Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2014 - St. Paul Stars Synchronized Swim Team Pictures

Anna has been swimming now for five years and watching her and her team evolve has been amazing. In the earliest years, synchronized swimming meant just trying to stay afloat. A couple years back we were amazed if the girls placed even in the bottom half of the standings. This year, all three of the routines Anna was involved with qualified for Nationals in Seattle. Congratulations Anna!

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - The Fall of the Motor City, Detroit, MI

We've all heard the stories of the financial collapse of Detroit, MI. During a recent trip to the area, we took our lives into our own hands and decided to check out the blight for ourselves.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, MI

While visiting the greater Detroit, MI area, we stopped in to tour the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Located in Detroit's Boston-Edison historic district, the Roman Catholic cathedral is an oasis of remarkable beauty among the blight and worn torn neighborhoods of greater Detroit.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - MN East Association Synchronized Swim Championship

Anna and her team, the St. Paul Stars, competed today in the 2014 Minnesota East Associations Synchronized Swimming Championship at Humboldt Senior High School. Anna won a gold medal in the team competition, silver in both her trio and combo competitions. And while Anna finished 7th in her age group for figures. Congratulations Anna.

Enjoy the videos (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2014 - For Your Eyes Only Named Cache of the Year

My geocache For Your Eyes Only (GC47072) has been named Minnesota's Geocache of the Year for 2013 by members of the Minnesota Geocaching Association. An astounding 50 votes were cast overall with my geocache taking 64% of the vote. It's always nice to get a bit of recognition but for me, the best part of the game is reading the Found It logs by those that have found the cache. For Your Eyes Only currently has 30 finds with 26 favorite points awarded (87%). I am glad that my fellow geocachers were able to get some enjoyment out of my efforts to the game.

Click here to read more about the history and making of this geocache.

2014 - Apostle Island Lake Shore Sea Caves, Cornucopia, WI

It's been in the local news most of this January, the sea caves along the Apostle Island National Lakeshore are accessible by walking on the ice for the first time in five years. Located on the south shore of Lake Superior near Cornucopia, WI, the lake surface near the sea caves rarely freezes over because of wind and water currents. With the colder than normal temperatures this winter season, the ice is solid, the caves are accessible, and people are coming out in droves to explore and photograph them.

The original forecast for today was 20 degrees and sunny so plans were made to road cruise 200 miles north and hike to the sea caves. When Nene, Laura and I arrived at the lake shore parking lot, it was 3 degrees F below zero, the winds were gusting off the lake to 10-25mph, it was cold.

According to my GPS, the distance hiked from parking to the largest sea cave was 1.6 miles. My GPS took 239 samples during the hike which lasted 35 minutes 58 seconds. Our average hiking speed was 2.7mph. Unfortunately, I could not calculate the hike back as the batteries in the GPS died and I did not notice until our adventure was complete. All photographs taken with a Canon G6.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Bart Finds 8000th Geocache

A few years back I was perusing the Wisconsin Geocaching Association forums and read a discussion about favorite geocaches in the state. The one that stood out the most to me was Twin Bluffs Cave (GCXWPM) by Shrek and Fiona. I knew at that moment that the geocache would have to go on my short list of caches to complete. Unfortunately, being on the short list does not equate to pursuing the cache in a timely manner.. the cache remained unfound.

I had been planning for quite some time to find a special geocache for the milestone of my 8000th find, which I estimated to happen late December. With Twin Bluffs Cave still in the back of my mind, I knew this had to be the one. It was now or never. After some logistical planning, a three hour drive to Lyndon Station, WI, I finally made the find along with daughter Laura, Doublemoose, and his daughter Geohockey,

The most impressive thing about this adventure was not the geocache, but the impressive nature of the geological feature hiding here up in the bluffs. As you approach the cave entrance, it looks like nothing more than a narrow fissure in the side of the cliff face. But as you explore more, you soon discover that this is the entrance to a fairly expansive system of caves. At the inner room of the cave, I would estimate the ceiling to be nearly 30' high, expansive enough to hold a small disco party. The primary cave easily goes back 80 to 100 feet or more. Off the inner room of the cave, there are two caves headed in each direction normal (perpendicular) to the primary cave.

One thing that was clear to me was how similar this system is to the littoral caves on Byllesby Lake in Cannon Falls, MN. I suspect the wave and current action from melt water following the last glaciation period is what created this system, where each cave is caused by the erosion of fissures within the layers of sandstone.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Fun With Pumpkins

It's no secret that I enjoy playing with firearms. So when pheasant hunting was unproductive on a recent trip to South Dakota, we assisted the local community in disposing of their leftover Halloween pumpkins. Joe and Lee supplied the Tannerite. Mike supplied the ammunition. I supplied the firearm. And we all practiced our marksmanship.

Enjoy the videos (click thumbnails for larger view)..