Tuesday, March 25, 2014

WALK 2: Fluid Dynamics

Now that we're out of the forest and training on the Memphis Greenline, our focus this week has shifted towards pacing.  So why is that important?  

With my average stride, I can walk 3.5 to 3.75 miles per hour bearing weight, a fairly fast pace for the fuzzybutts... almost a trot for them really.  But one of the rules of the road is one must walk their walk.  Which basically means, you must abide by nature's design of you.  

So since I cannot quicken nor slow my pace for extended periods, nor they, me, most of our training comes down to figuring out how a Man-Pyr (that's YBD), a French poet and existentialist (that's Hudson), and a Moose (that's, well, Moosey) reach a rhythm on the road.  


The Problem is Pyrs

I always thought it was god's greatest joke on me that I choose to go on great journeys with one the most notoriously "independent" breeds. That's how wonderful rescues like the  National Great Pyrenees Rescue characterizes them anyway.  I have my own sobriquet for Pyrs, crasser and truer to my southern roots, and one that could and should equally apply to me, too.      

Such as it is, pacing is a partnership and that's why it's of paramount importance at this stage of training.  


A Matter of Metrics

To attain our 25 week West Coast Walk, we must average a little over 12 miles per day. From our work last week and this, I now know that 6 miles per two hours is a comfortable pace for us.  That includes a 15-20 minute break halfway and a few 'stop and sniffs'.  

But with a laggard and a leader... I'll let you guess which is which... the science isn't always that exact.  

A partnership presupposes many things, but what's most important to its success is fluidity and I feel like Hudson-Indiana-Luke, our little Industrial Puppy Complex is making great strides towards...


Yer Big Dog's (YBD's) Notes 1:  I am pleased with our progress and preparation over these past few weeks, although we've had a few hiccups throughout... More on that later.

YBD's Notes 2:  This week is gear training and filming the Trailer.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Road

Is a curious thing.
It forgives and forgets

It punishes and at times,
Demands pay

Whether footsteps towards
Or footsteps away

No certainty
Not on any day

Those that step
Must accept

There are no manmade laws
Just the awe

Of living on The Road


YBD's Notes 1:  Happy Saint Patrick's Day.  This poem was inspired by the Irish saying, 'May the road rise to meet you.".  

YBD's Notes 2:  Bollocks.  

YBD's Notes 3: The Road represents the path in life you take.  May YOU rise to meet The Road.    

Thursday, March 13, 2014

WALK 2: The Route


Launch Date:  May 10th, 2014

Launch Location:  Peace Arch Park Vancouver BC

Vancouver BC to Everett WA:

Route: 543 to Portal Way
            Vista to Hovander
            West Smith to Pacific Highway
            Northwest Ave to Samish Way
            Hwy 99 to Cedardale Rd
            Pacific Hwy to Hwy 99

Distance: 90 miles.  Estimated Week of Arrival (WOA): May 18th

Everett WA to Seattle WA

Route: Hwy 99
Distance: 30 miles.  Estimated WOA: May 18th

Seattle WA to Tacoma WA

Route: Hwy 99
Distance: 35 miles.  Estimated WOA: May 25th

Route Tacoma WA to Portland OR

Route: Hwy 7 to Hwy 507
Distance:  155 miles .  Estimated WOA: June 8th

Portland OR to Otis OR

Route: Hwy 99 W
Distance: 85 miles.  Estimated WOA: June 15th

Otis OR to Gardiner OR

Routes for Remainder of the Walk: Hwy 101 and Hwy 1
Distance:  100 miles.  Estimated WOA: June 22nd

Gardiner OR to North Bend OR

Distance 30 miles.  Estimated WOA: June 29th

North Bend to Brookings OR

Distance: 110 miles.  Estimated WOA: July 6th

Brookings OR to Eureka CA

Distance: 115 miles.  Estimated WOA: July 20th

Eureka CA to Loleta CA*

Distance: 15 miles.  Estimated WOA: July 27th

Loleta CA to Garberville CA*

Distance: 65 miles. Estimated WOA: August 3rd

Garberville CA to Fort Bragg CA*

Distance: 70 miles. Estimated WOA: August 10th

Fort Bragg CA to San Francisco

Distance: 175 miles. Estimated WOA: September 1st

San Francisco to Carmel

Distance: 120 miles. Estimated WOA: September 14th

Carmel to Santa Barbara CA

Distance: 230 miles. Estimated WOA: October 1st**

Santa Barbara CA to LA

Distance: 110 miles. Estimated WOA: October 12th**

LA to San Diego CA

Distance: 125 miles. Estimated WOA: October 26th

San Diego CA to Border

Distance: 15 miles.  Estimated Date for Arrival Party:  Weekend of November 1st


*Some areas of Hwy 101 don't seem to be open to pedestrians. Alternative route may be necessary

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WALK 2: Chickasaw

A Hudson and Indiana Joint

Finally after bringing the bitter and brutal weather down south from one of the snowiest and coldest Northeastern winters I've been in, we got a break in the weather and took advantage of it at Chickasaw State Park.

Hudson and Indiana and I spent the past half week there training and they did great.  We've been hiking in all sorts of conditions and terrains but the working relationships will be markedly different  than with Hudson and Murphy and me.   More on that later...


We're Back in the Tent Again (Cue Aerosmith)

The fuzzybutts and I have spent a night or two in our tent now and then but now we're ramping up to the six or seven nights per week for our West Coast Walk.  

When camping out, our world is framed within 7'x9' ripstop nylon walls and that's all we really need.  Base camp is our sanctuary and the official Offices of Snuggles and Snuggles no matter where we're at.  


For the Love of Loblolly's 

The Chickasaw Forest has acres and acres of pine trees and when we had a moment to rest, my favorite place to repose was in a grove of Loblolly's.  

When there's a decent wind, there's nothing like lying on your back watching and listening as they sway in legato like the lilt of an Indian flute.  

Yer Big Dog's Notes 1: I've been here before on Walk 1.  The stretch from Memphis to Nashville TN was treacherous and rife with challenges from 64 to Whiteville, 100 to Mousetail, and 412 on to Columbia and 31.  

YBD's Notes 2:  And there's a wonderful Mennonite bakery off of 64 that we stopped at on Walk 1.   I was so hungry and I bought a pound of their roasted garlic cheese but alas, they no longer sell it.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Meet Malcolm and Murphy

Heisenberg's Uncertainty

"Natural science, does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves."

Damnit Yer Big Dog!

Not that Heisenberg....

This one!

Way back in college when I was pre-med, I took several physics courses which pretty much kicked me in the arse... but I loved it.

I could wikipedia a link to Werner Heisenberg's Principle for you to read and understand about how it was one of the tectonic shifts from Newtonian physics to Quantum Mechanics.

But in my best and most humble attempts over the years, I've reduced it down to this:  "There are things unseen, there are things known, but can we see the things unknown?"  

'Hizzy's P' as it's known in the 'biz', has become a much larger metaphor for me, an intersection at which I oftentimes find myself lost and without direction.  And yet unafraid.  


Integrative Manual Therapy

Late last year our Baltimore walk organizer, Chris, turned me onto IMT and I visited their Institute back in January after her dog, Blake was DX'd with menigioma.  I spent a day with the founders and thought leaders of Integrative Manual Therapy, Tom and Sharon.  

I must admit, watching them work on Blake was bumfuzzling especially since I was raised in a 'Western medicine' environment as my father was a nephrologist.  Even after a lengthy conversation with Tom, I still couldn't reach my mind around IMT.  

I tried to blog about the experience but I felt like a vegan writing a review about a Bobby Flay burger joint. But I've seen things on my travels most people wouldn't believe so I've learned to keep an open mind.  I mean, after all, Western medicine has been around for hundreds of years; Eastern medicine thousands.  


I Got Yer Back

Chris, ever so resolute and firm in her belief of IMT, and a whole host of others too, convinced me to get treatment on my L5 herniated disc.  I've written in previous posts about a work injury and subsequent car wreck that left me with, at times, crippling chronic pain that I had learned to live with and compensate for.  

The Thursday before I left New England, I went up to Hartford CT in part because of a promise I made to Chris and, perhaps, in part out of desperate hopefulness for some sort of relief.  I don't and won't take pain meds and have a general aversion to pharmaceuticals of all flavors.    

Following a thorough history and assessment, Tom's conclusion was that my back's range of motion was about 1/6th of its normal flexibility and utility and my leg muscles had been doing most of its work as a result. I kinda already knew that but what happened next is still head scratching to me.  


On Barb's Butt, Sweet N'Low, and Green Tea

I have to be honest, I was pretty skeptical going into my IMT treatment since my only prior experience was watching Blake, who couldn't speak openly about it, and Chris' friend, Barb, who had a packet of sugar substitute placed on her backside to see how her body reacted.  

I called Mommy G after that in an attempt to explain IMT to her and said, "Well, I thought I understood it until the sugar butt thing."  

Trust me, you put any form of food or spirits anywhere near me and my body will say, "Yes, please."   Maybe that's because I'm a dog or from TX...  Still, Tom and Sharon make a mean cup of green tea and having spent time in Japan, I know a cup of tea, and I made an appointment to see them. 


Yoga Makes You Fart

That's what I've heard anyway.  

And when I was on the IMT table for the first time, that's all I could think about as admittedly I was nervous about the experience.  

And then Tom put his hands on me.  Not like a massage therapist or chiropractor working out or through the tension, Tom was trying to find the source of it I've ascertained.  It's like unwinding a clock back to zero hour.  Back before the pain.  

Those that know me know I'm not a touchy-feely sort of fellow.  And yet, after a few minutes of Tom's and Sharon's hands on me, I felt comforted.  They didn't exert any force to me physically and yet after the therapy, my lower back was afire.

Now I recall my studies of thermodynamics about time and pressure but all of my erudition and the laws of science I had grown so accustomed to know and love somehow didn't apply anymore. 

Even after therapy was concluded, Tom said I'd feel light headed and I was thinking, "Yeah, right."  And yet I swooned. 


Postscripts from a Curious Skeptic

My lower back though not healed, the daily hurt I have to contend with has lessened.  And once the West Coast Walk is complete, I will return to the IMT Institute.  


YBD's Notes 1:  You can see the unknown if you have the courage to.
YBD's Notes 2:  Sorry Barb for using your butt as a learning lesson, but...
YBD's Notes 3:  I can't thank Tom and Sharon and their staff enough for their time and patience throughout this process.  
YBD's Notes 4:  Breaking Bad is one of the best serials ever and I now understand where Vince Gilligan got his inspiration from, philosophically and sartorially.