Another week some more quiet but a few interesting things this week. I had another short week of work though, I think that makes three in a row, however will I survive when I have to do a five day week?
So to some of the random things I managed to see or do during the week…
***52 New Things***
Coyote: I was doing a decent jog the other day, my five mile route, and on the way back I saw this decent dog go to cross the path about 15m ahead of me. It saw me. I saw it. I had enough time to think I wonder whose back yard he’s jumped out of, he’s pretty big! Oh shit, he’s a coyote! Then he decided that I wasn’t edible, maybe even a threat, turned about, and trotted off. He was certainly a coyote. He decided I wasn’t his roadrunner. That is the closest that I’ve seen coyote, and he was pretty big (easily taller than Jay), and healthy looking. Maybe he offed some of the ducks or the deer I saw a few months ago. That was quite exciting.
Fire: So we all know that when I like people I’ll go out of my way or I’ll pay that bit more to use them. One of these good people in my mind is the rafting crew down at Rock’n’Row. Sunday there was a lightning storm and there were reports of smoke down their way. The fireys couldn’t find any smoke or fire when they went out there. Monday it flared up. The incident websites say that it won’t be contained until October (see snapshot), makes sense if there isn’t supposed to be rain until then! This fire is predominantly in a wilderness area which is considered remote and rugged. I haven’t been out there, but it looked beautiful in the photos Wade and Zac have of hunting out that way.
Country song: Here is another one for you, the title is more relevant after the fire fun: “We like the rain it grows corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby tipsy” (from Rain is a Good Thing by Luke Bryan). I sure as hell can’t fault them on that logic! There was a whole lot more but it was funny while I was reading my way through 1450 pages of technical specifications.
Fargo: This beastly project is coming into my world in a big way…on Thursday night the request for quotes was issued for the PPP. This is the $800m project that I want to win. Building a 30 mile long, 1600 foot wide channel, 18 bridges (roads and rail), two big aqueducts, great fun – bring it on! Then on Tuesday the inlet project was issued for bid – a nice big chunky job, hard bid, construction, USACE will be the client. So I’m bid manager for both of these. Bring on the busy.
Fortnightly Drinks: I organize these drinks every fortnight. Every fortnight I have to explain to people that a fortnight is two weeks. I haven’t managed to attend for the last three or four sessions…I have been busy or exhausted and more normally a combination of both. This week, I scheduled it, I planned for it, and I went. It was a good showing this week, 10 people at different times, so we had a decent evening. I’d like to say that it was because I went, but really I think that it was because my grandboss (and many people’s boss) attended. Steve is a good chap – I enjoy working with him though he is one of those people who is credited with being very calm in a stressful situation…my theory is that’s because he just doesn’t show any emotion at all!
Now to the fun!
On Friday I took my flex day. Might be the last one I get for a while with the two bids out. I’d booked for a rafting trip down The Numbers, a section of the Arkansas River out of Buena Vista. I got a call on Wednesday evening and they weren’t running a trip down the Arkansas on Friday, they are doing a Royal Gorge half day trip. So I did a Royal Gorge half day trip. Oh boy, great fun!
We headed down to the put in point, nothing exciting. The block doing the safety spiel gave us the normal ‘has anyone not done this before?’; show of a hands; ‘congratulations for your first time on a school bus’. Pft. He said something about the average number of swimmers for a trip being between zero and five people. We lost four from one raft on the second or third rapid (one of the class II or III before the good fun started). Not sure how four of the six people on the boat managed to fall out, but they did. By the time we got there everyone was back in the boat though two paddles had floated (luckily only two, the guide was carrying only two spares).
As with all these river guides ours had a good story or five. I have taken to calling them ICB stories (I Call Bullshit). This one was a good-un though. There was a spot where there must be a decent creek coming into the gorge over the rail line. I guess they got tired of re-building the line so they had put in a concrete channel (about 2.5m wide) over the top of the rail – you know the things I mean right? I can’t find a bloody photo of one (let alone the one in the gorge) so you’ll have to try and work it out yourself. I’ll see about doing that run again one day and taking the camera. Maybe. Anyway, to the story. The story went that it is a bear slide, the good ones get a pretty good backflip happening off the end before they fall into the river. The less talented bears just drop off and make a big splash. I could totally imagine it being a bear slide! 😀 The picture in my head about this one is freaking funny! Imagine Winnie the Pooh, Yogi Bear and BooBoo sliding down it, taking a flip, and landing in the river!
One of Wades ICB stories is while you’re passing a particularly steep section of the canyon he is discussing the local wildlife and plants. Then he seamlessly points at the canyon wall and says and this is the chainlink fence plant, only place in the county that it grows, all the other chainlink fences come from this wall. Make sure you stop by on your way out and have a good look. Or something like that…Its the set up and seamless transition that works for me there.
So the Gorge – weekend HIGHLIGHT! Its a really really pretty place. Absolutely worth the run, even at 845cfs (quite low water). The views up the gorge walls to the bridge, the views along the river, everything…awesome. Seriously should have remembered to take the camera! It wasn’t continuous white water and there were spots where we paused and took in the sights. Super gorgeous. We even managed to do a little surfing! After a pool area where we all pulled out and stopped for a little swim we weren’t in the end position, turns out thats so that we could get through the next rapid, turn back, and surf the ‘wave’. It wasn’t a particularly big wave but there was enough space and water running to sit there with the two of us in the front leaning forwards to balance the boat a little…no paddling required to maintain that position. Quite the cool.
Big shout out to the group of people in the raft with me. Sure, the guide was darned good (I hear that the sweep is usually a good guide, least chance to do any picking up of swimmers I guess), but the guys paddling were good too. We had a couple from South Carolina, I couldn’t hear much of their chatter – I was in the front and busy enjoying the river sounds. Then three from California, a couple and their daughter. The father was in front left (me right), and we pretty quickly took to the coordinated paddling and everyone followed along nicely. Its super fun when everyone is in sync; I can’t fathom how much easier it is for the guide when he has coordinated paddlers.
I felt a little bad for ‘cheating’ on the Rock’n’Row guys, so I headed back to them and said g’day. I had mentally considered going on a rafting trip with them on Saturday morning but they had full boats and between two morning rafting trips and a rock climb there weren’t enough guides to send another boat. Wade and Kent had to take a group of 20 girl guides rock climbing…I gave them a whole lot of shit for that! I hear there were a heck of a lot of tears (shudder), mostly due to nerves about heights, so super glad I didn’t choose to join the rock climbing trip…ugh.
Saturday afternoon, after a spot of lunch, Wade and I walked up the south side of the canyon wall. Why? Because I decided we’d go for a hike and he decided he wanted to see the fires. We’re a good couple of miles south at that point, but still you could see the smoke really quite clearly…so much smoke! Couldn’t see any jumping flames through our area, seems that there is a pocket to the west that’s burning merrily (and will be for some time) and the main area is to the east. It wasn’t a vertical face, but there sure was a lot of scrambling, both up and down. I, thankfully, didn’t slide and hurt myself this time…apparently I only beat myself up when I’m on flat hikes. This is the view I woke up to, I love the mornings in the canyon, its so darned peaceful though really noisy with the birds.
So instead of going for a raft or climb, I headed home about 0900, home about noon. It was an uneventful trip. I got home, glanced at my emails and remembered that feeling when you have 200 emails arrive in a day. Ah, the busy life, I forget this stuff! Anyways, I got out my specifications and got reading. At the end of glancing through the balance of the 1450 pages for the inlet I then started on the P3 RFQ, only 93 pages this one, and much less dulls-ville. I even took it with me to have lunch, it was a pretty engaging lunch date.
The evening I had dinner at Michelle’s. Jaclyn came along too. Jac is doing so awesomely! She is cleared for driving close to home, hiking, and mostly chatting clearly. Her losing words is much less frequent and people just generally think that English is her second language. Which is amusing because thats exactly how she’s described it for the last few weeks – re-learning how to speak English.
Dinner was great too. Michelle’s beau was given a welcome dear, I’ve got people coming over tomorrow night, and you’re cooking. He did a great job! The Halibut was broken out and chopped up into small pieces, put in a light beer batter, and fried. Stetson and Tylor wrapped up some Jalapeno Poppers. Michelle unwrapped some salads. Jac and I husked some corn. Oh boy – good spread as agreed by all! I’d also taken that cake with some berries and cream so that was super yummy for dessert.
So I’ve covered the most fun parts of the week now. Sunday I got through all those dratted emails, had a coffee with Uma, and otherwise chilled out. Oh, and wrote this post twice! I woke up early and was typing it up on my phone when the phone lost the plot and shut down. All well and good except that I’d not saved any of the post updates so I had to go again. I was furious! Thats why you’re getting this later on Sunday and I’m not really too stressed about the spelling and grammar…sorry! Hell – I still managed to smash out over 2000 words, sorry Benno! And few photos again, this darned rafting thing is not conducive to getting lots of photos.