can -- and are we having a good time doing it! At Country USA, we also met Kevin and Shannon -- friends of Anne & Craig's... they're really fun, too. Kevin is in a metal band, and we're going to go see him perform at the Rave in Milwaukee this Saturday -- he's competing in a Battle of the Bands. I've never been to one, so I think that's going to be a really fun experience! You'll have to check back -- I'll be sure to blog about that a little bit. :)

Porkies Backpacking Trip

I got a little behind on my blog, so I'm going to enter a few things that have happened in separate entries...

Ahhh, the Porkies...
I love the Porcupine Mountains (upper Michigan). This is where I went on my first-ever backpacking trip when I was a senior in high school. It was for an Outdoor Education class. It was a tough trip for me - I actually think I may have had my Aplastic Anemia then and didn't know it. I had serious fatigue and figured I was just out of shape or something... but I came out of it with a smile and a lot of pride for making it. So I go back whenever I can. I just love that park.

So I went with Pam, Randall, and a few friends from Madison. We left the night of the Hairy Man contest... Pam almost didn't make it to meet us up there, because we had this TERRIBLE rainstorm in Oshkosh, and it flooded really really bad! Pam said she was driving through rapids on South Park Avenue! Adam even had a really hard time getting home. He ended up hanging out with another friend of ours, Heidi, at her apartment until he was able to find a route home around all the closed roads. Anyway, we eventually got on our way and missed the flooding excitement.

We got up there pretty late Thursday night, camped, then hiked in Friday. We were worried about the weather - it was supposed to rain and maybe t-storm. We brought a tarp to keep us out of the rain, KNOWING that if we brought it, it wouldn't rain and we carried the extra weight for nothing. Guess what? It worked! We saw no rain, and the only lightning we saw was far off on the horizon over Lake Superior Thursday night -- which was REALLY cool to watch. The rest of the weekend gave us beautiful weather. Blue skies and everything! I even hiked the whole weekend in shorts - it was wonderful. There were a ton of mosquitos which we could all have done without, but the rest of the trip made it worth it, in my opinion. Bug bites go away...

We camped on Lake Superior Friday night, and it was great to fall asleep to the sound of the crashing waves. Saturday we hiked through some fun swampy spots and practically sprint-hiked through a section of woods infested with clouds of skeeters. We all got a little irriated with them, and I know I threw a couple of curse words at them to make me happy... it was fun to swear at the bugs. So we trudged on and all met up at Mirror Lake where we set up camp. We even swam in the lake! It was just a beautiful afternoon. We hung out by the fire, ate some food, walked around... oh, and we found a pit toilet at the campsite next to us that wasn't being used! SCORE!!!! So it was a great campsite that I will remember for next time!!

Sunday we took a shorter hike out to the Lake of the Clouds overlook where we finished our perfect weekend of hiking. It was just a great trip all in all. Whenever I leave the woods I feel so sad because the trip is over, but so happy for the memories. It's like a super-mini taste of how mom and I felt at the end of our big hike. So happy to go home, but so sad to leave.

Follow this link to where one of our fellow backpackers, Josh, uploaded some shots from the weekend. He's really got some amazing shots!

Adam crowned King of Hair!

I got a little behind on my blog, so I'm going to enter a few things that have happened in separate entries...

Hairy Man Contest!

This is a good story! Adam and I were invited to join friends Anne & Craig at their campsite for Country USA this year. My sister-in-law called to tell us there was a contest for the Hairiest Man going on for Reserve-seat tickets. Since Adam's so hairy, Erica thought of him, and called. So Adam braved up and decided he'd try it. We took a picture of his chest and back and emailed it to Bear and Charli of Y100 for submission into the contest. Well, Adam was chosen as a finalist!

So we headed to Neenah -- the contest was being held at the ReUnion Station there. Adam was up against about 7 or 8 other guys... a couple of them were painted up and a couple had Y100 shaved into their stomachs or backs... Adam had something super-special in mind... he was wearing black pants, a blue shirt, and a bowtie!! He got up there, got the crowd clapping, slowly shook off his shirt, then broke into his famous "Grr Dance," from college days! It was AWESOME! Adam rocked the house, and WON!!!! So we left that with 2 Reserve tickets for Country USA!

Here's a picture -- Adam's the one in the middle with the blue shirt. Way to go Adam! :)

The Mighty Canoe Trip

I got a little behind on my blog, so I'm going to enter a few things that have happened in separate entries...

Our Kayaks get their first trip!
The Canoe trip was a blast!! I had quite a few friends from the area join us, so that was awesome. Everybody was really fun, and we all seemed to have a good time. Saturday we all got up and took off with the shuttle, our canoes, kayaks, paddles, life jackets, and food & drink for the day. We were dropped off, and we put our boats in the river. Adam and I tried out our new kayaks -- they're AWESOME! We both had a lot of fun paddling them down the river -- especially through the rapids! Nobody tipped on Saturday, either, which might be a first for the annual canoe trip! It was a little chilly the first day, but we all survived. The sun poked out every now and then and warmed things up.

Saturday night we enjoyed a bonfire in my parent's backyard. We all had plenty to drink and eat, and ended up staying up for Rachel's birthday, which was midnight. It turned out to be a fun party. Some of us weren't feeling 100% the next day... but it was still lots of fun!

Sunday a few of us hit the river again for the 2nd half -- others had to head out early, mostly because we were all a little slow-moving after a late night around the fire. But it was a fun section. The water was high this year, making the rapids loads of fun. It was a warmer day Sunday, too, so that made the 2nd half of the trip really enjoyable. Pam tipped in Little Bull Rapids. I warned everyone that every single time we do that section, someone tips in that rapids! I didn't recognize it when we came to it because the water was so high, but after Pam tipped, we knew! I saw her come down, her boat gracefully tip over, and her head bob up above it with a huge smile on her face. We were all happy to see she was okay. Shortly after that I tipped trying to get into my kayak! The water was very pleasant, so it was a good day to tip. :)

Grapa Garage Sale

I got a little behind on my blog, so I'm going to enter a few things that have happened in separate entries...

Garage Sale
Our garage sale was a flop. We figured it was because we are located in an apartment building around a bunch of other apartment buildings, so garage sales are rare in our area -- and we're 3 miles from town. Oh well, it was a good experience! Adam and I had a lot of fun sitting outside our garage playing game after game of Smear, tossing a softball back and forth, and enjoying a few beers while sitting in the sun. We both even got sunburns -- first good ones of the year. I even caked on SPF 50 sunblock! I should be more careful, I guess...

OH! There was one really funny thing that happened! The Ice Cream Truck guy had the police looking for him! It was so strange! He drove by a few times with his little "pop goes the weasel" song playing, and at one point squealed his breaks -- I mean, how fast can an ice cream truck go to get the tires to squeal!!!? Apparently there was a domestic "issue" with his girlfriend on the side of the road, and someone called it in. So the police drove by and asked us if we saw the truck and if he was acting strangely. We told him what we saw and the cop took off. The rest of the day we were waiting for the slow-speed chase -- an ice cream truck with his little song going, and 3 or 4 cop cars with their lights flashing behind asking him to pull over. We had a giggle, with the understanding that the underlying situation wasn't so funny...